According to Humanium.org, an estimated 10 million children have been killed as a result of war during the last 10 years.
A million children per year!
War is tragic enough to the civilians who are caught in its crossfire, but to the children, it is catastrophic. Children are often not old enough to even understand what is going on around them, which raises the level of fear and insecurity. And their inability to defend themselves makes their situation even more heartbreaking.
In “Toy Soldiers,” one of the stories in “No Place For Mercy,” a schoolteacher-turned-soldier is faced with a tragic dilemma. His company has wiped out an enemy village, and he is leading his soldiers on to their next objective when he discovers that this village has some survivors: two small children.
But this is no ordinary war, if such a thing exists. This is 1999 at the height of the Kosovo War between Serbs and Albanians. The objective is ethnic-cleansing, so there is no real rationalization for taking prisoners. This former schoolteacher knows what his orders are, and they don't include options for taking anyone back alive.
His commanding officer is close behind him, and the moment of decision is upon him. Will he challenge his orders, try to spare these two small children, or follow his orders and murder them? His decision may surprise you.
”Toy Soldiers” is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at Amazon.com: