Sunday, November 20, 2016

Malicious war - first chapter

I watched him as he rose above the muddy trench, red anguish raging from every bone in his body as he lifted his gun into the dust of war. Just watching him made my heart beat furiously, a kick of adrenaline rushing through my body yet a tinge of sadness overcame me as I watched my best friends fighting for their lives. It was like the world stopped and paused yet I was still watching the live soldiers heavily under attack, trying to helplessly defend their country but more more of a less protect themselves. Suddenly it hit me and the sound of bullets scattering the air was the drenching drone that filled this land. I was still watching him, my best mate, until that moment when everything became slow motion. A shock wave hit him, his left shoulder catapulted backwards and that’s when I saw it, a red bullet leaving his shoulder as it left an imprint on the brave soldier. Blood was racing out of his body like a glorious waterfall and I watched him as he fell to the ground, his legs entwined together, his dusty gun laying next to him against the cherry red stain that left a mark on his army clothing. I stared at him, ran over to check his pulse, but no blood beat through his heart yet warm blood oozed and dribbled to the ground. He was dead; a memory in which I will always keep in my heart for the rest of my life, a shock that I will never be able to overcome.

I looked back over the trench knowing that if I let my guard down, I too could be lying beside my best friend; dead, only to see the fire leaving the end of each rifle and gun. I eyed out a black shadowing figure, carefully crawling to the side of the trench and closing up upon my group of men. I looked down the line of my team of freedom fighters, only to see that none of them had spotted the soon to be, deathly ambush.

 I turned slightly on an angle, aiming carefully through the scope of my rifle  as the enemy thought he was sneaking upon us unnoticed. Little did he know that I was taking deep breaths, calming myself, blocking out the deadening gun shots, and focusing on him. I was ready to pull the trigger; a million things raced through my mind, unknowing what family that I would put in pain if I killed him. I tried to stay strong, and know that killing one will save us all from the fury of the death that would creep up onto more. He chose to do this, to fight, to risk his life, and so did I. I trained for so many years, for this moment to retaliate an overwhelming force; I might as well take the shot and use my ability and skill. Taking slow breaths, I pulled the trigger slowly, my hands still as a rock despite the noise and vibrations that shook the ground.  I pulled the trigger and instantly, through my scope, I saw an instant shock wave and the quick death I had given him. I looked up towards the dust filled sky, hoping i’d be forgiven for doing this, and knowing what other duties I had to undertake.

One of my comrades turned to me, realising what had just happened. He smiled, but the smile soon dropped when he looked at my best friend, lying next to me, his lifeless body enclosed in a ball. He nodded his head wistfully with understanding but he looked back upon the battlefield knowing what bloodshed was to come. Ten minutes of heavy fire and our small battle ended. The last two enemies raced away in a vehicle when they came to realise that they were outnumbered and wouldn’t be able to defend themselves. I watched my commander stand up, his eyes carefully surveying the damage. He paused for a second over my best friend’s body but kept his will to overlook it. He reported back to base over the radio, saying that 6 of the 8 men came out alive and that we’d be transporting the two dead bodies back to base.

As a soldier in Iraq, we all tend to think deeply when we have the time. After every episode of a battle, the bumpy humvee ride back to base always has an eerie and deathly silence. No one speaks, moves, utters a sound, but we all just tend to stare upon the orange desert and the people that entail this land. Inside every one of us, is a bravery that most may not understand, but there is a fear that we chose to face. We came here from halfway around the world to defend our country but doing so meant to risk our lives, to leave our loved ones at up to 9 months at a time. Some say we are crazy, stupid and selfish to leave a perfectly good home, but who’s going to do the dirty work? All of us are strong willed but it is over time that we gain such an understanding of the meaning of strong willed. When you’re a rookie, you have a fantasy of the adrenaline rush and you think you know what it will be like to be in the army, to see fellow fighters die at your side and shoot with a gun, but really, the hell, anger, fury and uncomfortableness of it all is like nothing you can imagine unless you have been through it. Every day, each and every soldier is faced with the closeness to death, with the thought of being unable to properly say good bye to loved ones and the intensity of every sleepless night. It is what we chose to do but in many ways, it can be unforgiving.

We returned back to ‘the wire’, the base, the barracks, the safe area. The dinner table tonight is quite and dark, my team of soldiers blank within the Iraqi night. Not even my commander has uttered a word, only to say that the two bodies will be sent back to the US tomorrow to be laid to rest. My Commander, Mark Williams, allowed me to leave with the two bodies tomorrow to go to the one of the funerals since it was my best friend, Isaac, whom I watched die in front of me.  I refused the offer, knowing that Isaac would think I was nuts and selfish to leave this war torn country just to watch his dead body be buried beneath the ground. I didn’t reject the offer because of the thought, but because a couple months ago, we talked about what would happen if either one of us died, and we promised each other we’d take care of each other’s families, but we will keep our dutiful role to keep fighting until it was time to go home, regardless if we missed each other’s funeral. When we promised each other, I never believed it would happen but reality had hit me in the back of the head and I am now faced with the challenge to live every day without Isaac fighting by my side.

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