We throw everything; rocks from the crumbling roads, steel shells that the soldiers' guns leave on our streets, explosive bottles that the rebels hand us, and pieces of our homes that now lie in ruins. We hide behind the van that was supposed to take us to the firing squads. They shoot at us because we are filth of the Earth, and they believe that we are the cause of this monsoon; the gods send it to wash us from the face of the Earth. The boy beside me falls when a bullet hits him, and his blood runs into the rain like a river around my ankles. A man says that the bottles won't work and we need to run. He picks me up over his shoulders and runs like everyone else that is running away from the men with guns. The men who want us all to die. I glance back at my family's home. The small, tin shed was my home for all my life, and for eight years it has sheltered me and my little brother from everything. Now, they have come and killed my brother and killed my house. They are bad men. They are evil men.
When we arrive at another village, my legs hurt and the rain makes it hard to breath and I collapse into the mud. More rebels are here, waiting for the army to try to kill our neighbors. Forty of us made it from my village. Our parents never came home today, and our brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles are all dead. The rain washes my tears away as I look at the lights coming over the far hill. The man picks me up and hands me a green rock and tells me to pull the ring before I throw the rock at the van. He says that I will stop the bad men from taking my neighbors. I walk into the village and I don't look at anyone while all of my neighbors are trying to run away. The bad men shoot them, so I stop moving and sit down to wait until they find me by a house. The bad men take the children from the house and shoot most of them. They take me and a young girl to a van. I tell the girl that I will save her and I pull the pin and throw it at the van. Someone screams from inside the van and then I am thrown backwards. Metal smashes into my arm and face and I am bleeding. It hurts and I want it to stop, but someone tells me that I did a brave thing. He tells me that those people won't be taken away.
A man sews up my arm and says that I am strong because I do not scream. He says that my face will scar, but that he cannot waste supplies on it. I walk back out into the rain; I am confused and excited. A man says to follow him to a place that I can sleep at. We go to a small tent and he says this can be my home for tonight. When I ask him about the pretty girl that I saw, he tells me that the bad men killed her too. I miss my brother and I want to go back home. The man says that I should go to the big tent and listen to the rebel preacher. The rain makes it impossible to see and I run into a man with a gun. He says that one day, I will be strong like him. He has killed many of the kings men. He says that he is a good man and fights for a good cause. He says that it is because of him that I am alive. I thank him and he shows me where the leader is.
Inside the big, canvas tent, we gather around. There are a lot of us. We are children blessed by the gods, the man says. He tells us that the bad men stole this land from our ancestors. He says that they are evil for taking what is not theirs. He says that we have a choice and a right to fight for our land. He says that we are filth no longer and that he will guide us to our rightful place in this world. We all stand up and say that we will do whatever it takes to see the bad men suffer. The storm outside booms with life as we all claim this man as our leader. He tells us to go and sleep while we can, because the bad men will try to attack again. I cannot sleep tonight. The rain drowns out my cries. I want to go home and I want the bad men to die. I want the king to die. I wish the other man was king. I would not be here and my family would be here. When I wake up, it is still raining. A man comes and tells me that we are moving. He tells me to go get into a truck.
As I ride in the back of the old truck, a man shows me a gun. I learn how to hold it and to point it and to shoot it. He tells me that I am a good shot and I feel my chest swell with pride at the remark because I want my family to be proud of me. The man shows me a larger gun and says that it shoots a rocket. He tells me how to point it and tells me that it will hurt many bad men. He says to make sure to sit down when I shoot it or I will fall. We stop at the top of a hill above the town and the man beside me gets out. He says that the bad men's families live in the village below and that we should hurt them. Another man gets out of the passenger seat and tells me that I am a brave man now. They say to hurt the bad men's families, like the bad men hurt my families. I tell them that I am a good soldier and I will make them proud. They tell me that there is another soldier like me in the front of the truck. They say that we must prove ourselves to our new leader. I walk to the front of the truck and exchange greetings with the boy driving the truck, then I climb back into the back of the truck.
We ride through the village and the people do not pay us any attention as we ride casually through the town. When we approach a big building that many people work in, I smack the hood of the truck and we stop. We turn the truck around and I prepare to fire a rocket. As I aim, I think of all of my family and everyone from my village who the bad men killed. I curse them and scream at their families all around me. I scream that they are evil and a plague on this world, the words are the preacher's, but I use them and I feel good. I fire the rocket at the building and stare as the fiery tail burns its way to the building and explodes. We ride away for a moment before I finish loading another rocket and smack the hood again. We fire four rockets before another truck appears behind us. I pick up my rifle and spray bullets at it and at everyone running and screaming. We drive away with bullets coming after us. Somehow, we make it back to the top of the ridge. I pull the pin out of another green rock and throw it as we are chased, blowing up the truck that follows us. The men are still at the top of the hill when we arrive and they smile and laugh for us. They tell us that we are very good soldiers and we ride back to the camp together.
When we arrive women are packing up everything that was our camp and hand us roasted lambs leg and tell us to enjoy. This is the most food that I have ever eaten in a week and I begin to cry. My new family cares for me and they are good people. I will fight for them because they should rule, not the evil men. The next day I am introduced to a magic powder that contains the spirit of soldiers in it. We mix it with the powder of bullets so that we are strong. My new family grows as the bad men attack more villages and more people are saved. The people look at us in fear as we help them. Some think that they should hold guns, not children, but the leader tells us that we are his personal soldiers and that we follow his direct command.
We fight for many years. I grow into a strong man and take many wives. The older soldiers favor me and my driver as he turns out to be the best among us and I have a head for strategy. I do not let my soldiers falter in combat, I take the limbs of cowards and spike their bodies. We eat the strong that fall in battle to obtain their spirits. Our leader has gained his rightful place as the ruler of this country and I know that we must quell the rebellion that has broken out to fight us. We hunt down the last of the bad men. We kill their families at work and their children in their homes. We kill the people that owe them money and their families. We are good people and they are the filth of the earth. Our leader tells us that a flood is coming and we are to destroy our enemies with it. We will kill them all because they tried to kill us.