Brothers…new writing…untitled and unedited…

Raphael Jafar stood on the precipice of greatness. The sun blazed at its apex; the sand seemed to be on fire underneath his bare feet. He was surrounded by the lifeless bodies of his enemies. His soldiers raised their weapons into the air and fired.

“Praise be to God. He has given us victory over our enemies. He has led us to this great moment, and we have not failed.”

One of the bodies coughed. Raphael pulled his sidearm and aimed it at his enemy. “Praise be to God,” he whispered as he unloaded his weapon into the face of the wicked.

Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the world, a group of contractors and soldiers attempted to move a generator from the border of Syria to Southern Baghdad. Al Walker, code named Ghost, rode in the front seat of the second Humvee.

His driver, Timothy (Ghost could not recall his last name) stared at him from time to time.

“Where are you from, Al,” Timothy asked.

“Mississippi, born and raised.”

“I’m from Nebraska. Born and raised a Husker.”

“How about that,” Ghost responded. “A Husker and a Rebel lost in the sands of-“

“RPG,” the gunner yelled. The lead Humvee exploded into a fireball. The gunner shed lead into the vicinity of the RPG gunner. As the gunner provided suppressing fire, the vehicles circled the disabled Humvee.

People gathered in the street. Many had looks of fear upon their faces, weapons were aimed at them as they encroached ever closer.

Some stayed in the door stoops of their homes, some on the roof. Those on the street drew closer and closer. A shot rang out from the crowd and hit one of the gunners.

The world went mad. Machine guns roared alongside of rifles and sidearms. Civilians rushed in every direction. Two men with rifles fired back at the convoy. It was over as soon as it began. Lifeless bodies lay on the side of the road and in the ditches. Everything was still.

“Jesus,” Ghost muttered. The dismounted troops grabbed fire extinguishers and battled the fire that had consumed the Humvee. The bodies of their friends were loaded into the back of the CASEVAC vehicle. Once the wounded had been treated, and the deceased had been loaded up, the convoy headed back to base.

Once they arrived at base, the group of men received their debriefing and was released to rest. Ghost showered and took a nap. A knock sounded at his door.


The door opened and the company commander came in. His name was Alec Something-or-other. Ghost had been too busy to get to know him. Alec was furious. Words refused to come out and he gestured angrily with his hands.

“What happened out there,” Alec finally shouted. Ghost leaned up on an elbow and squinted at the officer.

“What do you mean?”

“Four men died today, six were wounded. Were you not paying attention?”

“I was there, sir. It’s the nature of combat for these things to happen.”

“You are on loan to my unit because of the number of casualties we have suffered. You are not here to make things worse! This may be acceptable in your old unit, but it is not acceptable here,” Alec huffed indignantly.

Ghost scowled at Alec. “What a freaking diva.”  Alec glared at Ghost. Silence grew between the two men. Finally, Alec snapped, “What do you have to say for yourself?”

“Nothing. What do you want me to do, sir? Should I call up the insurgency and ask them to take it easy on your unit? Maybe we could work out a deal where they let us kill them in equal numbers.”

“How about you shut your mouth?”

“Sir, if I want any lip from you, I’ll scrape it off my zipper. Good men die in war. That is the simple truth of the matter. We did everything we could to minimize our losses. If you think you could do better, we are headed out again tomorrow. You could take lead.”

Alec slammed the door on his way out. Ghost leaned back and fell asleep. He slept soundly. It would not be long before he faced the darkness again. He needed to be ready.

The sun came up right on cue and brought with it an influx of rockets. Projectiles slammed into the barracks and knocked Ghost from his bed. He scrambled to his feet, slipped on his shower shoes, and grabbed his rifle.

He made his way down the hall. White plaster fell from the ceiling. Soldiers rushed out into the hallway for accountability.

“Leaders, check on your men. Report when you’re up.”

One of the newest guys in the unit nodded at Ghost. “Looks like they decided to jump on us first thing, huh?”


One of the team leaders tapped Ghost on the shoulder. “We’re up.”

“Alright. Get ‘em geared up. We roll out in ten.”


His men were gathered into a loose gaggle. They spoke in hushed whispers, one of them, Jameson was his name, looked up when Ghost approached them.

“The locals are hot about yesterday, huh Sergeant?”

“Probably. Since my driver was injured yesterday, you’re my driver today. Let’s move.”


They walked toward their vehicle and Jameson stowed his gear in the back.

“Ole Betsy looks kinda rough,” Jameson hollered. The impact of bullets had knocked the paint off. Thanks to modern engineering, the armor had not been penetrated.


The convoy leader, a Sergeant First Class from the regular Army, gave the convoy briefing. He worked in tandem with a Lieutenant Gaylord. Rally points and check points were given to each vehicle commander. Ghost took his and looked it over.

“If something should happen to me, the next highest ranking takes over,” Gaylord said. “The mission is all that matters. It’s gets done, understood?”

A mixture of ‘rogers and hooahs’ came from the convoy. Then they loaded up for another day outside the wire. “Hello danger, my old friend.”

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