“Now that there’s nothing new to risk, I’m free to…” Tom’s thoughts stopped short. His mental words slammed shut as an empty feeling overtook, keeping him awake, eyes darting over the darkened horizon just one more time and back to repeat the motion, again and again. He wondered how many children the age of his son, Chris, were trying to sleep under the starlit sky. He questioned the motives for his presence, his training, his execution of every order, just as commanded.
“Nothing new to risk…””
His third tour of duty and his fears now dissipated into numbness. He felt more mechanical than he did human, empty, void, corroded.
“Nothing new to risk…”
He had seen life, felt it vibrate and obeyed orders to extinguish it as well. “Now I’m free,” he instinctively thought, “nothing is new, nothing matters.” His eyes closed to the snap of gunshots.