The cloth tied around my head was not so tight that I could not view my own exposed chest. My ribs, protruding from below, seemed larger than should humanly be possible. My chest, covered in sweat and soil stood still. My lungs had been emptied of air and I refused to fill them. This, was my revenge. They, those ugly automatons who had taken everything from me, would not succeed in taking life from a conscious body.
I’d seen other men in this position weep. I’d heard these same men pray to God, to the unknown, to the men at whose mercy they stood. I had no prayer left. If this be the will of my god, then my revenge would be upon him too.
Without the sound of my lungs filling and emptying, my heart took over with the sonorous rhythm of life’s ugly march. Yes, because I had given up, life was ugly. The only thing uglier is to give up on choice. A sick man may give up on life, but he still has a choice as to what weapon will take it. In this way, he can beat the disease. It is in this way that I am beating the disease of man.
Those men before me have given up on choice. They have surrendered themselves to one of the truest evils in man; the inability to govern oneself based on the knowledge of what should and should not be; the knowledge that requires a strength not easily called upon and not easily utilized. Man is inherently evil by endowment of moral and physical laziness. I will not die a lazy man. This too is my revenge. I have overcome that which all men are born with and will leave this foul land proudly carrying the peace within that knowledge.
With the muffled shuffle of tread bare boots upon dusty earth working to overpower the pounding of my heart, all sound began to fade. It felt as though my eardrums were retreating deeper and deeper into my head, until no sound could reach them, not even the vibrations from the tired muscle within my chest. A weightlessness began to descend upon my limbs. I did not have to close my eyes. The view of my chest began to fade with the arrival of the sensation of gravity losing its pull upon my body. I was nearly free.
I did not hear the cocking of the rifles. I did not feel the penetrating eyes of the lost ignorant men poised and waiting to carry out what they all knew somewhere deep within was wrong. I did not hear the one lone voice among the cold men cry out. I did not hear the simultaneous clicking of firing pins against the metal, not of a powder filled cartridge, but of the empty chamber of the gun itself. I did not hear the laughter of the men as they left me in the dust unconsciously gasping for air.