the short story project


Benjamin Mailloux

An Ironic Event 

The year was 2017. The War to End Communist Oppression was just beginning. I, Harry Mason, never wanted to leave my home but my mother always told me that I had to in order to survive. He was overseas on the Second Continent, fighting with the Nations against the United Union of Communists or the UUOC for short. I was only 17 at the time when the war broke out and I was not too excited about going overseas, but nonetheless, I enlisted as soon as I was done highschool and went right to the front. I landed on the Beaches of Norman-Dike, near the borders of the Green Nation, after taking a plane to the island of England in the Red Nation. From there, I crossed the ocean in a boat and landed at Norman-Dike. At one point, this land was called France and the island across the water was called England, but now they had the names of Green and Red Nation. Norman-Dike was a sight to be held. I have never seen such a big camp. Miles and miles of roads and tents lining them all. Trucks and tanks roaring along the roads, heading off to the next points of the War. Thousands and thousands of soldiers, bearing the colors of their Nation. It was a magnificent sight, to see everyone all together. Maybe everyone in each Nation was not so different after all. I never knew why this war was happening. My father never talked about it too much and when I wanted to know what was going on, he would shoo me away and tell me to go to bed. Growing up, I never wanted to fight. I didn’t like the idea of it and killing was not my thing. I wanted to find solutions to world peace and other world issues, but my father said that it would have been a waste of time for me. But here I was, on the other side of the world, away from my mother and being trained to use a machine gun. 

When I was at Norman-Dike, I trained for a good six months before being shipped to the Far Front. This was in the East, near what was called Poland and the other Eastern Bloc Countries. There was when I saw my first action, but that would not have been for another week or too. I arrived at Norman-Dike towards the end of June and it wouldn’t be until December that I was shipped off to the Far Front. The Generals did not care about the weather at the time, but cared only about winning the war itself. There was nothing more important than winning. That was the goal. The UUOC had an army of millions and millions of men, the largest army that ever existed. Maybe that was the reason why the rest of the Nations were at war, but I didn’t dare ask my Father. Even though we were both comrades and in the same unit, the 56th Blue Nation, he never talked to me much. He never did unless he was yelling at me to go to bed or to shut off the phone. I missed home and I missed my mother. None of this was supposed to happen at all. 

My father led the 56th towards the base camp, which was located towards the top of the trench. The trench was built as soon as the war was declared. There was nothing but trenches for miles as it snaked down the gray landscape. Most of what was previously Poland was bombed into submission. Craters were everywhere, created new hills were there wasn’t any before. There were more units at the trench than I expected. The soldiers all wore the Green Nation symbol, which was just three green stripes that lined the right shoulder of the army uniform. There must have been thousands of us, just waiting at the trench. Beyond the trench was the flat, unbombed land of the UUOC. Beyond that, was just the shadows of mountains in the distance, calling us to go beyond the long trenches. I recognized some of the other units, such as the 45th Green, the 71st Yellow, the 78th Blue, and 43rd Red. There was no sign of Orange Nation units here, which was surprising to me, but I was not focused on that. My father was busy talking to the other commanders of the units to take notice of me at all. Tents were instantly set up and before I knew it, it was getting dark. My father was still talking to the other commanders and ordered everyone to get some rest. I crawled into my tent, my machine gun and combat knife next to me. My eyes were heavy with tiredness and I fell asleep. 

I wasn’t asleep for no more than twenty minutes before the shouting rang in my ears. I rolled out of my tent and grabbed my machine gun. The units were all heading towards the trench and were firing their guns. I looked at my father.

“UUOC is coming. Don’t do anything stupid.” My father said.

I never knew what he meant by that because this was the first time he talked to me in years. On the plane ride he never said anything and it was the same on the boat. I ran up to join my comrades in the fighting. I just lined up with them in the trench and made it just as a bomb hit my tent and blew up the ground where I was minutes ago. The shouting was loud in my ears and the gunshots were nonstop. I fired my machine gun into the darkness, hoping that I was hitting something. I ducked down to reload and a soldier next to me dropped dead. I fired my machine gun again. I heard an answering scream in the darkness, meaning that I hit someone or more than one person. I felt the adrenaline rush through me and I ducked down again. I noticed my father was firing his machine gun into the gloom and he never missed a shot. 

“We need some backup here!” My father shouted.

I looked in the dark and saw shapes coming closer to the trench. It was the enemy, the armies of the UUOC. I never knew what kind of uniforms they wore because of the dark. Like thieves in the night, they stalked across the untouched land and headed towards our barren side of the trench. More units of our soldiers came up to the trench and fired their machine guns and rifles into the darkness. Answering screams and yells of the enemy soldiers dropping dead gave me some hope. More enemy soldiers appeared and they were heading for the top most area of the trench. It was the only place left unguarded.

“Where is the 43rd Red!” My father called out in the chaos.

A voice answered him.

“They fled Riley, along with the 71st Yellow!” The voice shouted.

I recognized that voice. It was my father’s best friend, Jack, He commanded the 45th Green. The only other unit with us was 78th Blue, which was falling rapidly. I watched as the unit was gunned down by the enemy trying to flee. My father looked at me.

“Get to the truck and get out of here!” He said.

“What about you?” I asked.

“I will be fine, Harry, just get out!” My father said.

Then he spoke again. 

