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Lost But Now I'm Found Prologue

Novel By: Jason Bentley
War and military



The Character has a flashback while at work on his experiences in Vietnam. He is forced to see a shrink to help deal with his PTSD. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1

Submitted:Nov 21, 2012    Reads: 7    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   


I still remember the day I decided to let everything out.

It was a cold January afternoon, grey and lifeless. I had left the office reluctantly as I knew what lay ahead of me. Because of last week's flashback I had in the office, the chief told me I had to see a shrink. It was for my own good.

"That flashback you had nearly scared the shit out of everybody on the floor. I can't be having this. You need help."

Those words drove a hot spike of anger through my tortured mind. I hated talking about my war experiences and wasn't ready to share them even in the slightest. But somehow I was a risk for the rest of the workforce. I cursed the chief as I walked down the icy street searching through my coat for a cigarette.

"Fuck this… Fuck this," my mind was racing with the thoughts of what was to come.

The scenes I had witnessed while in Vietnam will never leave my mind no matter how hard I try to suppress them. I cannot even begin to explain the pain and suffering I both witnessed and endure as I humped the bush day after day, month after month, losing the innocence I had held on for so long. What a waste to lose it in war. But I didn't regret my situation of serving. It made me the hardened man I am today. But I didn't fight for patriotism, freedom or glory. I fought to prove that I was a survivor. I could go to hell and back and live to share its stories.

I found a broken cigarette at the bottom of my inside pocket and pulled it out. Busted or not, it was better than nothing. I brought up my lighter and found my hand shaking uncontrollably. It terrified me how bad this had become. Ten years of keeping it hidden and finally I was to pull it out against my own will. I couldn't fake this. Even reliving the scant moments that seemed harmless in nature brought back a wave of emotions.

I paused, my foot hanging three inches above the curb. I couldn't go inside. I wouldn't. I knew deep down that if I didn't, my desk would be cleaned out by tomorrow. I couldn't have that. With a deep icy breath, I forced myself up the steps to the Veteran's Affairs building just a few blocks for the police station. It was an older building, most likely built during the intensity of World War II. Four huge stone columns towered over me, staring and waiting. I climbed the concrete steps, counting each individually as if it would help to sooth my frayed wits but it did nothing but distract me from the inevitable.

As I reached the summit, a sharply dressed corporal in his Marine dress blues held the heavy front door open. He was a young man, maybe in his early twenties, his face full of eagerness and hope. I remember when I was like that. When I thought my shit didn't stink, that I was the meanest baddest motherfucker around. He would find out otherwise someday. War always seemed to repeat itself. No matter how hard man preaches peace, in the shadows we secretly wait for war.

I walked through the main entrance and felt the warmth of the building melt away the bitter cold that hugged my body. My spent cigarette was out and I quietly deposited it in the ashtray that sat in the corner. The inside of the vestibule was hushed besides the sharp click as dress shoes and heels made contact with the marble floor. Everyone's face appeared neutral in my eyes: neither friendly nor spiteful. Just blank. Their eyes gazing forward as if mesmerized by some unknown phenomenon I had no clue existed. It was an eerie sense.

I walked over to the elevator and found the directory on the wall, names and numbers jumbled about in a peculiar way. I searched from the top and found my objective: Colonel Earl Wayment M.D. I peered down at the business card I had been given by the chief and sure enough the names matched. A silent cuss left my lips and as I reached for the menacing elevator button.

It felt like only a second had passed when the door swung open spilling its occupants in front of me. I walked inside and pressed the fourth floor button, hoping that maybe the elevator would somehow become stuck and I'd be trapped in here. I know this talk is absurd and ridiculous but it's simply how I felt. Every fiber of my being, every cell in my body was screaming to run away and not come back.

The door closed. Another man had slipped in while I had been day dreaming my escape. He stood to my right, hands deep in his pockets, his unshaven face gaunt and ignominious. I knew that look. It was the same as mine, hollow eyes and resentment spilling from his sleeves. He didn't want to be here either.

The elevator painstakingly lifted us to the higher floors, creaking and groaning to the point where my fantasy might actually come true, but in the end it deposited me at my destination. I joyously left the elevator and at the last second I turned to face the man that had shared my lift. Our eyes met and a simple nod was all he left me as the door shut behind.

I turned and continued my journey down a few halls and a foyer, my footsteps echoing off the perfectly cleaned walls. This was merely a step down from a hospital. At last I had reached my destination as I entered a rather vacant room. A single desk with a secretary and few chairs were all that resided in the large room. I walked in and the secretary's pearly white smile greeted me.

"How are you today?" Her voice was soft and beautiful, matching her exterior.

"Fine, thank you." The high cheekbones and olive toned skin were a wonderful combination. Her dark chocolate hair was done up into a tight bun giving the woman a sophisticated look that would surely put any man at a loss of words when he entered.

"Are you Victor J-," I could feel ever gear in her brain trying to turn as she tried to pronounce my last name, so I helped her.

