Ghost sat in his cell in nothing but his boxers. It was an intimidation tactic: his team members were all trained physically and mentally to handle such measures. However, that didn't stop the icy cold that seemed to penetrate his very bones as if made of tiny glass shards.
The screams of his friends seemed to shatter his very soul. He had never heard anything like this and couldn't tell who was being tortured. He fought to maintain some semblance of control, feeling utterly helpless for the first time since he had left home. All he could do was listen and hope his friends could survive.
He didn't know why the enemy had so far left him alone. Every few days, the door's hatch to the gory hellhole opened. Someone threw in a tray with stale bread and water. It was enough to keep him alive, and he knew he would eventually be next. Finally, he prayed he would be, if only to spare his team members the agony they were enduring.
Ghost knew Six had left his silly fucked up coins as a trail. He hoped somebody found them soon. He lost track of the days with no external light. He counted the number of torture sessions, assuming there was one a day. Though sometimes, it seemed to be never-ending.
Suddenly, the door slowly creaked open. Ghost braced for the inevitable. He may be exhausted and weak from dehydration, but he wasn't going down without a fight. He stood, fighting back the wave of dizziness and nausea.
"Corporal Dawson?" The voice questioned quietly.
Ghost's heart skipped a beat as three men entered the room. They were dressed entirely in black and moved with a trained silence that he knew well. It took Ghost longer than it should have to realize they were wearing American military stealth gear. Masks completely covered their faces, and their Teflon vests were the same as his team used.
"Ghost," He replied in a hoarse voice. "You are?"
"Good to meet you, Ghost. I'm Commander Ryan Noris of SEAL Team 6. Call me Chuck. Blade, get him some water." Chuck demanded quietly.
One of the men stepped forward, slinging his rifle across his back. He dug around in his bag before pulling out a canteen. Ghost took it willingly and drank the contents without a second thought.
"Here," Blade added in a smooth voice as he held out a bag.
Ghost quickly slipped on the clothes, combat boots, and vest. He accepted the rifle offered by another man.
"Okay, let's move," the Commander ordered. Ghost shot a questioning look in response.
"The others are meeting us outside," he assured Ghost.
"Let's get the fuck out of here." The man who hadn't been introduced yet muttered.
"Language, Molder. What would your mother say?" Blade snarked as he gestured for Ghost to go out in front of him.
"Blade, for once, shut your mouth." The Commander snapped.
"Yes, sir. Sorry." The voice behind Ghost made him flinch despite him knowing who it was.
Ghost moved closer to the Commander before whispering, "Is there a secondary objective?"
"You're smart, boy," Chuck responded, glancing over. "After we get you all out and to the helo dropping twenty meters from the entrance, we will go back in."
Ghost nodded and winced as the bright light of day shocked his eyes. It took him longer than usual, but when he could see again, he was thrilled to see Six exit with three others. Ghost wondered where the rest of the guys were but figured maybe that was part of the reason the SEAL team was going back in.
The haunted expression on Six's face was something Ghost knew he would never be able to unsee. Aside from that, his best friend, and team leader, seemed unharmed. Six glanced over Ghost's shoulder, and his expression slackened.
All hell broke loose as Six shoved Ghost sideways, back into the cave entrance, and an explosion rang through the air. Ghost could feel the trembling in his bones, and the ringing in his ears drowned out everything. As he forced his eyes open, he saw rocks and dust surrounding him.
"Fuck! Get them to safety now!" Chuck yelled as he rushed over to where Six lay motionless on the ground.
"Stay still!" Blade hissed as he wrapped something around Ghost's left arm. "We need to go now! Red, cover me."
"On it!" A new voice shouted back.
Blade crouched down, draping Ghost's good arm around his shoulder, and scrambled back to their feet. Ghost tried to help, but the ground wouldn't stay under him. He knew he had to wait awake but wasn't sure if he could.
"Shit, he's lost too much blood. He's losing consciousness." Blade notified his team as they rushed towards the helicopter.
Jamie. She was all Ghost could think of. What had he done wrong with her? How could Jamie hate him so much? Would he ever see her again?
"He's slipping!" Blade snapped as more gunshots rang out.
"I got it," Red called back, grabbing Ghost's injured arm and draping it over his shoulders. "Let's get to that fucking bird."
No! Ghost's logical brain finally kicked in, but he couldn't move or speak. What about his team? What about Six? They couldn't leave everyone else behind in that hell. It was his last thought as the world completely faded away.
Ghost sat up straight from a dead sleep, his heart beating a hundred miles an hour. He jerked free of the constricting sheets that felt like hands holding him in place. He fell from the bed onto his stomach.
Sliding his knees and hand underneath him, Ghost placed his forehead against the soft carpet floor. It's completely different from the cave floor. He was safe in his small house. Six was safe next door with Rena and their new foster kid.
He took a steadying breath before lifting himself off the floor. He had to get ready for the day. He had a meeting with the fire department, going over safety protocol, first aid, and other shit he could recite in his sleep; at least, when he could sleep.