The Letters of A Corpsman by (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher
The Letters of A Corpsman: The Death of A Father
Date: 9 July 2006, 8:34 pm
Today was another rough day. A day that I will always remember in my life, as a Corpsman, but a memory that will haunt me to the rest of my days, and I hope it will leave me once I leave this plane of existence. I was on the field, with my rifle within my hands going over to Bravo Company's CP over by Hill 317. Remember that hill we always used to sled down on? That was eerily the same, and I rushed up the hill thinking about those cold, dark winter days we spent together.
I made it up the hill, and saw the men giving suppressive fire over the company of Grunts and Jackals that were coming up the hill's north and east side. The platoon commander, a hardy and hospital man named Lieutenant Jacob Riley, directed me to the wounded Sergeant Marcus Halloway. I checked his wounds, and it scared me to think he was still alive, for that matter.
Severe burns, internal bleeding, and he had a fever. I did the only thing I could, and that was to give him morphine. I put a shot of the archaic pain reliever into his system, and I looked at Riley. He understood what I was saying, and he went back to the line. I looked back at the Sergeant, and before I could speak over the fire, he talked to me.
"Give this to my parents." He said, handing me a crisp and faded letter bearing his name and his company's address. I took it and placed it in my armor pocket, but then he looked up at me again. He held a picture, and another letter. The look in his eyes…It was horrible, Randy, horrible. I couldn't stand it.
"Give this to my child…Two months and three days ago; that was her birthday." He croaked. A tear even fell from my eyes, looking at the man caused much sorrow from me that nearly killed me. I nodded, hoping he would understand that I would send the items to his little daughter. He smiled, and then he died. His eyes were open, and his neck was back. I couldn't stand it.
I looked at the picture in more detail, as plasma fire would rain over me. She was a thing of beauty, with her short brown hair and beautiful blue eyes. She was seven, at least, and his wife was also in the picture. She was beautiful too, with long brown hair and a wonderful smile. I looked back, putting the parcels in my pockets, and noticed the men were cheering. They won.
I couldn't join in the festivies, the whooping and the hollering. It was too much, way too much for me to even look at the men. They looked at me, with smiles of huge and complete success.
They looked at me, and I shook my head. The cheering, the whoops, the hollars...They died. Instantly. I couldn't even make eye contact with them as I gently laid the UNSC mourning flag over his body. The little one foot by one foot flag I took a picture and sent to you once. I looked at Riley, he nodded, and I walked away from Bravo Company's CP. I had to make sure I would not look away, for to look away from that would be to remind me to not send his letters.
I debated to send them immediately, so I wrote my own letter that would be recieved with the UNSC 'Yellow Letter', the letter they send to loved ones when a family member dies. Oh god, Randy, the little girl will not forget this moment, and neither will Miss Halloway. The poor family...I hate this war. But we have to fight, to not let another incident like Marcus Halloway to repeat...
Its seventeen hundred hours now, about four hours after Sergeant Halloway's death. I was reading the letter to his child and wife, and it spoke about everything that he was doing over here, on Epsilon Alphanus. I couldn't read anymore after the second paragraph, as I sealed the envelope with my letter of how he wouldn't stop smiling to me. It was as if, he understood everything.
In a couple of weeks, I'm getting a pass back to Alpha Centauri. I need to see you again, to have you hold me in my arms once more. Something that I can do without the expression of letters. I just…need to feel you once more. To know that I actually have a lovely and intelligent man that I can wait for.
Your love forever, ex termin eternity;
Michelle, Corps. – Alpha Company, 3rd Med.
Letters From a Corpsman: A Poem
Date: 22 March 2007, 12:48 am
I'm stuck here, without you my lover
I'm stuck here, in the trenches under cover
I miss you the most, all my heart to you
I want to get back home, but all I need is a tool
Ceti Six, Ceti Seven, all mean the same to me
All are places where my soldiers are dead, by the sea
I long to see you, to feel you again
To bend back the bonds that we share, that have to be once mended
This poem only captures my desire, my love
But there is much more, that is under this cove
To have you feel my raw emotion, to have your hand on my face
To feel your lips once more, if only but for a taste
I'm lying in my bunk, about to sign off for the night
And once again, my dreams come, one of my many plights
My heart aches, longing much more for you so
My body, with loves, shakes, from head to toe!
