A soldier falls, and a soldier copes with the loss.
Author’s note: This story is based on real life events that occurred to me. The names have all been changed to protect the innocent, and not so innocent. Some dramatization has been added to match the themes of this site, but otherwise I have tried to remain true to the original experience.
This story does not have a lot of sex for its length, but considering it’s based on reality. . . Well, you’ll see why as you read it.
For those coming to this story from my dear friend’s, Dark_Brother, stories, I hope this answers some of your questions about his death.
This wasn’t easy to write, as it brings up a lot of hard memories, but I think I am stronger for having done it.
**I have decided to repost this, seeing as we are close to Memorial Day in The USA. I tried to get it out yesterday, but didn’t have the time.
“Sergeant,” I say, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Our orders are to stay and guard this road.” I’ve got a bad feeling about following my Staff Sergeant’s orders. Nothing I can put my finger on, just a feeling of dread, and I usually follow my instincts. Of course, I am here in a Muslim country, so I don’t know how good my instincts are sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Muslims. I do however, hate anyone who wants to kill me, or any other American, simply because we’re American. I HATE racists!
“Sergeant Baker,”—that’s me, by the way—Staff Sergeant Anderson says with derision, “We have two gun trucks,” (a gun truck is a HUMMV with either a .50 cal machine gun, or a MK-19 Grenade Launcher on top). “One can stay and watch the road, but we’re only a couple miles from where that IED went off a couple nights ago. We’re going to clear the route.” (An IED is an Improvised Explosive Device, or roadside bomb.)
Looking up to the half-moon in the night sky, I don’t like this idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no coward, but orders are orders, and smarter people than Anderson gave us our commands.
“I’m going,” Sergeant Barton, my best friend since third grade, pipes up, and I groan. The guy is a good soldier, but if I’m not around to look after him, he tends to get into trouble. If he’s going, then I am too.
Anderson sneers at me, knowing what my choice will have to be now. I can’t stand this guy! “Why don’t you be the gunner?” He asks me. “Maybe holding such a big weapon won’t make you such a little pussy.”
Alright, since I haven’t mentioned it yet, I’d better let you know I’m a guy. Don’t want anyone getting confused from the ignorant Staff Sergeant Anderson’s statement.
Michael Barton knows how I feel about being the gunner. “Forget it, Prick, I’m gonna gun,” he says, and then starts crawling into the back door, and pops his head out the top, behind the .50 cal. We’ve been friends long enough, that I’ve long ago gotten used to him calling me prick. It’s almost an endearment.
“Fine,” Anderson says. “Then you can drive, Baker. I was afraid you’d end up shooting us anyway.” I know he’s just trying to get under my skin, but it’s still working. “Garrett and Bertke, you’re coming too. The rest of you stay and guard this road.”
Stowing my M-16A4 rifle by the driver’s seat, I start the diesel engine, and wait for everyone else to get situated.
* * *
“Wake up,” a voice says next to me, and I rub my eyes to clear them of sleep. “We’re landing.”
“Thanks,” I say to Specialist Garrett.
“Dreaming about that night again?” he asks me, and I just nod, not wanting to think about those events. “You gonna talk to the VA about it, after you see your family?”
“No, I’m no wimp,” I tell him. “I’ll get over this on my own.”
The ebony skinned man shakes his head, but looks past me out the windows, as we descend. Following his lead, a feeling of homesickness washes over me as I recognize the mountains surrounding the valley where my wife and daughters are waiting for me.
Despite not wanting to think about that night, I remember having a conversation with my friend, Michael Barton.
“That’s kind of perverted,” I’d told him, after he revealed to me what he’d been working on so hard during his free time. We were standing in his half of the room, looking over his laptop.
“I know, but I don’t think it’s completely finished. I had to rush it, before coming out to this stinking country,” he tells me, defensively.
“I don’t mean that you are writing erotic stories,” I informed him. “I’m referring to what’s in them. The plot is pretty cool with the aliens and stuff, but the incest? I dunno, man.”
He grimaces at me, but I just chuckle. We’ve been friends long enough that I know I’ll get away with the laugh.
The captain of the airplane comes over the intercom, interrupting my thoughts and telling the stewardesses to strap in as we get closer to the airport. I pat the two letters in my pocket, both afraid of them, and reassured by them. The next few minutes seem to drag on forever, as we land, taxi to our gate, and then wait to deplane.
Conversely, the walk down the long hallway and out to baggage claim is over before I know it. Stepping out of the secure area, I can’t hide the smile which breaks across my lips as my three women rush to greet me. My wife’s blue eyes sparkle with tears of joy, after we’ve been separated for over a year. My legs are wrapped in the small arms of my two daughters. Tears start to stream down my own cheeks, as I hug my family tight to me. I know I missed them, but until this moment, I really had no idea how much.
“We’ve missed you so much,” Ashley, my seven year old daughter cries on my right leg.
“Don’t ever leave again,” Kally, my five year old daughter cries against my other leg.
My wife, Karrista, just cries happily. We don’t want to let go of each other as the baggage comes out.
Suddenly, there’s a loud noise behind me, and I dive for cover, tearing out of the arms holding me, and knocking over my daughters in the process. It only takes a few seconds for me to realize that someone had just dropped their bags, and I feel foolish as I slowly stand back up, my heart still racing. Thankfully, I notice I wasn’t the only one to take cover.
Unfortunately my wife and kids are looking at me with a concerned expression. I wonder what that must have looked like to them?
“Are you okay?” my wife asks in a whisper. I can’t look at her right now, ashamed, and just nod.
Thankfully the mood lightens as we start talking about Ashley’s grades, and Kally’s first year in school. Karrista offers to drive, but I tell her I’ve been missing driving anything smaller and faster than an up-armored HUMMV.
“Are you sure, you don’t want me to drive?” Karrista asks again, this time in fear, as I blow through an intersection. The light was more pink than red.
