War. I don’t understand it. But I’m fighting in it. My name is Hawkeye. That has been my name since the beginning. My mother and father died when I was little so Hawkeye is the only name I know. I’ve lived in an orphanage ever since my parents died and as soon as I turned 17, I joined the army. I don’t know why, but I did. It all started when the recruiting officer showed up at the orphanage looking for fresh soldiers. He looked at me with hard eyes and a stone-faced stare. He said with no feeling and not a care for what I would feel,
“We are beginning a war. We need soldiers. You have no home and no family to return to, nothing to live for, so I ask of you to join the army.” I looked around and saw all the younger boys looking at me through the doorway. They were excited to see the officer, but they are all too young to join. I was the oldest one there. To make them proud, I said yes.
“I’m a boy of few words. Sorry, man of few words,” I told the officer.
“That’s what I like to hear. You will do great in this man’s army. Uncle Sam always welcomes new sons to his family.”
“Thank you, Sir.” I saluted, signed some papers, and was told he will be back in a week to pick me up.
After he left, the boys swarmed me and begged me to tell them everything they missed between their constant shushing and ouches as they tried to eavesdrop on the conversation. For some reason, American children have a strange interest in going to war. I joined because I had no choice. If I said no, I don’t know what that officer would’ve done to me cause he only wanted a yes answer.
“What country are we fighting?” my best buddy, 12 year- old BJ asked.
“A place called Sarcovi. I’ve never seen it on a map.”
That’s probably because I can’t read but they don’t need to know that. I don’t talk good English, but none of us can. The boys can read and write, and I don’t want them to think the oldest one, the one they look up to, is stupid. Even the 6 year-olds can read in some way.
The littlest one, 4 year-old John piped up and asked with tears in his eyes, “Are you leaving us?”
“John, I have too. But don’t you worry, I’ll come back.” I felt bad because most likely, I’m not coming back but I didn’t want to make the kid cry, so I told a white lie. It scares me how easily I can lie. Never thought it would come in handy in the midst of the toughest battle America has seen.
“Ok Hawkeye. But we’ll miss you. I’ll miss you.” He looked up at me with that tiny face and big eyes he’s got. I knew then that no matter what happened to me, I would have to make it back. I can’t let the boys down. We’re the only family we got.
A week passed and it was time to leave. Some of the little boys were trying their hardest not to cry. John and BJ gave me a hug. They all said goodbye with hope in their faces that I will come home. With my suitcase containing 2 pairs of socks and a change of clothes (because that’s all I own) I walked down the steps and stepped into the car with the recruiting officer, ready to take me to basic training. The car ride to the airport was quiet most of the time except for the few questions he asked me.
“Are those new clothes?” he asked.
“Sort of,” I said. I didn’t feel like telling him that the boys pooled their money together that they got from their odd jobs and bought me a new shirt and pair of pants. Even John had run up to me excitedly with a dime he found in the streets.
“So, what’s your story?”
I didn’t want to talk so all I said was, “My parents died when I was 2 and I’ve been in the orphanage since. I’ve seen many kids come and go, but once you’re 14, nobody wants you. I’m the oldest and the only 17 year-old there.” I didn’t tell him that I don’t know my real birthday or my real age. I used BJ’s birthday and I just kind of guessed my age. I may be younger, or I may be older than 17. Doesn’t matter to the army except for the fact that I could get kicked out. The boys would be upset if I got kicked out. I don’t tell people a lot of things. If you open yourself up too much, it’s easier for people to hurt you. I may not be book smart, but I know the score.
“Oh.” Was all the officer managed to say. We picked up two more boys, both 18 and headed for the airport. One named Frank was yelling as he left.
“Bye Mom, bye Dad.” He yelled. “I’ll see you when the war is over.” His parents came running out of the house crying but he didn’t care. I’ve never had someone care for me like that. I felt an odd feeling towards him. Was it hate? Resentment? Jealousy? All three? Why? Because Frank had parents, I didn’t, and he didn’t care about them.
