In Common

"The stains of death linger in my mind. Yet among the drizzling melancholy of being a pawn in the game, I still remember the time I became the most important person on that battlefield, if only for a moment. He wore clothing unfit for battle, and emerged from the tall bushes near the woods. As he walked through the mist he seemed to walk in a separate dimension to everyone else. “You there! You’re going to get shot!” I yelled. Maybe he was deaf. He materialised through the wall of smoke, making shapes in its volume. He kept trekking, oblivious to the nature of his surroundings. “What the hell are you doing? Get off the battlefield!” Yet the gunfire and arrows missed him entirely. He kept walking, and then I realised he was heading for me. Soon he was right above me. “Come with me,” he said, “and I will show you immortality”. I woke up in a golden haze, surrounded by nature. I was in a rectangular garden with tall hedges impossible to see beyond. I sensed the man’s presence beside me. “Where am I?” I asked, blushing out the scented air. “That’s a good question,” he said, kneeling to my level. “Before I answer you, answer me this question, and think about its meaning. Don’t try to guess the trend or be right. Just be honest. Can you promise that?” “Alright,” I said. “Good! Tell me – are nettles and daisies alike?” He touched the petals of a daisy in the flowerbed. “No. Daisies are pleasant flowers, but nettles sting.” “Actually, they do that out of self-defence. Also, they both have beautiful flowers.” “I suppose. You said you’ll show me immortality - do I need to go on a quest?” He grinned. “I didn’t promise you immortality of life, I promised immortality of the soul.” “I’m afraid I don’t deserve that,” I said, “I’ll go to hell for the amount of people I’ve killed. I’d rather not burn in hell that long”. “Yet you can redeem yourself. Those who are doomed to die are just as important as those who have died. If you can prevent the deaths of those you are fighting, you may save more people than you have killed.” “How do I do that?” He only grinned, then disappeared as he came – into the thick bushes, leaving behind a shadow in the smoke. I grew tired, confused and dreamy, but awoke inspired and fresh. Nobody listened to me at first. My commander mocked me, but when I told him those men’s children will weep in terror, he couldn’t hide his heart. Neither could the others. I smile when Historians theorise on why the war ended. It didn’t occur to them to ask - but even if it did, I would simply say, “Both sides knew this war wasn’t going to be won. We may think of ourselves as Daisies and them as nettles, but in the end we both know we have flowers in common.” "




by Maxwell, Year 9

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