Louis Senki • The Tale of Louis (ルイス戦記)
The land of Glediah had been plagued by war since the start of time. This area had been the crossing road of the two greatest empires. It was still is the only crossing road of the two empires. The seeds of revenge had been sown long before triple 7 had been born. The bitterness had been passed down through many generations. As time went on the grudges became bigger, until it had created a colossal mountain of hatred, fear, and suffering. For hundreds of years, these seeds of revenge and bitter hatred had been bubbling and boiling in the hot Calderon known as Glediah. Even before Louis’s (Triple 7’s) birth every man and woman knew that Glediah would soon blow sky-high, demolishing all within.
The first sparks were exchanged not long after Louis’ (Triple 7) was born. Many regions broke out in small squabbles and engaged in degrading empires to the southeast. Each power and region was backed by a major empire, further causing confusion, distrust, destruction, and havoc in those areas. Just like the small crevasse in the asphalt, the fissures and fractures of the continent spread its toxic web across the continents over time. When one nation topples, it drags the rest of the nations into its furious grave.
Louis lived in Monia. Louis (Triple 7) lived in a relatively small nation, their population was medium-sized and the quality of life was just ok. Life wasn’t bad nor was it luxurious. The town wasn't too big and many had forgotten tyranny and war by the time Louis was sixteen. They were however stuck between two of the greatest powers in Glediah. It was a matter of time before the nations erupted into war.
The first time Louis (Triple 7) heard the air raid siren was a week after he graduated secondary school. The nation to the southeast had started bombing the cities. They had not declared war before the bombing. It was a dirty sneak attack. The sky was blood red and the entire neighborhood he knew was engulfed in the flames from the explosions from the sky. He stared in awe as everything he knew was burned to the ground. His house, his bed, his toys, his favorite dining table chair, the park across his house. Everything. Even his own mother was missing. The explosions continued through the night accompanied by the rumbles of huge houses capsizing all around him. By early next morning, he had found out the fate of his mother. She was nowhere to be found.
Looking at the burnt ashes of his former house, Louis was overcome with a new type of hatred. The insides of him felt as if he was on fire. His eyes were wide open and his pulses were beating faster and faster. The bomb that was dropped took away everything he had including his mother. He clenched his fist tighter and tighter until finally, his nails were digging deep into his skin until it bled. He didn’t give a damn about the pain he felt on his palm, all he wanted was revenge...
Later that week the streets were filled with posters. Each poster was filled with patriotic colors, and with a bold black font with red brims, it said: “THE NATION NEEDS YOU”. Men who saw these posters were filled with pride and strength as they flocked the draft stations like sheep. Even the weakest of men like Louis was filled with nationalism by the end of the day. He was determined to avenge his mother and city. With that, he too left to join the flocks at the drafting stations. The public's ego was bloated, like a balloon soon to be popped.
Louis had finally joined the army with his best friend Nick. He, like many others, flocked the draft stations like wild animals running high. He was one of the youngest there, barely sixteen at the time. Ever since the war broke out he felt a responsibility and duty to protect the nation. To his left, Nick sat next to him, who was his best friend. They decided to join the army together earlier that day. Nick had brown eyes and soft blonde hair just like Louis. Nick however was much taller than Louis. He was at least ten centimeters taller than Louis. He was very friendly and always playful. They were buddies. Nick, just like Louis, came from an average hard-working family in a well-off neighborhood. They were ready to serve their nation.
As they finally entered the military base in a military truck with many other men, they were ordered out of the vehicle. The base was menacing and bright. The flag of the nation could be seen dropping out of every window. They marched to the entrance where one of the men at the counter gave him a big shining gun and his uniform. Both were in great shape. Louis then held the bright shining gun with a smooth wooden butt. He liked the feeling of it. It rested well on his shoulder when he marched. He gripped the smooth forestock slowly stroking the wood. It was cold and nice.
“Hey Nick, this is sure darn cool. Am I right mate?” said Louis as he held his gun and uniform sky high.
“Hell yea, look at mine. It even has the coat of arms of our nation,” said Nick. He had gotten one of the special guns.
