Author : Jeffrey Veregge

I died today.

Death did not just gently tap on my door. My entire being was vaporized in a hot flash at the expense of a highly calibrated laser beam. Pain was not an issue this time as it was almost instantaneous.

This time you ask? Sadly this was not my first. By my last count, I have been reaped by the Grim 472 times. Could it all be just a bad dream? Too much peyote or weed? Maybe . . . if so, it has been a terrible trip and horrible nightmare. But since regulations do not allow us to partake in any of these mind-altering pleasures, I have long ago ruled them out.

I have also entertained the thought that I might be a god. Not God, God, but more like a tiki god or volcano god. A poor, lost soul who managed to find himself expelled from Olympus. But I am not. I am a soldier.

The deployments almost always feel like a dream. My unit always contains familiar faces, but each time, it feels like they have different voices or souls that move them. Sometimes I recognize them, sometimes I do not, but deep down, it still manages to give me that nagging sense of déjà vu. I may not be a god, but somewhere; He is having a good laugh at my expense.

My platoon is a special unit whose mission is to take down the enemy stronghold and disrupt their communications, enabling our forces to mount a large-scale assault and ensuring a major victory in this war.

Each time we set out, I know every trap, every sniper’s location, every secret passage. And yet, a majority of the time, I still find myself facedown in a pool of my own blood.

I do not understand what I did in a previous life to deserve this. A world without hope, lives of hollow victories punctuated with moments of desperation and suffering. I can’t remember if I was a good man before all this, all I can remember is the lives I have lead and lost in this endless battle.

As my platoon heads out to try and accomplish the same objective as the day before, I pray to the same god whose hand seems to be guiding this life, pleading desperately for a new outcome.

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