Chapter 1: A Veteran’s Lament
The nightmares never stop; they keep me awake almost every night now. It’s the same scenario each time, I’m with my unit on patrol in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. We ride across the empty road in our Humvee, then BAM! An IED goes off flipping us over. I kick the door open and drag the vehicle occupants out. We’re immediately under fire, and I’m desperately trying to save this kid. He’s eighteen, scared, and bleeding to death right in front of me. I know I can’t save him, but I don’t stop trying. I grab my rifle and return fire, until an explosion not too far from me hits me with a fuck ton of shrapnel. Somehow, we push through, but a quarter of our platoon sustained casualties.
I’m Christopher Carter, thirty-five year old and a Navy veteran. I enlisted when I was eighteen as a builder and then crossed over into being a hospital corpsman. After the incident, I sustained some injuries but was able to commission. I lasted six more years, until the injuries sustained in the attack put me into an early retirement. PTSD, Shrapnel scarring in my face, tinnitus in my right ear, chronic insomnia, damage to both kneecaps and my left shin. It’s a shame, I was only a year away from tacking on O4. Though retirement and compensation as an O3-E isn’t so bad, I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want too.
When I left the Navy, I moved down to costal Georgia and purchased a rural home with 15 acres of land. I don’t have a wife or kids and saved the vast majority of money I earned because of my frequent deployments. The property is absolutely gorgeous, It’s a rural plot about twenty minutes from the beach. I think it used to be a tobacco farm back in the old days, but they also raised some farm animals too. Not far from the home is a small barn, a small pig pen, and as a bonus a surprisingly large pond. All and all its not a bad piece of land to own, I have tons of ideas for it in the future. The home on the other hand, needs a lot of effort.
I knew what I was getting into when buying this home, but man I really should have thought this through. The home is livable but very old, borderline dilapidated. Creaky floors, some external damage, and even some holes that lead right outside. I’m working on it slowly, but with the lack of sleep I can only get so much done. I recently made an appointment with the VA to discuss my options, these pills aren’t cutting it for me…