I spat, wiped the cerise tinged spittle from my dry, cracked lips, and took a lengthy draw of my last cigarette. It was a hot day and I had to narrow my eyes into a squint just to see the six men standing before me.

I dropped my cigarette butt on the sandy forecourt of the outpost and crushed it with my dusty, scorched boot. The heavily scarred captain jerked his greasy head and the guard by my side began to bind my wrists - the coarse rope burned.

'Have you any last words?' He growled.

'I shouldn't have shot that boy,' I said, ' I needed to see my love one last time.'

'Bastard!' he screamed.

He crunched across the arid ground and struck me across my mouth. I spat again, this time my spit gleamed crimson red.

'You dog,' he sneered, 'only a dog knows when to tuck tail and run home to his bitch.'

I stared at a vulture circling above.

'Yes, you are a dog,' he said, 'and you will die like all the other dogs until you and your dog kind finally learn to obey your master.'

'Tyranny will always force good men to take a stand and fight for what they believe in and what they love,' I said,' and in the end, blood shed and loss is the only price we shall all have to pay…it's the only thing we have in common, and for that, I am truly sorry.'

The captain glared violently and then spat on the ground in disgust.

'I shouldn't have shot that boy,' I quietly repeated.

He turned and crunched back to the other five men. They were all in their twenties and sweating heavily in their full uniform. The sun burned high up in the sky.

The captain looked at his pocket watch and then mopped his head with a dirty white handkerchief.

'Make ready,' he commanded.

The guards raised their rifles.

'Aim,' he bellowed.

The captain checked his watch again.


My knees buckled and I sank to the hot ground. Lying in a crumpled heap, I – as all dying men tend to do – began to pray. I said a prayer for the cause, and then said a second prayer for Scarlett – she would miss me dearly, as I would her.

I bled some more and then closed my eyes. I shouldn't have shot that boy.