(Cont. from the week before last week and the week before last…)
All around me soldiers are setting up for the major offensive. Digging holes, doin’ this, doin’ that…I don’t understand any of it. I’ve only been serving since I got the call a few weeks ago.
I hear the familiar sound of my custom ring cell phone. It’s a comfort, but I don’t remember bringing it.
Not even sure it’s allowed.
No matter. I put it to my ear and it rings with a painful high pitch squeal. Sort of like a call from a fax machine, but a much higher pitch…loud enough that it hurts. I yank the phone from my ear and examine it closely. Looks normal enough, but seems like something is wrong.
Examing the phone I see a little goo dripping off the side and I take a closer look. I take a screwdriver and pop the cover off the keyboard to take a look inside.
Some sort plant-animal organ is inside with a beating center. Looks like some sort of pinkish heart thing is in the center. There are vein-like things surrounding it, moving to the beat.
I look at it for a few moments. My own heart pounds in rhythm with the organism.
Tentacles unravel from inside and captures my skull while shoving a tenticle in my ear.
I jump and look around.
I’m in a ditch clutching a machine gun waiting. Looking in my pocket, there is no cell phone.
Just a dream.
I look around an everything is moving in slow motion. Soldiers running here and there. Advancing troops are getting dangerously close.
How did I get here? How did this happen?
I hear explosions, gunfire. I don’t know where its coming from, but the pace picks up. I look forward and more civilians are coming at us. I point forward and fire. I know I wanted to draw the line, but it’s fire or be shot, so I fired.
I fired at my neighbors, co-workers, friends and enemies. It doesn’t matter anymore, I see soldiers dying next to me and I fire.
My machine gun runs out, and I don’t really know who to signal for more ammunition. I pull out my pistol and start firing, but soon I’m out.
I look around, everyone in my ditch is dead. My comrades are falling all around. I have no ammo.
I have no idea why I’m alive.
Without thinking, I start digging in the mud with my hands. I’m thinking, “I went on my mission and fired until I was shot down. Now I’m here. I fired until I was out of bullets. I’ve done my part.”
The onslaught is getting closer and I keep digging while telling myself, “I’ve done my part. I’m done.”
“I’m done.” I say as I cover my legs.
“I’m done.” I say as I cover my body.
I cover myself with the mud and the earth.
I rub mud on my face.
I’ll cover myself.
I KNOW I’M NOT BRAVE.
The Earth is my grave.
I fall asleep or pass out. Like a dream I hear the advancing troops passing by me. I lie motionless. I hear talking but I lye still and go into a deep slumber.
When I wake I hear talking. “These were brave men. It was hopeless, but they did’t give up. Fought to the end…”
Still I don’t move and that group of soldiers pass by. It’s my side, if there is a side.
I stand and a startled battle weary officer is looking right into my eyes. I can’t meet his gaze, I’m too ashamed as I look down in the mud.
He stares at me for a few moments and realizes.
I look up and see the disgust.
He slowly reaches down, pulls his gun from his holster and fires a single shoot.
COMING NEXT: What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding.