Loving the Broken

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Chapter 3-Trying To Forget

Music: Forgetting Is The Hardest Part-Kane Brown

Pictured above: The Avenging Angel’s. Pictured in order of Rank. Commander Jake “The Alpha” Russell, Lt. Commander Sullivan “Ghost” Saunders, Lt. Jamal “Bomber” Diez, Lt. Jordan “Shooter” Jackson, SPFC Damien Michael “Frostbite” Reed and SPFC Daniel “Twinkie” Woods.

(Dan’s call sign will be explained in a later chapter). If you want to see their pics they will be posted on my wall. Also, this chapter will have some war violence.

Damien

One year later

My Dearest Damien,

I have put off writing this letter for a while now but I can’t do it anymore. Oh, I ’m mad at myself for hurting you so badly but I need to get it all out. First, I know you hate me for everything I’ve done, and I’m so sorry about that. I’m so sorry for breaking your heart but at the time it felt like it was the right thing to do. When you said you signed up for the army without talking to me, I was so upset because it felt like you were planning your future without me. We had talked about this since we were fifteen, so it broke my heart. I broke it off so you could go and live the life you wanted.

Then the day you left I was trying to tell you the truth, I wanted to tell you everything, except you, shut me down and I can’t say I didn’t deserve it. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our childhood memories and its funny how none of them are without you. The day you left I thought about the first time we meet. We were six and Dan threatened to beat you up if you hurt my feelings. Then you climbed down that tree and said you were going to marry me someday. Do you remember that? Do you remember my response? I told you I was going to holding you to that. I still mean it Damien; you are the love of my life and always will be.

I don’t know what you are facing over there but Mom and I have been following the news and it looks bad. I hope you are safe, I hope Dan is safe and you two are watching each out for each other. He writes but doesn’t let us in on any of the negative parts. He never mentions you in those letters and I have a feeling you have asked him to keep you out of it. I understand Damien, if you want me to let you go and move on I just need you to say the words and I will. It will hurt but I will for you. Please write back soon.

I love you so much,

Emily

I have read that letter a thousand times and still don’t have an answer for her. I want to hate her for letting me go. I don’t get it, did she just not have enough faith in me and in us. I received this letter after I had been out here for six months and I read it almost every day. I don’t know why though, maybe I just like to punish myself and like to live in a fantasy world. I never replied back because the truth is after everything I’ve seen and done out here I’m not good for her anymore. She needs a man who will be there for her mentally and physically.

My first mission was to patrol the border of the city. Reports had come through saying the terrorist have made their way in. It was just supposed to be a simple get in and get out type of mission. Well, that all went to hell in a handbasket within ten minutes of driving.

“Shit!” Jordan “shooter” Jackson hisses. I look up at him manning the gigantic automatic assault rifle since he’s the best aim out of the six of us. His face had gone pale and sweat is sticking to his skin, his eyes widened with fear and he points his finger to the front of the road. I turn my head and see a kid around ten standing there. The poor kid looked terrified, but what scared me was seeing the bomb attached to his chest. All I saw was red at this point but my humanity kicked in and I wanted to help this kid.

“We have to help him! He’s just a kid.” I was informed that ISIS will use kids to get to us, they play on our weakness and know that we will want to save them. I hate it and I want to see all of those Bastards bleed.

“Pull over Reed and we’ll see what we can do.” Jake “the Alpha” Russell commands. Jake is a Commander and our boss. We answer to him and follow his orders, he’s a pretty cool guy and likes to joke around with us. He’s twenty-five and has been in the Army for ten years.

“Yes, Sir.” I pull the HMMWP (High mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle ) over, Jake jumps out first and I follow. Jordan stays with standing in the back of the tan humvee. His job is to alert us of any incoming danger. Dan and Sullivan stand guard with their rifles poised and ready to strike.

Jake says something in Arabic. I was shocked the first time I heard him. He explained that he has served many tours here and has learned the language over the course. It comes in handy when you don’t have an interpreter on hand. The boy’s dark brown eyes light up with excitement, and I take a minute to examine him. His face is covered in dirt; his clothes are tattered and are barely covering his body.

“Hey, Twinkie.”

“What?” Dan grumbles, he hates that call name.

“Watch my six; I’m going to get some water and food for this boy. He’s starving and thirsty.”