“I wonder what it would feel like shooting them,” Louis’ mind was full of excitement and energy. He was itching to fire his brand new gun.
“Brrrrrrrr, look at me” shouted Nick, his voice full of delight. “I’m shooting the bad guys,” he said as he cucked his firearm to make it look like he was firing it. They were both having the time of their lives.
The fooling and laughter were cut short by the instructor. “Welcome to the army,” the instructor said as he walked towards the fresh batch of men. He was a huge man who had a gentle but strong face. Through his military uniform you could see his chiseled muscular body, this man was the real deal. “You are now a member of the army of Monia.” shouted the sergeant with a low rumbling voice. “In two weeks you will be whipped into shape. You, Will, become model soldiers!” The men in the room quickly stood up puffing their chest in pride unanimously. They were ready to become true men.
Louis and many other men were whipped into shape in two weeks. Right after meeting the instructor, they were put in trucks yet again to be shipped to a different kind of base. A boot camp. They knew the war raged on and that the army had to pump soldiers out as fast as they could. The training period was cut short due to the limited amount of resources and time. What normally would have taken half a year was cut down into only two weeks.
This was the last day of the brutal two-week training. Every day they would wake up when the sun rose, around 5:30 am. Today was no exception. The speakers blared as usual as every man would hop out of bed. They would quickly dress, wash, and brush. Hygiene was very important. The uniform they gave Louis was still a little too big. He looked at himself in the mirror, impressed by the amount of muscle he had built in under two weeks.
“OooOooo,” giggled Nick. He too had grown much more in the past two weeks. “Checking your muscles, are you?” whistled Nick as he poked Louis in the face.
“Shuttup, I was staring at the mirror because I was tired. I was definitely not staring at my manly body.” Louis snapped back.
“Look, I'm so muscular. It's me Louis” said Nick and he sucked his cheeks in as he flexed his muscles. “I’m checking my- Muscles out!” He declared as he poked Louis in the face yet again.
“Shuttup, I told you I wasn’t,” Louis said as he looked away. His cheeks were blushing from embarrassment.
“Stop horsing around and hurry up,” scolded one of the older men who stood next to Louis, “You guys only have five minutes left till roll call.” He said as he left the bunker.
Louis and Nick then promptly got dressed as they quickly ran out of the bunker. As they jogged out of the bunker Louis sighed a very heavy groan. He knew another long day laid ahead of them.
As expected the day was long. They ran as fast as they could carrying full gear for 20 kilometers (Around 12 miles). This feat took incredible strength and skill. By the time Louis and Nick had finished, it was almost noon. They were one of the last ones to get to the finish lines. In defense, the course had too many obstacle courses which many just ran around. It wasn’t like they had short legs compared to the grown men. They were trying as hard. Then they quickly sprinted back to base knowing that if they didn’t make it fast enough they would not have lunch that day.
“Betcha, I can make it back faster,” Nick said as he continued to sprint alongside Louis. Beads of sweat were rolling down his forehead.
“Ha, look at you. You're dripping with sweat. You look like a freak when you run,” Louis said back. He was a little ahead of Nick but he too was gushing with sweat.
“You run like a monkey,” shouted back Nick.
“No, you,” said Louis.
The two boys continued to squabble with each other as they made their return to base. Lunch that day was particularly good.
Later that day they continued to practice their marksmanship. Louis was much better than Nick. Nick had a horrible aim. It seemed like he could never hit the target. Louis on the other hand carefully took his shots. Almost every shot he took clanged the target across the field. Louis grinned at Nick every time he missed.
“Argh, I get it, I get it. You’re much better than me,” said Nick as he threw his arms up. “You’re just too good,” continued Nick. “Are you sure you haven’t touched a gun before we came to camp?” said Nick as he raised his eyebrows.
“You’re just bad,” said Louis grinning back at Nick. “I have a suggestion for you: Just get good, and stop being bad,” said Louis.
“OoOoo, You have such a foul mouth,” said Nick as he scrunched his face up as stuck his tongue out. They got a good laugh out of that.
