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A tear … no life!

 

Water droplets fell from the sky like sand in an hourglass. The soft wind blew gently through the leaves in the trees and though the grass. The sky was littered with stars; but in the absence of a moon. Soldiers were laughing; but in the absence of joy. Their laughter was that of sarcasm, not of happiness.

But Alan was laughing. He was laughing out of sheer happiness. He was going to go back home soon. He had got a Purple Heart for having slaughtered a few scores of "those stinking Vietnamese". Along with the Purple Heart, he was given permission to go back home for having done "his duty" for his country.

In reality he did not kill a single soul in the three weeks that he was there. His compadres did all the killing. But no on was alive to tell the true tale as it happened.

Alan lived with his "Ma" and his elder brother, Shawn. It was not a life of luxury that he led. Instead it was a life that he had learned to hate. From the very day the Vietnam War had started (from America’s point of view), troops were sent in by the thousands. Alan decided that he wanted to join them and to that extent, convinced Shawn that it would be better since they would be earning and after the war that money would allow them to live as one happy family. Although Alan used money as an excuse, his real motive was the fact that he would be able to leave the place that he called home.

Since there was such a big demand for soldiers in Vietnam, Alan and Shawn got through boot camp rather quickly. Three days, to be exact. When Alan and Shawn reached Vietnam, their assigned battalion was peaceful. There had been no fighting for a few weeks. Everybody was relaxed and soon even Alan and Shawn were able to relax. But this was a trap. The Vietnamese had left the bait and the "mice" took it.

Nobody as prepared for a fight, except for Shawn. He had a bad, uncanny feeling that night. That was why he told Alan to stay in the bunker. Then "THEY" attacked. Other than Shawn, no one was ready. Shawn’s fellow soldiers, on the ground, were killed like ducks in a shooting gallery. Shawn killed as many of the opposition that he could before he also succumbed to death. After killing all the soldiers they could see, the remaining Vietnamese moved on. After all the gunfire stopped, Alan waited in the bunker for a while and then returned to the surface. After a short while, when a small "relief" squad came, Alan "acknowledged" that he was the one who had killed the Vietnamese troops.

That was it! Alan was going to return to a home whose value he had just realised. He laughed again. "ENEMY ATTACK!" a partner of his screamed before being gorged with bullets and then falling down to the ground. Without thinking, the "hero", Alan picked up his machine gun and ran like the wind … away from the action, into the woods. But then when he looked in the direction where he was running, he encountered an enemy soldier. Alan instantly stopped, pointed his gun towards the enemy, and then looked at his "opponent". He was a young boy, nearly about Alan’s age, and he was standing there, like Alan, with his gun, as scared as if he had seen a ghost. Neither of them could shoot. Fear had conquered them. Alan shed a tear of grief. Suddenly a grenade was thrown in between them and immediately exploded.

Alan let out a scream of pain.

A bomb had killed two souls that day.