“Go VROOM VROOM, dad!” Kally cries from her car seat, excitedly. At least someone is enjoying this. I just wish the other cars wouldn’t drive so close to me.
Don’t they understand that it’s dangerous to stop at a red light? Someone might pull up next to us, and shoot us.
I don’t see the cop, until his lights are flashing in my rearview mirror. I only debate for a second on pulling over, then shake myself, as I realize what I’ve been doing.
I’m home, dammit. I’m safe. Why can’t I act like it?
The cop returns a moment later with my license. “Are you part of the unit that just returned?”
Laughing weakly, I reply, “Yeah, just landed. Guess I’m not used to the safe streets yet.”
“Well, I’m going to let you go with a warning, but under one condition: you let your wife drive.”
“Yes, officer,” I tell him thankfully.
“I like the way Daddy’s driving,” Kally claims, and Ashley tries to hush her.
“I have a brother that got back last year. I remember what he went through.” The officer seems to debate with himself for a minute, before adding, “He got some really good help with the VA. You might want to get in touch with them.”
“Thank you, officer,” I tell him noncommittally.
“Thank you for your service,” he says before turning and heading back to his car.
Karrista grips my thigh, after she gets in the driver’s seat of our car, telling me that everything’s okay.
But it’s not, and I’m not sure if it ever will be again. I’m home now. That broken down car on the side of the road isn’t an IED. That van coming up on our left isn’t speeding up to shoot at us. Why is my wife driving so slow?
We’ve got a long drive ahead of us, and as thankful as I am to be back with my family, I’m still feeling the effects of jetlag, so I take a nap.
* * *
“You really need to get the sand out of your pussy,” Anderson says to me, as we fly down the deserted road. Well, flying is a relative term, at forty-five miles per hour. This vehicle can go faster, but it’s too dangerous on this rough road and hard to see IEDs at faster speeds.
I ignore him, as I do every time I know I can get away with it. “I don’t understand why you chose to be a soldier. You’re a coward, Baker. You’re lazy, and a detriment to this team.” He continues in this vein, but I’ve heard it all before.
He considers me lazy, because during our training, on breaks, I chose to read, instead of socialize. Staff Sergeant Anderson is a butt-kisser of the highest caliber, and if you don’t kiss his ass, then apparently you aren’t worth shit. He even ordered me to quit reading because, “Real soldiers work on their skills. They don’t stuff their heads full of useless garbage.”
I AM worth shit, though, and know it. Checking my speed, I see I’m doing a whopping fifty mph. Laugh if you will, but in a fully up-armored HUMMV driving on these crappy roads, that’s pretty fast. There are almost more pot-holes than road, and the trip isn’t a smooth one.
Despite knowing that he’s just trying to get to me, and get me to say something that’ll get me into trouble, I can feel my anger rising.
“I don’t know how you made it through basic training, and I really don’t understand why you chose to stay in after your initial enlistment. Hell, I tried to stop you from getting your E-5 rank, but you went over my head.” Yeah, so that makes me smile. I know he’d been badmouthing me, so I went over him, and convinced the chain-of-command that I was worth promoting. That’d really pissed off my NCO, and was one more reason he always rags on me.
The thing I really don’t understand is: I’ve put in three different requests to be transferred to a different section, but Anderson has denied them. In truth, if it weren’t for Michael, I probably would have lost it with this superior acting asshole.
“Look,” I tell him, taking my eyes off the road for just a second, anger thick in my voice, “if I’m really that bad, then transfer me. I could be out of your hair in less than a week.”
“I can’t do that,” he tells me, and I can just barely hear the note of laughter in his voice over the sound of the engine, as I gun the truck past some debris on the side of the road. “You’re a danger to those around you, and I can’t pass you on to anyone else.”
Alright, that’s a low blow, no matter how you look at it.
“IED, IED, IE—” Michael Barton cuts me off, only to be cut off himself by a large explosion, and the world goes yellow.
* * *
“Jason!” Karrista yells, and I bolt upright, sweat streaming from my brow. I see we’re pulled off to the side of the road, and I open the door just in time to lean out, and puke. The remains of my lunch from the plane paint the dirt on the side of the road, as tears stream down my face.
“Mom, is dad okay?” Ashley asks, while Kally cries her own tears.
“Honey, are you alright?” I can feel my wife rubbing my back, reassuringly, but I shake her off. I don’t want to be touched right now.
Why am I still having this dream? That all happened months ago. Why can’t I be stronger?
Wiping my mouth, I sit up, and suck in a deep breath.
“Honey. . .?”
“I’m fine,” I snarl at her. Can’t she see that? I’m no longer puking, so obviously I’m fine. I see the hurt look in her eyes and immediately regret my tone. “I’m sorry, babe. I guess I just ate something bad on the plane.” Kally is still crying in the back, and I turn around to her, placing my hand on her leg. “Daddy’s just a little sick, darling. I’ll be better soon.” I tell her. I just have to get stronger, I tell myself. Time will heal this wound.
“Do we need to get you something for your stomach?” Karrista asks.
My first thought is to snap at her again. Why can’t she just leave me alone? But I shake it off, and get my emotions under control. “No,” I tell her, keeping my voice calm. “I think I got it all out.”
We get back on the road, and I start talking to the girls about their friends, and about what their plans will be for summer break, starting in a couple weeks. We chat amiably until they decide to take a nap, by which time Kally has regained her good mood.
“I know what I plan on doing with you during summer break,” Karrista states, reaching over and squeezing my manhood.
“Why wait?” I ask, smiling at her. Right now she reminds me of how she was when we first started dating. I grab her hand, and try to get it into my beltline.
She looks in the rearview mirror at our two sleeping daughters and then pulls her hand away and gives my crotch a light tap. “When we get home.”
I know better than to argue. Over the last few years, her sex drive has almost entirely disappeared, while mine has remained the same. We used to screw three to four times a week, but before the deployment with my National Guard unit, it was down to once a month, when I was lucky.
“Were you dreaming about Michael?” she asks me, and I feel my mood turn sour again. She never liked my best friend, and I really don’t feel like discussing him with her right now.
