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CyberWar
July 2nd, 2016, 10:43 PM
"PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU...!"

"SHUT UP, WHORE! WHERE IS HE?!"

"PLEASE... I DON'T..."

"WHERE IS HE, YOU LYING TRAITOR BITCH!?"

"GOD!!! I SWEAR... OH, NO...! DON'T! DON'T YOU DARE! DON'T YOU TOUCH HER!!!"


The combat boot plants in the hysterical woman's face with a heavy thump, followed by a groan and another thump as she falls down on the floor. She shrieks in pain and curls in a tight ball as the same boot strikes her in the gut, while a little girl, her daughter, shrieks in terror and pain as her mother's unforgiving tormentor seizes her by the two platinum-blonde braids and drags her towards the door. The woman tries to tackle him despite the pain in her stomach and the blood liberally flowing from her broken nose, only to be shoved down and kicked again, the man's irate heel crushing her fingers as she desperately tries to grab a hold of his leg and delay him.

"Take that filthy whore outside!" the man holding the woman's struggling, screaming daughter commands, his voice and expression cold enough to freeze over the Baltic Sea in midsummer. His companion seizes the woman by her scruff, twisting her left arm on the back, and half-drags, half-shoves her outside in the yard. By now she is completely hysterical, swearing, threatening and begging all in the same sentences.

Outside, the man's companions await, some still searching the premises. He forces the terrified girl to her knees, trying to ignore the smell of her just having soiled herself in horror, draws his sidearm, and levels it to the child's flaxen-haired head.

"I will ask you one last time - WHERE IS HE!?" he roars at the sobbing, begging woman. His only good eye burns with rage and unforgiving wrath, leaving no room for doubt that he is about to make good on his threatening gesture and ventilate the child's head.

That man is me.


---


Wet work. Dirty jobs. Taking out the trash. There are many rather corny euphemisms for what we are doing right now. I have gone a long way from being an internationally-celebrated war hero to a war criminal, from fighting nobly for my country to hounding mostly unarmed people that the new government deems undesirable. The faces on the TV might be new, but the sacks of shit behind them are still very much the same - upstarts and war profiteers who capitalized on the sacrifices of guys like ourselves, crawling out from the safety of their gated communities and villas far away from the war just in time to claim all the credit for restoring the nation. Most of them have never fired a gun. Obviously, it would be far too much to expect their sort to have the decency to call the things that they have us do by their real names. Hunting down and murdering known traitors, collaborators, political and personal rivals broadly classified as "enemies of the people" is now called "counter-insurgency", or any of the aforementioned names. The new government's death squads like mine are now "field operatives". Frightening and sometimes beating out the information of our targets' whereabouts from their friends and relatives is called "enhanced interrogation" - I still cannot believe they actually stole that one from the Yanks.


For all practical means and purposes, the war is effectively over. Russia is falling apart, and what Ivans still remain in Europe are now pulling back to slaughter their own people in the new civil war for a change, often turning on each other as they do. Funny thing is, the Yanks ain't here to gloat about it and claim all the credit either - the States themselves are a single shot away from a civil war themselves. Europeans got a shitload of their own problems, with much of the continent being in ruin and all. That leaves us, Easterners, stuck in between and for the time being left largely to our own devices.

As the Russian army leaves the formerly-occupied lands, it leaves behind a power vacuum that is eagerly exploited by various unsavoury characters. Criminal gangs, deserters, looters - you name it. There's no police, no courts, no emergency services, no nothing. The law is whatever the guy with the most guns behind him says it is. These are the circumstances that our new government must somehow reestablish themselves in.

