The Savior

The Savior

A Story by Xivtorc
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Josh Daryl grew up with these notions of being like his father, who died proudly in the military. Follow Daryl's journey as he experiences the true colors of war, and to find out who is the savior?

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“The Soldier above all others pray for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”   "Douglas MacArthur

                                   

Their blood stained my hands, their remains will never wash off, no matter how much I try.  

“I am a f*****g monster.” I mumbled to myself.

I wept in silence, my arms tattooed with marks of pain. My knees weighed myself down in the disarranged, soaked floor. Blood streams curved in articulate patterns, the mass center of blood was because of me. I wasn’t bleeding, but I felt like I was dying. This blood wasn’t mine, but the pudgy remnants that stuck to my skin felt as if I lost myself in the midst of all of this chaos, perhaps it was my humanity that was lost?

So is this what it feels to be a savior? I never figured it felt so hopeless.

I thought I would save my people, but from whom and at what cost? My eyes followed my hands, leading me to my empty gun. I had no ammo in my vest pouches. I picked myself up; the dead weight of my body surprised me forcing my knees to buckle. I wobbled; my entire frame shook as I did this. I stumbled a few feet, stepping over the mangled corpse. The bullet wounds still fresh, just like how the whole incident was in my mind. The awkward walk took ages to gain formidable distance; I couldn’t gather myself to walk more productively. I sank my knees to the ground, my weight pushing hard on my joints. I scrambled my hands around the boy’s body. 

“He must’ve fallen on the gun.” I said in a hushed tone, even my own voice sounded distant.

I lifted the boy; I was surprised when blood trickled down my forearms, I gently placed the body to the side, along with his parent. I found the gun, its case was sticky, but I guess I wouldn’t need it much longer. I looked at the gun, trying to find the safety switch however was stopped short when I heard yelling outside.

“We are coming in! Don’t shoot at us!” They ordered.

Oh crap! The gunshots must have alerted them. I am sure they had the house surrounded by now. 

“You think after all of this I will just give up? My war brothers died to save me, and I will not let you get the last laugh.” I screamed hoping to intimidate them. I knew I was just delaying the inevitable.

The gun’s barrel felt cold on the side of my head. My finger placed on the clingy trigger. I can’t let them take me, after how they brutally murdered my comrades. I’d rather die, and I will because of their sadistic intentions.

My memories forcefully flashed to the first thing I heard before I embarked on this mission.

“Don’t worry if you die tonight, tomorrow morning your gun will be eagerly waiting for our brothers to take, and have sweet revenge upon our enemies.”

My lips trembled, responding to the quote. “In that case wouldn’t it be the same for them? Why would we kill and let revenge boil into an endless cesspool of hatred? ”

 I closed my eyes; regret swarmed me in an unspeakable pressure. I sighed knowing I had thought such false ideas before, I was so naive to think I could be a hero. I realized how messed up things were. I lowered my head in disappointment, right before I pulled the trigger.

                                         

“Josh, do you think this place will be the same in the future?” her curious squeak disrupted my train of thought. I turned my attention away from the windows to be greeted by my nine year old sister. Her baby teeth were still in the process of growing out. Her front teeth were missing, but if you look hard enough you can see the little points protruding from her upper gums.

I laughed, giving her a cheery smile. “Sometimes in life we must fight for the things we care for.”

Her witty response caught me off guard. “And what if we lose it? Aren’t we used to losing things we care for?” I didn’t realize my sister was so emotional, but I still couldn’t take her serious with her cute smile of hers.

I came closer to her face and said slyly: “Then we need to fight harder, or else everything will be in vain, cutie pie.”

“Vain?” She asked without hesitation.

“Vain is when we do something, expecting it to go our way, but it doesn’t,” I said matter-of-factly

“You mean like the war? Or when Dad promised he will be back from his job, but he didn’t?”

I let out a long sigh, my feelings clearly evident. Memories flashed to our parents, how they were so patriotic about our country. Our mother told us father died honorably in battle, how he died knowing what were the risks just to keep our people safe. I grew up with the notion of honor and the idea of military service was so amazing. I wanted to become the savior, the one that brings the remains of our enemy’s flag into town with pride; the same pride that will never wash from my blood as long as I live.

My sister’s eyes still look at me, I must have zoned out for at least a minute. I smiled and brushed her hair with my hand, she gave me an annoyed look, but gave me a warm hug.

“How long are you going for?” Her face was poking into my stomach making me unbalanced by the weight of my duffel bag.

“A couple of years, but I get to visit you soon, so don’t worry okay?” I could feel my shirt getting damp from her tears. I embraced her; never forgetting how she cried into our mom’s arms when I left for the army.

                                 

                                                    

The next 9 weeks were extensively gruesome. I balanced my training  with also writing letters to my family. I met a few notable people in my training, but the most memorable person was my best friend Todd Shaw.  He was the one that pushed me when I couldn’t do my daily 5 mile jogs and was the same person who consulted me about my worries about our undecided future. He was my only friend during boot camp, and I am glad I met him. His uncanny spirited beliefs of the honor in being a soldier made him stand out from the rest.

