Sunday 19 September 2010

These Killing Fields

The killing fields reek of peacetime.

Soon they will be farmland; the glorious dead reborn as crops, or worse: bright flowers. Corpses make such good fertiliser.

I have watched many wars. It is a good battle when the burial pits are not far from the field. It shows a need for efficiency, a need for minimal distractions from combat. The sign of a better battle is when there isn’t even the time for burial; when each side is fighting to regain their corpses as much as their ground.

But war ends. And the victor claims the land, though it is inevitably soaked more in the blood of his enemies than his own men. Should the greater claim not go to whoever has the most corpses, whoever put the most of their country into that land? That is not how these things work though. That is not how men think.

My brothers and sisters have gone elsewhere now; looking for better pickings. I remain, and the humans call me a curse. I remain, and I have been thinking.

Always we are content to let humans work themselves into war, and we go where they fight, we go where they die. But there are fewer and fewer wars, and in peacetime we flounder; only the strongest survive.

I have seen a hundred wars, a hundred peacetimes. I am the oldest of my kind, and I have a plan.

I have studied humans; so predictable in their pride and their rage and their greed. I will guide them to war, and we will have our feasts.

I take to the air. I shall find the rest of the flock and the great work shall begin. Ravens will be scavengers no more, but harbingers.

(author's commentary)