Chapter 15:

Phantom Pain

DOPEMAN


It was chaos at the fort. The leader of this entire operation was at risk. We had Tann in a tent, there was no way we could get to Mother Base in time. While the doctors tried to check on his arm to see how bad was the burning, I held him down. Kyle was yelling in pain, moving all over the table he was on. I look at one of the doctors. "How bad is it?!" I was struggling to get Tann to stay in place. He was in great pain. Bookmark here

Doc shook his head. "We're gonna have to..."Bookmark here

Tann spoke up. "No! N-no! You're not gonna cut it! No!"Bookmark here

"It's that or die, Major! We can't save it! Even if we got to Mother Base, it's too late!"Bookmark here

Kyle was panicking even more on the table. I had enough, I smacked his face. "Kyle! You damn fool. These people need you! You're a soldier, act like it!" Bookmark here

Kyle grits his teeth and pants rapidly, he calmed down somewhat. "...Towel. Towel and water."Bookmark here

I got what he asked for. I helped him drink the water and put the towel in his mouth, bracing him for surgery. I was no longer needed, so I stepped out of the tent to calm myself down. Fisher and Sera come up to me, I was sitting next to my tent, entertaining Serena. Fisher spoke up first. "Hey, dude." Bookmark here

Sera kneeled next to me. "You ok, Dopeman?"Bookmark here

I nod. "Yup. I'm just here. Tann is still alive but the things I've seen at that camp was..." Bookmark here

"It's all good," Fisher waved his hand, signaling me to not elaborate. "We're just making sure you're ok." Fisher checks his watch, however. "Well, I got myself with a beautiful muscular woman. I'll be seeing you."Bookmark here

I scoff. "You better be ready for the missions tomorrow!"Bookmark here

"No promises!"Bookmark here

We laugh as Fisher walks away. Bookmark here

"So," I say to Sera. "You wanna talk?" I ask. Bookmark here

She nods, we step into my tent. Bookmark here

I sit, grabbing water. "I'm just gonna ask you a bunch of questions, ok?” Bookmark here

Sera smiles. "Sounds like fun."
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Over the next hour, I ask her many questions. "Hobbies?"Bookmark here

"Reading, horseback riding, shooting."Bookmark here

"Favorite color?"Bookmark here

"Blue."Bookmark here

"Why have such a massive gun?"Bookmark here

"Well, I wanted to prove some guy wrong during a shooting competition. I won, so I kept the gun." Bookmark here

I pause, I like her smile. I like the way she talks. I'm feeling something I haven't felt in a long time. The way she moves, she cares about me so much. She wants to latch onto me. I stare at her for a while. Sera blushes. "H-hey, Dopeman? You ok?"Bookmark here

"Oh! Sorry, the questions..."Bookmark here

"What's your question?" She tilts her head. Bookmark here

"You ever been kissed?"Bookmark here

She stops moving. Her pale face goes into a light red. "No..."Bookmark here

I scoot closer, ready for the next step. "Did you want to change that?"Bookmark here

Sera grabs my dirty shirt and pulls me close for a kiss. We lock lips for a few moments. Her lips feel soft. I felt happy. We pulled away soon after. I clear my throat. "Nice."Bookmark here

"That's all you have to say?"Bookmark here

"It was nice, wasn't it?"Bookmark here

Sera giggles. "Fool."Bookmark here

I stopped in the next day to see Kyle sitting up, drinking water angrily. He got off and brushed past me as he walked to his own tent. I follow. "Kyle?"Bookmark here

"What?" He was frustrated. It was obvious to see why. Bookmark here

"You could always get a prosthetic. Those prototype robot arms are getting worked on still-"Bookmark here

"That's not the point!" He threw a few books on the ground. "I follow orders. All I've been doing is the right thing. I don't drink, smoke, party, have constant sex, nothing! I've been falling in line and I STILL get hurt!" He hits the desk with his hand. "How is that fair, Dopeman? How is that fair?" Bookmark here

I walk in, exhaling softly. "In my eyes, we get hurt to learn something or get stronger. I can't say to the pain you're feeling, but I can say you're not alone, Kyle. You have people here for you." Bookmark here

“Sure as hell doesn't feel that way. I have the entire operation on my shoulders and I don’t even get a thank you from a higher ups. All I do is follow orders.” Bookmark here

“Then do it your way, Kyle.” Bookmark here

Kyle scoffed. “My way?”Bookmark here

I pat him on the shoulder. “You’ll see once you do a mission your way.”Bookmark here

Kyle grunts, calming down a bit. "You know, I still feel my arm. The sensation of what was once lost. The phantom pain."Bookmark here

"Yeah. It sucks, I know. You'll get a cooler arm, you'll look sick!"Bookmark here

Tann laughs a bit and leans on the desk. "I guess..."Bookmark here

Ya know, Kyle isn't a bad dude.Bookmark here

He's a victim of war, too.Bookmark here

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