The Charge

He did, at length, remember Jack, and when he had an opportunity, he glanced over his shoulder to make sure he was all right.  It had been nearly an hour, and Jack had not moved a hair.  Alvin lifted another boulder into the catapult.  Surely Jack was just very deeply asleep.

After another ten minutes, Alvin was able to scamper quickly over to him.  He shook him again by the shoulder, but Jack did not respond.  He was dead.

Alvin resumed his job.  There was nothing else to do, really.  He wondered if anyone else would ever notice Jack's absence.  He had no family that cared, and apparently no friends either--only Alvin.  He wondered if Jack had even considered him a friend, though he was the closest thing he had had to one.  And, Alvin realized, Jack had been the closest thing to a friend that he had here, either.  Alvin was not the teary type, but he had to dry his eyes after placing the next stone in the catapult.

Soon, they were out of boulders, and the enemy forces did not seem to be significantly depleted.  There was talk of a ground charge, a last resort to cut off the Army of the Southlands from the city of Rionnag.  If it was to be effective, it would have to be implemented shortly.

In a moment of confusion, Alvin found himself being shunted from his now-useless position by the catapults and down onto the main slope with the rest of the soldiers.  He was issued a rusty old sword and told to take his place in the ranks.  Then there was a shout and he was running down hill amongst hundreds of panting bodies, a peculiar, eager cry tearing from his throat without his willing it.  He knew nothing but the thrill of battle.  No thought crossed his mind, save for, "So this is a charge."

Indecipherable noise polluted the air.  The smell of death lay heavily over the field, and corpses of all sorts were scattered on the ground and often underfoot.  The man who had been running in front of Alvin fell suddenly and Alvin leapt over him without giving thought to why he had dropped or whether or not he was alive.   Arrows whistled past Alvin's ears within inches of striking him, but he paid them no mind.  He thought later that in that moment, he probably had no mind with which to pay them.

He did not know how far he ran before he met his first Southlander, a broad-shouldered man bearing a club.  He threw himself at him without thinking, brandishing his rusty sword.  The Southlander grinned and slammed his club into Alvin's midriff. 

Alvin had a brief moment of clarity as he flew backward through the air.  Idiot, he thought.  Idiot, idiot, idiot!  Then he hit the ground and lost consciousness.

The End

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