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Blood is Sweet
Blood tastes so sweet, doesn't it? The thing that keeps us alive, the thing that spills at our death. I've seen more than enough blood to last a lifetime. I've spilt more than enough blood to last an eternity.
"Get up private! Let’s move!"
I remember it so vividly. It's hot, and the night is filled with a ghastly orange glow. Seattle is in flames. D*mn Russians. This is my hometown, and it’s being destroyed. The sergeant is calling out orders. I don’t hear anything but the sounds of children screaming. I look at the face of private Martinez, my squad mate and lifelong friend. All those good times we had in high school seem centuries old, even though it’s been less than three years. The sounds of engines quickly fill the sky as the Russians make another pass. Explosions go off in the distance and I can see the space needle falling. There's no time to think about that now though, I need to keep moving.
Bullets ricochet off of walls and burned out shells of cars being used for cover. Somewhere behind me I hear a soldier take his last breath. There must be a long and winding river in heaven, because god cries a tear for every man who dies too young. He will not cry for me today. The Russians have us pinned, our target building just around the corner. One of the few still standing. Inside are a few of us and a couple of civvies. We need to get them out.
"Battalion 251 this is falcon, what the h*ll is going on down there?"
The sarge looks around and takes a breath before replying.
"We are pinned 2 blocks away from our target; can we get some air support? Over"
"I’m moving into po-"
The message is interrupted by static. In the sky I see the chopper go down, cockpit in flames. It lands in the middle of the street, scrap metal flies everywhere. It’s the chance we need and we take it, pushing forward to the building. Martinez and I force the doors open, allowing everyone else in first. When the last guy goes in we turn and hurry inside. All i hear is the shatter of glass. My friend falls, face lifeless and covered in blood. There’s a fifty caliber round in his head, he never knew he died. I pick up his body and regroup with my squad in the next room.
Everyone’s a mess. The wounded are treated and the civvies are reassured. In the corner sarge and a few others are drawing up plans. I take a moment to pray and shed a tear for Martinez before joining them. I can hear the chaos outside, with every bomb dropped the ground shakes. Static comes over the radio followed by a saddened voice.
"Sergeant Erickson I want a sitrep on your position. Over"
Sarge seems tired, almost resigned. But that’s not the kind of man he is.
"We are at the location. All soldiers and civvies are accounted for. The bombing is close but not an immediate threat. Over"
"Listen good sarge. Get everyone the h*ll out. A convoy is passing by your area soon. Join them and proceed to rally point bravo. Over"
The men look around before preparing to fight again. Young children cry and hold on to their mother’s leg. A group of men head out to clear the street for the convoy, the rest of us stay back, providing cover from windows. I sweep the area constantly, shooting at anything Russian that moves. I’m looking for a sniper, the sniper that killed my friend. I see the convoy come around the corner and I rush outside, carrying the dead on my back.
The humvees and strykers pull up, the wounded are loaded first. The sarge puts his hand on my shoulder.
"Stay with the civvies private. They need a man like you." when everyone’s loaded on we start moving as fast as we can. RPGs explode around us and sniper shots bounce of the hood. Im taking shots out the window of the Humvee, taking my last chance at revenge. When we reach the rally point the civvies are loaded into a chopper. I feel relived as the children and parents fly away, farther and farther from the destruction. I forget this feeling immediately when I feel the bullet in my back. Time slows down. The pain is unbearable, the bullet ripping its way through my flesh. I can tell it will puncture my stomach. I know I will never be the same, but as my world fades to black I am certain of two things. The taste of blood is sweet, and I will survive.