A few months later when I finished boot camp I was stationed in a base nearby my hometown. Todd was in infantry and he was later moved into a special force unit. Unfortunately we don’t keep in touch besides sending the occasional mail to each other. I was lucky enough to visit my family a few times a month; I can still remember seeing my little sister smile when she gave me a gift that she made herself.

Inside my locker sits a clay solder that stood high and proud, with his gun pointed in the air, on the rear end of the soldier’s boot was my sister’s signature. Also in my locker was a shoebox containing all the letters I had received from them, also my own letters that I was going to send them, but I never did. The reason was because sometimes when I feel homesick I pretend to write to them, telling them how much I regret enlisting. I knew I can’t tell what I am truly feeling because I knew they admired me. I wanted to become the role model for them, as a proper heroic savior should be.

One silent night, while our team was being briefed on a nearby special-ops mission that is currently happening, we received a distress call. Apparently the same people who are in the special operation mission we were talking about fell into an ambush. They reported IED’s (improvised explosive devices) were used to detour the team into a choke point where they got heavily gunned down. Our commanding officers ordered us to prepare medical attention because they managed to escape, but in return some were heavily wounded.

As my fellow soldiers and I scrambled to get everything prepped we could hear sirens ringing from the watch tower. We stormed outside, hoping to be greeted by only a single amount of wounded infantry. To our horror two heavily damaged jeeps returned. Their exterior was dented and deformed by bullet holes, even one jeep had one of its front wheels missing. The windshield was riddled with bullet holes, along side  with blood that leaked from the windows.

“How the hell did it even drive here?” Everyone thought that same thing

Everyone just stared at the men as they walked in. Their body Armour covered with blood. Shock tainted their expressionless faces. I could tell some of our men were horrified. Some soldiers in this base never had actually seen the true nature of war, including myself. Then I heard my name being called out in the jeep.

“Josh is that you?” A weak voice trailed from inside the jeep.

I walked closer and noticed pulpy flesh coated the frame and was dripping out of the door. I opened it and to my surprise a familiar face smiled at me. His torso lay against the side door; his legs destroyed clearly missing from his body. To my horror I saw bits of flesh and skin hanging from his leg stump.

“Todd!” I cried out. “Oh my god what the hell, I thought you were in-“

He intervened in mid-sentence: “You thought wrong, just be glad I ain’t dead yet.”  He barked.

I waited outside of the treatment room for about half an hour until I was notified that he was okay, but still needed rest so I didn’t bother interrupt his much needed sleep. In the morning I visited him, his usual witty personality wasn’t with him that day. Our conversation wasn’t at all memorable, but it was indeed awkward. The last time I talked to him he bragged about being in the front lines. Now were talking about what he will do after he finishes his recovery.

We mainly discussed about our past in boot camp, how he used to cheer me up and motivated me to do better with my training. I couldn’t help, but feel scared for Todd and myself. I was afraid if I was too going to meet this same fate.  I was truly afraid of going into battle, now fully I understand how horrific it was.

I tried comforting Todd, but his responses were uninterested as if he was holding back something. Before I left he said something that pierced into my delicate heart.

“Josh, I uh…” Todd cleared his throat, his voice distorted. I could feel how sad Todd was, he was trying his best to hold his tears as well as I was with mine.

“Look, I know things look pretty bleak, but I just want to let you know this doesn’t change anything.” He said

I looked at him confused, waiting for his elaboration.

“We’re soldiers, train to protect and there must be sacrifices. Don’t forget that.”

“Todd, I don’t know if I am willing to do this anymore. I am worried that-“

“… That you will become like me?” Todd took a second to take a breath, he was obviously stressed. “Well take a f*****g look, even though you consider yourself a man with all of your parts still attached, you’re nothing compared to those who lost their lives yesterday. Those good people saved my life and our brothers." Todd, sobbed, his voice literally screaming at me. 

"Promise me, when the time comes that you will not fight for yourself but for those who are around you. Those people are going to keep you alive, and remind you that you're not alone." He said screamed. 

I opened my mouth, but Todd waved his hand, dismissing me from the conversation. Tears rolled down his eyes, his breathing became deeper as he looked away from me. I tried my best to fight my tears.

"Don't promise anything you can't keep. Show it to me."

Before I left, I said quietly to myself: “yes sir.” 

That was the last time I talked to Todd before I got moved into infantry.

                          

I clenched my fist in anticipation for the next upcoming turbulence. My helmet shook ever so lightly within every bump. My nerves were unhinged, making my breaths short. Hendricks saw this and slapped my back, chuckling to Jimmy and Captain Geoff nearby. “God damn Josh Daryl, aren’t you lucky today? The first mission you get is to see some real heavy s**t.” He brought his mouth close to my ear. “If you lose your marbles, do you mind if I try finding them for myself?”

“Yeah sure, if I were you I would look inside your mom, I am sure every other guy here lost their marbles inside of her.” People nearby laughed at my witty comeback.

Hendricks smiled, patting my helmet. “Listen since it’s your first mission, don’t talk smack as if you know what I am talking about you little bitc-“

A massive force shook the inside of the cargo plane, making Hendricks unbalanced. Before I could say anything Captain Geoff took lead and pushed Hendricks into his seat in front of me. “Everyone, we are approaching the drop zone so get ready in two. Our sources said not to trust anyone they could be potential tangos.” I sat there looking at the captain, fully noticing Hendricks’s glare through my peripheral vision.

