An excerpt from - DEATH CAME CALLING – by
Despite the man lying dead before me, or may be
because of that, I laugh at the thought, but there is no humour
in the laugh, just disgust.
‘Good job? The bloody morons! Do
they have any clue what happens when you kill someone? Every
time you kill someone something within you also dies. Don’t they
realize that just because you wear a uniform it does not mean
your mind is immune to the horror of death... it is only a
uniform for God’s sake, not Prozac for the soul. And so it went
on and on… killing and dying, until you got tired of dying in
pieces. Then you no longer allowed yourself to think about it…
not if you wanted to retain your sanity... and soon, it ceased
to matter…. Then death just became a part of life…’
Yes. I have seen many people die; most of them far more gory and
meaningless deaths. After all battles and wars never bode well
for anyone, least of all those fighting them. That is why I
think it would be very fair to say that death does not bother me
at all, so long as I am not the one who is doing the
Sudden flashes in the alleys of my
Unbidden, unwanted memories
‘I don’t know anything sir.’
Clubbed down by the unforgiving butt of
a rifle, the young boy is groveling in the dust He is barely
into his teens. He looks so underfed that I am surprised the
rifle blow has not killed him.
‘Please sir, I swear I don’t know
He has a jarring whiny tone and that
typical Islander accent. He keeps saying ‘sar’ instead of
That bugs me almost as much as the fact
that I know the sniveling little cur is lying. He had to have
known about the ambush. Those motherfuckers had laid in wait for
us for at least an hour, if not longer. That much is obvious
from the number of cigarette butts scattered around, especially
near the windows where they must have hung around keeping an eye
on the road in front of the school.
The cigarette butts lie intermingled with the plethora of
expended cartridge cases scattered all around the classrooms and
school courtyard. The sharp smell of cordite and gun smoke still
lingers. It is faint, but there. Some of the bullets that had
been housed in these empty cases on the floor have claimed the
lives of my men. I know that I will be writing four condolence
letters to their families when I return to the post this
evening. It may even be more, if some of those wounded
don’t make it. The thought drives a cold shaft of fury
through me. I hate losing men. It makes me feel stupid and
‘How could you not have known?’ I ask him. My tone is as cold as
the ice I feel within.
Acting of their own accord my hands cock the pistol. It is a 9mm
Beretta; a rock solid handgun. They say James Bond also uses it.
I don’t know. I don’t even care. It is a standard Army issue
weapon. I love the feel of it in my hands.
There is a cold metallic SNICK, as it gets ready
to do what it has been created to do - destroy.
‘I will not ask you again.’ I hear myself tell
him. I am still speaking softly, but there is a distinct warning
evident in my tone. The finality comes through.
I can feel it.
The boy senses it too. I can see it in
His groveling intensifies.
I am repulsed. And angry. His whining
ratchets up my anger.
He is sniffing again and again. Tears
flow unchecked down his dark, bony face. His nose is also
running. The dust on his face is getting caked and streaked by
the tears and the snot streaming out of his nostrils.
Parts of it spray through the air, mingled with mangled bits of
bloody flesh, bone and brains, as the soft, blunt nosed slug
shoots through him. They shower the walls and the ground as the
gunshot echoes in the school courtyard.
The sound is low and flat. Totally unlike the Dolby enhanced
sound you hear in the movies. Even so it ricochets through my
mind, jolting me out of my reverie.
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