I've been wanting to write something about child soldiers in an occupied territory. Here's the test run. If I decide I like it when I'm less out of it, I'll write more. I haven't really gotten into the characterization yet, but if there's more of this story, there will be more character. So far I've really only described the PoV character and a little bit about Brod, and that's intentional.
We all cried sometimes. We had all lost something - nobody could join the Young Guns if they hadn't lost something - and we all cried. A very bad man had cut off Boomer's arm when he was just a kid, and he cried because it still hurt every night. Ajax cried because it was easier than smiling. Grendy cried because it drowned out the voices. I cried because I would never see my mom again. Everybody had lost something, and everybody cried. Everybody except Brod. Brod wasn't like the rest of us. He was smart. He had gone to school. He was strong and fast and he was tactical. Every time we went on a raid, Brod would get tactical, and he would promise us all that if we did what he said, we'd come back alive. Brod kept his promises. He was our captain, and he was smart, and he never cried.
I never knew how Brod got to be captain. When the Young Guns found me,
back when there were only thirty of them, he was already in charge. I knew he was the boss because he had a real fighting man's jacket. It was thick and warm and it had gold bars on the shoulders and he said it was a captain's jacket. I had asked him, once. We had killed some blues and one of them had a bottle of stuff that tasted like prunes and burned like medicine. It wasn't until later we found out it was alcohol. So we all drank a bunch of the stuff, because it was better than muddy puddle water, and then I got brave and asked him how he got to be captain. Brod hit me so hard I blacked out. He was gone when I came to. The next morning he came home and I never asked again.
I didn't know much, but I did know that the blues were bad. When I was a little squirt, my parents used to talk about the bad men from across the sea. That's why Dad went off to fight. That's why they killed him. And when they came to my house four years ago and saw the flag above the door and the eagle on the mantel, they killed Mom. They made me watch. They were going to kill me too, but that was when Brod showed up. One minute they were all there, getting ready to hurt me and I was screaming and crying. The next minute they were all dead and Brod was standing over me, as tall as a blue, looking for all the world like an avenging angel. I joined the Young Guns the next day.
Yesterday we hit the blues where they live. There were twelve of them there, squatting in some poor dead man's house. They had smashed the dishes and pissed on the furniture and their stink was everywhere. There were two of them out in the yard, smoking their foul grass and bragging about how many prisoners they'd killed. I wanted to shoot them right then, but Brod's orders were clear. Not until they started running for the house. I knew better to ask why they would start running. I just trusted Brod, because Brod was the captain, and he was the boss. So there I was, laying in the filthy mud, holding a lasgun, when the side of the house exploded.