As far as their choice of methods to reassert that authority is concerned, I don't object. In fact, I fully approve. The country is currently full of people who shouldn't be there, people who have done more than enough to deserve a bullet to the head or a noose around the neck. We have been given a very broad leeway in deciding how we deal with their ilk, and admittedly, I have been more than enthusiastic in exploiting that authority for purely personal vengeance. We all have. There are no saints or do-gooders here. After five and a half years of our homeland suffering under the Ivan's heel, we are all thirsty for revenge, pretty much everyone who isn't a traitor here is. What I can't live with is the knowledge that for all the despicable God-awful shit we've been doing lately, we've been doing it to bring back the old system, the rule of a few filthy-rich pieces of human waste over the many who must decide every day whether to pay their bills or eat next week. The country isn't even fully under government control yet, when they are already starting to bicker over political mandates and offices, warm places in which to continue to leech on the common man's sweat and blood just like before the war. They send us out to do their "wet work" for them, proclaiming it is to "restore the rule of law and justice", and yet exploit the general state of lawlesness to fight their political rivals in the streets as well as the parliament, hired goon squads with assault weapons now being merely another legitimate instrument of political struggle in their eyes.

One thing I've learned during this war is that every nation has it's share of degenerate scumbags. More specifically, that certain breed of people found in every nation and ethnicity to whom concepts like loyalty or morality are only valid as long as it serves their petty little interests. That breed of people who in more peaceful times will constantly whine and bitch about how cruelly opressed they are, never being grateful nor ever having enough. The breed of people who will at an opportune moment turn upon their compatriots and collaborate with the enemy for personal gain, becoming crueler tyrants than even their new masters in an effort to please them. I believe the appropriate word for their sort is "lackey", though I don't suppose it is possible to contain the vileness and perversion of their ilk in a single word. Because in my eyes, even the entire world's vocabulary of profanities would not serve to adequately describe this particular type of people.

In our recent errands in pursuit of known collaborators and other scum, I'm somewhat surprised how patriotic everyone has suddenly become. Among the local Russkies, you will hardly hear a word uttered in Russian now - the same Russkies who used every opportunity to denounce our country and praise the Kremlin policies before the war, the same Russkies who wouldn't utter a word in our national tongue out of spite despite having been born and lived here for all their lives. The same Russkies who greeted the Ivan's tanks with flowers and eagerly joined the occupation's paramilitary death squads to terrorize and torture those loyal to our country. Believe it or not, there are hardly greater patriots than them among us now - the threat of being dragged out in the streets by a mob of vigilantes and necklaced with a tyre full of gasoline at night can work miracles to change peoples' attitudes. Even more amusingly, not all of them have become ardent patriots out of a sense of self-preservation. Some would come to their senses already during the occupation, when they would walk the streets feeling like the new lords and kings of this place under the new regime, only to be cut down to size and come to the bitter realization that their beloved brothers from Russia didn't see them as brothers at all, that they saw them for what they really were - expendable disloyal pieces of shit who had served their purpose and had now outlived their usefulness as political subversives. Traitors are reviled everywhere and always, even by those in whose favour they have betrayed.

And it's not just the Russians. In these five and a half years, I have in fact grown to respect the Russian people far more than I did before the war, and not just as tenacious enemies. I have fought and bled alongside Russian lads who called our country home and remained loyal to it despite their blood-ties with the enemy, more than one of them died saving me or someone else in my outfit, and I am honoured to call them my battle-brothers. A lot of my own co-nationals of the same sort have suddenly experienced a patriotic revival as well. The same guys who whined and bitched about our nation's shitty pre-war state at every opportunity without doing anything to change it, the same guys who found it preferable to take slave jobs at Irish mushroom farms and British factories or just went off to the West to leech from their generous welfare, all the while yammering about how shitty their land of birth was. The same guys who snitched on their neighbors and friends to the Ivan authorities during the occupation in return for monetary incentives or simply out of petty personal revenge in full knowledge of what fate would await them afterwards. The same girls who wouldn't as much as spit on the average lad like myself from the height of a ten-story building, waiting for a rich prince in a white BMW whose money to squander on jewelry and designer clothes, and eagerly jump in bed with the first foreigner that would buy them a drink. Those same girls that later jumped in bed with every other Ivan grunt for 20 euros and a couple tins of beef in what was no doubt an already well-practiced move for them.

All these filthy, degenerate, worthless subhuman vermin... The mere thought of having to breath the same air as they do fills me with disgust. All of them deserve death. All of them must die...

So here I am - the once-proud recipient of 11 medals including a Yank Distinguished Service Cross and the Time Magazine "hero of the month", standing with a gun leveled at the head of a 10-year-old girl whose flaxen braids bring up bittersweet memories of a certain very special woman, about to blow her brains out because her filthy traitor whore of a mother will not reveal where her worthless degenerate traitor husband is hiding.

---

"IF THAT WORTHLESS PIECE OF SCUM ISN'T OUT HERE ON THE COUNT OF THREE, THE KID'S GONNA GET IT! ONE!"

"GOD, PLEASE, NO...!"

"What the fuck, man!" Katz protests, "You're not serious..."

"Oh, fuck yeah, I'm serious!" I bark, "TWO!"

Really. What the fuck am I doing?

"What the fuck's wrong with you! She's just a kid, for fuck's sake!" Katz does not relent. The rest of the lads look equally upset.

"YOU WILL STAND DOWN, SERGEANT!" I bellow furiously, "YOU WERE WITH ME AT THAT MASS GRAVE THEY DUG UP TWO DAYS AGO, YOU SAW THE FRUITS OF THAT MAN'S TREACHERY WITH YOUR OWN BLOODY EYES, AND I SWEAR BY ALL THAT IS HOLY I'M GOING TO WIPE OUT EVERY LIVING MEMBER OF HIS FUCKING FAMILY WITH MY OWN HANDS IF HE ESCAPES WHAT'S COMING TO HIM NOW!"

At this point, I half-expect him to pull a gun on me, and I wouldn't hold it against him if he did. But I've gone too far to turn back now. The traitor must die, and if he doesn't, he must suffer. He must lose everyone dear to him just like the families of the victims of his treachery did.

You don't ever get used to witnessing a mass exhumation. I'm sure even the sonderkommandos at Aushwitz never got used to it, even as all they did on a daily basis was body disposal. Which is why they were treated to generous amounts of alcohol to numb them. Seeing your own countrymen and women just rotting there in a pit, heaped like garbage, mutilated beyond all recognition and bound with barbed wire or strips of their own skin flayed from their bodies isn't something you ever forget or forgive. And most certainly not when you know who is responsible for them being there. All those people, savagely tortured and butchered all because of one godless filthy subhuman traitor who ratted them out... Sights like that do have a way of filling your measure of rage, past the which you simply no longer care whom or why to kill, as long as it makes that traitor suffer.

I see Katz slowly reaching for his gun already, but I'm long past the point of giving a fuck. Just as I am about to exclaim "THREE!" and pull the trigger, scattering the girl's brains across the yard in front of her mother, a trembling, tearful voice stops my finger.

"I'm here! For the love of God, don't hurt my daughter...!"

---

There's a pale, trembling man standing in the house's door. Slightly overweight, wearing round glasses, his dark hair beginning to recede at the age of forty-two. An exact match to the picture in the target file we were given.

The lads immediately seize, search and zipcuff him before dragging him before me. I let the girl go, the child running to her much-relieved mother.

"Citizen T., for the crimes of treason and willful collaboration with enemy occupation forces, which has led to the deaths of 27 people, you have been sentenced to death! Do you have any last words?!" I proclaim.

It's just protocol, really. The new government had abandoned any pretense of conventional justice for collaborators already by the time they first set foot back on our native soil. Death sentences like these are meted out every day, no defense, no jury, no appeal being required. We let the legal experts and human rights activists be shocked and appalled about these sentences for whatever it's worth - we are here to just carry them out. Anytime one of us might have second thoughts, all it takes is to remember the contents of a mass grave, one of many we've seen dug up since our return for our resolve to harden again. Those complicit in these atrocities don't deserve a defense, jury or appeal - just like the victims of their treachery were granted no such luxuries.

