My House
By: G Wayne
Copyright © 3/1/05
Dressed in black, their faces caked with a dark powder that absorbed sweat and offered no reflective surface. They were less than ghosts in the moonless dark. Things that go bump in the night strike fear into the hearts of men, but these apparitions made no noise. They attack and are gone before their objectives realize they had been ... neutralized.

Slowly, with imperceptible movement, the point man made his way to the compound as the rest of the team watched him through their fifth generation night vision goggles. They were a well-connected unit, an integrated force that acted as one. They could only wait and hope emergency backup would not be needed, as only one team member carried out the initial penetration of the compound.

Intel group said there would be two or three guards at the most-they passed that many before getting within three hundred meters of their target area. Earlier, a heavily armed guard looking for a secluded spot to relieve himself was about to unsuspectingly step on a team member who was concealed in plain sight. Before he got too close, a dart containing a fast-acting tranquilizer pierced his neck. Two team members caught him as he crumpled, and noiselessly laid his limp body on the ground. When the guard would wake up in approximately twelve hours, he would know nothing other than he was guilty of sleeping on duty. Within those twelve hours, the team would be in another country.

Point man was still undiscovered when he deftly started to work the lock at the only door into the compound offering any sort of cover. He felt lucky that this doorway was recessed and he did not have to work in the open. He glanced at two palm trees that enabled domination of all traffic going in and out of the compound. All he saw were the palms, but he knew his comrades were there. Long, hard training had embedded an instinct to sense each other's proximity and actions. Radios fitted in their helmets offered precise coordination, but these were silent. For now, they would hunt with the intuition of a lupine pack of wolves.

Before the unlocked door was open, Point man slipped a thin fiber-optic cable beneath it to check for any offensive personnel. Seeing the hallway empty, he set his silenced Heckler & Koch MP7 to double tap and slowly opened the door. According to his map, the prisoners were in a makeshift dungeon that was down an adjoining hallway to the left. Point man gave the signal that he was about to enter and another member of the team began to close in, while the rest maintained the palm tree position.

Point man made his way down the hall as quickly as he could while still remaining stealth to the point of making no sound. He would stop at each door and hesitate at every corner, straining to sense anything that would indicate another presence. There was very little light in the dingy cinderblock hallway. This was a good thing for Point man as he needed no light to see as clear as day. He glanced at the blood-spattered walls to which he so closely clung. He could even make out the places where bits of hair and skin remained attached, remnants of the agony that took place within these walls-and on these walls. The going was slow as Point man, ready to deal with the enemy, would become motionless at every sound: the creaking building, or the sound of a rat scurrying past, climbing over him as he crouched in the darkness.

When he reached the second hallway Point man stopped, taking his time before entering new ground. He could feel the adrenalin pumping in his blood. His senses became extremely perceptive. This was the time he both loved and hated, pursued and avoided. The allure of danger was seductive and it drew him closer, but in the end, how he felt did not matter. This was his job and he was doing the best he possibly could at what he was trained to do. He suppressed thoughts of the people he was about to rescue. He knew the captives' names, and what they looked like, but he could not help wonder why they were so important and what secrets they possessed.

When he came to the door containing the prisoners he heard a soft moan. It sounded like someone too exhausted to fully express their anguish. It was a deep, uncontrolled slobbering sound that originated from long hours of acute pain.

Point man cautiously opened the door and surveyed the room. An acrid stench of vomit and excrement wafted through the air. There was only one candle on a coarse wooden table casting shadows on the dark cinderblock walls. Three people were bound to chairs. Two of the chairs faced opposite corners of the room as if the occupants were elementary school students being punished. The third person was stripped to the waist, passed out with arms tied to the table. It was a woman and the blood that flowed from the cuts on her back ran down and dripped from her breasts to the earthen floor. Point man checked the prisoners to see if they were conscious or at least still alive. He quickly cut the nylon cable ties that bound them to their chairs and felt for a pulse, hoping for some response.

Just as he was freeing the second prisoner, Point man felt a cold steel blade swiftly pressed to his neck.

"You infidel, you American shit. No one invades this holy ground and lives," a growling, venomous voice whispered into Point man's ear. "Your blood will offend the earth that it spills on."

The words gushed out, spat with deep hatred and rancor that had festered over a lifetime. Point man had made a mistake by letting someone get so close, but his attacker had also blundered. He chose derisive action over decisive action. Point man's reactions were incredibly quick. In one fluid movement, he wedged his hand between the knife and his throat while the blade of his Microtech Halo sprang from its hilt and found its way through the left eye and into the brain of the attacker.

Point man suffered a gash through the glove on his right hand, but the attacker was no longer a threat-terminated without drawing attention. Point man's view of his attacker's face was intimate. He could see every nuance of shock and bewilderment deeply etched in the man's face. All sense of hatred was gone. What remained was a frozen countenance of a sentient being aware of the time of transformation to where there is no time-the moment of death. Point man regarded the face of his kill and frowned. He did not like or hate this man and if he had discovered the other man first, the outcome would still have been the same. This is what he was trained to do.

Bursts of automatic gunfire and shouts of "Clear!" began to fill the air.

"Aw shocks, isn't this a Kodak moment--although he really seems to be expressing more emotion through the eye without the knife in it."

Point man's backup had arrived, entering with an attempt at macho humor. Point man slowly looked up and then returned to the task of removing his bloodied knife from the lifeless eye socket.