I Promise... | Teen Ink

I Promise...

April 9, 2009
By bluejay31 SILVER, Scottsdale, Arizona
bluejay31 SILVER, Scottsdale, Arizona
5 articles 0 photos 29 comments

“Come back daddy,” I remember my daughter telling me with her big, soft eyes pleading me.

I clearly remember looking her straight in the eyes and confidently saying, “I promise.”

Then, I gave her a big hug, and I left. I left her with my sister looking after her. I left to war. To the war that would end thousands of lives.

So here I am now. The date is exactly June 26, 1950. It is one day after the war between South Korea and North Korea had started. Thousands of other soldiers like me are standing right beside me, in an orderly line. The soft whispers of worry, and anxiety flows through the dry, cracked lips from soldier to soldier. But I stay quiet, not wanting to say anything. The rhythmic beat of the feet shuffling are inevitably loud. With every step, clouds of dust are flying everywhere, causing soldiers to cough.

My once shiny black boots are being spoiled by the dirty brown dust. It is now coated in mud and dirt. But my green cotton trouser and shirt are immaculate. But in the hot, scorching sun above, my cotton uniform is causing me to sweat. There is no breeze of air, and it is extremely humid. Straight ahead of me, I can see heat waves, waving up and down. I desperately need water, but I am too afraid to ask my general to give me water. The trees to the side do not wave back and forth, but instead, they stand perfectly still. The grass is turning yellow, and mosquitoes are eating us alive.

My brown helmet is shielding my head and my long black hair. Sweat slowly trickles down my short, stubby face, and my big, clumsy hands are clamped onto my gun.

I hold my gun straight against my chest, as I march. I had never held a gun before. To be honest, I am quite afraid to be holding this gun at the moment. I remember when my general handed me this gun. I was almost afraid to accept it.

“Do you know where we are going?” suddenly asks one of the soldiers next to me.

I look over at him, and he is sweating bucket full’s of water. He has a worried expression to his face, and he looks as if he is going to faint in any moment. But for some odd reason, his eyes are twinkling, as if he is excited for something. “No,” I respond. “I’ve got no clue where we are going,” I say truthfully.

“Okay,” he simply replies.

Straight ahead of me, I see some armored tanks and cars. They are strolling along in search of any danger. The grey, suffocating steam bubbles out of the back, and rise into the perfect blue sky.

“Where are the North Koreans?” asks the same soldier beside me.

“I don’t know,” I reply with the same answer.

“This is going to be so much fun. I’ve never used a gun before, and I finally get to use one now. This is such an exciting adventure,” he says, with his eyes gleaming with excitement.

I look over at him, and I think that he is crazy. How can war be so much fun? In a way, I wish that I am as excited as he is. I wouldn’t have the fear and the nervousness inside me. I wish that I can pretend that this is all an exciting adventure as well. But I can’t. I’m not that type of person. My tame, quiet personality doesn’t allow me to even think and pretend that sort of way.

I look at my watch and the two arrows point at exactly 12:00. We are still walking down this lonely, dirty path. It is soon lunch time. I can feel blisters start to form underneath my feet. They hurt, and I try to walk on the sides of my feet, so I can avoid popping the blisters.

Suddenly, a loud roar coming from every side deafens my ear. Through the entire deafening rumble, I hear what sounds like a whisper, “Down! Down! Down!”

Obediently, I collapse to the ground. My heart beats so fast, that it feels like it’s all the way up my throat, and sweat quickly rolls down the side of my face. I place my arms over my head, and I try to regain my focus. Through all of the madness, I realize that all of the loud noises are the sounds of the gunshots ripping through the air. With every gunshot, my hands tremble with my gun.

Through all of the gunshots, I can still hear the loud shrieks of the soldiers that are getting shot at the moment. All around me, I see soldiers falling down onto the ground, with big red stains on their chests. I frantically look around my surroundings, and I can’t help but feel my stomach feel oozy. My stomach hurts, and my ears are deafened.

Everywhere I see, I see grenades being thrown. Soon after, those grenades rock the ground beneath me, causing me to quiver even more. The grenade blows up a deep hole into the earth, and couple of men shoots up into the air, with blood splattering out of their bodies.

I look away, horrified at what I’m experiencing. Beside me, I see the young soldier who had just conversed with me a while ago. His face is smiling with excitement, and he shoots his gun like a mad man. He shouts in delight.

The sky is being replaced with dark, thick clouds, darkening the battlefield. All of the mosquitoes have flown away, for they don’t want to be caught in this war as well.

Suddenly, I realize what a coward I am. I can barely stand up and use my gun. All around me soldiers are dying, but here I am huddled up, protecting myself from all of the madness and evil. Why did I even sign up to fight in this war? Was it because I was so patriotic for my country? Was it because I didn’t want my country to become communist?

