• I squeezed the trigger ever so slowly so I wouldn't miss this once in a life-time shot. The gun fired with a deafening ring and I saw my target get ripped in half from the 50 cal. round moving through his body.

    "Move, move, move!" I yelled back at the rest of my team. We needed to get out of there before the Iraqis came looking for us. I broke my gun apart within 3 seconds and set it into my bag.

    "Come on Bowen! We have to get out of here," Luke, (our machine-gunner), hollered at me through the door.

    When I made it out of the room, we ran as fast as possible to the Humvee waiting just a few yards away. Jesse, (shot-gunner), jumped into the driver's seat and we took off down the dusty road.

    "Nice shot man." Marck, (our explosive and heavy-weapons expert and also my best friend), congratulated me. "I saw that guy just fall to pieces."

    "Well that's my job ain't it? It comes with a lot of patience." I replied, taking my helmet off and running my hand through my hair.

    "You're the best sniper I've ever seen," added Zeke, (close-quarters man).

    "I can't be that goo-" I started to say, but was interrupted when an RPG blew up right next to our vehicle.

    "Don't you DARE scratch my car!" Yelled Jesse from the driver's seat. "Hold on back there. It might get a little bumpy."

    "Just the way I like it Jess," joked Marck. At that moment an other RPG threw dirt and sand into the Humvee.

    "Oh f***," Zeke cried, grabbing at some hot shrapnel that had gotten into his uniform. Another RPG went off next to us; closer this time.

    "Get us out of here Jess!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, hoping that she could here me over the sound of the engine and Zeke yelping in pain.

    "I'm going!" Jesse screeched back, slamming her foot onto the gas peddle and taking a sharp turn left off the road. Another RPG hit, but this time it hit the Humvee. The force of impact almost tipped the Humvee, but Jesse was able to control the vehicle.

    "Everybody OK?" Zeke called out.



    "Yes sir."

    "OK good. Now can we please get out of this hornet's nest?!" Zeke shrieked at Jesse, as she took another turn to the right this time.

    "No problem. Hold onto your balls and hope they don't fall off." Jesse laughed out as she took another turn now aiming for Al A'Zamiyah, a military base. We sped through the crumbling buildings, past the empty courtyards, and through the now blood-stained streets. We were all quiet through this part of the drive, because we had helped create the blood-stains and did not like to, we did so to protect our country. When we reached the rendezvous building an Iraqi came out to greet us.

    "My hair is black." He said, signaling that we needed a secret phrase to get in.

    "My socks are green," Jesse answered in an authoritative voice. The Iraqi signaled with his hands to pull into the building. When we were inside we unpacked the Humvee and walked slowly into the main room.

    "We have to find him. He is our main target. Understood?" Scolded Sargent Kurtis.

    "Yes sir. Understood sir," answered a young soldier with a salute. We walked in and waited in the doorway to be acknowledged.

    "Gentlemen. Ma'am," Kurtis added with a salute and a bow. We saluted back standing side-by-side.

    "Sir," we spoke in unison.

    "At ease. How did today's mission go? Hopefully according to plan." Kurtis asked hastily.

    "Everything went well, on account of the damage to the Humvee." Zeke answered.

    "Good good." Kurtis hummed. "Bowen, I need to speak to you in private."

    "Yes sir." I shooed my team away with my hand and walked to stand next to Kurtis.

    "Bowen, you're a good soldier. You do everything you're supposed to do. You haven't made a mistake yet, and you're a good leader." Kurtis turned to face me and placed his hand on my shoulders. "Son, I don't want you getting hurt out there. It would give your mother a heart-attack if I had to tell her you were shot or worse. So I have arranged a jet home for you in 1 week."

    "Dad. My team is here. I can't just leave them. They are part of my family pretty much. If I go home, they go home too. If they can't, then I am staying here until they can get a plane ride home. OK? I won't get hurt don't worry." I assured him.

    "Bo, I am not going to lose you." Kurtis said as a tear rolled down his cheek.

    "Dad. Listen, I will be fine out there. I know what I am doing. I'm good at what I do. When the rest of my team get a ride home, I will go home. How is mom anyway?" I breathed.

    "She's fine. Worried sick is all. She really wants us home as soon as possible." Kurtis sighed.

    "That's good. Don't worry dad. I'll be fine. If and when Wyatt gets out here is when you can worry. He's a loose cannon. I'll watch my back and my team's." I reassured him before walking away.

    "And Bo," my father said, as I turned around. "Be safe."

    "Don't worry. I'll be safe." I winked at him reassuringly. I left the room to join up with my team for yet another sniping job.

    "Saying 'bye' to daddy?" Joked Marck.

    I punched him playfully in the arms and said, "I might die is that a problem?"

    "No, not at all," Marck replied shaking his head.

    3 hours later

    "Don't leave Marck!" I screamed clenching the bloodied shoulder wound on Marck.

    "Bo. Te-tell my m-mom that I l-love her, and I'm s-sorry." Marck heaved.

    "No you tell her. You're going to tell her. You're going to be all right. Medic! Where's that medic?!" I screamed with tears rolling out of my eyes.

    "It's a-alright. You tell her f-for me. I l-love you man." Marck said closing his eyes for the last time.

    "I love you too brother." I cried clasping his hand in mine for the last time. I ripped his dog-tags off and clipped them around my neck.

    "Bo! Bo! You OK?" Jesse came around the corner screaming.

    "Yeah I'm fine. We lost Marck," I informed her.

    "Bo! You're bleeding." She ran over to where I was kneeling, and pulled a first-aid kit out of her pack. I looked down and there blood trickling down my forearm from a bullet wound.

    "I didn't even feel it. OK now I do." I said grimacing in pain as Jesse dabbed it with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.

    "Everybody OK?" Zeke called rounding the corner. He saw Marck's body and instantly fell silent.

    "It's time to get to the Humvee." I said, as I lifted Marck's body up with the help of Zeke and Jesse. We put his body in the back of the Humvee and drove back to Al A'Zamiyah. The drive back was quieter then ever. Like all the noise was shut off. When we arrived at the building Jesse pretty much yelled the code at the Iraqi. We puled up and called for a stretcher. When it got to us Kurtis was there too. When he saw the body he went pale and started to tear up.

    "These are his," I told him holding his dog-tags in my hand out in front of me.

    "Keep them. He was your closest friend. You deserve them." He said closing my hand tighter around them.

    "Thank you sir." I said, hooking them around my neck once again.

    To be continued....