642 Things #6 – This Is How I Die

This is the kind of shit that’s normally reserved for movies. It’s the futuristic tentpole of a sci-fi film. Character gets struck by lightning and is given the power of foresight and they see how they die. Or they’re put through a machine that reads mind and dissects their DNA and recognizes a pattern of weakness and they find out when they’ll die. Well, this shit is real. I know this is how I die.

I spent 40 minutes being briefed on the mission. It was straightforward. Classic in and out. Observe and report. Well, someone up high absolutely botched this intel. As the rockets explode around me, fellow soldiers dying at my side, I’ve got just a little time to write something down. My CO is gone. But the last 30-seconds we talked were a, “sorry it’ll end like this, but your sacrifice is going to save thousands of lives.” As if that makes me feel any better. Nothing prepares you for knowing – this is how I die.

The mission was this. Rebel troops have been massing near an outpost roughly twenty miles from base at the foot of the craggy mountains as the natives call them. They’re not mountains. They’re just pointy hills. Mountains are the winter-snowcapped majestic peaks that graced my home state. These dusty and grassy pieces of shit are pointy hills that are filled with assholes trying to kill me. This time they’re gonna finally succeed.

Anyway, this mission was supposed to be a cover-of-dark recon of the hills and reports of rebels who had begun fortifying the entrance. Drones had been doing flybys for a few days, but view was obstructed and we were called in for confirmation. Intel suggested a point of observation a few hundred meters away with large rocks to act as cover. It looked great from a distance. It made sense strategically, they did make great cover.

No one bothered to consider the area was thick with mines. It didn’t take long to announce our location. Rebels swarmed us. Hidden rebels in nearby rocks destroyed our convoy minutes ago. I’m watching the Humvee burn as I frantically write this. To my left, Steins is dying. There’s nothing anyone can do. Our medic, Johns, was the first to get hit. Our CO was next. Within 30-seconds most were pinned down by enemy fire. My rifle took a direct hit, splitting the barrel open on the side. The bullet and barrel shattered into a million pieces taking down Steins, shrapnel to the neck. Stunned, I hesitated in shock and took a hit to the chest. You’ll excuse the blood staining the paper as I scribble this down, I know this is how I die.

I am writing this out as fast as I can. Someone will find it and it’ll be the last words detailing the shitstorm that swarmed on us like a squall on an unsuspecting sailboat adrift on the Pacific. Maybe it’ll help clear things up, maybe it’ll make a difference in the long run and actually save some people. It’s hard to know for su


To read more of my writing prompts, read about the journey here and the other prompts as they appear here.

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