I turned my head towards him “take a picture it will last longer.” I said.

I knew it wasn’t smart making enemies right before the mission. Practically I was making enemies before our fight with another enemy, and that wasn’t smart. Two minutes had passed without me even noticing, I barely noticed the signal light to get ready to jump, turn on. We lined up facing towards the door.

Captain Geoff stood proudly at the front of the line, I was in second.  He looked at me, his eyes softened. “Don’t worry if you die tonight, tomorrow morning your gun will be eagerly waiting for our brothers to take, and give sweet revenge upon our enemies.” 

I imagined how scared I must have looked to Captain Geoff to make him say that. The captain looped his hand in the hatch’s door handle. He grunted when he finally managed to opened the door. Wind furiously skimmed the outline of the plane, making it whistle in the night sky. The captain looked at me, his smile capturing my entire attention. “Don’t worry about losing marbles son, just worry about picking up my rifle after I die.” He winked at me while placing his foot out of the darkness. Then without a moment’s notice he disappeared into the night. I stood there, hesitantly. I charged towards the hatchet and ran out to the unknown. Before I realized it, I was too taken by the night.

The tumbling and confusing angles made my delicate fall from heaven ever so disorienting. To be honest, I don’t know how I survived the fall. The night’s embrace held me captive, long enough to squeeze me, showing me true fear. I managed to line vertical in terms of direction; I waited until I popped out the clouds to judge my height in the air by the nearby surroundings. Little pockets of civilization lay across the expansive green field. Lights could be seen from afar while I made my decent.

An hour later we had our entire team regrouped and we have already planned which route to take to our destination. As we made our way throughout the seamlessly lifeless city, I couldn’t help, but feel like someone was watching me. Things felt even more worse when there was no apparent source of light used to brighten up the streets, so we were running in the dark.

Our foot-steps were muffled as we quietly made our way behind houses and into alleyways. We tried our best to stay off the road, just in case we get spotted. The tension grew between us; silence hanged over our group. My hands were on my gun’s grip the entire time, preparing for the worst case scenario. I was waiting for someone to come out of their hiding place and shoot at us, but no one did. We finally reached the house. The two level house’s exterior was caked with dirt. Decaying plants were placed randomly throughout the yard, kid toys were lying around, a rare sight in this poor neighborhood. We breached the back in of the house. Hendricks was point man and I entered the house third. Our guns pointed in the dark crevices of the dark house. No signs of movement were caught by us while we made our way, clearing the main floor.

“Clear.” Jimmy called from the living room.

“Clear” Hendricks and I whispered when we checked the kitchen. We gathered around the main stairway. Captain directed me to check upstairs alongside with Hendricks, he then ordered the rest of the team to clear the basement.  I made my way up the stairs. The chances of the house’s occupants sleeping in their rooms are incredibly high. The house was too small for our team to breach upstairs productively, we would’ve gotten jammed between the hallways with little room to move and to escape if such a violent event occurs. 

I made my way as point man with Hendricks covering my six. I noticed my nerves cursing my hands, making my gun shake. This was the first time I am ever in the field, and I’m literally going first into unknown territory. I braced myself as I made the last few steps. My gun creaked quietly when I surveyed my surroundings. The narrow hall way had three doors including another door that concluded the hallway’s path. The last door in the hallway was only partly opened, the insides were pitched black.

I raised my foot and planted it in front of my other foot. F**k, what the hell am I doing?  The training I received didn’t nearly prepare me for this. I took another step, but my foot never touched the ground before I was grabbed from behind. Hendricks placed his hand over my mouth, his hand pointing at the doorway. I gazed over his finger, looking between the crevice of the door and in the room. Then I saw it. I saw little beady eyes watch me as it hid in the darkness. The door slowly opened, revealing a small child that didn’t look older than five.  His small footsteps trailed through the hallway, making his way towards us.

I brushed off Hendricks’s hand away from my mouth. I smiled, trying to gain trust from this child. His large brown eyes reminded me of my sister. I waved at him and placed my index finger on my lips.

“Shh…” I released through my lips, trying to be quiet as possible. I lowered my stance; bringing my knees to the floor. He walked closer, his expression held confusion and curiosity.

Come on kid; let’s get you out of here.   

The helpless boy was inches away from my arms, ready to catch him to save him from the violence that was about to erupt. Then he stood his ground, as if something scared him from getting any closer. His eyes distracted by something else besides me. I waved my arms, directing him, but he stood there motionless.

I didn’t have a second to respond before I noticed his eyes started watering. His hands moved to his face, as if protecting himself from getting hurt. His mouth opened, but that was I all saw of him before blood sprayed into my eyes. A silenced “siss” flew next to my ear as I watch the boy get shot. My mouth was wide open, but no words came out.

Inside was where I was screaming at my fullest. I picked myself up from the kneeled position and in mere seconds I found myself on top of Hendricks. My hands wrapped tightly at his throat, he clawed my hands trying to loosen my grip. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to let go. The image of the innocent boy getting murdered was now forever implanted in my mind. Before I knew it my grip grew stronger, I was going to kill this man and at this point even myself couldn’t have stopped me.