"Please, not here..." the man whispers, looking me in the eye, "Not in front of my daughter..."

I nod in agreement. The kid's seen enough for a lifetime today.

"Take him behind the barn!" I order. Fender and Hog grab the condemned man by the arms and drag him after me, while Katz, Sparks and the rest stay behind, restraining his wife and daughter, whose pitiful wailing accompanies us.

---

When it comes to wet work, we try to keep things professional, or whatever semblance of professionality can people in our position retain anyway. This guy and the others we've done in before, for all the torture his likes would deserve for their crimes, can consider himself lucky. A shot to the back of the head, and it's all over in an instant, quickly and painlessly - which is far better than what they would get if left at the mercy of the mobs that also hound for their ilk these days. In the past two weeks alone, we've seen 15 incidents of necklacing, women who slept with Russian soldiers being driven through the streets naked and whipped with lengths of electrical cables, one of them having battery acid splashed in her face afterwards so that no man would ever behold her again without profound disgust. There's barely a town you can drive through without seeing some poor sod strung up on a tree or lamppost after being beaten to within an inch of his life by the looks of him or her. I can't say I pity any of them - whatever the lot of them did, most probably deserved every bit of it.

Such sights still has me thinking that the certain breed of lackeys won't go anywhere even with our best efforts to hunt down them all. Come to think of it, most leads that our superiors get on the whereabouts of traitors do come from anonymous denunciations - which means that there are still plenty of lackeys out there, the ones we get to do in merely being those whose particular tastes have fallen out of political favour at the time being.

---

As we round the barn corner, the lads leave the traitor at my disposal. They know I don't like them watching. None of us do. It's something best kept between just ourselves, the target and whatever god each of us happens to believe in.

There's no point in dragging things out. I shove the man to his knees, quickly draw my pistol and put a slug through the poor bastard's head, two finger-widths above the base of the skull. His face explodes in a puff of blood, brain and gore, glasses flying off and brains spilling out liberally as he drops face-first in the pile of manure. A mean gun, this Desert Eagle of mine - it's .50 hollow-point slug will literally take a man's face off as it makes exit when shot in the back of the head at this range. The same kind of round that demolished half of my face, at the hand of a traitor much like this useless scumbag who now lies dead in a pile of cow shit. I didn't put him down here on purpose, though, that pile just happened to be here.

"LAURA, NO...!" I hear the traitor's wife cry out. Moments later, the flaxen-haired little girl rounds the corner, running to the body of her father with tears flowing from her bright-blue child's eyes.

"Why did you kill daddy?!" she looks at me. There's no grief, just anger and question.

The kid didn't have to see this. Suddenly I feel like a goddamn bastard.

---

"Laura, right? Laura, look at me," I speak to the girl, kneeling down to face her and seize her by the shoulders. She struggles angrily at first.

"I said, look at me!" I insist, "I am sorry you had to see this. Do you know why I had to kill your father?"

The girl says nothing, just looks into my only eye with a mix of anger, grief and question, and I feel as if her gaze is burning away my very soul, or what little is left of it anyway.

"You may not understand this now, but some day you will. Your father was a very bad man, which is why I had to kill him," I try to explain.

"My daddy was not a very bad man!" the girl angrily insists.

"Yes, he was," I continue, "He did some very bad things, and a lot of good people were killed because of him! Which is why I had to kill him."

"No, you are a very bad man!", the girl shouts, "Daddy just wanted the Russians to leave mommy and me alone, so he told them on those people!"

Coming from the mouth of a babe... I doubt God himself could pass a harsher and more apt verdict on me. I am an evil man, and I know it, but it never really hits home quite as hard as when told by an innocent child.

