Post Traumatic Sex Disorder
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Author’s Note: All characters in this story are 18+ years old. This story is a work of fiction and not to be misconstrued as anything but an artistic falsity. This story is progressive, not just a quick stroke piece. If that’s not what you like, feel free to skip to the juicy bits. Enjoy!
The desert was an annoying place to be. I’d been walking for the last six hours over sand, stubby grassy, ditches and over fallen stone. This was par for the course and hands down the best part of deployment. If I was simply walking, then there was no danger. Supposedly.
We were told that there was no use in worrying about IED’s in the field, because if we trip one, we won’t really notice if we die, and it will all seem like a bad dream if we live through it (not sure if I can trust that particularly grim “consolation”, though).
But this was the job… we marched on, keeping our eyes and our ears peeled and trying to discern what is ‘normal’ from what might be considered otherwise. Now and again we took harassing fire. This was no more than a few disgruntled villagers with old Soviet AK-47’s who happened to spot us on patrol and take a few pot shots at us. This scenario is when the adrenaline starts pumping. Even if the data says that the shots are extremely inaccurate and unlikely to cause casualties, I challenge anyone to stay in the general path of a bullet and NOT be afraid.
But like I said, this patrol was like any other: 99% eye-clawing boredom mixed with 1% pure terror. Being more than six months in country, I had long since lost the edge of the battle high. That is to say… if some haji took a shot in my general direction, I was more prone to anger than fear. The anger of my comrades being in danger. The anger of the necessity of my presence, and of course the anger of my disturbed hike.
We were the second battle battalion in support of a massive convoy en route to the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, bringing a full supply of water, food and medicine to a village in a critical juncture for the Afghan arms trade route. I walked directly behind my battle buddy and platoon medic, Spec. Ramos, as we tried to walk evenly along a northerly tree line, 50 meters to the east of the road and our convoy.
“Ramos!” I shouted with a dry mouth. “How close are we to the halfway objective?”
“Shit, Cox. Hell if I know. Ask Sarge when he looked at the map last…”
I shifted to face a little farther up the line.
“Staff, how close are we-” I didn’t make it all the way through my sentence before a loud POW! seemed to shake my bones.
I didn’t so much hear it as feel it. My head spun and my whole body vibrated as I came to understand that this was not the ordinary incoming.
Fifty yards to the right of our line, the road filled with our trucks came to a dead stop. I saw that at least two hums were on fire and one deuce-and-a-half was simply…missing.
My assessment only lasted a couple seconds but it felt as if I were falling to the dirt in slow motion. I heard very little. It was almost like the world had simply stopped for a minute. Then I slammed to the ground, my pack smashing me hard against the compact earth and just like that…the world around me was chaos.
“Medic! MEDIIIIIC! Perkins is hit!!” Someone shouted behind me.
Pfc. Perkins was a friend of mine but the idea did not register.
“HE’LL HAVE TO APPLY SELF-AID I’VE GOT CASUALTIES ON THE LINE, SCHUMER!” I heard Ramos yell from a few feet away. He appeared to be hunched over a fallen form that was twisted in all the wrong ways.
The ringing in my ears had started to subside and my training kicked in. Assess and adapt. Assess and adapt. I took a good look around. Most of my squad-hell most of my company- had already engaged. Three people down the line I saw our team muscle head, Mike, begin a spray and pray with fire laid down from his MG-249. The rest of my fellow soldiers’ rata-tat-tat-ing with their own M4 carbines added to the loud staccato. Those that could move, that is.
Unfortunately, I saw that our CC, Cpt. Williams, had taken off his clothes and started screaming at a nearby tree. He had finally cracked under the enormous pressure of combat command.
To this point, I’d still not even fired a shot. Some good I was. I followed the tracer rounds of the heavy machine gun out to around 500 yards to the west where I could faintly spot the telltale blinking of muzzle flashes coming from some crude murder holes carved into a property wall. This was very bad.
I whipped to the left to see Chakowsky running up to my position.
“What’s the situation, Caleb?” I yelled over the rumble of gun play.
“Staff called in for air support but it’s gonna be a few! We’re taking a serious ass beating here!”
