Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Prologue: Fightingales


Have you ever fought a battle you knew you couldn't win? Have you ever watched the light leave someone's eyes? Have you ever wished it was you lying in that pool of blood, even though it would mean being slain by the enemy?

I have.

Many times, as I stagger and pick up my weapon again, I hesitate. I hesitate not because of the nightmares which haunt me after every battle, but because for a moment, I forget what I am fighting for. Every day is filled with fear, fear of losing someone else in that split second when you weren't looking. Caught off guard. Because we have often used that tactic against our enemies, we fear that one day, it would be used against us.


I wake with a start, almost instantly alert. That's how it is in war, you are often alert. It only takes a few seconds before adrenaline floods your system and the fear is so great, you can smell it in the air. My eyes dart to and fro, looking for any signs of the enemy, but a familiar voice calms my nerves.

"It's dawn." Kayne mutter.

We don't say "it's alright", because we know it never will be. We don't give false hope where victory would not be found. And most of all, we rarely lie. In fact, we often give a cynic's opinion on the truth. Because this is war. And we can't risk anything.

I groan for my aching limbs, I long for a soft bed, a nice warm bath. It has only been three weeks, but the memory of a comfortable life seemed so far away. As though it had been just a dream. A dream I cling onto desperately because I don't ever want to forget that I was happy, once. A dream I fight for. A dream that keeps me going everyday.

It is almost sad how war brings people together and tear them apart. Just like Kayne and I. At first, when we were approached with the secret, we were strangers. We got over that quickly and made a decision which sealed our fate. We had nothing in common yet we clicked like matching pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. She completed me in a way words cannot describe, but now our differences are starting to show and our friendship falls slowly apart.

Kayne places a soft hold on my shoulder as I get up, leading me away from the bedroom we share with four others.

"Dawn." She whispers, sitting down right outside our makeshift tent, I sit down right beside her and watch as the cold, blue sun rises. Sunrises used to be a palette of pastel and vibrant colors, warming to the soul, brimming with what we now lack: Hope. But now, I feel nothing as the dead star light up the sky with its tinge of death.

"Nothing more than a thought," She continued, "Fifteen years of our lives, wasted in an incubator!"

I wanted to turn away, wanted to tell her this isn't the time. I didn't want to believe the harsh reality, not now when my dreams are still fresh in my mind. In the end, I shut my eyes, blocking out the lifeless scenery I still haven't gotten used to. But I couldn't block out her voice.

"Fifteen years," Kayne breathed, her voice getting louder as her fury grew, "All a lie... All just a filthy, sadistic lie!" I could hear anger and grief in her breaking voice as it wilted away into one filled with bitterness and despair, "But a lie I wish I could live in forever. Anything but this nightmare..."

Her words were like a poison tipped arrow, piercing into my heart. Each of her words alarmingly true to what I felt. Not knowing what else to do and at a loss of words, I pull her into a hug and hope it is enough. Her tears flow freely but I realize that I couldn't cry at all. I didn't have the strength to show or the courage to feel.

I wanted to say the words another human being would have said to comfort another, but those were words from another age, a passed age, and the age we live in have no room for such emotion and lies. It is hard to adopt to this new world. It is harder on her, I know.

We weren't supposed to be revived so soon. No, we were supposed to have three more years in the incubator. Three vital years to prepare us for reality. A year for history and education about the world now and how it came to be, another for training. And in the final year, the artificial intelligent software was programmed to prepare us for the truth, to ensure our survival and mental well being for when the stimulation is shut down. To ready us for war.

But the enemy found the base and they had no choice but to salvage what they can. Kayne and I met once in a dream, decided our fates and was pulled out. All others below the age of 15 were wiped out, because they said they didn't have enough time. The ugly truth was, they needed soldiers, they didn't want to burden the resistance with children and toddlers. Oh god, the babies. All flushed away into the ocean so the enemy can't use them.

I suppose Kayne and I are the lucky ones. We happened to be at the right place at the right time. Lucky enough to live and tell the tale. But we never had the chance to make an informed choice. This wasn't the life we would have chosen. Being alive didn't seem like a privilege, we were built for the war, and nothing else.

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