I'm sitting in my grave.
You'd probably call it a foxhole. That's the historical term, the appropriate term, the one they use in the history books and newspapers, but in this war it is simply your grave. It's a seven feet long, three feet deep, two feet wide hole in the ground. It takes you only an hour to dig it if you know what you're doing.
In this field, there are hundreds of graves like mine. All neatly positioned like the cemetary our line is. We've been positioned here for the better part of a day and so far the air has been still. It's the quiet that strikes down to your bones and begins to alert you to the ozone in the air, that electric feel all about you, the call of battle. I try to sniff the air of this wasteland but then remember the thick gas mask covering my nose and mouth, the heavy goggles of my helmet shielding my eyes from the sand and dust kicked up by a passing wind. A few minutes pass and I run my fingers down my rifle. In boot they taught me to love my rifle but by this point, how this war has dragged on, I can't bring myself to care for my instrument of death. I don't even know why I'm fighting let alone why I shoot who I do.
I hear reports from down the line. The sounds of gunfire and shouts of men, the intense staccato rattle of a machine gun and the heavy thumping of cannons. Just a few feet from me, close enough to reach out and touch, I hear another soldier whimper in fear. This is followed by the slow drizzle of his urine hitting the bottom of his grave. I don't have the heart to break it to him but he's already dead.
Slowly the shouts turn to orders, all able-bodied men to firing positions. I am up from my prone position in a moment, I feel tracers whiz past my head but I gave up caring a few months back. I look over at the man to my left, he is laying in a fetal position now, his boots covered in piss and I can see the brown stains over his rump. I save the enemy the trouble, I know he'd thank me if he were able to.
The world is now lit up with the bright flashes of gun positions firing away, and missiles blazing across the sky like shooting stars. I stand for a moment and take in the beauty of this scene, these wastes have seen nothing but death for years now but at least we take the trouble to make it beautiful. Out of the strobe lights of battle I make out the shape of the approaching enemy, for some reason they don't attempt to kill me, only keep charging across the world. My rifle stock is against my shoulder without a thought, at some point I took to my knee and let my eye slide down the sights, one goes down, then another, it goes on for a full clip, and I've already ejected it and loaded another before I realize that I've done it. I wonder if killing was always this mechanical, without care, without malice, without any feeling whatsoever, just simple action of pulling a trigger. I get the nagging feeling like even I used to feel differently on the subject but I can't quite remember why. This is war, this is life, this is the world we live in.
The battle is over for now, night has now completely settled. The world is silent again, and people begin to wander around asking for extra clips, water, new filters, and of course the bodies of the dead. I don't bother to do these things, I keep what I need in my pack, I leave the raping of the enemy to the rookies they'll need to see bodies up close at some point or another. I simply return to my grave.