Lost…A Walk in Darkness..

The sun has barely broken through the cloudless sky when our convoy is hit with indirect fire. “Move out! Keep your intervals!” We speed through the narrow streets, the clink, clink, clink of bullets impacting on the vehicle’s armor drives home the point we are no longer in Texas. Mortar rounds explode around us as we rush hurriedly to our destination. I glance in my mirror and notice a vehicle with no roof is dropping rounds into our convey as they rush through the city behind us.

“Light ‘em up!”

My gunner fires the heavy machine gun. The choom, choom, choom of high impact rounds plays the hymn of death and destruction. The recoil from the heavy weapon firing bursts of death shakes the cab of my truck. Suddenly, the vehicle following us crashes into a shanty building and the mortars stop dropping into our convoy. “Boy, they sure don’t like us. I would give anything to be back home.” The silence following heavy combat action lulls us into thinking the worst of it is over. We are wrong.

As I drive through the city, people are making their way back into their homes. I glance out at the Euphrates River, when my gunner drops into the vehicle. He spins around and points.
“IED!”

The sudden crack of the explosive device shatters the silence and the explosion blinds me. Everything goes dark for a moment and I feel the vehicle roll over. Suspended upside down, water rushes in through the shattered glass. I reach for my seatbelt and pull the lever, nothing happens. The cab starts to fill up with water. “God help me! I do not want to drown in this mudpuddle.” Again, I yank on the seatbelt and nothing happens. Rough hands grab my seatbelt and my buddy snatches on the lever. “Hold on Freeman. Stay still, I would hate to cut you.” He inserts the blade between the belt that holds me captive and my sternum. With two quick motions, I am free. I crash into the water. Sputtering, I push myself upright and we egress from the vehicle. Weapons in hand, we make our way up the side of the embankment.
“Hurry up! Jump in a vehicle before the whole city descends on us!” We pile in and continue to make our way to our destination. When we arrive, I am shaking. The adrenaline rushes through my veins. “Freeman drink this, it will help you calm down.” I reach for the Mountain Dew and gradually my hands stop shaking. “We have you another vehicle, can you drive?” I nod my head in affirmation. “Yeah, I got it.”

The line from Predator passes through my mind, “I don’t have time to bleed.”  However, it is all for show. My mind is taking a beating and nearly drowning has caused me to do some serious soul searching. “I am not ready to meet my Maker; I would have gone to hell if I had died today.” My temporary lapse into spirituality is short-lived. “Time for the convoy briefing, let’s get it right this time.” Another mission complete, I make my way to the briefing.

“How lost am I?”

A still, small voice provides me with the answer, and it shakes me to my core.

“Very.”

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