There is a taping on my door as I sleep. A rapping from ever so far away, lightly tugging at me as I float across a infinite sky of deep blue and purple. I want to keep gliding; to keep my eyes closed. But I’m going much slower now than I was just moments ago; moments that seem as though they've lasted a billion years or maybe just a fraction of a second. The sound of the taping, once light, is much more defined now. I hear the sound beating against the very inner of my ear, and it saddens me. For I know what is waiting on the other side, when it finally pulls me completely away from that lovely sky and my worry free journey across it. Each tap, those of which are coming much more quickly and often, crushes me to the very core.
Dread fills me from the very bottom of my feet, the very top of my head. For I know that with every tap against my ear, against my door, reality becomes just that. I have to say good bye to that lovely sky. The door is nearly open now as I sit alone in the darkness; as scared and frightened as a child would be in a place that dark. All I wanted is what anyone would want in that moment; a hug from mom reassuring me that everything would be okay. But that wasn’t what was on my mind now, oh no. I could hear it now, muffled and distant, but clear enough to recognize the sound. Is that terror I feel?
Pain, perhaps. What I truly feel most is sorrow; complete and all encompassing sorrow. Every tap tears through my body and my mind like a bullet. Many, many bullets. And that smell, that awful smell. It fills my senses with thoughts that no man should ever be forced to think. That’s when I finally realize that it wasn’t someone knocking on my door at all; the taping was actually exactly what they sounded like. Bullets.
And then it happens. I am awake but I cannot see. Nor can I hear anything other than the sound of the bullets being fired, the taping, against the deafening whine inside my ears. Strange shapes, those of which seem like living submarines in a brightly lit ocean, keep coming near me. They swim together, along the same general path, but seem to have a mind of their own. They appear quickly, suddenly enough for me to be surprised, and also vanish just as quickly. I ponder if I’m dreaming yet again, in the same place as before, or somewhere I had yet been. But if I was watching these creatures from below them in this ocean, I shouldn’t be breathing. Was I breathing? I must have been. It is then that I notice something odd, but does not surprise me in the least. With every tap against my brain from the bullets, a submarine comes near me. I reach out to try and grab one, to hold it. Yet I cannot touch them; only feel as they sting me on the face; the kind of severe heat that one should not be able to feel while underwater. Or is it cold?
This I could not say for sure, because just as quickly as the ocean appeared to me, it was gone. They weren’t living creatures at all, just the casings of bullets striking me in the face as they are being ejected from the bottom of a M240 Bravo machine gun; an M240 machine gun that I was meant to be firing. I realize this fact now, as I can once again see the world for what it is.
I still wasn’t sure what happened, but I did know that I didn’t enjoy getting a face full of hot brass. I tried to move out of the way, but could only move enough to avoid being struck. The ringing in my ears was starting to subside. I could hear other sounds now, besides that of the machine gun firing above me. I could hear the radio chatter, yet couldn’t make out anything beyond a few simple words over all the yelling and panic struck voices on the other end. I could also here voices near me that weren’t on a radio. The voices of men under the worse possible kind of stress, yet as steady of a voice as you’ll ever hear a person speak in. I could move more now, and I could see and hear again. It became clear to me then. We were in an ambush. The kind that sometimes followed after I.E.Ds.
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