It was the first time I killed a man in the name of something greater. Had I killed others before this? Of course. That’s what soldiers do. Those enemies were faceless. Demonized. Different. I got paid for it. When I first enlisted, it wasn’t because I was patriotic, it was because I was broke and uneducated. The bullets I had fired then were in defense, a roar against oblivion, a roar to be taken seriously. This time it was different. And yet—
An unfamiliar voice crackled to life in my ear piece. “Mark, are you there? HQ is reporting that you’ve stopped moving.”
I knew what was at stake, how important the mission was but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible had happened, something no one had warned me about. “It’s done. There’s no where to go.”
The voice turned aside. “He did it!”
In the background, cheers exploded. They were for me but I felt nothing. The voice reoriented. “Secretary Burke wants to know if he was lucid there in the end.”
“He died like every man dies.” I said wearily.