Tags From Tilt

February 14, 2014
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Tags from Tilt

They were inseparable all their lives, Charlie Tilt and Mark Low were the pure definition of best friends. They both had grown up as neighbors and always on was at the others house. They weren’t bad kids; they just always were doing random acts of mischief. They loved to have fake intense military battles out in the woods, and to add to the reality of theses battle, they even got dog tags with engravings on them. They always did the same things, if one joined a club the other one would to, if one took a class the other would be sure to sign up. Growing up was a dream for the boys full of movie marathons, long night playing endless video games, and of course the occasional last minute homework.

This dream lived on till the boys turned 18. The problem started when both boys’ (now men) applied for the same job at an almost well-paying factory. The job came down to just Mark and Charlie; Charlie really wanted the job, and out of envious desire he wrote an annomonys letter stating how mark was a terrible worker. Charlie got the job hands down, but guilt built inside of him; he went to Mark and told him what he had done. Mark was crushed to the heart; he couldn’t believe that his best friend would do such a thing to him. He believed he couldn’t forgive him and out of pure anguish and hurt he vowed he would never speak to Charlie again. To escape his now lost childhood he did what he and his now ex-friend always dreamed about...he joined the military.

He heard the gunshots and saw the flashes of white light coming from across the street. A pulse of fear mixed with adrenalin jolted through his body like boiling water coming in contact with ice. He knew exactly what he had to do. Charging the house was a lot easier said than done, his commanding officer had told him but that had been before a wall of bullets had scattered the platoon like mice in every different direction. Now he was all alone behind a random building marked with bullet holes in its side, feeling like a coward. His thoughts began to drift to thoughts of how he and Charlie had always wanted to be “heroes” in a battle; but no, he couldn’t think of Charlie, he had betrayed him. It had been two years but a pang of guilt for not forgiving Charlie was overshadowed by bitterness that steeled his heart.

A nearby explosion brought him back to reality which lit up the Afghani night sky. Making a display of yellow and red, this somehow gave hope to Mark. He was ready to kill or be killed; this was it, no turning back. With an almost ecstatic air Mark checked his gun and started to run across the street towards the building with the still distinct sounds of an AK coming out of it. Kill or be killed he thought again as he ran a little faster. Just than he saw another soldier charge into the building, absolutely no precaution. There were a flurry of rounds fired, and then silence. “Stupid fool,” Mark thought as he himself ran into the building to see if assistance was needed. The sight he beheld was terrible, five enemy soldiers lay on the ground; blood a blanket to their body’s.

While still looking at the sight he heard a slight moan from behind him. Mark remembered how the soldier had run in there bravely. But then he saw it, he looked into the man’s face and there was the undeniable face of his best friend. With horror and shock he looked upon the man who had always been there for him, the man who now had five or more bullet holes in his chest; surrounded by a pool of blood and broken glass. Mark knew that Charlie had recognized him and he also knew that his friend wouldn’t make it. All Mark could do was get on his knees and cradle the head of his now almost dead friend. As Charlie slipped out of this world his glazed eyes looked into Mark’s with an ever so slight smile mixed with pain. Mark knew he would never get to speak to his friend again. Nor would he ever get to ask for forgiveness for the bitterness that he had felt towards Charlie.

After recovering from almost endless weeping, Mark decided that he should take his best friends dog tags as a memory of his friend’s life. When he reached for the tags he not only noticed how blood covered they were but he also noticed that instead of the standard two tags a soldier has, Charlie had three. He took the dog tags in his hands and looked at them, they all looked normal except the third one which had a different shape, he recognized it but he didn’t know why. So he wiped the blood away from it and memories came flooding back. It was one of the dog tags they had engraved years before when they played army as kids. There written on it was, “Charles Tilt and Mark Low, Best Friends Forever.”

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1234567 said...
Feb. 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm
Very engaging!  I would like to see more from this author.  He made me cry; it was so realistic.
blp3756 said...
Feb. 19, 2014 at 6:42 pm
This story was very well written and thought out. I can't wait to see what comes next from this author.
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