A cold metal end of a gun, struck my head before I released my death grip from Hendricks. My vest’s collar was gripped and with such a violent force tossed me on the stairway. I was lucky enough not to tumble down. My eyes glared back to Hendricks, his desperate attempts of breathing was still seen as he laid on the floor. Captain Geoff then rolled down the stairs, planting his leg on a stair piece beside me. I was so distracted by Geoff’s random movement that I almost missed Hendricks suddenly get shot in the face. The spray of blood that covered the walls behind him was truly unforgettable. I still can remember how it seemed like he looked at me, with his eye missing and a crater was implanted into his skull, as blood trickled down his terrified face.

“CONTACT! WE GOT CONTACT!” Geoff screamed behind me, alerting our team mates.

I knew Geoff didn’t have the decision of saving Hendricks’s from his death. At that point it was either himself or Hendricks getting shot.

“Daryl, man the f**k up and give suppressive fire.”  Geoff barked at me.

“Yes sir …” I coldly responded, at that time I was not affected by Hendricks’s horrible death. I hooked my arm underneath the gun’s stock and laid my finger against the trigger. Bullets flew from the hallway, hitting the wall and Hendricks’s body, acting as a warning. It practically screamed out their message to us intruders. "Don’t even try thinking about f*****g with us."

When the rain of bullets momentarily stopped I angled my body to the side, I returned my burning hatred with live ammo. I sprayed down the hallway, hoping to hit someone, but was met with emptiness and doubt. I lowered my stance, hoping to gain stability from this. I didn’t even notice how badly I was shaking until I looked down the sights of my rifle. The swaying disoriented me for a second, I breathed in calmly, trying to regain my composure.

A head popped out of the left side, his eyes met with mine, but without hesitation I was proven victorious when I shot a bullet through his head. His death wasn’t unnoticed as I heard screaming coming from the hallway. I couldn’t understand exactly what they’re saying, but I am sure what the topic was.  Two hard taps hit my shoulder, signaling my team was about to drop a concussion grenade into the hallway.  I braced myself before I stormed into what could be my gruesome demise.

*zzz… BANG*

The humming sound was followed by multiple consecutive small explosions. My ears rang as I rushed into the corridor; I had no time to think, no time to hesitate, no time to wait as I breached a door to my right. The inside was dark, but I could see silhouettes. I didn’t let hesitation be the reason why I will die tonight. I barged in; my gun zoomed in on a man behind his dress drawer. I shot rapid, short bursts at the man. I saw blood splatter, but didn’t care to wait for him to fall down. I made my way behind the dress drawer as cover. There was another room connecting to the same room on my right. I lay my gun on the drawer acting as a balancer. I waited until a man ran into the room, his blood painted the walls as I shot him with cold intent. I figured the room the man had come from was a connecting room.

I could hear my team breaching the other rooms; I heard a mix of voices of none understandable dialect, but bullets shortly followed. I saw a laptop on the dresser. It’s casing looked expensive and rare. I knew that this was item we were looking for. I stuffed the laptop into my backpack. I remember hearing about this model, how unbreakable it was and how easily it could survive a car crash.

“Clear!” Captain Geoff yelled in the nearby room. His tone surprised me, it was as if they just cleared an empty room, it’s easiness of killing wasn’t shown in his voice.

 Unfortunately words didn’t act as bullet proof material as I heard the house’s occupants being murdered. Silence drifted among the lifeless house.

Jenkins scooped up Hendricks’s dog tags; he gave a swift tug and was rewarded as it lay in his hands. “

“Let’s call in and get to the LZ, in a few minutes this place will be swarming with reds.” Geoff ordered, his voice clearly concerned in our predicament.

“Our exit will be to follow the back of the house, we should skip the streets and the way we came, it was too risky before and definitely is now.” Jenkins said.

Geoff agreed without hesitation, he replied ordering us to be aggressive and in this case, shooting first can be the factor of who will survive.  I could have sworn he looked at me when he said this.

We sprinted in the back yard, vaulting over the fence in a single file line. Our boots clamped down on the dirt of the alleyway. Our guns held high, scanning the neighboring houses incase if anyone was looking at us. Paranoia’s grip struck fear into my heart, but I couldn’t let it get the better of me. I clenched my teeth and followed my team mates to the twisty turns of our path. Eventually it led us to an intersection on a road. We radioed in command to inform them of our change of plans. Finally we were confirmed to be picked up near the outskirts of town by a helicopter.

“Jenkins, give us a situation report on the road in front of us.” Geoff said.

“Sir, I can’t really say because of where we are sitting; I see lights down the right, but no other signs of life.”

“Okay, let’s make our way down to the left, stick to the sides so we can see them if they come in around the bend.”            We heard distant gun shots and yelling, it looked like it came from the direction where we came.

“Double time, let’s go!”

We moved without haste, not wanting to stay in our spot for a moment longer.  Our team was strategically placed on the road, covering our rear. We decided to take another alleyway, because we could hear talking in front of us. The narrow path was enclosed tightly by surrounding houses. The walls were covered with patches of moss and mud. The stench filled our nostrils, making us cough. We tried our best to keep quiet, but the horrible smell was inescapable.

