Jeopardy (Chapter One)
You’d think it’d be easier to kill someone you don’t know, but it’s not.
At least not always. I sorta know these people. Not by name, of course. Mostly by whispered voices and shapes and shadows on the days they decide it’s safe enough to light a fire. A few of them by smell too. And if I could, I’d kill them all.
Not much chance of that though. I know my guys are coming. No matter what, they’re not gonna leave me here. We promised each other. Just don’t know what shape I’ll be in when they find me. And at this point, I’m not sure it even matters. As long as I get to go home. Marcie and the boys need to know.
I did what I could. Was it enough? Someone else has gotta answer that. I think I got a couple of them, and I know one of ours was down. Steven, I think. Hard to be sure with the noise and chaos from the ambush.
When the first RPG hit, my fireteam pivoted and dug in, me on the left, Marcus center, and Lenny right. Just like we’d trained. The other three teams did their thing and we called it in. The helos would be back in twenty. The F15s in less than five.
Then another explosion hit, forward of me maybe twenty, twenty-five meters . Had to be another RPG. Somebody was grabbing Steven and dragging him back. One of our guys, thank God. The sergeant was yelling something, but all I heard was ringing. He pointed up behind me but when I turned, the ground spun up to me. Might’ve thrown up too but can’t remember.
Quick learners, I’ll give em that. Too far out from base for the choppers to stay on mission. Move in too close for the F15s to engage. Overwhelm and retreat. Didn’t work usually, though they didn’t seem to care. We’d laughed about it back at camp, at least until the first firefight. After that, it didn’t seem so funny. A bullet that was twenty years old killed just as good as the ammo we packed.
We knew the risk and took it. Anything for a chance to hand out a little payback. Looks like someone else is gonna have to finish the job though. The sergeant must’ve thought I was dead and pulled back to wait for support. Bring in another squad and an attack helo or two. Hit em back hard and recover my body. Only thing I can figure.
Except I wasn’t dead.
Came to in a cave, don’t know how long ago. Tried to keep track of the days by counting their prayers. Five times each day. Gave up on that when the headaches got worse. Just want to sleep but they’ll move me again soon. New location and new set of enemies.
Don’t know them yet, but I will. And I’d kill them all if I could.
Note: this is the first chapter of a short story. The following chapters will be posted and available to newsletter subscribers as I write them. The entire story will also be available as a PDF download. Want to read the rest? Be sure to sign up for the newsletter!
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