The shoeless one-eyed man sat in the dirt, leaning against the wall of a bombed-out building. His wife lie dead inside and his children were being eaten by vultures on what was once a beautiful patio. He knew he was close to death but wanted to hold on long enough to spit on one of the invaders. He knew they would come. They always did. They looted what wealth remained, then burned what their bombs left unsullied. Their desire to desecrate and eliminate was an unquenchable thirst. They hungered for supremacy. Submission and surrender were impossible when their juggernaut thrust into the lives of those targeted for extinction.
He was a farmer who’d tilled the soil for a meager existence. Tending a small flock of sheep for wool, milk, and meat when a lamb could be spared. A simple man who loved his family and greeted each day with reverence, thankful for every moment given. A man who gazed at stars in wonder. Who stood in rain and marveled at its ability to replenish the land and allow life to spring forth. A man who felt malice towards no man and coveted not their bounty.
He could hear the clank of metal treads approaching but was also aware of his ragged breathing. Too weak to stand, he could only wait for a face to look into his as they certified his termination. He was thankful his wife wouldn’t be raped and degraded like many wives had been. Death saved her from humiliation. His children wouldn’t be sent to toil in camps where beatings and starvation would precede their expiration. Death came to them suddenly from the sky. Their souls were no longer in residence while their flesh was consumed.
Footsteps crunching through sand became the dominant sound as the enemy drew near. His mouth was so dry he struggled to produce enough spittle to properly display his contempt. Expiring without a moment of defiance wasn’t an acceptable end for someone whose only crime was being in the way of greed. A pawn in a power struggle he’d never participated in or understood. When a shadow loomed over him, he used the remainder of his energy to eject all that he’d been into the face of the enemy.
“This one’s a goner. Not much left of the house. Looks like they were pretty poor. Maybe the next town has more to offer.”
“Roger that. Good hunting,”