“Here,” I said reaching to my side and grabbing a spare water bottle. “Bring this to Ramos up there for the cazzies.”
“What are you planning, man? I know that look..”
“Just do as I order, Private!”
“Yes, Corporal!” And he was pendik escort off.
I took a few shots in the general direction of incoming fire as he moved up to offer him cover.
Staff Sergeant Micheals radioed in to our JTAC requesting a fire mission from a couple A-10’s. They’d be a couple minutes out at least. Meanwhile I was hearing less gunfire and that was not a good sign. I needed to buy us the time.
Without thinking, I left my position near my friend and sprinted towards the incoming bullets. Dirt kicked up around my feet but I didn’t think about it much, I had a single, simple goal to accomplish. I ran the fifty yards to the nearest truck.
Not stopping to ask first, I slung my carbine over my shoulder, jumped up on top of the personnel carrier and manned the .50 cal. For whatever reason, either they were wounded or cowardly, the previous occupant was nowhere to be seen. I racked the charging handle and immediately let loose towards those fucking haji sons of bitches.
“Aaaahhhhhhh!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, as if the rounds came directly from my own body.
Sweat poured down my face as I struggled to hold on to the giant M2 Browning.
I was more alive, more frightened and angrier than I had ever imagined possible. I was pretty sure I was actually hitting a couple enemy targets, but I couldn’t see for sure. For the time being, it seemed enough that there were fewer blasts and snaps hitting my friends.
“A-10’s INBOUND!” Michaels hollered.
I jumped off the top of the Bradley and ran towards the cover at the line. Halfway there I felt a strong burning pain in my upper right back and thought maybe I’d pulled a muscle. I kept running.
And then…the unthinkable happened.
I saw Ramos stand, maybe to assess me for injuries upon my return, but before I could make it to him, I saw a pinkish red mist erupt from his back, and my best friend fell dead right before me..
“NOOOOOOO!!” I shot up in my bed with my arms extended into the air.
The same dream. Always the same damn dream.
I ran my hand down my face in a long sweep to chase away the cold sweat falling down my brow and cheeks. My heart still racing, I looked around my room to ground myself in the moment.
“Easy, James. Breathe” I cooed to myself.
I was at home in my own bed. The memory was just that, in the past. Nothing I can do. Nothing I could have done…
Like usual, the tears fell freely of their own accord even though I was quite numb, emotionally. The pain was more physical, like a handheld drill being jammed into my guts.
My hand snaked around to my back and tried to massage the muscle near my scar, like I could ease the pain of the missing flesh if only I found the right spot. I really wished the bullet wasn’t still in me like a macabre souvenir from my time of deployment. It was too close to my heart; not worth the risk of removal.
It was still dark out. It usually is when I wake up. No drugs seem to make any difference (and I must have tried nearly all), so I have to just accept my shitty sleep.
In just my boxers, I got up to go wash my face with some cool water. No use in breaking down completely. Especially since it was a special day and I refused to ruin my little sister’s 18th birthday by brooding all God damn morning.
After using the bathroom I looked critically at myself in the mirror. I was pretty banged up. I still had taut, lean muscle from my time in the Army. After all, I’d only been out 3 months. I ran my hand down over my abs and wished I wasn’t so nauseous.
There was a light knock at my door. This broke me from my dark reverie. I padded over to the door to answer, feeling guilty that I had woken someone else in the house up at an ungodly hour with my shouting.
As I pulled the door open, my younger sister Lydia was standing with her face close to the door and it made me jump that she was so close.
“Jesus, Lydia!” I put my hand to my chest, miming a heart attack.
She didn’t answer for a couple seconds but stared straight into me with her piercing emerald eyes, an inheritance from our mother. She stood still as stone.
I shifted nervously.
“Sorry.” She seemed to reanimate. “I heard you yelling and I… I was worried.”
“Ah. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”
I scratched at my short black hair feeling thoroughly dejected for causing trouble for her on today of all days.
“I wasn’t sleeping.” She whispered.
“Oh. Okay. Good, good.”
I didn’t really know if she was just saying that for my sake.
