One Soldier

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
It’s broad daylight and the sun is as hot and dry as mouthful of desert sand. I want to move but I must resist the urge; if I move, I die. I’m at my post, waiting to receive updates on my objective. I see a sharpshooter in the dunes down below but he is of a lesser importance. What I’m after is the convoy of enemy soldiers scheduled to take this route in a few minutes. My mission is simple; kill everyone.
The convoy is due any second now and the sharpshooter becomes my top priority. I swing my M4A1 onto my back and pull out my M21 sniper rifle. I attach the suppressor and take aim. Three clicks east, one click north. I’m aiming for the heart like I learned back in boot camp. I hold my breath to steady the cross-hair, and pull the trigger. The gun makes a soft sound like air rushing out of a hydraulic piston. The next thing I hear is, “Clean shot.” That’s my squad leader, Foley, he watches over me in the SR71 Blackbird. He basically just scouts for enemy troops and things like that. I give the signal to my squad, a simple hand gesture, and we all swap to our AT4 rocket launchers. It is now time to play the waiting game once more.
The time has just dragged on, what feels like years has in reality only been fifteen minutes. I page Foley asking about the convoy, if he has any updates but he simply says no. About another fifteen minutes or so seem to evaporate and Foley comes on the mic, “Gather the rest of the squad and move! Coordinates are being sent to you on the laptop, you have five minutes!” We get the coordinates, pack up our stuff, and pile into the Humvee. An enormous rolling dust cloud is left behind as I step on the gas. We’re short for time so naturally I’m doing ninety five. Dirt and debris is flying at us as I speed through this desert terrain. Carter, the turret man hollers down in a choked voice, “slow down Mason, I can hardly breathe up here!” I just reply with a simple, “No can do,” and we keep rolling.
We arrive at the coordinates just thirty seconds before the convoy is expected, just enough time to get set up. We grab our gear, and we wait. The sun is at high noon and beating directly down on us. The sweat is just pouring down out faces like rain in a thunderstorm back home. Anticipation was in the air, we couldn’t wait to get it over with.
I look up and see the first truck. I signal my squad mates to take aim when a second rolls up, then a third, a fourth and a fifth. Then the sixth and final truck pulls in and we all fire at once. The sensation is nauseating, the feel of the hot rush of air in your face as the rocket leaves the barrel. The choking and the gagging from the black smoke that expelled out the back of the launcher, definitely not a pleasant experience.
We stop and stare at our target in awe and they all fall in sequence, like dominoes. The knowing that you’ve killed someone is awful. It definitely isn’t an experience I’d recommend to anyone. Just the thought repulses me and preforming the act isn’t any better. I know it’s wrong, they have families too. But it’s for my country and for our freedom. It is something I must do.
We’re headed back to base camp when I hear Foley panicking in my headset, “Get to Hornet Squad, now!” I immediately twist the wheel left in the direction of my commander’s squad when reality seems to fade and a dream seems to set in. I experience the moment, the moment I decided to join the military and fight terrorist tyranny.
I see my wife, planting some tulips in the flower box on the window sill. I’m inside admiring her work as her gentle hand gracefully places bright red tulips into the boxes. I hear a sound, like a screeching sound, it’s getting louder and louder. I can’t figure out what it is, there couldn’t be jets flying this low over a residential area. But sure enough, I look out the window and see three fighter jets screaming across the sky. My wife has moved to the vegetable garden out back, I try to get her inside but it’s too late. I hear the screech of a jet and just as I get to the door, a rain of bullets comes down on her. I stand there dumbfounded as the world shifts between dream and reality. The last thing I see is a bloody mist hovering in the air; and the real world swims back into focus.
I finally snap out of it and realize we’re being gunned down by an enemy apache. My squad mates are screaming out as bullets ricochet off of the Humvees armor. I have little time to react so I slam on the breaks and floor it in reverse. As the apache whirls itself around to continue its chase, I immediately stomped on the gas and go from zero to ninety unrealistically quick. I look back for a second to see the apache explode in its last attempt to hunt us down. I look back to the road, and the worst happens. We trigger a land mine and the explosion sends us flipping end over end through the air in a cloud of shrapnel and smoke. Those who were lucky enough to survive the barrage of bullets from the apache jumped off the vehicle; whereas those of us inside could do nothing. I blacked out and when I woke up, I was upside down with my legs pinned in the dashboard. I knew I was bleeding, I could feel it. The warm sticky red liquid drenched my uniform and most of the vehicles interior. I knew I would die soon. Hands trembling, I reach into my pocket and pull out my wallet. I open it and withdraw a picture of my wife. I look at the photo as I shed a single tear, and utter my last words, “I’ll be with you soon.”





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback