Fucking rain. All it ever does is make things worse. Alex’s icy eyes blinked rapidly trying to shield themselves from the cold wetness that dropped from the heavens. Heaven, that’s a strange thought to be thinking of when you’re in the middle of hell. Alex reached up and grabbed the front of his steel helmet, pulling it off with a soft tug and swinging it down to his side. The camouflage clothe cover stretched over the helmet came loose in the back and caused wrinkles as the helmet slid out of his fingers stopping only when he caught hold of one of the chin straps. Descending passed the crest of a muddy hill, Alex stumbled over every knoll and through every crater.
A crowd started forming at the bass of the hill of cleanly shaven men similarly dressed to Alex in their dark green uniforms, boondockers and yellow leggings. They wore green caps instead of camouflage covers. Rear echelon motherfuckers- no souvenirs for you today. The crowd watched him as he descended slowly and formed a school circle around him as he reached the cratered bass of the hill. Murmurs started echoing in Alex’s ears as the REMF’s whispered to one another.
“What the hell happened to him?”
“I don’t know, he looks like a mess.”
“Where’s his unit?”
“Weren’t they up at Sugar Loaf?”
“I heard they got hit pretty hard.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Alex stated blandly. His eyes were fixed forward and his movements although sluggish wrought a sort of powerful aura that the REMF’s could feel down to their bones. They didn’t dare touch or talk to Alex. When he spoke, it was like the word of God. God, huh, wonder where that fucker is now, Alex mused himself.
The crowd of REMF’s followed Alex for a half a mile until Alex finally made it to the battalion command post. The tent’s original olive drab was a dark green as it was soaked through and through in the rain. The entrance dripped fiercely, sending cold water down Alex’s back as he entered the tent. Officers and high enlisted men alike stopped what they were doing to stare at Alex’s dirty form. Alex didn’t return the stare, his eyes shifted to the wooden floor set up especially for the command post.
“Private, what the hell are you doing here?” One of the officers, a single silver bar on the front of his olive drab cap giving away his lower officer authority.
“Reporting in for Dog Company, sir,” Alex answered truthfully and straight.
“Why isn’t your commander reporting in?”
“Kay eye ‘ey.”
“What about the second in..”
“Kay eye ‘ey,” Alex cut the first lieutenant off.
“Any of the platoon commanders?”
“Everyone’s fucking dead! My entire fucking unit is fucking dead!” Alex exploded, anger rising in his body making his face red. His body grew rigid. The helmet he carried by the chin strap dropped with a thud onto the wooden floor. Alex stepped forward, grabbing the stalk of his rifle and swinging it out and pressing the butt into his shoulder with the barrel pointed at the lieutenant. “I swear to God if you keep interrogating me I will FUCKING KILL YOU!”
“Private! Calm down!” The lieutenant started a cold sweat. He raised his hands, visibly shaking in fear. “Private, put the gun down!”
“Fu-uh-uck you, you nasty Pogue! Have you seen your buddies getting killed in front of you? Have you held their torn bodies as they die? Shit, I bet you’ve never even seen a goddamned gook!” Alex’s face was completely red, his eyes flashing and burning with rage. The lieutenant shook uncontrollably and began backing up quickly, tripping over tables and chairs alike. The battalion chaplain rushed over and placed a hand atop Alex’s rifle. He gave it a gentle nudge downwards which Alex knew as a gesture of peace. He obliged the chaplain and lowered the rifle, taking deep breaths. That’s right, breath deep, slow. Chaplain takes care of grunts, hell yeah he does.
The chaplain led Alex out of the tent and to a rock formed a sort of bench when all else was muddy. Alex sat down on it and the chaplain knelt in front of him.
“What the hell happened up there, Alex?”
“We assaulted Sugar Loaf,” Alex paused, biting his lower lip to try and keep the tears that swelled up inside of him down. “We held it for the night. Th-th-they countered with grenades and knee-mortars.” Alex burst into tears. “God, they fucking cut the first holes to pieces! They bayoneted our wounded, holy shit the screams.”
“It’s alright Alex, the battalion’s spent. You’re going to the rear.”