A War Story

November 4, 2010
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A young man steps outside, the day has barely begun. The morning was bleak and grey. He was dressed in green army clothing, his boots were covered in dried mud. He placed a helmet on his head and grabbed a pack from beside the door.

He steps outside further into the yard of the house. The house has many holes in the roof and craters in the yard. Fog filled all of the holes. He continues through the yard, gripping his rifle tightly, tight enough to turn his knuckles white. In one of the craters a hand stuck out, the man peered into the hole. He jumped back in horror, the man lying in the hole had been completely blown apart.

The soldier continues forward onto a dirt road. He looks left then right, trying to figure out which way to go. He checks his weapon and turns right down the road. He continues walking for hours and hours. Eventually he reaches a crossroads, there is what appears to be an abandoned vehicle.

The soldier walks up to the vehicle, the engine was cold, he looks around to see if anyone is in the immediate area. The keys were still in the ignition. As soon as he opens the door two men jumped out from both sides of the road. “Stop!” said one of the men, in a deep Eastern European accent. “Name and rank” “Dimitri Solstov. Private” replied the soldier. “Unit number?” asked the man “176 alpha company” said Dimitri. “Where is your unit?” asked the other soldier. “Killed or separated, our commanding officer took four men to scout out a position five days ago, the rest of us stayed at a house, a few miles down the road. We were attacked, by Serbs, all were killed except me” replied Dimitri. “we have had no contact with any other units since the attack three days ago.” “okay get in the car, we’re going to take you to our forward command.” Said the first soldier, as the second soldier started the car.

“If you do not mind me asking, what are your names?” asked Dimitri. “Vladimir” replied the first soldier. “Peter” replied the second. “What unit are you two with?” asked Dimitri. “728 Charlie company” replied Vladimir. “Why are you stationed out at this crossroads?” Asked Dimitri. “we were supposed to be stopping a truck filled with supplies, but the truck was destroyed during a NATO air raid.”

The car rumbled down the road, the car shook over the pot holes and rolled over the rocks. Vladimir and Peter remained relatively quiet the entire trip, except to direct each other and to inform Dimitri that they would be stopping for the night.

The group pulled up to a house on the side of the road. There was a light on in the house and tire tracks leading around to the back of the house. “Dimitri, sneak around back and wait for us two to break down the front door.” Said Vladimir “kill any hostiles.” “got it” replied Dimitri. Dimitri got down in the grass and snuck along the ground, out of sight. Vladimir and Peter knocked on the front door. The sounds coming from inside the house abruptly stopped. The sounds of rifles being racked could be heard.

“Open the door!” yelled Peter. An answer in Serbian was spoken. Dimitri silently opened the back door. Peter and Vladimir prepared to open the front door. The sounds of the various voices in the house grew louder. Dimitri changed the setting on his rifle. He gripped the rifle so hard that his knuckles turned white.

Peter and Vladimir changed their rifle settings. Peter gripped the knob on the door. Vladimir stuck his rifle through the crack in the door. Dimiri yelled and began to fire into the men standing in the kitchen. Vladimir and peter entered seconds later. The situation was over with in a minute.

The men lay dead in the kitchen. Dimitri, Vladimir and Peter, snuck inot the kitchen. “Dimitri, Peter” said Vladimir. “take the bodies out back and burn them Filthy Serbs.” Dimitri and Peter began to take the five bodies out back, one at a time. Ten minutes later, the five bodies had been doused in gasoline and set ablaze.

“Dimitri!” Yelled Vladimir, from the back of the house. “What is growing out in the garden?!” Dimitri walked over to the garden. He found nothing except dead potatoes and dirt. “There’s nothing here!” Yelled Dimitri. “Do we have any food in the house?! “Yes the men here left a lot!” Replied Vladimir. Dimitri and Peter returned to the house to join Vladimir.

“How are we doing on ammunition?” Asked Vladimir. “We have one more day of travel ahead” “I think we have enough to get by.” Replied Peter. “Dimitri how about you?” “I’m fine for now.” Replied Dimitri “I can get more tomorrow.” “Alright then let us eat!” spoke Vladimir.