We barely made out of the putrid garbage hole we were in before I almost puked. I gagged, but I didn’t dare make a sound. In front of us was a wide open freeway that held only an abandoned military vehicle. This time there were lights shining that illuminated the road, I bit my lip. This is not a place to be caught, but we do have to cross this to get to our extraction point.

“No need in delaying it, Jenkins, you be point man. We will have a 5 feet spread away from each other, single file line.”

I could see Jenkins preparing himself, allowing him to breathe in deeply before he took his first step. He briskly ran with his gun pointing in front of him. Next were Jimmy, then Geoff and finally me. We all held an even spread amongst each other, our guns facing towards houses and windows. We closed the distance between the alleyway to the road without too much trouble. It felt long and daunting to see our target so far.  Jenkins was already passed the first road and over the barricade to the next. He was almost there before we heard screaming and then a muzzle flash came from the window.

The loud explosive bang shocked us, but not for long. We opened fire, taking cover in the barricade that divided the two roads. We could hear screaming over the other side of the barricade, but I couldn’t tell who it was. I peeked over, but to my horror I saw Jenkins lying on the floor covering his stomach. There was no possibility of saving him; I would have gotten shot so I screamed at him.

“Jenkins! Don’t move man, they won’t shoot unless they see you squirming.” I felt a terrible sense of shame in saying this. He was literally in front of me, but I felt so weak and hopeless.

“Suppressive fire on that top window!  Daryl get your a*s over there and get him to safety.” Geoff said as he popped a few rounds into the house.

I leaped over the object and before moments I was dragging Jenkins back to where we can actually help him. I dragged him by his feet ,  wobbling us to our team mates. I was going to grab Jenkins by the vest and toss him over the barricade, but I couldn’t do it in time. A mist of blood sprayed into the air, blinding me momentarily. I heard the hot burning lead penetrate into Jenkins’s body. I felt Jenkins’s body being pounded and destroyed by bullets hitting him.  His screams of pain were all I heard before a loud explosion burst into life in front of us. I flew back into the guard, but I didn’t stop there. I tumbled back behind the barricade, noticing Geoff was holding me by my backpack. I laid there as I saw the streams of fire spew into the dark desolated night. 

"Hurry and get that car running!" the voiced echoed in my head. My vision swirled and moved. 

Then a beam of light struck my eyes, blinding me.

A car horn was heard, but I didn’t remember seeing the outside or even hopping in the back of the car. But there I was, bloodied and crying alone in the back seat of the car.

‘Get that kid to shut up, we have enough problems already.”

I heard a voice, but I didn’t bother replying. I couldn’t stop crying no matter how much I tried. My sobbing heaved my insides, making them sore.

I saw Jimmy jumped in the back of the car with me; he gave me a couple of soft slaps on my cheek. I couldn’t tell what he was saying, but I could tell by his tone that he wanted me to be calm. I held in my pain, my stomach felt like I was going to explode.

Minutes must have passed before I even noticed everything was silent. Not a bullet shot, yelling or my own crying was heard. My mind was blank; I couldn’t handle thinking about anything. I just sat there, looking through the window at the darkness.I found out we were in a military grade vehicle, by the mounted gun on the roof. I questioned how they got this when we were being attacked but it's best not to question things that are in your favor. 

“Okay we should be almost there.” Geoff said as he drove the car.

I turned my head at Geoff; I could see blood trickling down his arm. Was it his blood or someone else’s?

I didn’t notice Jimmy was looking at me the entire time. I could feel his stare as if he judging me, criticizing my very presence. He didn’t say anything until I locked eyes with him. His understanding stare comforted me as If saying everything was going to be alright. “We’re almost there.” he said as he nodded at me.

“We’re not there yet! Contact at our six!” Geoff yelled, looking at the rear mirror. I could see two shining bright lights behind us. I hear the car bump into our rear end, trying to make it fall off the side of the road and down the hill.

“I hope you didn’t lose your marbles yet Daryl, ‘cause we need everything we can get to get out of here.” Jimmy bounced around in the car, trying to get on the mounted gun on the roof. Our gentle and brisk drive down the road became hectic and ragged as we tried dodging the attacker’s car from ramming us.

Jimmy laid fire on the car, the roaring engine picked up haste as if it knew the danger we were in. The booming rounds that shot from the mounted gun were consistent. I could see sparks flying into the air as it penetrated the car.  “Come on! Is that all you got!” Jimmy gloating came short when a furious explosion erupted from the attacker’s car.

Its shockwave startled me, covering my ears. For a moment I felt everything was spinning, the shells floated into the air and I can see Geoff’s hands dangle as if he was being hanged upside down by. Then I noticed the outside of the car, everything was spinning also, right at that moment I knew that we were falling down a hill on the side of the road, and away from our rescue.

I couldn’t tell how many times we had rolled down the dirt hill. It felt forever until we came crashing down into something sturdy. the loud crash made dust fill the air, blinding us. I heard coughing and I saw Geoff’s head move.

“Situation report!” He screamed. I opened my mouth, but the dust filled into my lungs making me cough.

“Daryl, are you okay?”  He looked back, but his eyes didn’t look at me.  His eyes were locked into the horrific remains of Jimmy when he was on the mounted gun.  He must have been still on the gun when we had came tumbling down.

