By: a guest on May 8th, 2012
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They had brought him into the tunnel from the bombed hospital – he had been one of the few not unconscious during the debacle, and the image of severed legs and arms hanging from trees like Christmas ornaments seemed seared into his eyelids. When he slept, he never dreamt of anything but battle. He tossed and turned so violently that he’d nearly strangled himself with his own dog-tags on multiple occasions, and fallen entirely out of his bed once, the sound of his own ragged breath and frantic heartbeat heavy in his ears until one of the nurses stumbled upon him and helped him back up.
He was useless when it came to walking, now. His bad foot had taken on the consistency of raw meat, and the infection was already spreading up his leg. The doctors had been talking about amputating it – there was really no other way to stop it, Shane knew, but he felt as if he still reserved the right to be unhappy about his entire leg being chopped off below the knee. It was a scary prospect, even if he’d seen how well others in his regiment could get around on prosthetics or even just crutches. How could a high school football star have ended up like this, lying pathetically in a tunnel that could barely be called a hospital, disease eating away at him while bombs exploded constantly just over his head?
The beds on either side of him had once been empty, but the nurses had brought in two new wounded soldiers the previous night that now flanked Shane. One was still asleep, the blood-soaked bandage circling his forehead suggesting some kind of head injury. The other was awake, sitting with his back propped against the back of his bed and idly turning the pages of the book in his lap. They had both probably gotten injured in one of the bombings on the surface, Shane thought, noticing as the conscious soldier pushed a pair of glasses up the bridge of his nose that one of his hands was wrapped in gauze. It looked like he was missing a few fingers.
“Good morning,” Shane called, trying not to wake up the sleeping soldier. He sat up, brushing greasy hair from his eyes, and noticing that the tunnel was beginning to reek of anesthetics. The low hum of conversation echoed off the sloping walls – this was around the time many of the patients woke up, and the nurses began their rounds.