Chapter 19:


Curiosity Killed The Cat

The radio talked in a voice full of static. His favorite program ended on the same speech every week. Reohn was always there to hear it. He laid out on the couch. He thought back on old memories as he listened.

I believe every man was created equal and that they have the power within themselves to make this world a better place.

One day, many years ago, their family went to a lake to swim. Reohn had never swam before. He was a bit nervous as he looked down at the water from the deck. He couldn’t see the bottom, just dark water. Kothur called out to him from further out in the water.

“Just jump in! You can do it! Don't be scared!” Kothur waved at him.

“I’m not scared, you jerk! Leave me alone!” He got all upset for no reason. So embarrassing to think about it now.

Kothur waited a few seconds before swimming back to land. He’s coming over here. If he says anything like that to me again, I’m going to push him in, Reohn thought.

He walked up beside him and reached out his hand. “Let’s jump in together, ok?”

Reohn reluctantly grabbed his hand. Kothur was always really nice, wasn’t he?

A man should make the most of what equipment he has and should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

Before Fehram left home, Reohn had asked him to help him train. He needed to pass the physical if he wanted to be a soldier and Fehram had already taken it. Fehram was always pretty brutal with him though and he hated it.

“Come on, milksucker. You gotta hit stronger than that if you want to be a soldier. You think you can save people with that weak shit?” Fehram taunted him as he waited for Reohn to strike again. He knew that name always pissed him off. He was angry even though Kothur always warned him. He only calls you that because it riles you up, Kothur had told him.

Reohn snarled and tried to punch with his right hand. Fehram blocked him with his forearm and kicked him in the side. It was a powerful kick. It sent him to the ground. The gravel painfully dug into his skin.

“Left yourself open again. Come on. Get up.” He jeered.

Reohn stayed motionless on the ground. His face buried in it so Fehram couldn’t see his expression.

Fehram dropped his guard. “Hey. Hit your head on the way down?” He walked closer and started to poke him with his leg.

Reohn suddenly lunged for his ankle and bit. Fehram had to tell mom that a dog bit him. It was a pretty strong bite; he might still have the scar. Reohn remembered the look on his face was priceless. He deserved it, he thought.

All things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

What is the truth of his life? What is the one constant in his life that he would never lose? He was starting to think he didn’t have anything anymore. Things definitely change. His mom is gone. He couldn’t talk to either of his brothers anymore. His dad could just as easily disappear from his life as well. He’s been working so hard lately.

He was furious at his older brother, Fehram. In his eyes, everything started to fall apart when he turned traitor. It was all his fault. Reohn might never forgive him. I always hated him anyway, he thought. He hoped he was dead or else he would kill him himself. Since he was a traitor, it would be his given duty.

Fehram was one thing, but he felt guilty about his little older brother, Kothur. Reohn was the last person he had talked to. It had already been two years, huh? Doctors say he’s in a coma and not sure if he’ll wake up. Something about cerebral impalement.

He put his hand over his face. This sucks. I should have been nicer to him, he thought. I shouldn’t have said a damn thing back then. Just let him cry or whatever. Who cares. Why do I always have to take everything so personally?

He sighed and pulled himself off the couch. Well, there wasn’t any point in thinking like that now. Unfortunately, you can’t change the past and he hated feeling all depressed like that. Besides, he was waiting for important news. The war was still going on and he was about to graduate. He had already passed the physical and applied in person. He just needed to hear back from them for the details. It should be soon.

The front door creaked. His dad was home. He heard him walk to the kitchen to get some water. It was what he always did when he came home. Reohn decided to join him. The dining table had an envelope on top.

“It’s for you, son.” His dad said while filling a glass from the sink. His arm, dirty with grease, leaned against the counter.

Reohn drew a breath. He grabbed the white letter and began opening it. Why was he nervous, anyway? What could it possibly say other than good news? He read the short letter that was folded up inside.

Thank you for applying to enlist in the Republic of Weit Army. After reviewing your background, it has come to our knowledge that your family history may cause issues in you performing the routine duties of a soldier. The recent government studies show that with a history of mentals in your immediate family, the chances of other people in the family unit becoming mental rise drastically. For the safety of the other members in the army, we will be denying your application.

This wasn’t good news at all. It was in fact, the furthest thing from it. Reohn crumbled onto one of the dining chairs and slammed the letter down on the table. His dad sat on the chair opposite from him and read the letter. He drew a long sigh.

“Reohn.” His strong voice caught his son’s attention from off the table. “What is it that you want to do with your life?”

"Well, you know the letter says I can’t-”

“Never mind the letter. I want to hear what you want.”

His dad’s dark eyes stared into his. Reohn stared back in confusion. What was he getting at? My whole life I thought I could be a proud solider like you were, so I never thought of anything else really. I was so glad when I stopped being sick all the time. Even now, it’s all I can think about.

There was a war back when his dad was young, similar to now. The way he and other people talked about it always made it seem so heroic to Reohn. To be able to put your life on the line to protect everyone you love back home.

“I want to be a soldier.”

He smiled at him. Reohn hoped it was a proud smile.