I pull the clip from my gun and remove one bullet from it, a .50 hollow-point. I take my ink pen and write my name on it before kneeling back to the girl who sits by her dead father.

"You are a smart girl," I say, putting the bullet in her hand, "Sometimes people do bad things for the ones they love. I have also done a lot of very bad things for the ones I love. Tell you what - take this bullet and keep it close at all times. It's got my name on it. When you grow up, look me up if you still feel bitter about your father, and use it as you see fit!"

The girl says nothing, and I have nothing left to say her as well.

---

"Mount up!" I shout to the lads as I leave from behind the barn. Fender cuts the traitor's wife loose, and the woman immediately runs over to her dead husband, wailing pitifully. Our job here is done, and there's nothing more for us to do in this place.

"Hey, Katz," I ask my old buddy as he starts the truck, "Would you really have shot me if I had killed that girl?"

"Of course not," he replies, "I was gonna shoot you in the arm or leg to keep you from shooting her, but certainly not shoot you dead! Would you really have killed that girl if that traitor hadn't surrendered himself?"

"Of course not," I say, "What kind of an animal do you take me for?!"


Truth be told, I'm not sure if wouldn't have.

ned
July 18th, 2016, 02:46 AM
hello - hate to see a story with no replies at all -

but it is understandable given the opening dialogue and paragraph -
I mean, who would want to read any more? - not me, for sure.

sexist language, followed by graphic, wanton violence ain't gonna hook 'em in.

so, my advice would be to re-write the opening, and tone it down.
you may like this sort of thing, but posting on here is an appeal to others sensibilities
and this is is way out of kilter with the tastes of the populous - like it or not.

just a thought
Ned

CyberWar
July 19th, 2016, 03:18 AM
Two words - shock value.

This story is about a death squad hunting down perceived traitors in a war-torn country, told from the perspective of a grizzled war veteran leading the said squad. It's not meant to look pretty, nor should it. I believe that war, and especially it's aspects that the governments much rather prefer to sweep under the rug, should always be shown in all it's hideous ugliness in literature - savagely cruel, brutally violent and downright terrifying.

I believe the same should be true for characters featuring in war stories. War isn't some corny Hollywood propaganda film where larger-than-life self-righteous do-gooders fight to save the day, bring freedom and democracy, kick ass and make names. War is a bleak, brutish and ugly brawl fought by ordinary men with all their often monstrous quirks and flaws. The lead character of this and other of my war stories isn't supposed to please the sensibilities of politically-correct pacifists and liberals, because he is meant to represent the polar opposite of their pre-conceived notions of goodness and propriety that are so patently absent in actual military conflicts. He is a grizzled battle-hardened veteran, filled with seething rage, hatred and thirst for vengeance. He is jaded misanthropist, bitter, disillusioned and cynical towards everything and everyone. He is what you could actually expect the average man to be like after six years of war, having lost everything dear to him, witnessed the very worst of humanity and then some.

If this story comes off as shocking and offensive with it's language and content, then good - I don't want my readers to perceive war and violence as something to be entertained with. I want them to see and feel it for all it's raw, unedited brutality that it entails, to throw them out of the comfort zone that the glamorized Hollywood propaganda films and censored news reports have built for them, to cast them directly into situations where the value of human life and dignity is measured by the monetary cost of the bullet used to end it.

---

Admittedly, it might be too hard for some to stomach, but I'm sure that those who can will appreciate the effort.

Zorg
July 19th, 2016, 03:24 AM
I kind of get where you're coming from and where you're going. The genre isn't my proverbial cup of scotch, but I understand what you're trying to do. Admittedly, there is probably an audience for your work; I just can't identify who, and that's really not my job as a fellow writer. But keep on keeping on.