Letters of A Corpsman: Battle of Hill 324 and Hill 642
Date: 23 June 2007, 7:23 pm
It does not matter where the battlefield is, it only matters that there is a battlefield, and I am fighting on it. This planet used to have a sun, where the heat and the light would soar upwards and you would truly feel alive. There would be no clouds, light breezes, grassy hills that would move with the mountains in the far reaching distance. It was a beautiful place, it really was.
But now it is grey, grey almost the entire day until our 'sun' depresses itself into the horizon, where it becomes the blackest black. The hills are now almost impenetrable outposts that the Covenant use to make sure that we remain where we are; and the wind is heavy with hate. The mountains are gone, I cannot see them, and now I realize what a Hell this place has become. Command says we're not leaving until this planet is taken back.
There was a firefight.
Randy, my hands were trembling with fear when we were attacked. The Covenant swarmed up our side of the base we were defended, with those, those brutish things that are callbacks to the silverbacks that are on Earth. They were screaming, charging up the hill with such anger and hate that scared me so badly, Randy.
I wanted to be in your arms, safe again.
But, needless to say, the men of my platoon screamed back at them and let loose hellfire from their repeating weapon emplacements we had set up earlier. To hear the screaming of men, not in pain but in retaliation, against the wild and angry calls of the Brutes, it was astounding. Some of the men were screaming over the weapon fire, ducking under the red plasma fire that came from those Brute weapons.
It was horrible, Randy. Horrible.
That whole line of Brutes were taken out, and the ones who weren't started to crawl up to us while they were bleeding out. They were dealt more blows from the men who were not using the weapon emplacements, but they seemed to take their time, firing shots into their arms and legs and yelling in fervor. The platoon Mustering Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant Thompson, grabbed me by the arm and pointed towards another OP that was taking heavy fire.
I could see the Brutes were in their lines.
He, along with a squad of four, saddled up with me and we took off running towards the OP via the back trenches that ran between our hills. I saw the men who accompanied me, two of them carried M90 shotguns and the rest were armed with Assault Rifles, and I realized we intended to fight.
The sounds of battle were getting closer.
My hands trembled again.
I could hear men and Brute screaming, loud octaves and low octaves concurring together. Men were off high, as if the pain was almost unbearable, and the Brutes were low, angry, dying but nonetheless still fighting on with such fury. All of the voices seemingly joined in a pained, horrible sort of music that made me cringe.
I swear, Randy, it was a Death Choir.
The two men with the shotguns charged forward, running into the battle as they fired their weapons. The other two stood back and let loose fire from their weapons, targeting the same shock troopers as the shotgunners. The entire Brute Squad that attacked were decimated, all of them dead after this brutal combo by my squad and the surviving members of Bravo Company.
The men moved back to the front line trenches and held that spot as I and Gunnery Sergeant Thompson began to move about the wounded. Randy, it was horrible. I say that often, but this time, it really was. Some men were holding in their guts from falling out, one man had severe burns all over his body, but one man was standing back and he had no visible wounds on him.
His foot was bleeding.
He was closest to the man with severe burns, so while I was working on him I asked him what happened.
He didn't tell me anything about it; he only said he can't take much more.
That made me think as I tried to stop the man with burns bleeding out on me, that the wound in his foot was probably made from a human projectile, and that was a normal sight during these battles here, to get scared and try to get out of it. I turned my head, the man bled out of me, and I looked towards the front.
The man who shot himself in the foot now seemed like an irreparable coward.
In that line I saw a man, with a Corporal rank, standing with his squad firing a pistol. It was the only weapon he could use; his right arm was gone by the weenus and the blood tied up with a small white rope. By what I saw apparently he was in great pain but he did not stop firing into the Jackals coming up on that side of the Hill.
