God. How’d I get here? I had a life way back in Tennessee. It wasn’t much of a life, but it was mine. And it was good. Well … good enough. The only reminder of it left, I still got a picture of my bride-to-be. Man, she’s beautiful. I loved her from the moment I saw her. And she said that she would always wait for me. But I don’t think this is what she had in mind. I know it’s not. It’s too much.
We were just like everyone else, you know? In love, living our good enough lives, working for something better. Dreaming up our future together with a little house and a couple of kids. Then the war began and, because I was young, I got my letter. And that was that. No more dreaming. They made me strong and shipped me off saying we were fighting an evil enemy — we were fighting to protect our families, our freedom. But the words that promised we were justified in all of this … they were wrong. Just wrong. It’s all just … wrong. We shouldn’t be here. Not like this.
But you can’t say no. You can’t. You have to follow orders. That’s the only way. So, I killed a soldier for the greater good. It’s all about the greater good. I crossed the lines and I shot him … right there where he stood. I killed a man because they said I should. But I’m the one who had to look in his eyes. I’m the one who had to pull the trigger. Me. The greater good? The enemy has a greater good, too, and who’s to say … it’s just … it’s wrong. All wrong.
Before I could get out of there, another came and shot me in return. He was screaming at me how I was going to burn. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I will. And that’s the last thing that I ever learned along the way to now — that I’m going to burn in hell for what I’ve done. I guess it’s just as well. I don’t think I could have lived with myself, not after that.
I tried to be so brave and strong just like they said I should. But, that’s all over now and only heaven knows where I’m going today.

Based on the song “Along the Way” by Robby Hecht. Photo credit: Marion Doss / Foter / CC BY-SA.