CASUALTIES OF WAR (Pt I)

CASUALTIES OF WAR (Pt I)

A Story by M.Babu
"

An analysis of two sides of perspectives during a fictional war. Any resemblance to real events or people is highly unintended and i apologize in advance:)

"

*Japanese Camp*

The mellow sun’s rays weakly penetrated the confines of the tent. Probably their last dawn together, he figured. He held her as tightly as he could. Kurosawa wasn’t one for words. Plus men in his position weren’t much allowed to show their emotion openly. It was inappropriate and also taboo. Rukia, now awake, snuggled closer and looked up at her handsome husband. He was distractedly gazing outside their tent in the direction of enemy camp. She noticed he was already fully dressed, only his katana* and gun lying beside their majestic makeshift bed.

Ohaiyo (Good morning)…” [AUTHORIAL INTRUSION: they talk in Japanese, but from here i am mostly translating the text]  “…How’d you sleep?” Rukia asked dutifully. She had never seen him like this before. The Commander was rarely distracted. He wrenched his gaze to his stunning wife and kissed her sweetly on her forehead. He maintained eye contact for longer than he would have if they were in public, and smiled. Love was punctuated deeply by his powerful stare and he didn’t break it when he softly said the words she had heard only a few times.

“I love you. I hope you know that.”

Tears welled up in her hazel eyes and she squeezed him as she turned her gorgeous head away. He wasn’t supposed to see her like this. More rules. Kurosawa sat up and wrapped her in his arms and eased her face towards his. He wiped the tears from her eyes and repeated his words. “I love you Rukia.” He knew that the end was approaching deftly and this time he couldn’t postpone it. He had to make sure she knew. He hadn’t the time to say all the things he wished to, but this he felt he had to make her understand. It was paramount she understood.

“You have to come back. Tell me.” She shakily managed to murmur. He had never lied to her in their five years of blissful marriage. Hearing him say those words would help her through it all. She could bear the thought of being alone temporarily- even the slightest hope would stop this fathomlessly dreadful pit of despair digging hungrily away at her insides. She would rather die than face it alone. “Tell me, Kurosawa.”

His stare unfaltering, he picked his words as carefully as his genius IQ would permit him to. “Nothing is impossible, Rukia-san.” She chuckled sadly-she liked it when he called her that. He was not going to give her any false hope, she realized. He had already begun planning damage control on the consequences of what would be happening in a few hours. That was the kind of man she’d married. Abit too selfless. Tears placidly flowed down her face and she vainly tried to stop them but the pain was harsh excruciation she couldn’t stomach. He seemed to want her to cry it all out- purge all her anguish and purify herself. He stroked her flowing hair affectionately.

There was movement outside the tent entrance, as Keigo Uguzaki- Vice Commander of the Japanese Army announced himself. Kurosawa disentangled himself from his bride slowly, who quickly stopped crying and laced her kimono fully over herself. When she was decent enough, Kurosawa granted permission to his Ku (Vice) Taicho (Captain). Keigo walked in and bowed courteously. He would’ve bowed lower but his lumbago was getting worse. He was a handsome man twice Kurosawa’s age with sharp insight, great advice and a strict adherence to rules. He respected Kurosawa- that was saying something, as Keigo was arrogant and as proud as a pride of maturing male lions. Keigo was fully dressed in his Vice-Captain regalia, holding his hat in his hands exposing the white strips of hair now littering his head. He didn’t look up until Kurosawa initiated the preambles. It was just another Japanese rule.         

   Taicho…it is time. The men are as ready as ever. We should begin the trek in four minutes to reach Sun Valley before the Americans. An added advantage to our assault technique Taicho.”

“Keigo-dono, arigatou gozaimasu (thank you very much). Assemble them along the bank and wait for me. We need to fire them up- it’s going to be a brutal one, this one. Is your heart behind me?”

HAI! (YES!)” Keigo replied instantly, stung by the thought that his Captain Commander doubted his resolve.

Gomenaa sai (I apologize profusely) for that- forgive my underdeveloped language. Speech is very important in times like these and unintended words strike like a scorned snake. ” Kurosawa added. “I just wish dialogue was enough for the Americans.” He thoughts drifted away loftily before he sighed unconsciously and finished, “OK then. Assemble the men.”

Hai, Taicho.” Keigo half-bowed again and ducked out the tent noiselessly.

Strapping his katana sheath onto his belt and holstering his weapon, Kurosawa grinned encouragingly at his wife for what he didn’t know would be the last time. “I’ll do my best,” he said as he turned to leave. “But take care of yourself. Itekuriyo (See you later)” He stopped at the tent entrance. “I love you Rukia.”

“Come back Kurosawa Kageyoshi. We love you too,” Rukia murmured after he’d left, her hand maternally on her stomach.

                                  *

*American Camp*

Ronald hated war. He despised it with every moral fibre his body possessed. They weren’t many of those left in his system, but still…they existed. He’d been in too many wars, he was thinking, over his cup of hot coffee. And they’d left their share of scars. The last one he’d been in had left lacerations in his memory that he knew would never heal. He’d killed 150 men according to the ‘Trooper Award Delegation…’ or something Board. He’d been given a shiny medal and a badge to pin onto his uniform. 150 lives for a stupid medal. He didn’t know what he was fighting for back then but what the heck. Army had been there for him when he was nothing but a drug peddler with a serious addiction. A druggie the church turned away from, his parents disowned and the townspeople beat on the streets mercilessly.       

  Now ten years down the line, he was clean and commanding the largest battalion of the US Army still unsure why he was getting into another war. He needed to retire. Take out his fat severance cheque and go somewhere in the Bahamas. On some beach with beautiful voluptuous women, laughing faces and lots of merrymaking …and vodka. Yeah that’s where Old Ronald would retire. He set down his cup of coffee and double-checked his guns. The safety pins, the triggers, magazines, and spotless barrels- he was set for another killing spree. He holstered his reassembled pistol and slung his assault rifle over his shoulder. He took another sip of his strong coffee. It dribbled down his throat and soothed his nerves. Whiskey would’ve been more effective, but he had to be alert in the field. Especially today.

“Corporal Steve Williams reporting for duty sir!” A squeaky voice shouted outside his tent. Ronald grunted and the kid entered. The kid had a face full of freckles and barely had an Adam’s apple. He shouldn’t be here fighting a war. He should be somewhere getting his first kiss or enjoying cartoon plays about robots on a black and white screen. This was big league stuff the kid was in. But Ronald worked with what he got. He always did.

“What is it Steve?” Ronald said in his usual gruff authoritative voice. When he addressed his subjects he put on this voice- the one that sounded like it had been through bottles of vodka and tins of tobacco when it actually hadn’t. That voice had moved him up ranks when he was still a Corporal. Thank God for deep vocals.

“Reconnaissance Unit 1047 has radioed in. The Japs are on the move. Headed for Sun Valley right this moment sir!”

Unmoved by this news, Ronald took another sip of coffee. They were planning something… damn Japs always were. But he couldn’t place his finger on what it was. It was rumored they had a devilishly brainy young tactician of a Commander. One who’d studied chemicals and explosives at University. This couldn’t be good. Ronald hated playing chess and war was a great big board full of it. He always left the tactical jibber jabber for his Sergeant Ajax…he was much better on the ground- actually killing.

“What has the Sergeant inferred?” Ronald asked.

“We meet them on the bluff.”

“I thought so.” He hadn’t.

“OK get the word out to the others. We leave in ten!”

Steve moved with alacrity.

Ronald drained the remnants of the coffee down to the last dreg and got up. He hated war.  

        

*Katana is a long curved single edged traditional Japanese blade.