Turning to look outside, I let my mind wander as the terrain moves by.
* * *
“Oh, don’t give me that,” Michael had said. “You’re just as much a pervert as I am.”
“Maybe,” I hedged, “but I’m not the one that watched hentai out in the open bays back in Indiana, and my fetishes aren’t necessarily the same as yours. If you get caught with that shit out here, you’re screwed.”
“I’m not asking you to like them. I just want you to edit them, Prick.” He got a bit defensive, and I knew to start taking him seriously. “Besides, I’ve hidden it all since we came out here. You were the one that showed me how to do that.”
“You realize the trouble either one of us could get into if we’re caught with that on our laptops?” The concern was real. We were in one of those countries that outlawed any type of pornography. We both had some, but it was well hidden.
“Yeah, yeah. We’re not likely to get caught, as long as we keep our mouths shut about it.” I only grunted in response. “Look, it’s all already written. We can’t access the sites that I was posting to while here, but some people complained about errors, so when I repost this story, I want it as close to perfect as possible. I also want it to come out as I originally wanted it, instead of the shortened version I was forced to put out. It was obviously rushed.”
“Why didn’t you just finish it then?” I asked, and he gave me a look like I’m an idiot, and I answered my own question. “Because we were leaving for here, and you wanted an ending before we left.”
* * *
My wife pulls into our driveway, and I help her carry our still snoozing kids into the house. She offers to help me carry my bags in, but I know she can’t lift most of my duffle bags.
“You rearranged again, while I was gone,” I accuse her teasingly, as I drop my bags in front of the closet. She’s left me no room, having taken over my side of it.
“You weren’t here to argue. Now, are you really going to complain about that right now, or will you come over here, and take advantage of the fact that our daughters are still asleep?”
Grinning deeply, she already knows my answer, as I start stripping off my clothes. Giggling, she does the same, while I lock our door.
I won’t pretend to be some well-endowed god, but it’s been so long since I’ve been in the same room as a naked lady, and my wife does have a killer body, with her small waist, and child-bearing hips. Her once B-cup breasts, are now C-cups, sag only slightly after two kids, and her nipples are already hard.
My rod is veritably hurting, it’s swollen so much. Crawling up onto the bed, I kiss my lovely wife passionately. While our tongues entwine, I bring my right hand up to her left breast, and give it a gentle squeeze. I moan, not because she is doing anything for me, but just the fact that I have my hand on a breast (My favorite part of any woman), turns me on even more. I need to taste her nipple, and kiss my way down her neck and chest, until I can pull the rubbery tip between my teeth, and suck hard, making her moan, as her hands dig into my scalp.
“I’ve missed you,” she whispers to me, lovingly.
I try to say the same, but it comes out more like, “Mffm mhm hmf.”
I begin to kiss my way down her stomach, but she stops me.
“We don’t have time for that,” she informs me, and I groan. I love tasting my wife, but for some reason she hasn’t let me do that very much in the last few years. I know her excuse is just that, but I don’t push her, I’m too damned horny.
Spitting into my hand, I rub it against her vulva, making sure she’s wet enough. I slide halfway into her on the first stroke, and then am fully seated on the second. Missionary style isn’t necessarily my favorite, but after a year of celibacy she feels exquisite!
She feels so good, wrapped around my rod, and I start to move my hips, while I nibble on her neck. I use my elbows to prop myself up, and use my hands to tweak her nipples.
“Mmm, you keep doing that, and I won’t last long,” she warns me, but it’s been so long, that I can already feel my own climax building. I love my wife dearly, but when it comes to her orgasms, she’s like a man. One and she’s done.
I pick up my pace, and a moment before I start to shoot off deep inside her, I feel her vagina clamp down on me. We both strive to muffle our moans, as we crescendo together.
* * *
“IED, IED, IE—,” Michael yells a moment before I feel the impact of the explosion.
The steering wheel rips out of my hands, as the entire vehicle is moves sideways from the explosion. It’s odd; you hear about being in this situation from those that have been there, but until you actually live it yourself, you never really understand.
My ears are ringing, and I’m half blinded. There’s a sharp pain in my right leg, and my whole body feels like it’s been struck with a speeding truck.
Everything seems to happen all at once and yet in slow motion. I see Anderson yelling something, blood already running down the side of his face, but I can’t hear what he’s saying. Fear grips my insides like an icy fist to the stomach, as I see Michael Barton, face covered in burns and blood, lying unconscious next to me, inside the vehicle.
* * *
Karrista rolls over, still unconscious, as I sit up in bed, trying to rid my mind of that image. It won’t leave though, and I clearly remember how badly he’d been torn up by that blast. I want to throw up, but walk out of the bedroom, my wife softly snoring behind me.
Booting up my laptop, I navigate to the hidden folder on my computer, and stare at the one marked ‘Barton’.
Inside that folder is part of a hero’s last wish. I know I should open it. I know I should do as my best friend asked, but I can’t face his ghost right now.
Silently, I grab a pillow next to me, and soak it in tears, cursing myself for how weak I am. Maybe Anderson was right, I really shouldn’t have been a soldier.
“Mom, why is Daddy sleeping on the couch,” I hear Kally ask my wife, and I come awake. Finally some sleep where I don’t dream!
“Go play in your room,” Karrista tells our youngest daughter. She turns and looks to me, hands on her hips. “So, Daddy. . . Why are you sleeping on the couch?” I know she’s not mad at me, but neither is she happy.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I mumble at her, hoping she’ll drop it.
She won’t. “Jason, why won’t you talk to me? I know something’s bothering you. I’m your wife. Please open up to me. Is it the nightmares?”
Ignoring her, I walk into our room, and start getting dressed. How am I supposed to talk to her about what happened? She’d never understand. Even if she did, how could I dump that on her? She’d never look at me the same way again. My best friend, a man she couldn’t stand, is dead. Literally died in my arms, and it’s my fault. . .