The other boy was Charles. When we drove up to the house, we had to go through this giant gate and down a long driveway leading up to mansion. His whole family came out with him, and some were crying, others were giving him gifts. A person that I assume is a butler or something escorted him to the car and put his bags in the trunk of the car. Charles sat in the front seat dressed all nice like he was going somewhere fancy, not to war.
He talked in a British accent that made him seem all high and mighty.
“What is your name?” He asked me.
“Hawkeye.” I said and just stared at him.
“What a peculiar name,” he responded. “And where are you from?”
I hate telling people this, but I figured the officer is most likely going to keep the 3 of us together. I’d rather tell them now than later when there are more people around.
“I’m from this place near the outside of the city. It’s an-”
“Just by looking at your clothes and the dirt you attempted to wash off your face, I’d say you’re from an orphanage,” Frank cut me off.
“Frank don’t be ridiculous. I’m sure this is not true. Is it Hawkeye?” Charles asked.
“Yes.” Was all I could manage. In the city, I’ve been called names and made fun of for being an orphan, but that’s when you could tell I was an orphan. Before I left, the boys told me I looked as clean as the boys from the suburbs. I guess we never seen what clean is before. Frank’s words cut me down, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing it. “But Frank just so you know, if I did have parents I would care, unlike you.” Charles stifled a laugh as Frank’s face turned bright red. The officer never moved a muscle or paid attention to our conversation. He just wanted to get us to the airport as fast as he could.
We were mostly silent the rest of the way, but I found out that Charles and Frank went to school together. They are on their senior year of high school, and they would have graduated this coming June. They would go on to college, and opportunity I would never get to see.
“We’re here boys.” The officer said. “You will get on the 10:00 plane at gate 2. When you land, there will be another officer waiting to take you and a few other boys to training. Take your bags and have a nice life. Good luck. You’ll need it in war. It gets pretty messy.”
We grabbed our bags and just stood there in the bitter March air.
“Let’s go inside where it’s warm.” Charles said after a long silence.
“Yes warmth, something I never felt before.” I thought I said it in my head, but I guess Frank and Charles heard me. Frank snickered and Charles kicked him. I couldn’t tell if Charles pitied me or was just genuinely nice. I decided that he was just a nice kid.
We walked around the airport trying to look for a gate and we eventually found it. Charles had to have a few of his bags (he has 5 of them) sent underneath the plane and Frank had to check one of his 2 bags also. I got to take mine with me. I’ve never been on a plane before so kid-like I looked around and out the window at how everything moved by. I didn’t understand how the plane was able to stay in the air, and Charles went on to explain something called aerodynamics, but I still didn’t understand it. The flight attendant came around and gave us some peanuts and water.
“You probably eat like this all the time.” Frank said.
“Actually Frank, we get this hot meal once a day that we call mush but it’s really good.” I lied. That shut Frank up.
I whispered to Charles, “That’s the furthest thing from the truth. We get a meal maybe every other day and it is ice cold. But we do call it mush.”
All Charles could say was, “I completely understand.” Changing the subject he said, “So, where do you go to school? I’ve never seen you around our school before.”
“I’ve never gone to school.” I said. “I can count up to 100, do the alphabet, and spell and read my name. That’s about it.”
“They don’t teach you at the orphanage or send you to school?” Frank asked.
“At the orphanage, no one cares about you or what you know. The younger you are, the greater the chance of going to a home. No one wants a stupid 17 year-old who doesn’t even know his last name.” Charles just sat there stunned and Frank looked like he might cry.
“I didn’t know.” Frank said.
“How would you have known. You wouldn’t know what it’s like to be there your whole life. As soon as your friends become your brothers, they get ripped away from you, never to be seen again because their parents don’t want their son to be near the rotten place ever again. But seeing as many boys come and go as I have; you learn not to get too attached. The only kids that are my brothers would never get adopted. One, named John, is always sick and the other, BJ, is missing a foot. No one wants you if you got something wrong with you.” I felt hot tears sting in my eyes, but I wouldn’t let them fall. I haven’t cried since I was 6. I forgot how to. Frank and Charles were speechless. “That’s the most I’ve ever told anyone about me.”
I was glad the rest of the plane ride was quiet because I didn’t feel like talking anymore. When the plane landed, an even tougher-looking officer met us at the airport.
