THE HARDEST: WARRIOR’S EDGE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: dreamscape
You are a civilian in a war torn place when soldiers enter your home. Against your will is imbedded with a squad of soldiers on a mission. their shield - human shield.
Sequel to ‘Kiss my tank gun.’

Submitted: April 12, 2019

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Submitted: April 12, 2019

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The Hardest: Warrior’s Edge

The edge – engage the enemy, if they won’t come to you, seek him out. Vanquish him in the cauldron of combat. Undeniable edge, that ethos the purity of arms according to the most moral army in the world.

 

In a modest home two persons go about extracting any sense of eking out an existence. Their world came under a new threat. A combat boot steps on the spartan living room floor, a few moments pass before the couple react.

 

Her bewilderment gone the woman exasperated, ‘Broke into my home.’

The two interlopers identify themselves as soldiers belonging to a particular military organization – hard not to tell with their big guns toting.

‘No need to tell me what I know long ago. You are in my place!’ she wants a why.

 

The interest settled on the companion after cursory glance or more of a pre assessment, instruct they’re coming with them. The companion in gesture baulks. A soldier holds them by the arm. 

 

The woman steps between a gun of the second soldier pointing at her companion. Why shield them with her own body? ‘You can’t come in here and drag away who you please! What can you possibly want?’

The soldiers have their way, proceeding to make off with the person and instructing the woman not to follow, her desperate offer of money to no avail.

 

Another six outside. One of whom wore a back pack radio.  

 

Its morning and no breeze blew, dared blow it seemed. The companion is asked their age, if part of the enemy which the woman pre-empts an answer by denying and otherwise interrogated, takes place in front of her, who’d followed them outside defying command.

 

The companion is shown an aerial photo by one trooper and is asked to lead them to the location depicted. No attempt is made to confirm whether companion knew where, the troops were on a mission is the word when the companion naturally verbally resists going, ‘Kidnappers, may God spit on you!’

As does the woman yelling frantic, ‘This is why you want my child! Killers! You cannot deprive their dignity this way!’  

 

The commander vicious, ‘Either lead us or a gunshot!’

Companion detesting, ‘Rabid dogs you’d never kidnap your civilians.’

‘Have mercy on a poor child. I offered money, let me get it.’

Power lay with the gun and protests won’t prevent this abuse.

 

All the same, the troops had an air of nervousness, as though wanting to do the job and go home, ‘You’re free when we’re done.’  

‘Big military men don’t need a child!’ she tears up.

 

‘Damn you mommy stop it!’ the companion demands of their mom crying in front the enemy is weakness. Her child in tow, the warriors make off. In her final bid to protect, she begs the troops not to hurt her child, her feeling looking on helplessly is a heartless Devil’s hand ripped out hers.

 

This land knows war. They lead the way a soldier two, three steps behind. Treading the rubble strewn street, companion thought about how their sandals were torn, even animals would pity the road. Companion didn’t know what would befall them. Eyes catch the poverty painted by pockmarked buildings, testimony of destruction, whether by explosive shell, bullet or neglect. The place had the life torn out. Conflict spawned a punishing blockade even the world body asked be lifted.

 

Their cell phone charger all they had was confiscated. Companion now known as shield, lead the way passing through buildings not guaranteed to be empty; the gun armed warriors keep a safer distance as in farther, when structures are entered. They let the companion enter first each time and up the stairs and down the stairs, shield’s heart wanted to spill out. Door what door? Having them kick them down violates Geneva. Generously handed a small battering ram to knock any closed ones down, like the type SWAT has. Kinetic breaching they’d call that.

 

Each building whether a home or public use did have the passage of people, they’d have stories to tell if people still traversed them. Derelict, now only plant growth and dust see their innards owing that two sides, fellow human beings, couldn’t agree. Round any corner, indoor or out they lead the charge.

 

Hasn’t been long exchanging bullets. The team is locked in a firefight amongst the urban skeleton. A cacophony of deafening gun and grenade explosions, mixed in with the radioman’s voice. These assail the only innocent mentally, who decides what the hell are they standing around for? And begin walking off only to feel a soldier’s arm wrap round them.

 

Giving name to the act, the commander and only them, has this person stand in front while the latter shoot from behind them. Their eardrums wanted to burst from the muzzle’s ear splitting retort. This close was noisier than other explosions just now. Wanted to run as every fibre in their being commands, but held in place psychologically by what may befall them trying to flee again. This combatant overrides personal survival instinct.

 

Their face contorts and tries subconsciously to narrow their body fearing bullets. On the fight runs till a good distance afar the unmissable form of a battle tank headed for the conflagration. Survival just got a whole lot more critical.

 

The street was salvation. Enemy fire lit up the squad all the while, shield facing the foe with commander behind, rush across, shield’s heart beats a million per second. Next the rest of the squad has to cross but brave commander defers lending them shield. Stands for something cover fire a substitute.

 

When a war is not your own, war finds you. Shield thinks that while poor and death was not a distant memory, at least more than little control over their lives was granted. If only they can be home with mom.

 

That thought manifests whilst in a safe place beside a road, all lay belly first on the ground as precaution. Anxiously trying not to catch a bullet comes with the job description. The engagement was reported already by radio to higher-ups. Speaking of which are they ignorant of what their forces do or policy?

Assailed by stress makes you do irrational stuff. One soldier postulates the shield lured them to their deaths.

