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Into the Fire
Fire raged on different buildings, cars and barricades. In an attempt to control the rebellion, the remaining police force resorted to violence. Guns were distributed to different police officers in an attempt to bring fear into the people. Instead of fear, the revolution became ever stronger than it was before and the people who joined the revolution also resorted into violence. In what seems to be a small gathering of protestors, now became fighters, loaded with guns and ammunition.
“Overthrow the corrupt government! Give power to the people!” one of the protestors shouted into the speakerphone. Zach heard the speaker well, and he too shouted the same chant, others then soon followed. It became like a war cry, a shout for freedom and peace, but to gain peace, a war must first be finished. He thought of that idea. What would happen if the riot police that controlled them resorted to violence? What would happen if they resorted into killing protestors because the situation has gotten beyond their control? The police force was outnumbered five to one. It would be easy to overrun them and enter the parliamentary building where the corrupt prime minister stayed. Zach thought that it would only take a minute before the prime minister would call the military and start to shoot people when that happens. It was a scary premonition, but it was bound to happen sooner or later if they continued to revolt against their government. But they were prepared. Zach saw a bunch of men, the day before, bringing in fresh supply boxes. Once he opened one of them, Zach was surprised not to find food, but rather a bundle of rifles and pistols, Ak-47’s and whole load of ammunition.
“What the hell is this?” Zach asked one of the head of the protestors.
“Compromise. Just in case.” The leader answered.
The leader was a man with an extraordinary stature, even though he wore an orange vest and had a beanie on top of his head and a long beard that was turning white; he was respected by most, if not by all. He had an aura that each and every single one of them felt, it was unexplainable but the aura was probably the reason why he became their leader. His name was Yuri, a Russian native, a man who speaks with tone of power, a man who sees the corrupt in his beloved country, a man who wants to fight the power that shadowed the people, a man who wants to bring power to the righteous, to the citizens of his country.
“We no longer will protest, my friend. Those days are over, we gave him time, but until now he hasn’t stepped down from his position. Now we must fight for what is right, today we stop our protesting, today we start our revolution.” Yuri said to Zach in a firm Russian accent.
Zach heard each and every single word he has said and he just stood there and nod. Yuri smiled at Zach and started to distribute the weapons. There wasn’t enough for all of them but Zach was at least able to receive a revolver. The revolver was painted metal chrome, it shined and in the reflection of the gun, he could see his face. It was like the gun saying to him that “You are my owner, use me to your own will.” It brought fear into Zach. He has never, in his whole life, shot a man before. But today will be his first, today will be a day of firsts.
The town square was crowded up by different protestors, shouting and waving their make shift signs. Some of the sign said “Democracy is power to the people, not power to one person.” Some said “Give back the power to the people.” “Corruption is in the heart of every politician.” And many more. They also chanted with their speaker phones, but the despite all of their efforts the riot police stood tall. They did flinch, they did not falter, and they were firm in standing their ground.
A couple of days before, some other protestors had gone out of control. The protestors started to throw Molotov cocktails, fire bombs at some police officers inside the city. There was gun fire and other police officers started to evacuate civilians out of the premises. Many were hurt; the situation was after all, getting out of control. Now, half of the city is controlled by the protestors, while the other half was controlled by the riot police. There are now fewer civilians than before. Civilians who were not willing to fight the government were forced to evacuate their houses. Needless to say that most of the civilian population of the country wanted to revolt, only the old and the children was out of the equation. Most of the teenage population entered the protest and some of the adults too. The population of the protestors were teenagers, in the age of eighteen to their early twenties. Some adults in the age of thirty to forty also joined. Yuri did not permit teens who are under aged or adults that were too old to fight. He had standards to follow. First, they must contribute, they must be willing to fight, second and foremost, they must not be dead weight, they must not drag the revolution down. And so far, none of the protestors drag the revolution down, none wanted to disappoint their country, their land.
