Last night I awoke to the thunderous sound of helicopter blades, drumming themselves into my head. Everything around me shook violently, I could feel the wind hitting against my face as the leaves from nearby trees swirled around me. Particles of sand went flying into my watery eyes. The door gunner looked down at me, waving me into the aircraft, probably wondering what was taking me so long. He reached out his hand to help me in.
When I opened my eyes, it was my wife that had my hand. There we lay in the darkness, under our warm duck-feathered quilt, her arms around me grasping me tightly. She was whispering something in my ear. I struggled to hear what it was as everything sounded fuzzy. I managed to catch a couple of words and came to the conclusion it was something about how much she loved me and that things are going to be okay. I rolled over and looked at her. The room was dark, but a hint of moonlight had seeped through the small opening between the curtains, and had cast a slight glow on her face. I could see her eyes twinkling and staring back. Those love filled eyes said it all.
She didn’t know exactly what was wrong, only that my enemies had come back to steal me from her. They didn’t come often, she knew, but that I’d go off to war again. She knows that I always return, and that comforts her. However, the fear and thought that I won’t come back is always at the back of her mind. Sometimes I wish she could see them, my enemies. That might help her understand why have to fight them, but I know it is best that she can’t. For, this burden is best kept to myself, as even I barely have the strength to bare it.
When my enemies come for me, I see them just as they were when they came the first time, before they died at my hands. Young, brave men, full of hatred and furious. They looked shabby from combat and death. I could still see the fire in their eyes. They would grind their teeth and growl as they raced to find me, as their twisted minds were bent on my death. As they searched through the cold frosty night I could hear their cries echo over the loud bangs of small fire arms, and of tank guns as they blasted away at nearby hilltop. Through the dense fog I could just about see them, waiting, their uniforms covered in the blood of my companions. They watch. They wait. They don’t know I can see them.
I don’t have to see them. I hear them speaking to one another in their language which sounds like gibberish to me. I can smell their cigarettes and cheap cologne. I can almost taste their foul body odour as I breathe. Most of all, I can feel them around me, and their hatred for me piercing through me like a thousand knives.
One by one, I follow them and slay them, taking them quickly and quietly. Every time I run my blade through them, I stare into their cold, bloodshot eyes and watch the life drain from their bodies. I wonder if I’ll ever be in the place they are. Then I move on to the next.
I even cut the throat of one man in front of a woman and her child. I hadn’t realized it at first, they were there, watching, as I killed him. As he fell to the ground, I looked at the boy. He must have been around five or six, but he understood the concept of war. I could see it in his uncaring stare. It wasn’t his father, I could tell, not that it would have made a difference to me, as I had turned into a cold blooded murderer. The boy just stared at me as I backed away, holding my finger to my lips to keep him quiet. His mother just reached down and put her hand over his mouth, and watched as I crept away.
As always, I’ll get on to that awaiting helicopter, the only survivor of an accomplished mission, victorious once again. Even though the battlefield below goes out of sight, I know I’ll be back. I always come back here. I can’t get away from this God-forsaken place. No matter how far I run, no matter how hard I try to hide, they will always come for me. Until someday I go to a place where I can’t bring them with me.
How could I tell her this? I could barely live with this burden in my life. Every helicopter, bang of fire arms, drop of blood reminded me of my inhumane doings. So I lay beside her looked into her eyes and told her I loved her, blanking out the reality of my life. I wished that I could stop the hands of time and forever lay beside her, in my arms and never face reality again.
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