Chapter 3: FIRE!
Mark stood there shocked. He looked down at the ground at Pfc. Jameson. He bent down and tried to roll him over as gently as possible. Mark was horrified at the sight of Jameson.
Pfc. Jameson opened his eyes. He took a second to regain his focus. He then whispered to Mark “Am… am…. am I gonna die?”
“No, no. You’re gonna be alright.” Mark whispered back.
This, however, was not true for Pfc. Jameson had been stabbed several times in the abdomen by a bayonet. Jameson let out a small whimper and then passed. Mark was still holding onto Jameson tightly, he could not let go for some unworldly reason, he just could not let go.
Mark had never truly hated the gooks at first, but after this something in him ticked. He thought to himself how could this have happened to such a young kid? How will his family react? He had become upset by this, although this would only be the first event in his service to lead to his breakdown. He laid Jameson back down on the muddy surface of the road.
“I want him in a body bag now. Call in an evac.” Mark then started walking towards the open field near the determined LZ.
“Evac chopper’ll be here in thirty seconds.” stated Martinez.
Mark took out a purple smoke grenade to designate the LZ for the evac chopper. He dropped it right in front of his foot and started to back away. Mark looked up as he could hear the chopping motions of the helicopter blades. Within seconds the chopper was in sight and soon landed. Mark jumped on and signaled his men to hurry and bring Jameson’s body aboard quickly.
The pilot asked, “What the fuck happened down there?”
Mark answered, “Shit happened. Now get us out of here!”
The pilot turned around and took the helicopter up. Mark pulled out a cigarette and lit it. His hands were trembling, his breath was shallow, and his eyes were fixated on the green hell that was before him. He took a long, steady drag of his cigarette before realizing that this was the start of his own private war, not only with the NVA, but also with himself.
The pilot yelled, “Aww shit. FIRE! We got a fire in the cockpit!”
Mark looked and saw that the co-pilot had accidentally fallen asleep with a lit cigarette and had dropped onto his flight suit. He was literally burning alive. The helicopter landed and the co-pilot jumped out and started rolling on the ground. Men came rushing towards him with buckets of water, but it was too late, the co-pilot had already suffered too much pain and had died. Mark looked in horror, but not in surprise. He knew all too well that today was a bad day, all due to his superstition about the sky being blue.
He jumped out and started walking to the barracks. He threw his helmet on the barracks floor and hung his M16 on his hanger on the side of his bed. He then continued to remove his ALICE pack and took off his bandolier. He however kept his flak jacket on and left his pistol belt clipped. He was too on edge and was ready for the worst to happen. He sat there for ours on his cot just holding his legs close to him. He stared into an unknown abyss that even he did not know of his existence. Martinez walked in and lay down on his cot which was next to Mark’s.
Martinez turned toward Mark and softly said, “Hey man, it wasn’t your fault, shit just went wrong that’s all. Today was just a bad day.”
Mark looked at Martinez and turned to him. He took out a cigarette and lit it. He then said, “I know. There was a blue sky.”
Mark then turned back to lie on his bed, however he still kept his vision directed toward Martinez. “Blue sky, it’s never good when there’s a blue sky.”
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