Homo Homini Lupus Est

A civilian walks through the devastation brought on by war.


1. Man's a Wolf to Man


My city, my town, my home is in ruins. Smoke rises in the distance above the toppled building debris. The sun no longer shines on this once humble town. The dark clouds have stolen this from us. I walk down the street and can still smell the gunpowder in the air. The tank tracks still fresh in the sand. Why did this destruction come upon us? My people did not ask for this, it was the government’s choice. Look where it has brought us. They don’t know what their actions cause. They are somewhere in the mountains hidden from these tragedies, devising more plans to destroy our country. The school I once walked by on my way to work is now nothing but a pile of bricks and shattered concrete. The children running across the schoolyard now replaced with lifeless rotting corpses.  War has passed by these parts, but its presence still remains.  I look for survivors but find no one. Everyone I have ever known, everyone I have ever loved, all lay in the blood stained sand. Some of their bodies looked to the heavens for salvation. Others were on the ground with their arms flailing in different directions. The eyes are the gateway to one’s soul, but I see no souls in these eyes. Some were pitch black while others where rolled into the back of their heads. I looked away but I could still see the images in my head.

                I kept walking through the devastation that I once called home. Nothing looked familiar anymore. The deli window was shattered and the counters behind the desk were barren.  I knew the man who ran that shop. We would get together with a few others in town and have a beer or two at the bar every Friday night. He would always end up drunk and sleeping on the street but that’s what we loved about him. On those Fridays the town was alive with activity. People were at the bars, in the streets talking and laughing about the things that had happen during their day. Children ran through the streets playing. There was no reason to be afraid to be out at night. We all pretty much knew each other and felt safe. The lights that lit up the streets made it seem like a festival. That life that had burned like a flame was now extinguished by war. My heart grows heavier the more I walk through the barren streets.

                I am almost out of this broken town of memories. My old torn leather shoes must carry me only a few more streets. I suddenly heard coughing nearby. I stood still to listen. Someone is still alive. I scrambled toward the coughing which led me right around the corner of a crumbling wall. I froze in place when I got to the source. It was a soldier of the government’s enemy. He dawned his red white and blue stripes on his shoulder. I feel great sympathy for the wounded soldier. He was very young, probably 19. He had blonde hair and green eyes, like most soldiers in his force. He coughed hard this time and a red chunk flew from his mouth. I looked down to see a gaping hole in his side about the size of a fist. Blood was oozing from it. He had already lost a lot of blood and was pale.

He said something in his native tongue while reaching his arm out toward me.

I couldn’t understand what he said but I felt to grab his hand and be close to him. I didn’t fear him. He was the government’s enemy, not mine. Tears were streaming down his face. He began crying along with my heart. I could see the fear in his eyes, the fear of death as it slowly approached him. I didn’t know what to do. I got my canteen that I stored in my house and offered it to him. He ignored it and continued to cry. I looked up at the dark sky. How can man do this to one another? Why do we kill each other like animals? Eventually the crying stopped and the soldiers hand went limp in mine. I turned to see his gaze settled on me.

                I made a ditch in the sand with my hands and buried him. I felt that he deserved a burial. After saying a few prayers over him I got up and continued down the street. I finally reached the outskirts of town. I walked past a truck and I looked into its rearview mirror. The destruction I saw behind me plagued these lands. The road ahead didn’t look much different.  These horrors of war fall upon the innocent, not their leaders. I don’t want to see any more of this. Instead of continuing down the road, I turned to the sands of the desert. I will walk until I can’t any longer. I will let the desert take me away from this world. Grant me this wish my sweet land. 

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