The Trigger day 2

I continued staring at the ground after the medics and the other soldiers were done collecting the tags of my fallen brothers.  My cot was never comfortable, but today it just doesn’t feel right to sit in this camp anymore.  As I look into the sky, I think of the angels that used to have bodies.  Their smiles that had the best texture of laughter will only be heard in a memory now.  Their families and loved ones have to deal with the news of a solemn message from a person they don’t know.  Yet here I am for some reason.  In the middle of my heavy thoughts, Private Locke walks in.  He says, “Sir?”

I reply, “Yes Private.”

“What are we gonna do about this?”

As I rub my eyes and stare him in his fiery eyes, I say, “We have to go to base and debrief.”

“But what else are we gonna do?”

“There’s nothing else we’re supposed to do, Private.”

“I’m sorry sir, but that’s bullshit.  We need to find those fuckers and fight.”

“No… we don’t.”

“Sir.”

“No!”  I stand up as my emotions take over my throat, “Do you really think that we should go into a world that we don’t understand and try and kill them all while risking more deaths among us?!  No!  We have orders to follow and we are not here to cause anymore bloodshed than necessary!  Understood?!”

“But sir-”

My eyes are inches from his face as I repeat sternly, “Un-der-stood?”

His lips clinch together as his eyes begin to well up.  He steps back and says, “Yes sir.”

I grab him before he salutes and hug him to let his emotions out.  We were trained to refuse any type of emotions and stay firm no matter what, but I was always a free thinker.  And hugging another marine may look weak to others, but I know that I can kill anyone in my path; so they can call me weak if they want to.  I say, “I know it’s hard private… but we can’t risk any more lives.  I already lost six men in that fight.  I don’t want to lose anymore.  And besides, we killed the ones that killed our brothers, so no more needs to be done.”

Private Locke holds me tighter as he lets his emotions drip from his eyes.  I rub his back as I say “I know, I know” before he composes himself.  He salutes me shortly after he steps back, so I give him the same compliment.  He says, “Sir, you’re not like any other leader I’ve followed.”

I chuckle as I say, “I know.”

His face remains stern before he says, “I’m glad sir.  Thank you.”

“As you were.”

Private Locke walks out of my tent and gets the remaining belongings he has prepared to hike to camp.  I inform the rest of the troops to do the same, so we head towards base.

We trudge through the desert with silence at our sides until Private Vargas lets his personality be known.  He skips past me and then starts to wiggle his butt like the character he is.  I ask, “Private, what the fuck are you doing?”

He turns around with his smile of youth as he says, “Gettin funky sir!”

“What?  Son are you on drugs again?”

“Fuck yeah sir!  Life has me fucked up!  Now say it with me!  I don’t know what I’ve been told!”

We all look at each other with grins on our faces as we mutter, “I don’t know what I’ve been told.”

“But I know that my life is gold!”

“But I know that my life is gold.”

“And I will make it back to home!”

“And I will make it back to home!”

“To fuck some bitches that I know!”

“To fuck some bitches that I know!”

“No matter what asshole will come!”

“No matter what asshole will come!”

“I’ll blow their ass to kingdom come!”

“I’ll blow their ass to kingdom come!”

He keeps skipping backwards without looking where he’s going in a silver lining of happiness.  As he’s saying, “And I will-”  I cut him off and grab him before he can skip anymore.  He asks in a chuckle, “Sir, what are you doing?”

I move him back to the remaining eight of us and say, “You should really look where you’re going son.”  I point at the explosive team and say, “This sand seems to have pricks in it that doesn’t look like any plant life.  Go check it out.”

Privates John and Abdallah say, “Yes sir” as they jog to the land mines.  They rig one to explode and cause a chain reaction that detonates the other three explosives around it.  Private Tagger and Locke begin to shake frantically and curl up with their weapons.  They scream in terror and aim their weapons in the distance for any possible threat.  I look at them and nod at their display of PTSD.  I walk towards them, and Locke says, “Sir they have us surrounded!  They have us surrounded!  What do we do!”

