Too many fractures; the air couldn’t help but slowly seep from my suit.

Granddad always told me my temper would get the best of me just before getting down the old, leather belt. The fire in his eyes terrified me more than the fury of God, Himself.

Every time I’d raised a hand against a neighbor boy or spoke too loudly in church, I knew the belt would come. It taught me, early, that Granddad was right and my red rage was wrong.

Ever since Tommy Starr hit my head with that rock, I’d had trouble. I saw red like a bull. Granddad took me to a doctor, but nothing ever came of it. Christian Scientists don’t believe in brain meds: just a red, leather belt. He said it was the “Marine’s Way”.

When the military opened up Mars and the first bases were built, I followed like a dutiful soldier.

If only I’d learned. If only he’d not mocked me in Marinus Canyon and raised his hand one last time. If only my rage hadn’t sent us down that slope.

Now I look to the skies, Granddad’s body next to mine, and all I see is red.

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