The flag was raised on the highest point of the island.
It meant victory for them and defeat for the others.
It was for both the end to a trail of dead bodies.
The sergeant lit his second last cigar and looked around.
His remaining soldiers squatted around him.
There were not many left of his squad. Most had been left behind: dead, wounded or crazy.
Fallen by the wayside.
The horizon was filled with gray shapes bobbing on an azure sea.
Smaller shapes were moving between them and the island.
A rook landed on the flag and started a tentative song.
It seemed as if it feared it’s singing would provoke a new round of fighting.
“I could live here.” The sergeant remarked, blowing smoke and listening bird uttering strange clicks, wheezes and almost human-like notes.
He imagined how it would look like in a decade.
A tropical paradise. The most deadly creatures to fear would be mosquito’s and sharks.
“Yes.. I could live here for sure.” He said to himself.
The next day he returned home. A drizzle of early snow greeted him on the quay. Dark clouds promised more. His wife locked him in her arms. She would deliver their baby soon.
Five decades he worked until a former enemy invited him to go back to that island.
He was now the only surviving member of his squad.
Together with his host he ascended the hill where the flag had been.
There he lit his last cigar..
For a moment he was that sergeant again.
He saw the swaying trees, the sunny beaches, the azure of the sea.
A rook landed nearby.
“I could have lived here.” The sergeant said.
The rook started a jubilant song.