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  • Writer's pictureJenn

Weapon of War

This is originally from a challenge I joined many years back. Enjoy.


WEAPON OF WAR


In war there are always two sides. The side that wins and the side that loses. Being the good guy doesn't mean they always win. Being the bad guy doesn't mean they always lose. The sides are all about winning and losing.


As for me... I don't side with anyone. What I care about is doing what I do for a living and raising my kids. I'm a creator of weapons of war.


"Dad!" Echoed my two beautiful daughters as they run to my workshop.


"What's wrong?" I stopped what I was doing so I can give the two my full attention.


"Nee-san won't let me play her toys!" Cried my little one.


"Because you wreck what you touch, you stupid moron!" My eldest retorted with her arms crossed.


"Tell her to let me borrow 'em Dad!"


"Tell her to play with her own toys!" The two would say at the same time. Heh, they have these short disputes everyday, these sister-quarrels.. as much as I'd want to shout at them I couldn't bring myself to even get mad.


After all, these little ones are matured in their own way. This attention they are asking for is simply because they miss their father. They probably choose to ignore the fact that war is ongoing. And that I'm in charge of supplying weapons for the team that seizes the peace.


I don't care if I'm helping the bad guys or the good guys. I don't care about sides either. What matters to me is my job and my family. That's everything there is about me.


I knelt down to reach their level before gesturing for them to come closer to me. "What do you say I play with the two of you after I work?"


"You'd be tired by then." Assumed my youngest, a grin plastered across her face.


"You don't really have to play with us. I just want you to tell her to stop bothering me." My typical eldest said, trying to stay aloof to show her sister she's mad. Deep inside she worries about me.


Every time I work or stay up at night, she'd put her little sister to sleep before coming to my side and convince me to rest. If she fails, she ends up helping me with my work. My sweet girl.


"Girls, remember what daddy said before?" I asked them.


"When daddy makes a promise he will keep it." The two said in unison. These adorable girls really are growing up.


"Exactly!"


I tried to sound as convincing and cheerful as possible but they merely frowned at my attempt to convince them to believe that promise.


"But Dad you missed the part where you will fulfill the promise weeks later." My little one whines.


"Months actually." My eldest corrected.


I chuckled at them. Both are innocent in nature and they're also very keen in detail when they learn. "My, my, I need to be considerate then."


"Can you stop working even just once?" The youngest walked closer to me, her two small hands pulling mu wrinkled and greasy hand. "Once." She repeated with pleading eyes.


"You know my job is what keeps us alive and going." I reminded them. But the doesn't budge easily.


"It's also what keeps us apart." Added my eldest daughter. She took a step closer to her sister and pulls her away from me. My young one didn't resist though, and allowed her older sister to guide her away. "But who are we to stop your passion for making weapons?" She says and gently gives her sister a push to the door.


"We're leaving?" The little one asked.


"Dad needs some space." She replied. The little one nodded in understanding and ran towards me to give me a kiss in the cheek and a hug before they leave.


I'm sorry my daughters... but you'll have to wait a bit more. I'm currently working on my highest project of all. The most dangerous weapon of war.


The following day I found myself asleep in my desk, the unfinished project left hanging right behind me. I must've been really tired. After rubbing my eyes once or twice, I yawned and stretched, got myself a cup of coffee and went back to work. It was a daily routine in the morning but then I heard a knock on the door.


I was sure that the kids are still asleep so I opened the door myself, finding a man wearing a soldier's uniform outside. He saluted me before speaking casually. "I'm here to pick up the kids, sir."


"Pick up the kids?" What is the meaning of this?


"A letter was sent to you a week ago, notifying you about the pick up date for the kids." He replied but I was surprised by this. I don't remember receiving a letter of the sort.


"I had an agreement with the general that my kids stay with me." That was the condition for my cooperation when I create weapons for them. "Tell the general I don't plan to send my daughters away."


"The letter is from your wife, sir." With that said I was no longer surprised.


My wife and I are divorced and we gave the children a choice who they want to spend their time with but each of us have the right to see our children if ever we weren't chosen. But it was never a part of the agreement that we take the kids away.


"Tell my wife I won't allow the kids to live with her." I told the soldier sternly and attempted to close the door but he stopped me from doing so.


"With all due respect sir, I think you should allow your wife to handle the kids. With the war going on and you're involvement with this cause, there's a great risk if they stay with you." He says.


"I've lived my life throughout all these wars, and never have I gotten myself involved in any case of danger!" I barked at him. I won't send my children away! "I can raise them just like any other parent can!" But can I really?


The soldier nodded and tipped his hat on me, taking a step back from the door.


"Well, if you change your mind, give your wife a call. She'd be happy to open her arms for her little ones." His last words before walking away.


As I think about it.. I indeed raised them but that was before. Things changed. I barely spent time with them and I'm being selfish towards my wife. Maybe I was just afraid to lose them.. maybe I was just considering my own happiness..


"Dad..? Did I hear mom outside?" I was startled by my youngest daughter who had just woken up, rubbing her eye with her hand while the other was hugging her stuffed bear.


It took a while for me to answer. "Nah, it was just one of my colleagues." I lied and walked towards her and carried her in my arms. "So what do you want to eat for breakfast?"


"Pancakes!" She said excitedly, the drowsiness earlier is now gone.


"Ooh pancakes. Good choice." I told her as I walked towards the kitchen. "I'll flip them stars, hmm?"


"I want to flip them too!"


"You do? Alright." I couldn't stop smiling that morning. I put her down so we could gather the ingredients and prepare everything we need. The pan and all.


"You guys are flipping pancakes without me?!" Said my eldest daughter. She ran immediately to our side to mingle with us. "I want to join too!" Her little sister giggled because we haven't even started.