“Peter, Dimitri” Said Vladimir “I will take the first watch tonight” “Thank you” replied Peter. “Change every two hours.” Every two hours they switched posts. The following morning they prepared to continue their trip. Peter took the wheel of the car. They continued down the road in the same direction they were heading the previous day. After four hours of travel, they reached a crossroads with four guards.

“Stop, names, ranks and unit numbers.” Demanded one of the guards. The three men gave the information requested and the guards directed them on their way. Eventually they reach a command post about an hour down the road.

“Dimitri, go report with the company commander.” Instructed Vladimir. “Thank you for all the help.” Replied Dimitri. “It was no trouble.” Said Vladimir. Dimitri wandered around the camp for some time. Dimitri checked in with the camp commander. Dimitri was assigned to a unit that was about to head out to capture a small village. The Lieutenant was a short stocky man who liked to yell quite a bit.

“A new addition!” Yelled the lieutenant “we are fighting puny Serbs, we could kill them all with one hand tied behind our backs!” “Lieutenant, I suggest you follow orders for once” Replied the escorting officer. “He was not happy with your failure to defend 176 from certain destruction.” Dimitri cringed, he heard the voices of his allies and friends, the screams of dying men. “Yes major…” Replied the lieutenant.

“You were with 176-a, correct?” Asked the lieutenant. “Yes sir, that is correct.” Replied Dimitri. “Do you know the fate of the unit?” “Yes, I do, they were all killed, every soldier in every company, except you and some remnants of D company.” Said the lieutenant.

The lieutenant directed Dimitri to a tent with the rest of the platoon. “Listen up!” Yelled the lieutenant. “Tomorrow we are going to attack a small village twenty or so miles up the road. The town is supposedly a hide out for some Serb revolutionary commanders. We need to sweep the town clean”

“According to standard procedure, any Serbs found are to be killed.” Said the lieutenant. “okay get some rest we leave tomorrow morning.” The platoon was dismiss missed and returned to their bunks.

Dimitri was unable to sleep, he kept thinking of his dead friends, knowing that they were all gone, and he was unable to shake a feeling of guilt, that somehow it was his fault that they died. Early the next morning Dimitri was shaken from his bunk and was given a breakfast of hard tack and a grayish slop that resembled stew.

“All right!” Yelled the lieutenant. “Get into your squads and mount up!” “Dimitri!” called a familiar voice. “Vladimir?!” Replied Dimitri. “You’re in A company!?” Yelled Vladimir. “Yes” “Alright I will see you on the battlefield then!” Said Vladimir.

The trucks were started and the officers yelled their final orders. Dimitri sat and could only think about how every one of his friends were dead. He could only think of his actions in the house, that he had left three days ago.

“15 Minutes!” Yelled the lieutenant. Almost instantly Dimitri snapped out of his trance-like state. “10 minutes!” Yelled the lieutenant. Instantly the rumbling of engines was replaced with the racking of weapons

“5 minutes!” Yelled the lieutenant. The sounds of explosions could be heard.
“One minute!”
“30 seconds!”
“10 seconds!”

The back gates of the trucks opened and the soldiers departed in an orderly fashion. The down was quiet and there didn’t seem to be any occupants in the immediate area. “Maybe they heard us coming?” Asked one of the soldiers. “Search the houses, knock on doors, kill any Serbs you see.” Ordered the lieutenant.

Dimiri joined his squad mates and searched a small street that was lined with small houses. They walked up to the first house and knocked on the door, no answer.

“Now what?” Asked one of the squad mates. “I don’t know, should we go in?” Replied another. “I say we break in the door.” Said Dimitri. “This is a war after all.” “Dimitri are you mad” Asked one of his squad mates. “No, we just have a job to do.” Replied Dimitri. “Fine, you take point then!” Yelled the officer in the back of the group.

Dimitri stood first in line, ready to open the door. He knocked one final time… no answer. “Everyone ready?” Yelled Dimitri. A yell of approval was shouted from the men.

Dimitri placed his left hand on the door knob and his right hand on his rifle. He waited a few second, and attempted the open the door… “locked…” He said, with a disappointed tone. “Let me break it in.”

