A bright white light flashes. A jarring quake of thunder shakes the bed in which I awaken in the body of the boy I used to be, sweating profusely from fear or fever, I do not know which. Darkness sears my eyes. Incandescent spots float diagonally across my field of vision. I open them wide and stare into a jungle. Bullets pepper the ground on which I lay, as I desperately try to become one with the mud. Peripherally, I can see one of my best friends falling, face forward, three bright red spots staining his chest. As morter rounds begin to pop, darkness falls.

I shout, “Medic!”

Something is beeping. My room door opens, a light flashes on and a nurse enters. She has a stern businesslike face, set in a grimace. She frumps over to the IV dispenser and smacks it on the top as one might an errant coke machine. The beeping stops. She turns on her heel and leaves without speaking, clicking the light switch as she goes, plunging the room into darkness.

A gentle wave washes over me. A bright white light flashes.

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