Down The Barrel

Hello and this time we have a shorter piece about something that is quite relevant today. Well, not just today but this concept has always been around. The idea of war. And although this isn’t a war story per se, and I will get to that someday, this is a small snippet about a band of resistance fighters. It’s about as cruel as it gets near the end, but really I was trying to highlight this sense of war is fair. Anything goes in war, and if you’re caught between bullets, than you’re sure to die. War does not discriminate just like time. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, and this is what I was trying to encompass, the stagnation that you feel once you look down the barrel. Here you go, “Down The Barrel”.

My bullet pierced his skull in what could only be explained as a crushed watermelon. I raised my gun from his drained head, and looked at the gun smoke rising to the ceiling. Then a shout, “Move!” Footsteps came stampeding in from behind me like a horde  of frenzied rhino. I remained still, my back to the raging feet, and my face forward looking at a closed door. My breathing steadied, and the only thing I could see was the hole through the White Man’s skull.

My brothers came rushing behind me, with assault rifles in hand, and in tattered clothes and masks. They yelled extremities and slander and bullets rained across the White Men. Gun smoke filled the room as I entered. Then, everything was quiet. There were about ten men lining each of the walls of the room, and rusted yellow casings littered the floor. As I walked in, I was in the middle of it all, with a single pistol in my hand, and all eyes on me. I breathed in the air of death, and tasted the rot of skin on my lips.

“Fellow brothers of the resistance–” I took a deep breath, and then allowed the dust in the room to topple over the gun smoke. I looked at the arid faces of all my men, the scars of knives,  breach of bullets, tired hands, worn bones, broken legs, and spit of a million children.  I raised my hand, then with my other brought my pistol to a dead soldier’s skull. I closed my eyes, and said a short prayer, moving the barrel of my pistol in the shape of a cross. Everyone in the room erupted in laughter. Then, I closed my raised hand, and silence erupted.

“Today, we dine in the dilapidated bowels of the White Man’s government.” The room cheered and chanted my name. I brought my hand down, and silence ensued again.

“We show them what we are made of. That their transgression will not go unnoticed. We are the people. And we are this country.”

“Did you hear that?” Someone among my men said. Everybody in the room stopped and listened. Then we heard it. It was a short weeping.

“Over here!” The man said as he pointed towards the wall. I walked over, effectively dividing the men standing over, and pressed my ear against the wall. It was a cry. A soft cry, though, not because it was filtered through a layer of wall. I knocked on the wall, and listened to the insides rattle. It was thin enough for me to shoot through. I signaled for my men to brandish their guns on the wall, and then on my mark, they shot. Bullets rained on the wall until it was fragile enough to break down. I planted my foot against it, and pushed, toppling the wall, and leaving a pile of yellow rubble in my wake. I stepped into the adjoining wall with my pistol out. My breathing came to a calm as my brothers behind me watched in subtle anticipation. Then, the cry broke out. I scanned the room, and saw a hidden crevice behind a book shelf. I upturned the book shelf, and unearthed a middle aged woman clutching a crying baby.

“Please!” The woman cried. She was not one of them. She was a Brown woman. She held her baby close to her chest and began slowly rocking her in place. The baby slowly lulled into a calm recollection, and the incipient crying had ceased. The baby had wistful eyes, and the woman, who was enamored with her baby, had for a second forgotten the gun pointed in front of her.

“You are not one of them,” I said.

“No. Please do not shoot.” She was desperate. I lowered my gun, and motioned for them to leave the crevice. Once out, I felt my brothers behind me bellow out with lust filled eyes, and some with pity.  I knew for a fact that if we were to take custody of this woman, she would be run dry of her livelihood within seconds. My brothers had no qualms about the spoils of war. I sighed, and took a deep breath in. There was no right choice. I knew it. But I had to do something. My brothers were waiting.

“Why are you here?” I asked. I still had time. I could still make a compromise. I needed information, and so did she. We were her allies, if she said the right things.

“They captured me!” Her eyes danced frantically across the room. She was clutching her baby close to her, and her breathing was dangerous.

“Why did they capture you?” I had lowered my gun and was slowly approaching her, talking in a soft calming whisper.

“They needed a sacrifice.” I knew very well of what the White men did with their traditions. It was a war pact of sorts. They did it to commemorate new times and for an everlasting future. If we didn’t bust this place, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to her. And yet, if we were to take her in, her fate would be more or less the same. And from the look in her eyes, she knew that. It was a muddied river in there, a muddied river that just wanted to be clean. It was a sky that had been torn grey, yet, slivers of white still remained. There was only one thing I could do to alleviate all of that.

“If we take you in. You know what will happen to you right?” She didn’t answer. Didn’t nod her head, or look up. Her eyes remained darting across the rubbles behind me. Her baby was resting peacefully in her arms, and I felt sorry for what was to come. Her outcome didn’t change. She was still going to die.

“You either live to become an idol of the resistance. Or die as a martyr. Cleanse your soul with god, or dance with the devil.” I stopped before I began to ramble on. What she needed now was not my philosophy.  What she needed now, was to make a choice. I raised my gun, and  forced it down her temple. I sighed, and grasped the gun with all I had. I looked down the barrel, and then waited for her to answer. She didn’t bother to panic now, only set her baby down, and then cupped her hands in prayer. I had one of my brothers come in the room and grab the baby, and then, without words, I pulled the trigger.



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