“Attention!” The officer shouted. I snapped to attention and so did Frank, but it took Charles a second to figure out what it means. “That means you too!” He yelled at a boy standing behind him, but he was already at attention before the officer called the first time. “My name is Lieutenant Barker.”
“Barker is right.” The other boy whispered. We all stifled a laugh.
“Let’s move out soldiers. We have a lot of work to do.” He yelled.
We grabbed our bags and walked to a bus with a bunch of other boys.
“The name is Walter.” The boy from the airport said. “But everyone calls me Radar because I know what they’re going to say before they say it. I’m 17 but I’ll be 18 in a month.”
“My name’s Hawkeye. And this is Frank and Charles.”
“Nice to meet you all.” Radar said.
On the bus, the officer explained a bunch of rules about camp and the army. The three that stuck with me the most were Trust no one, Stick with your comrades, and don’t get killed.
The four of us got to bunk together in the small tent because we’re all “lowly privates” as some of the higher ranking personnel called us. We all got uniforms and even though I grabbed the smallest size, it was still a little big on me.
“How come it won’t fit?” Radar asked.
“Because we don’t get to eat in the orphanage.” It got really quiet and then Frank, Charles, and I started laughing. I was getting used to the idea that we’re all here for each other.
The next week in basic training was rough. We had to run many miles and do a lot of push-ups and jumping jacks. Nobody liked the food but to me, some food was better than no food even though it was kind of gross. At least we had meals twice a day. It took about 2 days for my stomach to get used to actual food.
The officers taught us many battle strategies and how to shoot. We were told that the Sarcovians had injected a deadly virus into their bullets. A lot of people recovered from the sickness, but most weren’t so lucky. Our company would be sent straight to the front lines.
Nobody dared to say a word on the plane ride to Sarcovi. We were all nervous to break our last moment of peaceful silence, our last moment of civilization. Everything we knew now was war. As we flew over the Sarcovian jungle we heard machine gun fire hitting off the plane. We were under attack, and we haven’t even been in the country for 5 minutes. The bullets aren’t what hurt or kill people. It’s the virus. But the Sarcovians don’t understand that when we fall it’s not because of the impact of the bullet, it’s from the virus seeping out of the bullet and into the innocent bodies of our soldiers. The company just sat there in silence and was thankful that the bullets hitting the planes couldn’t hurt us until we were out in the open.
The plane finally landed in the heavily barricaded fort in which we would defend.
“We have to defend this whole fort?” Frank whispered.
“Until it falls.” Some other soldier said.
“But we are not going to let that happen because we are strong, fighting soldiers.” Charles shot back.
Night shortly fell and we ate dinner in the pitch black of night under the cover of the thick Sarcovian jungle. I got lucky that Radar, Charles, and Frank were my tentmates. After we settled in for the night, we heard a strange thud sound hitting the top of the tent. Next thing we knew, we were wet. Dripping, sopping wet. A chill came in and we quickly became cold. The boys put on their jackets. I don’t have a jacket, lucky me. We pushed our suitcases together to create a barrier between the mud and us. After a few hours of tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep in a puddle of mud.
When I woke up, I couldn’t move, and I thought Sarcovians had paralyzed me in the middle of the night. Then I remembered it had poured and the mud hardened a little around all of us. The whole company was late for breakfast as we were helping each other get unstuck from the mud. The women in our company somehow did not get stuck. There’s only about 10 of them, a lot less than most companies, but they’re just as good soldiers as the rest of us. Frank took a liking to this one named Margaret who’s 20 years-old. She’s a Major which means she’s not even an enlisted soldier, but an officer which is much higher up in rank than a Private. We always joke around with Frank and tell him that maybe if he could become an officer, she might actually acknowledge him when they pass each other by.
One day she noticed Frank was just staring at her, so she said, “War is not a time for romance, Private.” And she just walked away. Frank spoke of her fondly but said they were never more than friends.
We hadn’t had any attacks for about 3 days and neither did the rest of the army. They were waiting of the right time, just when we let our guards down to strike. So, the American army decided to start the fireworks and strike first.
