Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
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On The Outskirts of a War-Torn City In a Bunker Where Two Men Sat

The floor of the bunker was dirt. The thing had been dug out as a last ditch effort to shield a family from shrapnel, but when the army came in and the family fled the city, the shoddy hole in the ground was built up properly with concrete and used by strategists and interrogators alike. But now, especially during the day, since most of the violence had subsided in that particular part of town, the bunker was seldom used. Today, however, it was being used by two men. One of the men was in a decorated uniform and the other in torn, bloodied cargo gear. Both sat on aluminum chairs at a small wooden table. The man in the rags was cut and bruised and handcuffed with his hands behind his back, but he did not look defeated or hurt in any way. The man in the uniform stared at his prisoner from across the table with a confused curiosity.

"What were you doing out in the streets?" his voice was full of an odd sort of concern. "Why are you still here? Why did you not flee like the others?"

The battered man in handcuffs absently stared out of a slit in one of the concrete walls into the dusty streets of the abandoned city. Everything seemed surprisingly calm. The sound of gunshots seemed to be miles away, and there was no smoke filling the sky and blocking the sun. There was, however, a stray, barking dog.

"Each one of your predecessors abandoned the cause before you. They fled before they could collect the same cuts and bruises as you have."

"They were cowards," the prisoner said airily. He shifted in his seat and the metal of his handcuffs bounced off of and sang in harmony with the aluminum chair. "They were unworthy of what victory has to offer within the cause."

The man in uniform leaned forward and said “Ah, but you are worthy, yes?”

"Did I say that?" The prisoner’s eyes left the window and locked with his captor’s. "I am not worthy of anything until I have proven myself so."

Out in the street, the barking mutt grew closer and louder.

"So you will not give up?"

"I will not. I cannot."

"But what if she abandons you? Your cause. What if she betrays you after all your effort fighting for her?"

"I will still believe in her."

The uniformed man laughed and leaned back in his chair. “But why?” he asked with a tone of desperate confusion. The dog outside was still barking.

"Because my cause is the only thing I do believe in. She is worth fighting for and I will fight whatever I must and travel as far as she needs even if my life is taken from me in the process."

"They say nothing worth having is easily attained…" the uniformed man chewed his cheek and pondered. "But that is a romantic notion at best." The dog outside was still barking when the man stood up and walked to the window. After he pulled a gun from the holster on his hip and fired a round out into the street, the barking abruptly stopped.

The man in handcuffs shifted in his seat again.

"My men and I have orders to interrogate and kill any radicals we come across." The man holstered his gun and turned to face his prisoner. "But that was my last bullet."