I heard distant shouting from behind us, and then I saw where we were. Half of our car was crashed into a building. The bricks still laid on the wind shield and hood of the car. I heard Geoff turning the keys to make the car start but to no avail it didn’t even spurt a noise. I saw Geoff squirmed in his seat.

“Sir are you alright?” I asked.

He sighed, purposely delaying his response. “No Daryl, things are not alright.” He looked at me, I could tell he tried his best to not look at the remains of Jimmy. “You need to escape from here. I can’t come with you because …” Geoff hesitated again; I could see the tears forming in his eyes. “Because my leg is broken and I will just ruin your chances of escaping.”

I looked at him in confusion. What the hell is he talking about?

Geoff must have seen the look of my confused face because his mouth suddenly spews an angry demand at me.

“Leave, now!” He literally screamed at me. I couldn’t believe what is happening and I am sure Captain Geoff didn’t believe it either. Suddenly sparks flew from behind me; I heard the car’s frame dent to the will of the bullets.

I looked at him, seeing him trying to get out of his seat and onto the turret of the car.

A warrior shouldn’t be denied of their glorious death.

He shoved me, trying to get me out of the door. He pushed his rifle into my hands and shortly I found myself following his orders and running into the building that we crashed into. I saw Geoff popped his body out of the roof and onto the mounted gun. I sprinted at the door with Geoff’s rifle in my hands.

“Daryl!” I hear him scream at me, he looked at me as he prepped the mounted gun.

I shared a look with him, his eyes confident yet savage.

“I guess tomorrow morning is a little early for us isn’t?” He laughed, turning back to his gun.

“Yeah … But the promise of revenge is never too early.” I said to myself as I walked out of the door, referencing what he told me when we jumped out of the plane. I was across the street and into an alley before I heard the roaring shots from the mounted gun. I saw up on the hill facing the car was dozens of insurgents.  I clenched my hand tightly.

 I will take your gun and give sweet revenge upon our enemies, I promise Geoff.

I ran in the direction of where our helicopter is arriving. We would have been at our extraction zone and in the air at this point, but I guess there's always a change of plans.  The sun was slowly rising over yonder from where I was. The blaze of bright crimson orange filled the sky. I noticed my footsteps were loud as they echoed throughout the streets. I calmed myself, bringing to a slower pace. A loud crash was heard over my head and then loud footsteps shortly followed.

Crap, they know I am here! I need to find somewhere to hide.

My eyes scanned my surroundings. I was in a dirt path behind all these houses, and they all seem lifeless. I can’t tell if the houses were empty or just people were asleep. I didn’t see a house that lit up for miles. Before I could even have a chance to think I heard yelling right around the corner. I grabbed the fence and leaped over, taking my chances on the other side of the fence.

I knew people were on the rooftops trying to spot me and my out of the ordinary clothing so I decided it was best to take refuge in the house that was in front of me. I managed to sneak in from an opened window at the side of the house. I found myself in a bathroom, I held my pistol out. I didn’t want trouble but if it decides to find me I will try my best to be the one who shoots first.

The bathroom door opened quietly, darkness again was in front of me. The hall way was narrow, just as narrow as the hallway with the boy. My mind flashed to the kid’s face before he was killed. His innocent face, he was so scared and confused right before Hendricks did the inexcusable.  I brushed it off, trying to keep focus.

I followed down the hallway and turned right to find a living room. I crept along the wall, angling my head to see if anyone was there. The living room wasn’t the kind you would see these days. The small room only had a small table and multiple cloth sheets on the floor. There wasn’t any source of entertainment; I guess this household was more into socializing with each other at the dinner table.

The living room was occupied by the front door and another doorway on my left.  I snuck with ease at the window. I peered over the windowsill and the sight that I saw scared me half to death. Trucks filled with insurgents were parked right in front of me. My hands trembled, Oh god, what if they know I am in here?  I see them getting out of their trucks and patrolling the area. 

I need to get out of here now.

A weak voice came from behind me, the think accent made me think he was talking in his language but he wasn’t. “Sir, are you alright?”

I spun around and brought my pistol at his face, the sights lined perfectly in his chest. I spoke softly, I didn’t want him to panic even more then he should be.

“No everything is fine, why don’t you sit at the table in front of me, where I can see you.”  I directed him with my pistol.

“I thought you were a robber but I noticed your uniform, are you lost?” He asked calmly, his air of control surprised me; it was as if he knew this was going to happening.  He sat on the table and waiting for my response. I didn’t give him one because I didn’t know what to say. what could I have said to make things right? I was an intruder in his home, I will never welcomed in home, his town even.

“Do you want tea?” He moved his hand to the other doorway that I didn’t had come from. My finger’s shook as it was on the trigger. I remained calm but I knew if I shot him, the noise of my gun would be heard by his neighbors and definitely by the insurgents. My face was serious but inside I was scared to death.

I bit my teeth, trying to seem angry at him. “No I do not want tea” I emphasize the last part, trying to keep him quiet.

The morning sun was almost fully up, making the room glow in its bask. I stared intently at the old man’s face. I can tell the hard labour he had seen, the wrinkles on his forehead could be easily in the two digit number category. I sat there, returning his look at me. This old man couldn’t have hurt me even if he tried but I didn’t want to take that risk. I looked out from the window to see the insurgents gone.

