Welcome to my first short story.
It may be my last - as I question the intensity that both my brain and heart went through in writing this. A friend had written an unfinished piece. The directions in which the tale were to go were endless. So we decided to have a little friendly write-off, and this is the outcome.
Hope you enjoy xo
Dom, Dom Dom...
With each step we took, the sounds of the drums grew louder and louder.
With each bang, we knew we were walking closer to our doom. The sound of marching synchronized to make one loud sound with each step we took.
The skies were grey, as if nature knew death was our ally today.
The sound of horses neighing, the sound of the shield hitting the armor - we were convinced that we were marching into the valley of death. As brave as we all tried to look, we all shared a unified emotion: fear.
The war had been raging on from generation to generation, but no one knew why.
I was born in war, I grew up a soldier, and today, I may die a warrior in this final battle.
My heart pounded faster as we looked up at the horizon to see our opponents.
This time I heard the beat of the drum deep in my chest - I knew we were walking towards the valley of death but was only now comprehending, that I was walking into the funeral of my dreams.
My heart sank to my stomach.
I laid my eyes upon their flag, and felt my heart shatter into pieces. I gazed through the frontline soldiers and saw her father, her brother, her cousins and the rest of her family.
I immediately shifted my gaze, my horse felt my discomfort too. We took a few steps back and thought to ourselves... This cannot be.
I watched our army move forward. I stood still and remained a few steps behind. "What are you doing?" - I thought to myself. I have to stand my ground! I cannot go back home if I lose the war. I may not even be alive to go back home. I have to fight for my family. I have a lot of people counting on me.
I put myself together, mentally prepared to begin the war.
But I still stood still. I was still in shock.
It was either winning the war and going back home with pride, but losing the only woman my heart beats for. Or losing the war and going back home to devastation. What could have been done.
Who would give their daughters hand in marriage to the man who slaughtered their whole army? But also, who would give their daughters hand in marriage to the man who could not stand up for his family?
Then came the second last one, the final one would only come once the last warrior has fallen.
Within a couple minutes, but what seemed like forever - I saw arrows being fired, horses being slaughtered, and bodies piling up like no tomorrow.
My family needs me, but I can't live without her. Is this a sacrifice that I can make?
I am an honest man.
I have to live in the moment and stand up for my family. I convinced myself that she would understand. Our love is stronger than this. The situation that I am in is not a common one. She would understand.
I rode into the battle and joined the roars of my comrades. I used my spear to end any possibility of disgrace towards my family. I used my shield to protect the grace of my family.
For a little while, I had forgotten about her. My sole focus was me and my family. My sole focus was winning the war. It felt nice. I felt empowered.
Then - I saw a man fall off his horse. I glanced upon the body and saw her brothers face. I had to gather myself and take a deep breath. Will I ever see her face again?
Her brothers body was taken away and a new soldier had been sent. The only reason anyone noticed was because the horse was white. Everyone on the battlefield, regardless of the side they were on, thought - who would bring their white horse to a battlefield?
The war went on forever.
Many soldiers were lost.
Many opponents were killed.
The elders of the families were starting to get out of breath.
That's when I heard her father step back and yell "FINISH HIM!"
I saw the white horse, now covered with blotches of blood, racing towards me. The remaining soldiers stepped aside as the soldier adjusted their spear.
My comrades tried to defend me, but were all defeated.
This is it. I won't ever get to see her again. I started to think about her again. Her silky hair, her beautiful eyes, her heartwarming smile. I wish I could see her again.
I jumped off my horse and headed towards the soldier. I thought of her and told myself to fight to live another day. We fought for a while till I was on the ground.
I'd fallen on my back, shield on my heart, soldiers spear on my chest.
I squinted and looked up to see the soldier and the sky, before I bid the world goodbye.
My world crumbled there and then.
I looked into the soldiers eyes. The big brown beautiful eyes in which I'd seen all the love for me. I gather enough energy, and courage, and ask her to take her helmet off. I wished to be wrong.
She took her helmet off, and down came her long silky hair. Her eyes filled up with tears, and she whispered "I'm sorry". But was she? I spent the whole battle worrying if she would still be mine as I were partaking in this battle. I wish I could tell her how difficult this battle had been for me.
I had a million questions, but I had no time.
I told her I would never have harmed her or her family. I only aimed at the soldiers. She told me that she wouldn't think twice before harming my family when it came to protecting hers.
I only had enough breath for one last question.
With all the hope I had left in me, I asked
"Do you still love me?"
With tears rolling down her eyes, she replied,
"For as long as you live"