I don’t know why I joined the army. I fear death more than the next man. I may believe in God but I’m never sure if I am doing enough to get into Heaven. Joining the army probably wasn’t my best move in his eyes... or mine for that matter.
I joined when I was 18, two years later... I’ve been sent home on a weeks R&R... and I never plan to be sent back. I’ve never been out of England other than that one time my family and I went to France for a week. I hated it. So why I joined the army to leave England again, to face my ultimate fear of death and to probably get shot in the face from some man who has never met me and never will is beyond me. I guess I joined because I had to get away. I had to get away from all my problems. Money problems, family problems, relationship problems... everywhere you look in life all you'll find are problems. Everything has consequences. Out here... yes there are problems, but being a private I don’t have to deal with many. The only thing I’ve been trained to do is put my worst fear into another man.
Last week I was sent out on a mission, to look for a HVT who is thought to be of great risk in the world of terrorism. I was sent out with four other men. I won’t name them because it’s easier to not get attached to people. No names, no ages, no background story... out here we are all just the numbers on our dog tags. We set out to the main town at 0600 hours, it took us two hours travelling time to arrive where our HVT was last seen via radar.
When we arrived, we had to go stealth. Walking round the town in full desert camouflage and assault rifles would probably give our target a pretty good reason to get the fuck out of town. Luckily these towns are filled with what we would call alleyways, however, over here, I guess these snaking alleys are their streets. Snaking through them was difficult, but luckily we were told by Hitman to just go straight until we came to an open area with a old school in the middle.
The playground was empty, but we weren’t expecting an ambush. In and out with the HVT alive; thats all we were here to do. However.... I had a strange feeling about this. No matter how much you try to keep the mission a secret the enemy always seemed to find out somehow. There wasn’t even a breeze, the swings were motionless, the ground was motionless, absolutely everything was except for...
With that one word we all took cover just as I heard the bullet ricochet off the hut behind me. I lifted my gun to shoot but I froze... at the top window of the building was a child, just staring out the window. There was something unsettling about the kid, and thats when I noticed the C4 strapped to his chest. A child recruited as a suicide bomber? They wouldn’t be that cruel would they?
As I had frozen one of the other members of my team grabbed me behind cover. “We’ve been told to evacuate, this is a fucking suicide mission. Stay behind cover while we move back to the humvee and return to base.”
Just as he went to tell another member of our team I heard the same noise that came from the sniper the first time. All of a sudden my face was covered in blood. I couldn’t see through my protective glasses, everything was red. When I took them off and looked down..... there was just a headless body. Brain, skull and blood splattered everywhere. Beside the body though was a eyeball, somehow still intact, and all I could see in that eye was fear of death itself. It was as if all time slowed down I couldn’t see anything except that image.
I don’t know how I got back to base. I don’t know how I got back to England. All I know is I can’t get that image out of my head. Every time I blink it’s there. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep... God I can’t go back.
I’m still terrified of death, however I’d rather die by my own hands and know it is coming.
There’s only one enemy left to fight.
I shall meet him with fear.... but he will be welcome.
There is no flash of light before you die, all you see if the flash of the gun being shot.