The Charge

Mike West

Prologue


This short story is about the impressions of a soldier just before he is thrown into the hell of battle. The date of the battle is of no consequence. These thoughts have no doubt come down through eons of man?s history. From the cave man to the space stations of tomorrow these thoughts will live forever.

*****



War?s face never changes. Men converge on diametric edges of a field. Whether corn, wheat, or just a meadow blanketed in wild flowers, the arena has never matter. The men on each shoulder of the field necessitated the charge. The leaders have decided the field must be acquired. The question that consistently comes to my mind is why. I have battled numerous times and have never seen victorious armies inhabit the conquered field. Never have I seen advantage made from bloodshed.

The only resource needed to make a charge, in battle, is heart. If a man doesn?t have the heart, a charge is not in him. Many say courage is what you need, but that is not so. You can have a Lion?s courage, but if lacking heart, courage will run dry, heart is everlasting.

The men around me I know have heart, and for that I thank the All Mighty. I?ll not have to look for them, because they will be right at my side when the time comes. These men have shown their heart in many clashes for me to distrust them now.

We have been told that only a few of us will return, but in a charge that is understood. To charge an enemy, you sense from the beginning you will not survive. That isn?t the question which will last after all is done. They will only ask, ?did he die well?.

I can see the sun rising. The time is nearing for us to do our duty. ?Duty for country, duty for flag, but above all, duty for our comrades? is the soldier?s motto. The man next to you is your country, flag, and brother.

We all know this day is to be a challenge to our friendship. There are times when I think I may turn to cowardice, but then I look at my friends and know that cannot be.

I always am, I?ve always been, and I will always be, because humanity needs me.

The captain has just called roll and we are all here as we?ve always been. Time grows near for the bugler to blow again, and us to charge the nemesis, whoever it is. That?s our trade and we will do it with love, with hate, and with determination to be victorious. Even though victory isn?t the real question. Victory or defeat is indistinguishable. There is only one consequence of the charge and that is death.

The bugler blows. The captain stands before us with a sword in hand. We look to him for the command to charge. He turns gazing at us, and then smiles to nobody. He turns raising his sword thundering the word charge.

We get to our feet and surge forward like devils toward the other shoulder of the field. Our nemeses try to stop us with their own force. I have no sorrow for them today. They have the side of the field we want, and that cannot be. Our Masters want that shoulder of earth so we must kill them for it.

My comrades are falling all around bleeding screaming in agonizing pain, and I see that death has come to many. The sights of my friends enrage me to the point of frenzy. Those men on the other side must suffer equally as my friends. There is no other way it can be.

Oh God, I feel a sharp pain. I look down and see life running out of my chest. God the other side has killed me before I could kill them. I cry out, kill those men who killed me.

Even death will not stop my return, for I?m a soldier and there will always be soldiers. For as long as man lives the nemesis must be destroyed.