The 45th regiment had only 128 soldiers, each of them, brave and armed to the teeth. After the war, only 29 survived. Once boisterous and full of life, these soldiers were tired and panting, walking briskly through enemy territory, alert and careful.

A young soldier of about twenty was treading the forest with the team, a train of thoughts racing through his mind. Most of them were about how he survived the war, how his instincts coupled with his gut feelings made the difference between his life and death, how he was ‘lucky’. If there was such a thing called ‘fate’, it was with him today, he knew it. And unknowingly and involuntarily, a smile forced its way up his lips. Little did he noticed that these thoughts slowed his pace and he lingered on the edge of his team, he was well at the end. That is when he heard the noise- ‘click’.

Looking down his worst fears came into existence- his foot ‘accidentally’ set a landmine active. If he removed his leg from the pin, it would mean his imminent death. The least would mean losing his leg and dying from severe loss of blood. That would be painful; he did not want to go that way. The young soldier’s mind loomed away to a far-off place, thinking of his family and friends. He had enlisted in the army to provide for his family, he could not if he was dead. The slightest change of pressure would mean his body being blown to pieces and covering a sizeable portion of the surroundings with an ugly amalgamation of blood, tissues and what not. He could risk calling for his team even as it would only mean being the scapegoat amidst enemy territory. He would have to make do with this kind of parting.

The current situation only added to his acrimony towards the enemy. Muttering all the known profanity under his breath for quite some time, the soldier finally decided to embrace what was in store for him. There is no such thing as ‘fate’ he concluded before bending over in an arc on the mine. “If I have to die this way, might as well make sure I don’t survive under any circumstances” he smiled, differently. And he let go of the pin, releasing the pressure. Nothing happened.

His eyebrows shot up in what could only be described as sheer excitement and happiness.  ‘Yes,’ he cried, standing up, elated by the prospect that ‘death’ must have overlooked him.

Deeper own the forest, his remaining teammates heard a landmine go off with a loud din.

The landmine detonated one second after it was supposed to.

© Biswadeep

Image courtesy- https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/scientists-create-bacteria-that-lights-up-around-landmines.html

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