Bullet: A short story inspired by the poem HERE, BULLET by Brian Turner

In a silent confines of his master bedroom, Trevor leans against the pastel yellow wall on the right side of his bed. The brain splitting headache cuts through his head like lightning bolts. He runs his shaking right hand through his short, brown hair and grabs at his head. A bone, cold shiver rises up his spine as memories –Memories he has tried with all of his willpower to repress. Memories of time gone, yet still as vivid as if they’re happening in this very moment– fight to the forefront of his mind. His heart drums on inside of his chest like bombs falling and exploding from sky against his ribcage. Each sharp, cutting breath brings the graven memories closer to being viewed in his head. Trevor slides down the wall shaking his head in an attempt to erase them, but as he sits on the carpet they shoot into his view.

“No, no, no,” he whimpers. The salty, hot tears roll down his cold cheeks, burning.

The flash of silver below catches his attention and he gazes down. The heavy weight of cold metal nestled in his hand can end this all. No more memories threatening to replay over in his head. His index finger caresses the trigger, the life-ending lever.

The yellow walls, king-sized bed with caribbean blue sheets, the wooden dresser and table ends, and the entire bedroom spin around Trevor in his view. Spinning, spinning, and spinning, until it completely deteriorates. In its place, an entirely different setting appears. A memory that Trevor has fought and failed to contain in the deep confines of his mind.

Either way Trevor turns there’s nowhere safe. On all sides of him, his brothers in arms block any form of escape as they trot and run with their black shiny boots slapping against the muddy ground slashing dirty water and muck on the fabric of their pants.

Across the field under gray cloudy skies their enemies run towards them with their faces distorted with pure black, primeval hatred. The yelling and war cries sweep through the air, yet are drowned out by helicopter wings beating against the wind as they turn. The slight whistling of bombs as they drop from the sky and crater the Earth around Trevor as they explode and expand, taking lives in their wake and ruining the only home these people have. His ears ring with a piercing never ending sound. His nose burns and his eyes sting as the smell of gas and rotting death blow passed him and into his airways. His lungs fill with the toxins and his breath grows harder with each intake and outlet. Yet he has to keep moving forward; fighting his duty will only prolong his time here.

Two forces collide with each other; his unit and the enemies like dominoes collapsing and hitting against each other. The booming, continued popping of bullets flying through the air ricochets around him. He doesn’t have time to stop and check himself for wounds. The enemy is here. His eyes round widely as he looks at the faces of his enemies; they’re just children. Children sent to fight a man’s war. The adrenaline and training hasn’t prepared him for this. He raises his gun on constant vigilant alert, yet doesn’t fire a round.

Around him, his brothers with their faces set in stone with determination are unfazed by their youthful enemies. One of his brothers thrusts the bayonet of his gun into the chest of one of the children, screaming into the wind as he does, and pulls the trigger back without second thought as he opens rapid fire on the child, turning the child’s chest into shreds in the process. The child’s eyes widen, yet he doesn’t have time to react as it happens.

In front of Trevor, a child points a gun at him, ready to fire as he smiles like it’s some game. There’s no time to pause as Trevor turns his gun in the child’s direction. He squeezes the trigger down. In a flash, bullets pierce the child’s chest. In that instant, he strips the child of his life and, in doing so, loses a piece of his humanity and his soul.

Turning away, he fights on. Numb to the death he just caused. Until another day.

 

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