I say, “Come back to me son.”

They continue trembling, so I repeat, “Come back to me son.  Come back to me son.  Come back to me son.”

Their faces begin to relax as their trigger finger begins to extend away from firing their weapons at the sandy hills.  I repeat, “Come back to me son.  Come back to me son.  Come back to me son.”

They lower their shaking arms and then put the safety back on their weapons.  When they no longer show anymore desire to freak out, I touch their shoulders and nod my head.  I look at Private Vargas and say, “Thanks for the pick me up, but make sure you don’t blow your own ass to kingdom come.”

He nods his head as he says, “Yes sir.”

I shake my head and say, “Let’s move.”

After the journey comes to a close, our eyes are greeted by the salute of other soldiers outside of base camp.  Heavily armored vehicles drive to their commanded locations to a battle I hope they’re prepared for.  When all of us are safe behind friendly lines, I turn to my men and say, “Relax men, you’ve earned it.”

They join the other troops and the civilians in playing soccer or telling stories to the children.  Others decide to retire and get some sleep to rest their souls.  My feet carry me to my commander’s quarters to give him the details of our fight and the travel we took to get here.  I stare at my general and salute him out of respect.  He says, “At ease” so I relax into my natural posture.  He says, “So tell me why you’re here and why a chopper carried back six angels.”

“Well sir, I was sleeping as the enemy came to our camp.  They fired wildly at us and attempted to kill everyone without any possible chance of surrender.  I commanded my men to surround the area so that we may close in on the enemy and eliminate them from the outside in.  Yet, when I saw Private Smith taken away from me, I decided to go in and fight the enemy in close encounters.  I slayed the remaining number of terrorists and then suggested that we come here after such a rough night.”

“How many terrorists were there?”

“I honestly can’t remember sir.  Too many bullets and firing to recall.  It became pretty fuzzy after a while.”

“And the civilians that were with you?”

“Dead sir.”

“Interesting… but you took out the remaining hostiles on your own?”

“Yes sir.”

“Hmm…”  The General looks down and says, “It worked.”

“Sir?”

“Sorry, I was thinking of another fight that happened as well.  We’re testing a new weapon, not within the camp but it’s not too far from here, and it ended up saving a lot of soldiers.”

I take a deep breath and say, “I could have used such a weapon last night sir.”

“I know.  But we’re still working on some bugs.  We want to make sure that the best of our men get the best that we have to offer.”

“Sir, no offense, but all men should get the best.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more son.  But I’m just curious… Why didn’t you just wait for the chopper to pick up the rest of you when they were done transporting the angels?”

“We could use the exercise sir.  And it let me know that Privates Locke and Tagger are no longer able to fight.  I request that they be sent home early.”

“Why’s that?”

“They have PTSD sir and they are not able to fight at the top of their capacity anymore.  I would prefer to avoid anymore bloodshed of my men sir.”

“Consider it done Colonel.  Anything else?  Are you hurt?  How’s your head?”

“It’s fine sir.  I’m just ready to go home when my time is finished here.”

“You will soon enough.  You only have two weeks left.”

“Thank you sir.”

“As you were.”

I turn and leave my General’s quarters to join my men.  For some reason I don’t feel tired, so I figure I can join the men who are telling stories to the children to make sure they’re keeping it G rated.

As I’m walking towards them, I feel the same click between my ears that I felt last night.  Images of random faces and locations begin to flash in my mind until rage boils my blood into desirous action.  Stomps of determination push me to grab two pistols, a semi-automatic weapon and my knives.  I turn to one of the soldiers who is looking over one of the motorcycles at base and I push him off of it.  I didn’t expect to send him flying into a sandy landing, but I couldn’t think straight.  I lock eyes with my General’s curious face before the motorcycle roars me into the distance with destruction on my mind.

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