On that third day, our Commanding Officer, Colonel Sherman T. Potter, announced that we would no longer be defending the fort, but that we would be on the front lines, leading the attack on the Sarcovians. The fort got deathly quiet when everyone heard this.
“Ok, you heard the man!” Margaret yelled. “Take the bare minimum in your packs and get ready for the long march tomorrow. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“Thank you, Margaret.” The Colonel said and the assembly dispersed.
Back in the tent Radar was freaking out.
“Oh no! Now we’re heading up to the front! We’re all gonna die, we’re all gonna die!”
“Pull yourself together Radar!” Charles shouted and hit Radar in the face with a pillow. “We are not all going to die.”
“Charles is right.” I squeaked. “The 4 of us are going to make it out a-okay.” Meanwhile, I was freaking out myself, but I didn’t want to scare Radar just like what happened when I left John and the boys, so I lied. This seemed to calm him down.
“I’m ok now. I’m ok.” He said in between his short gasps of breath.
Almost no one ate dinner that night. We were all too scared about the coming day, so the night was another sleepless one. Not just for me but for all of us.
Dawn came to soon. We ate a cold breakfast at about 4:30 in the morning. At 5, the march would be on. The bugler blew into his bugle which called us into formation. I was scared but I wouldn’t show it.
Colonel shouted, “Forward, march!”
We marched in complete silence. The only sound heard was the thudding of our boots and the rustling of leaves as we marched through the jungle, keeping a close eye out for enemy snipers. We were oddly lucky not to run into any. As we marched through the end of the jungle, we came across and open field with some hills. We heard a single shot fired from behind one of those hills, but nothing happened. The battle would commence when the Colonel stomps his foot or if they fire first. After about 5 minutes of a silence too tough to bear, the Colonel gave the signal.
The attack was on.
Machine gun fire immediately was exchanged. We were dropping like flies, and it seemed hopeless. The Colonel handed over the command to Margaret and grabbed about 10 or so guys to follow him around the hills. My 3 comrades and I were among the 10 picked.
“Great. If all 10 of us get killed, no one will know what happened to us.” Frank complained.
“You are so idiotic, Frank. This isn’t like any other war we’ve ever fought. The weapons are different, and we must strike with careful precision. Failure to do so could result in many more deaths than our own measly lives.” Charles snapped back.
I took this all in. We got reports a few days ago that the Sarcovians started invading the rest of the world starting with China, then Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and our own United States. They invaded the rest of Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Europe. All the countries within these continents have fought against each other since each of their beginnings. Now it’s the entire world against this tiny country in the middle of the ocean in the fight for the preservation of the human race.
As we reached the hills, we discovered that there were only about 75 Sarcovians hiding under the cover of the vegetation on the hills. This was the first real look we had of the Sarcovians. They seem to be these circular creatures with many spikes sticking out of them, almost like arms and legs. They have no face which is honestly, kind of freaky.
Colonel whispered, “Our bullets kill easily. The 10 of us must attack now before any more of the company is infected.”
Without hesitation, we opened fire on the spiky creatures. They all dropped dead. We heard no more gun shots so we ran back as fast as we could to the company, and everyone cheered. The company marched back to the fort to rest for the night. Margaret found out from the CIA, that we had actually killed a good part of their army left on the island. We saw this as a good thing but what we didn’t realize was back home, they were multiplying and infecting more civilians than we thought.
“‛But of course, they know this means war.’” Colonel said. He was quoting one of Bugs Bunny’s most famous lines. But he didn’t mean it lightheartedly. The gravity of the situation sank down on us. I thought of the boys back home, hoping they would be smart enough not to leave the orphanage too much and that they would stay safe.
About 20 out of our 100 soldiers got infected. They had to be taken away for a quarantine and treatment until they got better. Or worse. We had to wear these special gas masks because the Sarcovians started spreading the deadly virus through gas attacks. They were issued all over the world to help prevent the everyone from getting sick. That night no one ate because the food was disgusting. Everyone complained that they were starving. But not me. The one time being from an orphanage came to my advantage.
“How are you not hungry?” Charles asked. “We haven’t eaten since early this morning. It’s now 22:00 (10 o’clock) at night!”
