Previous: Part 5 – Saying Goodby
“Colonel Harwood,” the technician said smiling and standing up as
Jim entered the small room, “I’ve got the final one here.”
Jim limped towards a chair stuck in the corner and dropped himself
into it before taking off the temporary prosthetic he’d been using.
It was getting more comfortable as the stump hardened up and he got
used to using it, but it was still unpleasant. The phantom pain was
getting to be less of an issue as well so long as he was busy doing
“I’m getting better with these things,” Jim … Read the rest
Previous – Part 4: Rehab
The airline had arranged for wheelchairs, but both had refused. They
were still capable of moving under their own power, and they were
determined to do so. Instead, they sat patiently on the plane waiting
for everyone else to get off before carefully picking their way down
the isle on crutches. Emerging from the jetway, Jim first and K9
right behind him, the small crowd parted silently to reveal a small
formation of veterans who rendered a salute. Jim balanced his weight
on his remaining foot and returned the salute without saying anything.
He hadn’t … Read the rest
Previous – Satan’s Laugh Part 3: First Steps Home
The nightmares had returned as the sedation was tapered. They had morphed too. Now it was Sammie and Leslie who were being tortured or killed. And now that he wasn’t the focus anymore, he didn’t wake up at the climax, but continued dreaming until the horrifying image of his wife or daughter’s corps shook him awake. Sometimes the bad-guy took the shape of a rotund drunk Navajo who cackled mercilessly over their dead bodies, smearing their blood on his own face like war paint.
Jim had come to fear sleep, and … Read the rest
Previous: Satan’s Laugh Part 2 – Convoy
His body was on fire – especially his right foot – but that was like saying a blow torch was hotter than a glowing red coal. He felt like he’d been under the treads of a tank, and wasn’t sure how he ended up here. A weak attempt to open his eyes did no good. Something was blocking his vision. He was vaguely conscious of some background noise, but his mind was so clouded he couldn’t quite make sense of it. The one noise he could make out was the distinctive whirr a … Read the rest
Previous – Part 1: Packing Up
Jim picked up his M9, loaded a round in the chamber, dropped the
hammer, pulled the magazine, and added an extra round from a few loose
ones he kept in one of the pouches on his vest. There were three more
magazines in various locations across his gear, all of them full, none
of them ever used. The handgun was a backup, and he’d never needed it.
Without having to even look, he quickly secured the pistol in the
holster attached to mollie straps on the left side of his chest.
He next picked … Read the rest
He sat on the edge of his cot, rifling through the papers that had been collecting in the small corner of the hooch he used as an office. Reports, maps, dossiers, printed emails… worthless — all of it. As he worked through a drawer full of folders, only glancing at one after another before adding the contents to a growing pile, he paused on a rather thin one and pulled out the few papers that were inside. These he would keep, nothing else. Setting them aside, he grabbed the rest in single motion and threw them down on the discard … Read the rest