A Soldier Reborn | Teen Ink

A Soldier Reborn

June 19, 2014
By kenzie_treub DIAMOND, Orlando, Florida
kenzie_treub DIAMOND, Orlando, Florida
60 articles 0 photos 11 comments

My name is Katherine Nicole Pierce, but if anyone knows me, they'd only recognize me as Captain Pierce, fondly known as Cap Nic. Either way, I do not care. The entire hierarchy of the marine corporation has never appealed to me, but what do I know? I am just a pawn in a big man's dangerous game. I have never played by the rules, but now as I sit in the same position I have been in for the past few days, I cannot find a reason to complain. Yet I have to wonder, what is the point in this game? There are no rules, no assigned players. The sides are not distinct nor are the motivations behind our generals. For example, I have been ordered to kill that villager across the way. She is innocent; I do not know why I must kill her. I do not understand the reasoning, but I received a direct order. It is a moral dilemma, a crisis I have come to that I am not sure I can avoid. I have had her lined up in my rifle’s sights for the past hour or two. A young blond woman, completely unaware, gathers water in a stream, blissfully ignorant of the soldier that looms behind her. It seems like something from the Discovery Channel: hunter versus prey. Civilians are reduced to statistics and soldiers are ripped away from their ‘savior’ titles. Nothing is ever meant to last. Before I have but a second longer to contemplate I shift in my kneeling position, purposefully ruffling the leaves around me. I do not flinch as she turns to me, merely offering a small nod, gesturing with my rifle for her to run along. She does, far and fast, the rough soles of her feet leave tracks in the dirt, but I do not follow. Another soldier will find her no doubt, but today I will not have another death on my conscience. With a slow exhale I stand, regaining my footing and ignoring the creaking in my knees. There is no time for weakness here. It is not long before I am alone again, finding a place in a tree overlooking the water. The only sound I am aware of is the rustling of leaves, the rushing of my blood past my ears and the never-ending pound of my heartbeat. I hate it, the silence. It is just a reminder of what it sounds like when a heart stops and mine perseveres. Another kill, another life lost. More blood accumulates on my hands as days go by; however my own heart never ceases. It taunts me, my ears deaf to the sounds of nature. I know only the teases of my own anatomy: the rumbling of my stomach, the weariness of my bones. The reminders are everywhere I look. I see the faces of the children I have killed in my reflection, their fallen mothers shrined in the trees. I never forget a kill. I never forget the way their body fell, nor the sound of the twigs snapping beneath them. The sound of the leaves shifting, accepting them into the earth never escapes my memory. I see everything, and yet I have lost myself. The lines in my palms are crimson; gunpowder caked under my nails. There is no escape from the horror of this country. So as I crouch here, my eyes trained on the water, my forefinger playing with the trigger and my thumb pressing in the safety, I see no future. I see no world where my sin is forgotten; I see no life where my men remember the good rather than the bad. I will forever live in my killing hands’ shadow. I will no doubt receive a medal for my ‘bravery,’ golden pins for each ashen grave. The irony is despicable. My pulse rings in my ears; my breathing is reduced to slow shudders. My body is racked with dry sobs as my rifle falls into the water. I do not remember when the slim barrel of my pistol found a place under my chin, when my hands relaxed against the cool metal of the grip. My forefinger is home against the trigger, the safety off as if it were never on. The lives of those lost tick by in my mind, image after image of soldiers and civilians streaming across my vision. I see nothing of my life, no semblance of the family that has already passed. It is not until the bang resonates in my ears that I register the smile on my lips. The gun slips from my hands and I am welcomed into the blue abyss, joining the bodies I have burned. I am free; I am at peace, but no. I have not escaped. There is no peace for the damned; a soldier’s story is burned as gothic fiction. There is no truth, no reality here. After all, it all just becomes another slandered story in a history book.

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