Just who Severin thought he’d been kidding when he’d enlisted, he didn’t know. He wasn’t a soldier; not even close. Far more importantly, he didn’t want to be a soldier. He wanted to go home. He wanted to be half way through his A-Levels like the rest of his graduating year would be right then, or working some bullshit minimum wage gig in a fast food outlet. He wanted to be anywhere but trapped in the middle of fuck-knows-where with a gun to his head.
Life was rarely so kind. No matter how hard he squeezed his eyes shut and wished, the voices of strangers, low and incoherent, didn’t go away. His arms were aching, hands up behind his head, heavier than the kit he’d dropped at his feet, but every time he moved, the barrel of a gun found it’s way against the back of his head. It wasn’t worth the risk.
Only hours before he had been with the rest of his regiment. But Christ. It had become far too real. Wandering through enemy territory like they belonged there, gunfire in the distance. Call him a coward, but Severin had reached the very end of his patience. Running had seemed like a smart move. Until the very same enemy he had been hoping to avoid caught up with him. Now, he was as good as dead. He was sure of it, and there was nothing to be done about it. Severin had moved well beyond panic, into a strange state of numb relief, feeling nothing at all. Nothing but exhausted.