A new Empire sent its legions into the jungle-shrouded country on a punitive expedition, but war destroys men far faster than it creates soldiers. The forlorn men sought refuge in a chemical escape.
It was just one of many barracks that became an opium den. It was a single room with two rows of four beds.
It was like summer camp with assault rifles.The walls were covered with the most famous icons of female sexuality produced by pop culture. The prospect of sex was one of the few things that made it worth to continue enduring a life haunted by the blood-soaked memories that commandeered the mind.
Lance Corporal Davis was dissolving into the familiar warm euphoria. The brown viscous liquid passed smoothly through the needle and into the crimson river flowing under his flesh. his mind disengaged from reality and allowed itself to fall into blissful ambivalence.
“hows it going over there Davis,” asked a fading voice.
The fog lightened for a second and Davis came back into his body. He could feel cooling drool that had streamed from the corner of his mouth and down his chin.
“Pretty good man.” he said after a moment.
“Awesome.” was the muttered reply.
Davis yawned and curled up on top of the covers in a kind of self-embrace, and he began to fade away again.
“Wanna go into town and get some pussy tomorrow?”
Davis was a virgin until he arrived in the country. his first sexual experience was a rage and alcohol fueled gangbang with a collection of well-worn prostitutes and some who were as new to sex as the young private.
The memory returned like a living dream. He could see himself watching in horror as men haggard by combat and put on edge by imminent death took their violent frustrations out on the girls.
Fortunately, opiates muted the scene and detached him from it before the feelings of helplessness and guilt returned to his gut. It became fuzzy and soon drifted away with the rest of the world.
Davis woke up to the whistle that directly preceded the explosion. The whole room shook, and DAvis’s heart pounded against his chest.
“Oh fuck!” he croaked before rolling out of his bed and onto the floor.
Another explosion shook the walls.
“Oh my god!” Davis whined. “Oh shit!”
There was shouting and the sound of engines lurching and machine guns clattering. A storm of fire erupted outside, but inside the suspended cabin lights hadn't even come on, and no one stirred.
“Seargent!” He called out into the darkness. ‘SEargent Torres!” he squealed again as he crawled on the floor.
Davis gripped the blanket hanging off the edge of the bed and shook it as hard as he could. There was no reply.
There was the whistling of another shell about to crash nearby. Davis lay flat and shut his eyes.The explosion blew open the wooden door on the front of the barracks. Davis fought against his quacking legs to pull himself up.
The ceiling lights came on. Torres was like a wax sculpture. His waxy skin was grey and cold. his mouth hung open, and a swollen lumpy tongue was rolled out from the side. His mouth was forced up by yellow bile.
“Oh fuck” sobbed Davis as he fell to the floor.” oh fuck.”
Seargent Torres had been a corpse ever since he last emerged from the forest covered killing fields. He had been an uncounted casualty. The cruelty of war is how slow it can kill.