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Al died today, his fault though. Not gonna sugar coat it. He got too cocky in the heat of battle; stuck is big ‘ol head out and took one right between the eyes. It’s a dang shame too, I kind of liked the fella; oh well, you just got to move on past these things.
“Ain’t no room for emotion in the army Jack.” My father always said, even though I hate ‘em. That was one thing he did say that stuck.
I got nine days left in my rotation, I’m gonna spend them stayin alive.
I wanna go home and see my son, little guy is almost two I gotta be there for him. Lord knows my father wasn’t and I’m not gonna be anything like ‘em. So as long as all goes well out here, and I keep myself from doing anything stupid, I’ll be going home to see my family.
It might sound easy to anyone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about but
I’ll assure you; it ain’t. Out here there is no easy way out, there is no running and hiding and there is no quitting. The only thing here is just stand and fight. And that is what I do, I fight; and I keep fighting to my last breath. To tell you the truth, that is the only dang reason I am still fighting.
Al’s burial was starting at nine. Along with the burial of three other soldiers we lost this week. I paid my respects and went off to bed; I just wanted my rotation to end as soon as possible.
I swear I was sleeping for only 5 minutes but it was four in the morning now and the sirens were going off. Come on not another drill, and at four in the morning, give me a break for once. But then I heard those words, the words I will never forget.
“Not a drill Jack! Not a drill!”
8 days left… you got to be kidding me. I went to grab my rifle but before I could reach it there was an explosion in my bunker. All I remember was being thrown across the room by the force of the explosion and hitting my head hard on the floor. I was dizzy and disoriented. I could see three silhouettes of men who looked like they were holding Ak-47s, then everything went black.
I woke up in a big empty room except for two other men; they looked familiar but I wasn’t exactly sure who they were. They were alive but unconscious; their dog tags read Dominic Rodriguez and Maximus La Verne. Two guys out of Delta Company; I was in Bravo Company, which was in a whole different station. Exactly how many stations were attacked last night?
When Dom and Max woke up they were so disoriented that they almost killed me.
“Hey! What are you doing?! I’m not the bad guy!”
“How are we supposed to know that?” Dom said with his fist clutched, ready to beat me senseless.
“Because we are wearing the same uniform!”
“Oh yeah, sorry man.”
“Jeez man, are all you guys this dumb at Delta Company?”
“No sir, that’s just Dom for you. I apologize, the names Max, Max LaVerne; and this here is Dominic Rodriguez. We’re just both a little confused that’s all.”
“Yeah I know who you guys are, I read your tags. I’m Jack But, that’s not important right now.”
“Well what is important right now Jack?” Max asked
“What’s important is that we figure out where we are and how to get out.”
I looked a around the room but there was no way out except the big metal doorway that wouldn’t budge if the hulk gave it a push. I didn’t want to give up but what choice did I have, it was a big empty room, and the walls were solid concrete.
Then suddenly, the big metal door opened up and a blinding light peered through. Then I saw the three silhouettes again. An Iraqi officer in uniform came out of the light he was tall and looked to be in his 40s. He said something to both of the men that where with him and they stood at corners of the room in front of us.
In broken English he said, “You are prisoners of Iraqi army. Do what is told to you and you will go home.”
Biggest lie I’ve ever heard. The officer left the room and a three more soldiers came in. Those guys really shouldn’t have closed that door. I looked at Dom and Max and I can tell I wasn’t the only one going down without a fight.
The two soldiers on the left started to walk toward me, as soon as they were close enough I head-butted one and took down the other. The other three soldiers came at me but Dom grabbed one of their guns in the scramble and fired off a round. Probably not the brightest idea, but it did stop me from getting my teeth bashed in… for the moment. After the sound of the gunshot every soldier in the vicinity came running. There were way too many to handle and then that’s when I got my teeth bashed in… we all did.
They took us into separate rooms and did things to us that make me quiver just thinking about them. I went through so much pain and torture that was contemplating my own suicide. I had to have been in there for weeks, months even. Until one day. One day just got tired of torturing us I guess. They dragged me into this room and I saw Dom and Max again. They both looked pretty bad, but I’m sure I wasn’t lookin too pretty either. They lined us up and made us get down on our knees. They threw bags over our head and I knew, I just knew this was it. The funny part is, now I new, I really didn’t want to die.
I would never get to see my son, my wife, my family; none of ‘em. This was it.
The Iraqi soldiers screamed something; like they were ready to fire.
Gunshots went off everywhere, was I dead? Or did they just kill Dom and Max off, and now it was my turn. But then the gunfire stopped. I heard footsteps walking toward me. The bag on my head was pulled off, and a man in USMC gear said,
“Lets go Jack, you’re going home.”