"Jasinski. Sorry it's Polish so it's kinda hard to read."

She gave me a warm smile and apologized. "I'm so sorry for butchering it!" I waved it off and returned the grin, trying to cherish this moment for as long as possible before entering the lion's den. "The Colonel is waiting in the other room. You can go in," she said pointing to the door on her left. My heart sank as I knew what I needed to do.

I opened the door and paused, peeking my head in, trying not to disturb the Colonel if he was busy. Instead he looked up, a small stack of papers in his hand. His enormous glasses lazily sat on his aging cheeks, grey hair sprouted from his perfect part but his eyes seemed genuine and friendly. The man was of average height and build but the years were showing, most notably on his plumping belly. His dark green uniform was sharp and of perfect dimension as would any high ranking officer of his stature care for. Several rows of colorful ribbons, many that I recognized, decorated his left breast. The Army was his career and he enjoyed exhibiting it.

"Ah Captain! I've been expecting you!" He boomed as he rose to his feet, arm outstretched in a friendly fashion. I limply grabbed it, shaking it once, hoping to share with him my enthusiasm for the forced meeting.

"Very well Mr. Jasinski."

"No just Vic please. We can expend all of the formalities today. As you can probably tell I don't want to be here." My voice was firm to get the point across and I could sense the Colonel hesitate for a second before continuing.

"I can do that Vic. So please tell me what brought you here?" The question hung in the air for several seconds while I tried to find the words to best not embellish the situation that had occurred the other day. My eyes darted back and forth as the words became entangled in my throat, trying to escape but seemingly slipping right back down whence it came.

"I had one of my flashbacks," I croaked out, my left hand impulsively covering my brow. When I became overly stressed in a situation, I would cover my brow as if to hide from what was at hand. The Colonel seeing this, pulled a small pad of paper from his desk drawer, found a pen and began scribbling some notes.

A minute went by in silence except for the scratching of the pen on parchment. I scanned around the room trying to keep myself busy. The building tension was uncomfortable to escape it any way possible. I could tell the Colonel did enjoy his military career from the immense collection of paraphernalia and memorabilia that were scattered throughout the small room. Military pictures, medals and trophies were all placed in accordance as to share with everyone his conquests of glory. I didn't much care for them, neither did it change how I felt about the man. He's just a fucking shrink.

A moment later, the Colonel, satisfied with his writing on my topic of some sort, cleared his throat and folded his arms. "Well Vic, we have a long ways to go in an hour. Why don't you begin with what happened with your flashback shall we?"

I took a deep breath, feeling my last hints of defiance dribble out onto the floor and began…

I still remember the day I decided to let everything out.

It was a cold January afternoon, grey and lifeless. I had left the office reluctantly as I knew what lay ahead of me. Because of last week's flashback I had in the office, the chief told me I had to see a shrink. It was for my own good.

"That flashback you had nearly scared the shit out of everybody on the floor. I can't be having this. You need help."

Those words drove a hot spike of anger through my tortured mind. I hated talking about my war experiences and wasn't ready to share them even in the slightest. But somehow I was a risk for the rest of the workforce. I cursed the chief as I walked down the icy street searching through my coat for a cigarette.

"Fuck this… Fuck this," my mind was racing with the thoughts of what was to come.

The scenes I had witnessed while in Vietnam will never leave my mind no matter how hard I try to suppress them. I cannot even begin to explain the pain and suffering I both witnessed and endure as I humped the bush day after day, month after month, losing the innocence I had held on for so long. What a waste to lose it in war. But I didn't regret my situation of serving. It made me the hardened man I am today. But I didn't fight for patriotism, freedom or glory. I fought to prove that I was a survivor. I could go to hell and back and live to share its stories.

I found a broken cigarette at the bottom of my inside pocket and pulled it out. Busted or not, it was better than nothing. I brought up my lighter and found my hand shaking uncontrollably. It terrified me how bad this had become. Ten years of keeping it hidden and finally I was to pull it out against my own will. I couldn't fake this. Even reliving the scant moments that seemed harmless in nature brought back a wave of emotions.

I paused, my foot hanging three inches above the curb. I couldn't go inside. I wouldn't. I knew deep down that if I didn't, my desk would be cleaned out by tomorrow. I couldn't have that. With a deep icy breath, I forced myself up the steps to the Veteran's Affairs building just a few blocks for the police station. It was an older building, most likely built during the intensity of World War II. Four huge stone columns towered over me, staring and waiting. I climbed the concrete steps, counting each individually as if it would help to sooth my frayed wits but it did nothing but distract me from the inevitable.

As I reached the summit, a sharply dressed corporal in his Marine dress blues held the heavy front door open. He was a young man, maybe in his early twenties, his face full of eagerness and hope. I remember when I was like that. When I thought my shit didn't stink, that I was the meanest baddest motherfucker around. He would find out otherwise someday. War always seemed to repeat itself. No matter how hard man preaches peace, in the shadows we secretly wait for war.

