I sometimes wonder if the opposite of life is pain,
as opposite does so often define its complement,
and what would life be without..?

This is war; it has no other name.
And I sit here in its midst thinking, What would a name matter?
All war is the same.
And why would anyone ever name a war before it is over?
Who knows what it will become?

And if all the world is suddenly thrown into an unrelenting such,
who has time to name it anyway?

X

My story ends in the future, so that's where I'll begin. It has a childish finish at some theme park with a ride where one races in cars on a set track, taking paths through a maze to quicken one's time. I'm not there, but hear of this future, now, on audio tapes our platoon came across during a ceasefire within the only house in the area with part of its roof still intact.

These tapes are from the future - after the war, and it's difficult to explain exactly how or why this happened. But what I do know is that the remaining men of this squad who listened to those tapes soon after we found them, excluding the only one who didn't, are not on the tapes; and now, for whatever reason - whether it be a diminishing sense of time or its feel, we do all know our fates.

As soon as we heard the recordings, we knew of their significance, because whenever anything arrives to you from the future and you're not a part of it, you have no future - at least not at the point of its record. And so after we heard them, we knew we would not live to see them made; and this only reinforced the idea that none of us would make it out of here alive.

Yes, it could be that the tapes record a time many years after the war's end; but from the voice of the only one of us who was on it, the radio operator, the only man who wasn't near enough to listen, I know this cannot be so.

Why did I decide to listen? Damn this curiosity and our need to know what's next!
And then, why did the rest of the men decide to erase and record over in an attempt to change our fate?

But this aside for a moment, shouldn't we all be worried about when this ceasefire ends?
Isn't that our best chance to somewhat challenging our future?
Then again, we have few guns and little ammo; and when the first shot is fired signaling the end of sided patience, we won't have many to fire back.

X

So the war has been on for several months. Some say it could be the last... war that is.
I'd think the same from the look of things if I hadn't heard the future, one without me in it.
Yeah, it's got to be coming up on a year soon. Not because I keep track or have a good sense of those kinds of things, but because my beard doesn't grow that quickly, and now it's as long as it's ever been.
See, where we are, there isn't much time for checking up on things. This isn't organized; it's a guerrilla squadron in the heart of Armageddon. And if good and evil play any role in such things, sometimes I'm not sure which side we're on. Yes, I believe in God, but some of the guys I'm fighting with have their doubts.

And it got even worse a couple days ago when we lost four men in an ambush. Everyone took it hard, but our Lieutenant took it the worst. He hadn't said much of anything since it happened. And now, after we all decided to listen to those tapes, it's pretty easy to see he's on the brink of self-destruction.