The old man turned his head; I followed his look, seeing a teenager stand between the doorway . He was momentarily blinded when he yawned into the room. He stopped mid-way when he spotted me with a gun pointing at him. His eyes widen, I could tell he was thinking about screaming but I am sure he considered himself and the old man’s safety first.

“Take a seat” the old man said, he patted the empty space on the table next to him.

The boy followed his order, never breaking eye contact with me. They both sat there as I had my gun pointed at their heads. The man sat there calmly while the boy squirmed anxiously in his seat.

“This is my son; he is the only thing I have left. Please don’t hurt him. You can have anything you want just leave us alone.” The old man begged, I felt sorry for both of them. A crazy man with a gun entered their house making them sit and wait for what could be their gruesome death.

“Are there any more of you in this house?” I asked purposely aiming my gun at the boy’s chest.

The man didn’t hesitate to answer, “No it's just us.”

I lowered my gun to my side, I breathed outwards, trying to act calm. “Okay, I don’t want any trouble I just want to go home.”

The man nodded, I saw understanding from his face. Although the boy’s eyes never left off me, his stare became harsher I could tell he was angry but why? Was it because I broke in his house and made him look like a fool? I returned the stare, looking at him fidgeting even more.

“Kid what is wrong with you?” I asked. I could hear a faint clicking sound. I cocked my head to the side trying to see what his hands were doing behind him.

His old man whispered something in his language to the boy.  The boy shook his head as if saying no to his father.

I hissed at them, “Show me your hands, now.” A wave of distress washed over me, was it a bomb?

“Please don’t hurt my son!” The man screamed at his son trying to persuade him.

The boy didn’t listen; his hands jerked violently, his eyes still looking at me with anger.  A clink sound became louder and I heard a sudden click. Without hesitation the boy moved his hands revealing a gun behind him, he aimed it straight at me. I brought my gun in front of the boy, pulling the trigger. We traded shots and blood spilled the room.

Screaming and yelling were exchanged but I couldn’t tell who was screaming. Was it the boy or me? Or was it everyone in the room?

I pulled the trigger in rapid motion; I could feel as the recoil jerked my gun upwards.

The man screamed at the boy, holding him in his arms. Blood dripped from the table and the boy just laid there.  Pain spread throughout my left arm, blood oozed from the deep burning bullet hole that is lodged into me . I held my gun with only my right hand. The sight was shaking as I aimed it at the man.

I could hear his desperate pleas as he hold his dying son in his arms.  My entire arm went limp, I couldn’t even bring it up, and it just dangled there. I paced back and forth onto my heels trying to fight the pain.

The old man looked at me, his eyes glazed with grief. His entire fragile frame shook with anger and shock.

“You did this!” He screamed, he placed his son onto the table. The boy sprawled out onto the table, his hands dangling from the sides. “You are the one that killed my son!”

I opened my mouth trying to remind him that his son was the one that shot at me first. I was too much in shock that I couldn’t even try to articulate a sentence. I just stood there holding a gun in his face.

The man grabbed the gun out of his son’s hands and rushed at me. He was stopped short when I shot two bullets into his head. His head fell onto my boots. I stood there in disbelief; my entire body was covered in blood, I slowly slid down to the floor, my knees were too weak to hold me up.

I cant do this anymore, is this really worth it?

Their blood that stains my hands will never wash off, no matter how much I try.

“I am a f*****g monster.” I mumbled to myself.

                                  

                                                    

“Okay Sir, I am in” Charlie radioed in. His squad members were outside waiting to breach just in case things get violent.  Charlie luckily spotted the open window on the side of the building. Their reports say that a team was sent in to do a reconnaissance mission but they were compromised. The bodies of the four soldiers were found but one by the name of "Daryl" was missing.  Intelligence say that they heard gun shots and suspected that since it was so close to the extraction point that it was indeed Daryl.

“We are coming in! Don’t shoot at us!” Charlie’s men ordered

“F**k you! You think after all of this I will just give up? My war brothers died to save me, and I will not let you get the last laugh.” A man’s voice came from a nearby room.

Charlie walked slowly into the hallway. He brushed against the wall until he was on the edge of the doorway leading to the next room. He waited for any signs of life in the next room. He could hear soft sobbing.  Charlie gripped his rifle before entering the room. Blood spilled everywhere on the floor, the room was in chaos. Bullets riddled the floor and walls. In the middle of the room was a bloody table. Next to the table was a young teenage boy and a older man; their body was filled with bullets.

Charlie scanned the area trying to again hear the sobbing but it stopped. He scanned the room and he found in total two bodies with bullet holes in them. Charlie went over to inspect the bodies, seeing blood smeared on the floor.

Someone must have walked onto this and created this mark.

Charlie saw two guns lying on the floor, both of them were empty.

Either the kid shot the man or the man shot the kid. Either way I still don't see any sign of the person we're looking for. Perhaps he's in the back of the house?

Charlie stood up from the body; he reached for his gun that he set on the floor beside him. A foot came crashing down onto his knuckles, making him squeal. Hammering of fists came violently down his face. His was brought up and kneed into the face. The assailant didn’t hesitate, his intentions were clear. Charlie was dealing with someone who needed him to die.

