World War III

26th February 1997

The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. They waited for their rival, like a lion for its prey. The rugged wasteland was spread out before Kristen as thick pelts of rain trickled down from the velvet, dark sky. Brilliant stars illuminated the battlefield.

The two armies had decided to gather near the Himalayas, far from the cities so as not to hurt passersby. As the army inched closer, tension swelled in the air. This is what the army had been anticipating, their battle against men. Men speculated that they were the better sex, and that’s how it began. The belief spread like wildfire and soon men dominated every decision and every answer. And there was nothing we could do about it; at least that’s what the men made it look like. Until Nikolina Konstantinova, our allegiant leader came along. She reminded women all around the country of their importance and significance, something we had forgotten over time; she yanked us all out of our misery and defied all the men. She was an invincible, ingenious and indomitable leader. Nikolina promised us of freedom and in turn our ascendancy over man, and that was the last string. It was what we desperately dreamed of and every single woman willingly agreed to fight.

Fight for their right —

Footsteps of the incoming army brought Kristen back to the field. The unfamiliar blade was heavy in Kristen’s hand. It was dented around the sides as if it had seen quite a few battles. Nevertheless, it was alive with moonlight and there was a faint blue shimmer to it, a ghost-light that rendered around its edges. Somehow she knew it was more trenchant than any razor she owned —

It appeared all at once like a fish breaking the surface of the water.

Kristen felt the ground tremble beneath her as hundreds of soldiers roared as they charged at her like bulls. They held their weapons high in the air, the blades glistening under the moonlight like a warning sign.

A scream cut the night like a knife.

Hell broke loose after that. Kristen started forward to see a man go down with Bianca’s blade in his chest. Behind her, Esmeralda’s sword flashed out, producing a sideways slash. Simultaneously, the blonde man’s head rolled aside, and blood fanned out. The body collapsed haphazardly to the ground.

Kristen could smell blood all around her. She could hear the slashing of swords and bodies decorated the arena. She turned around to see the crowd swallow her mother just as a soldier drew his weapon and lunged for her. Kristen panicked and stuck her blade out.

She had sliced his chest inadvertently but that was enough for her to gain her confidence. Now her motions were afflictive, assertive and audacious. She leaped towards the man, her sword outstretched.

29th March 2029

“Ms. Kristen. You’re up,” announced the television show director. Kristen felt as if she was in a dream, standing and making her way to the center stage. She shook the host’s outstretched hand before settling into her seat.

Kristen was asked to come on a TV show and talk about World War III. She had denied the first couple of times but they were persistent and she obliged gingerly. Maybe this was her chance to unravel some of the mysteries that followed World War III and maybe, clear some misconceptions.

“Good evening, Ms. Kristen. Welcome to ‘National History: What really happened? Show’. Today, we would like to know what really happened on the 26th of February in 1999?” asked Tim, the host.

Kristen was surprised by how anxious she got even after having fought a war.

“A war, I think.” She muttered.

A few chuckled in the audience.

“Yes!” He said. “But, what were you fighting for?”

She thought and gingerly replied, “I remember significantly Nikolina The Great was a giving us a motivational speech and we were all really jittery. She told us we were making history. She told us that our world would change completely after this war. Men would no longer dominate the world. We would.”

“Nikolina promised us of a happier world. And after we won the war, it all seemed crystal clear. Our dreams and plans had come true. We were ruling.” Kristen paused, letting that sink in.

“At that time, I was sixteen. And so, Nikolina brainwashed me easily. She molded us to think like her. She was ‘Great’ indeed, but she had all the wrong intentions and she fed that to us, too. We should have been fighting for equality and justice, not superiority.”

A few disapproving grunts echoed around the room.

Kristen continued, “What have we got from this? We are torturing men as how we once used to be tortured. History will repeat itself and within a few decades, men will fight us and they will be merciless. It will be an ongoing cycle if we don’t stop it now.”

A small girl stood up and clapped. A few began to join her. Kristen let out a gasp of breath that she hadn’t realized she was holding.

Finally, she had explained her side of the story.

Crane, Stephen, and Paul Sorrentino. The Red Badge of Courage. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2009. Print.


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