Overnight all my squad is killed.
One by one, picked off by one sniper. No, he’s more than a sniper. He’s the deadliest human killer possible.
I’m waiting to die.
Hiding in this trench it’s inevitable, but there’s nowhere to go. I ran out of ammunition an hour ago.
He must be coming. He must have counted how many of us there were before he started picking us off.
I only knew those men for one day, but somehow their deaths are burdening me. It’s more than being left alone to face the monster. It’s the fact that they’re gone, just like that, poof! As if they were never real…
Any plans they made or hopes they had were vaporized.
They wanted to make the west pay for its offenses, intrusions, invasions and terrorism of decades. They thought they could do it with weapons and destruction.
The same thing went on in my world until this type of revenge warfare became obvious as the best way to make its perpetrators extinct.
Listen to me. “My” world, as if any one world is more important for me than another. There was a world that I “remember” a lifetime on, but that’s not where my life will end, is it? But that’s too much for one dream of a quantum computer to calculate. Especially as I hear footsteps approaching.
A gun is pressed against my head. “Thank you!” I yell.
The weight of the gun against my head shifts. “’Thank you?’” a heavy male voice repeats mockingly.
“For ending my torment,” I say, bowing my head.
“You’re weak. No wonder your soldiers succumbed one-by-one…”
“They weren’t my soldiers,” I admit honestly. “This isn’t my reality. In my world we’ve learned that war is a treadmill that can be jumped off.”
“Shell shock?” guesses my tormentor. “This is your reality, all right. It’s about to get even more real.”
“You’re an American!” I declare, “I can hear it…”
“I’m American, too. I’m not supposed to be here,” I point out.
“No shit,” The Militarian replies, taking it the wrong way. Then something moves in the rubble of the standing remains of a bombed out building.
He immediately tosses a concussion bomb.
Moments later he drags out a stunned woman. He rips her clothes off and shoots her through the back.
Shaken, I ask, “Why did you do that?”
“Revenge,” he confesses. “Her people killed our people.”
“How does that ever stop?” I dare wonder aloud.
“When all of you are dead,” he declares.
“Not everyone can live with genocide on their conscience,” I suggest. “Your own people will turn against such cruelty.”
“Words mean little in the street. Only a fool would protect his family by waving a law around. Remember, history shows it always comes back to who’s got the biggest stick or who’s willing to stick it to the other guy first. You want peace? Make everyone else afraid of you.”
“Who do you work for?”
He grabs me by the collar and shoves me forward across a muddy field.
“What are you gonna do, write a book?” he sneers, shoving me. We march on a bit before he goes on unprompted. “Mostly I work for myself. Sometimes I work for the western spy network supporting African regimes that serve the interests of western civilization. Now that I’ve told you I have to kill you. You really want me to kill you, don’t you? Some nice, quick bullets in the brain…and curtain. Float on up to paradise… Oh lookie here, all these curvy, plump virgins just waiting to be deflowered by another great martyr. That’s how you think this end game of yours plays out, right? Not so, Mister Radical. Keep moving. You’re mine on a short leash. I sometimes spare you leaders of the combat units for a reason. You’re going to work for a friend of mine. You can make it there in one piece if you’re cooperative, ‘Mohammed.’ Nice speaking English with you over here. Now shut up and let’s go.”
Come on, universe. Don’t let me wake up in this reality tomorrow. As we trudge on he’s got more and more to say. Guess he doesn’t get to talk much in his line. So now I get the philosophy of The Militarian.
“The only problem that doesn’t have a military solution is your own thinking. That comes down to personal control…”
The Militarian is blown aside by a sudden blast.
I drop and wait.
He stays down, apparently unconscious. Maybe dead.
Slowly I turn.
A child with a shotgun is hiding behind the rubble, smiling, waving a small American flag.