* * *
“Michael!” I yell, but can’t hear my own voice over the ringing in my ears. “No, no, no, no, no,” I repeat, as I reach out to check his pulse. Where is it? Why is there so much blood?
There! Is that it? Yes, it’s faint, but it’s there.
A hand grips the front of my body armor, and turns me to face Staff Sergeant Anderson. He’s still yelling at me, and I can just start to make out his voice, but not his words. I notice that his right arm isn’t moving properly, but I rip his left hand from my chest, as I try to open my door.
Thankfully it’s not jammed shut, and I step out onto wobbly legs. Or try to, the pain in my right leg intensifies tenfold, and I fall to the ground, yelling out in torture.
Michael, I think. Michael needs my help. Determination turns my limbs to steel, and I get back up, and reaching through my open doorway, grip my best friend’s body armor, and pull him out. Some small part of me notices that the vehicle is on fire, as another inner voice screams that you shouldn’t move a wounded person if you don’t know the extent of their injuries.
As carefully as I can, I get Sergeant Barton out, and pull him to safety. Feeling for his pulse again, I sense it’s still there.
A noise from the HUMMV gets my attention, and I realize the ringing in my ears has lessened. Looking up, I see Bertke dragging himself from the vehicle. He collapses, and I note that his legs seem to be useless.
I don’t see Anderson or Garret.
* * *
The front door slamming shut brings me back to reality, and I realize that my wife just walked out with the kids. I’m not worried about her leaving me. She’s just probably giving me some space.
Hmm, space. . .
No! I’m not going to think about those stories right now.
I walk into the kitchen and open a beer. By the time my wife and kids return from a trip to the zoo, I’m thoroughly drunk.
“Go to your room, girls. I need to talk to your father.” Uh-oh. Whenever she refers to me as their ‘father,’ I know she’s mad.
“Awe, come-on, babe,” I slur, trying to turn her mood around. “Why don’t we lock the door, and have a repeat of yesterday afternoon?”
“Because you’re drunk,” she scolds me. “What happened to you? It isn’t like you to get drunk in the middle of the day.”
“I told you, I don’t want to talk about it,” I snap, turning my back on her. It’s supposed to be a grand gesture, but the room violently spins around me, and I collapse onto my bum. Ha. . . Bum. . . Such a funny word that is.
“Don’t you think ‘bum’ is a funny word, babe?” I ask her, forgetting that I’m upset with her.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this drunk before.” She looks down at me with her judgmental look, and I don’t want to look back at her. “This is because of what happened to Michael, isn’t it?”
Tears, unbidden, rise before my already blurry vision, and this time I nod. Nodding was the wrong thing to do, though, and I feel my gorge rise. I try to head for the bathroom, but the floor moves beneath me, tripping me up, and I end up puking on the floor, and falling on my face in it.
“Come on,” Karrista says, as she drags me to the shower. The wonderful woman strips me of my clothes, and as I lay under the shower, she cleans up my mess in the bedroom. I puke a few more times, the entire shower doing its best impression of a carousel; before I finally feel good enough to get cleaned up.
Unbidden, memories of all the times I’d gotten drunk with Michael surface.
“Are you ready to talk?” Karrista asks me, and I look up into her disapproving eyes. I’m tempted to. I know I need to talk to someone, but that look in her eyes stops me.
“You need to find help,” she tells me, the corners of her mouth tight. “I love you, but I can’t live with you like this, and it’s not fair to our children.
“I’ll call the VA as soon as I sober up,” I tell her. We don’t talk as she helps dry me, and tucks me into bed.
“Drink this, so you won’t feel so bad in the morning,” she hands me a glass of water, and I down it. I have to place my foot on the floor to stop the room from spinning, but it’s not long before I’m passed out.
* * *
“Are Garret and Anderson still inside?” I yell at Bertke, but he doesn’t hear me. I look from Michael to the burning HUMMV, and back.
Cursing soundly, I get up and limp back to the vehicle. Anderson is conscious, but I can see now that his right arm is hanging limply at his side. He’s fumbling with his seatbelt, but can’t seem to get it off.
Pulling out a tool from a pocket on my armor, I slice his seatbelt, and he helps me get him out of the burning vehicle. Garret is passed out in the back, and it takes all of my failing strength to get him extricated.
“Baker, get your ass over here,” Anderson yells at me, and suddenly I wish my hearing was still gone.
I pretend that it is, as I check over Garret. His leg is bleeding, but not badly, and blood is running from under his helmet. Checking, I can see that it’s a shallow cut, but surrounded by a massive goose egg.
Checking on Bertke next, (if Anderson has it in him to yell at me, then he has it in him to wait), I see that both of his legs are busted, a bone poking through his right thigh. Ripping off his medical kit, I apply first aid, until I’m sure he’ll survive. He’s already passed out from the pain.
Where is our other truck? Our radio is down, and there’s no way I’m going to try and get into the back of the HUMMV to get the backpack radio out. That entire vehicle is up in flames right now.
Still ignoring the ranting Anderson, I head back to Barton, and check him over. The side of his face is raw and burned. Horrible blisters have already started to form, where his skin had been exposed. Blood flows freely all over his face, and I can see blood soaking his digital camouflage. I rip open his armor, and then his top, gasping at what I see. Despite his armor, holes riddle his chest and arms.
Some of the wounds are bubbling, and I know at least one of his lungs is pierced.
* * *
“I told you, I wouldn’t put up with this,” Karrista screams at me, while she packs bags full of clothing. It’s been three weeks, and she’s sick of my excuses for not calling the VA.
“I’ll call them,” I promise for the umpteenth time.
“Call me when you’ve had your first appointment,” she tells me as she slams the trunk closed.
“Dammit, Karrista. Don’t take my daughters from me!’ I plead with her.
“Did you know they’re scared of you?” She asks me, looking me calmly in the eyes.
