A really, really short story. Make of it what you will, as usual.
A helicopter chattered overhead as the soldiers looked at one another. Inside the cargo hold, with the doors closed at the moment, they stared at each other, the ground, back to each other. They had parachutes on, but they knew that they would not be able to survive the fall. No one ever does. It was a suicide mission and they knew it, but it was just as important as the fight going on elsewhere. The wind battered them about, hitting them left them right. They remained silent. This mission was for the retired soldiers, they knew; but they also knew that, while they were old and whithered, they would do anything for their country. Their spirit was still intact, that was important. Most important of all. More helicopters chime in, creating a cacophony of whirring, too loud for anyone to hear anything except the constant singing of the blades as they swing around in the air. The soldiers remain in silence.
Suddenly, it was time to fly. The doors in the hull swung open and revealed the world below. Soon, they would release their restraints and take to the skies. The pilot gave the word. In turn, each soldier takes off their holds and falls into the sky. Each one opens their parachutes and falls gently to the ground. An odd sense of calmness and, possibly, even euphoria come over them as they fall. They knew they were going to die, and what a feeling it was. It allowed them to reminisce over times gone by, times before there was a war. There was happiness then. The population grew, for what seemed like the first time, after a particularly hard winter, then it was in full fruition. Everyone knew everyone else in the community. They never wondered about the cycle of life, it was just how it went, and they were content with that fact. They remembered the fruit on the trees like it was only yesterday. Then, one day, one of the fruit fell. Nobody had touched it, they said. It was autumn at last. A time of sadness. Of death and depression. Of mourning and hopelessness. But they knew that soon it would be spring again, and life would continue without them. Their death was other's lives.
They landed on the ground, content that their mission was complete. As they took off their ‘chutes, they looked up to where they once were. The helicopter had flown from its position, but it would be back, in spring, and then in autumn again, to hallmark the time of the end of life's cycle. The soldiers looked at each other for the first time. Slowly, they got up.
"How about it then?"
The young boy slowly moved his shoe onto the leaf. Then he stomped. Once! Twice! He crushed the leaf into tiny shrapnel. Then stared at it. His mission was complete, he had finished the cycle.
Life goes on and on, and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop it, much less reverse it. Life goes on and on. And although some may die in the process, there is always hope.