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Tank on the Hill

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Until the cannon is rusted, protect the people. Until the engine runs no more, remain on the hill. Until the moss has grown so thick the visor cannot be see through, watch over the village.

My friends stood by my side when we learnt our mission. My friends stood by my side as we played our part in our mission. The time between the two memories was an incoherent blur, but either side of the blur were clear images.

On the hill, we sat. On the hill, we watched. On the hill, we lived. From where we were, we could see the village. Our mission was to protect that village. We did it, no matter how tired we were.


We were on that hill for a long time. Days became weeks. Weeks became months. Months became years. But the battle was already a war.

Some of my friends were told to watch other parts of the valley we sat in. They watched the lake, or they watched the forest. I was watching the village.

Some of my friends saw took part in the fighting. They defended the village from the enemy as they crept around the lake, or they attacked the enemy as they fled through the forest. I didn’t take part in the fighting.

Some of my friends disappeared. Some of us were moved nearer to the fighting, few of us were moved away from the fighting. I was not allowed to move.


During the last year, I was told I had to fight. On the hill, I saw the enemy and watched their positions. In the valley, I moved towards the enemy and attacked them by surprise. By the village, I was fighting the enemy and took a hit to my side.

I was watching the village. I took part in the fighting. I wasn’t able to move.

I watched the enemy get pushed back. I took joy in seeing the enemy unable to fight any longer. I was able to see the enemy moved far beyond my sight.

My friends were all watching me. My friends all took part in the fighting. All my friends could move.

But I couldn’t.


Their war was soon to come to an end. They completed their mission, and left in high spirits. They were the talk of their villages, heroes amongst the soldiers. They received treatment far beyond what they had expected, and it was more than enough for them.

The war was ending. Every soldier was finished with the battle, and left with heads held high. The soldiers were the talk of the village, pride amongst the victorious. They received the treatment they deserved, and it was enough for them.

My war never ended. I couldn’t end my fight, and couldn’t leave, forced to remain nearby. I wasn’t the talked about by the village, a topic of grief and sadness amongst the excitement and triumph. I received treatment, much less than I had expect, but it wasn’t enough to do anything for me.


Until my cannon is rusted, I protect my people. Until my engine runs no more, I remain on hill. Until the moss has grown so thick my visor cannot be seen through, I watch over the village.

My friends left my side when they finished the mission. My friends left my side when they’d played their part in their mission. The time between the two memories is an incoherent blur, but either side of the blur are clear images.

On the hill, I sit. On the hill, I watch. On the hill, I live. From where I am, I can see the village. My mission is to protect that village. I do it, but I’m just a little tired now.