The Martyr

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of a young man in a revolution. His journey, and his legend.

Submitted: October 09, 2014

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Submitted: October 09, 2014

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~~The Martyr

Lamare stepped onto the stage, rifle slung across his back. With a feather-tipped hat, blue coat and red sash, he really did look like a revolutionary leader.

Revolution. His false promises. 400 other soldiers are crammed into the courtyard. The sun shines weakly, as if it knows its time is up. The air is stifling, charged with the odours of grown, weary, tired fighting men. Like regular men, they multitask. Cutting nails, cleaning guns and writing letters all while listening to Lamare begin his speech. As he begins to speak, all I hear is a monotonous drone. His words no longer carried the same weight it previously did. Once, I would leapt ten feet upwards at the sight of him. Once I would have hung onto his every word. Once I would have given my life for his dreams…

A soldier’s revolution. Against our queen. Against those imperialist bastards who would spill our blood for the sake of prestige. Over a 2 years ago, brave men of the 10th and 7th colonial regiments rebelled. Fuelled by drink, they stormed the province they were posted to. Most soldiers had by then shared a common distaste for the crown, and that minor rebellion was the spark. And almost like Athena springing from Zeus’s head, Colonel Lamare seized his opportunity for leadership.

What was little more than amounted to a drunken mob of disorderly men was transformed into an inspirational army, united in purpose, powerful in courage. Soon enough the home regiments joined into. But maybe we were too hasty. Lamare underestimated the loyalty of the royal army, and soon pitched battles raged across all of my homeland. The common folk had initially taken up arms, some with us and others against. But soon they realised that this was not to be a glorious and speedy revolution, but a drawn-out civil war, musket against musket, brother against brother. And just as quickly as they had been to take up arms, they dispersed, went back to their pitiful lives on the farm. Perhaps now, after all the horrors I have witnessed and the misery I have experienced, I cannot blame them.

I had joined the army 6 months before it all began, along with my 3 brothers. The Radmussen brothers of 18th home regiment. Swept with military fervor, and the sort of ‘people’s protector’ spirit, we wore the red sash and white headdress of the revolution. We fought the Royalist troops in seven pitched battles, and even now I am proud of our actions during those battle and especially at the heroic siege of Cartel, our revolutionary capital. We were bounded together with so many others in that special bond of comradery.

But now, when I look back, did it really matter?

 All that heroism is mute when you see your loved ones die. 2 of my brothers died in the suburbs of Cartel. Havier, my youngest brother, was decimated by flying shrapnel while in the countryside. I saw him die, right next to me. Saw his terrified face as he breathed his last, as he realised that he would never make love to a pretty girl, never marry and father children, never live to that ripe old age we all desire. The grief was unimaginable, for it was unbearable to see my baby brother of 17 years fade in my arms. My poor mother, living on the ranch, my poorest dearest mother. She received all the news on the same day, in the same letter.

That pain shattered all illusions, all visions. The tide had turned, the Royalists had attained the upper hand. They still have it. My perceptions, my opinions changed when my brothers departed this world and for the next. Lamare’s words stirred no feeling, and a swallowing emptiness engulfed my head. I saw only lies and deceptions. Saw the ambition of Lamare. Saw how he sacrificed his men, my brothers, on the altar of his own ambition and pride. Why, he was no better than those Royal fuckers themselves. I nursed my bitterness, let it empower me. An idea formed within my mind. A dangerous idea. And from idea it went to concept and then plan. My sole purpose.

Cleaning your gun is an art. You have to treat it like how you would treat a fragile flower. With care and deliberation. Eventually it becomes a habit, an everyday part for a soldier. As I listen to Lamare drone on, I clean my musket. Clean out the leftover shot in the barrel, making sure the shaft is not clogged. Then flip the rifle around, and polish the stock. Simple and mechanical.
I put the towel down. Lamare is finishing with his nonsense. The rifle is between my legs, barrel pointing downward. I slip a single bullet with its cartridge in, slowly. I pull the bolt down, hearing the satisfying sound of a firearm being primed. A few others are staring now. Ignoring them, I adjust the scope, before fixing the bayonet at the end. More of my comrades are looking now, puzzled expressions plastered on their faces.

“Glory to the Revolution!” Lamare shouts with finality, his speech over.

A dizzying calm overwhelms me. Havier, I hope you have found rest in the afterlife, as I hope Jarrel and Leon have. I miss you, my little man. Soon I’ll find you. You just have to listen for my voice. Mother, forgive me for what I must do. I cannot live with the guilt of not avenging my fallen brothers. I love you.

As he shouts his last syllable, and I say my silent prayer, I stand up. Our eyes lock and a new determination surges through me. With fluidity, I lift my rifle, the sights locked squarely on him. The bullet explodes from its chamber, beginning its 3 second journey before tearing into Lamare’s jugular and out the other side. The bullet embeds itself into the wall.

Lamare’s neck spurts dying bursts of blood. His mouth froths, his eyes filled with the same fear as Havier’s one. With grand opera-style drama, he lifts his hand up, as if to say a final word, before toppling over and landing on the ground with a heavy thud.

Lamare is dead, and so is this revolution. As am I.
 


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