Hell is War

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

FLASH Writing Challenge 100 – Day 5

The reanimation is always the worst bit about the wars here. The pain of reanimation is many times more painful than that of dying. No one tells you that when you get to hell.

When you get to hell, or rather when you get to our level of hell, we are always at war. In life, we were called war-hawks, warmongers, bellicists, militarists, saber-rattlers, jingoists, xenophobes, etc. Whereas in life, we mongers conducted our warfare, from the protected safety of our remote (sometimes from the other side of the world) command posts, bunkers, and conference rooms. We conducted the business of men and women dying from a coward’s retreat. We had nonstop, PowerPoint presentations, animated, real-time graphics that showed our ‘stats’ with all the glee and gravity as if we were at a ballpark watching a baseball game.

We sat in luxurious conference rooms. We had fresh coffee, doughnuts, finger sandwiches, appetizers; whatever we wanted we were served as we sat at our long, gleaming mahogany tables and watched drone strikes, troop movements, air raids, and assassinations. It was war turned theater and we were the giddy children playing our deadly games while people died, lives were torn apart, cities were leveled, countries were decimated.

In hell, we have none of that.

We no longer have the boardrooms, the over-sized monitors from which to see live statistics, drone strikes. No longer do we have the buffet table wherever we go. No longer do we have fresh coffee and doughnuts. Here warfare is different. In Hell, we, the mongers, fight. Not with drones, not with deep undercover black ops teams, drone strike teams, fleets of flying bombers. Here we fight face-to-face. No systems exist to separate us from the horrors of warfare. War in Hell isn’t virtual; it is immediate, brutal, and painful.

Our weapons here aren’t guns, tanks, planes, or drones. Here we fight with clubs, pikes, maces, swords. Crude weapons that will and do kill you, but first there is the pain. Lots of pain. Then death. When the battle or the day is over and we start anew the next day. I guess. No one knows. We share our observations and ideas in passing, but the constant fighting allows little time for navel-gazing, pontificating, theorizing.

All the familiar faces are here of course. And each day, each new skirmish, battle, war shock them as if it were their very first time, every time. The hawks realize they can not direct others to fight, that they wanted (in life) to fight and destroy so their reward in Hell, is to live that wish out, day after day after day. Each battle is fought until only one man is standing. I’ve heard some theories that man is then allowed to leave this place. I’m not convinced this is so. Who could tell? Every day there are thousands more that join the fighting, how would one possibly spot an individual’s absence?

Sometimes the wars are fought with clear ‘sides.’ More often the sides are vague or simply unknown. Trust is rare in such circumstances as you might imagine.

The weapons are lethal and painful. The dying is painful, but as I said before, the coming back to life is excruciating. As one begins to die, no matter how many times one has experienced it (and yeah, even in Hell) there is, in the end, a surrender. A releasing of all hopes, dreams, expectations, plans. A cessation of clinging. But then when the spirit is reanimated, all of it comes rushing back into your psyche. It would seem that even in Hell, death is seen as a peaceful respite and none react well to being thrust back into a physical, warring, killing form.

In life, it was said ‘War is hell.’ Ironic for us here to see the opposite is also true. ‘Hell is War.’

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