The darkness was so dense it clung like skin.  My feet felt as if I were slogging through swamp mud.  Just ahead I could barely make out the backs of First Squad as they moved with precision and stealth over the dune heading for the village.  In my mind, I could not keep up.  My legs felt like lead and I could not move any faster.  As I struggled, my own squad moved past me.

When they crested the dune, in the night sky I saw an even darker entity and I heard a deep, evil chuckle.  As soon as First Squad reached the village center, I heard a rifle crack.  I finally managed to reach the top of the dune just as Second Squad reached the outskirts.  Then all Hell rained down!  The village had been emptied and set as a trap!

From over the rise came the mortar shells. They came crashing down into the village destroying everything in a maelstrom of death.  I was forced by this dark entity to watch as my Squad and First Squad were shredded, shattered, and destroyed.  Only two out of 10 managed to escape and they were badly injured.  I tried to shout commands and tried to scream in frustration, but nothing came.  I smelled the death in the air as the faces of those I knew, my brothers, were dying.  The blood was horrifically splashed everywhere, the coppery smell filled my nostrils, yet I still could not make a sound or move.

Finally, the insurgents came down the far dune firing their AKs into the bodies to make sure they were dead.  Finally, as if to show the evil disdain, I was released to move and speak.  I stared at the carnage and could not believe that humans were capable of such horror and carnage.

I was soaked with sweat, every muscle in my body was tense to the point of knotting, and I woke as I was halfway through the Lord’s Prayer.

I hate flashbacks!  The older I get, the worse they get.  There are times when I cannot discern what is memory and what is happening now.

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