As I lay Dying
I fell hard onto my back and skidded backwards a little bit and ultimately came to a stop. My head hit the dirt and my eyes wandered up to the stars in the sky. I didn’t know what to think. Repetitive thunder roared alongside small lights zipping above me. Surprisingly, I could hear other noises over the thunder including orders to others about taking cover or getting down. I heard a soldier shout the Korean word to open fire. I didn’t even have time to give the order to take cover before I was penetrated three times and I wasn’t even a porn star. The only thing I had time to think was “oh shit.”
My insides were on fire and I felt nauseated. I could feel the hot lead invading my body, kicking my blood out from my body that I could feel running down the side of my torso. I gasped for air. It was excruciating to breathe as if something invisible and heavy was crushing my chest. I wanted to push it off but nothing was there. I closed my eyes and I felt like I was spinning. I opened them again to stop that sensation. I didn’t want to get sick. The only other time I felt that way was after being drunk at a party a few years ago.
My rifle was only about a meter away from my left hand. I knew if I could get my hand on it and get into a firing position then these fuckers would be in a world of hurt but in my current position that was asking a lot. My 101st Airborne forefathers would be getting up after only being shot several times and keep on fighting. However, with advances in weapon technology and not in human tolerances to said advances this was now a different story.
I saw another soldier go down from enemy fire but my group was returning fire and the thunderous roar of the Korean machine gun nest was becoming less and less making sound like we were winning this battle. These North Korean bastards should know better than to mess with the Rakkasans. There wasn’t even supposed to be a battle here. My squad chased a Northern POW very near enemy occupied territory but to my knowledge we hadn't crossed into Northern occupied South Korea. It would appear the Northerners were moving more south than we realized.
I felt my body tense up, my torso tightened causing the pain to increase and I coughed up something. I wasn’t sure if it was spit or blood but whatever it was I felt it slide down the side of my face. It didn’t taste like spit.
“COVERING FIRE!” I heard someone yell just before another onslaught of thunder came from the Americans. I heard the running foot falls coming near me. I couldn’t see them because of my helmet but I knew they were friendlies. If they came from the other direction then I really would have been worried. They grabbed onto the shoulders of my vest and pull me back away from the action. The terrain that coursed under my body as I was being dragged away wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It was relatively smooth with the occasional rock or piece of debris that scraped across my body, but those were the least of my concerns. I was more focused on the bullets that had ripped into me and were currently wreaking havoc on my insides.
“Come on, Kennedy. Stay with us,” a medic named Park said.
My body started going numb and I assumed the adrenaline was kicking in. I felt tired, the nausea went away and I no longer felt as though I was spinning when I closed my eyes. It actually felt wonderful to do so. However I tried to keep them open. I fought against the welcoming arms of sleep or death, whichever one I didn’t know and that was why I fought hard to stay awake. I wanted to see my friends and family again. My vision became blurry from the tears that ran down my temples and my lip trembled. I wanted to see my best friend/sister Chiharu again. I wanted to see my triplet little sisters and little brother again. I wanted to see Hayate again. He was always supportive of my decisions even if he didn’t agree with them. I wanted to see him smile when I returned to Japan. I wanted to have more nights with him like the one we shared just before I left for Basic.
I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to see Mama yet, I didn’t want to join Aunt Daina in Arlington yet.
I remembered what that was like for everyone seventeen years ago. It was hard on me and it was especially hard on Papa. I didn’t want to make him go through this again. I did enlist in the Army when the war broke out and I think Papa’s sense of protectiveness had rubbed off on me. I felt North Korea was a threat and with my family living in Japan, I felt that it was my duty to protect them. The reason for me laying here, bleeding and dying on some battlefield away from home is ultimately my fault.
“I’m sorry, Papa,” I whispered as my eyes ultimately closed.