I take a step back, pain lancing through my heart. My girls, my baby girls are afraid of me? I’ve never hit them, unless you count a single spanking once in a great while. In fact, I haven’t had to spank Ashley once, and there was only that one time I had to tell Kally three times to do her chores.
Then I think about my anger. I used to be so laid back, but lately I’ve been so angry. It’s only because I’ve not been sleeping lately, I think, but I know better.
I watch, tears streaming down my cheeks as my life drives away.
* * *
“I need your help,” Anderson yells in my face. When had he crawled over to me?
“He needs me more,” I tell my NCO.
“He’s good as dead,” Anderson says coldly. “Now get your ass in gear, and bandage me up. I can’t do it alone.”
Glaring at him, I pour all the venom I can into my voice, “If he’s already dead, why are his chest wounds still sucking? Now get out of my way, while I try to save his life!”
I know I shouldn’t, but I shoulder the man aside, as I start tearing open packages, and placing them against the wounds, trying desperately to save my best friend’s life. It only takes me a few seconds to see that only his right lung has been punctured. As soon as it looks like I have the bleeding there under control, I turn my attention to his arm.
Michael’s hand grips my arm, and I see he’s awake.
“Don’t worry, brother. I’ve got you. We’ll get you patched up, and back to your wife again in no time,” I try to keep my voice reassuring, but I know there’s no hiding the quaver in it.
Sergeant Barton opens his mouth to say something, and I lean close to listen. He coughs, and I feel warm, wet blood splatter my face. Looking back down, I see his eyes roll back in his head, as he dies.
* * *
“I’ve got an appointment with a counselor at eight tomorrow morning,” I tell Karrista over the phone. “Will you please come back now?”
“Call me when you get out of that appointment,” she tells me, and I have to fight hard not to curse her.
“I’ve already been to a few,” I remind her. “I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—and that’s why I have the appointment tomorrow. I’ve done what you asked. Why won’t you let me see my daughters?”
“I need to know you’re serious. Call me after your appointment and we’ll talk,” she repeats, and then hangs up on me.
My phone sails through the air, smashing to pieces against the other wall. Dammit! That’s the third phone this month.
* * *
“Staff Sergeant Anderson is trying to bring you up on charges of neglect,” Chaplain Patterson tells me, and I can only nod my head despondently. “Don’t worry though. You saved all their lives. That won’t be forgotten.”
“Everyone’s but Barton’s,” I tell the tall man, as the stitches in my right calf start itching again. Who cares what Anderson is trying to do? Even after I splinted his arm, and then had to apply a tourniquet, the man is still bitter with me. He blames me for the loss of his arm. Of course, he’s also upset that they’re threatening to demote him for disobeying orders, and taking a single guntruck out, against our standard operating procedures.
“Speaking of which,” Patterson says, “This was dropped off earlier for you. Barton had it on him, as well as a letter for his wife. Apparently he wanted you to have both. I’m really sorry, man.”
The chaplain gets up, his shadowy form looming over me as he hands me two blood-stained envelopes, and leaves my now oversized room. Barton’s personal belongings are supposed to be getting packed up, to be sent home, but I can’t bring myself to do it.
New, hot tears pour from me as I see the letters have already been opened. I know the leadership doesn’t want any classified info getting out. Pulling out the letter with my name on it, I read:
Listen, Prick, I know I’m dead, or else you wouldn’t be reading this.
A surprising laugh escapes me. This letter is so like him, irreverent, and blunt. I continue reading.
I know you’re having a hard time with this, but you need to get over it. I don’t know how I’m going to die, but however it happens, don’t blame yourself.
How can I not blame myself? If I had been the one in the gunner’s hatch, or if I’d kept my eyes on the road, instead of allowing Anderson to goad me, or if I’d tended to his wounds quicker, he might still be here today. His death is on my shoulders.
I know my wife will be taken care of financially, but I want you to deliver my other letter to her. It’ll be hard enough on her as it is, but I know you will make things easier on her. I don’t want a stranger delivering my last words to her.
A fresh stream of tears spring from my eyes, hot and wet, and I have to clear them, to keep reading. I had introduced Michael to his wife a few years ago, and know that she’s going to be taking his death badly. Despite him wanting me to deliver the other letter, I don’t know if I’ll be able to face her.
I want you to have my laptop. I need you to complete what I started. I know it won’t be easy for you, and I know you won’t like it, but I know you’ll do right by it as well. You’ll know where to find them.
There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s talking about his erotic stories. I glance across the room, to where his laptop sits, after being returned yesterday, and close my eyes. Now I know why they took the computer. After they read his letter, they must have gone through his laptop, to make sure it was clear of sensitive information. Part of me hopes that they found his stories, and deleted them. I know it’s wrong to feel this way, but I don’t know if I can go through them.
Everything may seem like it’ll be easy to do, but I don’t know if I can. Face his wife, and tell her I let him die? Edit stories that I will see him behind every word?
Okay, Prick, I’ve got to go now. Hopefully Anderson won’t razz you too badly tonight. I look forward to burning this thing when we get back tomorrow.
* * *
“Okay,” Dr. Tony Albert, my psychiatrist says to me, “that’s good. You’re making a lot of progress, and your memories seem to be sorting themselves out.”
I’ve been coming here every Friday for a few months now, and Tony, as he prefers I refer to him as, has helped me with the IED attack. I hadn’t even realized how much about it I’d forgotten, but with his help, I’ve been coming to terms with it.
“Do you see how your friend’s death wasn’t your fault?” This question again. . .
“But—“ I start, and he cuts me off.
“It was your Staff Sergeant. He made the call to go against your orders, and send you out. You did the right thing, by trying to stop him. There are plenty of ‘ifs’ in your memory, but it all starts with Anderson forcing you to go out.” He sounds so sincere that I want to believe him. What he says makes sense, logically, but emotionally, I don’t know. “Have you taken the letter to his wife, yet?”
I shake my head, not wanting to speak.
