A cautionary tale.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
A broken war veteran sees the aftermath of memories, as he takes his journey into the back of his mind to find his own cure.

Submitted: October 03, 2011

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Submitted: October 03, 2011

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The ground was still, as I lifted my head up, clawing my bloody hands through the ash layered snow that surrounded me, I lifted my chest up, I could see smoke, the orange resonance of fire mixing into the gray, like entropy from hell, the stream of blood crawling across the ground like the red tail of the devil, coming to snatch me away, spilling out of the necks of damned youth.

As I crawled through the smoke, on my hands and knees, I realized the burning in my arms, I screech, but I couldn't hear it through the ringing in my ear, As I propped my self up on the snow, sitting with my legs sprawled out, staring at the bits of metal jutting out of my burnt flesh, staring at my chipped and broken bones. I looked around again, the wind had changed and the smoke was starting to clear. I started to make out bloody lumps of flesh laying around the dirt, their limbs mangled in every direction, the trees surrounding the snow covered field I was in, were all broken and halved, as the flies surrounded the bodies laying in the branches, slumped over logs. I held my hands to my head and screamed. ''Medic, Medic!!'' no one came, the ground stayed still.

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I opened my eyes and stared at the white Spanish style ceiling, then turned my head to my desk plaque saying. ''Doctor. Raymond Todd.'' , I was in a sweat and I could feel the tears running down my face, and the arms of my wife, Alisha,wrapped around his waste, shushing him. ''Raymond!?''

''I'm sorry, did you get sleep?'' I said, I felt like it was my fault she had to deal with me, it'd been only two months since I had come back from Belgium with an honorable discharge, due to nerve damage in my arms.

''Not much, I wouldn't have gotten any anyways, I've had some insomnia lately.'' She said, rolling over to her side of the bed, looking at the clock on her own desk, it was 7:30 AM.

''I need to go to Dr. Ian's, today.'' I said, rolling back into a comfortable position, resting my hands on my chest, looking over to Alisha.

''Who's he again?'' She said, looking back at me. It'd been obvious she was tired, she had water bags, under he brown eyes, her black hair was messy.

''The Therapist, its my first visit.'' I replied, I sat up and leaned up on my elbows, wincing in pain, resting my feet into my slippers. ''No need to get up, I'll make my own breakfast.''

''Okay, I need the extra sleep anyways, plus its Saturday.'' She said, smiling as she rolled over and curled up in the blankets.

I got up, walked over to the closet and picked out my best suit, taking it into the bathroom with me, I brushed my teeth, twice. I stepped into the shower and turned on the warm water, scrubbing my body, as best I could with only 8 fingers, and the feeling of a thousand cactus needles moving around my arms. When I felt I was clean enough, I stepped out, and wrestled on my suit, combed the ring of hair around the middle of my head.

I stepped into the kitchen and ate a few pieces of bread and drank a glass of milk, I put on my socks and black polished shoes and stepped out into the street.

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I got up reluctantly when Dr. Ian's Secretary popped her head out of the door, letting me know that he was ready for me. I stepped into the door way and followed her, she led me to a door behind her desk, sitting in the middle of a small room.

She opened the door and showed me in, introducing me to the heavy set, gray haired man sitting at the desk in front of me, I walked in, she closed the door, and I stood. ''Hello.'' I smiled.

''Hi, Raymond.'' He said, in a stereotypically plain, sweat voice. ''Please sit down.''

And so I did, looked down at my feet, and then looked up to him. ''Listen, You know why I'm here, I lost two fingers, the ability to control the feelings in my arm, and a good sense of mind, yeah, yeah, I know, that bullshit speech you here in every movie you watch about some run down ex-soldier who can't deal with life too well, just, write your report and give me whatever medicine you want me to take.''

Dr. Ian looked up, the bored tint in his eyes seemed to change, he furrowed his eyebrows in interest and stared at me for a second. ''Medicine? There's no medicine in your case, my dear friend I believe you have multiple afflictions, Cynicism, and PTSD.''

''Nothin' to it, can I leave now?'' I asked.

''You'd leave me here all by me self, for the next 55 minutes?'' He said, laughing a bit.

''You bet your ass.'' I said.

