The Internal Battlefield
Written by: Zeronova
Posted on: April 20th, 2006
Summary: This is more an essay than it is a story, but still, I hope you enjoy what I have to offer about the acceptance of things more powerful than simple emotion or progressive thought. Please leave a review if you read, and enjoy.
Battlefields are places where people die. But, they live forever. This seeming conundrum happens in the Hearts and minds of those afflicted. Where shrapnel rips off the face of a buddy, or a rocket leashes the muscle from its tendons, or the sinew of a man's ribs lies amongst his guts from a hail of gunfire, they all die. Somewhere along those lines, lies the life. Life itself, in the most harsh of death, exists at its full. Normandy has seen its crimson; Vietnam has its forests lined in dried sanguine rain; Iraq's sands have the bleached blood. Although, no battlefield where a man dies can compare to the war zone that lies inside each and every person.
The internal strife, the civil war, is one unseen. What soldiers come forth, recruited and united under emotion and opposed by Logic, wearing the uniform of the cognitive army, they battle. The front lines are laced in the bodies of each and every moment, every opportunity, time spent, activities engaged in, and every lost conversation. Their rifles are ones of possibility, their armor made from the nomex of the self, and their determination, the will of what is brought by another person. The internal versus the external, while still waged on the unseen, intangible fields of the entity.
One side of this war is amassed by the forces inside of a person. Their leader, the Heart, speaks in waves of truth and emotion, unable to lie to what the ego knows to be true. It is in love. The very muscles that contract lips and the thoughts that would curl a hand around someone's face, just to feel the warmth, those are the brave souls who suit up for war. They believe in the truth and honesty brought by such didactic words, unable to be anything but true. What blood they spill on the forefront of a war brought on by the external, by the gift of being above animals: Logic.
Thought that follows pattern and belies instinct, this is the oppressor. Speaking in terms of dictatorship, lording the masses into a group that march with infidelity towards the purity of the under-equipped enemy, they battle onward, with tank and plane to the single-shot muskets of the Heart. Theirs is an army cloaked in the teachings of life, the things learned, experience, and formed self, not innate. Instinct: their enemy. Reservation: their goal. And, so, they turn to the enemy, and attack, striking first blow.
While their force mighty, they haven't the strength to defeat the former. With what little troops the Heart has, they rival Thermopylae's stand. Their shots are accurate, their force holding their tongues between pursed lips, and pushing forward. Where one man of the Heart falls, he kills five of his enemy, Logic. The forces muster on one great field, ricocheting the many shots off of the dirt and structures, running building to building under fire. Their houses rip apart under the hail, the ground rumbles and quakes with bombs, the architecture ruptured from mortar fire, all lying the destruction about. Not but five feet can be seen in any direction, fog clouding the air, the dusts and screams of dead lining the muted-blast in all ears to some distant cry, reserved into the memories of the impossible-to-locate. Friends die without anyone to hold their hand, but only their intestines in.
Soon, both sides look worse for the wear. Men huddle in buildings as the night come on. The Heart's forces are shaken, surrounding a small fire lit on the corpses of their enemy's, sniffing in the pungent aroma of skin's curdling stench, but still, they're warm during the cease-fire. The isolated sound of yelling and then the firing of a gun travel to them, showing them another day is to come on the battle that should never end, but will eventually, until their sons can take up arms at the next war. Theirs is a war that will be fought many times, but they do not relegate themselves to not trying, or sacrificing, what is necessary.
And, the night is broken. A tank rolls along through the dark corridors, smashing the sides of shops and normalcy that once inhabited the center of the internal battlefield, where memories of better times are and the smell she had, being crushed by Logic, defended by the Heart. And, the two forces begin again, under veil of night. They bruise each other with rocks from safety, diverting attention, then firing unmercifully. They have turned from formed tactics to guerrilla against their enemy. Logic is strong, but they haven't the resilience of those driven by more than straight thought.
Their bodies, wracked with exhaustion, counting the few last bullets in their sleeves, do not falter, falling one man with every shot. They will not die to the ever-victorious Logic, the forces of the Heart are too convinced. It has one too many battles on this resurrected graveyard. And, yet, they know it will happen again.
Once their bodies fade, their battle forgotten, there will only be left the craters. Their equipment will rot away, their bones kicked up as dust on the winds of healing and time, and eventually, their cause a lost one amongst a list of names left for people in the past who might have been able to spawn this scuffle. And, yet, their sons, infinitely listed in a genealogy known only to the people that can interstice themselves into the Heart, ready up for another war, at the mere sight of one worthy. Helen of Troy knows the extent, as should every person in the center of anyone else's being. So, the war rages on for those who would allow one to become so close, and the civil war begins anew.
All for the position of being able to accept the mere fact of love.
