|The Box (standard:drama, 1175 words)|
|Author: Kinslayer||Added: Aug 16 2003||Views/Reads: 1926/1261||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A soldier in a war no one knows of.|
Listening to the music box brought back memories. On a clammy fall afternoon Michael Dillon stood over a young girl, probably no older then three and the victim of a war that had been going on too long. Mike was a gunner for the Fourteenth Division of a small Corps taking a hold of Kumbakale. The fight wasn't supposed to take place here and as far as the government was concerned, it didn't. But Mike remembered, he shouldered his weapon and knelt beside the young South Pacific girl covering her with a tattered rag of a blanket he found on her bed. The haunting melody of the music box rang in his ears, and although he was no profiteer, he closed the lid and slid it in his pack. Men were rushing in and out of houses searching for signs of resistance. Most of the homes were found empty or with dead. No one was sure if it was an illness causing the deaths but no wounds could be found on the bodies. “Dillon, found anything?” Sergeant Kevin Douglass stood at the door. “No sir, just another one dead.” He didn't bother looking at the doorway he couldn't look anyone in the eye anymore. He had seen too much death lately and it was finally getting to him. “We think they fled to the jungles south. Get ready to pack up.” As the sergeant left, Mike began to cry. This young girl could have been his daughter back home; they were close to the same age. The war was starting to seem senseless and the battle for the south pacific futile. These people were not the enemy; they were defending their home, just as anyone would do. Michael lifted his pack onto his shoulders and walked out of the house. The men were gathering near the south end of the parish and began heading into the forest. A native that had been picked up in Auki was hired on as a guide and a tracker. He led the men through the forest making sure to keep very low to avoid gunshots. No one spoke his language but it was easy enough to get by with hand gestures. They marched into the heart of the jungle with no signs of enemy activity so the sergeant called a halt. “Men, I'm thinking we should head back to the boat, what do you think?” They replied with grunts and nods, no one wanted to be there anymore. Sergeant Douglass had always been good to the troop, making sure to ask for their input and never making them to do things he wouldn't do himself. That's why he always received respect; the men were treated as peers. As everyone headed back to the village the guide dropped on his hands and knees to lie on the ground. This was a sign that something had been spotted, so everyone knelt, listening and searching for a sign of movement. The leaves rustled and birds could be seen sitting in high up branches, swaying too and fro. It began with a shot that hit to the soldiers rights, guns were drawn and two men set up a mortar tube. The birds were long gone and now only gunshots echoed amongst the trees. The resistance was set on a small hill above us, they had built shelters and cover into the side to reduce the size of a target. Shortly after the fight began Mike heard a hollow thump at his side, looking over he saw the men had shot a mortar at the hillside. After the explosion bits of debris tumbled down upon them. What they found was shocking, many of the villagers had built tunnels into the hill and had been hiding there. Now there was just a mass of charred flesh and half a woman's body could be seen protruding from the bodies. The gunshots became less numerous and a few soldiers realized; they were the only ones shooting. Two villagers appeared from the brush, dropped their guns and ran to their loved ones. As they did this, Sergeant Douglass called the men to their feet. “Keep you guns on'em boys, we have prisoners.” Click here to read the rest of this story (54 more lines)
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