Jay Greenstein
July 19th, 2016, 05:00 AM
"PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU...!"You need to look at this from your reader's viewpoint. Here we have someone unknown begging someone we know nothing about to do something unknown. What can that mean to the reader? And making it worse you're shouting. You have the context to make this meaningfiul, so it works when you read it. You know where they are, what they're doing, and what's going on. But unless you make the reader know that as well as you do they're just words. And since the reader, who lacks context, will stop reading, it does no good to clarify later.
The combat boot plants in the hysterical woman's face with a heavy thump, followed by a groan and another thump as she falls down on the floor.What you're doing is mentally watching the film version and telling the reader what you notice. But "combat boot?" Whose? And why? Unless we know that, it's meaningless.
Wet work. Dirty jobs. Taking out the trash. There are many rather corny euphemisms for what we are doing right now. I have gone a long way from being an internationally-celebrated war hero to a war criminal, from fighting nobly for my country to hounding mostly unarmed people that the new government deems undesirable.Whose talking? No way to tell. Who is "we?" You don't make it clear. Country? What country? What new government? Only you know that, and the reader can't see the mental images you hold. Nor can they hear your voice, so all the emotion there is missing.

In short, you're using a skill set meant for a different medium, one the printed word doesn't support.

Not good news, I know, but writing fiction for the page is a profession. And if you want the reader to know the story as you intend, you need the skills of a fiction writer. They're no harder to learn than the nonfiction writing skills we're given in school, but they are necessary. So a bit of time spent digging out the necessary skills and practicing them would be a wise investment of time. Because as Mark Twain wisely observed, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

In picking up those skills, the local library's fiction writing section is an invaluable resource.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

bdcharles
July 19th, 2016, 09:49 AM
Two words - shock value.

I think for this to work you need to give readers something to be shocked away from; a relatable, sympathetic character or situation (the perceived traitors might feed neatly into that). Even the "ordinary man" you mention would be a start. Then you can present the horrors of war and so on in context, so we see in contrast how bad it is, what it can do to normal people. Otherwise it's just kind of a gore-fest. Not sure how much of an appetite there is for that at the present moment, though I see by your response that playing to such an appetite is more your goal. I dunno. Maybe there are lots of people who would get excited at this. I suppose the sensibility came through a little towards the end. Grammar's generally good though; just a few pointers:


"YOU WILL STAND DOWN, SERGEANT!" I bellow furiously,
-> I suggest furiously is not necessary here as the tone is clear.


even the sonderkommandos at Aushwitz
- italicise sonderkommandos? The place spelling is Auschwitz


led to the deaths of 27 people
-> spell out lower numbers: "led to the deaths of twenty-seven people"


"Take him behind the barn!" I order.
With dialogue tags, sometimes less is more, particularly if the speech makes clear how it's delivered. Why not just:
I nod in agreement. The kid's seen enough for a lifetime today. "Take him behind the barn!"
(or something. There are a few more of these.)


When it comes to wet work, we try to keep things professional, or whatever semblance of professionality can people in our position retain
-> move the "can" between "position" and "retain"


"Laura, right? Laura, look at me," I speak to the girl, kneeling down to face her and seize her by the shoulders. She struggles angrily at first.

"I said, look at me!" I insist, "I am sorry you had to see this. Do you know why I had to kill your father?"
-> With dialogue, keep it on the same line if it is the same person, and just put in some other stuff there to spread it out if need be; eg:
"Laura, right? Laura, look at me," I speak to the girl, kneeling down to face her and seize her by the shoulders. She struggles angrily at first. "I said, look at me!" Finally her shoulders sag. "I am sorry you had to see this. Do you know why I had to kill your father?"



The girl says nothing, just looks into my only eye with a mix of anger, grief and question,
-> with this, to convey "saying nothing", sometimes writing nothing works. I've had several long conversations on how to convey silence and there are many interesting ways to do it. Just have her look at the guy. I also didn't quite follow the "and question" bit. Did you mean "questioning"?


Coming from the mouth of a babe... I doubt God himself could pass a harsher and more apt verdict on me
-> are the ellipses necessary? Why not just a comma?