“Let me tell you a little story.” I said. To my surprise, a group of people started crowding around me, but I decided to tell my story anyway. “Life back at the orphanage was rough. Most days you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. Not only did the orphanage people beat us and hurt us, but the worst thing was also most of the time, there was no food. There were times when we would go three days without food. Whenever we did have food though, it was so gross, you couldn’t even swallow it. Well, one day, the orphanage lady told us that she would refuse to make us food until we agreed to eat it.”
“How long did you all last?” Someone asked.
“Let’s just say, how many weeks are in a month?” I asked.
“Usually four.” The same soldier said.
“Take away one week from that and that is how long we waited until the lady couldn’t bare to look at us anymore. She started getting all upset about how we were wasting away to nothing, and she could see every bone on us. That was the only time she was nice to us. She made us a meal that night, and a hot one too. I hadn’t had a meal like that ever, or since then. I was 13 at the time.” Everyone just sat there in shock.
“That can’t be true.” Someone piped up.
“Do you want proof?” I asked and I rolled up sleeve so they could see my arm. There was a collective gasp as they saw how small it was. Everyone was so interested in my story that we forgot about the war until Colonel Potter walked in with news from the headquarters.
“Well folks,” he began. “We are all headed home, but not for good. You will be assigned to militias in your areas where you will fight against the Sarcovians. You must tell the people to wear their masks if they leave their houses or the Sarcovians will gas them. They have given up using bullets because it takes too long. Get a good night’s sleep because we leave in the morning.”
There was a murmur throughout the camp mostly of goodbyes and good lucks to the comrades we might not see again. I’ve been oddly lucky in this war because Charles, Frank and Radar all live near the city that we’ll be defending. We packed up our stuff and settled in for the night.
“Oh boy, what a day.” Radar said.
“Yeah, what a day is right.” Frank retorted.
“Good night, everyone.” I said.
“Just wondering, was your story true?” Charles asked.
“Every little bit of it.” And I laughed. The boys started laughing too, but mostly out if nervousness. To go home and actually save the world from our homes is much bigger than going to a small country and wiping out a part of their army. I fell asleep trying to figure out how I’m going to explain to the boys why I’m home so early.
Morning came and the cooks didn’t make breakfast because they reasoned we would eat on the plane.
“An army travels on it’s stomach.” A soldier named Henry told the cooks.
“Well, if you quit bumming around us and get ready to leave, the faster you can eat on the plane.” One of the cooks shot back almost with a sense of hostility. Maybe they thought we were insulting their cooking by not eating their food the previous night.
There was a feeling of excitement spreading through the plane. I was glad to leave that jungle, but I wish the war didn’t reach home. The plane slowly creeped over the U.S., and it was covered in thick fog.
“That’s the gas of the virus.” Margaret said.
We all stared down at thick red cloud that covered the sky. The plane landed and we had to put our masks on before we stepped out.
“I’ll call my father to have him pick us all up and bring us to my house.” Charles said. He dialed the nearest payphone, nodded a few times, and then hung up.
“One of the drivers will be here shortly. You can all sleep at my house for the night.” Charles finally said.
“Thanks, but if you don’t mind, could the driver drop me off at the orphanage?” I asked. “I need to see the boys again and make sure they’re okay. Maybe I’ll swing by tomorrow so we can start destroying some of these Sarcovians.”
“Ok Hawkeye.” He said.
“You’re all welcome to stay with us though.” I responded. A few minutes later, the driver pulled up to the airport.
“Please drop Hawkeye off at the orphanage.” Charles said to the driver.
“Okay.” He said.
We drove around for a few minutes, getting used to seeing our home covered with the red cloud. The car pulled up to the orphanage and it looked abandoned.
I hope they’re all still there.
“We’ve decided we are going to spend the night.” Radar announced breaking my thoughts. “Charles’s dad is going to call my parents and let them know.”
“Okay.” I said. I walked up to the door and a shiver went down my spine as a saw a piece of wood nailed across the door with the word Quarantine written on it. I knocked our secret knock that we use when someone comes in after curfew. I knocked four times at the bottom of the door and thanked God when I heard footsteps run to open the door.
