The International Writers Magazine:Dreamscapes Fiction about
to Life's Battles
[Author's Note: Some of this was first written during art, science,
and history class, when I decided not to do any work, on notebook
paper. The other half was finished at home on the same day. Finished
on Monday, November 18, 2002. A love like no other, this story is
dedicated to the mind-expanding substance of Dextromethorphan.]
Battalion. 4th Division. Unit 984. Belgium. 1944. Crumbling buildings.
Strewn bodies. A growing fear. Boiling, uneasy groans.
Seeing beyond the pale light of the war to the dim glimmer of death.
Something is inside of these men, twitching, squirming. Just the pebbles
of a once great civilization crunching beneath their feet. walking steady,
keeping your head up, looking around cautiously, sometimes drawn into
the tomb of thought and unweariness. A dead body lies against a building.
Nobody notices. More marching. A soldier's head falls, himself still
marching. A girl. A face. A lover. A friend knocks him out of dreams
with a gentle hit. More marching. More climbing through the troughs
of earth. Conquering more territory in the nightmare of existence. Squinting.
Confusion. Fog. Myst. But a clear day. Rest stop.
A soldier sits on rubble and dumps the contents of his canteen on his
face. Another wipes his neck with a white cloth. Lying on his stomach,
occassionally making noises, another soldier stares into the inevitable
future, undeniable fate. He turns over on his back, his weapon by his
side. He gets up and leaves, his gun left behind. Clinking and clanking
of tools and weapons, as everyone senses the move-on-out order. Then
it comes. And more marching. They're on the road that leads nowhere
and it goes for miles and miles. They will walk until their feet are
worn down, and they have nothing but nubs left, and then they will walk
10 miles more.
His rifle in his hands, moving at the same pace of the other soldiers,
Che walked with about as much uncertainty as he has inexperience. He
was, like many of the soldiers in his platoon, a soldier, a boy, a man,
a lover, a hater, a beast of passion, desire, love, and lust. He was
in another nation and sacrificing days of his life that would torment
him for years. The opinion of this varied from man to man in the platoon.
To some, it was a patriotic call to duty, and to others it was just
a requirement, while others still were pacifists who had been tortured
and threatened with imprisonment by the US government, as was not uncommon.
It didn't take long for the patriots to realize that what they were
doing was hardly patriotic, that it was not helping their people, nor
was it helping any people. Either way, like Che, the members of this
platoon were here on foreign soil, armed, with orders to destroy; themselves
unready to kill. The platoon moves, until it finds its locations: nowhere.
The platoon leader tells his soldiers that they're sleeping here, among
the rubble along with rats and roaches.
Nighttime. A cloak of darkness spread over the land, as soldiers
retired to the ground for sleep. As the sun sets on the horizon, so
it sets on this evening of their lives, never to come again. And with
their lives full of hardship and existence, today is the last day they
will have this much ahead of them. Whether there is only one day before
death, or a great many decades, there is a limit on existence of all
those men. Here they are, in a great World War, fighting to end the
existence of other men. Their names may not be remembered, but what
they do will forever change the course of the planet.
Daybreak. The soldiers struggle to consciousness as they warm
breakfast over scattered campfires. The morning dusk has brought nothing
but chills. The endless march begins again. Every soldier has their
own lucky charm, or momento, or tangible piece of sentimentality. One
soldiers carries a pendant given to him by his grandmother. To him it
is a purpose, but to a scavenging German soldier, it is a small piece
of profit from melted down silver. Another soldier carries around a
picture of his daughter, while another carries just the memories in
his head of his childhood house, secluded in a small town in the woods.
But among these men, these marching soldiers battling for control over
their lves as much as the next man, there is one man -- Che -- who holds
one thing prized above all: a love letter given to him by his lover.
At least, she once was his lover, and she once swore all of her love
just to him.
Laura, a name so divine that only the angels could speak it. Her tender
legs, moist inside, passionate touch, lustfully in love and always sincere
in her affection. These were the thoughts racing through the mind of
Che, as he marched in the war parade across the streets which yielded
no playful and careless children.
Laura, once the avowed lover of Che, but no more. For after this love
letter he is holding in his hands, which was like fleeting touches of
her body, another letter came. The first letter spoke of devotion and
the second of desertion. His four months (now 6) of existence in a foreign
land was too much for her. Her first love letter was volumous, with
imagery of physical affection and love -- something any soldier would
cherish from their lover. Physical love manifested within the words
of our humble English language. The words of the letter were etched
into his heart, the way two lovers claim a tree by marking the bark.
He memorized every sentence, every syllable. But she left him. The initial
shock was almost disbelief. Then, there was a void in his purely militaristic
existence. And while the real Laura was away with another, she was dead
to him. A once living beauty crumbled to pieces as he read the truth
on white paper. His mind churned with the ingredients of misery, preparing
the concoction of fate. Marching with a heavy head. He still kept the
first love letter, to remind him of how happy he once was. And oh how
he was indeed! In no other time of his life could he sincerely attest
to so much comfort and love. Slowly through denial, anger, sympathy,
he kept his love letter, and just as surely as he read her aged words
of affection, she was reading another man's poetry. Two months had passed
since the breakup. He march, still in tune to Laura's love song, not
with a heavy heart, but the beautiful past lifting him in the air.
But it was this day that Che marched with the words of Laura in his
hand, not looking, not thinking, but just visualizing her soft caress
as her words looked at him. The debris of broken tools, destroyed buildings,
or tattered clothing was subject to his worn, numb feet, his fixation
not altering once. And whether it was by his own negligence or lack
of concentration, he wound up where he was. He looked up, stopping in
his tracks and the words of the letter, and he saw German faces, with
German-military helms and wearing German-military outfits. Holding his
letter in his hand, his rifle slung, he saw one of the German soldiers
raise his gun to shoot.
Che asked one thousand questions: Does she love me still? Does she still
think about me? Does she know that I still love her? Does she know I
kept her letters? What does she think about me? What does she think
about me? What does she think about me? And then a blast lasting no
more than a microsecond, and he fell, the wind taking possession of
his letter. But as the azure skies turn a darker shade, and as his body
loses feeling, Che wonders if he should have lived his last few weeks
of existence as he did. ... ... Yes.
Tale of a Singer and his Lover
Tale of a Love Apart
- A Squatter's Tale
Fiction in Dreamscapes
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