Hero Of War (Part 9)

He raises his hand in salute, an action which each of us follow, some more slowly than others.

I feel like a robot, numbly obeying orders inputted into my database. Inside I am cold and hollow, filled with an ethereal ice that will never melt.

“Men,” he says, dropping his salute to signify that we could relax. “We have lost two of our comrades today.” He pauses, lowering his head out of respect.

We all did the same. I avert my eyes to the right, choosing to stare at a melted chunk of the bomb. The silver metal was blackened and warped, an oddly shaped lump. It is all that remained of the monster that had stolen Sophie.

“But we must continue onwards. We cannot let the sacrifices of Privates Royal and Figueroa be in vain.” He lowers his head once again. When he looked up at us. his face had changed. Every ounce of sadness has disappeared behind a tough, practiced facade. His eyes flick toward the dying sun before he says, “We will leave in fifteen minutes to arrive at the next base by nightfall.”

He turns his back to us and I look up at the sky. The clouds still hold the innocence I lost a long time ago. Their white bodies were as pure as the world before the war.

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