I trek through the bleak, dark battlefield, a vicious downpour raining down, uncertain of my surroundings, only aware of the rest of my team, or what is left of it. We had just walked right into an ambush and lost a big part of the men, only three or so remaining, excluding me. The sun had set hours ago, we are forced to walk blindly through the darkness as flashlights would alert any possible snipers. One of the private begins complaining about how hungry he is; unsurprising, our rations were cut by half due to our ground supply routes being attacked and all aircraft being grounded due to the colossal thunderstorm that had been going on for a few days now. The actual stops for a second, opening his pouch to bring out a protein bar for the kid, and that is when a bullet collides with his head, a loud ding mixed with a mushy sound being heard as the projectile easily penetrates his helmet, before making quick work of his soft head, splattering his gray matter over the ground. He collapses with a dull thud; our reactions are speedy. The private yells out a torrent of curses before sprinting off to cover, the radio operator begins screaming down his radio. I take a moment to become aware of our situation, petrified by the fear for a few seconds that felt like eons, before I threw my rifle to the ground, running off blindly, similarly to the hungry conscript a few seconds before me.
I can hear nothing but my heartbeats and the sound of my boots hitting the ground as I am speeding off, near-deafened by the gunfire and the thunder alike. Suddenly my boot slips off the ground and I trip, careening into a fall of a few feet, landing in what seems to be a dark foxhole, lit up by only a dim lantern. There seems to be a sniper inside. I inspect his uniform and come to the conclusion that he is an enemy. He hears my entry, turning over to me nonchalantly before performing a double take, ripping his knife out of the holster it was laying in, before he begins going for me. I panic, but quickly come to my senses, as I grab my own knife and scramble up to my feet, waiting for my adversary to arrive before I blindly swing my knife in his direction, using my forearm to shield my face. I hear his body dropping to the ground and I stay in my position for a moment, before I take an adventurous gaze to him - he’s against the cold hard floor, blood pouring out of his throat, cut wide-open.
I stare upon him for a bit, before I begin freaking out. This was my first outing on the field, and my first combat experience, and I stabbed a man. I killed him. It occurs to me that this was a human, most likely with a family. His field jacket is open and his wallet has fell to the ground. I try to pull myself together. “Don’t look inside his wallet. You don’t know his name, you don’t know who he is. As long as you do not know all this information, you won’t feel anything about him, he’ll be just another grunt.” I say to myself, but it’s too late, I find myself reaching for his wallet and I flip it open, I see an ID card. Sebastian Monroe, age 23. Oh Lord, he was so young. He was in the prime in his life, he had so much to experience and see, and I ruined it, I killed him. I ended a man’s life. I flip further through the wallet and see pictures of a young woman, beautiful she is, with a mane of long platinum blonde hair, a thin nose and thin, rosy lips, with a pale, angel-like skin, bright blue eyes, spaced apart perfectly, with thin, trimmed eyebrows not far above them. I see said beautiful eyes staring into my soul. “Why did you kill him?” I try to rationalize. I was only doing my job. If I hadn’t done it, he would’ve. We’re both fighting for our countries. But it doesn’t help me in the slightest. I can’t help but wonder that maybe, perhaps, he’d have been a bit more compassionate. Maybe he would have struck non lethally. Maybe he’d have brought me back to his base and I’d be treated and housed. I keep looking through his documentation. He was a locksmith. That’s it, I tell myself. When I’m back from this hellhole, I’m becoming a locksmith. I will announce his death to his family myself. I will write a long, heartfelt letter, and I will send it to them. I will give them money, gifts, anything. I just hope they will forgive me. And I hope God forgives me too, because taking a fellow man’s life is something that should never be done.