They started to shout, happy, the battle was won and they beaten back the invaders on this Hill. I looked back to my hill and I saw my men doing the same, two dead bodies on the ground but the rest all alive. The man who shot himself, Private Collins, was on the ground with his knees to his chest and whimpering. The man who lost part of his arm was screaming out in victory, raising his good arm up in the air with a fist.
The wounded were taken care of, so I walked over to him with a shot of painkiller in my hand.
"You need some pain juice?" I asked him.
"No, 'mam, I'm fine. Just contact Command and have them replace another one of my forearms." He said, with a smile. He gave me a purposely sloppy salute with his left arm, and I hear soft little mechanical clicking. This soldier was truly a soldier.
And the soldier behind me, whimpering, was truly a man.
I'm putting in for leave, Randy, this whole ordeal makes me need to see you again, especially after the last letter.
I hope to feel you once more.
My eternal love, termina ex cadre;
Letters of a Corpsman: Fate and Cold Death
Date: 23 January 2009, 5:56 am
Hello. My name is Randall Farrior, Retired Colonel for the United Nations Space Command Marine Corps. I served with the man who you talked about in your last article, ‘A Man with Honor: The Story of Lieutenant John Lancaster’. My response to it was very good, you had all of the details good and you had his character right smacked down.
However, why I’m writing is not about Johnny, but about my deceased wife, Sergeant Major Michelle Farrior.
Michelle served with the 501st ODST division, a medivac Pelican Crew Chief who saved lives each time she went out on the battlefield. She originally wrote letters to me when I was serving as an Intelligence Analyst at the Marine Intelligence Bureau on Epsilon Alphanus, and I cherished each one of them. However, I began to worry when she was often pulled to act as a platoon’s medic for any particular mission.
This is one letter I received from her, detailing her time on Earth before the Ark Event.
I just hope that you understand why I’m re-writing this letter for your magazine.
Randall Farrior, UNSCM Retired
The snow is terrible. Each time our units try to make head-way against the fortified Covenant positions, we continually are pushed back each time. But it isn’t always the aliens that do so; We had to retreat at one point from the weather, moving back to the foxhole line because some of the men were losing the ability to use limbs again. A man by the name of ‘Steven’ told me that he couldn’t feel his foot, and when I and Corpsman Jacobs managed to treat him, we were horrified.
The man told us that he had not taken his boots off since he arrived in combat here. That was three days, and he told us ‘he loved his socks’. We took off his boots, and then I tried to unpeel the socks off of his feet, but I stopped immediately when he screamed. The skin cooked under his socks, so I got a stretcher and we took him to the rear. The doctor in charge told us that in three years he’d be back in duty due to the skin having to re-apply itself.
I don’t know, that sounded like horse-crap to me. I’ve seen worse injuries come back one hundred percent, but it shows how easily this war is taxing us. I’m tired, not only of the war but all of the dead.
I saw a man today I haven’t seen in a year. I saw him on Valasis II, where I tried to heal Sergeant Halloway. Lieutenant Jacob Riley, at the time, was a man who was the embodiment of the Corps. He was headstrong, polite, but he could be serious when the challenge demanded it. He was funny, and charming, but he was too chivalrous to engage in activities that were below his rank.
Today, I saw him commanding a platoon near the border of the combat. He was haggard, slumped at the shoulders, tired. He was commanding, definitely, but that charm was gone. It was a bloodlust. Something that only developed through tireless combat. He had the air that he could kill a man just for disobeying an order on the grounds of moral conflict, something that normal soldiers do. When I talked to him for a minute, he was cold, distant, nothing like the man I knew before.
This war is more brutal in the fact that it hasn’t taken so many lives as it had so many innocent souls.
At least you’re still my shining hope, Randy. Nothing more keeps me warm and sane by thinking of you in this cold, dark weather here in Alaska, and I still long for you simple yet elegant touch. You always had a way of calming me and keeping me grounded when I needed to be.
Our love, it seems, grows more than the refugees from this damn war.
Today, I saw an Alaskan Native walking through the forest, leading Jacob’s men to a wounded man who was by himself. I was sent along with Lieutenant Riley, and I could tell how harder he was. He wasn’t comfortable with being soft, not anymore. He was giving out hand signals, never talking once trying to get to him. Each step was forced silent for me, but Riley developed SFS.
