Excellence Award in the 'The Text Generation 2014' competition

Trees, vines, bushes, weeds, ripped off leaves spread along the floor; green everywhere, aside from the little pebbles and rocks. I carry with me what looks like a riffle for hunting strung on my shoulder as I venture out in the vast jungles, keeping low and quiet as possible.

This riffle… It was given to me before I was pushed into a crowd of others holding the same weapon in confusion. “It’s an AK47.” They told me. We were also told about our enemies; strange tall men dressed in brown and green with white skin and have oddly shaped noses (And they seem to be talking in some other language than French). We were ordered to kill as much as we could with this weapon as we make our way (In different directions, by ourselves, of course) to a door hidden under leaves and underbrush, a distinct leaf atop it with a string strung along the middle of the said leaf. The riffle is oddly light to hold and fairly easy to use yet very dangerous. From my perspective, just anyone could use this to kill, even a mere child.

So far, I see no “enemies” in sight. If this keeps up, I’ll be able to reach the well-hidden entrance to the underground tunnels that I was told to be 10 metres deep and heavily booby-trapped. Hopefully, with my memory skills, I’ll be able to pass each and every one without getting hurt even the slightest.

A loud boom sounded not far from where I crouched, followed by distant screams and a short wave of warm air and dust blowing by as leaves rustled about. The earth beneath my dusted sandals shook and I couldn’t stop myself from shivering in fright.

'This is war… Definitely a war…' I think this to myself so many times but I just cannot muster up the guts to believe it. All this chaos all happening at once is just too much for my eyes to see and my mind to process; all the blood spewing out of people’s guts and wounds, people shooting innocent people, tanks rolling everywhere, innocent civilians running for their lives. This is too much.

It’s just too much.

My name is Hung Le and this is a small peek into the Vietnam War.