© 2011 M.Babu


Author's Note

M.Babu
This is my first short story and it is important to me. YOU MUST REVIEW. Candidly of course (:

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Featured Review

HA! i knew it! Mwach, I'm so proud ;)
this is brilliant...the whole respectful japanese culture thingy...brilliant! it read so authentic, and i swear this is your best piece yet. Great concept btw, of telling a war story from both sides...
Tha characters came to life, and i could identify and sympathise with both the young japanese captain, and the battlehardened american rambo dude...im gushing now eh? :D ebu part 2 PAP!!!!
brilliant bro #weotherwritersaintsafe

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I will be honest - I did have a few problems with this story. But I will sing it's praises afterwards.

First of all, it was choppy. I found the japanese side of the story took me out of the read so much, mainly with the translations that it was difficult to get into it. Also with the style of language - you could do with suggesting things rather than just comming out and saying it.

On that basis, I think you need to pin down some more description. You can explain within the story (no 'authorial intrusion' stuff) that they are speaking in Japanese and then write it in English. It sounds a little like you're trying to suggest 'look what I know'. The translations both take away from the story, and also sound patronising as if you're talking down to the reader - which is never good. You can take away the side note for the Katana too - if people don't know what one is they can look it up. Always asume the reader understands what you're talking about because if it's clear in the context, they won't question it.

The other problem was with the setting. I had none of this playing properly in my head because i had no description of setting or area or timw within the war - only there was a war of some sort and people on different factions. If it was at the beginning of the war and they are in a tent or in a building inland - then say as much. This only takes a sentence or two and it really sets up the imagery.

Otherwise, you're style of writing works because it's you're narrative voice comming through for a querky piece, and this is shown mainly through the american side. You explain stuff fairly decently and your character changing is clear. I think it is a matter of playing with elaboration on sentences and descriptions, changing speech to fit accents or seperating characters and bringing the piece together so it draws you in and not keeps you at a little distance :) Looking forward to reading the next part for progression.

Posted 10 Years Ago


This is interesting. I enjoyed both sides , Japanese and American.
Shows the faces of war. They are human. Both sides.
Your characters are described very well.. it made me sad , the goodbye between the Japanese couple... This is well written and interesting.
Truly enjoyed it.

Chloe

Posted 10 Years Ago


I have to get to work so i will read this when i can absorb it properly..didn't know it was long.. which is good.. love long stories.. so ,,
Thanks for your review.. i will be back..

Chloe

Posted 10 Years Ago


I like how u've based your theme,giving both sides of the story and juxtaposing two war camps is a great approach!I like conversation especially on the japs camp,it gives alot of insight to the japanese way of life in a way that if i dint know any better i'd think u were jap!!:-P its definately a great read and i'l be looking out for a part 2 and 3 and 4 and mybe eventualy a book?:-)

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

War story are hard to write. I was in War zones in my 15 years in the Army. I put them out of mind asap. I like the pace and situation in the story. I like the conversation. To understand another culture you must study them and become like them. A excellent opening chapter.
Coyote

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

HA! i knew it! Mwach, I'm so proud ;)
this is brilliant...the whole respectful japanese culture thingy...brilliant! it read so authentic, and i swear this is your best piece yet. Great concept btw, of telling a war story from both sides...
Tha characters came to life, and i could identify and sympathise with both the young japanese captain, and the battlehardened american rambo dude...im gushing now eh? :D ebu part 2 PAP!!!!
brilliant bro #weotherwritersaintsafe

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Great story. Can't wait to read more. I love reading about both sides. Gives more depth to the situation of war. Outstanding.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Not my thing but very good writing skills my friend!

Posted 10 Years Ago


There's so much in this story to commend and respect .. the different voices of the protagonists is interesting and i think you've managed to use the formal style and of course, dialogue of the Japanese very cleverly tho you've used a few unnecessary words - mainly adjetives, here and there; in the American version the writing style's more relaxed but equally inviting the reader to read on.

There's definitely a novel lurking in this piece of writing .. maybe there are more chapters to come!? I'd like to know what happens in the future, so, hopefully you'll develop the theme once you've finished setting the intial scene

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 20, 2011
Last Updated on February 21, 2011
Tags: family, perspective, war, love, death

Author

M.Babu
M.Babu

Nairobi, Kenya



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