Jenny hated getting mud on her clothes. Sand, a little dust and even grass clippings were tolerated but Jenny had a particular hatred of mud. The man me below is covered in mud, a thick dark brown mud. The mud is worked into his uniform. It is splattered on his face along with his own blood and saliva. Jenny would not have approved. The man below me is not Jenny. He is a soldier. His face is pale and ashen. He is a Warrior on the verge of dying. He looks up at me and attempts a smile, “Hey doc, how’s it going?” he asks.

The Warrior is hurt bad, real bad. Most of his right arm is gone. I find myself hoping he’s a lefty. It doesn’t matter though as chances are he won’t make it. One foot is turned ninety degrees the wrong direction and the knee on the other leg is pulverized. God knows what else might be wrong. Spine. Neck. Guts. The Warrior is a dead man.

He closes his eyes. The smile remains. I give him a dose of morphine. His eyes open the smile slightly broadens. “Did we get any of them?” he asks me. I didn’t know. How the fuck should I know? I am not a Warrior. I am barely a qualified medic. I am not even in the military. Don’t say it out loud.

“Yeah, a fuck-ton of them,” I say instead.

The man on the ground coughs. He coughs up blood and spit. The blood bubbles at the corners of his mouth. Punctured lung or lungs. Add that to the list of wounds. The Warrior spits again. His breathing is labored. He turns his head away as I work on his arm. He will bleed out soon if I don’t get it under control. I dowse the wound with saline to get a better idea of what I am dealing with. The Warrior doesn’t move. Is he dead? No. He turns his face back towards me.

“Doc, they are so hard to see. They look like you and me. I think I took out a few kids by mistake, I am not sure. My mom is going to be so mad at me. What the hell am I supposed to do when everyone looks like one of them? Huh? What can any of us do? They just keep bringing the fight and our leaders keep telling us to Find, Fix and Finish them. What the hell does that mean anyway? They are not like you and me. They don’t seem to care. They just keep coming after us. They smell real…” the Warrior stops. He wheezes. His body is still.

He died in mid-sentence, his face perfectly still. He looks straight up at the cool grey sky. The rain floats down like snowflakes on a windless day. I hadn’t noticed the tears on his cheeks. Or is it rain? “Doc,” he says. Shit!I pissed myself a little. “Yeah?” I try to whisper.

He’s alive?