The bayonet is nearly piercing my heart from how tightly it’s pressed against my chest. It’s impossible, you see, to catch my breath knowing there’s someone just over the hill aiming down sight right at where I am. If I so much as move incorrectly and confirm my position I’m as good as a dead man, see? It’s quite the predicament.
The fellows of my squad are heavily injured, thus I came alone, regretfully. And ironically I thought it was my turn to be brave, but I quickly devolved into the coward hidden outside the door. Their heavy fully automatic machinery is superior to my single shot rifle. The world does not stop while I reload and neither does the war.
This might be it and I’m an atheist so I don’t know whether I should pray or not. If I die with a stomach ache is then my eternity also with a stomach ache?
I’m only stalling the inevitable by staying here because there is no other way out. And I instructed my team to leave without me if I didn’t return within five hours. What the hell did I do that for? I should have told them to look for me instead. It’d probably be pretty easy to deal with this sniper from the other side of the hill where they’d arrive from. Then we’d all go home. But it seems I might be the only one that doesn’t.
How ironic indeed. Life, it just plays with you. Ruthless in how it controls the smallest details and doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to making a good joke. Now my entire team of men without children or wives will get to survive while my wife and daughter deal with the repercussion of my poor choice. A death which could have been avoided easily had I just decided to lead my team out of the battlefield. But I didn’t because of a singular dramatic moment I had with a stranger where I promised him that before my men and I evacuate the battlefield I would come back and rescue him and his family, all whilst knowing how unrealistic it was to assume we’d bring them back just because.
It happened in the middle of a field. He told me, “All I want is to leave and give my family an opportunity.”
And without much thought to the matter, because it sounded funny at the moment I told him, “I promise to come back for you and bring you to my country!” At the moment it was hilarious. I struggled heavily to fight back a laugh. It was clearly impossible. But he believed it like an idiot.
Jokes on me, because when I ran to his home for cover and told him I couldn’t bring him because I was kidding. He then locked me out and now I’m on the other side of his door with a sniper waiting atop the hill, and he’s told me he is okay if I die. Also he’s called the authorities because I refuse to leave the front of his property, which I’ve told him is because of the sniper but I can’t seem to say it without mentioning how I’m sorry I have to leave him, “it was a joke.”
Oh well, life is funny like that.
I hear the tanks rolling down the hill in my direction. I’m more than fucked now. Poor, poor choices. I don’t even have the opportunity to write a letter because in my dramatic heroic moment to inform this man he was fucked, I forgot my pen. And I asked this kind sir if he could give me at least that much and he said he would but never opened the door. I’m even quite sure I saw him by his window showing me and mocking me with the pen. And he used said pen to draw a graphic depiction on the sniper taking me out with great detail. He is quite the artist I must say, with the exception that I was represented by a completely undetailed stick figure. How rude.
As I take another deep breath, I turn to face the nicely polished tip of an automatic assault rifle. Multiple soldiers.
And who knew I’d pray after all.