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The Barracks

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The Barracks

As I lay there, unable to breath because of the bullet in my lung, I thought about all that I had accomplished but there was more still than that I had failed to do.
It all began with the arrival of the trucks. With their arrival everyone knew the draft was in effect. Every couple of years they came to forcibly take all males that are 18 years of age. My friend John watched us leave, not selected because his early birthday, making him 19 two weeks before the draft. Some people tried to hide while others tried to run away but they were expecting this and found caught them all. I found myself crying as I watched my family disappear into the background, knowing that we would never see each other again. Another friend, Drew, asked several of the soldiers where we were going. They answered “The Barracks”.
The Barracks. Of the dozens of training camps we could have been taken The Barracks was by far the worst. The mortality rate hovers around 60% but those that survive the 18 month training emerge Zealots, the highest branch of the military. Zealots are known for their complete and utter loyalty and will, no, dream of, dying for The Country. They are the absolute elite. Strong, fast, and extremely deadly. This is what we were destined to become.
As the trucks rolled up and came to a stop, we were forced out into the cold air and watched fearfully as the warden inspected us. I stood as straight as a rod but could not resist the temptation of looking down my line. I promptly received a broken nose when the warden spotted me. I didn’t complain and didn’t ask to be treated. In The Barracks, doing either most likely result in your death. After the inspection we were, thankfully, allowed to rest.
The next days and weeks melded into a kind of pattern. At dawn a 25 mile run, the last runner back was dead. It didn’t matter if you were injured or sore, if you fell behind you were dead. One time the last runner, expecting death, decided to try and hide. Of course they found him and, unlike the others, his death lasted hours and we were forced to watch. After the run we were hooked into chairs to participate in the brainwashing activities. At first we all resisted but soon enough the pain from the beatings and the occasional execution of one of us stopped the resistance. After the brainwashing came lunch, the only time of the day death was not a constant fear. Then came shooting and weight lifting, death for the worst shots and for the weakest. Then we had dinner and a miscellaneous activity. It was usually something like swimming or skydiving, something that would help us in the field. Fortunately, though execution was an option to the officers, they typically only used beatings and threats to force us.
After 6 months of brainwashing therapy, the recruits no longer consider rebellion. After a year they were loyal enough to fight for The Country. After 18 months they consider their life to be worthless if they don’t die in the service. As we approached 5 months rumor of rebellion swept through the ranks. Upon hearing this, the officers quickly retaliated, forcing us to pick rocks on who was to survive and who was to die. Drew and I both picked the red rock, the death rock. I watched as he was forced down and a gun put to his head. This is the beginning of the end.
The combination of fear of death and the love of my friend forced me to attack. It was actually really easy to take the gun from the startled officers hands and then pull the trigger, putting a bullet though the officers head. Afterword I was told that the other battalions at camp acted like ours. We lost control and began the swift and sure annihilation of the officer corps of The Barracks. Even the most elite, well trained officer zealots fell under a horde of angry zealot recruits. By the end of the day The Barracks was ours and I, because of my physical prowess and metal capabilities, was unanimously selected for the leader of the New Rebellion.
They reacted quicker than we thought possible. All the officers were killed and accounted for so it must have been one of the recruits who got the word out. They hit us at dawn with everything they had. They feared our New Rebellion and stomped it out in a ferocious manner. Even with all of our newly formed strength, speed, endurance, and skill we lasted about 5 minutes against real zealots.
When they got though the wall I knew we had failed. We continued to fight because surrender meant a slow and painful death. Eventually I was shot, the bullet going straight though my lung, making me choke on my own blood. As I thought about all that I had accomplished I realized that for all that I had done, we still lost. With us dead the Rebellion would be no more and The Country would once again have complete control. With my dying breaths I thought about all that I had failed to do.




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