"Sure. There's plenty of pancakes to flip." I encouraged her and the two realized we haven't baked a thing. "Well.. after we bake."


I did hope that things could've stayed that way. Being a normal family and all. The smiles we had. The happiness we felt...


~


"What? I can't do that! I need more time!" I told the general. I was summoned in his office the following day and he tells me that he needs his weapons now.


"We can't give you time because we don't have time ourselves!" He snaps back. "We're going to lose if our soldiers enter the battlefield without a weapon!"


"We still have the old stock. All those AK's and Black Stars. They're still functional." I tried to propose we use them but the general shook his head.


"This is a new century! Nobody uses those anymore. Our enemies have jets and missiles while we have stones and spears!" He slams his fist on the desk and looks me in the eye. "I'm gonna need you to work hard for this. You've got people helping you but they're not top notch."


"I understand. I'll do my best to give it before the attack." I complied and that stopped him from yapping more.


"I want progress report, you hear me? I want them every week."


When I left the office, I tried to put on a fake smile when I greeted my two beautiful girls. I don't want them to worry. But with all this pressure.. anytime soon I'll have to.. I'll have to send them away.


When we got home, we went back to our usual routines. With me working and two playing in their own rooms. I have to finish this project I'm working on! I have to!


"Hey dad." A soft and small voice said from behind me. "Are you okay?"


"Of course. Why wouldn't I be okay?" I kept my back facing her so she won't see my face. I'm not sure I can show my face to her. But as the oldest of the two, she knows more of me than I know myself.


"You gave that 'let's go home' speech and 'smile all the way' act again. What's wrong?" She got me good.


"I have to finish this project I'm working on. Or they'd take you away. You and your sister." I spilled the beans. It actually helps the weight on my shoulders.


"You're making a robot?" She eyed my unfinished work.


"The greatest weapon of war." I told her. "A machine that fights for us in the war." I added with pride.


"Too bad it doesn't fight for you when you're called to talk to the general." She said and walked closer to examine it. "Because it doesn't talk."


"Don't worry. I'll finish it in time. I'll—"


"Dad stop!" She blurted. "If you're worried that mom will take us away, don't be. Every time you two fight you use us to anger one another. And it doesn't mean you send us away you lose and she wins. It doesn't mean we're not coming back."


She got me speechless. All this time with the war going on outside I never noticed I was battling with someone already.


"Dad it's okay. We'll understand and.. you just go on and do what you have to do." Without thinking, my body moved on it's own and wrapped my arms around her for an embrace. "I love you dad." She whispered in my ears.


"I love you too." I whispered back.


And it was the last time I had a talk with her. It was the last time I hugged her. Because the following day I called on my wife to pick up the kids.


I went back to work and I trained people under me. I suggested to the general that we train more soldiers.. that we don't hesitate to use what we got. We may have a lesser improvement in our technology, our weapons.. it matters, yes. But it doesn't say we lose already. It only means we need to work hard.


The war went on, with me unleashing my latest project. The War Machine. With that we caught her enemies in surprise and we trampled on them until fear had seized them. With the first War Machine's success, the general asked that I make more.


I did. We did. We manufactured more. More and more. We got the upper-hand and we took back everything they've taken, every city they've conquered. We got it all back.


With all this success, I got promoted. I was happy. But every time I go home from work I always realize later that I'm living alone... for now. And seeing myself in the mirror.. I grew a beard and a mustache. Hmm.. maybe the kids would love to see me that way.


Later I was called on a war meeting. This time we'll attack on the enemy's base. No more passive or defense moves. We'll take the active role this time and attack. And we did. We did. We spilled blood... their blood and the War Machines did their job. We won.


I found myself back in my house after our victory. I found myself drifting off in memories with my little ones, from the entrance to the kitchen until I entered my workshop to find the prototype of War Machine. I remembered when I was working on it that night and my eldest daughter entering my workshop to talk to me. I smiled unconsciously at the memory of them and had my hand sliding on War Machine's metal leg. It was all dusty now.


I turned to my desk and find my old works. The blueprints and all that. My mug. It was still there. I sat down the chair to continue reminiscing the past. I remember hearing their voices when they play. When they argue. It would always ring in my ears when I work.


"Dad?"


Yeah that voice is kinda like it. I nodded when I heard it, the smile still stuck on my lips.


"Dad.. we're back." The voice continued to speak. Those words caught my attention and I felt my heart racing.


I turned my head to see two young ladies standing by the door. One with long straight black hair wearing a white dress while the other has medium length layered hair wearing a blue school uniform. She was shorter than the other. My eyes were suddenly filled with tears when I saw them.


"Is that really..?" I wasn't sure. How could they have grown so fast!


"We missed you dad." Said my little one. But right now she's not so little.


I slowly stood up my chair and also slowly walked towards them. One step at a moment and my arms slowly started to spread.


"My daughters!" I exclaimed and they ran towards me to enter my hug. We cried at this reunion. I must've been at war for a long time that I didn't realize that time passed by.


They've grown a lot and I missed them growing up. I wanted to be there on their graduation. To witness their firsts. But I have no regrets. Because we both kept our promise. I finished my project, won the war and I'm still alive. And they.. they came back.


When we parted our embrace, the two exchanged looks for a moment there.


"Dad.. we got something for you." Said my eldest.


"Hmm? What is it?" A surprise? For me? What could it be?


The two turned to the door and there I was surprised to see who was standing.


"Megan?" My wife.


The reunion happened shortly. But it felt longer while it was happening. I've never been so happy and complete in my life.


With that, I can safely say that this is my reward for enduring and fighting in the war...


...my happy ending.

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