All day, I have been wandering this house fit for a queen, thinking of those days- the days when the guns fired over head and the flames roared on roof tops. It was scary, I’ll admit, but I also must admit that I miss it. I wish I was back on the field, saving others and doing what is right. Sadly, I also know that it is right that I stay here in my old age, just trying to remember some days and trying to forget the rest.
Soon, I come across a large box full of journals and pictures from my days in the army. I come across my Sergeant badge and hang it on the wall with my other honors and medals. I walk back to the box and pick up one of my notebooks. I open to a random page, and find it to be my best and my worst memory.
It was 2009 during the Iraq War. We were sleeping soundly with many look outs. As I woke, I heard shouts and commands. I looked around and saw an enemy dropping a bomb over some houses. The ground shook like an earthquake and flames spurted. The noise was enough to make me go deaf, but I could still hear the shouts and screams.
“That won’t be necessary, Sargent,” he said firmly. “We are leaving and a new troop will come tomorrow to check for survivors.”
Confusion flickered across my face when these strange words hit my ears.
“Sir,” I said, “with all due respect, I feel that there will be no survivors if we wait and therefore must act now.”
“We are acting by saving some of the best fighters in this quadrant.”
He started to leave as I said, “Please, sir. I know for a fact that there is small children in that household. I saw many kids with their mother as we passed them.”
“Sargent, I expect you to do as I say. We leave now.” He strutted off as thoughts and prayers ran through my head.
“Marva!” I called, running through the crowd, looking for a bit of curly back hair and skin like chocolate. “Marva!” I called again running faster. With every moment, we risk another child dying in that home.
“Stormy?” I heard her silky voice call back. “Stormy, what’s the plan? What’s the commander telling us?”
“You and I are going in,” I said. “If your willing to disobey orders, that is.”
“What do you mean disobey orders?”
“He’s not having us go in. We are just supposed to protect ourselves while innocent children and others die.” My eyes glowed with fire, and my heart beat three times as fast. “Are you in, or not?”
“You tell me,” Marva said as she grabbed a gun and started to run for the houses.
I grinned with the pride of having a friend and team mate as great as that. I grabbed a gun too and strapped it to my back. Although this was a rescue mission, we still want to be prepared. As we ran through the streets, dodging people running and choking on the smoke. We saw much wreckage had happened and more that one house was on fire. This was a bigger mission than we thought.
“Let’s get this one first, I saw many kids,” I said as I ran towards the house with much of the upper floors and the left of the house gone.
We busted the door in, which wasn’t hard considering the place was falling anyway, and ran through, careful not to get too hurt ourselves.
“I hear some over here!” Marva shouted as I came closer and saw four children lying on the ground, soot in their hair and tears streaking through the ash stuck on their faces.
“We’re here to help!” I shouted to them over the roar of the fire and their own screams. “You can trust us!”
I picked two up and ran out the door with Marva and the other two behind me. We carefully placed them down in an alley and told them to stay there and to wait for them to come back. So the process continued until the whole bottom floor was cleared. As we came to the steps, we found that only half of them were there and it was practically impossible to get across. I did say practically though.
“Come on!” I said as I grabbed the railing and pulled myself up.
“Are you crazy?!” Marva asked.
“Didn’t you know that already?”
There was a small platform just above the stairs and I assumed that we could climb onto that and get around, hoping that we could walk. If the upstair was like this, we wouldn’t have made it. I climbed carefully but quickly, knowing that there were still at least two kids and a mother up there. I finally reached the top and ran to a room. I heard crying and found a woman crouching on the floor. She was trying to move, but I could see her leg was stuck. She held her ears as if they hurt and had many cuts from the broken window above her bed.
“Can you hear me?” I asked. “Can you hear me?” Sometimes the blast can temporarily, or permanently, decrease the ability to hear. I wondered if that was why she held her ears so tight. It looked as if she was afraid they would fall off.
“What?” she asked. The fear in her eyes grew as she realized the fire was quiet and my mouth made no sound.
Marva picked up the bureau that had trapped her leg and stopped her from seeing her children. I picked up the woman, I knew she couldn’t walk, and ran down the stairs, moving carefully as I climbed. I placed her outside with her children and ran back in, knowing she would still worry about the others. I was about to enter the house when Marva sprinted out, carrying two little girls with scared eyes and dirty hair. She placed them down with their mother as the house behind us collapsed. The mother’s eyes grew sad, but she hugged her children tightly and kept going.
“Thank you!” she called after us and we ran to the next house.
We went through five houses that night, each with its own adventures. One had a kid who hid under the bed when he saw me. Another had a flaming turkey on the kitchen table fling at me some how. A lot of things happened that night, too many to remember. Some, I wish I could. I remember every face that I saved and the happiness when they saw the rest of their families. I also remember those who I was too late for.
Once we had made our way back to camp, we knew the biggest challenge was yet to come: not getting kicked out after disobeying orders! I would read that entry too, but alas, the sun goes down and I know I must go to bed now. I hop in bed with my pajamas and my book and I run away, to a world of happiness and new memories.