The Bow Maker

7 Jun

by Dustin Mullaney
7th Grade

The bow was made of a white birch wood that glistened in his hand. The wood, smooth from polishing, was almost glowing in the bright Mongolian sunlight. The white wood had a soft texture that made it hard to believe that this fine piece of art as designed for war. For murder. For death. That this fine craftsmanship would be used in a ruthless battle over land in northern China. Part of a war that Hi Ki Tu believed he had no part in, but was forced to participate in.

Hi Ki Tu, or Kitu, for short, sat stroking his fine handcrafted birch bow, thinking about life and awaiting the call for battle. He sat all night, thinking about his life, his family, his home. Why would the military make him risk all of that just for some farming land? What was so special about more money? Why did the government have to make him, not to mention countless others, risk their lives just for the benefit of one stupid king? It did not make sense to Kit.

Finally when a knock came at the barrack door, Kitu could get up. He slung his bow over his shoulder and went outside. The general did the basic headcount and motivational speech and they marched. On and on. For miles and miles.

About a day later it was time. Kitu would be positioned on a flank to the west of the enemy base and shoot with his bow. Kitu was lucky; if he did not have his bow he would be positioned on the front lines with little to no weaponry. Some poor soldiers had to run into enemy lines with only rocks to protect them.

Once positioned, Kitu pulled his bow out and looked for a target. He set the bowstring in the notch and scanned the many potential victims. He spotted one. He shook as he raised the bow. An adrenaline rush like he’d felt before swept through his now-cold body. He let the arrow fly. The scream seemed to drain the soul out of Kitu’s body. He had done it. He had killed a man.

Time Passes

Kitu woke up in a cold sweat. The dream was a terrible nightmare of the day of the war. The moment of the arrow driving into the man’s head kept repeating in Kitu’s mind until he could not handle it anymore. The terrible image had disturbed Kitu for weeks after the battle.

He awoke that morning knowing he would have to experience it again. The war had taken his home and family, so now he had nothing to lose. This time he could prepare himself for what was coming.

A Few Hours Later

Kitu slung his bow over his shoulder and walked out the door to the march. The general delivered his standard motivational speech in the traditional Mandarin. A translator said it in Mongolian for the Mongolian prisoners who were forced to fight their own country.

Soon they were marching. This trek was long. Many kilometers away from their location. It gave Kitu and the others time to think about what was about to happen. They could think about death. How they would die, or how they would kill. Either way, all the soldiers knew this was bad. Most would not come home.

Finally, they arrived at the makeshift battle camp. For hours, strategy was discussed, and finally Kitu received a role. He would have to attack in the main front of the battle on foot. Kitu knew this was a sure death sentence. He was a mere pawn. If he was lucky, he would last a few minutes. He had seen the carnage of the last battle. Nobody survived in the main battle section.

Later, in the Battle

Kitu felt the arrow penetrate his stomach. The pain burst through his entire body. He dropped to the ground. He was no longer aware of the sounds and action around him, but only of the sheer pain in his body. All he cared about was the slow painful death that was happening to him. He sat, waiting for death to arrive, on the cold ground. He had lost everything now. He was gone.

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