Fiction: Falcon’s War


Falcon woke this morning feeling particularly determined, determined to die.  This particular feeling was not the result of some deep seated emotional anguish, or unrelenting unhappiness, or even some external tragedy.  Falcon simply felt, intuitively, that his time should end.  However, his determination waxed in vain, he thought, and there was no true death to be had for him.  As much as the desire to die plagued him, like some nagging itch he could not reach, he could not bring himself to act out his fantasies.  On most days, Falcon did not feel very alive neither, which was typically a source of discontent.  At that particular moment, he most desired to feel either alive or dead, without the questionable morass in between.  Falcon strapped on his combat gear, but no armor, stepped out onto the desolate streets of Baghdad.  No living soul was around for miles, as far as the eye could see.

Bomb shells screamed a few hundred miles away.  Falcon steadied himself, as he felt the ground shaking from the impact moments later. 

“Shit, are we close?” Raoul grunted over team Jackal’s private channels, serving as the team scout, stationed a few miles away.  As the scout, Raoul had not seen a single enemy combatant in his month serving, but it never occurred to him why the team even needed a scout.  Rules were rules, he thought.

Irene, the analyst, joined them having just finally gotten ready.  “Looks like a nuke is heading your way, Falcon.”

She could not have spoken sooner.  In a split second, like a flash of light, Falcon felt as if he were nothing, just vapor.  Half a second later, he was screaming, blood was flowing down his face, down his cheeks, choking his lungs.  He clutched his face but he could not feel his arms.  Another second passed, he heart pounding faster and faster, heaved, his internal organs gave way, hemmoraging, and collapsed upon itself.

“Thank the freaking Buddha!” Raoul was a stout man compared to the rest of the Jackals.  He was often gruff and disgruntled looking, and did not appear to be the type to be religious or even modest.  He added, “Praise triple-b. We thought you’d be a goner.”

Falcon could see again, dimly.  He choked out a weak reply, “Shut up, Rao.  Jerk.”

“Stay still,” Irene cautioned, sticking some tablets into his open mouth, then some needles, “I’m filling you up again.”

“So, what was it like, man?”  Raoul crowded them, and added with some mystery, “You know, dying.”

“How long did you leave me out here for the vultures,” Falcon asked, feeling better now.  In fact, he could not remember feeling better.

“It took us about an hour to get here from our positions,” Irene estimated.  It was difficult to see her expression through her dark helmet.  Then she added, “We had to wait out the radiation levels for most of that time, actually.”

Falcon whistled, stopped, tasting the sweetness in his mouth.  He remembered this taste now, months ago in training.

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