Zach stood among other protestors who chanted against their government. He joined them, and for a long time they chanted without resting, they chanted despite of the coldness of the weather, they chanted despite their stomachs rumbling for food. As Zach stood among men, he saw one man walk pass through the crowd. He was bumping other protestors, so he used his free hand to push some away in a polite matter, of course. The people he moved away looked at him and saw the AK-47 strapped in his body. His other hand was on the trigger. He worked his way to the front of the crowd of protestors. And when they saw him in front, there was silence. The man pointed his gun at the police, and then he fired. He shot his AK in a horizontal manner, firing from the hip. It hit most of the riot police and they started to fall like dominoes. There were shouts from the crowd and after a long minute, the man ran out of bullets from his clip. He emptied the entire clip at the police. The protesters were in awe. Half the police force who were in the town square were down in the ground, bleeding. The man started to reload. A police officer drew his pistol and shot the man with the rifle once. It hit his body and blood spurted out and he fell down to the ground. The police officer with the gun then pointed the gun to the protestors and started to fire. At point blank range, he didn’t miss. People started to scream, as their fellow comrades hit the ground, dead. The police officer fired and fired, and when he ran out of bullets from the clip, he reloaded it. He fired the gun some more, protestors started to run, as they get shot.
Zach was among the men who ran, even though he had a gun, he still ran. He sprinted, but among the chaos he saw Yuri with a AK-47 rifle and men who had the same weaponry too. He stopped. The crowd kept running behind his back, but he stopped. Some bumped into him, but he stood tall as he stared Yuri and his men moving forward to where the carnage has started. They kept moving forward, even though countless of people bump into them, they moved firm, Yuri was in the middle of those men. There were about more than a hundred of them, with weapons ranging from pistols, submachine guns and rifles. They seemed like they were walking to war, a war that was bound to happen.
“What are we exactly, fighting for?” Asked Zach to Yuri one evening when they were sharing supper.
“Young man, we are fighting for something we need.” Yuri started. “When you fight for something, you want it. We are not fighting for something we want; rather we are fighting for something we need. Freedom from a corrupt leader, freedom from an over looming power. These are the things that we need free of. Freedom is at most, what we deserve. That man sitting from a higher power has taken freedom from us, now we are here, fighting to get it back.” Yuri said as he stared into the campfire.
They were out in the streets because some of the people who lived in the city cannot provide them shelter any longer. There were too many of them. Some gave a place to stay for them, but now they were full. Some like Zach and Yuri were forced to stay outside, in the winter cold. But the campfire kept them company as the night grows colder and colder.
“What happens after we win? Who are we going to give the power to, then? Back to a bunch of people? How are we going to know that they won’t make the same mistakes as he did?” Zach asked with worry in his voice.
Yuri laughed heartily. “You are a bright man.” He started. “Bright than most of the people here, perhaps. You are right. That is the same question that looms over my head. I am not going to take power that’s for sure. Give it to some younger people like you. You know what’s best. I have to tell you something, young man. When you fight, it doesn’t matter what the end result is, what matters is what you fought for. What matters is right here and now. Tomorrow will always be different and that will not be in our control. What is in our control is however, what we have today. That is why we fight today, for our tomorrow, whatever may that be. Whoever the leader that will replace him does not matter as of now, what matters now, is what we do to stop him.” Yuri responded in a firm voice.
Yuri and his men moved across the sea of people and into the face of the wounded brigade of officers. Yuri shot his gun at the police officer who had a pistol. Direct headshot. Then the remaining men aimed their guns at the officers. Most of them were wounded and bleeding. They raised their hands, signalling that they surrender.
“Join us, or die.”Yuri said to the officers. He was one scary man.
The officers were flabbergasted by Yuri and his men. They were trembling. One of the older, veteran officers walked forward. He was shot in the shoulder.
“You shot my men, like pigs in a slaughter. How dare you? Why would we want to join people like you?!” The veteran officer shouted there was pain in his eyes.
“What must be done must be done.” Yuri replied. Then a burst of gunfire came out.
