Friday, May 2, 2014

The First Flight

My name is Anna, age 21, a veteran Phoenix. I've spent three years in battle, three years narrowly avoiding death and fighting for what is right. Three years is considered a long time to most of my colleagues, most recruits die within the first six months, many of them in their first conflict. My father lasted four years, my brother just less than five. I coughed up a bit of a chuckle, I guess we're stubborn.

I still remember my father's strong back, his rugged face and full mustache. He always had cigarettes with him, even if he went weeks without smoking. To this day the smell still calms me down and makes me feel at home. Guess that's how I picked up the habit. People say it makes your body slow down, makes you weaker but I had bigger concerns. Smoke wasn't going to kill me, if my lungs we going to collapse it would be a bullet or dagger that did the trick.

Most of my childhood I spent with my brothers, Evan and Adam. Evan was quiet and respectful. If mom or dad asked something of him, he did it. No questions asked. I always admired his resolve and stoic personality. He was 16 when our father left. He spoke through action, spending most of his time making sure we would be alright and that Adam knew how to pick up where he would leave off. The day he turned 18 he left to join the Phoenix revolution. Mother begged him not to, Adam took her side but I was so proud of him for fighting for what he thought was right.

Adam was 14 when father left. He handled it a lot worse than any of us, save my mother. I would come into his room every once in awhile to see what he was up. More often than not I would find him in a ball, crying or sleeping, sometimes both. It was around the time my mother fell ill with tuberculous that Adam became the man of the house. He was no fighter, he didn't care about the cause, all he cared about was his family. I could understand his feelings but I couldn't help but feel a bit disgusted with him at times. I thought he was a coward.

I was three years younger than Adam, 11 when my father left. I was the youngest child and the only daughter. Around the time I turned 17 my mother passed away. It affected me less than I would have liked, there were times I would have liked to cry or mourn her but it never felt that way. Instead I felt an overwhelming rage building inside me. My mother could have been saved, she should have been cured but at the end of the day people are more interested in money than lives. In this country you either die in battle or die of exposure. I was going down kicking and screaming.

As a child, teenager, even now as a young adult I never asked for much. Whatever I wanted I fought for, I got it myself. If I needed clothes I would make them or pick up a job to buy them. If I was hungry I went hunting. If I was sick I would ignore it and carry on as if everything was normal. Money was scarce in my town, everyone was fighting just to survive.

Survival is something any creature can do, I wanted to see my people thrive. The day I turned 18 I decided to follow in Evan's footsteps and join the cause. I pleaded with Adam to come with me but he had become something I couldn't even recognize. He spent his days working, drinking, depressed and trapped in the past. As far as I could tell he was already dead, a ghost. No ambition, no reason to be alive, just haunting the house with nothing left but regrets.

I knew the road ahead of me was going to be hard but I wasn't scared, I was excited. We can't continue like this any longer, the people know it, the government knows it and those pulling the strings couldn't care less. I will purge the evil from these lands. I will call this land my country once again. I am not the voice of the people, I am not the hand of justice: I am the blade of the forgotten.

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