As the harsh chilling rain beat heavily down upon the young mans weary, bruised head, he began to instantly regret it. It was a stupid idea. No-one had forced it upon him, after all it was his life that he was now embarking upon, he no longer had to listen to that pathetic excuse for a father he had once looked up to and admired. In the distance the incessant thunder barked like a caged dog. But he did not hear it.

For he was stuck inside his own head fighting with himself about the life changing decision he had made, while the truck crammed full of young nerve wracked and poorly motivated soldiers, keen to end this horrible war that had been raging on for ten years, sped through the abnormally brutal behaviour of the usually calm sunny skies, which were only normally disturbed by the ear-splitting screech of the F-15 Tornado fighter jet. His new beginnings back in Britain were going so well, he had redeemed himself for his misdemeanours in the past.

Although he managed to do well in his academics after leaving school, he had made the snap decision to join the forces. At the time it seemed like a good idea, his only option perhaps. Had he done it to escape his girlfriend’s father, he knew he would want to kill him if he found out what had happened. He was an aggressive man and would not take her pregnancy lightly. After all she was only 20. Maybe the choice he took was another certain death only it would come from a raging Afghanistani insurgent, charging towards him with his AK-47, mad with rage against the western leaders.

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He thought of his pregnant girlfriend at home, and whether he would ever see her again? He dreaded to think such thoughts. Of course he would. Why shouldn’t he? He had had all the same training as everyone else in his platoon. Most of all, he wished to see his child, his baby boy due in 1 month that he had been told about in his letters. There was a dark, gloomy thought playing on his mind, which he could not get away from, he had seen it happening in all the war films.

The husband who had put his life on the line, working arduously for his country, to return home and knock on the door and find a half-dressed man confidently answer, as if he lived there and then hear his girlfriends footsteps flying down the stairs. He tried to push it aside, how could she ever find the nerve to do it when they had a child, and after all she had promised him and everything he had done to protect her. Another mortar shell screamed through the cold night air, crashing ruthlessly into the rain sodden ground.

This time he was shocked, scared by the prospect that he could be the unlucky one next time, on the end of one of those shells. If he was being honest then the battle ahead terrified him beyond belief. The chance of death was huge as they entered the exceptionally dangerous Helmand province of Afghanistan. One of his best friends had been severely wounded in an earlier operation, when his body was cut open by flying shrapnel from a shell. It was gruesome to see his body when he came back to base, and he was lucky to survive.

He had suffered a nasty gashed leg a few months back, and the nasty infection that he caught nearly meant he was forced home. He could only wish that he could catch something like that now, for he was not concerned for his own health, only his immediate life which he believed to be at great risk. The truck all of a sudden gave an unexpected jolt, and a nasty one at that. Men were sent flying everywhere, landing face first in the murky brown puddle’s of water that had formed due to the relentless downpour that had troubled them since leaving the camp an hour ago.

His spirits were dampened even further by the whining of the engine attempting to re-start. Having failed after numerous attempts to get the vehicle back on track, the de-moralised men were ordered out, and told that they would have to walk. Great, he thought things could not possibly get any worse. He remembered that he should be thinking positively, as a negative outlook only worsened situations. They began to trudge regretfully along the soggy verge of the road through the darkness.

This was when a clever, but very risky idea sprung to mind. The prospect of putting his life on the line was so terrifying to him now, that running away seemed an almost sensible option. It was so dark and noisy that no-one should notice him leave, especially as he was bringing up the rear of the formation. Besides he had no friends to notice or even care about his disappearance within the group. He was a quiet individual and kept himself to himself while in the cruel and unforgiving surroundings of the Middle East.

Then he remembered his friends back home. Whether they would still remember him, he had been gone such a long time after all. He missed the wild parties and the quiet nights in the pub. How much he begged just to have one last night with his, friends and to return home to his wife in bed and his son sleeping serenely. Instead he was traipsing tiresomely through a frighteningly dangerous country, with as much motivation as a manic depressive.

Out of the blue came the indistinctive sound of a barrage of bullets, mowing down the cluster of ongoing British soldiers. It was now that he reacted, he managed to hurl himself into a nearby dike in a last ditch attempt to cling onto his life which he could tell was easing from his grasp as he became surrounded by the aggressive afghan voices as the leader of the ambush screamed instructions at his troops, and he felt the cold, wet metal barrel of the gun being held at his head…


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