The gun felt heavy. It had been a long day and the Apaches were showing no signs of slowing down. The heat overhead was painful and the rocks underneath didn’t make it easier. Ali was on the verge of a breakdown. It had been over 8 hours since he and his younger brother had taken refuge behind the narrow hillock to escape the relentless fusillade of the American gunships and it didn’t look to end anytime soon.
Suddenly, the rocks in front of him erupted. Before he could react he was knocked out cold by a shower of stone chips. The wing-man took a hard look down at the hillock and tapped the pilot on the shoulder, “I think we have got the little rats. Let’s roll.” The helicopter banked in a sharp turn and flew away towards the setting mountain sun.
Ali woke up. It was dark. He found it painful to see anything. His hand instinctively found its way towards his eyes. His right eye was bleeding. Ali squinted in the dark. He groped around and found a body. He pushed himself towards it and tried to make out the face. His brother lay dead, killed by wayward shrapnel.
Ali searched the pockets of the corpse. He found two rounds of ammunition. “This would have to do,” he sighed. He slowly got up and started preparing to go down the mountains. He let himself a rare smile. He had lost his parents and his brother but he was lucky. He had lived to die another day.