"Of course not," I say, "What kind of an animal do you take me for?!"
-> should be a full stop after "say" rather than comma.

Harper J. Cole
July 19th, 2016, 12:24 PM
It's an uncomfortable read, but I understand where you're coming from with the narrator's lost humanity.

As to dropping your readers straight into the middle of the action, I think that can work. I guess it's a matter of personal taste.

bdcharles has pointed out most of the SPaG issues. I'll just add this ...


Funny thing is, the Yanks ain't here to gloat about it and claim all the credit either - the States themselves are a single shot away from a civil war themselves.

You can delete one instance of "themselves".

HC

Sam
July 19th, 2016, 01:10 PM
Two words - shock value.

This story is about a death squad hunting down perceived traitors in a war-torn country, told from the perspective of a grizzled war veteran leading the said squad. It's not meant to look pretty, nor should it. I believe that war, and especially it's aspects that the governments much rather prefer to sweep under the rug, should always be shown in all it's hideous ugliness in literature - savagely cruel, brutally violent and downright terrifying.

I believe the same should be true for characters featuring in war stories. War isn't some corny Hollywood propaganda film where larger-than-life self-righteous do-gooders fight to save the day, bring freedom and democracy, kick ass and make names. War is a bleak, brutish and ugly brawl fought by ordinary men with all their often monstrous quirks and flaws. The lead character of this and other of my war stories isn't supposed to please the sensibilities of politically-correct pacifists and liberals, because he is meant to represent the polar opposite of their pre-conceived notions of goodness and propriety that are so patently absent in actual military conflicts. He is a grizzled battle-hardened veteran, filled with seething rage, hatred and thirst for vengeance. He is jaded misanthropist, bitter, disillusioned and cynical towards everything and everyone. He is what you could actually expect the average man to be like after six years of war, having lost everything dear to him, witnessed the very worst of humanity and then some.

If this story comes off as shocking and offensive with it's language and content, then good - I don't want my readers to perceive war and violence as something to be entertained with. I want them to see and feel it for all it's raw, unedited brutality that it entails, to throw them out of the comfort zone that the glamorized Hollywood propaganda films and censored news reports have built for them, to cast them directly into situations where the value of human life and dignity is measured by the monetary cost of the bullet used to end it.

---

Admittedly, it might be too hard for some to stomach, but I'm sure that those who can will appreciate the effort.

Are you an historian or a fiction writer?

Yes, war is brutal. It's unforgiving, harsh, traumatic, and there is an ungodly amount of horror that greets any soldier who pulls on a uniform for his country. And recreating that on a page is a good thing . . . if you're an historian. But if you're a fiction writer, there is a way to pay homage to the reality of war while toning it down so that you don't lose readership. The whole point of writing a story like the one you want to write is for people to read it, to understand that war ain't no picnic, but if 90% of the people who pick up your book put it down after a few pages, what's the point?

There's no need to romanticise it like a Hollywood action flick, but there is a lot to be said for understanding how to convey it in a way that maximises potential readership.

Makili
July 19th, 2016, 03:29 PM
Well, I had a different impression of this story. War theme is definitely not my cup of tea. I avoid movies and books that are about it. However, I read this story to the end.

I like the main character. He seems like someone who has some kind of principles and a sense of justice, and is trying to stick to them in the world where values keep changing. Even if he is a brutal killer, at never turned into one of the people he despises.

I could relate to the story, coming from the country where war was a reality, and war criminals and "that certain breed of people" still are. It just felt familiar.
Yes, the story does provoke an emotional reaction. Unpleasant one. But still - you don't stay indifferent.

I only thought that the text could be more compact. I would loose the opening conversation (shouting). I liked the part where you explain the context of the story, but after that, I thought the story dragged a bit. And the scene with the girl and her dad was a bit Hollywood-ish... (including the reference to Kill Bill...).