Author: Mrs.JohnReese PM
When a young woman leaves her shattered home for a career in the military, she encounters more than she ever dreamed; and learns a lot about the secrets that have been kept from her in the process. How will John Reese come into play? Read to find out more ;)Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Drama - J. Reese - Chapters: 9 - Words: 27,614 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 05-26-13 - Published: 10-09-12 - id: 8595346
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Stupid. Pathetic. Poorly planned. These words; and more rushed through my head as I prepared to board the plane that would take me to Iraq. Why in the hell had I decided to join the military? I wasn't one for heroics. Hell, before boot camp, I had barely been able to hold my own in a hand to hand fight; much less aim a gun properly, or deal with a flying aircraft. But now, I could hold my own. Now, I could stand for myself in a fight. And here I was, ready to leave my family behind. Ready to throw myself, head first, into a war zone. And I still didn't know why.
Maybe it was because my best friend since kindergarten had just committed suicide right after our high school graduation; upon learning that her boyfriend had cheated on her. Or maybe it was because my Uncle Harry had laid his hands on me for what seemed like the millionth time since I had entered senior year. Maybe it was because I had no hope left within me to face the small town of Puyallup, Washington; with its perfect little homes…its perfect little people. The life I had once loved so much had quickly turned into a hell on earth. And I wasn't sure I could deal with it anymore.
I hadn't wanted to break my mother's heart. I hadn't wanted to leave everything that I still loved behind me as though it had never existed. But after feeling the weight of the entire town's disapproval hanging over me for not coming clean about my friend's spiral into depression…after feeling their combined disdain for what I could have done, but hadn't, to save such a beautiful soul…
I couldn't bear to stay there anymore.
I had left home early in the morning; before anyone else had woken up. Despite how eager I was to leave this place; there was also a small part of me that didn't want to say goodbye. I didn't think I could bear to see my mother's face as she realized that this may very well be the last time she saw me alive. And I didn't want to show her, through my always too-expressive eyes, that a part of me didn't care if I made it back. Besides her, and my cousin Ryan; what was there to come back to? More judgment? More abuse at the hands of my uncle? Neither of those were things I wanted to face ever again.
I wasn't sure I would come back to this small town; even if I did survive the war. And, if everything I heard so far about the situation in the East was true; survival was indeed a big "if."
Shaking myself into the present as I heard the intercom blaring that it was time to board the aircraft; I grabbed my small duffel, looking around the tiny airport terminal one last time before turning my back on everything that was familiar…everything that I had ever known…
I took one final look at the last part of my hometown that I would be seeing for a while. And then I turned my back, taking a deep breath as I prepared to embark on a journey that would change my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
"Mornin' spit-fire…whatcha makin' us today?" Lieutenant Don Mallory called out to me as he approached from his tent; running a large hand over his buzz cut and throwing me a smile that would have blinded anyone within a six mile radius. I grinned back at him then, shrugging my shoulders a bit as I replied:
"Whatever it is they give us in these rations, I guess. But for you, I can whip up a special batch of poison."
"I'd love that, smart-ass" He said, leaning over towards me conspiratorially as he continued in a hushed tone "Anything's better than that slop Dzubinski made us eat last night, eh?"
Laughing, I nudged him in the ribs, shaking my head as I watched him walk off to find some water while I continued trying to make breakfast somewhat more presentable. What we had to eat from day to day wasn't much…and sometimes it was far from savory…but we were alive. Each meal meant we had lived through another battle. Another attack on our encampment. And for that, we were grateful. We had been in the dessert for just under a year now; and so far, not one of us had been killed or severely injured. Privately, away from the ears and eyes of our commanding officer of course; we liked to joke that we had been sent to the "safe" part of the country. But despite our own relatively easy dealings with the enemy; we were never anything less than sobered each time we heard news of other units that had not been so fortunate.
We all knew that we were potentially living on borrowed time. We knew our streak of luck might run out very soon. But we kept up hope, nevertheless; using our tight-knit camaraderie as our strength whenever the occasional kernel of good news was few and far between. During the time I spent with the men and women in my unit; I had come to think of them as family…and they were like a family, to me. A much better, larger family than what I had come from back in the States. And our solid bond had pulled all of us through more encounters than I could count. We all had our little quirks, of course…quirks that, more often than not, earned us a nickname to fit them. But we were, above all, a well-oiled machine. And our C.O. never failed to give proud dissertations on our progress back to his boss in D.C whenever he could.
As I continued stirring the imitation-oatmeal in the pot below me; I couldn't help but smile as I thought of how everything had changed since leaving home. Of how I was almost…happy…despite the irony of that happiness given my current situation. I finally had a place to belong. I was among people who had been motivated to fight for their country under various different reasons…among people who had lived through hell themselves; and had managed to come out unscathed. And I knew, now, that I could do the same.
Just as I was about to dish out the first bowl-full of the oatmeal I had prepared, however, a loud blast echoed from somewhere nearby; throwing myself, the oatmeal, and whoever stood nearby into the air as dust and heat flew our way. My body collided with the ground shortly thereafter, and I rolled a few times along the sand before coming to rest with my back thudding against the tire of a Humvee. Blinking and shaking my head a few times in an attempt to clear my mind; I made the first attempt to haul myself up into a seated position, only to fall back with a cry of pain as fire tore through my abdomen. Looking down, I saw blood beginning to coat the outside of my tank top…I saw little tears in the fabric…
Wincing as another stab of pain tore through me; I turned my head sharply in response to a noise to the left of where I was sprawled on the ground. My ears were ringing…my vision swam slightly as I tried to focus on my surroundings…and soon enough, my eyes settled on the body of a fellow soldier; his moans loud enough that even through the ringing, I could make it them out clearly.
"Don" I said, the sound that came from my mouth more of a whimper than an actual word as I attempted to crawl over towards him. His body was pinned beneath some unidentifiable piece of metal…I could only see the top half. And that half was covered in blood.
"Don" I repeated, finally closing the distance between us and grabbing his hand as he groped blindly towards me. "Don, you hold on for me, okay?"
"Na…Natalya" He whispered as he blinked at me, his eyes drifting in and out of focus as I looked up at our surroundings, trying to determine if anyone else were around. I could see nothing but drifting smoke; and wreckage. Wreckage of our encampment…wreckage of what we had once thought to be a safe haven.
Turning back to face Don, I winced a bit as the movement caused me to brush my arm against my stomach. Looking down at him, I opened my mouth to speak…to say anything that might be encouraging. But before I could get the words out, a sharp crack echoed from behind me as the butt of a gun collided with the back of my head. I was out in seconds, a small yelp escaping my mouth as my world turned black.
When I woke up…when consciousness returned…I would have a whole new fight on my hands.
Okay, so like I said before; those of you who read one of my previous stories (A new way to get your revenge) may recognize bits and pieces of this prologue. I decided to revamp the old version of this little guy as well; because I wanted to give Natalya a bit more background, so that you can hopefully get a better idea of where she comes from and why she makes the choices she does.
Don't worry…I'll eventually navigate her towards NYC, just like I did before. And elements of the story that was previously on here will still be intact. But please please please, just like with Second Chance for Living; let me know what you think! I'd like to dream that these "revamps" are better than the original…but I'd hate to keep working on something you all hated!
I look forward to hearing your thoughts! And again…thank you for your patience with me!