In Command

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


this was a school project i did last year (2017). the only guidline i personally followed was to "mimic" the format of a poem written by a famous american poet. i chose to mimic the repeating line
in edgar allen poe's "the raven". i came up with a free-style sort of poem about a scarred war veteran in the future. i laid out a scene about the horrors of war through a man who feels guilty for
being praised as a hero. this narrator in this poem/short story also happens to be the main protagonist in a huge story i'm trying to write.

Submitted: April 12, 2018

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Submitted: April 12, 2018

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Richie Jankowiak
Mrs. Rice 2nd Hour
American Literature 11-2
1 May 2017


In Command


Have you ever been in command before;
in charge of all those before you?
However not in control of a handful of people, but more an army of trained men and women.
I wish I could say it was difficult and nothing more, but that would be lying.
I wish I could boast "it's what I do" and nothing more, but that would be lying.
Imagine, thousands of armed men and women around you;
Your job is to get them across and through a forest unharmed.
I wish I could say it's simple, but that would be lying.
Instead, understand how impossible it is.
Everyone depends on you; 
you are what keeps them safe.
In the forest, you tell you're soldiers to move forward and be weary as the snow falls unto the hard ground and coats the bare trees around.
You tell them to take caution and listen as the wind cuts through their uniforms and begins to freeze their bodies.
Everyone is cold, the enemy is nowhere to be found, and everyone is scared.
I wish I could say this is easy, but that would be lying.
The enemy springs out, and explosions burst up into the reality around you.
Your soldiers become confused, and as some shoot back on instinct, others hesitate and wait for an order.
You must now react.
If you simply fire back, you can cut down losses quickly, but just as you give the order to take cover and fire, deafening blows of bursting bombs explode around you, blasting snow, dirt, and splintering wood into the air.
Artillery is now upon you and you must think how to save your troops.
Every second counts and every one you waste is another number of soldiers dead.
I wish I could tell you this is as bad as it gets, but that would be lying.
Shocked from the ambush, you prepare a decision, but the pressure is too much. You take in every sound around you:
Soldiers, screaming in agony behind and beside you, holding themselves where they can.
Guns are firing loudly behind and beside you as if they were in your ears;
With whizzing bullets flying past your head and body hissing and trying to pierce your flesh.
I wish I could tell you it's simple to come up with a solution, but that would be lying.
Now with bullets and with pained screams you slightly come to your senses and hear the shells of artillery soaring above over your head, flying toward you and away from you in both directions, then blasts erupt all around and more debris is created.
Just as you think you have a grip on yourself this time, flames burst up from in front of you and a wave of your soldiers are lost. 
You watch and listen as their bodies burn and they cry out for someone to help but there's nothing you can do. 
I wish I could say you can save them all, but that would be lying.
Now, bullets are flying, artillery is blasting, fire is spraying, and flesh is charring.
What do you do?
Your troops are dying, the situation is horrendous, you're practically in shock, what do you do next?
You stare in horror as heavily armored enemy troops move in with general purpose machine guns and they open fire on what's left of your soldiers. 
Now, loud continuous gunfire is right in front of you.
What do you do?
You drop to your knees in the freezing snow and wonder why this is happening.
You wonder why there is nothing you can possibly do.
You watch as the people that depended on you burn and scream harrowing painful sobs as bullets pierce their bodies and artillery splits them apart.
You watch as blood, flesh, and splintering bone shower the landscape before you while the blizzard subsides and you feel pain and sorrow come into your conscience.
You then begin to realize the end must be near and everything starts to turn into a layer of black and you watch as everything disappears.
Your body falls into the snow and you become cold but everything is okay now, because now you can ask for forgiveness from your soldiers in Hell.
I wish I could tell you that death makes everything okay, but that would be lying.
Later, you realize that you still have life and you begin to slowly rise.
You look about you and witness in the ash of your fallen soldiers lies the burnt and the torn; corpses of the soon to be forgotten.
You see among the flaming sullen grey landscape the bodies of those that depended on you, the bodies of those who dearly needed you.
Because you were in command;
Because you were in charge.
You see before you, the broken wood of downed trees and the brass of hundreds of spent shells and casings, laying among this field of lost souls.
You see everyone that counted on you, and as you bring your eyes forward and see the grey ashen sky you wonder: "How many times does this have to happen?"
Then the snow begins to fall again, but calmly; touching the bodies of the broken and the lost.
You wonder why life has taken you here.
You wonder why your life is above theirs.
Why did you survive, but all who believed in you, lost their lives to the dark, plain forest that you  had to get them across?
You gaze as the snow begins to cover the broken bodies before you and the fire begins to sink into the ash.
With the chaos now gone, you'd think that it would be peaceful.
It is NOT.
It is now a serving memory of pain and sorrow.
It is an everlasting image of regret and doom.
It is a monument to your past and a vision to your future.
It is what it's like to be in command.
I wish I could tell you my job is easy..... but that would be lying...

- Lieutenant General Richard "Liberator" Dark


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