By: Kathleen Locklear

It was another hard day, the same as any other. Another day of bloodshed and war. Every movement he made felt repetitive, the same motion of breathe in, breathe out, fire, and repeat.

He could feel every time a bullet left the gun, yet it didn’t feel as bad as hearing her words before he had gone out again. He had been so hopeful, hoping above all else she would return his feelings. And yet, he knew the moment she smiled that sad, awkward smile that it was all over.

He felt when the bullet lodged into his shoulder blade, yet it hurt less than hearing her say, “No, I’m sorry.” This may be his last mission, but knowing he would never see her again hurt even more.

He was thrown backwards by the force of the explosion, felt the horribly warm air hit his flesh. He could see her in his head, her warm eyes and happy smile. He thought of all his friends, who would sweep their lovers up off their feet when they returned from deployment. He wished he could have felt that happiness, if only once. He closed his eyes, felt the strength leave his body just as the blood was. This was the end, he thought, feeling the life drain from him, but it hurt so much less than knowing she would not be back waiting for him.

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