She stood very still again and the conversation dropped and seemed to echo in the quiet house. As the seconds ticked by, I realized that I was being very rude, just keeping her at my doorway.
“Do you, uh, want to come in?” I asked with a questioning inflection.
She breathed a simple “yes” and smiled.
Seeing her pretty face switch from seriousness to a blooming smile was like watching maltepe escort the sun rise. Her sharp, smart features curved and she seemed like the very essence of youthful beauty.
Feeling an odd, knotted sensation in my stomach that I quickly attributed to the lasting effects of my nightmares, I stepped aside to let her walk in and closed the door silently behind her.
Lydia walked to my window and stared out at the moon, seemingly pensive. I took a moment to just take in my sister’s presence.
She had long, straight raven hair that fell halfway down her back. One side of her hair always seemed to be covering one of her big green eyes, for which I gave her plenty of good-natured grief. Her gaze always seemed to be a million miles away, like she was seeing more than the rest of us could. There were truly untold depths to those eyes.
She had many similar features to myself, naturally. She was very slim, had a very fair complexion. The biggest difference between us was that I stood at 6’1″ and she at barely 5’3″. I always thought she reminded me of a young, emo Sandra Bullock.
She was wearing a long black t-shirt that had Breaking Benjamin’s band logo on it. It barely came down past her little bubble butt. I felt my prick start to stir and decided I should stop spacing out like that.
I walked to join her at my window. I couldn’t believe how much things had changed since I left home three years ago. How much Lydia had changed. She was just a bright, energetic 15-year-old girl when I had left home for the Army. And now before me stood a radiant, filled out young woman.
I suppose she would think the same of me. I was a very different person now. Not as edgy. Calmer and reserved with less mischief in my mind. But also darker. The memories I didn’t want staining my soul a deep shade.
I walked up behind her and wrapped my arms around her, resting my hands on her stomach. I hugged her tight to me and she responded in kind by leaning into me with the back of her head resting on my chest and her hands over mine.
“Happy birthday, sweet sister.” I whispered in her ear and then planted a soft kiss atop her head.
“Mmm. Thank you, James.” She closed her eyes and visibly relaxed.
I knew she liked being held like that and I had no qualms about soothing her easily frazzled nerves. Lydia tended to be wound up like a bunny on Riddlin.
Of course, I wasn’t exactly the perfect picture of calm either. Holding Lydia seemed to do much to assuage my anxieties. For how close we had always been, I was truly grateful.
“Was it the same dream this time?” She asked, her eyes still shut.
“I’m so sorry, James”
“Don’t be. They’re just nightmares, they can’t hurt me.”
She didn’t say anything for a long time. At first, I thought maybe I had successfully brushed aside her worries. But then she started to lightly shake in my grasp.
“Hey, hey now. It’s okay. You’re okay.”
She spun quickly around to face me and it was then that I saw the stain of tears on her cheeks.
“No it’s not!” She snapped with more venom than she might have realized. “They almost took you from us! They almost. Took. You. From. Meee..” she began to sob in between every word.
I grabbed her hand and led her to sit on my bed where I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and let her cry it out. She buried her head in the crook of my neck. I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t, because she was right. I just tried to be there for her and gently stroked her hair.
This went on for a few minutes. It was nothing new. Lydia had broken down more than I had over the events leading to my discharge from the Army. And my long recovery period. I could see it from her perspective, even if I thought she was needlessly worrying. If it had been her who had been deployed, I would have been so pissed and so very frightened. No one harms my little sister. No one harms my family.
That’s why I joined in the first place, to make a safer home and world for my family. That was back when I had a romanticized view of soldiering and being some sort of hero. Oh, how very naive I had been.
“You know I’m not going anywhere again, right?” I said soothingly. “I won’t leave you behind again. I’m sorry.”
She had calmed down a bit and sat up, clearing her tears away.
“Please don’t. I can’t stand the thought of losing you.”
“I’m here now and to stay. I’m gonna go to college using my G.I. bill. We can even go to school together. I promise, Lydia, you and mom and dad don’t have to freak out anymore.”
“We just love you.” She said meekly. “And I do want my big bro to go to school with me.”
