Darkness gives way to light, light to pain.
A man winces, his eyelids refuse to obey.
‘Too... too much light. And that smell. What is...?’
Shrapnel explodes in mid-air, pellets fly in all directions. Soldiers duck, those who don’t no longer need to. Pieces of sharp metal hang in suspended motion for those who have but a split second to live. Flashes of light, the sound of thunder, blood on the walls, it’s a storm straight out of hell.
‘What just whizzed past my ear? What is this place? Where am I? Who am I?’
A man, ragged, torn, soiled, stands amongst flesh fused with clothes and concrete. He tries very hard to make sense of the world around him. He tries to remember. And secretly wishes he can’t.
‘This doesn’t make sense. This can’t be real. Who are all these people? They look like soldiers. And I look like them. Am I? I have to be. But why isn’t any of this familiar? This piece of metal around my neck, it has a name, it...’
As a battered, beaten soldier stands in the eye of the hurricane reading his dog-tag, an explosion right above him, a little to his right, sends three floors of bricks and bones crashing down on his foot.
‘God no! Damn this! Oh god no! My leg, I can’t feel it. This isn’t happening! It’s NOT happening! I need help. I need to know. That man, he’s still alive. I just need to...’
A badly wounded soldier, screaming away his breath, pulls out his crushed leg from under the debris and drags his bloody body towards another. Inch by inch, moment by moment, he draws closer to the inevitable.
“You... you have to help me. You need to tell me where I am, what is all this? Do you know who I am? Who the fuck am I? God please tell me who I am!”
The man being questioned rests his remains against a wall and probes the man in question. His fingers travel the stranger’s body and stop at his hands. He grabs them and brings them closer to his face. He feels touch, he feels warmth, he feels the need to ask.
“My eyes... have you seen my eyes? Have you seen my GODDAMN eyes?”
Pair of eyelids open on one face, a pair of them closes on another. The one legged soldier pushes back on the hollow sockets dripping with blood and pus. He throws up amidst demands of lost goods and a solitary gunshot that ensures the search, need be no more.
“Help. Man down. Help! Please.”
From the smoke emerges a man with blood on his face, and clothes, that isn’t his. He looks into the eyes of the fallen and fakes a smile, his fangs glistening.
“Get yourself together soldier, the war is almost over. We are going ho...”
Startled by a subdued ticking noise, the warrior eyes the wounded suspiciously. In a swift motion he rips apart the suspect’s shirt to discover 4Gs of dynamite strapped to his chest and an LCD display that changes 5 to 4 in the blink of an eye.
“Fuck! God damn you! Traitor! Mother...”
A brother shouts obscenities at another, fumbling with his gun, trying to locate the safety, fearing his own.
“But I can’t be. I’m one of you... Aren’t I?”
Light gives way to darkness, darkness to void.