“And the other thing?” I shake my head again. I haven’t gone into detail about Michael asking me to edit and post his stories; just that it’s something that I don’t know if I can face. “Well, you’re making some good progress, but I think if you can do those two things, then you will make even better progress.” He gives a slightly nervous chuckle. “You still want to get better, right?”
“Yeah, my wife and daughters are back, and I don’t want to lose them again,” I tell the slightly portly man. Karrista had come back after my second appointment with Tony. I’d felt as if she’d been stringing me along, kept telling me next time, but all had been forgiven when she’d returned, bags packed, and moved back in. I’d missed them so much. I just wish I didn’t feel like Karrista is still punishing me.
“Which do you think will be the easiest: facing his wife, or the other? I mean, you’ve already been through combat, and battle. The rest should be easy.”
Shaking my head, I know the answer, but don’t want to admit that editing erotic stories will be the easiest thing to do.
Back in my car, the engine running, I look at my clasped hands. Can I do this? Can I edit those stories? I’d have to keep them secret from my wife and daughters. Karrista would have a complete freak out, if she even knew they were on my computer, and she’d likely take my daughters away again. She’s such a prude, and the themes of his stories. . . .
Maybe. . . Reaching over, I open my glove compartment, and pull out the white, crinkled envelope holding two letters. I’d gotten rid of the blood stained envelopes before leaving that cursed country.
Before I can change my mind, I put my car in gear, and drive. Karrista will be upset that I’m getting back late from my appointment, but the VA center is halfway between home and my current destination.
It takes me a good fifteen minutes sitting in my parked car, before I can build the courage up, and get out, a single letter in my hand. My heart is thundering almost painfully in my chest, as I knock on the door. A very strong part of me hopes that she’s not home. My legs feel like jelly beneath me, and my entire body is shaking with apprehension.
I’m about to turn around and leave, when the door opens.
“Jason?” Allison Barton asks, and suddenly my feet are lead weights, too heavy for me to move. “It is you!” She actually sounds happy to see me. “Come in. Please, come in.”
The door opens all the way, and I see her standing there. I’d forgotten how good she looks. Her blonde hair is loose, and hanging down her back. She has on a white t-shirt that doesn’t hug her figure, but doesn’t hide it either, and a pair of Capri’s hugging her slender legs.
“I—“ I have to clear my throat, and try to speak again. “I have a letter from . . . from Michael.”
She draws in a deep breath, and I hand the white parchment to her. I can see that her hands are shaking as she takes it.
“I’ll. . . I’ll leave you to it, then,” I try to turn and walk away, but her hand on my arm stops me.
“No, please,” her voice is barely a whisper, and I can almost feel the emotion choking it. “Please, come in. I don’t know if I can read this alone.”
I don’t want to be here. I want to turn and run. Tony’s voice drifts through my thoughts, and I know I need to face this.
I follow her inside.
“Can I get you anything to drink? I still have Mountain Dew in the fridge. I don’t drink it, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.” Mountain Dew had been Michael’s favorite drink, especially when mixed with whiskey. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink in two months.
It takes a moment to speak past the lump in my throat. “I’ll take one.”
She returns a couple moments later, can in hand. She has a glass with Ice, and I know the dark liquid is Pepsi. She doesn’t give me any ice or a glass, knowing how I drink my sodas.
She sits across from me, letter in hand, just staring at it. I know she’s trying to build up the courage to read it, and feel like an intruder. Looking around the room, I remember all the parties we had here. My wife never liked Michael, but she got along well enough with Allison.
“I don’t think I can read this,” the blonde tells me, handing the letter back to me. “Will you please read it?”
Me?!? It’s hard, but somehow I reach out and take the paper from her. Despite having the letter on me for most of a year now, I’ve never read it.
My hands are shaking so badly, that it takes me a couple tries to unfold it and start reading.
Allison, my dear wife.
If this is in your hands, then I was not able to return to you. You will never know how sorry I am for that. For the last three years, you have been the rock that has supported me through so many trials. I’m sorry that we were never able to have children, I know how badly you wanted to have kids of your own.
I know we fought about this before I left, but I want you to move on, and find a man that’ll treat you right. You deserve the best, and I want you to have it, and children.
I know Jason is going to have a hard time with my death, but I hope he is able to get this letter to you as soon as he gets home.
There really isn’t much more to say, that I didn’t say in my will.
I love you now, and always,
This is a side of my friend I’ve never seen. The line about ‘getting this letter to her’ hurts terribly and it takes all of my effort not to cry in front of his widow.
I don’t notice that she’s moved, until I feel her arms around my shoulders.
“Thank you, Jason,” She cries into my right shoulder. “I know this wasn’t easy for you either, and I want you to know that I really appreciate you doing this.”
“You’re not mad at me?” I ask, unsure I want to hear the answer.
“Mad?” She asks, and hugs me tighter. I can’t help but notice her breasts against my arm, and try to focus on something else. I made it over a year without getting laid, a couple of months should be nothing. If only Karrista would break down and. . . .
She laughs, and I feel the pain from Michael’s letter lessen at the sound. “Of course I’m not mad! You were his dearest friend. I used to say that I didn’t marry just him, but both of you. You were both such a big part of who the other was.”
My arms go around her, and this time, I can’t stop the tears. I don’t care if she knows I’m crying anymore. I have a reason to now, and after months of therapy, know that crying doesn’t mean I’m weak.
A number of minutes pass, before she pulls away. I can see where her mascara has run, tracing dark lines down her cheeks and onto my white shirt.
She sees the stains, and pulls away, covering her mouth. “Oh no, I’ve stained your shirt. Let me get you another one.” She turns and starts to rush from the room, but I call after her.
“I can’t. If I come home in a different shirt than I left in, Karrista will flip.” She’s always been a bit of a jealous wife, and Michael was to blame for that. The main reason she didn’t like my best friend. He had been quite the womanizer, even after marrying Allison, and my wife knows it. The fact that I’ve stayed faithful to her doesn’t seem to matter.
“Well, at least let me wash it. If I get it in the laundry right now, we might be able to get that out.”
