Just a little tidbit I wrote from a nightmare. Please Review!! -Ash

It was his job, his duty, his purpose. It didn't matter that this was the father of a child, nor did it matter that today happened to be that child's birthday; it was his job. So the sniper sat, or rather laid, across the top of the roof, the shingles digging uncomfortably into his ribs. Slow and even breaths escaped him into the hot, humid air as the sniper concentrated on the house across the street. He waited, his body slowly relaxing even more and molding to the contours of his uncomfortable perch that was the roof. After hours of sitting and waiting for movement, a stretch of light interrupted the pressing darkness of the street. A tall, thin figure slid out of the open door into the dirty street, the flick of a lighter piercing the heavy silence like a knife. The figure closed the door behind him and began to melt into the black of the night, oblivious to the man with the gun waiting across the road.

The sniper watched his target walk up the street towards a small pub. He centered the crosshairs of his rifle dead center of the man's back and slowly exhaled, pulling the trigger. It made no sound, the silent sniper rifle, but to him, the whistle of the bullet, the snapping of the ribs and the slowing heartbeat of the falling man roared in his ears with his blood. He prepared to slide down the roof and leave before being discovered when a shadow fell in front of him, and he froze.

His sharp grey eyes locked on the hulking shadow before him as he raised his gun and flipped around to face the man towering above him. Beady black eyes peered out at the sniper from beneath a low black cap. A scarf hid the man's mouth and he was dressed in dark greens and black. There was nothing remotely athletic about the huge man in front of him, his pale skin blobby and white where it spilled from beneath the folds of his jacket. He held a hunting knife in his pudgy hand, the long blade centered above the sniper's chest. Reacting quickly, he sent the second and last bullet through the folds of the man's belly and knocked the knife aside with the muzzle of his gun. The man made no sound; he simply stared at the sniper with black eyes cold as ice, a hard hatred burning amidst his frozen heart.

Hot blood poured from the pierced flesh, the heat covering the sniper as it splashed around him and soaked his clothes. The gaping wound seemed to tunnel forever through the man and the jaggedly torn red hole continued its waterfall of steaming liquid. The sniper could not escape the scene; the man blocked his path from the roof. He tried to get a hand under him to push up against the frozen visitor, but the slippery red liquid beneath him sent the sniper crashing back to the jagged roof tiles and slipping into a perilous slide down the roof. The movement seemed to awaken the standing man as the sniper scrambled to get back onto the peak of the house, and he brought a bloody hand to his scarf and slowly pulled it down.

The sniper clapped his hands over his ears and shouted out as a blood curdling scream filled the once silent night air. Blood poured from the man's gaping mouth, and the sniper twisted and squirmed in agony as the sound continued to slowly rip apart his insides. He clawed at his head, willing the noise to disappear. One heavily booted foot lashed out and caught the man across his knee. He buckled and fell forward onto the sniper, landing heavily on him as the sniper's body bent around the peak of the roof. The scream continued and the blood that flowed from his stomach gently seeped through the sniper's clothes until it burned his very skin along with the blood that poured from the man's mouth across the sniper's exposed throat.

The scream of agony was soon joined by thousands of others, the wails of the sniper's victims and families joining the one in front of him as they rose from the ground around the house and along the road. The sniper attempted to push the bleeding man off, but he circled his fleshy hands around the sniper's neck and squeezed, holding him down as the faces of people appeared all around the hallucinating sniper. One in particular stood out; it was the face of a child, his small innocent face streaked with salty red tears. A birthday hat hung to the side of his head, and he did not scream.

"Why?" He repeated over and over again, his voice growing in volume and anger until it was as loud as the cries around him. The sniper squeezed his eyes shut and tried to breath amidst the chaos. His air supply was dwindling. He lashed out again with a fist and caught the frozen man across the face. The force of his desperation sent the green and black clad corpse off to the side, leaving him to watch the bloody body roll down the side of the roof, a trail of congealing red dripping off the roof after him. Where it touched the parched ground, wispy clouds of black smoke floated up and joined the faces of the people, the smoke twisting until it took on the visage of someone else.

The screams rose in volume as more joined them. Here were the victims of war, enemy and ally alike. They all cried for lost loved ones, their primitive howls rising towards darkened skies in hopes someone would hear their pleas. The sniper cringed as he felt himself fading in the presence of such agony. His eyes opened to see the little boy with the birthday hat's face floating a few feet away from him. Its eyes were black as the fat man's and just as angry.

"He was my daddy." The child now repeated. The face of the young boy began to twist and melt, the features slowly becoming familiar to the sniper. Now he stared into the face of his son, features broken and bloody. The sandy blonde hair that fell over his face was now matted and dirty, his face streaked with mud and rust. Again, the face twisted, blood and mud running down his cheeks as it melted into another face.

"Murderer." His wife's scarred face whispered to him. Her cheek was torn open, the muscle beneath the skin twitching as the wind blew over it. The sniper screamed and closed his eyes, denying everything he saw and heard, though his feeble attempts to calm his mind were futile.

The man atop the roof continued to claw at his face, willing his eyes to not see and his ears to not hear. An unseen force held his hands down, a heavy weight falling on his chest. The sniper banged his head back on the roof, the sharp peak digging into his hair. His blood seeped through the open scalp as his cracked skull hit the roof tile again and again.

"Stop." He moaned. But insane minds do not listen, and torture from hell only becomes greater in the presence of those minds that command it. He tried to scream again and a blood red sun rose peeked out from the horizon, banishing the clouds and stars to those who required them for their nighttime doings. The reds and oranges fanned out across the sky as they chased figments of an overworked mind away and quieted the screams of the military-clad man on a rooftop. The sniper's parched throat caught his desperate pleas whilst he screamed so none passed his lips. A river of crimson opted to take the place of a scream and bubbled in an open mouth facing the sky. Pink and yellow swirled around him as they danced with the fluffy white clouds of day. Oblivious to the coming of a new morning, the blood of the sniper lazily flowed down the steep grade of the roof from his open skull, the only witness to his suicide a dead man outside the pub, his own blood