Flames Of War
The flames of war will reach you everywhere
You hear of bombs bursting, assassinations, hostages taken and lives lost, but you never imagine being in the middle of the disaster of war. I could never fathom the heartbeat of war, as an American citizen, we have only fought battles on our land against our brothers, never against others who are worlds apart. We are appreciative of our fellow soldiers who display the utmost valor and courage as they take on battles overseas on unknown soils against unknown enemies. But what happens when the war comes home? What happens when our homes become the battle ground? No one knows, until now…
It was dark outside, though the time stated midday. The blackness lingered through the air and sat heavy on my lungs. Smoke still smoldered on the sides of the road, some trees still shooting flames from their sides. The sounds of artillery rang in the distance, while planes roared overhead. The visibility was low, and you could only see a few steps ahead of you. I walked slowly down the road, my life in tow. I had a large backpack strapped to my back, including toiletry items, notebooks, a change of clothes and some food I had salvaged from the house. I had never evacuated from a place I would never see again, so knowing what to bring was a guess. I heard voices ahead, and as I drew closer to their conversation I heard footsteps behind me. I quickly turned around to see a tall man, wearing nothing but shoes and covered in soot and sand. I couldn’t help but to notice his nakedness, and how desperate he was as he try and rifle through my bag. I quickly jerked the backpack away from him, and expressed my anger at his uninvited approach to my personal belongings. He apologized quickly, and explained that he lost everything from the explosion. I express regret on my actions, and drew from my pocket an apple which I had saved from a tree that was not yet destroyed in my yard. He snatched it from my grasp and bit into it as if it were his last meal. I untied the jacket from around my waist and handed it to him, urging him to cover himself quickly.
I could still hear voices in the distance. A conversation which only some of it I understood. English, no less, I knew they must be soldiers for America. I coaxed the now half naked man towards the people speaking in the distance. I walked slowly as I approached them, still unable to see two feet in front of me. The half naked man ran ahead as he began to hear the voices, and as I took a stride towards the men I heard a loud gunshot. The conversation fell silent, as I stood quietly in my place. I heard some other noises, men speaking in a different language. Their voices grew louder, their conversation now obviously in a foreign language. I stood still, wondering if I should take off running or hope they don’t see me standing in the middle of the road. I opted for another option, and silently started to walk towards the side of the road, where I would have cover in the half burned forest. I slowly placed one foot in front of the other at an almost crawling pace towards the trees. I heard one of the men’s voices pick up, and he shouted something at the other gentleman. Soon trucks and men were dashing towards me, and I took off at a fleeting pace tearing through the woods. I heard men chasing me, but didn’t look back to see how far they were. I leapt over smoldering logs as the gray haze lifted from the forest floor. I continued my mad dash through the woods until the only thing I heard was my feet gently crushing burnt twigs on the floor. I began to walk and catch my breath, looking for a place to rest awhile.
I moved eastward, towards a small stream I knew from my hikes before the war. Life was amazing before the war. I had tried not to think of the good times as it made me upset and start to cry. Energy that I could not afford to waste on something that was out of my control. I continued my trek towards the stream, when I was able to finally distance myself from the burnt matter that was part of the forest. The greenery started to appear once again, and I could finally see more than a few feet ahead of me. Birds sang as I moved tree limbs and bushes to continue through the forest. A small snake scurried past my feet, moving his body side to side as he slithered into cover. The forest seemed much alive as I traveled onward. The birds danced from limb to limb, singing in a chorus of cheerful song. I enjoyed the moment, and stopped to smell the clean fresh air that had almost left my memory. It was as refreshing as I had ever imagined, and for so long I thought I would never smell fresh air again.