Chapter 2

Anthony Halliday was Travers' best friend since boyhood and was engaged to Travers' one-year-younger sister, Emily, to be married a week from this day. But then, the war happened, and Anthony left to make the world a safer place for his fiancé, avowing to return for her when all was safe and good. Two months pregnant with their first child already, Emily impatiently awaited for his return for them to continue the wedding plans and be together again. But, on the first day of the first month that Anthony had been away, tragedy struck.

A bomb had been planted in the theater, set to explode at precisely 11:15 p.m. which was the designated time of the ending of intermission of the original production, "Birds of a Feather." Emily had just retaken her seat between parents David and Monica and her little brother, only seven years old, when the bomb exploded. No one knew it was coming, and no one made it out alive.

The explosion served as the official declaration of war on the Pardean people, a true shock for those who read and scoffed at the news, not believing it. Military officers were assembled and barely had enough time to train their soldiers, as three more bombs exploded within the next week.

As men of 15 years and older were taken out of schools to serve for Pardea, all women and younger children were moved to underground burrow-like homes. Only about half of the Pardean women survived the dark, damp state of life, with only roughly a quarter of the children resurfaced. Travers' girlfriend, Annabell, was not among the lucky survivors.

The hardships of war had latched onto Travers' heart, squeezing it and wearing it thin, ridding it of most feelings and giving it the standard job of pumping blood. The once-dancing and sparkling green eyes became faded, dulling and darkening beyond repair. His once-smiling pink lips turned white and planted in a straight line. The memories of the battle haunted his days and rattled his nights, making him so paranoid as he started to always sleep with a knife on his bedside from then on. He used to play beautiful music on his acoustic guitar, but the instrument remained untouched on its stand in the corner of his bedroom, untouched since the war. Music only reminded him of his losses, and he couldn't bear the memories of before the war; they were almost as bad as those of the war itself.

The End

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