His team heard rustling and crashing from the inside. They used a battering ram on the door. The hinges popped out on the second ram. They came swarming in to see Charlie onto his knees and his attacker standing behind him with a gun pointing at Charlie’s skull.

It took moments before the attacker understood what was going on. His angry rage brought him to a blinding bout of survival.

“Friendly! We're friendly!”  Charlie screamed. He knew that his attacker was indeed Daryl from his uniform, unfortunately he couldn't say anything to stop Daryl from attacking him. His frenzy blinded him from what was true.

Daryl lowered the gun and surrendered. Tears were in his eyes making him speechless. All he could mumble was a sorry to Charlie.

Charlie understood right away. Any soldier who lost their entire squad in one night would have gone insane. Especially if they had to survive the night alone, surrounded by people who would love to brutally murder him.

Charlie stood up and saw Daryl’s face for the first time. His tears and blood that dried onto his face was still visible. Charlie’s squad radioed in command to send in a rescue helicopter, but Charlie didn’t take notice. Charlie focused his mind on Daryl’s face and his bloodied arm. How the hell can this guy be still alive?

                                  

                                                    

I sat there, watching myself leave the hellish place from where I had once came. I stared outside the window, seeing how small the town really was. I remembered the laptop I had got in the raid was currently still in my backpack. I dug into my backpack and to my surprise the laptop was still in one piece. The casing had proven the rumors I heard to be correct.

I chuckled to myself. It indeed did survive a car crash. I shook my head in disbelief. This thing better we worth it.

I tapped the edge of the laptop on Charlie’s shoulder.  Charlie looked a me confused..

“Here, this was our mission's objective, open it up I don’t care about it anymore.” I lied; if this was worth four people’s lives then I need to know what this was about.

Charlie opened the laptop and waited for the boot-up screen to proceed.

“Hey before we find out what's in this, I really want to know how in the world did you survive? I read your report, and it said that this is the first time you have seen real combat.” Charlie asked shyly.

I nodded my head; I knew he was going to ask that question. I saw how everyone looked at me when they saw me pointing a gun at Charlie’s head. The look of disbelief of how I am still alive shocked everybody, hell, surprised even myself  for that matter.

I can’t believe how lucky I was that my own men found me when they did. I was bleeding out from my bullet wound and when I tried killing myself, the gun's click told me it was empty. I was so scared and helpless that I forgot I had Geoff’s rifle. I definitely didn’t forget his rifle when I heard a noise from the hallway, so I hid into the kitchen room.

“I didn’t survive.” I paused, thinking what I should say next. Then the words fell upon me, as if the words were the ones that were looking for me.

“… a part of me did die last night, I had no intentions of living anymore but I forgotten I was not alone. I had my comrade’s weapon with me.”

Charlie looked at me as if I was crazy.

“I promised, as long as I had his gun I will take revenge upon our enemies, and I am not willing to break that promise, anytime soon.”

I looked down at my hands; I felt a new spark of energy in me. I actually believed in what I said for once. I had meaning to continue.  I didn’t notice Charlie’s attention was caught by the laptop. His eyes widen opened from shock.

“Daryl, I can’t believe what I am seeing here is true. I am sorry for your lost my friend, but their lives will not be in vain.”

Vain … Just like the same type of vain my sister and I talked about before I become who I am today.

“Hey everyone come here! This is grade a intelligence and I think command will definitely want this in their hands.”

I heard some of them getting up from their seats hesitantly while others came quick with urgency. Whatever Charlie saw it was important.

I sat there, I looked at the screen however I couldn’t understand what I was seeing. The language was entirely different from mine; I just sat there waiting for Charlie to explain. At this point everyone was crowding around us. Some faces lit up with shock while others stood their confused.

Charlie then looked at me with a smirk on his face.

“Daryl, you’re our god damn savior! I can't believe that in my mortal hands is recorded data of locations of our enemy's hide outs” Everyone shook their head at first. They didn't  believed that this was true. They took a moment before they realized that Charlie was indeed correct. Their sudden applauding scared me. I didn't know how to react.

I hung my head low, not giving anyone eye contact. I nodded appreciating their sweet words of celebration but I didn't say anything. I was glad that this mission wasn't for nothing. I tried my best holding back my tears.

I could hear Todd's last words to me before I was moved into infantry.                                                                                       "Promise me, when the time comes that you will not fight for yourself but for those who are around you." 

My hands clenched, making them shake. Tears rolled down my face.

Is this what a savior feels like?

I felt sick with this petty lie, I couldn’t handle the thought. I shook my head, trying to ground myself from this lie. 

I am no savior; I am just the guy who has a couple promises to keep.

                                  

                                                    

© 2013 Xivtorc


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Author's Note

Xivtorc
Thank you for the read! I know there are still a couple of mistakes on here so if you can help me fix them that would be great!
-Xivtorc

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179 Views
Added on July 19, 2013
Last Updated on July 19, 2013
Tags: war, violence, death, survivors, destruction, loss, savior, story, fictional

Author

Xivtorc
Xivtorc

Vancouver, Canada



About
Greetings! My name is Craig and I am a hard working student who's passion is to write fiction. I use writing as a form of stress release and creativity. I am currently in love with the art of writing.. more..

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