The light spills over his head in lieu of cold water. Beginnings are not gentle things here, they are the crashing and flashing of light against your eyes despite the day before unending because the night sky was itself set alight, the percussion of hateful hearts booming in his ears. The dirt mucked in his mouth as he swallowed the dregs of his canteen down. It was time to keep going.
The lights just melded into one another, imploding beneath his eyelids to ring his head like a bell. He tightened his laces, slung his weapon back into place, checked his gear, loaded up and eased to his feet. It was the slowest part of his day, but even then his heart pounded in time to the blasts.
This was his life. It was what he had trained for and to survive.
He heard a click and time slowed as he lifted his arm towards his face, shrapnel slunking against his armor, slicing through flesh.
Smokey stars filled his eyes, swirling in the first darkness he’d known since the fighting began.The stars twinkled out, caving in upon themselves into the darkness with only thunder behind them. And for a few moments, after all the star trails have been sucked into the darkness, there’s quiet. There are no blasts, there are no screams, the pain is fading as he slips deeper under the dark.
Then light slowly begins to dawn, soft and gentle.