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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1705429-Army-of-Men-and-Monsters-Intro
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #1705429
Intro to my interactive. One man changes the entire army.
A war is going on. Soldiers give their lives for their country, parts of which don't even care about their sacrifice. Some are killed by the enemy, but others are eaten, by their fellow soldiers. The military is no place for a human to serve. However, today, something is about to change.

Private Jenkins, a human, was on the run, eluding his pursuer, a werewolf. In one hand is a Colt revolver, a forty-five caliber handgun, with five shots left. He had stolen it from his pursuer when he had broken his nose. He was leading him though a set of heavy woods, infested with landmines, all of which were marked. However, he was heading to one that the man, his superior officer, didn't know about. When he got to it, he smiled and grabbed the white flag marking it. He then turned around and fired four shots, forcing the officer to duck behind a tree, and not notice where he had removed the flag from. He then ran behind a tree, took out an empty shell, rotated the cylinder, stuck his head out from behind the tree, aimed the pistol at the tree that the officer was hiding at, and pulled the trigger, causing an audible hollow click to be heard.

"Looks like you ran out of bullets, lunch," the werewolf said, as he came from behind the tree and started walking towards Jenkins, when he heard another, louder click, the sound of a landmine that is triggered, and will explode if one were to move from it. He looked at Jenkins, who was waving the white flag around.

"I found that one just yesterday, Colonel Redclaws," the man said, as he walked up to the officer. He then opened the revolver, and pulled out the remaining good round. "I told you sir, never underestimate the resourcefulness of anyone," he said, as he sat down at the base of a tree, and, after putting the bullet back in the revolver, pulled out a canteen of water, and some dried bread and beef from a pack on his back. "I hope that you don't mind me eating, my lunch, Sir. After all, you make a move and that trigger will pop up, and cause that mine to explode."

"Please, help me, private, I'll do anything that you ask," Colonel Redclaws said, as he carefully examined the mine that his foot was on. It was one that was designed to damage the hide of a dragon, which meant that it could obliterate his body.

"Answer this question, Colonel," Jenkins said, as he cut a piece of beef off from the rest, and started chewing on it. "Why do so many soldiers die?"

"They die from infections, from wounds, and um, um, uh I don't know, what other ways do they die?" the colonel asked, nervously.

"Because monsters eat them, especially those who wear the same uniform as them." Jenkins said, as he took a drink of water. "However, the men in our unit don't. Do you know why?"

"No, I don't Jenkins," Redclaws said, wondering where the conversation was going.

"Because sir, they care for each other, and see each other as family. It started the moment that I started helping them after they had been injured, after that ambush six months ago. I told them to go after the enemy, and make them suffer for what they had done to them, and to pick up a few meals while they were at it. While they did that, I told every one else to give them covering fire. Also, I told the unit that it would be better for them to go after the enemy to get something to eat as opposed to each other. Ever since then, the unit has been working more effectively, and has made more progress, as opposed to any other unit, or so our previous colonel said, right before a sniper shot him last week. You, you are just a replacement. You don't understand any of the men. You don't know the friends that they've lost, their fears, their dreams, or anything. I, on the other hand, do. That is why the men come to me for their problems, and not you, even the giants come to me first. You, you told them to send one of their friends to their death when you asked them to get a human for you to eat. As a result, they came to me about it, and I told them to take me to you, and here we are, with you on the threshold of death, all because of your ignorance of the men," Jenkins said, with anger in his voice.

He then stood up and asked, "What were your dreams after the war sir?"

"To be with my wife, raise my children, and maybe have some more," Redclaws said.

"You know, that's funny," Jenkins said, with a chuckle. "I also have a wife, one who is pregnant with my son. He'll be born in a month. In fact, he'll be my first, and maybe the only child I'll ever have. In fact, he may never get a chance to see my face, never go fishing with me, or anything like any other boy does with their father."

Then, he pointed the gun at Redclaws's head and smiled. "Now, I have a few options," he said. "I can just walk out of here, and wait until you get tired, and collapse, causing the mine to explode. I could get behind a tree, aim this revolver at your head, and put you out of your misery. However, none of those would be right, after all, I see that, at heart, you are a good man, and you do love your family, and you do want to get back home to them."