I don’t want to be in this war. I want to feel the warmth of my daughter in my arms, and I want to protect her. My heart’s racing, but no matter how much I regret signing up for this war, I have to help fight for my country now. There is no backing out now. I signed up, and I am a man of integrity.

So I stand up, with my legs trembling with everlasting fear. With my legs shaking, I try to balance myself, and focus on the enemy. Through all of the madness, I spot a North Korean. He has his back faced towards me, and it’s a clear shot for me.

I lift my gun, and I focus on my victim. My fingers are placed on the trigger, but I can’t shoot. I can’t help myself to shoot him. If I shoot him, I am no different from everyone else here.

As I stand there with my fingers trembling on the trigger, I think to myself. Is war the real answer to any conflict? Why is violence the solution to everything? Why can’t we just talk everything out? Mankind has become so violent and evil. Is it so hard to love everyone and treat everyone like our brothe… “AHHH!” I yell out in pain.

Suddenly, I feel a sharp pain in my leg. I collapse onto the ground, and everything is dizzy. My leg goes numb, and I start seeing things. I still see the soldiers shooting, and I can still hear the loud rumbles of the war, but something is different. I can’t put any pressure on my left leg, and I topple onto the ground.

My head is suddenly light, and then I feel the pain in my leg. The numbness disappears, and excruciating pain takes its spot. My leg throbs, and I beg for help, shrieking as loud as I can. But my shouts are not heard through the madness. Why can’t anyone hear me? Why can’t anyone help me? I wave my arms back and forth, but no response comes forth. I sit there stranded. I feel isolated, and I suddenly feel lonely.

I look down at my leg, and I see the red stain growing bigger and bigger. Finally, my trouser and shirt are dirty. It wasn’t dirty before, but it is now…

Then, I see drips of blood falling onto the dirty ground. Drip, drip, drip. Oh no, I think. It can’t be. I place my hands on the side of my neck, and all I see is a puddle of thick red blood glued onto the palm of my hands. There is no pain, for I am dazed. I just sit there while the war continues. The throbbing in my leg continues, and the bleeding from my neck continues.

Then out of nowhere, a soldier collapses onto the ground, right beside me. His chest is stained with the blood. With the energy that I have, I look over at him and I realize that it is the soldier that had just conversed with me before all of this insanity. His eyes are cold, and he touches my arm, wanting my help. I just sit there, staring at him. I watch his slow, painful death. His hands are icy cold and his face is white. He tries to talk, but nothing comes out of his bloody lips.

Soon afterwards, the soldier dangles in my weak arms. His cold eyes stare at the grey sky above us. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t talk. The bleeding stops.

I look at him, and I whisper, “Is this what you wanted? Was this that fun?”

He doesn’t respond. I know why he doesn’t respond.

As every second passes by, I am losing more blood from my neck. With every second, I start to feel dizzier and dizzier. Soon, my vision starts to fuzz up and I know that I am becoming blind. My body aches, and my ears hurt from all of the traffic around me. I let go of the soldier. I feel like staying here. I feel like dying too. I want to give up too. But just as that thought passes through my mind, I see my daughter standing right beside me. Her bright white dress illuminates everything around me and her glowing eyes makes me want to smile. But she has a worried look on her face. With her outstretched arms, she says, “Come back daddy.”

I look at her, and I can barely force the two simple words out of my mouth. With struggle, I painfully force out, “I promise.” Then suddenly, she disappears. I frantically look for her, but she’s gone.

Soon, it feels like there’s hope again. I can’t die. Not when I had promised my daughter that I would come back.

Suddenly, I try to focus onto something with my blurry vision. That something gets closer to me. I look at his uniform, and a red cross is taped onto his shirt.

“You’re going to be fine,” says the gentleman with the red cross on his shirt. “You’re in good hands…I promise.”

The author's comments:
In the Korean War, 180 000 soldiers got injured. There were 1 520 000 deaths! 990 000 civilians were either killed or injured. Still to this day, there is no peace between North Korea and South Korea.

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This article has 59 comments.

on Jul. 18 2010 at 6:06 pm
writerinfinity PLATINUM, Arlington, Texas
35 articles 0 photos 105 comments

good story, your a great rider.

If anyone reads this can you checl< out some of my work, thanks,

on May. 16 2010 at 12:08 pm
ellemarie BRONZE, Georgetown, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Afterwards, the universe will explode for your pleasure." -Douglas Adams

Thanks.  I will.

