I am a soldier. Names are unnecessary as I'm sure I would be forgotten—an insignificant number added to a statistic. I fought in the war that many refer to as the Third. I fought for Russia under a flag that declares itself as the apex of the Motherland's ascent to its former glory.
I was young when the signs appeared. I finished secondary education and chose the army over college. My father was a radical and he passed onto me his views on the world. As fools, we were transformed into ruthless extremists proudly taking donning the title of "ultranationalist".
My first tour of duty was Chernobyl in the early nineties. That was when I first had my real taste of combat action. Our leader was shot in the arm and we spent the rest of the day chasing his would-be assassins through the city. They escaped, however—many of our comrades died in the pursuit. That was when my real hate was kindled and I vowed to give up my life for the ultranationalist cause.
From there, I have been in many places. From Siberia, to Moscow, to Europe, and eventually to America where the first of many real battles were waged. It was hell from the start but I was unable to see it.
It was only when darkness enveloped me in the streets of the United States that I finally realized how much of a tool I was to people who cared less about what their passion once burned for. I never bothered to count my scars nor tally all the people I've killed. But now, they're the only things I could do at this moment. I have yet to feel remorse for all the things I've done.
I never really imagined a situation like this. I woke up on a hospital bed with a dextrose tube in my hand and the other chained to the post. My uniform was in tatters and my legs were numb. My helmet was gone, effectively shattered by an armor-piercing bullet that uncannily missed my head by less than an inch.
I was in a crowded ward. Around me were my comrades, some unconscious, some in shock, all wounded. We were tended to by American nurses and medics. As one of them rushed passed my bed, I noticed a figure lean against the doorframe leading into the hall. He held a rifle in his hand, looking at me with neither contempt nor pity. For a moment, I saw myself in him. I saw myself covered in patchwork grass, stalking unwary footmen in the autumn fields that were not our own.
I called out to him and he came over. I pointed my finger at him and asked him, "Who are you?"
"I'm an American," he replied as though the war did not occur.
I nodded. It was all over. I was now a prisoner, doomed to toil for the enemy. "Did you spare me?" It was a question out of context but it came out of my mouth without my knowing.
It was there that I felt weightless. I am a soldier enlightened by defeat. I would rather die a hero in this foreign land than to be executed as a traitor back home.