I look at my watch, knowing that I’ve been gone from home for too long. I’m torn. If I stay to let her wash it, I will be here that much longer, but if I go home with mascara on my shirt, Karrista will have a come-apart.
Allison sees me glancing at my watch. “I promise to get you back quickly to your wife. I’m surprised she hasn’t called to see where you are, yet.” She knows my wife all too well. Come to think of it, I wonder why she hasn’t called or texted me yet. “I still don’t know why you put up with her. Now give me your shirt, or you’ll be here even longer.”
Nodding, I pull off my shirt, and toss it to her. Grabbing it out of the air, she rushes off, and I can hear her washer starting up.
I drink my Mountain Dew while I wait, a little uncomfortable being topless in her house.
“So how have things been at home? I haven’t seen you in forever.” I feel bad for that. Allison and I have been friends for years, even before she’d married Michael, but I haven’t seen her since the day we left. That was almost eighteen months ago.
“Karrista left me for a bit, but she’s back now,” I tell her honestly. Despite how beautiful Allison is, I’ve always felt comfortable around her. We’d dated way back when, but the break-up had been amicable, and we’d remained friends. “I think she’s still mad at me for taking so long to go to the VA.”
She raises an eyebrow at that, but asks, “So you’re going to the VA? Has that, um, been helping?”
I laugh easily, before answering. “Best choice I ever made. I’m not nearly as jumpy as I was when I got home, and can even drive down the street without freaking out.” I take a deep breath, before continuing, “It’s also the reason I was able to finally find the strength to come here today.”
She sits next to me, and places her hand comfortingly on my thigh. “I’m glad you did. It really does mean a lot.” She emphasizes her words with a squeeze of my thigh.
Looking up, I meet her green eyes, and smile. I can see that she really is happy I dropped off that letter.
Speaking of which. . . . “He never told me that you were having problems having kids. What’s up?”
Turning her shoulders to face me more, she places her other hand on top of the one on my leg, before answering. “He was always embarrassed, but he had a low sperm count.”
Placing my right hand on hers, I give them a squeeze. “I’m so sorry.” She’d often talked about how she wanted kids. About what she would do to her girl’s hair, or how she would play with her boys. For some reason it never occurred to me to wonder why they never had kids.
She laughs weakly, and I know this is a sensitive subject for her. I’m trying to think of a way to change the subject, when she says, “You know, we talked about artificial insemination, but didn’t like the thought. We even talked about having you get me pregnant.” Shock must register on my face, but she takes one hand out from under mine, and places it on top. “He was okay with the idea, but we knew Karrista wouldn’t be.”
“That’s an understatement,” I tell her.
“That’s why we never brought it up. Of course, we didn’t know how you would feel either. We talked a lot about it, in fact. We agreed that it would be our child, and that we would never want him or her to know they weren’t Michael’s own.” She sounds so sincere, and my heart melts for her.
I try to smile, and give her an obvious once-over. I’ve never hidden the fact that I still find her attractive, and it had actually been a running joke between the three of us. One more reason Karrista is so. . . . Well, enough about her. “Yeah, if I didn’t have to worry about losing my daughters, I would have jumped all over the offer. Or all over you, I guess,” I add with a wink.
Her hands simultaneously squeeze my thigh and hand. “She would never have to know. . .” and just like that, we’re talking about something in the present, and not in the past.
“But, I mean, Michael. . . They wouldn’t have a dad, and you’re all alone.” It’s not that I’m averse to the thought, but I worry.
She drops her eyes to her hands, and says, “The insurance money has set me up nicely, and I have it invested, so that I’ll never have to worry about money again. As for a dad, no, but he or she would have an excellent uncle. . .” she looks me in the eyes again as she says ‘uncle,’ and I know she’s referring to me.
“But I thought you didn’t want me in their life?” I ask, confused.
“How would we keep you out? You are our . . . my best friend. No, we just didn’t want the child to know that Michael wasn’t his father.” Her grip on my hand feels like a vice, and I know how vulnerable she is right now. This isn’t why I came over here; far from it! I remind myself.
But how can I deny the pain and desire I see in her deep green eyes? I don’t fool myself that her desire is for me, but for a child she never got to have.
“I don’t know when we’ll find the time to. . .” For some reason I can’t finish that sentence, and she gives me a look, as if I’m an idiot. After a moment, I realize I am. “Is now a good time?” I ask sheepishly.
You’d think I just gave her the moon, by the way her eyes light up. Getting up, she drags me back to her room, the room that she and Michael shared, but stops just outside the doorway.
Suddenly she seems apprehensive, and I wonder if she’s having second thoughts. For that matter, I don’t yet really know how I feel about this. I’ve never stepped out on my wife before, though I’ve been tempted more than once, and had plenty of offers. And having a kid that I can’t call my own?
But Allison needs this, and we’ve been friends longer than I’ve been married to Karrista. And it’s not as though my wife has any interest in making love anytime soon.
“I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings,” she says to me, her hand on my chest, and pulling me back to the here and now. “I’m not interested in a relationship with you. We are friends, and I love you like a friend. I’m not trying to steal you away from Karrista, or your daughters. I just want a child to call my own.”
A thought occurs to me, and I have to ask, “Who will you say is the father?”
She doesn’t even hesitate, “I’ll tell everyone that Michael had some frozen sperm, and I used that.”
This is really going to happen and she’s really thought this out, I think, as I look into her green eyes, and nod. Her slender arms wrap around my naked torso, as she hugs me tightly. “Thank you, Jason. You’ll never know how much this means to me.”
Her head tilts up to look at me, and I lean forward to kiss her tenderly on the lips. Unexpectedly I feel wetness on her cheeks, and pull back to see she’s crying. I open my mouth to say we really don’t need to do this, but she cuts me off.
“They’re happy tears. Now get in here, and get naked. We really shouldn’t waste anymore time, or your wife is really going to wonder.”
I really have no answer, and smile as I step through the doorway.