The day was soon over, they didn’t have to train in the late afternoon that day. It was the last day of camp for them. In just two weeks the two naive children had been trained into a model soldiers. They were now so much stronger than they used to be. Before their departure the next morning, they had a stroll around the base. One last time.
The public was filled with joy as the first army of men was being sent to the frontlines. As these fresh batches of men marched around town, many of the civilians threw their windows open to drape the nation’s flag out of the window. They cheered and yelled with pride and joy as they applauded the men who were leaving for war. A warm blessing rain of confetti, flower petals and many other things drifted down from the sky. In the crowd of young men marching in the street, Louis’ face was there both smiling and bright. He was proud and glad that he could serve the nation. Little did they know what truly lay ahead of them.
Now he was at the front lines. It rained artillery for days on end, the constant boom and shaking rattled his brain. He was already tired. All they did was sit and wait and hope a random shell didn’t shred them apart. Dry stale bread and biscuits were all they ate. It was nothing like what they expected. Men who weren’t careful enough got sniped in the helmet when walking between the thick web of trenches. It was a living hell.
“Incoming!” A man nearby yelled as the place he was standing was blasted apart. All that was left of him was his left leg. The rest of his body was shredded into pieces of small ground human flesh, flying all over the battlefield. Plastered bits of the man splattered onto Louis’ mask.
“Fucking hell, I’ve been hit,” said a man next to Louis. He’d been hit by shrapnel from the artillery shell. “Call the medic!” he winced as he rolled in pain on the ground. Blood was gushing out of his wound, spattering onto the mud below. With another explosion from the trench next to them a dead man rolled down into the trenches, his face was burnt and torn. That man was blown out of the trench next door. Distant screaming continued. He too had suffered the same fate as many others.
Louis stood there taking in everything that had happened in the split second. The dead man looking up at the sky crying in pain. His fingered curled and charred, it seems as if he tried grabbing for something before his unfortunate death. Near him the bits of what was left of the man rolled down, finally toppling over to gravity. Nearby are the cries of the man who was hit by the shrapnel still calling for help. His voice was drowned by the voices of many others.
‘Gas!” Someone yelled, they could see a thick yellow smoke approaching the trench, Thick yellow gas quickly covered his view. It was poison gas.
Across the charred horizon, they could see a wave of men charging forward. They were running through the thick greenish-yellow gas, their faces concealed with a mask. A hail of artillery rains down on both ends. Louis stands enough for his head and rifles the peak between the crevasse of the trench. One eye closed he takes a deep breath in, the mask choking him. He cucks the gun in a way, aiming for the men running forward. With a deafening crack, Louis fired the gun. One-shot. He pulled the trigger again, two shots. The butt of the gun digging deep into his shoulder.
He continued to fire his gun. With every jolt, the casing of the shell flew out. The bombardment seemed to get even worse, the shock transferring into his knees. He peered through the small metal crack at the end of the rifle as the invading force got closer. On the battlefield, even from a distance, he could see brave men falling down one by one as they were slaughtered ruthlessly by gunfire. They were approaching the lines fast.
Louis could finally take a good aim at the approaching men. They were the same distance away as the target across the field during his boot camp. He adjusted his scope, aiming right above the head of the approaching men. His fingers danced on the trigger. With a loud bang, he pulled the trigger. He pulled the trigger, once… then twice… then for the third time. The man he had aimed for had fallen to the ground. Louis had killed his first man.
There was no time to celebrate his first confirmed kill. This didn’t stop Louis from overcoming with joy and pride. His emotions ran high as more and more adrenaline and dopamine were pumped out. He was now a proud soldier. He aimed yet again, readjusting the scope aiming for another poor soul, this time a man tangled in barbed wires. Taking a deep breath he pulled the trigger yet again. The butt of the gun ramming into his shoulder as always. The man he had aimed for had collapsed into the ground. He continued taking aim at men crawling over and under barbed wire as he killed them one by one. It was like aiming for the rubber ducks at the carnival. The only difference was that taking the lives of the attackers was much easier. Louis smiled as he pulled the trigger yet again, he was having fun.