A small voice said, “Go through the back window.”
I was skeptical because that’s the old lady’s room, but I trusted that small voice anywhere.
“Follow me.” I said to the boys.
“This place seems sketchy.” Frank said backing away as a mouse ran in front of his feet.
“The cat must’ve missed one. We haven’t had a mouse in over a year.” I said trying hard not to laugh. I pushed the creaky window open, and we all crawled inside. The room was empty with only a bed and couch left.
“Who’s bedroom is this?” Charles asked.
“This was the old coot’s room. She must’ve left the boys to fend for themselves when the Sarcovians came.” I opened the door, and someone comes running into me like a barrel.
“Hawkeye! Hawkeye! It’s you! You’re back!” John was hugging me and was so excited he didn’t even notice the guys standing behind me.
“Everyone!” he called. “Hawkeye’s back!” I heard 20 footsteps come running down the stairs. Then I heard another set of feet come hobbling down the stairs and I knew it was BJ.
He appeared in the doorway and threw his arms around me.
“I thought I lost you when you never wrote back to my letter I sent!” BJ exclaimed.
I immediately felt horrible because I never received a letter and if I did, I wouldn’t have been able to read it or write back, but I just let us enjoy the moment.
After a few minutes, he let go and the boys finally realized Charles, Frank, and Radar standing behind me.
“Boys, say hello to our guests, Frank, Radar, and Charles.”
“Nice to meet you all.” Frank and Radar said.
“How do you do?” Charles asked and some of the boys started gasping at how many bags they had.
“Are you rich?” A boy of 14 years-old named Klinger asked Charles.
“Yes. I believe I am.” He responded.
“Woah! That’s so cool.” Henry said.
“They are going to stay the night, but tomorrow, we have to start fighting the Sarcovians. Are the beds all made?” I asked.
“Yessir!” BJ said and saluted us. We saluted back and the boys got all excited. We decided that the guys would sleep in the bedroom, and I’d go back to my bed in the room where everyone sleeps.
“I get the impression you are all hungry?” Charles asked. “I shall make us all dinner.”
“Yay!” Everyone shouted.
After a hot meal that was actually good, we all settled in for the night.
“I’ll be down in the morning. We run a tight ship here and get up at the crack of dawn.”
“Oh boy, Hawkeye. Really?” Frank complained.
“Yes Frank, we’ve got a world to save. Good night.” And I walked up the long staircase to bed. That bed beats sleeping in the mud any day.
Morning came and I got a phone call on the landline from the Colonel.
“Weaponry was sent to the empty building next to the orphanage in the middle of the night. That’ll be our arsenal. Defend it well and make sure our soldiers get the ammo they need. The bullets are loaded with ethyl alcohol which kills the Sarcovians immediately. Do good and make me proud, Hawkeye. Goodbye.” And just like that, he hung up. It took a minute to get Frank up, but we were eventually ready.
“Don’t stick your noses out of that door, you hear me?” I told the boys. “I don’t want any of you getting infected.” We left the orphanage and headed to the arsenal. It was dark inside, so Radar flipped on the lights. We each grabbed two guns, loaded them up, and locked up the door when we were outside.
“Frank and Radar, you stay here and any Sarcovian that passes by, kill them. Let any soldier take what he needs from inside.” Radar nodded, understanding but Frank’s hands were shaking. Charles and I left, slinking in and out of alley-ways and shooting at Sarcovians from behind garbage cans and cars, careful not to get caught.
We were too late when we saw a mob of maybe 250 Sarcovians throw their virus grenades. We started shooting immediately but I knew we couldn’t take them down ourselves. Ducking behind a car, I let out a blood-curdling scream which was supposed to be the call for any nearby militia soldier to come for backup. In seconds, about 30 soldiers came running and started shooting at the spikey creatures. It was a scene of chaos. The Sarcovians started shooting at us even though we thought they got rid of their bullets. Three of them started closing in on me.
I’m a goner if I don’t do something.