“I gotcha man.” Dan turns his body around so he’s covering my back. I rummage through the back and find a couple of granola bars, a canteen and some rags. I gather them all up and go back to Jake and the boy. I hold out the food for the boy while Jake talks to him. We’ve got our explosives expert studying the bomb strapped to the boys’ chest.

“Are you hungry?” I ask him. He nods and takes the candy from my hand. I don’t know if he understood me or just was just accepting the food. I chuckled as I watch him rip open the wrapper and shove the whole thing in his mouth.

“You need to slow down there, buddy,” Jake laughs softly. The boy finishes his sweet treat and eyes the canteen in my other hand. I don’t have to ask him, I just open it up and hand the wet drink to him. He nearly chokes as he guzzles down the water. I hear Jamal “Bomber” Diez sigh, and flick my eyes over to him. It’s a look I’ve never seen him make in the few weeks I’ve known him. He looks defeated.

“Can you help him?” I ask. Bomber shakes his head.

“They rigged it; if I try to take it off it would kill him.” At that moment I wanted to punch something. These bastards need to pay for making innocent children do their dirty work. I took a deep breath and moved my eyes over to the boy. He was happy we stopped and gave him food but he knew. The poor boy knew he would not be coming out of this alive; I just wanted to scoop him up and run somewhere safe. Instead, I shift my feet and ball my hands into a fist, resisting the temptation to hit something.

“So no matter what we do the kid is going to die?” Alpha and Bomber both glance up and they don’t have to answer me. “Fuck this, I can’t just stand here and watch a child die.” I pick up my rifle and head back to the jeep.

“Fuck!” Dan shouts then gunshots ring through the sky.

Luckily, none of our team was injured physically but we all live with the emotional scars from that day. The little boy we tried to save had a semi-automatic rifle forced into his hands and told him to shoot. He aimed his gun at me and I could tell he didn’t want to but at that point, it was him or me. I begged him to put the gun down; when he didn’t and put his finger on the trigger I had to take him out. I pulled the trigger and watched as the kid went down. His blood mixing in with the dirt, his eyes still open and my heart pounding and breaking.

I never in my life thought I would have to kill a child and that’s what started my path to self-destruction. I began having nightmares but never told anyone because if they knew I had PTSD I would be sent home. So I just shut off my emotions and went numb. I didn’t let anything else affect me, I was a killer and I should just own up to it. Thus the name Frostbite. I’m a cold Son of a bitch and my looks could freeze a man in his place.

I know I need to get my shit together since I could be jeopardizing my career, all I know how to do now is kill and be a soldier. Would Emily, sweet naïve and innocent Emily still want me if she knew what I have done? I doubt it when my own mother won’t. The last time I called home she said she was busy and didn’t have the time to talk. She was dressed up and looked like she was going out so I at least know she’s getting on with her life, so when I die she won’t be sad.

I need you to tell me to move on Damien. Until you say those words I will wait for you. I love you always. I read the last line in her letter, the paper is starting to tear in places and the words are fading but it’s those words that eat at me every time I see them. I’m such a selfish asshole, she’s been waiting for almost a year for me to let her go but can I?

I take out a piece of paper and start to write, a few simple words should suffice. Dan comes in while I’m writing her address on the envelope. He peeks over my shoulder and sighs.

“Are you breaking my Sister’s heart Frostbite, because I will still kick your ass if you are?” I shouldn’t be mad at him since he’s trying to protect her. He’s always had the need to protect her, we both have and this is my way of protecting her from across the world. I hand him the letter so he can send it with his.

“I’m doing the right thing for her.” I turn on my heels and walk away.

************

I really want to apologize if the scene with the child affected anyone, I didn’t want to write it but it’s a part of the war. I watched a mini-series Called The Long Road home l and felt very inspired to write this story.

In the show Patrick Schwarzenegger’s character shoots a kid around the age of 10, he didn’t want to and begged the kid to put the gun down, the kid didn’t and was killed. That broke him, I couldn’t imagine being in their postion and having to make the choices the soldiers would have to make.

I needed to write the scene because without it Damien wouldn't have his story arch. This isn’t the first time Damien will have to witness death and it won’t be the first kid he’s had to kill. I mean if it were you or the kid with a bomb strapped to his chest what would you do? Please don’t judge me too harshly since I don’t know everything there is to know about war, I’m just going by what I’ve read and watched on T.V. I could never really know the full depth of what they face.

Thank you for reading and remember to vote if you like this story.

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