"Yeah, I do," Redclaws said, as a tear ran down his face.

"Well, I do have a third option," Jenkins said, as he lowered the pistol.

"And what would that be?" Redclaws asked.

At this, Jenkins pulled out a set of photographs, which were taped to each other, and looked at them. On one side there was a picture of him and a woman in their wedding clothes that was about a year old. On the other side was a picture of the men from the whole unit, all of them, although the three giants in the unit more or less had to sit cross legged to fit, with everyone else standing in front of them, all of them looking at the photographer, with friendly smiles, and was only a few weeks old. The only person not in the photograph was him, as he had taken the picture, and made copies for every one, including the late colonel.

He then looked at the officer, who was worried, and pissing his pants, and said, "Well, as long as there is some sort of weight on that mine, at least fifty pounds, it won't go off. However, even between the two of us, we do not have that sort of weight, and I doubt that I could get enough wood to keep the trigger down before you collapsed. That means that someone has to step on your foot, untie your bootlaces, and, after you remove your foot from the boot, quickly press down to keep the trigger down, and wait until you clear the woods, before setting it off and killing themselves in the process."

"But who would want to do that?" Redclaws asked, until he heard Jenkins chuckle.

"Do you see any one else here?" he asked.

"What are you saying Jenkins? You couldn't possible be thinking of giving your life for me," Redclaws said. "After all, I just tried to kill and eat you."

"True," Jenkins said. "But, despite the fact that they like me, the officers of the unit will still have me executed for assaulting you, especially if I left you here, or if I killed you. Now, would you do me a favor and tell my wife that I love her, and our son, especially since I doubt that he'll ever see me."

At this, Jenkins stepped on Redclaws's boot, untied his laces, and pulled his furry foot out of it, and carefully set it on the ground. "Now run sir," he said, as he pressed down on the trigger, and looked up at the eight foot tall werewolf, with a smile on his face, handed him his revolver, and saluted him. "And don't let my death be in vain."

With that, the officer started running out of the woods. Jenkins then looked down at the photographs in his hand.

"I'll watch out for you," he said, as he stood up. "My family, my brothers, my sisters, all of you. I'll watch over all of you, especially you guys."

Then, he looked at the initials on the mine, WHJ, which stood for William Henry Jenkins. "Time to go," he said, moving his officer's boot, causing the mine to blow up.

When the sound of the explosion reached his ears, Redclaws fell to the ground, in shock at what had just happened. As he stood back up, the officer turned to look at the woods that he had just ran out of, still in shock. As the rest of the unit came over to him, asking where Jenkins was, all he could say was, "He saved my life. He saved my life. He took my spot and saved my life. He saved my life. He gave his life for me. I was going to eat him but he saved Me."

"Colonel, What happened?" a sergeant asked.

"I s-s-step-p-p-ped on-n-n a-a-a l-l-land-d-dm-m-m-mine," Redclaws started to stammer. "B-b-but h-h-h-he s-s-s-stepped o-o-on m-m-my b-b-b-boot a-a-and t-t-t-told-d-d m-m-me t-t-to r-r-run. I-i-i o-o-owe h-h-him m-m-my l-l-life."

He then looked at a human soldier, and quickly turned away, saying, "I-i-I’ll-l-l-l n-n-nev-v-ver b-b-be a-a-able t-t-to l-l-look a-a-at a-another h-h-human t-t-the s-s-same w-w-way a-a-again."

At this, he fell to his knees, tears running down his face. "Why did you do that, Jenkins?" he asked. "Why?"

For the next few weeks, the story spread faster than a wildfire in a dry forest. It was spoken around the barracks, the taverns, and every other place that the military units met up to swap talk. The story was too improbable to be true, that a human would willingly give his life for a man who had been planning to eat him moments earlier. However, when they went to the forest, they saw that it was nothing more than a crater. The human soldier had become a ghost, and possessed an enemy soldier carrying tons of explosives, and blew the entire place up, destroying every landmine in the forest. Some even saw his ghost, which had a strange smile that seemed to say, "You guys are my family, and families look out for each other."

