The Unknown - Part 1
I came the side of the hill the hard way. I walked. It had been awhile since I had walked any distance and it took me all of six steps to remember why. My boot leather was in sad shape but the soles were even worse. I probably would have tossed them out of anger and frustration but common sense, something that is not a natural thing with me prevailed. The little voice in my head whispered “Hey dumb shit...that's your only pair.” Tough to argue with logic like that. Though when the left heel came off the second time it was a close call. The third time I stopped, picked up the heal, and sat down. I pulled my boot off and stared at where it was supposed to have stayed attached and laughed. I sat there, laughed, stopped and stared off into the distance, looked at the heel and laughed again. Life is a bitch. You take it too seriously and you'll end up fighting for a cause or worse – dying for one.
Lord knows I knew about that the hard way. I was a veteran in a world where everyone nowadays was a veteran of something. I wore a uniform for awhile. I liked wearing a uniform. It eliminated another problem in my life at the time – having decent clothes to wear. I had to get rid of of most of it. When your side loses it helps not to identify yourself as a recent participant, let alone former member of a unit that was regarded as an elite by the losers and as a band of terrorists by the winners. I held on to my boots long after I should have dumped them and bought another pair. Why? Because they were from back then, the time when I believed, the time when defeat was never an option and victory was still a possibility. In the moments when I was honest with myself, I knew even if we had won I had still lost. Another reason I was sitting out here in the middle of nowhere, thirsty, broke, and hungry.
I had come a long way in an even longer time. Since I had no where specific I was going it shouldn't bother me but it did. I had gotten use to goals, plans, and making shit happen. So I dealt with it the same way I did a lot of thing now -- I just locked it away and kept going. Memories are a bitch too. I got up and began walking with only one working boot heel. Hell, some-days everything was a bitch.
I may have been sitting but I had sat next to a clump of grass. Always look for concealment despite how piss poor it was. Grass here grew in clumps. Not like real grass. I was in the high desert somewhere, if I done it right, just inside what had once been Northern Arizona according to the tattered paper map I had found awhile back. I scanned the sky. I always scanned the sky even though any reason to had been long ago left behind. Looking for the glint, the shadow, the feel of evil.
We had a guy with us somewhere back in the beginning who said his old units motto was “Death from Above.” Most of us thought he meant he was a drone jockey. He hated that and I grew to really dislike his rants about what the difference was and how special by implication he was. He wasn't. He died like all the rest. Fucking drones don't care how well you were trained or what a bad ass you were. They killed you as dead as a fourteen year old kid who didn't know his left from his right for shit.