Elegy for the Lost Soldier

Submitted into Contest #232 in response to: Write a story about someone looking for a sign in a dark sky.... view prompt

2 comments

Contemporary Drama Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

***

Tell me... what can be more beautiful than watching the flight of a bird on a late spring day, or even better, how it feels to experience the first snow as it settles on your pale skin. 

But the feeling of happiness disappears when you see the snowflakes melting, and you are left only with a sensation of coldness... Time seems to stop, and the coldness becomes so deep that you feel it penetrating your soul and turning into ice. But now it's not just cold anymore, it gradually becomes a burning sensation. And this feeling becomes stubborn and deepens, like a silent hymn singing of freedom even in the darkest corner of your mind.

***

    Me - the embodied perfection, the ideal man within a utopia... a celestial atlas where each star is a promise of superiority, each constellation a dream of dominion.

   Me - a man not sculpted from marble, but from the aspirations and illusions of an ideology... one of darkness, and only now can I see this so clearly. A white lion born from the dreams of a merciless winter, a creature of purity and power shining under the sun of that false utopia. Eyes of ice and hair like gold woven with the rays of a distant sun... perfection.

   Me- a titan born from the soil of blind pride, with a smile that hid a thousand unspoken secrets. Every movement masked the grace of a wild stag, a dance of strength and power that leaves no room for the frailty of a vain dream. An unshakable mountain... proud and inaccessible... but like any animal, always leaving behind a dark forest of doubts and fears. Beneath the mask of perfection, I often found my heart beating in irregular rhythms... an echo of battles only I could feel - a battlefield between reality and ideology. In my eyes, you could see nothing but the dream of glory and greatness, but the deeper you looked, the more you would see an endless darkness, a frozen ocean - a distorted vision.

   Me- a statue in a forgotten temple, venerated but cold and far from the heartbeats of humanity. I am the Aryan man, a falling star in the night sky, illuminating the path of an already lost future... destined to extinguish in the darkness of its own creation, a symbol of an unreal perfection that in its search has lost the essence of what it truly means to be human.

  ***

   In the sea of nameless faces, I lost myself, clad in a uniform that filled me with pride... so much pride that I believed myself a knight of a long-forgotten era. I marched through streets that seemed like rivers of gold, flowing beneath a sky of grand dreams. Each building and every face in the scandalous crowds seemed to tell stories of glory and heroism... and I already felt like a victor. But though I didn't smile, my soul laughed out loud... like a child unaware of what awaited him.

   Left-right, left-right, with my hand raised in an endless salute... it all seemed like an echo in a choir of thousands of steps, becoming a hypnotic rhythm that somehow managed to distance me from myself, from the child who, when he fell and scraped his knees, ran crying into his mother's arms, from the teenager who dreamed that one day he would change the world. Innocence was losing its meaning while maturity took shape... Now, the city disappeared into the horizon, and all I could see was the sunrise we were heading towards. A perfect, bloody sunrise that presaged the fate of our army, yet we were confident. With every kilometer traversed, the shadow of war touched our fervently patriotic souls... a naïve one... A monster hidden under masks of heroism and dignity.

   A scene, some actors, and... everything becomes a theater of the absurd where each soldier plays his role in a play written by unseen hands. The ground beneath our feet became a canvas painted only in white and red, with subtle shades of mud, while the vault above us seemed to weep white tears for every soul that finished its role.

   Every noise of artillery resonated like a drumbeat in an orchestra of death... a sound that tore the silence as lightning splits the sky in two during a storm. Bullets whistled around us like a chorus of furious winds - metallic messengers of tragic fates. And yet we fought... and we kept fighting for our ideal... but the macabre dance of the rifles became endless, and the actors playing their parts in the play grew fewer and fewer. We fought, as if we were leaves caught in a whirlwind, carried on unforgiving waves. Every step became an act of desperation, we were acrobats on a tightrope stretched over an abyss of reality.

   The nights were heavy... Darkness spread everywhere, a wave of melancholy that swallowed every thought. The stars hid, fearing they might fall into the cruel abyss of the war, leaving the sky an immense void, a dark sea that offered no consolation, and we lost our minds in the trenches covered by the white shroud of snow. We gathered, seeking human warmth, us, dehumanized by the cruel art of war, creating a shield against loneliness, but words were superfluous. Our looks said all there was to say, and the ghosts of memories visited us in painful silence.

