Alexander Plonski had spent his whole life trying to find where he belonged, it was like a constant tap, tap, tap on Dementia's mind... ever-persistent, yet ever evasive.
It wasn't until he went through the war-like conditions of prison that he came to fully know meaning beyond belonging. For Alex, trying to keep true to himself in prison was like having to walk through a warzone alone and unarmed, yet somehow still stay alive.
It was as if he was trapped inside the movie Hacksaw Ridge, and it was up to him to rescue the wounded soldiers trapped by an enemy who swarmed out of the earth like angry ants.
Pushing down his fear, and crouching like a tiger he would run through the rancid smoke that fell over the battlefield like a morning fog... dodging the explosion of fallen artillery... trying to decipher the screams to be a friend or foe.
Moving through such maddening ingredients he would listen to the cries as if they were Siri giving directions, and he, finally, stumbled upon communication specialist, Sergeant Hope.
Hope spoke with a tremble, ''Alex, man I'm so glad to see you! I was so scared and lost... I didn't know what to do... They were everywhere... killing everyone.''
Alex knew the look of terror, and simply said, ''Listen, Hope, I'm here now... you're going to be okay.''
After sending Hope down the mountain ridge to safety, he ran to find more wounded and came upon another soldier, Gunnery Sergeant Joy.
''Alex, forget about me... I ain't... I ain't got nothing left.''
''Joy stop talking crazy... I mean, what would any of us do without you?!''
After bandaging him up, he lifted Joy onto his shoulder and ran through the night as if a giant tidal wave was reaching its aquafied fingers out to swallow them alive.
Alex would rescue Kindness, Integrity, Truth, Goodness, Righteousness, and even Peace... but there was still one more out there. Peace had said that Redemption had taken on heavy fire just beyond where Peace had laid wounded.
On tired and wearied legs Alex ran, ignoring the loss of blood that was soaking into his fatigues. Nothing mattered if he couldn't find Redemption... so he ran.
He finally came to the place where he had found Peace, and just beyond he saw a mound of dead. He inched his way forward, and it looked as if Redemption had tried to make a human foxhole of his enemies. Alex jumped down into the carnage and immediately saw that Red was hit pretty badly.
''Red, don't worry I'm going to get you out of here,'' Alex said reassuringly, but as he began to clean his wounds Red grabbed Alex's hands and shook his head.
''I'm done here...'', and with that Red pointed to another soldier who Alex hadn't seen and whispered, ''That's my brother Reform, and I promised my mom I would get him home... Alex, I could never live with myself, if I left him here to die.''
Understanding, Alex simply nodded and helped Red over to where his brother lay wounded.
Red looked deep into his brother's eyes and said, ''Reform, I want you to know... that I got a great love for you... please tell mom that I love her too... and tell her that I kept my promise... And Reform, never be sad... never regret for I will find life through yours.''
Let's bring Reform home,
A fictional story by Alfred Rhiner
Society-First, Chief Editor and Co-founder
(Written in the prison creative writing group Exchange for Change in 2021. https://www.exchange-for-change.org/)