The sky was filled with smoke and burning crimson streaks. In the greenish-yellow mist, men fought for their lives. The smog and dust from the endless bombardment covered the sun. The air was red and hot, the smell of gunpowder and iron drifted through the air. Like an ominous sign, the sun was covered by all the pollution, mysteriously and dimly lighting the scorched earth. It was almost as if the grim reaper stood above them all, looking down at the nightmarish bloodbath.
It had already been hours since the first wave of men had charged at the lines. They died in futile droves of men, being mowed down a single gunner. Things were starting to look desperate on both sides, the bombardment still continued.
“Are you there?” shouted Louis into the smog and fire as he continued to fire his rifle as fast as he could.
“Yup, I’m here!” replied Nick somewhere in the smog and clouds of dust. They had lost track of each other in the turmoil. With the gas masks on they hardly had a chance of recognizing each other. Somewhere nearby they could hear a man wailing for a medic. His screeching however was cut short by an artillery shell.
With a sudden blast, the ground nearby Louis and Nick was blown right up. In the pillar of dust, mud, and blood, they could see the limbs of the men poking out. They’ve been hit by a massive bomb.
“Get down, Get down!” someone yelled nearby as more bombs were hurled down from the sky. The bombs whistled down as it spiraled to the ground detonating its horrendous powers. Limbs and other human parts mixed with dirt and ash as it rained down upon the men. One by one the men around Louis were either hit by shrapnels taken by the enemy. No one could tell where the bullets or shrapnel were coming from. The random explosions shredded through the lines. Men have shredded apart and burnt from the artillery shower and bombs. It seemed that now it all came down to how much time was left before they were all taken out. The gas was finally clearing out, they could start to see the destruction and mess of the battlefield.
The radio and speaker near Louis crackled to life, “Reinforcement, we need reinforcements,” the man on the other side yelled. The defense line directly north of Louis had been penetrated. Fear swept through the lines as the radio continued to call for help. “Send help… bzzz*… send help-,” the radio continued to cry. They could all hear the desperation in the voice. With a sudden crack and an explosion, the radio went silent. They were nearing the end of the road. The attackers were coming.
They were here. The sound of gunfire got closer and closer as the battlefield fell into discord. Men were fighting in every direction. Louis tightened the bayonet on the front of his rifle. His breath was fast and shallow and his knees were shaking. He was ready to kill.
A bullet whizzed past Louis’ right cheek, clipping his gas mask. The bullet tore through some skin and cloth, blood oozed out of his wound. From the small rip in his mask gas and dust seeped in, stinging Louis’ eyes and wound. He gagged as he coughed up saliva and spit, the gas choked his lungs and throat.
Through the poorly visible mask and air he saw a man running at him, bayonet raised high aiming for the throat. He couldn’t see the man’s face through his mask but he knew it wasn’t a friend. There was no time to look at the man’s face. In a blink of the eye, fate was set. Louis dodged the knife by jumping to the left, the knife missing him by centimeters. With a single thrust forward Louis ran his rifle right through the chest of the man. The knife came right out of the other side. Looking up Louis saw the man’s face through the tainted translucent lens of the mask. On the other side was the face of a middle-aged man. His face was twisted and turned, his eyes wide open, his mouth contorted, and in his eyes, you could see fear and death. Even though the mask, Louis could see everything. He couldn’t miss it.
Louis had never seen anything like this before. The men whom he shot earlier down across the field fell like ducks, the faces not visible. This man however was a different story. His face told a story, an entire lifetime of stories. He could see it upfront. Even though the twisted dying face he could see the kind gentle face of the man he used to be. He would have never hurt a man if the war never started. Louis too would never have killed the man if the war never started. The face of death told everything.
Fear, anger, pain, misery, confusion, hatred, disgust, and many other feelings swept through Louis as he saw the man fall. Would he die like the man in front of him? Would he make the same face? Was it correct to kill this man? Questions ran through his mind as he stared down at the dead man. Blood was still pumping out of his chest, as the blood seeped into his cloth. What had he done? Louis continued to stare down in horror, his pupils expanded in horror. He was a monster. The face of the man was permanently burned into his mind and he continued to stare down at the dead man.