Illusion

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An influx of patriotic screams owned by an army of dedicated, yet scared men would forever more be purged of cruelty and hurt when the time has come for this war to end.

An influx of air as multiple chests would expand to draw the breath of their other, and contract when their last breath be still upon this earth’s last defense.

Gleaming armor, spears, swords. Gleaming, muscular bodies of sweaty horses at the ready, snorting in anticipation. The sun battling it out with the barren battlefield and everything thereon; but the mask of all quiet.

“I have come to take what is yours,” one said.

“And I have come to defend what surely cannot be given so easily,” the other replied.

“By Zeus, agreeing could have spared your men and secured the safe return to their wives and children.”

“My men will rid yours in a blink of an eye, friend. Do not speak too soon when in fact you cannot know the outcome.”

“I am confident.”

“As am I. No wonder you speak so freely of me giving in and surrendering my livelihood. Be gone, son of Hades!”

Swords swung in arcs as sparks celebrated married metal. In the distance, the men could but stand and watch as their captains battled for the sake of survival; the one asking, the other refusing. The world began to shake as their anger grew; one’s persistence intensified as the other’s refusal began to weaken. Horses grew nervous and tramped about, their glistening bodies ready for anything. The ground beneath their feet trembled as its hurt was shared, plumes of dust wafting into the air, obscuring the captains within. Startled birds took flight from trees that circled the clearing, in search of another, safer haven.

And all vanished.

“Give me your heart,” one said, without defense, naked to the bone.

“I cannot,” the other replied as the dust settled, still holding a bloody sword, and all that could be seen was the depths of each of their eyes, watching, guarding, pleading.

“Then you leave me no choice but to take it by force, however long it will take. I have hope.”

“Your motivation is false. Hope is but an illusion.”

“Then love is an illusion, as with it comes you. Tell me you are not an illusion.”

A single tear prodded down his cheek, made its way down his chin, and fell to the dust. He discarded his defenses; his weaponry, his armor, and exposed his heart to the one he distrusts the most, but could not bear to lose.

“The fight is over.”

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