Zach saw everything. He started to tremble. His legs felt like they were about to fall off. He did not expect any of those things to happen, but it happened. Some of the people who were retreating looked back and saw what has happened, a brigade of police officers, down in the ground, no longer wounded this time, but dead, a bunch of armed men standing in front of them. Zach saw more officers coming in the horizon; they were armed to the teeth. Some of them were SWAT team members; they were more trained than the soldiers of Yuri. But if the men, who retreated, join the battle, they would outnumber them five to one. And soon enough they did. They grabbed Molotov cocktails and lit them up one by one. Each and every person who fell back started to run back to where it all started. The remaining defending force found cover and stayed there. The town square was about to turn into a battlefield.
One man ran forward with his Molotov. He was shouting. Then someone shot him from the other side. He fell down, dropping the fire bomb and bursting into fire. Then it started. Crossfire from both forces came out. Burst of gunfire, people running into cover, people shouting in agony and pain. Zach was in the middle of the things that were happening. He sought cover and found it in a statue in the middle of the town square. Both force exchanged gunfire, some threw Molotov cocktails at the defending force. Some of Yuri’s men moved east, to flank the SWAT who had set up shop in a building. A bullet nearly hit Zach. It passed through his face, Zach fell down to the ground. He has never been scared his whole life. He thought he was hit and checked his body for an entry wound but there was none. As he checked his body he felt the revolver. He had forgotten that he had it. He drew it, stood up and went back to cover.
Yuri’s men reached outside the building where the SWAT team stayed. Some of the men were shot along the way, but they reached the building in a reasonable number. One of them threw a grenade on one of the windows of the building. It blew and with the explosion came out a SWAT officer flying out of the window. The officers saw what was happening and focused their fire where Yuri’s men were hiding. Yuri’s men were pinned and down in cover. Yuri ordered another bunch of men to go to the east and provide suppressing fire at the officers who were firing at the flanking squad. They followed orders and went east, some of the men who had Molotov cocktails, moved forward and threw the cocktails at the officers. A huge burst of fire hit some of the officers and they were ignited in flames. More screams came out the battlefield, screams of agony and pain, screams of battle. The officers shifted fire again, into the men going east. The men from the west then moved forward and entered the building, more grenade explosions inside the building. Zach could see the gunfire from where he stayed. Yuri’s men from the east exchanged fire with the officers. The defending force was losing, some of them started to retreat. The SWAT team in the nearby building were cleared out, dead. Fire came out from inside the building. Yuri’s men who were assigned to do the mission came out. Their numbers reduced to less than half. The defending force retreated back. It was in a chaotic manner. They ran in different directions, back towards their side of the city. The fighters (Yuri’s men) pushed forward. They were still in huge numbers and most of them had weapons now. They were able to recover the weapons from the dead or wounded officers that they fought.
Yuri went forward with his men. Zach and he caught a glimpse of each other. It was just a second, and then Yuri looked toward his main direction and jogged. Zach was left with some other people in the square. The town square was a huge place to be in and it used to be beautiful with green trees and plant foliage, but now the place was nothing but a huge pile of rubble. Trees were down in the ground, the used to be plant foliage, now burnt by the makeshift fire bombs. The building where the SWAT unit stayed was now burning from the inside; it was the first of many buildings to burn in the revolution.
“Zach! Let’s go man! Let’s end this thing once and for all!” A man shouted to him. Clearly that man hadn’t seen what Zach had seen. The man just got there recently. Zach thought that if the man saw what he had seen, he wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about the revolution. In fact, Zach thought that if the man saw what he had seen, the man would run away from this godforsaken country.
Zach looked at his revolver. He saw his reflection once again. It was his weapon, a weapon that he has not been able to use in the start of the war. But he knows that he would have to use it whether he likes it or not. He will have to kill someone for freedom. He walked forward, and then the walk went to a jog, then the jog into a sprint. He started to think that freedom was something not worth while after all, but it was all they had left, it was the only reason why he’s still fighting. He ran and ran into the city, into the fire.
© 2014 Khen Ramos