Friday, 8 December 2017

Consequences of a Loveless World - When friends go to war.



Consequences of a Loveless World.

The Sniper sits patiently in his hiding place, his backside itchy from hours of waiting. He shifts his position noiselessly. The target, 250 metres away, stands with his back to him, puffing on his Russian cigarette, oblivious to his plight.

With his eyes on the target, the sniper reaches into his pocket and pulls out the smooth warm 7.62 mm round, thumbs it into the open breach of his high powered sniper rifle and quietly pushes the breach closed, forcing the round into it's chamber, ready for discharge.

The target turns suddenly, his hands dropping to the child standing in front of him. He nervously looks in the direction of the tree, which holds his death sentence, but pans past it, missing the dark green shape sitting high in its position. He bends down to the child and whispers in her ear, then points towards the barrier arm. He stands tall, takes one last look over his shoulder, and prompts the child to move. His Serbian features are taut, stretched from long hours of sleeplessness and the pain of the loss of his wife and older son and daughter. But his urgency still shows through the weathered features. He starts to run, pushing the child in front of him.

The sniper, ready for the dash, raises his rifle to his shoulder, carefully so as not to contact the surrounding limbs and branches, giving away his hiding place. His Croatian uniform, once stiff, now clings to his sweat stained body in easy comfort. The forefinger of his right hand closes round the trigger guard, looping over the trigger. He commences his breathing routine to steady his nerves. One bullet, one shot, one victim. He closes his eyes briefly to calm the light shimmer, and opens them again. The man has stopped, but the child runs on. The Serb removes his jacket, stretching his arms high to clear it off his massive shoulders, exposing a broad muscular back as his T-shirt rides up with the jacket.

The sniper thinks gleefully, a naked shot! The target is clear and unimpeded. His finger closes gently on the trigger, careful not to jerk the shot. The round sits patiently in the barrel, awaiting its moment of glory. But the action is stopped. The sniper stares in disbelief at the target. In the motion of removing his jacket, two medals are loosed from his T-shirt, golden in texture and as big as large biscuits. They dangle from two cloth strips and dance an invitation to a memory the sniper holds dear. They are Olympic medals! The same as the two he carries round his neck, under his tunic. His target is an athlete! Then the dawn of realisation hits him. He knows that man. Of course, the shoulders. His mind slips back to days less complicated.

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Los Angeles, 1984. The middleweight weightlifting competition. Georg Vacelich, Yugoslav Croatian, and Ivan Serepov, Romanian Serb, are waiting in the preparation area behind the stage. The competition had been tense, with just the two of them left to fight out the gold metal lifts. They have been competitors and friends for years, brought together through college and university in competition between their two countries. Now they faced each other in the heat of international glory, yet still remained firm friends.

After Ivan wins his two golds, and Georg his two silvers, they escape the confines of their respective compounds, their political commissars, and their mentors, and disappear into the hubbub of L.A.'s many bars and cafes, celebrating their respective triumphs as if both of them had won the gold together, as two true friends would. Six months after the games, Ivan and his family emigrate to the Bosnian province in Yugoslavia, so he can be closer to his friend, for work, and to settle in his ancestral homeland with the descendants of his forebears.


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Georg brushes the memory aside. His finger, still delicately poised on the trigger, relaxes a little. His friend, Ivan, pulls the T-shirt down and tucks it into his torn pants, his movement indicating a hastening of pace as he heads off after his girl-child. Georg decides that his friend is of no concern to his cause. He is beaten in spirit and body and will probably die soon anyway, as he, Georg, was dying. The performance enhancing cocktails fed to them as children had taken their toll. However, he thinks to himself, I am a Croatian warrior still and the future must be assured for my descendants. He swings the rifle gently around to the right, tracking the sight ahead of the now running man, and brings the cross hairs of the laser scope to bear on the child's back, pulling the trigger gently, as if making love to it, and forcing the firing pin mechanism forward to impact on the waiting round.

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The bullet, glorifying in its freedom, streaks through the air. At terminal velocity it punctures the air, destroying nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide particles with the heat of the friction generated as it spins clockwise about itself. The hardened tip begins to heat up with the friction, burning micro-organisms floating about in the cool afternoon air. On its determined flight to the target, it is killing a little of the planets careful balance, tilting the scales of nature relentlessly towards destruction. No amount of love or hope can repair the damage caused. It is a calamitous certainty of death. After it has travelled a full two miles, and destroyed countless millions of life cells on it's journey, the velocity diminishes to a complete stop and the bullet arcs gracefully to the ground, it's death trip expended, it's mission completed.
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The child stands still, the whistle of air as the round passes her right ear sending a terrifying fear through her body. As she turns in the direction of her father, she senses then sees him diving headlong at her, and is caught off-balance as he tackles her to the ground and forces all his body over her diminutive frame. She manages, in her terrifying fear to glance under his armpit and see a man fall from a tree back at the edge of the forest. He hits the ground with a thump and lays motionless. The scream starts to build in her throat, but the years of terror have taught her to stifle her fear. A scream would mean certain death for her and her father. She then hears a mighty thud, as does her father, forcing both to flinch from the next moment of death. However, there is no accompanying whistle of bullet or thwack of target attained, just the sound coming from the tree the man fell from. The thud again, and as she and her father look in the direction of the man, a dark gleaming object and a wooden stock fall to the ground, separately. Realising their fate had been altered, the father raised himself off the ground and in one athletic motion, grabbed his daughter up in his arms, and raced with all the strength he had towards the border post. The UN guards stationed there were waiting in absolute awe of the situation which had unfolded before their eyes.


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Georg could feel the fall, the light nothingness of his descent indicating the sensation. But how? He had been sitting on the branch a micro millisecond ago. The sharp pain in both his shoulders suggesting some great force had inflicted his precipitation from the tree. Before he could think anymore on his demise, the ground appeared in his vision, breaking his lovely nose, parts of his arms, and seven ribs. The sensation was electric. The silver medals hanging round his neck were forced into his collarbone by the rock under him, breaking the collarbone and rupturing flesh and blood vessels in the impact area. Jesus he hurt.

The pain, forcing his eyelids shut, abated for a second, allowing him to open his eyes in bewilderment. His vision fixed firmly on the two objects raising themselves from the ground in front of him and dashing towards the border. He knew he had got the round off, dead centre of the girls back. Why wasn't she dead? How could he have not hit the future of Serbia at that range? The pain forced its way back requiring his senses immediate attention. Just then he heard the encroaching sound of air being forced apart as if an object were passing through it, and the soft thud of a great object landing adjacent his head. He forced the pain from his conscience, opened his eyes, and managed to swivel his broken neck a little towards the shadowy beast standing over him. What on earth was a monkey doing here, he thought?



The monkey, old, strong, and obviously very flexible, bent down to the broken warrior, took his broken hand and said to Georg, "What God wants, God Gets. Come with me my son."

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