*This story was inspired by the artwork, “Hello from the front” by Art Right.

Of all the pictures I have of Colin and Sam, I look at this one the most—not because of some deranged need to keep myself mourning for the end, or because of a kind of misplaced guilt over their deaths—but because this one shows us in the full light of what we were meant to be.

The three of us knew that a war was coming. It was plain to see for anyone willing to look; all the signs were there. The only question was which side you would choose to fight on. For Colin, Sam, and I, that choice was simple.

I remember the day we took those photos as clear as any other. We each took turns taking one of the other two. We laughed most of the time, but there was still the underlying feeling of dread. We agreed to take the photos because none of us had any delusions of what we’d be facing, and we wanted to have something to carry with us if one was lost to the war.

Sam went pretty early on, and Colin went a few weeks after.

I forced myself to keep the promise that we made to each other: that if even only one of us were left, we’d go on fighting. I may have been the one who survived, but the crossed out faces on this bloodied photograph are the real heroes to me.

They’re the ones who kept me going.


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