by Steve Baker
A twenty year war rages, an envelope flutters above the battlefield, will it ever end?
|The envelope floated in the wind as if it were a butterfly. Most envelopes have a destination, this one however simply wandered, being blown from gust to gust. It had no purpose, no origin, nowhere to go, but it was in fact the most important envelope to ever find itself in this world. Between trees the envelope swooshed, striking the leaves with such a force that surely it should leave a trace of it having been there, but if it weren't to have been witnessed, you would never have known. Beneath the envelope, as it fluttered without purpose, a war raged.
Two conflicting sides battling in one of the bloodiest battles to have ever graced, or perhaps stained, the world. The war was unrelenting, as it had been for eleven years. People were born into war, they died for the war, but nobody could remember what it was that they were fighting for. The daily battle became normality, the struggle to survive was simply life, the grudging walk through the trenches in the morning akin to crawling out of bed and making yourself a cup of coffee. This was life. This was war. There was no end in sight, and both sides weren't going to give up in their conquest to win, but neither side could remember what winning looked like. A miracle was needed on the planet on which the envelope span miraculously above without a care, completely unaware of the destruction beneath it. It span between enemy lines, crossing without any quarrel between the good side of the war and the bad side of the war, although good and bad are relative.
There must always be a last day, a final event for everything. Everything eventually has to come to an end, and nine years later, whilst the war charged into its twentieth year, the final event was being prepared. Nobody knew it was the final event, nobody knew that the lifetime war would soon vanish from the present, only to be found in that of their memories and history books. Both sides were preparing their soldiers, soldiers whom had barely learned how to walk, let alone fight, when something was discovered. Half an envelope, buried for what seemed like years, was pulled out of a crater from which an incendiary device had once detonated. The contents of the envelope were studied, but the remaining half was missing. Meanwhile, another half had been found by the other camp. Both sides possessed a piece of the envelope and within it a letter, but neither could fully decipher the contents without the co-operation of the other. Co-operation, between sides which disagree on matters so fundamental that the only course of action deemed suitable at the time was to launch a twenty year war.
Two words stood out on the letter parts, on one, the word 'fire' and on the other, the word 'cease', not necessarily in that order, and at the very bottom, a half finished signature of a long deceased general whom had supposedly signed it. You see, the general was passing the letter to a courier when the general suddenly found himself in several places at once, his right arm in a puddle of mud, his left leg in a tree, his head in a nearby river, and the envelope he was carrying was flung into the air and carried by strong winds, until it eventually found itself subject to a piercing shot by a weapon which split it in two, the force of which caused both parts to slingshot from eachother in opposite directions, one piece towards each camp. Whilst the general who seemed to have signed this particular letter was most likely now re-absorbed back into the earth, the letter did not in fact hold any credence presently, but it was not the fact that the letter was not valid as credentials that caused both sides to meet with one another in negotiations for the first time in twenty years instead of in battle, it was simply the hope that perhaps the conflict could end, that maybe, at last, the fighting could be over.
As they stood between their fallen comrades, both sides brought their piece of the letter, and together they read the words of the long fallen general. It was said that the two appointed carriers of each half of the letter, at this point, broke down in tears, the tears of the carriers washing back towards their comrades who were slowly learning of the news, each and every solider consumed by uncontrollable emotion, a wave of relief that they thought would never come. The letter read that an immediate ceasefire had been negotiated between the two generals of each side, but unfortunately both generals died tragic deaths before they could relay this information on, leaving their soldiers in a never ending war. Soldiers dropped their weapons, and in the first mass show of humanity in twenty years, approached their once enemy, and embraced them, for they were now friends and not their next target.