The shots coming from around the corner and down the street in my direction subdued for a moment. Either they were reloading or were on the move advancing towards me, neither bode well for me. I inched over to the corner and stuck my rifle out just enough to release a few bursts of fire back down the street. No sooner had I begun to move back to my previous position that the wall began to crack as rounds buried themselves into it; some rounds made it through but they were not close enough to harm me.
I sat there with my back up against the wall with sweat running down my face. I wiped the sweat away and ran my hand over my head. Huh, where was my helmet? I must have lost it during the scramble. We were on a routine patrol when our vehicles came under heavy fire. Amazing how things can go from routine and boring to horrific and terrifying in a second. The people in my squad were so much better at taking charge than me, but those faces that I would turn to when I was lost were nowhere to be found in the chaos of an ambush. I just ran. I ran away.
As I was handed my diploma by the vice chancellor I look out into the crowd and see my family cheering and applauding. I accept my diploma and turn towards the crowd; I hold it up high toward my family. What a proud moment for us. A few years ago, I couldn’t see myself making it this far but I never gave up on myself.
Job searching took up most of my time following school. I had several job interviews and every time it looked as if I had pitched myself just right I would receive a call letting me down. Days turned to weeks and weeks into months with no end in sight for my search. I was getting desperate and I would try a little harder every time I applied for something new. A friend of mine in passing suggested I try for the armed services; I had nowhere else to turn to in the immediate future so why not give that a try. I thought it over long and hard and decided with my family that I would enlist.
A loud explosion rocked the wall; they had thrown a fragmentation grenade. I can’t believe that this is how it ends for me, there was no saving grace this time no way out for when in doubt. My jokes weren’t going to bail me out. My family and friends couldn’t help me now. All on my own. The fire intensified on my position, I just stared at the corner of the wall as it slowly came undone and turned into dust. It wouldn’t be long now before someone came around that corner to finish me off. The thought of just laying down my rifle and awaiting my conclusion crossed my mind, but damn it, they would have to earn this kill. I lifted up my rifle and took aim at the corner, just then someone leapt out with a rifle aimed toward me. I fired off a burst into their chest. They collapsed and fell before my feet.
I stared at the person who lay before me with their chest wound sucking for air. Several more people then came around the corner armed with rifles like mine. My squad mates had found me, but not before I had killed our point man.