Watching Corpses
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I don't quite remember the first time, but my parents told me about it. I would have been about… 5? Probably 5 or 6, yeah. It was one of my friends' dad. I just ran away screaming to the teacher about a monster in the playground. Got told off for being mean to grown ups. The next week he drowned. Fell off his fishing boat.

No, when I actually realised it I would have been about 11. When my grandmother was in the hospital.

Nah, it wasn't her. Cancer went into remission. It was all the other patients. Most of them were missing eyes. That's normally the first thing that I notice. She ended up dying a year or so later.

Oh man, you have no idea. Everyone just crowding over her. My mother kept making me go and talk to her, and hold her hand. I kept just seeing bits of skin falling off her. I think that's probably what fucked me up the most, you know. A whole week just being driven out to the hospital, every day, seeing more and more of her fall apart. And everyone just acted normal, you know? Making sure she was okay. Comforting a corpse.

Oh, hell no. I was old enough to know that I'd just be thrown in the crazy bin. They just thought I was crying because we were in a hospital.

Anyway, made my way through school somehow. Wasn't really great at anything in particular, so I ended up joining the army.

Well yeah, in hindsight it wasn't the best idea. Once we got into the field it was just… hell, you know. There'd just be people sitting in the mess hall, all dried up and shit. And they'd talk to me, and I knew that they were going to end up dead, and it's that… I tried to stop them, but it never worked. It wasn't great.

Yeah, well, you can't really blame me. Just woke up one day and they were all like that. Easiest decision of my life: took the first plane out. The carpet bombings started a week later. That's when the GOC pulled me in, of course.

Well, it looked very "telling". Not the kind of thing the army really cares about, but the GOC figured it out somehow.

I can't really remember… he went by Tangerine, I think? Anyway, we chatted for a bit, got everything sorted out. They just stuck me in an office to organise teams.

Well, it didn't guarantee that they'd be successful, but they always came back alive. After a while they realised that the personnel I was turning down still turned up dead, even if it was something like a heart attack, so they pulled me out of that.

Well yeah, that's when they started thinking that it might be me killing them indirectly. Kept me locked up for a month, ran the battery of tests until they all-cleared me. After that, if I saw any dead personnel I was to keep it to myself. I felt pretty crappy about it, but like I said, I can't do much about it. They decided it might be better to send me out doing field work, you know? I'd been in the army, like I said. And let me tell you, I was the best. Worked as a spotter in sniper teams; of course, they'd always make their shots. I could go in and clear out buildings by myself, just because I knew they had to die.

Oh man, the worst was probably the crowd bombing. I knew something was going to go down, there were dead people everywhere, and then they all just… aligned in a perfect circle. And it was like, in those fractions of seconds before they all went, I knew what was going to happen. They were all going to die, and the rest would scatter. And I looked at the centre of that circle, and I swear, that bastard looked straight at me. Of course, I just saw a hollow skull, facing right at me, and then a ball of flames and shrapnel. That would have been in '97, you know, might have heard about it.

Yeah, I retired from active service, what, 6 years ago? They still pull me in for important stuff. Hell, they've probably noticed I'm gone already.

Oh, no, I'm not worried. They'll come and get me.

Within the week.

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