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Colors of War
Blue. I hate it. It mocks me, laughs at me and what remains of my home. It shines brightly in the sky, above the desolation, above the carnage. I shouldn’t be subjected to this, the sky should be cloudy, but instead it’s clear. The one day everyone in the country wants it to rain and God sends us an empty sky. There aren’t even any buildings to block the sky anymore, only empty shells, lying low against the ground, huddled against the blasts.
Suddenly the alarm sounds again, but so soon? They can’t possibly be back, not now. As if to answer my thoughts, the roar of a hundred engines drowned the alarms. Then the planes started climbing over the hill, slowly becoming visible. They gleamed grey-green in the midmorning light. The harbingers of death, and there was nothing to stop them. All the airfields, AA guns, and bases had been destroyed by the sudden “lightning war” tactics, leaving everyone defenseless against the assaults.
‘But no longer,’ I thought to myself and took off down the blackened road.
The gate was open, without anyone guarding it. Truly there was nothing to guard anymore. The gate itself wasn’t much of an obstacle either, rusting to dust as it was. The orange-brown contaminate spread along both sides of the entrance like a wildfire. I pushed my way past the decrepit fence onto the overgrown airfield, toward the hangers. No one else would have dared enter the hangers, because they were in the same condition as the fence, but when a man has nothing to lose, does he not take risks?
Opening the doors of a single hangar would have been risk enough for most men, but to accomplish my task I had to open three. By the time I found what I was looking for it was near evening and the latest wave of Flying Fortresses had moved on, leaving only destruction and death in their wake. The sun was leaving the world pink, a cruel reminder of my little sister’s favorite color. In the discolored light that filtered through the window I could just barely make out the contents of the third hanger. A pile of aging gas canisters sat nearest to me, one swift kick to the bottommost canister told me they were still full. Behind them was a stack of wooden crates labeled ‘Ammunition.’
In the center of the hangar sat an enormous figure, wrapped in dank sheets, and sheathed in dust and debris. Slowly, reverently, I approached the figure and its dark covering. With trembling hands, I pulled the sheets free of the object. Underneath rested a single person plane. The entire length of it, from its single prop to its huge tail, was painted jet black, but it shone in the dirty waning light from the windows. Its huge machine guns bristled like thorns on a rose.
Despite the bombings, the plane remained wholly intact, not even a scratch marred the fuselage’s beautiful paint. The old, oily sheets seemed to have protected it. So far as I could tell, the tank was still full and the guns were loaded. On impulse, I jumped into the cockpit, started the engine, and flew up into the midnight blue sky.
I lost myself in the sky for a moment. I was free, no longer confined to the ground. I had the last plane in the country, and now I could leave. Leave the entire world behind. Leave and take nothing that could remind me of the death, the carnage. Take nothing that would recall the red streets or the empty, ruined buildings.
And then I heard the siren sing from the last green hill for miles around.
And I saw the grey-green harbingers far below me.
And I felt the air rattle as orange dots raked the landscape.
My vision went red and all I could see were those other planes. The invaders that dared make a raid on my country at night, the only time my people could find relief from the terrible reality.
I turned the plane and gunned the engine. The plane became a black smear against the night sky. I would force these invaders to retreat or die trying. I would make them pay.
Tiny yellow streaks leapt from the fuselage and fell upon the intruding planes. They littered the sky and soon two enemies were falling to the ground in flames. As I passed I made a hard upward turn, pulling away from the first retaliation shots from the more attentive of my victims. None could hit me.
I made a second pass, and a third; each time sending more bombers to their final rest in small orange suns. But as I turned to make a fourth run, I heard a sound unlike any I’d ever heard before. Out of the night sky before me two planes rushed forward, flinging bullets as they came. The sound they made was so terrible; like they were tearing open the sky.
I was so overcome by these planes, that they passed without me having fired a single shot at them, though I could see the aftermath of their accuracy. The last plane in my country was now riddled with holes, and red flames were shooting from the engine. It wouldn’t last long. It probably wouldn’t survive another pass from those horrible sky-splitters. I watched desperately as the bombers beneath me continued dropping their payloads, not even concerned about me anymore, and suddenly I knew what I had to do.
When the sky rending sound of the new planes returned, I banked sharply, away from their bullets, into a downward spiral. I squeezed off the last of my rounds into one of the bombers, sending him to the ground in a spiral of black smoke. There was only one left.
Resolved, I aimed my plane directly at the enemy. It was the only thing to do. I could not run, the sky-splitters were faster than I was, and I could not hide because the sun was already starting to rise in the east. I pushed the engine as hard as ever, making the red flames shoot out further. The other pilot saw me from those flames and tried to turn, but the bomber banked too slowly. There was nothing he could do.
Hanging on to the control stick with white-knuckled fury, I held my course, straight and true. At last, I had struck a blow for my country.