Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness. I’m a lonely sailor lost at sea. Drifting with the tide, never quite knowing why. Sometimes it makes no sense at all. – Man in the Wilderness – Styx
He was drifting somewhere on the wrong side of consciousness. Awareness came slowly. The last thing he remembered was leading his SEAL team toward their objective, when the air surrounding them erupted into a brilliant and hot white light. He could still feel the heat, but the light had long since disappeared.
He began to drift again. He blinked and tried to keep from passing out. Once his vision cleared, he looked around. He was alone. Where were his men? Were they dead? Had they abandoned him, thinking he was dead?
He tried to sit up, but was quickly overcome by dizziness and had to lie back down. He fought to keep his stomach from rebelling. He managed to turn onto his side just in time to keep from choking on his own vomit.
After several minutes of dry heaves, he finally was able to relax. His chest and stomach were sending waves of agony through his whole body. He breathed through it the best he could, pushing the pain back into the far recesses of his mind.
He wouldn’t normally pat himself of the back for something like sitting up, but under the circumstances, it felt like a huge accomplishment. He finally was able to take a good look around. The area surrounding him looked like it had been bombed. That made sense in his muddled brain. It was probably what that bright light was. Several of the trees near him were still burning. That explained the heat he still felt.
He was definitely alone. There were two bodies nearby, but it was obvious that the men, his men, were no longer there. Seeing the condition of their bodies, there was no doubt they were dead, but it made him pause. He had yet to determine what condition he himself was in.
He was covered in mud and blood. He couldn’t quite make out where it was all coming from, but from the pain he couldn’t push away, he was pretty sure he had chest and abdominal wounds. He also discovered a large gash above his left eye. That explained the dizziness and headache. Probably a concussion.
What had happened to his other three men? They were nowhere to be seen. They wouldn’t have left, unless they didn’t have a choice.
He tried to stand, but his left leg gave out and he tumbled back to the ground. He knew he wouldn’t be getting back up on his own. The pain was so intense, that his vision narrowed, and he was sure he was going to lose consciousness again.
He came to one conclusion, and in his concussed brain, it made sense. He had been abandoned by his own men, like he had been abandoned by everyone else in his life. He had led them into that situation, and it was his fault that Myers and Alden were dead.
No, that wasn’t right. They’d never do that, not to him, not to any of them. It was against everything they stood for. Nothing made sense anymore. What the hell happened?
As he laid there in a crumpled heap, he knew one thing for sure. No help would be coming. He was going to die right there, in some godforsaken jungle, in some undisclosed country. His body would never be recovered. His father and sister would never know what had happened to him. He had screwed up and there was nothing he could do about it. He was lost.
His last thought before the darkness claimed him was that maybe it was for the best.
“Lieutenant McGarrett, sir. Can you open your eyes for me?”
He could hear the voice, but he couldn’t respond. He slowly opened his eyes as instructed, but he couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing.
He stared up into the eyes of his team’s medic.
“Good, sir. You’re going to be okay. Just stay with me.”
He fought to keep his eyes open, but it was a losing battle. He slowly closed his eyes again, but the merciful darkness never claimed him again. He was drifting again, but this time, he knew that there was a light at the other end.
“Don’t worry about that now, sir. Just relax. I’ll give you something for the pain.”
The meds began to take effect, and his last thoughts before he escaped the pain were that his team hadn’t abandoned him after all. He was no longer lost.