Chapter 1: Discharge
Just like that, one word and some paperwork, and it was all over. Everything he’d ever hoped for--every point he’d ever made to every kid who beat him up for not being American enough, every dream he’d had of being a ranking officer like Lennox and having a good team behind him--was gone. He didn’t think he even knew how to be a civilian anymore.
He tried to console himself with the thought that he’d get to see his Mama soon and eat her cooking again. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that he should have died out there.
Chapter 2: Scar Tissue
He wakes in the night to sharp, stinging aches along his side--pain the doctors said he shouldn’t be able to feel because the nerves should be gone. It doesn’t leave him most of the time, except when he’s drugged out of his mind on the painkillers and can’t feel anything anyway.
But it’s never the physical pain that wakes him.
He sees the desert when he closes his eyes. The terrorists that came before the helicopter and the scorpion and then the rage and pain as the scorpion took him down. That failure is the hardest part to live with.
Chapter 3: Recovery
Fig sat in his favorite chair on his mama’s back porch, watching the swamp. If he was quiet enough, and still enough, sometimes the gators would climb onto the bank where he could see them. It was illegal now, but he and his papa used to use the opportunity to shoot one for meat when he was younger.
Now he wasn’t sure his hand would ever be steady enough to shoot again.
“You know, these damn mosquitoes are going to eat you alive.” He jumped at his CO’s voice. “Your mom sent me out. Thought you could use some company.”