There was no turning back now. You couldn't look back. Your family watched you leave silently from behind. You could feel their teary eyes watching you from behind as you continued to walk. You didn't look back; you knew it would only end in tears streaming down your cheeks. You had cried about this enough, even if you thought there was nothing that could make you cry. You didn’t have a choice. This was never an option, it just had to be done.
Some people would be honored to serve their country in a war like this. But you are being forced to fight. There was no way to escape it though. To escape your potential fate. You had spent so much time thinking about everything that could go wrong instead of thinking about the things that would be important for you in battle. You had spent time training, but your thoughts were always elsewhere, running through scenarios that you may run into.
“Of all people, they had to recruit me,” you had told yourself days before as you had read the letter. The letter that had led to this moment. A recruiting letter. The letter that could be the death of you.
You clutched the small picture of your family in one hand, and a suitcase with your belongings in the other. You saw the train approach and waited impatiently, not expecting little arms to wrap around your legs.
“Daddy! Please don’t leave! Or bring me with you! I’ll be good, I promise!” You crouched down and pulled your daughter into a hug with a small tear in your eye. You pulled away as you wiped tears off of her face. “You’ll be fine with mommy and your big brother, I promise.” She looked at you and gave you the sweetest little eyes you’ve ever seen, making your heartbreak into a million pieces. It seemed as if the train was a million miles away even though it was pulling up faster by the second. “Promise me you’ll come back,” she begged you as she hugged you once again. You knew you couldn’t make that promise to her. There was no telling what would happen. “I promise that I’ll try my best.”
She gave you another sad look and held out her little pinky as you held out yours as if to seal the deal. The train made a loud screech as it stopped. You gave your daughter one last hug as she slipped her little necklace into your hand. Knowing her, she wasn’t going to take it back, so you accepted the small gift as you kissed her on the forehead and stood back up, heading towards the waiting train.
You show the man near the entrance of the train your letter with the signature of an official, allowing you to get onto the train. You quickly found a seat near a window and watched your family wave goodbye to you, waving back in response.
Days later, you’re in the training room with what seems to be hundreds of other men. There are some that seem giant while others seem to be normal size. You scan all the men around you and spot some that are more muscular than others. The training instructor starts inspecting each one of you from head to toe. Everyone stands in a line in the order given by the instructor, standing up straight with one hand to their forehead and another behind their back. No one had upset the instructor yet, but it wouldn’t be wise to after all. There was serious training to be done anyways.
After the training instructor had given a little speech and orders, it was back to training. It was only a few more days until you fought an actual battle, and you had to get as much training in as you possibly could. You didn’t have any experience in military or anything like it, so you wanted to train. It was for your own survival after all.
You were the last one left in the training room after all the other men had been dismissed. Every part of your body felt sore, but you always managed to fight through every bit of pain inside of you. You couldn’t even feel the pain as you fought harder. It felt as if you were only with your thoughts, thinking of what you might lose if you mess up. Your wife. The family you worked so hard for, through the difficult times. You wished with every bone in your body that you could go back to them. You imagined the day that you would be able to greet them with hugs and kisses.
Only, there was no telling this would ever become a reality for you. Or for anyone else here. It was just a dream that you wanted so badly for it to be true. You hear someone walking behind you, causing you to turn around cautiously. You snap out of your thoughts to see who was now with you in the almost empty room.
You see one of the men from training you had met with before. If you could remember correctly, their name was Matthew, but you couldn’t be completely certain of that. They walked up to you with a sort of worried expression. “I think you should head on to bed man. You look worn out.” You were about ready to shrug him off, but figured he was right.
“I’m sorry to interrupt if I have, I just remembered that you were here and figured that you might be a little worn out. It’s been four hours since the required training ended after all.”
You look a little shocked about the fact that you had been training for four extra hours. You sigh and nod, “I have been here for quite some time I guess.” You head towards the door of the large room, not realizing the man alongside you until he starts up a conversation.
After a conversation that seemed to drag on, you head straight to bed. Turns out, you were right, his name is Matthew. He seemed nice, but you hadn’t met anyone rude yet either. You didn’t realize it, but it was a talk you needed. You felt a little bit better now that you had met someone around here. It was a good feeling that made you feel more comfortable with the situation you were in.
Battle is breaking out all around you. A week has passed since training ended, and you have been fighting your heart out ever since you’ve been on the battlefield. Everyone is shooting, soldiers are falling with major or minor injuries. You're just about to shoot at a man until you spot a familiar face. It was Matthew, and he was hurt with major injuries. You knew that if you didn’t do something then he wouldn’t have any chance at survival. You rushed to his side, dropping your gun at your side. You hear men all around you to leave him, but you ignore them as you pick up your friend when you notice your daughter’s necklace around your wrist. You feel a new wave of hope and strength you needed. Matthew struggles out words, but not the words you're going to listen to. He continues to tell you to stop and leave him, but you feel yourself run fast with him in your arms. You run back to camp faster than ever, every step feeling like a mile. Bullets fly towards your way, one ripping into your arm. You continue to run fast, the pain seems to weigh you down. You slow down your steps, but you don’t stop running. You see medics waving you in as you rush inside, bringing Matthew to safety.