A letter from a tired soldier



Dear reader,

I’ve been at war and it shows on my countenance. My face has lost its pride, my eyes their fierceness. There’s only a suspicion of life left in my knees. A dark creature wants to have its way, and I won’t let it, so there’s conflict. It has the features of a man, but its eyes are hellish; they’re also subtle with not a hint of mercy in them and they have a peculiar preoccupation with carnage. The creature is also powerful and unfair because it doesn’t fight alone. With unflattering screams of rotten intent, it makes its call to arms. And all the regiments of mischief are gathered. They’ll fight by its side until their indecent will is established for they feel assured of victory, and I’m preparing to suffer. I can make out their horsemen and archers, but I don’t know the constituents of the rest of their ranks.



I’ve being fighting as long as I can recall, but their number remains unchanged.  There’s no relief and it’s oppressive. This is truly warfare by attrition.

This all takes place in my heart. It’s a soft place really, but persistent fighting is making it frigid. Life is cheeky like that, though. It allows us to fight the greatest of wars in the tiniest of places, because it wants to make a satire out of our failures.

It’s a war for my innocence. The creature wishes that I lose it, but I don’t want it lost, so I’m attacked with the simplest of weapons – temptation. It would seem as if the creature has no imagination, but how it wields temptations makes me think differently. Its tactics are brilliant and damaging. Consistence is its creed and as afore mentioned, its warfare is by attrition. Confidently it leads its allies, resolute as ever.


Honestly, I don’t know what will happen from here on, but it would be horrible if I lost.

Fighting is about to begin again and my full attention is needed, so I’ll pick up my writing where I left off.

Keep safe until next time.

Yours faithfully,

The man who tries to slay his past.

(What about you? What are you fighting? Sooner or later you’re going to have to face your ghost and know with no illusion that only one of you is going home again.)


by Mark Hutchinson // photo by Yasmin Al-Samarrai


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