Somewhere in the smouldering deserts where civilization was born and where it has gone to die an angry young man is crawling under barbed wire while a machine gun is fired just above his head. One wrong move and pieces of the young man’s skull will explode all over the dirt. Despite the fear, he continues to crawl.
Where this young man is from death looms in the sky among the circling birds waiting to feast on the next batch of fire blasted corpses. Tanks lumber along the dusty old roads, smashing bodies under their treads and decimating homes with radioactive shells that poison the land wherever the explode. Caravans of armoured vehicles of sped through the village. The war-weary driver of the mechanized pack animals understood standing still invited death, so the columns stopped for nothing.
The soldiers in the first Humvee must have seen her body disappear under their vehicle. They must have seen her crushed and lacerated body in the rear view mirror being smashed into the dirt by the heavy tires of supply trucks. To them, she was just road kill.
The people who ran the training camp reminded him every day his only path was revenge, and his mission was justice. The two concepts became perfectly intertwined. It was god’s plan. Only death could set things right.
On the other side of the planet, another angry young man was crawling through the mud under lines of barbwire while a machine gun fired bursts just above his freshly shaven head. Drill sergeants stood off to the side barking insults while urging him to embrace the sights and sounds of war. The young soldier crawled ahead of the rest.
There was no other way but forward. Until he was on the battlefield, his life was meaningless, and the people who destroyed his family would have the last laugh. To the young man, he people who killed his brothers were the worse kind of cowards. They didn’t fight they took cheap shots.
His brother never had a chance against the hidden fanatic who pressed a button on disposable cell phone detonating a homemade explosive, which were the hallmark of the gritty and ceaseless conflicts of the new millennium. The Humvee was salvaged, and his brother's decimated body was put in a box and sent home.
Each young man was issued a rifle, they each held the instrument of death close to their hearts and felt the surge of power that comes with the macabre human fascination with destruction. Fulfillment felt like it was only a trigger pull away.
They both felt the lingering sickness of being powerless. The only way to ease their own pain was to inflict on the faces, faces that to them looked just like the people who took the ones they loved.
They would each be herded into battle, both given the chance to die young. Maybe by some chance, they would find each other in their gun sights, but who would ever know? It didn’t matter. Even if just one of them died neither one would ever come back.