‘How was your human bullet sponge supposed to know?’ shield had in them to retort. More discourse later including that shield should be put in the ground, and the shield seemingly tempting fate, bluntly says that these soldiers are afraid. Bad as they are around civilians. Less than an hour passes before they pick up and move. No enemy substantiates the squad successfully broke contact.  

 

Shield complains, ‘You at it again?’ events were raising stress to boiling. The day had wore on. With the encouragement of a gun pointed at the back, ‘You’re free when we’re done. Remember?’ a squad mate. Like most any soldier the mission is ever present.

 

Shield smashes lock of a metal gate with the ram, then approaches a house’s door beyond - palms sweaty, hormones at max and the brain say one thing - run. Imagined a bullet through the door any second as they held the ram back about to swing forward. Nothing behind.

 

The troops rest. ‘What’s bright about dusting off old furniture?’ reasoned one soldier to another, who correctly grasped in the field they’ll be dirty anyhow. The commander assigns a watch to keep discreet position at a window.

 

This home belonged to people once. So even it isn’t bereft a story.  

 

Shield is offered a toilet break and curses captor invoking God, their way of revolting.

 

It the way for soldiers to persist? Their captors offer a MRE – Meal Ready To Eat, a bullet proof vest didn’t lend itself to hostages. The packet is left beside them. Captive in the predicament has wherewithal to assess these soldiers exhibited no qualms, if a race after humanity is reduced to bone heaps looked back they’ll wonder why. How senseless it was.

 

As aside, word spread before all this began, you can be victimized another way besides recruitment as a meat shield - you’re not getting a trophy, you are the trophy - human trophies civilians know can be claimed dead or alive it needn’t begin nor end with just being some army man’s shield.

 

This particular domicile was not the absolute worst shape. Ramshackle, shafts of light enter through parts of the roof, dusty floor and furniture. Still nature hadn’t seriously begun reclamation yet. Fair amount of work and a comfortable nest.

 

War was too much for the residents recently then. Originally preoccupying themselves eying the light shafts, their gaze inadvertently spots the picture of a family. Shield moves over to pick up. This slice of posterity let’s seeing who was here through its cracked frame glass. The child saved to celluloid had only so much time to grow here. What would suffice for a new home and rebuilding childhood memories?

 

The window soldier has a contact report.

 

No sign spotted them as it trudged along on tracks. It kept to the road.

 

Closer and closer wasn’t any sense of relief. A soldier called out distance in meters every so often, the number each time smaller. The fighters are concealed, their guide is belly first on the floor.

 

Word spread amongst residents of a girl having to kiss men’s…tank. Shield pressing deeper into memory, a tank like this, but only the other side owns them, as if their heart wasn’t sunk aplenty, poor civilians at the scare of both sides.

 

A T 80 tank an impressive form, from the outside through the walls, through the ground, vibration ever increasing slight intensity at the 42.5 tonne war machine’s wake. The track and engine noises more and more discernible. The gigantic main gun its very own cause célèbre, sticking out like a lengthy rod. One whiff from the huge gun sends all to hell – modern take on Napoleon’s whiff of grapeshot.

 

The enemy must’ve sent it on a hunt and destroy in wake of the fight. Yards away by the time it slowly reached its closest distance. The vibrations gradually die down and would to nothing, passing harmlessly headed down the road – none the wiser.

 

A soldier advocates speeding up the mission.

 

What precipitated newest violence wasn’t all about the near death prior - asked to walk across open ground. Long past the house are outdoors. All things considered was the least dangerous request thus far: hair on the nape rose. Two things gnawed shield’s skull, they the advance guard in case of ambush or what more likely, test for a minefield.

 

Resistance earns the shield a knock down, face first to the ground they next feel a gun’s muzzle on their back, through the entirety of the weapon transmitted to shield’s dorsum humanum is every dark emotion, crunch of time and the mindset to fulfill a mission the commander carries. Every tortuous minute the shield is reminded the body is a mortal vessel easily killed. Gotta to swallow and admit here lies logic – sooner the cooperation, sooner this affront to law ceases. A radio discussion between the T 80 and present partially dealt with progress.

Allowed up, apprehensively takes a first step and crosses the dirt filled open ground, their steps covered roughly seven hundred feet, where they halt at its end. Running away futilely didn’t enter their mind. Sure enough they follow their exact path, single file. Minefield, shield thought.

 

Getting a knack for it.

 

More walking and then a halt. The day had yet to close. A soldier has cause to consult the photo with the shield. It’s confirmed the large office building is the goal, well part.

 

No enemy sign. Something this valuable wouldn’t be unguarded but eyes paint an unerring picture. Shield in front, the armed of the two scared greater, walk down to the stairs reaching the basement. Eyes paint an additional picture specifically for the leader – nada.

 

Thinking aloud, half addressing the shield, who finally learns what all their depredation was for. A launch site for rockets. Higher-ups presented it as a big deal. Blame rests on the shield who is beaten. An innocent responsible for their failure.

 

High command simply organized this foray based on possibility. None declared the info as credible, what the mission was to ascertain.  

 

Outside again a member of the most moral army says it was a success that all made it in one piece. Their edge undulled.

 

Shield is afforded their leave. Which translates to making it back through potential danger with an aching body, undaunted they are to reunite with mom. The MRE is in their possession – proof of what happened.


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