Kevin could feel the cold cutting through his clothes. He and the other soldiers huddled together trying to keep each other warm. Winter came early.
Kevin had only recently fallen off to sleep when Captain Torres roused him. “They’re on the move,” he said. If there is one thing Kevin has learned from Torres is that you must always be battle-ready. He scramble to his feet and roused the rest of his troop. They quickly lined the top of the trench with barely the tops of their heads showing.
The only thing they had time to think about was making sure the bullets in the chamber hit the designated targets. They could not concern themselves with the melted snow in their boots or the smell of frying bacon.
They called Kevin ‘Eagle Eye’ because he could see anything a football field away without binoculars. Scanning the field, Kevin spotted movement behind the tree line. He grabbed the binoculars to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him, but before he had a chance to focus them he spotted a muzzle flash and was barely out-of-the-way before he felt the heat of the bullet whiz by. He ordered return fire and as quickly as it started it was over.
He assessed his men. No casualties or rather none dead. There are always casualties of war. The mind is the first and the biggest. A piece of it falls in every battle. He learned that when he saw his bunkmate lying twisted and bloodied on the ground beside him. He puked and peed himself all at once. He remembered Captain Torres telling him, “It won’t get any easier.” He was right.
Your mind kicks into survival mode and when it’s not it reveals the hidden scars and wounds that have yet to heal. It weakens you and you’re left like a pile of human rubble.
As his men sat talking and laughing about the early morning events over their coffee, burnt toast, bacon and runny eggs, he wondered how deep their wounds are and which soldier wouldn’t return from his mind’s moment of weakness.