Special Forces Syndrome. You know how that affects people.
He was quiet already, but his feet seemed not to even touch the ground, moving extremely quiet, keeping even time with the rest of his men, all of them struggling to keep up with the naturally quiet Native leading us to the wounded Marine, one Gunnery Sergeant Thompson.
He was screaming, and losing a lot of blood, as me and Tara could tell. His screams were not ones of guilty reasons or pain, but he was doing his duty; He was screaming the amount of troops he thought the Covenant had nearby.
Riley wasn’t a fool, he knew that area was a booby trap, and he warned Tara and me not to go, but I didn’t listen to him, Randy. I have a duty as well, and his duty was to protect him. My duty is to help those who need it, and protect them.
But I should have listened. I’m as guilty as the Covenant.
When I ran out, a Jackal tried to snipe me, but he missed. I don’t know why the Covenant thinks they’re sharp shots; this alien took almost three shots before he was even close to hitting me. Corpsman Gardner followed me, holding her pack of supplies, and Riley and his platoon opened up on the treeline. It was a symphony of gunfire and plasma, bullets penetrating the trees and erupting the Covenant sappers who were nearby. Two Brutes decided to jump nearby, and a pack followed, with Covenant support troops.
I was lucky, I think. Gunny Thompson was behind a natural barricade of logs, and the way he was lying on the ground he was covered to a degree. This, too, allowed us to be under cover as well as myself and Corpsman Gardner treated him.
Riley’s men were getting killed, but my priority was this man.
It was his leg; we needed to seal the wound up and get him to a medical station where they could transfuse blood, but the rate of him losing it meant we didn’t have much time. The wound couldn’t be dressed properly, not with the conditions around me. In a flash, I looked at the Gunny, and I said two words to him to prepare him for what I had to do.
“Forgive me.” I said, and then I took a lighter.
I don’t want to describe what I had to do to cauterize the wound.
But he didn’t give in. He winced, grinded his teeth, moaned very loudly, but he never screamed. Riley’s platoon Sergeant grabbed him and threw him over his shoulder, and he ran out of the area with him over his shoulders, the Gunny firing pot shots with his pistol, but they were blind and wild. He was in too much pain to make clear shots, and I was praying he wouldn’t cause a friendly fire accident. Gardner was pulling a nameless Private out of the area, wounded by a stomach wound. Riley and his men pulled us out, but they remained to sanitize the area.
Riley, later in the evening, came up to me and told me how stupid I was. I was the reason three Privates and a Corporal didn’t make it through the engagement. I told him that it was my duty, but he didn’t listen.
He changed too much to care anymore.
Gunny Thompson, unknown to me at the time, had internal bleeding, and it was a good thing we saved him in time.
I need to stop writing. I can’t see the pad anymore through my tears.
I love you, Randy, but I need you to hold me again. Please.
Your love forever, termina ex cadre;
Letters of a Corpsman: Finality
Date: 13 February 2009, 5:00 am
I regret to inform you that Gunnery Sergeant Michelle Farrior, a member of the Switched Service program and medic for the 3rd Medical Group, has died in combat.
She was serving with the Pelican, service number Lima Four Niner Zero, codenamed ‘Windwalker’, near Voi. This took approximately a day before the Voi Glassing, to eliminate the area of Covenant infestation.
She was part of a SAR detail looking for an elite commando who landed in the Voi Jungle, when she and the rest of the Pelican found the commando, and brought her back to the Crow’s Nest, the Voi GHQ, before it was attacked. She, myself, and Gunner Jenkins were attached to her following the linkup with Master Gunnery Sergeant Stacker’s men on the Voi Highway.
We boarded Windwalker and we made a SAR run, against Gunner Jenkins’ expressed wishes. Your wife, Colonel, fought the Marine Warrant Officer’s decision, and decided it was more important to pick up displaced Marines and Navy personnel than to high-tail it.
We made it around Voi when we heard a call from a downed Pelican, carrying about half a platoon’s worth of men, who took fire from Covenant AA and had a lot of wounded. Against Jenkins’ decision not to go, your wife steadfastedly decided to rescue them. She was the only one out of us who wanted to fight through and rescue Lieutenant Viljálmar’s men.
She was trying to save a Marine when she was hit by Spiker fire from a Brute, but she still managed to crawl over fifteen feet to reach me and tell me that two Marines couldn’t climb out of the Pelican. Then she mentioned your name as she seemed to pass away, clutching at a picture. It was of you, sir.
I found this letter in her rutsack.
I’m sorry this did not get to you sooner, sir. Once I get leave from an assignment, I’ll head over and tell you in person what happened.
Lieutenant Commander Luke Henderson
41st Special Tactics, Rescue, and Extraction Battalion
Dear My Beloved;
If you are receiving this letter, than I have died in the line of combat.
I was either struck down by those bloodlust aliens and their unholy Covenant, or by some sort of friendly fire. Either way, my heart has stopped pumping blood, and my mind has ceased all thoughts, and you are gone from me, as I am from you. The most important thing, however, is that my love is gone.
But do not fret, Randy. My love will extend from this world and into yours; you should know this, because these are reflected in the letters that you write to me. You paint a picture of simple, but beautiful imagery, and you waste it by not using it to the fullest of your abilities.
Since I am no more of this world, I ask you in the simplest terms of lovers. Not as the voice of a married spouse speaking to her husband, nor as a woman speaking to her soul mate. I want you to use that ability you have with the written word, and use it for the rest of your life. You have a gift, my love, and you would do well with it.
Men who do fear the pen are naught sufficed to failure, or so Thymaien said.
Make sure you tell my mother that I did what I knew was right, and don’t let her push you, as you like to tell me she has you do. But there is a very important thing you must do for me if this letter reaches you, and it’s something that goes beyond our love for one another.
My little sister, Abigail. You have to take care of her if I am gone, because she will have no one who can listen for her if my brother cannot be there for her, or his wife. You have to be a bastion for her once my soul departs for Heaven, because she will need someone there for her. You have to do this for me, Randy; because you know I would do the same for you in a heartbeat. Right now, I ask you for it, but when I leave, I will demand it.
If this letter did get to you Randy, then that means Jacob Riley is alive as well. You need to help him as well, Randy, because he’s gone. He’s not simple Jacob anymore, Randy, but he’s firmly Lieutenant Riley, United Nations Marine Corps. He only sees war, and he will drink, but I’m worried that PTSD will utterly destroy him, Randy.
And finally, if I don’t make it to the end of the Conflict, then bury me in Arlington, with a white stone, and the sign of my religion firmly placed upon it.
And don’t cry, Randy, at least while you’re reading this. Ever since we were little kids we were in love, and I always told you in high school never to cry if either of us died. You are an emotional man, Randy, and I need you to be strong for me. Do not weep, because I do not deserve that.
My sister needs someone who is strong, Randy, to take care of her. I do not trust my brother with that responsibility, because his vices are too much. You will have to be there, and you have to understand her as well.
Love her as much as you love me, because she has my blood flowing in her too, and if you do, then she will show you the same love that I show you.
I love you, Randy.
My death will not stop it.
Forever yours, in life or Death
Letter of a Corpsman: The First One
Date: 10 December 2009, 8:31 pm
"Hello, and you're back on the air with Dallas Richards on UNSC XTZC's Rockin' Airways! Normally, I'd play some flip music for you belters out there, but we have a special program that I think fits much better with the somber mood here at XTZC. It's a letter from a well-known corpsman by the name of Gunny Michelle Farrior, her letter provided by her husband. We have famous holo-voice actress Paula F here reading it off for you, so, enjoy listeners."
My Dearest Randy;
Today was my first real engagement with the Covenant. You were right about them. They are nothing like us at all. I never would have expected them to cut down helpless soldiers, but my thoughts of total war have completely changed.
One minute, I'm in a dropship with soldiers who are smiling and talking to their comrades about how they will best the inferior Covenant warriors. They looked so sure of themselves, all grinning and laughing. Like a sort of bond between a family of brothers. But then next they're screaming as we're dropping into the trenches of a combat zone. There was plasma fire all around the trenches, some of them struggled to fight back, some of them fighting correctly with cover and proper discipline
some of them foolishly thinking they were invincible and acting like a holovision super hero. You can't save those men; I didn't even bother. I merely ran from one wounded soldier to the next, trying to do my duty.
It's hard, Randy, to concentrate on one singular soldier and then have to stop to try to save another. Especially when you see a teenager die. God, Randy, it's so terrible I'm fighting tears to write this to you. It's like watching raw potential being taken by something that has no such thing as a soul. It's not only depressing and sad, but anger fulfilling as well. I saw a wounded Sergeant who saw a young boy shot in the head next to him. In one moment, he went from despair to anger, shooting madly into the Covenant approaching the trench. Death seems to be the fuel for courage, at least out here in Hell.
I have a feeling this war won't end with one side standing over the other triumphant and then planting a flag and leaving. This war will only end with the total annihilation of the other race.
I don't want to talk about my experiences, though. It was scary as I was fighting for my life, it's even harder to remember them.
Randy, do me a favor. No matter what happens, when you see a letter that has be describing events that happen on my side of the Galaxy, please burn it. I don't want the memories of you and I in Kansas farm fields being overroded by my sad descriptions of war and horror out on the edges of Human space.
How are you? I got your letter, by the way. It was very sweet of you to say those wonderful things. Makes me remember how much I love you. How are you doing at your new job? I would figure the Office of Naval Intelligence is full of odd people who are nothing like the Marines you and I know too well at 31st MIG. Have you seen Melinda? I heard from the grapevine that she got a new job working as an analyst with the Army folks.
I want you to write back. I need someone who knows what's happening to me to give me comfort. And with you, it's like soul food.
Mmm, you have no idea how much I miss your touch. I still have that Hawai'i volcano charm you gave me; it's taped to my dogtags. You were wearing that silly blue Hawaiian shirt, and I was wearing the matching purple one. We were on the cliffside watching the lava empty into the ocean
I remember it really well. I wouldn't have if I wasn't with you, Randy.
I'll put in a petition for leave, but, do me another favor and don't affect it's process. I know the position you hold gives you a lot of power, but don't flex it. If the UNSC needs me here, then it needs me here.
Anyways, please write to me. I need someone to know what I'm going through.
Misses Michelle Farrior
"And there you have it, folks. Seems like love and honor still exist. After the commercial break, we'll talk to Mister Farrior, where he'll read off another letter. Then, at 1130 hours, we'll play Hot Work's new single. Until then, I'm Lance Corporal Henderson, and I'm waiting, for you."
Love in the Time of Christmas
Date: 25 December 2009, 4:16 am
"Colonel Farrior, transfer call to CENTCOM secure severs."
"Roger that, sir. Hold one."
"This is CENTCOM Communication Headquarters."
"Hello, this is Colonel Farrior. Can you get me a Slipspace call to Procyon? I need to get in touch with Base Camp MARS."
"Certainly, sir. Hold one."
goddamit, Benson! Keep the flap down, don't let the snow in! Sorry, this is Lieutenant Oliver, Base Camp MARS."
"Lieutenant Oliver, this is Colonel Farrior, ONI. I need to speak with Gunnery Sergeant Farrior at her convenience."
"No time like the present, sir. She's in her tent, I'll transfer your call."
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
"It's great to hear your voice."
"Oh, no, trust me. I already feel much better hearing your sweet voice. It's already reminding me of the old, décolleté kisses you used to give me all the time."
"Heh, well, come back home and I'll remind me of them."
you know I can't."
"I know, hon. Even though I cry thinking about you on the frontlines, I remember what you told me. It was your choice. You being sent there on your own accord is your decision."
"And yet you did nothing to stop me?"
"Of course I did. I petitioned Colonel Gallagher to send you to some Marine hospital, but he denied it because you're my wife."
"I told him he had a stick up his ass after that, so I probably lost all chance of getting you home, but yeah, that too."