''Have you had nightmares lately?'' He asked, seemingly ignoring the last remark.

 

''No-not lately, no.'' I said, looking towards the corner.

Dr. Ian followed my eyes, obviously intrigued, he scratched something on his notepad with his pencil, whispering under his breath. ''Last.. night..''

I didn't speak out about it, obviously because it was true, I was embarrassed.

''Lets take about the war, I just want to know which areas you served in.'' He said, lifting his head up to meet his eyes to mine, fitting his spectacles on.

''Well, I uh, fought in North Africa, Italy, France, and.. of course Belgium.'' I answered.

''Right, right, Belgium, you were sent home from there, right?'' The doctor asked.

''You already know that, you know why too.''

He leaned back in his chair. ''Look, one of the first things to this is you answer my questions, bullshit or not.''

''No one should have to answer to bullshit.'' I cackled.

''Why not? You did for 4 years.'' He said, staring at me with a straight face. ''What happened that day?''

''What day?''

''You know what I'm talking about, Raymond.''

''We got ambushed, I got wounded from a shrapnel bomb, what else is there?'' I said, crossing my legs.

''What about the 150 men you lead in?'' He said. ''I only know what you tell me, at this point.''

This meant I could lie... I had this, weird feeling in my stomach, I was starting to feel numb around the Doctor, I don't know why I couldn't tell the truth.

''We went in, we got defeated, me and who ever was left pulled back..''

''I was told you were picked up off the battlefield.'' He said, sipping his coffee.

My head shot up quickly. ''I … stayed behind to hold them off.. while they left.''

''What's the use for that? You couldn't operate a rifle, you had 30 pieces of metal in your arms.''

''I'm... Getting uh, kinda tired do you want to continue this later?'' I said, staring down at my watch.

He did the same. ''We still have half an hour.''

''I was.. scouting. Not fighting.'' I said, looking down at my feet.

''You said you stayed behind to hold them off.'' He said, looking up, his eyebrows raised in that authoritative ''Tell me the truth'' Kind of way.

''To be honest I-''

''Yes, lets be honest.'' He said, cutting me off.

''..I, really didn't know what was going on... the mission was just to clear the forest for snipers and stragglers.''

''Tell me how the mission went?'' Dr. Ian pulled out a page of his note sheet, to a fresh page and looked at me in a, very specific impatient, yet sympathetic stare, there was no arguing with this.

''Well, uh...our air force .. bombed the living hell out of some town with an ammo dump a few miles in the forest.''

The psychologist across from me, nodded and scribbled in his note sheet.

''They wanted me to lead my company into the forest and make sure there weren't any more Germans there to fight off an occupation force.''

I looked at the corner again, I started to feel my chest swell up, fought back tears as best as I could and it was working. ''We uh.....went in and uh, we met... opposition, so we... we... got our asses handed to us on a silver platter.''

Dr. Ian lifted his head. ''Your a doctor, right?''

I looked up, kind of confused. ''Yes, a Pediatric Orthopedist.''

''Ah, when kids break their bones, I'm guessing you need all the information, where its at, how it happened so you can make the correct assumptions as to what's broken and what needs to happen?'' He asked.

''Well, yeah, of course.'' I replied, starting to see what he was saying.

''Well, I need the same thing, if you want me to clean up the cobwebs in your attic, you need to tell me everything... tell me the story, starting with when you found yourself in combat.''

''Well... I told them to move into the forest... It was snowing, like it does every day in Belgium, at least in that time of the year, they...they uh...'' I got up from my seat and pressed my hand against the wall and put my head down, trying to hide my tears, but they were already running.

''Raymond?''

''They didn't stand a god damn chance!'' I hit the wall with my palm and screamed out in pain as a ring of agony ran through my forearm, I turned around and slid down to the wall and held my forehead in my hands. ''Machine guns came from everywhere and in a flash I was sitting in a crater staring at three dead bodies, crawling through the battlefield, seeing no one in site.... then being picked up by baker company... being told that they hit us... that the Germans were making a push and that I was all that was left of 150 men.''

There was a ring, I looked up to the clock and saw it was time to go.

The Doctor had no effect. ''Are you coming next week?''

 


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