For the Boy

This is a war story. He knows because he is surrounded by people in camo and in his ears are men screaming for help in between the pop of small arms fire. Patrols are always going out and not coming back. There is little he can do. He doesn’t send them out. He doesn’t pick the men who go, but he did pick to be here on comm listening to them die night after night.

“Sir.”

“Yes, Private?”

“We lost another.”

“How far did they get?”

The private checks the map, “four klicks from target bivouac.”

“STAT report?”

“None, just the one call for evac.”

The captain is an asshole, but at least the private can appreciate he gives the men one last thought before demanding, “send in B team.”

The order isn’t for him. Someone else will do it. Send those men into the swirling blade that is Hill 343, a steep slope in the Himalayas somewhere so far away hearing the name was the same as hearing of places on Mars.

B team checks in.

“Command, this is Combat team Bravo. We are moving out.” He can picture them invisible in the dark. Night vision giving them the element of surprise. Weapons on three-round burst. Their bodies ready for the abuse the upward trek would dish out. They have every advantage, save one.

A reason to keep a little boy, who shouldn’t be where he, is alive.

He sends the link.

The link gives precise location data. How? That’s not his job to know.

Soon a squad of Russain killers will be on Bravo team faster then they can yell for help. Or so the private hopes as he bears down to wait for this fucking war to just get itself over.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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