Chapter SevenMature

Marcus Judd

I hugged my M4A1 carbine closely to my chest as I sprinted across the sandy terrain, squinting as dust shot up around me. I dropped into a crouching position as I came behind cover, and quickly shuffled across the wall, pressing myself against it tightly. I could hear dying screams erupting in every direction, some North Korean - some our own. But that didn't matter. All that mattered was the spineless coward hiding behind the wall opposite me. I planned to take him out, to kill him - slowly.

I scowled and leaped into the open, swinging my carbine upward and blasting chunks out of the already crumbling wall. Adrenaline pumped through my veins as I neared the enemy, and I drew my knife as I turned the corner.

I stopped.

The Korean was sitting there, hugging his legs, shoved into a corner. His gun laid a few feet away from him, but he didn't go for it, even when I pointed the knife at him threateningly. He just sat there, continuously whispering to himself, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

I stared at him for a moment. I felt bad for him - pitied him. On the verge of compassion, but I didn't give myself time to dwell on it. I strode up to the Korean swine and shoved the knife into his neck. Then, in a slow - painfully slow - manner, I cut him open.

All the way.

And he didn't try to stop me. In fact, it was almost as if he was trying to help me. He didn't want to live anymore. He wanted to die. He hated himself for whatever he did - for killing whoever he had killed.

I could hardly breathe after I stepped back and saw the bloody mess that was once a living, breathing, human being. A real person, with a real heart. He probably had a family somewhere, and I had stripped him from them. I had torn a family apart.

I had just sent a man to hell.

But the worst part of it all was: I think he meant it. When he said he was sorry . . . I think he was. I believe he was genuinely sorry for what he had done. And that broke me, knowing that the enemy that I swore to kill without a second thought, actually had feelings and a conscience. The enemy had a heart.

The enemy was like me.

"The area is secure, sir," I heard someone say behind me, as my eyes slowly drifted from the body. "Let's move out."

I heard one last gunshot. The final blow.

"Let's," Sully said slowly. I turned just in time to see him holster his handgun and motion for me to follow him. "Wipe that look off your face, Judd. You look like you've seen a ghost."

He stalked off without another word.

No, I thought to myself as I followed after him. I think I just spawned one.

The End

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