Clive joins the military to save his country
| Words 1080
In a land far, far away
Clive’s sharp eyes scanned the deserted plain. The moon was full, but every few minutes clouds drifted across its face, darkening the soldier’s position. He lifted his head above the trench once more, checking for the enemy. All appeared quiet. He enjoyed being part of the security forces, surviving so far unscathed, even though many of his compatriots had not been so fortunate. The colony he and his battalion were there to protect had received intelligence another attack was imminent. He slid back down into his bunker.
The night-time watch was his favourite, it gave him time alone, time to think about his life and what the future held. His thoughts drifted back to his home where he’d often felt overwhelmed, undervalued and insignificant, the opportunity to reach his full potential hadn’t been available to him owing to circumstances. But unexpectedly a pang of homesickness hit him hard as he remembered the warm feeling of never being alone amid the constant presence of others. He also felt a sense of pride to be the first in his family ever to become a member of the military. His life had been mapped out from the day he was born, destined to be a worker, following in the footsteps of his family in their construction business. Born to continue building roads and dwellings for the community and continuing their work on the magnificent royal palace. However, when war was declared he’d answered the call to arms and found himself here, in the desert alone, surrounded by darkness and silence.
Clive heard a soft whistle coming from out of the darkness and turned to where he knew his friend was on sentry duty too, down the line. “What’s up, Joe? Seen something?” he whispered, the sound carrying in the quiet night air.
“Thought I heard a rustling sound,” came the soft reply.
Clive listened. “Just the wind, mate. Don’t get spooked.”
Joe had good reason to be on edge, the enemy had attacked a few nights ago and caught the sentries off guard. They’d lost too many good soldiers that night before the enemy was persuaded to retreat.
Their country was almost unrecognisable these days. Clive remembered when this land he was protecting was lush and green, animals roamed, grazed on plentiful pasture and drank fresh water from icy cold streams. In the moon's pale light all he saw now was desert country, harsh, dry and desolate. The climate had changed. No longer were there four separate seasons but just the same endless heat, day after day, week after week, year in, year out. It was this change in the weather that began all the unrest and violence. Tribes fought other tribes over food, water and shelter. Survival became the name of the game. To achieve this end, a new order was needed. Kingdoms had thrived in peace and harmony for centuries, but Clive’s neighbouring country, Angria, had suffered badly from the harsh conditions. Their ruler had decreed they all must leave their land and find a better place to establish a new colony. Angria's army were on the march and intent on taking over.
For months now, there had been rumours about the decimation of lands far away. They’d heard about the raping and pillaging taking place and how this determined army destroyed everything before them, took prisoners and used them for slaves. It was for this reason all the available citizens in Clive’s homeland had been absorbed, taken from families and their usual tasks, to fight to the end, to protect their Queen and country.
The young soldier re-adjusted the protective armour he’d fashioned using the timber from all the fallen, dead trees, which now scattered the landscape. His skills as a carpenter had enabled him to make shields for many of his friends, to protect them from the crude but deadly weapons of their enemies.
Something caught his eye. He held his breath, then let it go when he saw simply a tumbleweed leisurely roll on by.
The faint pinking of the sky heralding dawn, let him know the long night shift was almost over.
He heard another whisper from his friend, Joe. “I heard something, Clive. I can’t quite see, but...” Joe’s voice was cut off mid-sentence.
“Joe?” No response. He moved closer to where his friend had been stationed. As he neared, he saw Joe lying on the ground, unmoving.
Before he could react, Clive was dragged to the floor, his attacker, twice his size, had him by the throat. His face became wet with an evil smelling spray which stung his eyes. He fought for his life, unable to discern what or who was his aggressor. All around him seemed to be a whirl of violence and chaos. Blood pounded in his ears, deafening him inside his helmet. Reaching for his weapon he stabbed his enemy in the heart. They both fell to the ground, still entangled.
Clive lay gasping until able to release himself from the death grip of his attacker. He found enough strength to sound the alarm before losing consciousness.
He awoke to a full-on raging battle taking place between the opposing forces. The air filled with choking, red dust as soldiers fought to the death. There were cries of pain, terror and desperation. Blood soaked into the dry sand. Clive lay on his back next to the body of the soldier he had killed. The weapon still protruded from the corpse’s chest. He rolled over and removed it before he stood on shaking legs.
The battle raged for two whole days and nights. Every available soldier fought to save their way of life, their homes and children. Many of Clive’s friends died protecting their Queen and country, but at last the tide turned in their favour and what was left of the enemy troops retreated to lick their wounds.
Several days after the victory, Clive was sent with his team to patrol the perimeter of the colony. He had been badly wounded in the bloody skirmish, but still volunteered to keep watch.
Peace had come at a price. But given time their numbers would grow and their home would become the haven it had once been.
Clive, once a lowly carpenter, now a seasoned soldier, swore to protect his Queen and the ant’s nest at all costs.