This is an edited repost from 2010 with reduced word count (368) and minor word changes. The comments on the original included a brief discussion over the final line, and you’ll notice I kept it here. Thank you.</em>
I accept the uniform, folded neat upon my arms. The soldier tells me blue is my color. Or is it gray? Another war, another battle—it is always the same—another uniform, nothing ever changes. A warrior only knows one color.
Blue or gray, I don my uniform holding me tight. I stand in line with the others, some carrying scars of battle upon their faces. Many pale, some dark, the warriors hold two traits in common, their color and the death in their eyes.
The mercenaries march, boots crushing the ground. The slinking centipede cuts through the army into the front line. Musket in left hand, sword in my right, I stand gazing over rolling green. The captain tells us to remember our color. Remember, the man beside me says, tugging at his uniform.
Darkness arrives with the thunder of boots. I hold no ill between warriors. This is our way. The one beside me wishes me luck, to find death at last. I thank him and shake my head. Another field, nothing ever changes. Perhaps my time passed me long ago. I wish him a good death and to remember our color.
Cannon fire announces the battle. Blue meets gray. Cries of war twist into howls of dread. I dance to the music of anguish, the beat of torment. I attack gray. Or is it blue? Dropping the musket, I carry my sword, cutting my way up the hill.
The soldiers are farmers and masons, not warriors. Blue and gray are their colors before the reaping. Some turn away in fear, others stand frozen clenching weapons. I clear first the ones with strength in their eyes. Weapons falling, death calling, a warrior only knows one color.
Blue or gray I forget, but their faces burn into memory. Color flees their cheeks, light departs their eyes. They shed crimson tears upon my dress. Even the mercenaries cry for me. I envy them, their freedom.
On the hilltop, I stand alone. Blue or gray matter no more. All of the fallen wear the same color—my color—flowing down the hill.
Red is my color, the only color I know.