One month later, late at night, Colonel Redclaws was walking down the street of the city where Jenkins’s pregnant wife was supposed to live. He couldn't stop thinking of him. Every night, a dream of that day came to his mind. He was stuck in a forest, all alone, standing on the landmine. However, just before he fell, Jenkins would show up, step on the mine and say, with that smile of his, "I'll take your place sir. Now live the life that I gave you."

Suddenly, he saw someone rush past him, carrying a bundle that had a familiar scent. It was a rakshasa, a cat-like creature, one with a tiger pattern on his fur. However, the scent was coming from the bundle, and it had an eerily familiar smell.

"That's Jenkins's son," he thought, as a woman, a human said, in a screaming shout, "Someone help me! That man stole my baby!"

He looked at the woman, who was the same one that he had seen on the photograph that Jenkins had pulled from his pocket before he had stepped on the landmine and told him to run. He then turned around, pulling out his pistol, and shot the man in the leg, causing him to release the baby. However, before the baby hit the ground, Redclaws, who had started to run as he saw the bundle start to drop, caught it. He then removed the cloth that covered the baby's face and was amazed at what he saw. Other than the fact that he had just been born, he looked exactly just like the man who had saved his life.

"Hey, get your own," said a voice that was coming from the man that he had shot.

Redclaws looked at him and growled. "The next time you, or anyone else, touches this child, or any of his offspring, or theirs, someone will come for you, and send your soul to Hell," he said, as he holstered his pistol, the same one that Jenkins had stolen, and returned. "This boy's father died a hero, saving my life. However, that was not all he did, he made me see the truth."

"And what pathetic truth is that? That you were weak?" The man asked, as he grabbed a sign post, and tried to use it to help him stand.

At this, Redclaws just chuckled and said, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." He then walked up to the woman, and handed her, her child.

"What's his name?" he asked, with a friendly smile as he looked at the child's face, once again noticing the resemblance to his father.

"Well, I was thinking of naming him after my uncle, but, I don't really know sir," the woman said, wondering why this werewolf would bother to save her son's life.

"Name him after his father," Redclaws said. "The man broke my nose, and saved my life afterwards." At this, he started to walk away.

"Wait," the woman said. "You knew my husband?"

"Yeah," Redclaws said, as he looked back. "He told me to tell you that he loves you, and your son. And I'll tell you this, no matter what anyone tells you about him, he gave his life for more that just me. He gave it for his friends, and his family." With that, he vanished into the night.

*********************************************************************

Several decades later, a group of recruits are at the barracks, listening to the story of the military's history, and the reason as to why it was the most powerful military in the world.

"The truth that Private Jenkins showed Colonel Redclaws is this, it is only by working together in harmony that the military can reach its full potential," said an old man, who was the grandson of a human soldier that had served with the man. "That is why the military created the Code, the Code by which all personnel in the military swear to live by. Each soldier, no matter the branch that they serve in, or their rank, is expected to follow it. One part of the Code is this: 'No soldier shall take the life of another soldier just to eat him.' Another part states this: 'No soldier shall rape another.' Also, you will swear to never take the life of those under the age of recruitment. Also, you shall give anyone that is served to you as a meal the option to serve in the military. You will be advised to respect your comrades, no matter their race, and you will listen to your superiors, no matter their race. These men and women standing beside you, from this day forth are to be considered your brothers, sisters, your family members. Those who do not help out their family will be punished accordingly. In return for service in this country's military, your family members will be placed under our protection, and will receive our aid for whatever reason. Should they get into debt, we will help them out of it. Should your younger siblings wish to go to a college, but your parents can't afford the tuition, we will pay for it. If your spouse, fiancée, or lover is kidnapped, we will find them, and if they are a slave, a piece of living jewelry or furniture, or something else, we will buy them for you. if they are dead, we will charge the person with treason, and if found guilty, they will be executed, by you and your squad mates. Also, no civilian authority can touch you, as you will be considered military property, as well as your family. Should you be killed, our medics that can use magic are taught a top secret spell that will bring you back to life over ninety-nine percent of the time. Now, if any of you can use magic, you will report to Doc, as he has some things to say to you. Well, I best be off now, because I am late for my evening walk."

At this, the old man turned around, and started walking and passed a statue of a human, one that said, "In memory of Private William Henry Jenkins, the man who united us. Commissioned by Colonel Richards Redclaws."

*****
For more see "Army of Men and Monsters
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