   A new day and... a new act of heroism that ended abruptly and senselessly. The sound of bombings reopened every wound sealed with a beautiful dream: that of being home! And you repeat the same thing daily: "Prepare your weapons, check your equipment, and look to the sky! Look for a sign! Search for a glimmer of hope that everything will be alright and move forward. And fight! Fight ceaselessly for your leader, for your country, for your family... Fight for yourself! Didn't you choose this destiny? Didn't you want to be a hero? Didn't you have ideals? Now you have nothing... but blood on your dirty boots, mud on your face, and... a lot of guilt on your shoulders and the brutal reality...."

***

I dance in the choreography of chaos, weapon in hand, feeling drained by the weariness of silence. The ruins sleep under the relentless bombardments, and for just a moment, I long to find my soul among them... For a single moment, I allow my heart, laden with the bullets of war, to breathe, and then... everything turns black.

The air is unbearable to breathe, and I feel my blood rising to my mouth... a metallic taste of gunpowder mixed with the blood already staining the snow around me. I feel myself falling, and life slips through my fingers - every precious moment pouring out like the last drop of ocean in a barren desert. The spectacle continues around me, and I become a shadow. The snow envelops me like a shroud, yet I have never been a believer... I've walked through war without faith in gods, saints, or angels, but now, on the brink of death, I form my own creed and yearn to believe in something. I lift my eyes to the darkened sky... Searching for a sign, for a beginning, because I know the end. War has only deepened the melancholy of loneliness... a sea of people, yet the end finds you alone, abandoned on a battlefield. I close my eyes, longing to see birds flying, yet they are not in the sky... I close them again, wishing to feel the first snow touching my cheeks... I open them, and all I can see is an earthly hell, so real and yet so illusory, where people kill each other for something that will never exist...

I cry, then laugh, and cry again... the waves of a storm-tossed ocean. The fear of death, once enveloping me like a dense fog, now dissipates. Death is no longer a thief stealing life but becomes a friend coming to release me from the futile burden of battles. My eyes, once frozen forward, now melt into a clear blue, and the weight of the world begins to dissipate, becoming light... lighter and lighter.

Time slows its course, stretching to infinity, each ticking of the clock echoing in an empty hall. The dark sky above me becomes a theater of the demons of my life, each star holding a story, a regret, or a joy. The wait for death is like an agony threatening to swallow me in its profound darkness.

But then, amidst this somber tableau, a star shines and falls, a luminescent signal in the cosmic night. The shooting star, with its ephemeral trajectory, captivates my gaze and soul. Its light is like a divine message, a farewell from life. In that fleeting light, I see my grandfather's face and remember his words about stars being the secrets of divinity.

In the light of that shooting star, death no longer seems like an end, but a passage, a gateway to another realm. It's as if my grandfather is showing me the way, guiding me to the world beyond with a guiding star. I feel my body and mind free themselves from their earthly weight, floating towards that bright point, towards that promise of eternal peace.

At that moment, death is no longer a terrifying entity but becomes a gentle presence, a friend waiting for me to step into a new existence. With my last breath, I gaze at the shooting star, the symbol of my liberation, and let myself be enveloped in its light. In this passage, I feel profound peace, a sense of wholeness, and finally, an acceptance of my destiny.

Everything is grotesque, everything is absurd, but all I can feel is the warmth of the blood, embracing me like my mother's love. And among the billions of sounds burning my eardrums, I see her. Mother... a bright, gentle face... part of a forgotten world. I feel her kiss on my forehead like when I was sick... so sweet... I feel her caress on my cheeks like when I fell asleep, so tired from so much play... and I smile, but it's a sad smile... Suddenly, next to mother, the face of my father takes shape, the one with a gentle gaze but marred by worries... I ask for forgiveness, father! You taught me to be honorable and upright, but I ran towards an ideal and became a base man, led by illusions... You taught me to fight for what is right, even when the world seemed to be collapsing, and all I can feel now is that I've disappointed you... Mother, father, you are my beacon in the night of my death!

  ***

I do not die a hero... but as a person who lived, fought, and now rests.

***

January 07, 2024 01:04

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2 comments

Mary Bendickson
06:53 Jan 07, 2024

What a writer you are! Vivid and deep.

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Another Stranger
19:16 Jan 07, 2024

Thank you very much! It means a lot for me !

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