Goofy said...
on May. 15 2010 at 12:14 pm
Im working on a book called the end. Part two is currently the most talked about in historical fiction. I also write free verse poems like The Mistake and The Doctor if you wanted to look at any of them.

on May. 15 2010 at 10:26 am
ellemarie BRONZE, Georgetown, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Afterwards, the universe will explode for your pleasure." -Douglas Adams

I mostly dabble in fiction, but I write free verse poetry as well.  None of my work has been published yet on Teen Ink, because they take a long time to approve things.  I'm writing a novel and the first chapter will be up on inkpop within a week.  The title is 'Is It Worth It?' if you want to check it out.

on May. 14 2010 at 8:36 pm
Hey, Ellemarie, what kinds of genres do you write? What grade are you guys in (ps...I'm not a stalker...haha, just wanting to know)

on May. 14 2010 at 2:23 pm
ellemarie BRONZE, Georgetown, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Afterwards, the universe will explode for your pleasure." -Douglas Adams

Goofy, I wasn't directing that comment at you; and I read your article.  I thought it was good.

on May. 13 2010 at 10:17 pm
Wow, guys, calm down, haha. "Goofy", I read it and it was really good. And all you guys, I appreciate you reading my work! Thanks! :)

goofy said...
on May. 13 2010 at 5:33 pm

Hey sorry for wanting a single person to read my article. So why dont you stop complaining and just read my story.


on May. 13 2010 at 1:57 pm
ellemarie BRONZE, Georgetown, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Afterwards, the universe will explode for your pleasure." -Douglas Adams

Ah, but don't take this the wrong way, but you didn't spell a single word right in that sentence. No offense.  I agree with you, but your spelling is atrocious.

on Apr. 17 2010 at 4:24 am
tomtamtimmy GOLD, Sydney, Other
17 articles 0 photos 49 comments

Favorite Quote:
you don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have

goofy u dnt use other pplz gud wrk to addvertise ur wrk.

on Apr. 1 2010 at 6:15 pm
AlexMariexx BRONZE, Florissant, Missouri
1 article 3 photos 9 comments
oh. my goodness. this was very very good. it made me want to cry.. which is a very good thing when it comes to writing. cause the reader to have some kind of emotion which makes them want to read more. (: keep up your writing, this piece was amazing.

Goofy GOLD said...
on Mar. 30 2010 at 7:47 pm
Goofy GOLD, Littleton, Colorado
10 articles 1 photo 10 comments
HERES A LINK TO ONE OF MY ARTICLES. PLEASE CHECK OUT  MY WORK AND POST A COMMENT TeenInk.com/fiction/historical_fiction/article/189428/The-End/

on Feb. 4 2010 at 7:15 pm
Wow!! That story is perfect in every way! It brought tears to my eyes. I love how the ending has the red cross man saying I PROMISE... beautiful :)

on Jan. 29 2010 at 6:25 pm
HeadshotM SILVER, Melbourne, New York
7 articles 0 photos 49 comments

Favorite Quote:
Your failure is my success

Here's a link to one of my articles.... check it out and rank and comment won't u
if u want more type FSA into the search engine
http ://www.teenink .com /fiction/sci_fi_fantasy/article/170627/FSA/

on Jan. 25 2010 at 2:03 pm
lily1411 BRONZE, Fargo, North Dakota
2 articles 0 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.

--Benjamin Franklin

This is such a good story! The voice in it feels so real and it almost brought tears to my eyes....So good:)

bluejay31 said...
on Jan. 23 2010 at 9:38 pm
Hey, can you send me the links to them? Thanks. Oh yeah, if you can read my other ones, too, that'd be awesome. Yeah, so if you can send me the links, I'll check them out...:)

on Jan. 23 2010 at 2:47 pm
EmilyGiroux SILVER, Surprise, Arizona
8 articles 0 photos 15 comments
Excellent. I loved this and really felt a connection with your main character. Very good.

Please read mine? :)

The District and Over Thinking Things are the best. Melancholy is good too, except it was late and I accidentally misspelled the title. OOPS! Thanks.

on Jan. 16 2010 at 9:24 pm
One of the best short stories I ever read. You could put J.K Rowling out of business the way you're going. Great Work. No, seriously!

on Nov. 29 2009 at 12:49 pm
sophietle BRONZE, Houston, Texas
4 articles 3 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." - Seneca

Wow! I love how you bring the story back full circle, to the most memorable line. Really well written.

on Nov. 19 2009 at 8:55 am
4everluvjc BRONZE, Plantation, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
nothing is impossible with God! Try him and you'll see :)

Wow. This was really well written. I love the way you describe what's happening. It's amazing. I didn't really like the ending, maybe because i didn't get it(the guy with the red cross). But I loved it. This deserves to be in the magazine. I hope you get in. Thanks for this. I now see war a bit differently now