I DON'T KNOW the name of the place I’m at from Adam. Doesn’t matter. Strapped up like a mule with ninety pounds of
mortar rounds and gear humping down on my skinny ass. We been slumping through for days and days
and here’s a little town, a village, whatever you’d want to call the place
we’ve come to and thought to rest. But
they’s no resting here. Here we were to
fight and kill and rape folks without guns and without so much as a sneer to
offer us a reason for any of it.
I traded stories with in boot raping women and then gashing their throats. Randy from Ohio, Buckeye Randy, ripped the
clothes from a lady and done her good right and there in front of some
whimpering children, her children I suspect.
can’t find one damn thing to shoot at, not a damn thing that’s putting a threat
on me. Colley is setting fire to a hut
or home or whatever to my left. I’ve not
fired a shot. No reason. But folks are dying all around. They gut a child, his innards spill out in
front of a man I figure to be the father and the father screams and lunges and
fails and damn all that. They stand him
up and shoot him simple through the head.
make my way through all this shit, and I’ll do it on my terms. Then they can stand me up, send me to Hell or
home. Ain’t no nevermind to me.
the way Carter’s got a dirty, screaming baby hanging upside down by her twisted
ankle. He’s grinning like a possum, eyes
all walled out of his head. I never
minded Carter, kept to himself most of the time, only talked to anybody
whenever they first talked to him. Guess
I misjudged him being polite with him being a plain-as-day crazy
sonofabitch. Carter’s got a knife in his
see red. It seems I lose my
hearing. I lose my bearings. I guess I lose whatever it takes to leave
Carter to his evil, cause I start breaking my way across to him in a good
run. He makes me when I’m about halfway
to him, about ten feet or so, and raises his knife. Now, they had told me to always tend to my
rifle, keep it with me at all times, that sort of thing, but I decide right
then to heave it like a hatchet at Carter.
was a lucky toss, the butt hitting flush against his forehead, and Carter
drops, the baby drops. My hearing is
back, my bearings are back. But, Heaven
help me, I figure I’ve killed Carter.
When I close the last ten feet, I bend to check the baby and an
explosion draft force knocks me a few feet back. When I crawl back, the baby’s covered in dust
and rocks. But the explosion hadn’t
mattered. Her head is limp across her
shoulder. Her neck looks like a small
bag of rocks. She’s dead, and Carter
comes up behind me just when I’m about to pick up this broken necked baby. And then I lose everything. Sound, sight, speech, and the last things are
all thoughts. My last thoughts before
blacking all the way out were that I’m done with this Hell. This Hell is done with me. It’s done.
it wasn’t done. I woke up in a hospital
bed and folks came in telling me about how I lost rank cause of attacking
Carter, telling me that this was going to happen and that was going to happen,
and they talked that way for a long time before they gave me a chance to ask
what I was doing in the hospital.
out when Carter came to he clocked me a good lick in the head then gathered me
up and carried me out of the village to a clearing, called for some of the
others to come over and watch over me.
Turns out, Carter was sort of a hero, from what I could gather from all
the talk around my bed. Turns out, I was
losing rank, but it didn’t matter.
They’s sending me home with a dishonorable discharge, and they said that
was being kind. Turns out that was fine
as paint by me. It wouldn’tve done for
me to see Carter again anyways and break a commandment like it wasn’t nothing
more than a Saltine.