The Gauntlet

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The downhearted men surrounded him, shaking their heads and downing their beer. Jason couldn’t take it a moment longer. He stood and got the attention of his fellows. “I know this battle has been long and hard,” he began, his voice filling the room. “They outnumber us. They have better weapons than us. All we can hear is mines going off and sirens wailing. I know all this just as well as you do.

“I don’t know if we’re going to make it, I don’t know if we’ll ever live out this day. But I do know this: if we don’t try, we won’t make it. If we don’t try, we’ll get our a**es handed to us. They want us to surrender. They don’t want to fight us, but they will. They want to beat us up just enough to get us to retreat with our tails between our legs. If we do this their way, then we have no right to call ourselves soldiers. We’ll just be cowardly boys with no spines if their aims are achieved.

“They came when we weren’t ready. When we weren’t prepared. I won’t let that happen again. This one time, they found our weakness. And they will prey on it and pick at it until there’s nothing left of us. Are we just going to sit back and let them do this? No. We have to fight them. We have to show them what we’re all about. We won’t back down.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to let them get me. I won’t let them endanger my family, my wife, my children. They may never stop trying to get me. I would rather fight and die than let things happen to me with no say. They won’t get me. But will they get you, my friends? When they get you, tell me, what do you plan on doing? What’s that? Nothing? No plan? Of course. We have no Plan B. Fighting back is our only option.

“This is what we know, this is what we do, this is all we can do. We will stand up and fight. And if I have to fight alone, so be it. I swear to God, if I have to fight alone, I will.”

There was quiet for a brief moment. One man stood up, then another. Before he knew what was happening, Jason saw their entire forces standing before him. And he knew, in that moment, that they would win.





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