But, back to our current heroes, the Heart, wrestling the night in their stealth, wraith-like way of marauding their superior enemy. Their fathers lost the war on many other accounts, never their conviction so deep and furrowed as to make their stand worthy, their arms steady, and their cause great enough. Their numbers haven't ever been greater, or smaller, but the will to fight that so strongly has never been this intense. Slowly, the morning comes, sprinkling the light in a mist through the decrepit town. Where memories of nights out in the city once were erected, they have become dilapidated messes, shadows of their former selves, strewn to the eyes of the soldiers, whose boots trample them, as if to quantify their worth. The ground they fight has seen the blood of their fathers, of both Logic and Heart, and it still languishes the opportunity to see their sons, and it very well might, but never can a place know the outcome of its events, but simply watch.
With a well placed bullet, a man of the Heart's force falls the commander of his enemy, Logic. Never before has it been done. The shooting stops as the enemy's commander looks at his wound, fingering the blood he has never known to pump in his veins, questioning his mortality. Looking up into that dawn, the sun peeking through with curiosity as to possibly dawn upon a battlefield in which the Heart has lost once again, cautiously creeps above. It is surprised, the sun notices the Heart's forces still live, Logic hasn't trampled and made a genocidal example once again. What is this? The commander falls. The troops are demoralized, but a few take command.
Ragged men of Logic grip to their guns and fire back as their comrades run, fighting the Heart with tooth and nail, not wishing to finally lose. The sun rises further, as if to sit on its palm and watch the weary battle with a conviction known only to the heavens to judge the outcomes, not for the Heart or Logic to say whether or not their fight worthy. Any love can only be judged in the eternal, not the self that struggles over accepting it.
Eventually, one soldier remains on each side, the Heart dropping the man next to the last seen soldier of Logic, but then Logic's soldier fires off one into the skull of Heart's best friend, watching them both die. And, so, there are two, staring at each other. They know they are the last of their fight, and whoever takes it, they are the declared winner over the self and actualization of the truth.
Can Logic defeat Heart once more, and deny love to exist on this entity? Or, will Heart's conviction and drive, never this powerful before, overwhelm his advanced enemy? Heart never won before, but he could, today, now. He knows it.
But, Logic knows better, he has to. He is a soldier of Logic, and knows he cannot fight in a warzone that has no strategic ability, so he slowly backs up, knowing he is in the sights of his enemy. And, the chase begins. Heart knows what it has to do: slaughter its enemy, win once, control the internal struggle that has always plagued whatever person has come to ignite such a volatile battle. Will Logic win over the person, or will Heart come through with its might to accept what may finally be true? Can the Heart win on the battlefield of self, and finally admit to what it knows be true, beyond Logic's opposition: that it loves.
They run, chasing each other backwards towards Logic's border. They fire wildly, over shoulders, diving for cover, hearing the plink of their ricocheting bullets off of the destroyed tanks and ripping into the flesh of the carrion of their brothers. Finally, Logic dives into his own land, standing, turning back to his enemy, peeking from behind the cover of a window of a disheveled house. Logic's soldier stands in his own land, the land he knows to be right and true, where every step he makes is one he is sure about, and any man of the Heart cannot be.
He is in a minefield. Heart clicks off the trigger, finding it empty, as is Logic's gun. He throws it to the side, as Heart approaches slowly. They stand, facing each other, over the border of the lands. The center if the unopposed self, despondent of Heart or Logic interfering, but life. Routine activities dwell in that middle land, which has just been made a field of blood and destruction, and now, Heart is at the edge of the enemy's land, but any step he takes could be one of folly, and death. Logic smiles at Heart, knowing he has won, smirking. Heart cannot step into his land, it is mined, and the intrinsic knowledge of where those paddles lie are known to those born and raised there. He mocks Heart, and tells him to go back, he cannot win the battle fully, he cannot cross that border. The sand starts where the grass ends, and no boot print of Heart has ever touched Logic's hallowed land, but Logic has made a raping of Heart's hallowed ground far too many times. Heart's soldier, convinced, knows that it must be done, and he steps forward.
Logic is scared, eyes widening, afraid. He stares around, knowing where each and every one of the tepid plates lie, wishing Heart's unsteady foot to snag one, and be blown to bits, sky high. Heart's foot raises again to step one more into his enemy's land, hovering for a moment, and stepping elsewhere of where his foot was. He doesn't explode, so he takes another cautious step. Logic is scared, knowing full and well, through what systematic neurology makes his being, he can be beaten. He is mortal, just as his commander had seen. His commander was fallen by pride and too many medals of victory prior to be defeated, and he had been, and now, this lowly soldier of Logic feels the same. He could be killed, and Heart could win the war over this new entity that has found the enmity of Logic and the amorous dedication of Heart.