I walked through the main entrance and felt the warmth of the building melt away the bitter cold that hugged my body. My spent cigarette was out and I quietly deposited it in the ashtray that sat in the corner. The inside of the vestibule was hushed besides the sharp click as dress shoes and heels made contact with the marble floor. Everyone's face appeared neutral in my eyes: neither friendly nor spiteful. Just blank. Their eyes gazing forward as if mesmerized by some unknown phenomenon I had no clue existed. It was an eerie sense.

I walked over to the elevator and found the directory on the wall, names and numbers jumbled about in a peculiar way. I searched from the top and found my objective: Colonel Earl Wayment M.D. I peered down at the business card I had been given by the chief and sure enough the names matched. A silent cuss left my lips and as I reached for the menacing elevator button.

It felt like only a second had passed when the door swung open spilling its occupants in front of me. I walked inside and pressed the fourth floor button, hoping that maybe the elevator would somehow become stuck and I'd be trapped in here. I know this talk is absurd and ridiculous but it's simply how I felt. Every fiber of my being, every cell in my body was screaming to run away and not come back.

The door closed. Another man had slipped in while I had been day dreaming my escape. He stood to my right, hands deep in his pockets, his unshaven face gaunt and ignominious. I knew that look. It was the same as mine, hollow eyes and resentment spilling from his sleeves. He didn't want to be here either.

The elevator painstakingly lifted us to the higher floors, creaking and groaning to the point where my fantasy might actually come true, but in the end it deposited me at my destination. I joyously left the elevator and at the last second I turned to face the man that had shared my lift. Our eyes met and a simple nod was all he left me as the door shut behind.

I turned and continued my journey down a few halls and a foyer, my footsteps echoing off the perfectly cleaned walls. This was merely a step down from a hospital. At last I had reached my destination as I entered a rather vacant room. A single desk with a secretary and few chairs were all that resided in the large room. I walked in and the secretary's pearly white smile greeted me.

"How are you today?" Her voice was soft and beautiful, matching her exterior.

"Fine, thank you." The high cheekbones and olive toned skin were a wonderful combination. Her dark chocolate hair was done up into a tight bun giving the woman a sophisticated look that would surely put any man at a loss of words when he entered.

"Are you Victor J-," I could feel ever gear in her brain trying to turn as she tried to pronounce my last name, so I helped her.

"Jasinski. Sorry it's Polish so it's kinda hard to read."

She gave me a warm smile and apologized. "I'm so sorry for butchering it!" I waved it off and returned the grin, trying to cherish this moment for as long as possible before entering the lion's den. "The Colonel is waiting in the other room. You can go in," she said pointing to the door on her left. My heart sank as I knew what I needed to do.

I opened the door and paused, peeking my head in, trying not to disturb the Colonel if he was busy. Instead he looked up, a small stack of papers in his hand. His enormous glasses lazily sat on his aging cheeks, grey hair sprouted from his perfect part but his eyes seemed genuine and friendly. The man was of average height and build but the years were showing, most notably on his plumping belly. His dark green uniform was sharp and of perfect dimension as would any high ranking officer of his stature care for. Several rows of colorful ribbons, many that I recognized, decorated his left breast. The Army was his career and he enjoyed exhibiting it.

"Ah Captain! I've been expecting you!" He boomed as he rose to his feet, arm outstretched in a friendly fashion. I limply grabbed it, shaking it once, hoping to share with him my enthusiasm for the forced meeting.

"Very well Mr. Jasinski."

"No just Vic please. We can expend all of the formalities today. As you can probably tell I don't want to be here." My voice was firm to get the point across and I could sense the Colonel hesitate for a second before continuing.

"I can do that Vic. So please tell me what brought you here?" The question hung in the air for several seconds while I tried to find the words to best not embellish the situation that had occurred the other day. My eyes darted back and forth as the words became entangled in my throat, trying to escape but seemingly slipping right back down whence it came.

"I had one of my flashbacks," I croaked out, my left hand impulsively covering my brow. When I became overly stressed in a situation, I would cover my brow as if to hide from what was at hand. The Colonel seeing this, pulled a small pad of paper from his desk drawer, found a pen and began scribbling some notes.

A minute went by in silence except for the scratching of the pen on parchment. I scanned around the room trying to keep myself busy. The building tension was uncomfortable to escape it any way possible. I could tell the Colonel did enjoy his military career from the immense collection of paraphernalia and memorabilia that were scattered throughout the small room. Military pictures, medals and trophies were all placed in accordance as to share with everyone his conquests of glory. I didn't much care for them, neither did it change how I felt about the man. He's just a fucking shrink.

A moment later, the Colonel, satisfied with his writing on my topic of some sort, cleared his throat and folded his arms. "Well Vic, we have a long ways to go in an hour. Why don't you begin with what happened with your flashback shall we?"

I took a deep breath, feeling my last hints of defiance dribble out onto the floor and began…





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