"Haha, the great berserker himself messing with ONI protocol."
He leaned against the couch.
"So, how's Abbie?"
"Abigail is great. Did you get my letter?"
A chuckle was heard from her end.
"Yeah, I did. I can't believe she got into a whole paint can!"
"She's got your spunk."
"Nah, she's got my sister's spunk
I'm sorry again, Randy."
"Please, don't be, Michelle. It's not like I don't love you without them."
"But it meant so much for you to have children. I just
"Michelle, if I wanted you to feel guilty, I would be doing a much better job. "
"I know you hate it when I cut you off, but yes, I am sure."
I feel better."
"Merry Christmas, by the way."
"Merry Christmas to you too, Mich."
"I gotta go now, hon
I love you. More than a hummingbird loves the dew of flowers."
"I love you too, beautiful. More than the stone shaped by the waves of a calm beach."
and happy holidays."
The line cut.
Colonel Randall Farrior took a long sip from his glass of whiskey, wincing as he felt the liquid punch his taste buds and trail down his throat. He gasped, licking his lips, not quite expecting the strong kick from the alcohol. He gingerly placed the small glass on the coffee table in front of him, relaxing against the lushness of the couch's exterior. A hand reflexively went to cup around an invisible shoulder on the couch, as if he was trying to rest his arm and pull in someone who wasn't there.
He missed her, a lot. It was getting to the point where he would have to try to forget her before he went to bed, because the nightmares of her dying on the frontlines was enough to make him cry in his sleep.
He gasped, needing a drink to drown out that thought. He grabbed at his bottle of whiskey and poured it into the glass, almost filling it to the rim before gulping down its liquids, sighing as he felt its terrible taste pour down his throat. Already, his mind was turning into mush, something he enjoyed at times like these.
He hated to remember her in that way. She's not a soldier, she's not a Devil Dog. She's an angel.
He looked to his left, the fireplace in his living room burning brightly with light and heat, closing his eyes as he felt the waves of warmth wash over his body as he relaxed his back against the couch, taking another sip from his glass.
On the coffee table was one picture, sitting on top of a pile of books and data-slates containing security-coded information. It was him, dressed in a black turtle neck against a gazebo with his wife. His hair was black, soft signs of stubble splattered across his face. His grin was wide as his wife leaned against him, his arms wrapped around her waist. Her smile was not as wide, but it was very delicate, pleasantness not lacking in it as her blonde hair came to her shoulders, a few strands sitting across her face. The sepia tone that colored the picture made it just as romantic as the moment had been when the picture was taken.
Now, he was nothing like that picture. His short but unkempt hair was a far cry to his nearly shaven head, his chin lacking hair in totality. His clear face was now covered in slight scars, one coming from his ear down to his neck. He hated it. In his mind, he was ugly, and he felt he didn't deserve the affections of someone so beautiful as his wife. His lean body was more muscular, brought on by the physical training required by the UNSC Marine Corps. She, though
she didn't change.
"Fuck." He said out loud, the alcohol not blocking out the thoughts he wanted to keep out of his mind as he touched the picture, imagining his wife as if she was standing before him. He opened his eyes, and she wasn't there. He shook his head as he stood up and turned around, staring outside his window.
Outside, it snowed. Around the house, the trees were covered in white powder, and there was no wind. The snow seemingly dropped straight down, calm and well-mannered.
It wasn't supposed to snow like this in Auburn. The thought streaked across Randall's mind as he sighed. He always told Michelle how he wanted to see soft and calm snow in Auburn since they moved here as their permanent residence almost ten years ago. His eyes began to sting as he felt them well-up.
He turned around and placed his fingers on the picture, picking it up by its dark, wooden frame.
"Merry Christmas, beautiful." He whispered, before placing it down on the table and walked out of the room and up on the stairs, in his room.
On the table, the face of Michelle seemingly winked, the man in the picture chuckling silently as he kissed her on the cheek, mistletoe hanging over them as she rested against his chest, before slowly moving back into their original positions, as the snow continued to drop across Auburn County. Even with the Colonel absent, it still dropped softly, and calmly...
Merry Christmas, one and all