Just a short story because I felt the need to write something. There are probably errors.

I sit outside, waiting for the others to finish getting ready. It's starting to get dark early, I notice, as I light my cigarette and stretch out my legs, relaxing for the moment. Soon we'll be ready to move out, but for the moment my time is mine.

There's not a lot to see in the desert, especially when it's growing dark, but as clouds start to fill the sky I can see the rare, beautiful sunset. Smudged with pink and purple, blue-black clouds grow and begin to cover the sun. It looks as though someone has wiped a dirty hand across an otherwise picturesque sunset, and I shake my head at the comparison. Everything here is filthy, so why should the sky be any different? Dust settles on all surfaces, and when it rains becomes as sticky as glue, making your boots weigh twice what is normal.

But even as murky as the slowly setting sun is, it's still glorious. Day in and day out all that can be seen is a motley tan-grey color; the color of our uniforms, our buildings, our trucks. And even though the clouds are coming because the rainy season is almost upon us (and will make us all curse the dirt and dust), it is worth it, if only for the sunset.

I easily loose myself in the gently darkening shades, watching as the last of the sunlight fades out, leaving only clouds backlit by its glory. A deafening roar fills my ears and as the ground shakes even the air seems to shatter. Up rises a fighter, draped in the last glimmers of sunset's colors, a tail of flame chasing behind him. Only a few moments later his brother joins him in the sky, the thundering growl of jet engines no less earth-shaking this time around, and for a brief, heart wrenching instant the twin flames are showcased against the clouds.

They disappear into the night in a flash, leaving behind only the memory of their flight. The world is silent for once; the airfield that is right next to us never pauses for long; and in the silence the last of the brilliance fades from the sky. True dark sets, and the silence breaks.

My squad leader calls us over, and I stub out my cigarette, shouldering my pack as I stand, re-adjusting my grip on my rifle. The op order is nothing we haven't heard before, and we separate into our teams, joking around to cover the nervousness that we all pretend we don't feel. And even as I slide into my seat and buckle in, getting my head in the game for the next couple of hours, I can't help but remember the brief glory I have seen.