Through The Eyes Of Another This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 18, 2010
An eerie kind of quiet hangs over the battlefield. Red light from the setting sun glistens off the blood that seems to cover everything. And all around me are the bodies of thousands of dead humans, mangled, trampled on, and distorted from cruel battle. It makes me wonder... Why did this battle break out? Why did so many have to die like this? I see young soldiers who snuck into the army, whose deaths were premature. I see civilians who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, whose lives were taken because of that bad luck. I see innocent children who were just outside to play, whose faces show the horror that brought their death. It makes me truly sad to see this awful sight. This is the aftermath of a war that tore apart a land and slaughtered all of its people.

The presence of Charon, the Grim Reaper, and other similar entities do not reside here. Instead I take their roles. I have come to quiet the last cries of those who are suffering, too unfortunate to not have died immediately. I have come to release the dead’s souls into the next world and relieve them of their torment here. But there are so many, and I cannot get to them all. I try to save the souls of the innocent first, the ones whose souls are pure and untainted. The ones I do not get to rise from the dead again, and I hear them as they cry with agony, caught between worlds. Since I know I left them to fall into that eternal fate, it pains me to hear their cries. I left them to be cursed for eternity. If only I could save them all.

I stand over the bodies of the battlefield and feel the coldness which consumes the corpses around me. This coldness... It is the kind of coldness that comes from the absence of a soul. I look around me. Finally, it is quiet here. I leave the clearing to wander the nearby town.

Everyone here is dead as well. I peer into the windows of destroyed buildings and wonder what kind of building each one used to be. Perhaps it was a toy store, or a bakery. Maybe it was a library, or even a school house. But who will ever know now? I can no longer tell because the war has obliterated everything in the town beyond recognition. I look down as I stroll around and realize that the streets are flooded. Bodies of the dead bob lifelessly just below the water’s surface, pale from lack of blood and horribly deformed. Dirt and filth is mixed into the water as well. Garbage is strewn everywhere.

I come to a small gate in a fence that surrounds a home. I see the body of a woman draped over the gate. In her arms is a bundle of blankets. As I draw nearer, I see it is an infant. I sense warmth coming from it, the warmth of Life. I rush to it and gingerly pick it up from the water, carefully cradling it in my arms. Its temperature is dropping rapidly from being soaked in the water for so long. But I know this faint warmth that burns within it and believe in it. Desperately I try to coax more of that warmth back into it. I gaze into the face of the infant, whose eyes are closed in the nearing slumber of Death. I don’t want it to die. I don’t want it to die! In my mind I plead frantically for its life. But despite my efforts, the infant is too weak to hold on any longer, despite my prayers. As it takes its last breath, the baby opens its eyes, looks at me, smiles, and falls limp in my arms. Coldness begins to quickly spread through it, replacing the smoldered flame of Life. As I hold the infant close to me, hugging it in my arms, I cry as I release its soul into the next world. Why? I wonder, Why did the baby have to die? I lay it back down into the water, back into the arms of its mother. My tears are still falling. This sadness is overwhelming. This is a first for me. I have never cried over a death before. I haven never cared this much about the end of a being’s life.

But the infant... It was so innocent. Even as it died, it didn’t know and smiled to me. It didn’t fear the death that fell upon it. It was too young to even understand the concept. So why did it have to die? It wasn’t even the infant’s fault that it died! It wasn’t meant to die in this war, in this way.

It isn’t fair.

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