Dimitri braced his left shoulder and took a couple of steps back. He threw himself against the door, it flew open. Dimitri was shaken a little, but recovered quickly. “Dimitri! Check upstairs!” Yelled one of his squad mates. Dimitri ran upstairs and took a left towards the bedrooms. He two of the three rooms. He opened the door to the third, and there in the corner, cowered a family of five, all huddled together in the corner, like a pack of wild dogs.

Dimitri flashed back to the house . he remembered how he had killed the family occupying the house. He was unsure weather do the same here. He stood in the doorway for a few moments, confused he made eye contact with the young daughter of the family.

After a couple more moments, he decided that he would rather kill them rather than be killed for disobeying his orders. He stood trembling and fumbling with safety. He managed to turn off the safety. He raised his rifle, and aimed at the family. The rifle shook from his trembling and darted around slightly. He closed his eyes and squeezed the trigger. The rounds fired, the noise, nearly ear splitting. The sound of screams were barely heard over the repeated firing of the weapon.

When the loud noises stopped, Dimitri opened his eyes. The dead family lay, slumped over each other, in a morbid fashion. Almost immediately Dimitri ran from the room and back down the stairs. “I found a family, killed them all…” Dimitri said with a quiet voice. “Now what?” “Serb tanks were spotted twenty or so minutes away, they aren’t going to give up the town yet.” Repeated the radio-man. “Take positions upstairs, throw the bodies into the street. Make an example of them.” Barked the squad captain. Dimitri and another man began up the stairs.

“Here help me get them out of the window.” Said the squad mate. Dimitri opened the window, and began reluctantly lifting the bodies out of the window. They lifted, and pushed, the bodies one by one, out of the window. They continued to lift, each body heavier than the last, until finally all five bodies had been thrown onto the street.

The sound of loud diesel engines could be heard along with heavy shouting in Serbian. The tanks, five in all, were advancing along each of the five roads that lead through the town. Accompanying the tanks were fifty men, ten assigned to each tank.

“How do we stop them?” Asked Dimitri. “We only have three rockets left.” “Three should be enough!” Replied Dimitri’s squad-mate as he loaded one of the three rounds into the launcher. “Get out of the way!”

Dimitri’s squad mate stepped up to the window and set his weapon’s sights on the tank, parked in the road. “Dimitri.” He whispered. “Their checking houses, they will be here soon.” The radio crackled to life. “728-A” The radio gargled slightly. “Status report.” Dimitri picked up the receiver. “About to engage in combat, one tank and ten or so men.” He spoke. “Alright.” Replied the voice on the other end. “Good hunting.” The radio fell silent.

“Dimitri. They are coming, get ready.” Yelled the squad mates from the adjacent room. Dimitri calmly changed the setting on his rifle and stepped up to the window. Five men in kaki military dress, carrying assault weapons stepped out from the house opposite from Dimitri. The tank was only one hundred yards away from the house.

Dimitri was now shaking, he was never one for combat. “Dimitri, take them down.” Whispered his squad-mate. Dimitri shouldered his weapon and lined up the sights. Trembling, he squeezed the trigger. The recoil was intense but did not unbalance Dimitri. The rifle shot, the rounds down range at high speed. Dimitri sprayed, sloppily, from side to side, rounds impacting flesh, the wall and the ground. When the rifle could fire no more, two of the med lay dead in the street. The sound of a whoosh and explosion was heard. Dimitri’s squad-mate had fired one of the rounds at the tank, now engulfed in dust.

Yelling from the men across the street was heard. They ran towards the house. The sound of weapons being fired was heard from the adjacent room, one more man fell dead. Across the street, from the same house, two more men appeared in the window of the house.

Dimitri reloaded his weapon, just as the two men from the street broke down the front door. Dimitri’s squad-mate fired another rocket at the tank, which had moved closer. The round impacted the barrel of the main gun. The tank sat, useless engulfed in dust and flame. One of the men was coming up the stairs. Weapons being fired, could be heard from the next room. Dimitri fired his weapon at the men in the house across the street. One fell out of the window and another hung out sloppily and bleeding furiously, both dead. He turned towards the door of the room, blood was trickling out from under the door.