“Wait!” I shouted. “I’m working with you.” I think they understood me and stopped. The soldiers that had come were tied up and so was Charles by the Sarcovians. I looked at them and knew the Sarcovians would kill them for sure. “I’m not fighting with them. I’m a spy.”
“How could you?” Charles yelled.
“Quiet, soldier!” I yelled back. And then I winked at him. He got the message.
“Don’t side with them.”
“I’ll do as I please.” I said with a smirk on my face.
“Come on fellows,” I said. “Let’s go.” We started walking away but I couldn’t stop shaking. There were only about 20 of them left. I only had 20 bullets. The last of our ammo. One shot for each creature. If I miss each target, I’m dead.
One shot, I said to myself. This is my only chance. There are a lot less of them in the world than we think. It’s their grenades that kill. I thought about the boys, my brothers, and my comrades, the first real I friends I ever had. I thought about what would happen if the Sarcovians were able to completely take over the whole world.
I’ve got a world to save.
Then, I fired.
I hit each of my targets with ease. Then on the 20th one, my gun jammed. This gave it enough time to load its gun. It fired its gun at me, and I got turned halfway around by the impact of bullets. As I hit the ground, my gun fired. I had shot the Sarcovian, and he dropped dead.
The world started spinning and there was a lot of shouting, but I couldn’t make sense of it. My sight became very blurry as people were running towards me.
I blacked out.
I woke up in a really bright room and right away I shut my eyes. I blinked a few times as my eyes got adjusted to the light. There was a man in a white coat standing over the bed and was holding clipboard.
“How are you feeling?” He asked in a very calm voice.
“Wha – what happened?” I stuttered.
“You were shot by the Sarcovians, and you caught their virus. You are in a hospital.” He responded.
“What about my friends? Are they hurt?” I asked in a panic. I started frantically looking around, but it was just me and the doctor in the room.
“Your friends are okay. Thankfully, no one else was hurt in that battle. That was a brave thing you did out there. You saved a lot more lives than you think.”
“Am I gonna die?” I asked.
“No, you’re a tough soldier and you pulled through the coma. You were out cold for maybe 2 days. You’re recovering good though.”
“Wow.” Was all I could manage to say. “I’m I allowed visitors?”
“I’m very sorry, but no.” The doctor said. “You should be out of here in another 3 days. When you woke up, your fever went away which is a very good sign.”
“Thanks Doc.” I said.
“You’re welcome.” He responded. “Now get some rest.”
I fell back asleep, but it felt good.
Finally, the three days were over, and I was able to go home. I had contacted Charles and he was going to pick me up.
“So, how are you, hero?” Charles said jokingly as I got in the car.
“What do you mean by hero?” I knew exactly what he was talking about. The doctor had filled me in on all the details about my heroics and saving the city. He was all excited and I told him what I remembered.
“Until you winked at me, I couldn’t tell if you were faking or not with the whole ‘I’m a spy’ speech!” He exclaimed.
“Lying’s what I do best.” I said and we both burst out laughing.
Back at the orphanage, I received a similar homecoming to when we came home from Sarcovi.
“You missed a special day while you were at the hospital.” BJ told me.
“Yeah, and what day is that?” I asked.
“Our birthday.” He was right. Our birthday.
“That means I’m 18.”
“Wow.” Was all I could say.
“Well now that you’re old enough,” BJ started.
“I can adopt all of you!” I yelled before he could finish. There was much rejoicing in the orphanage and Frank, Charles, and Radar were happy for me. But this celebration was short lived. We got a call that more Sarcovians were coming.
“Those jerks sure know how to ruin a nice day.” Frank complained. Again.
“Time to get back to work.” Radar said with a sigh.
As we were walking out of the orphanage, Colonel Potter pulled up in a car and was holding a crate.
“These are vaccines.” He said. “They will protect people from the virus.”
“Are you sure they will work?” Charles asked.
“I’m sure.” He responded. He gave each one of us the shot and it made my arm sore.
“You are to knock on doors and give people the shot. It is important that people get these. If they refuse, tell them it’s for their own good.”
“Yessir!” We said in unison and snapped to attention.
“Good. Now take these.” He handed us the crate. “Good luck.”
“Thank you, Colonel.” Frank said.