Heart grabs Logic's fearful throat, choking him for a moment. Heart is sweating, he is angry, he has lost too many times and wants vengeance. With a clenched fist, Logic is choked to death, his body going limp after a few struggling seconds, then drops to the sand. Heart has won, he has killed the last enemy. Looking back, the battlefield behind him, lain in the bodies of so many dates, so many perfect moments, the pain and suffering of other bad times, and the Logic's opposition, he has won.
Dried lips part, blood stained cheeks suck in air, and an exhausted body wracks out the words that have never before been able to uttered, stifled by Logic's superior force.
I love you.
And, so, Heart collapses, crying. Not tears of sadness, although there is much to be mounrful of, but instead of jubilation. The elation and euphoric howl of such stifled words act as a catalyst for justification. It was all worth it now. The glory passes, he has done what was never possible. He has said it, and meant it. The war was won, for once, and for the grandfathers who lost, maybe they hadn't the right stuff to win. Their battle cry was of a name not worthy, or their conviction in their affront to Logic unable to be superseded by the Heart's own insecurities. Not this time, he wasn't insecure, and he had found exactly what he needed to find, and was able to utter out the words that never once could find themselves to be said before.
Although, there is no salvation for the lone soldier of Heart, whose bloody wounds haven't the medical treatment to heal, or the energy to crawl back out of the lands of Logic. Nor could he, for he sits on a minefield. His luck brought him in, but now, he is lost. Any wrong step, and he will die, leaving another body to the struggle, and the last remnants of the battle fought to the vultures, once again whirling in lieu of another battle.
So, he must survive. The desert grows hot with the rising sun, and he hasn't the strength to continue on. Every step, he bites his chapped lips, hoping he won't be looking down on his legs a second later from thirty feet up, but he steps, and nothing happens. Then, again, and he continues. He is afraid, so afraid, that every step will be a mine, destroying him, but there isn't. So, he continues his trek. Soon, he loses fear of the mines, knowing that if he is meant to die, he will, and so will the battle he has won. But, Heart has more than that, and will survive in the desert so long as it takes, until the one mine, the unsure and timid unsettling of one ruptured explosive, tears him to shreds.
His battle has been won, but his fate is one of exactness. Every step is hesitant, every moment aggravating, but for every heel clicked into the gravel that doesn't reciprocate in a bang is one more smile to be added upon his vitriolic victory. Love has won, but now it is on a minefield in which the slightest disturbance of the innumerable, incalculable possibility of dying are more fearsome than ever before. If he dies, everything he fought for dies with him, and he could die at any moment, with any false step, but he cannot sit idle, he must continue and find home once more.
Heart's battle was won, but the mis-step of fractions could end it all, and everything it searched for. Although, it is worth it. To Heart, that wandering soldier's constant aloneness, lost nature, and hazardous step are allowed, justified, and right. It is how it must be, for Heart to ever prevail over Logic, and once he is gone, Logic may one again rise no the eve of another name for another battle over the entity. But, for now, he treads softly and mutedly, hoping not to step on any weary mine that would make everything he did for naught, but every step taken without that mine going off is another of joy and unfathomable purity. Every day without a mine going off is another victory, and Heart knows it. He only need survive in foreign, unknown lands where a threat is never but an inch away from destroying everything won.
The victory of gaining the entity's acceptance, through the strewn corpses of brothers and enemies, is what leaves his ambulatory life. He has won over the entity, and foudn it in himself to finally make sure his own army, that of the Heart, accepted his love, other than Logic's normal defeat of such worthless notions, as would be said on the graves of his grandfathers by the victors.
"Why?" is the question the soldier asks as every step he takes rolls forward onto the sand, hoping his toe doesn't demask a claymore or impress the pressure plate. Why has his battle won, where so many have failed? Was it the one behind it? Had all fo the others, whose names, faces, and beings, spawned and forced the Heart's forces forward, not enough power to win? Or, was it luck? Was it only the fraction of statistical variability that led the soldier of Heart to win the entity, instead of logic, and admit that he finally has found love? Or, is it that the siren that sung the sweet song to the lone soldier and his fallen comrades was one far more euphonic, sweet, and hypnotic as to make his catharsis powerful enough? Where his grandfathers failed, he has won, but now he is stuck in that minefield of his enemy, for making the thing he fought for, the self, understand the intentions of his army.
And, maybe that is how it ends. The Heart traverses, lonely and alone, in the minefield. When his love ends, the soldier is blown to bits, ending his claim on the entity, until the forces amass under a new General, whatever the name of such a person as to capture the infantry of the self once more, and to fight over the idelaismn of reconciling the self to understand, perhaps lie out for martyrdom, the inclination of love.
What was won stands timid, and what was lost will never be again. The victory will be sung, remembered, even mourned, for the day that soldier steps on one mine, it is gone, as is his victory, and what the entity has. Until that day, every step without that explosion, is a blessing, and marks the elated acceptance of what his battle was fought for.