back with a vengeance
On forum: 07/31/2003
Me and my AK.|
I was sitting in this grey, old bar, drinking my Vodka which suddenly tasted horrible, sitting at the table with 3 other guys who I once called „friends“ but now, however, weren’t as sensible as they used to be. One of them, Sergey, was playing his harmonica. I used to appreciate his good music which I suddenly found direful… Yes, it was a pain in my neck. But I had other concerns and no time for complaints. They had been wondering about my silence the whole evening but I knew that it was useless, telling them what had happened would have been useless. I knew it, I definitely knew it. Telling them would have been useless because they wouldn’t understand, no, they just wouldn’t understand… Therefore I remained silent, keeping the burden on my heart.
Everything had changed. I was looking at Sergey, yet I couldn’t see his face. There was a cordon in front of my eyes. The same scene was being played again and again and again, as if someone was reversing a film reel. I couldn’t resist. I was watching a bad movie. And worst of all was that the main character of that movie was me.
The ever-repeating scene contained my last few moments with my father. I was standing next to his bed. He was breathing his last. With his last breath he handed over his A.K. to me, saying: „Responsibility!“ And then he had gone, left me, left me alone. I was standing there. The old and poor fan was squeaking. As my father died, I could sense how his power extinguished and literally faded to the gun. From that moment on I never forgot his last word. „Responsibility“, he needn’t say more. Not a single further word was necessary. I understood. That word contained several meanings. Indeed the gun wasn’t just a responsibility for me. When my father went hunting, I’d be often going with him, astonished observing how well he controlled the gun. I looked at his hands, his body, his posture. Whereas other people thought about their clothes suiting them, I’d be pointing out the fact that the gun suited my father’s body.
After the loss of my father, I had to struggle through everything and compete with everyone. „Our biggest enemy is the Zone, son“, he used to say. Enemy, yeah, enemy. Only did I understand this when I had to come of age and stay on my own.
I took another sip and put the glass on the table again. Man, did the Vodka taste terrible today. Couldn’t understand how I had been drinking this stuff for so many years. Couldn’t think about it now, couldn’t get a reason for anything. Couldn’t complain. Had no time. Suddenly I woke up from my past. Looked at my hands and discovered a stigma. I was lost in thoughts again. Couldn’t resist. I had no power. No control. What the hell? Wasn’t it me who once had his life under full control? Wasn’t it me who’d be laughing at others when they’d say: „I was driven by an unknown power!“?
The scar reminded me of that very incidence.
I was out in the Dead Forest. It was dark, gloomy, murky. Cold, extremely cold. Ivan wanted to meet me there. He wanted to show me something „extraordinary“ he had found. I suspected that he had found an artefact, maybe only showing something special if you were in the forest.
Anyway, I was standing at the chosen meeting point. I could hardly recognize anything, the moonlight was the only lambency. The trees were dark. The omnipresent smell of the Dead Forest didn’t bother me. I was wearing my mask. I had once smelled the Dead Forest and it was repulsive. Yes, it was representative for the Forest. The name „Dead Forest“ was indeed justified and perfectly suitable. To give one an impression of what the smell was like, I’d say that the smell consisted of several elements. First of all of course the dead Stalkers that had been lying there for ages. Excrement! Yes, even mutants and monsters have to go to the toilette. I would have laughed, if I had known how to. I had forgotten the meaning of this word. If you now also mixed the smell of vomiting, some acescent chemicals and expired milk, you should somehow be able to imagine that kind of malodour.
I was standing in this dark forest, much obliged to have my mask on when I suddenly heard a „snap“ behind me. It almost scared me to death but then I recognized Ivan. He slowly approached me. I said: „Hey Ivan. Make it quick. Show me what you wanted to show me. I’m pretty tired today, you know!“ No reply. „What’s the matter!“ No reply. Something was wrong. But what was it? Behind Ivan I suddenly spotted two light-green eyes. Oh no! The Controller! Chasing him for days, I had found him at last. Automatically my hands grabbed at my A.K. However the Controller was faster and Ivan knocked me down. Didn’t surprise me. Only Zombies were weak but if the Controller got in control of a living individual, he could profit from his whole power. Ivan’s fingers became claws. He scratched my hand. Almost hit my artery. I was lucky enough to be still alive. A little disoriented, I could finally grab my A.K. I aimed at my enemy. One Shot! One caw! One echo! And then there was silence, total silence. I could hear my heartbeat, my breathand Ivan falling on the ground. He was unconscious. The Controller was dead. I could see the trees smiling relieved. I looked at my wound.
I looked at my hands, at my scar. Another sip of the Vodka. The old scene repeated and I remembered the word „Responsibility“.
Seeing it impartial, the gun didn’t differ from others as far as its look was concerned. But that didn’t matter! I had felt like a soldier being rewarded when I received it. This particular weapon symbolised memories. The time I had spent with my father was inside this object. Every time I touched it, I was reminded of the fact that I loved my father so much. Our relationshipwas something special. This very gun had accompanied me 21 long and hard years, most of which I had spent in the Zone… Might sound loco but it was a friend of mine. Always there to help me in dangerous situations. I’d be talking to it on my missions. As time passed by, we became more and more dependent on each other. My A.K. was alive. My power and strength came from this very weapon. My identity was dependent on it. People never only called me by my real name. If they wanted to send new Stalkers to me, they’d always tell them: „You’ll surely recognize him, he carries an old A.K.!“
„It takes a long time to build something up, however only a split of a second to destroy it!“
The Zone was my enemy. And I was a soldier in a war. The responsibility my father had imposed on me was to win this war. With no other means than my A.K. But how could I triumph if I had lost the gun and thus the war? I had let my father down…
The bottle was empty. So was my mind. I was sitting in this bar, at my ancestral seat. Sergey had stopped playing. The other guys again wanted to know what had happened. I opened my mouth, was going to take a load off my mind but then again stopped.
Should I really tell them that I had lost the A.K.? Lost my father, his identity? Should I tell them I had lost my memories, my love, my relationship, my friend, my power, my identity? Were they ready to hear all this?
I knew that it was useless, telling them what had happened would have been useless. I knew it, I definitely knew it. Telling them would have been useless because they wouldn’t understand, no, they just wouldn’t understand. I had lost it…
Great, independant Iraq War journalism: http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/
From the halls of Montezuma To the shores of Tripoli'
We fight our countrys battles In the air', on land, and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom , And to keep our honor clean,
We are proud to claim the title Of United States Marines.
Our flags unfurl'd to every breeze From dawn to setting sun';
We have fought in every clime and place Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off northern lands And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job - The United States Marines.
Here's health to you and to our Corps Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy Ever gaze on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded By United States Marines. - US Marines Hymn