The last round from the rocket launcher was fired. “Seven, seven dead, three left” though Dimitri to himself. He opened the door to find one of the two of his squad-mates and one Serbian soldier dead in the hallway. The last of the squad members in the room lay, in the corner, bleeding from his leg. “Dimitri.” He said in a broken and quiet voice. “It’s almost over, kill them, kill them all, then run!” The sound of glass shattering and a scream was heard from the next room. Dimitri’s squad-mate in the room with him slumped his head to one side, and retrieved a hand gun from his side. He slowly said ‘good bye’. Dimitri turned away, unable to watch the man kill himself. The sound of the round being fired was followed by a thud on the floor.

Dimitri turned towards the stairs. He saw the last enemy in the house slumped in the corner, clutching his weapon, tightly, like a child’s bear. The soldier appeared be a boy of only fifteen. He sat, shaking, he could not move. Dimitri proceeded down the stairs. He looked the boy in the face, brandished his hand gun, and reluctantly, killed the boy. Shot in the chest, the boy fell over, after letting out a long, horrid gasp. “Two left.” Thought Dimitri.

He walked back up the stairs. He was the only one left. Dimitri grabbed the radio receiver. “this is 728-A, we are below half strength. Calling out.” He spoke into the receiver.

He turned back towards the door, trembling. He kneeled at the top of the stairs, and waited. He sat trembling, clutching his rifle as if he was a child, and the weapon was a child’s blanket. For the first time in his life he was truly afraid, he had no where to run, no where to hide away. He had planned his death, replayed the moment in his head over, and over.

He heard shouting, he prepared for the end. He aimed his rifle down the stairwell, still trembling, and gripping the rifle so tight that his knuckles turned, a pure white. The shouting grew gradually louder, and eventually he could make out every word that they were speaking, the door creaked open, the voices had stopped. He tried steady his aim, but he was too afraid to hold straight. One man appeared at the foot of the stairs. The man was not looking up at Dimitri, he was distracted by the dead boy crumpled in the corner.

Dimitri aimed his weapon at the man. He breathed deeply, and squeezed the trigger. The bullets flew down the stairwell and tore into the man’s body, pulling flesh from bone. He fell in a crumpled heap at the foot of the stairs, on top of the dead boy.

Dimitri ran back into the room with his once alive squad mate. He kneeled in the corner and heard the pounding of feet, running up the stairs. Dimitri cowered in the corner he held his weapon towards the door.

A few moments later the second man appeared at the doorway, he looked at Dimitri for just a moment. He saw a man with nothing left, who was at his rope’s, metaphorical end. Dimitri, a hopeless fool, his eyes were dull, he did not care that he was about to die.

The man in the door raised his weapon and aimed it at Dimitri. Dimitri raised his in retaliation. Both men looked at each other, they saw their killer, the one who would best them.

Dimitri struggled to pull the trigger, the may was not having the same problem. The man did hesitate, only for a moment before pulling the trigger. Dimitri had managed to fire his weapon, at the same instant.

Both men fell over backwards at the same time. They fell to the floor with a loud, crumpling thud. Dimitri curled over, silently, with little sound. He had little life left in him, his dull, grey eyes spoke of little pain, his mouth did not speak a word, only took in sharp, silent breaths.

Once again Dimitri was the last alive. He slipped in and out of consciousness. Once he awoke to the sound of a familiar voice, the voice of his friend Vladimir. Having heard a friend’s voice, he was happy to die. Moments later he took his last breath. He slowly slipped away into nothing. He though not of his family, he thought not of his friends, only of sweet, sweet relief, from the pain that he was suffering.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Jakethesnake said...
Nov. 7, 2010 at 7:02 am

sooo are these guys Russians? Austria-Hungarians? Bolivians? What?

And what war is this????? I'm deducing World War 1, but could it not also be the second one?

Plus, None of these guys ever wore the green uniforms. They wore what suited the environment. In France, the allies used green during the summer, spring and fall, but changed to white during the hard winters.  

In the East, They usually wore gray or White uniforms because the combat was usually in snow or... (more »)

Dipper replied...
Nov. 7, 2010 at 7:41 am

Well, reading this story requires some memory of a 11th or 12th grade history class. The war is the the Kosovo War of the early to mid 1990's. The main characters are from Kosovo and they are fighting Serbian soldiers who are attempting to mantain control of Kosovo.

Rather than write an overly detailed story that would turn out more like a history paper, I left a few clues like NATO, which didn't exist untill well after WWII.

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