My pants are off before we reach the bed, and I help her with her white t-shirt and matching bra, before her pants are off as well.
We fall to the bed together, kissing deeply, and I enjoy the way her ample, firm breasts feel pressed against my chest. Our tongues swirl, as our hands roam each other’s backs. I know I’m pressed for time, but I also know it’s been awhile for her and me. This may only be a means to an end for her, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it as enjoyable as possible.
Breaking the kiss, I move my lips lightly along her neck, to her chest, and around her bosom. My left hand isn’t being lazy, as I move it to her lower mound, and notice how wet she already is.
I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but notice the differences between Allison and Karrista. Maybe it’s just that after nine years of marriage, I’m used to my wife, while Allison is a new-old experience, but I am already enjoying her.
I easily slip my middle finger into her, at the same time my lips reach her stiff nipple, eliciting a moan. Despite how great her teat feels between my lips, I want to taste her. It’s been so long, and it really is one of my favorite things to do to a woman. I pause for only a bit to make out with her belly button, making her giggle, before my lips finally make it to the small patch of fuzz above her crotch. She hasn’t shaved down here for a few days, but she wasn’t expecting me over today, either.
Her short hairs poke me in the cheeks, as I dig my face into her wet pussy, but it doesn’t matter as I get my first taste of her.
Even though we dated many years ago, we never slept together.
She has a sweet and tangy flavor, which truly tastes wonderful, as I dip my tongue into her, lapping up her juices. I suck in both her labia, and chew on them lightly, bringing more moans out of this sexy woman. Slipping two middle fingers into her, I get her close to a climax, before latching onto her clit, and sucking hard.
“Oh, fuck, it’s been so long,” she cries out as her hands grip the sheets, and her back arches. I don’t let up, though, and she tries to push my head back, but like a dog with a treat, I won’t give up my prize, driving her into another crashing orgasm.
I let go this time, as she comes down, breathing heavily, and she glares at me. “That was almost too much! Are you trying to make me too sensitive to do the rest?”
I hadn’t thought of that, but a smile splits my soaked lips as I reply, “Who knows? I guess I’ll just have to come back another time, if you can’t handle it.”
I act as if I’m about to get up and leave, but she sits up, grabs my face, and growls, “Don’t you dare!” before pulling me back on top of her.
Our mouths meet again, and there is a new hunger in her, as I aim my pole for her hole, and feel it slip inside a bit. I use my hips to slowly move in and out, sinking a bit deeper with each movement, until I’m fully within her.
Her fingernails dig into my butt, as she breaks the kiss, and gasps. “Are you sure, you two aren’t brothers?” she asks me, and I look at her confused. Michael and I used to get asked that a lot, but why is she asking me that now? “You’re the same size as he was,” she tells me, understanding my confusion.
Her words drive into me that this is his wife, and suddenly, now that it’s too late, I start having second, or is it third, thoughts. Have I crossed a line against my friend? I’ve crossed a line concerning my wife. . .
“Please, Jason. I need this more than you can know,” Allison tells me, hugging me back to her. “I’d forgotten how good this can feel. I’ve needed someone to love my body, the way Michael used to. We both wanted this, so don’t worry about him. Just. . . just fuck me.”
And there you have it. This is what he wanted, and I’m not hurting her. It’ll hurt my wife if she ever finds out, but I’ll do what it takes to make sure she doesn’t!
I roll us over, until she’s on top, then pull her chest down to my thirsty lips, I latch on to the nipple I ignored earlier, while my hands go to her ass, and start moving her hips. She feels so damn good, like this, and since this is one of my favorite positions, I know I won’t last long. By the way she’s now moving, I know she won’t last much longer either.
I start to blow my load deep into her, a moment before I feel her vagina clamp down hard on my rod, and over two months of pent-up sperm and spunk explode into her all-devouring cavity.
She leans down, and kisses me softly on the lips, whispering, “Thank you, Jason. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
She glances at the clock, and I do the same, feeling my heart sink. I should have been home over an hour ago.
“You shower, and I’ll throw your shirt in the dryer,” she tells me, and gets up. She holds her pussy, in an attempt to keep my seed inside her, but I deposited a ton up there, and it starts to drip as she runs out.
Forty-five minutes later, I’m in my car, and heading home. Michael’s letter to me is still sitting in the passenger’s seat, and I remember his other request to me. After what I’d just done with his wife, editing his erotic stories and reposting them will be easy.
Besides, Dr. Albert says it’ll be healing to complete what Michael started.
Author’s note: Since originally posting this story, many have asked me to continue it, but I can’t. Not because I’m unable, and not because of some haters, but because I don’t wish to tarnish what has truly happened. I don’t want to take this true story, and make something else out of it.
So instead, I’ll quickly bring you up-to-date. ‘Allison’ is three month’s pregnant. She doesn’t want to know what it is, until the birth, which is killing me. ‘Karrista’ wonders why I’m so interested in the baby, and I don’t know if she buys that I’m interested because it’s ‘Michael’s’.
True to her word, once she got pregnant, all liaisons between us have stopped. Part of me hopes to continue after the child is born. Maybe I can talk her into having more children? I don’t know. I’m able to handle the guilt of cheating, only because my wife still continues to ignore me. We do have sex, but sometimes I feel as if it’s only pity sex, and not because she wants it.
If you’re wondering how we kept our sex secret from ‘Karrista’, it’s simple. I graduated from my PTSD therapy sessions shortly after that first visit to ‘Allison’. My wife still doesn’t know. Even though my friend’s wife and I aren’t doing the deed anymore, it gives me some time alone to think, where my wife isn’t badgering me.
I have completed editing Dark_Brother's stories, and received a fair amount of hate for it, but it was healing for me. I don't care what you think of me for editing what he wrote. I make no apologies for it, as it was truly his work.
I hope this answers your questions, and closes this story for you. I won’t be closing this account, but I won’t be writing anymore from it either. Thank you, to those who serve our country, and especially to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom! From one soldier to another, I salute you!