PLayed Your Eyes 4: Human Interest

You don’t have to be old to be a veteran these days – barely have to be out of short pants to have been dragged into the war. They aren’t handing out any medals so don’t expect any, but you might get to eat better than anyone else in the country right now.
Sid was twelve, joined up somewhere around Chester when the Midland Boys swung through and razed the place to the ground. He’d been living rough, chased out of his home by his drunken father who said the country was going to the dogs and he was damned sure not going to keep a mangy pup in the house who might turn round and bite him at any moment. It was a common story reiterated a thousand times, more – it bound them close.
He made his first kill in the battle for Cambridge – his tally grew quickly thereafter. He didn’t even think about it now – point, squeeze the trigger, re-sight, squeeze the trigger. A thousand yard stare from a stone cold killer. And Sid felt like he was burned out already – like this PEACE shit was all well and good to talk about, but in truth how did they just expect everyone to shift gears so quickly?
Killing people had given his life some kind of meaning and purpose – it had become as natural as breathing. What was he going to do now they had won? Sure he had heard the plans the same as everyone else, but he found it hard to imagine a day where he didn’t wake up, march, find an enemy and kill them.
He was thinking that he would volunteer for the clean-up operations because there were bound to be stragglers from the other side who just didn’t want to get with the program. People who were the enemy who, like him, didn’t know how to let go of what they had become.
He sparked up, drew deep. He looked around him – who here wasn’t fucked up and lost to the seduction of the war drums? It was messed up, but he didn’t think he wanted it to be over. What would he be without this? What could he ever do after having done this for so long? They had made him and now they wanted to take him apart, and to be honest he wasn’t sure he could live with that; wasn’t sure he was willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
For Sid the journey wasn’t over and he felt that it never would be, until he had either killed the last of his enemies, or they had killed him. That made sense to him – the idea that he would go out like that, fighting bravely for something he believed in – that made him happy. He just didn’t understand the other option that they were offering him; they hadn’t built that possibility into him.

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