“Everyone retreat! Back to the trucks!” 

No one had to be told twice to run away. Those who were able to fire, fired without an hesitation. The enemy soldiers slunk over the trench like a wave of water. I fired my gun, but when an enemy soldier got too close, I stuck my knife in his chest. I never killed before, but now I was able to say that I had. I didn’t know how to react and my adrenaline was going through the roof. I saw a truck pulling into the gloom, its outline coming for me. The headlights were on and they showed the mass of enemy soldiers coming. I ran towards the truck and hopped into the back of it. I pulled my gun over the side of the truck and fired. A few more trucks picked up the rest of the units, which was just the 56th Blue and the 45th Green. The 78th Blue was all gone and the other two units fled. The last of the enemy soldiers disappeared into the darkness. Bullets bounced off the truck and I got down to get out of the way. A soldier near me fell out of the truck dead. At last, the remaining trucks joined up with the one I was in and headed off towards the nearest camp, which was in Berlin. 

All through the night I was able to get some sleep. The truck stopped and I got out of the truck. My father and Jack were helping the wounded off of the trucks. There was only four trucks and at last fifty of us left combined from both units. I never realized how much damage the UUOC did to us in that moment. I wondered if it was like this at all of the Fronts, not just the Far Front. My father was talking to another commander that was important. Jack then came over to me.

“Help me get the wounded off please. Your father is busy talking to Gray.” Jack said.

I nodded and went over with Jack. 

“How long will this take?” I asked.

Jack shrugged.

“Hours at the most.” Jack said.

The screams and shouts of the wounded rang in my ears. Between Jack and I, it took a long time for us to get the wounded off of the trucks. Every single movement was hard for the wounded and I tried not to lose my patience with them. Berlin was a huge camp. It was once a the capital city for a country named Germany, but only the Green Nation existed now, stretching far across what was once Europe. Jack and I labored for a few hours, getting the wounded on cots and getting them to the large field hospital that was in the far side of the camp. Berlin looked like Norman-Dike, except it was a lot busier. More soldiers from all kinds of units poured in and made for the Far Front, if it was still there. Hundreds of doctors ran to and from the trucks that were lined up, bringing the wounded. Jack and I rolled out cots from the field hospital and loaded the wounded soldiers on them. When I went inside the field hospital and I almost gagged. The air was thick and foul and the screaming was endless. Doctors were trying to treat them and heat up the wounded. Being the month of December did not help at all, as the cold air would sweep through the hospital when someone was brought inside. Jack and I wheeled in the wounded on cots and let the nurses and doctors take care of them. There was nothing that I could do to save the wounded, besides bring them in and try to give them a fighting chance. When Jack and I got back outside, my father was still talking to Gray and another commander that I didn’t recognize. This man had Orange Nation stripes on his uniform.

“That is Sparrow from the Orange Nation.” Jack said.

“Anything about him?” I asked.

“Not much, but he has pushed back the enemy as far as a place called the Black Sea.” Jack said.

“Good, maybe he can help us.” I said.

Jack didn’t looked too convinced and didn’t talk to me much after. He ran over to my father and the four of them talked. I found the remainder of my unit and joined up with them. Tents were put up and I found myself lying on the ground in my tent, waiting for orders. I hoped that I didn’t have to stay in Berlin for long. I didn’t like it here and I just wanted to go home in the worst way. My father came over after his long conversation with Sparrow and Gray.

“We are going to try to take the Far Front again. This time we have Sparrow and Gray with us. It should be easy.” He said

“When are we leaving?” I asked.

“Now.” My father said.

Without any complaints, the rest of my unit and Jack’s unit packed up. Sparrow and Gray were ready and waiting for us patiently. I climbed into the back of the truck and kept my gun close. The journey by truck did not take us long and soon we were back at the Far Front. Before anything could be done, the enemy soldiers were firing at us. Since when I was in the back of the truck, I pulled my machine gun out towards the side of the truck and fired. The enemy soldiers fired back, but it was not enough to keep me from not firing. Other soldiers that were in the backs of the other trucks fired as well. Hails of bullets flew in both directions and enemy soldiers and friendlies fell to their deaths. I ducked as a bullet almost hit me. I reloaded and fired back. Another enemy soldier fell dead and I moved onto the next one. The trucks kept on going and going and didn’t stop at all. There was nothing that the enemy soldiers could do. By the afternoon, the trenches that we lost the previous day, were ours. The bodies of the enemy soldiers littered the ground and they were on the run. Sparrow and Grays units setup in the trenches and shot down the retreating enemy soldiers, making sure that they didn’t come back at all. Jack’s unit and my unit setup a basic camp, with tents and a path to put the trucks on just in case the enemy came back again. The darkness set in and it was night over the trenches. Sparrow and Grays units patrolled the trenches, letting the rest of us sleep. It was good to finally sleep in for once.

The next day was somewhat peaceful. Sparrow was called back towards the Orange Front, near the borders of what was called Turkey. Gray and his unit stayed with us until the Blue and Green Nations send more troops. Within a week, our units were replenished and Gray left, citing that he was needed at Home. I didn’t know what Home was, but I assumed that it was important. The enemy soldiers came on us again a couple of days after Gray left. It was almost like they were waiting. Both units stationed themselves in the trenches. The enemy soldiers were gunned down. At this point, I knew only killing. It was the most ironic thing.

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