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The Mind of a Warrior

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The ship glides silently across the water as we move closer. Many a day we have spent planning this, many an hour readying for it. The moonlight across the water is oddly soothing to my battle worn soul. The water is cool; it calms my nerves. This place is beautiful, serine, set apart from the chaos of mankind. I can only wish it will remain that way. The forest that surrounds me is omnipresent and complete. Through the darkness I see shades of green and brown, a comfortingly familiar sight. It reminds me of my home, my family. I think back to the days when my son and I would spend entire days on our boat, oblivious to the world. My mind ventures further into the past as I recall memories I had not seen for some time. The day I met my wife, Susan; the day we were married. Soon the intensity of the memories grows too strong, and my emotions start to bleed through. I cannot stop myself; not now. The day my son was born, the first time he rode a bike, our first fight. A tear rolls down my cheek as they flood my mind. The joy experienced in those days will linger with me until my death. Now my son is 16, a young man. I cannot help feeling regret for all the missed birthdays, all the forgotten holidays, all the precious time lost. I shake free of my past before it consumes me entirely. I had buried my memories for a reason. I cannot allow them to make me soft, not again. I will not falter. Despite my efforts, my mind slips back to the day I made the decision that makes me the man I am today. It was painful to accept, just as it is today. The pain is still etched into my bones; since that time I have grown numb. The look in her eyes is still haunts me, the day I told her my decision. It was a look of confusion; not as much confusion as fear and worry. I laugh at how I realize things about my life as soon as they become useless. I knew it was the right decision, no matter the consequences. It was necessary for my family, for my way of life, for my country. I was born to do this. It has run through my blood all of my life. I know, deep down, I am doing the right thing. Echo taps me on the shoulder; we are five minutes to the target. I check my gear and my weapon; I am ready. I take a deep breath; four minutes to target. I say a prayer for my son, my wife, and my family. I ask for protection for my men and I. Still there is silence; three minutes to target. To my left, Echo and Buck; to my right, Bones and Jack. I am in good hands. We are brothers in arms, brothers until the end. I am ready for anything. As the dark compound comes into view, I utter to myself, “ready to lead, ready to follow, never quit”. I am the United State’s finest warrior and defender. I am a Navy SEAL.









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The aftermath of the raid is a horrific sight. The militia never even had a chance against advanced tactics and suppressed firearms. Bodies are spread along the shore as Echo and Jack move them out of the way. Bones and I screen the perimeter for any stragglers as Buck surveys the compound. We don’t dare speak to each other; not until the mission is over and we are out of harms way. My head has been spinning ever since the first breaching charge paved their front door down. The only thing I can remember is assaulting the beach and clearing the west bunker. My mind fell into autopilot, reacting without conscious thought. I was transformed into a man I wish never to meet; a cold-blooded killer with nerves of steel. This man puts his men and mission above all else, even above his own life. He does what he has to survive, not unlike myself. He is part of me, embedded in my very soul. Ready at a moments notice and prepared for the worst, he is the reason I have survived this long. Nevertheless, he is an embodiment of the sin and darkness I have struggled with all my life. Despite my hatred I cannot let him go; under my control he saves the lives of countless innocents. I have lain awake many a night wondering about the day I lost control. Close combat and distant destruction is what he – I – feed upon. I am not a perfect man or of a perfect soul – I am tainted with war. Too much death will drive even the sanest man into chaos. Suddenly I am ripped out of my thoughts as bullets fly past my head. Before I open my eyes I am already returning fire. I take cover behind a log and assess the situation. The shrieks of rifle fire fill my head as debris flies around. I manage a peek past the log and see flashes of light. I count three militia about fifty meters out. I look over to Bones, expecting him to be there. All I see is darkness. I feel something behind me and spin around. To my horror I see a man on top of Bones with a knife. I raise my rifle and fire, but it is too late. I wanted to cry; no tears came. I wanted to scream; I could only whisper. I wanted to look away; my eyes did not waver. I spring from my hideout and hit my targets, oblivious to the gunfire around me. I cannot hear or feel anything, numbness everywhere. I collapse on the ground, utterly ripped to pieces at the loss of my squad mate – and the loss of my very soul.




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We burn the base and bury the bodies, leaving no evidence of our being there. As I watch it crumble to the ground, I feel myself burning along with it. I am returning home a broken man, drowned in my own fears and anger. I calm myself by thinking of home, my real home back in the states. I picture myself getting home, walking through the front door into- and then it hits me. How could I face them after all these years, after all things I have done? I was just a man when I joined the service. Just a man who thought he could change the world and save lives. Sadly, I was right. These long years have changed the man I used to be. This night rung out what compassion I had left in my heart. I cannot return yet, I have things to work out, things to fix. I need time to recover form what happened to Bones. He was my best friend, a steady rock in all this confusion. On the other hand, I cannot stay here. I can feel myself going crazy, slowly losing my mind to the rush of battle. War will take the fragments of the human inside me and devour them. All hope of going home will be gone, and my mind would soon follow. I will be keeping my family safe from the frontline; I will be where I belong. The future is a scary thing. Always in motion, ever changing, just outside of our reach. One choice, one mistake can change the course of your life forever, and you might never realize it. If I were fast enough, Bones would be alive. What happened is done, and the only choice we have is to move forward. Fate has offered me one of these choices: Go home and deal with your demons, or stay here and do what you do best for as long as you can. All I have is my own reasoning, a desperate prayer and a whole lot of luck. I chuckle quietly to myself as I realize what crazy night it has been. The ship glides silently across the water as we move farther from the flames. Many a day we spent planning this, many an hour readying for it. The moonlight across the water is oddly soothing to my battle worn soul. The water is cool; it calms my nerves.





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