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Dust to Dust

John Darling

For whomever is left..

The Trilogy

Part I: IT

Part II: There Must Be Cowboys

Part III: The Dream

Part I: IT

“You didn’t have to kill it, Sarge.”

Sergeant Dix looked up from the corpse he was about to search, furrowed his hairy brow, and shot a hard glare at PFC Herndon. He knew this one was going to trouble the moment he saw him. How did a skinny little piss ant like him ever get it into the IT Corp and what idiot put him in his squad?

“Stand at attention Herndon—and mind your mouth.”

Herndon did neither. Instead he acted as if he were asking to join it sprawled out dead on the ground.

“I was just saying, Sarge, it didn’t look dangerous or anything, it didn’t try to attack us or steal anything from us. So why’d you go and kill it?”

That was enough for Dix; he stood up and laid Herndon out with one swift blow to the solar plexus. The rest of the squad stood rigid in stony silence as Herndon writhed on the ground gasping for breath. They all wanted to laugh at the little arrogant sucker because they all hated him too, but they new better than to say or do anything while Dix was handing out discipline for fear they would get a sample of it too.

“You got more to say about it, Herndon? If you do, then next time you open your mouth, you’ll be lying next to it with a bullet in the brain due to insubordination. Is that understood?”

Herndon, regaining some of his breath, got up and stood at attention on his still rubbery legs.

“Now, Herndon, in case you didn’t get it through your thick skull during the six months of Basic Training your government took the time and the expense to put you through, I and the men here, who do know their asses from their elbows, will explain it to you. Corporal Slater, step forward.”

Slater, in the second row of men, took a step backwards, did a crisp left face, marched to the end of his row, executed an equally crisp right face, marched nearly parallel to where Sergeant Dix stood, executed another right and then a left until he was face to face with Dix.

“Slater, about face!”

Slater spun on his heel to face the squad.

“Now Slater, perhaps you can tell this dumb ass just why I killed it.”

“Yes sir, Sergeant Dix. You killed it because it was alive, sir.”

“And why did I kill it for being alive?”

“Because it needed to be dead, sir!”

“Correct as usual Slater, now explain your reasoning to this imbecile—and take your time; remember who you are talking to.”

“Permission to move about, sir.”


In swift strides, Slater kneeled over the corpse and searched it. He began pulling items from it as he went while laying them in a row next to it. When he finished he stood and faced the squad once more.

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