You wipe your hand on your pants, the blood warm and sticky, a moment ago fear and heartache, now only repugnance. You raise your hand to your mouth and kiss the inside of your thumb, then reach across and touch it to his forehead, then, as if you might still hurt him, ever so gently draw shut his eyes.
Beside you, your gun waits, expectant. You reach for it, and find the fury blossoming in your heart mirrored there in the heat of the barrel. You squeeze your hand into it, hating and loving the pain, fearing and longing for the angry weal that will form there, desperate not to forget him. Desperate not to let it go unpaid-for.
You rise slowly, no longer caring about why you are here, no longer caring about honour, or duty, or freedom. They’re just words now. You never cared that you were the invader. That wasn’t your concern. And now you have one goal, one meaning for your existence.
You bring the gun to your shoulder, and lean into it, longing for its punch, longing for its violent scream, longing for it to bury a piece of lead deep in that mother f***er’s chest. You clear the top of the wall, and aim your gun an inch above the top of theirs.
Who is he?
Dead Iraqi f***. You hope it’ll hurt.