Radar also said, “Thanks.”
We walked all day giving out the shots and a lot more people accepted them. There was this one particular family that would not take it.
“I’m not letting my family take the shot.” The father said.
“Why not?” Charles asked.
“Because people get sick from it just like the flu shot. I don’t want my family getting sick.”
“Actually sir,” I began, “No one has gotten sick from the shot itself, but people are getting sick from the virus.”
“There is no reason for my family to take this vaccine.” He retorted. This guy was being very difficult.
For some reason I got angry at this guy, so I exploded, “Are you really that stupid!?” I yelled. “Why would you want to put your lives on the line for no apparent reason? People are dying from this virus. There are people dead. Dead. Now I ask you, would you like to add you and your family to the death toll because you didn’t want the vaccine?”
“No.” he stammered. “I suppose not.”
“Well, good.” I said and calmly gave him and his family their shots.
After we left that house, the boys burst out laughing.
“I have never seen you mad like that before.” Radar said, wiping his eyes from laughing so hard.
“That was incredible!” Frank exclaimed.
“All in a day’s work.” I responded.
And we kept going with little difficulty to give more people their vaccines. I became worried about how many Sarcovians were actually on their way. We were doing a really good job of keeping down the numbers, but I didn’t know about the rest of the state. What about the country? What about the world? I concluded that the only way to get rid of this virus is to get the vaccine and keep on killing these germ-like creatures.
The second wave of these things would be coming soon. We stocked up the arsenal and bought provisions for the boys at home. Sometimes, Klinger and BJ would want to come on patrol with us, but they are too young. If they were ever under attack though, I taught them how to use a gun and filled one with the special bullets in them.
“You are not allowed to touch this unless you’re under attack. Is that clear?”
“Yes Hawkeye.” Klinger said.
“Okay.” BJ said and saluted. I hoped and prayed they would never have to use it.
Within a few days, the second wave was upon us. The Sarcovians returned with a vengeance. We took turns guarding the arsenal and going out on patrol. I liked guarding so I could keep an eye on the boys through side window.
Everyday was mostly the same. There were no real exciting battles around the city. Not since I took down those 20 creatures. We read in newspapers about the other parts of the world. Most places were able to get the virus under control but for some reason, not America.
“Too many people refuse the vaccine and the masks.” Charles said one day. The takeover has been going on for a little more than a year at this point.
“Some people just don’t care, and they think they’re invincible, until they get sick. And then they blame it on someone else that they didn’t wear their mask during a gas attack outside.” For some weird reason, these people made me very angry and frustrated. I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around it.
“Well, if people don’t care, that’s not our fault.” Charles finally said.
Day in and day out, we fought against the Sarcovians sneaking up behind them or shooting from windows in tall buildings. What I was glad for was that the Sarcovians never cared to go inside anyone’s house. If you got sick, you brought it in from outside. The outside didn’t come to you.
Frank eventually reconciled with his parents, and they were all good now. They were proud he was doing something good with his life instead of being a bully.
Radar’s family had moved away to where the Sarcovians weren’t attacking. They sort of left him behind even though his parents said they loved him.
Charles went back and forth between my house (the former orphanage) and his house. His parents were very kind to all of us and tried to use their social standing to influence people to wear their masks and get the vaccines. We were all grateful for that.
After a long 8 months, the second wave came to an end as Autumn began.
Charles had a teacher come to the house to educate the boys. They enjoyed their schooling very much and it assured me that they would have some sort of education.
At night, BJ started teaching me how to spell words. I wanted to write a book about my story and the army. I learned to use longer and more sophisticated words. I wrote at night after everyone went to bed. I wouldn’t be able to finish it until we completely eliminated the Sarcovians.
I took me a long time to start the book. I would write some words and then erase them. Sometimes I ripped out whole pages.
Nobody knew about it except BJ.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” He asked.
“I’m sure. The people need to know what it’s like to live in an orphanage and deal with the Sarcovian take-over.” I responded.
Weeks went by without starting the book. Every time I killed a Sarcovian, I remembered the book.
One night, I finally decided I would start my book like this:
War. I don’t understand it. But I’m fighting in it.