always ask what the worst part was. As if it’s possible to quantify in degrees of bad. When you kill someone, nothing compares.

we werechosencause wewere thesmallones

N one else could

fit in the tunnels so they sent us. With a flashlight and .45 into hell.

colt .45 1911 pistol

United States Army Issued

The thing with going in was you never knew if you’d be coming back out. That was always there. And you couldn’t not think about it. So you went in and did what you had to. What you were ordered to. Anything to get out and see those monumental clouds exploding across that blue sky again.

Eachguy had their own reasoning.

Told a different story than the next. And carried with them something different, to use however worked. A flashlight and a gun we all had. One to see and one to kill. That was the same. And it stopped there.

Some thought you had to be all right with dying. That was the only way you could go down, they said, sold that this could be it, down on your stomach, hands and knees, death’s slow crawl. You had to accept that. If you weren’t comfortable with it, they thought, then you were sure to die.

Life

is only truly lived with your acceptance of death.

I was never all right with dying.

Some prayed. It didn’t work for me, but I understood why. Those that did, never made a scene of it, really. Some would cross themselves or simply tip their head down. You could see them mouthing something, their eyes closed and sweat beading over their lips, or sometimes, even, you could hear a mumble of breath,keep me safe in your hands in the body of your creation.

When faced with your own mortality, having Him on your side, I imagine, is the most comforting thing available.

I can't say

I carried much with me on my way down. Nothing more than I had to, anyway. I figured it was likely I’d die. I was aware of that much and didn’t want anything extra weighing me down.

The one thing i can't let go is the one thing i carry. everywhere.

She would have made it

if it weren’t for me. And by the time I made it out, backwards and holding up the line, she’d gotten wrapped around her umbilical chord and, she had no chance they said, I’d fucked it up enough and didn’t come out all too great either, I mean, 7 weeks premature didn’t help things, we didn’t have much on our side from the start. So when they found I had holes in my heart they took hers and gave it to me. My sister never had a chance because of me and so now, when I dive into that black hole in the Earth that’s trying to not only kill me, but swallow me up, I let go what I can, and carry only what I must.

A flashlight, a .45, and a ridge of skin scarring down my chest

and I crawl into hell ready to kill. And I kill because I can’t be killed. And so I run my fingers down the scarred skin and know that I won’t be the one to let this heart be killed. Not under my control.

My name is

and I’m a tunnel rat.

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