She finally smiled a little bit with that idea. It didn’t last long. Something apparently occurred to her and she asked:
“What are we gonna do about your nightmares? You can’t live like that.”
“Well, the VA doctor says they will lessen in time. And that if it gets bad enough, he can prescribe a mild sedative. But I don’t wanna be all doped up. I had kartal escort enough of that in the hospital.”
“Well, we gotta think of something..” she trailed off.
She went back into that deep think mode again, staring into nothing.
“Hey,” I said after a few moments. “Why don’t I make you some breakfast?”
I could almost hear her tummy rumble as that snapped her back to reality and she looked up at me excitedly.
“Eggs with hot sauce and turkey bacon?”
Lydia smiled brightly and stood up. Then she bent down and kissed my cheek gently. I could have imagined it, but I felt like she might have lingered just a couple seconds too long. She stood up with her arms twisted behind her, doing her very best innocent-little-girl act.
“This is why I love you so much. You always know what I need.”
It sounded like a loaded statement, but I didn’t want to push the issue. It was time to make her special birthday breakfast. It was tradition, after all.
“Come on, weirdo” I scooped her up in my arms which elicited a manic giggle fit from her.
Her laughter was music to my ears, and let’s be honest, I loved the feel of her smooth legs against my exposed torso. I was a guy after all. As long as I didn’t think anything inappropriate, I didn’t see the harm. More than anything, I loved my baby sister. Nothing and no one could take her from me.
When mom and dad finally woke up and came down stairs, I had prepared a breakfast for them as well, complete with the obligatory coffee fix. Lydia and I had still been standing in the kitchen, discussing possible classes for next semester when mom walked in.
“Good morning my loves” she said stifling a yawn.
“mornin’, mom.” Lydia and I said together in an only slightly discordant cadence.
Mom took a sip of coffee as she started to really take in the room, as if finally waking properly.
“Oh James, sweetie, don’t you think you should wear some clothes around the house?”
I looked down at myself. I was still in my digi-camo underwear.
“I just woke up, ma. Gimme a break.”
Lydia walked over to hand dad his coffee while obviously trying not to laugh.
“I realize that the men in this family are very proud creatures” mom said with a sidelong glance towards our father. “But there is something to be said of propriety. You know-“
Dad and Lydia were both laughing openly now as I cowered under my mother’s stern lecture. I would run into an active mine field to save a box of kittens, but my mom’s words were more effective than any munitions.
“-and furthermore, you-“
“Okay, okay, okay! Sheesh!” I interrupted and ran off to find some pants.
Once upstairs, I had to walk past my sister’s room to get to my adjacent one. I noticed her door was open, which was curious only because she was a stickler about keeping it shut.
I decided I wanted to look it over, out of sentiment. Looking back, I’m still not sure that was my true motive. As I entered, I saw all the post hardcore band posters littering her walls. Everything was a carefully patterned mess. I walked over to her desk and saw the framed photo she had of her and I at Disney when she was 12 and I was 15. That made me smile.
As I placed it back, I noticed a book there that I had never seen before. It was bound in nice black leather. It was only out of place because we borrowed books from each other so frequently that I thought I knew them all. Something bugged me about it though. I felt a nervous pit in my stomach forming as my hand reached for it.
I opened the front cover and it had two words written in black sharpie: Lydia’s Diary. For a moment I shut the book quickly, knowing that to read anything from here would constitute a major trust violation between me and my sister. But my hand hovered over it just the same. I was curious.
I decided I would just read one page and that’s it, just to satisfy my curiosity. And it was probably no big thing, no major secrets or revelations, I knew her pretty well. Probably just teenage rantings. I opened the book up to about the middle and began to read silently.
Oh boy was I wrong.
Today James broke up with his slut of a girlfriend. I asked him what made him finally ditch her ass and he told me he didn’t want things to be complicated when he shipped out to boot camp next month. I’m feeling pretty good about this. That bitch didn’t deserve my amazing, sweet, funny and handsome big brother. If anyone gets him, it should be me. Sometimes I wish I could just be the type of girl who’s not afraid to go after what she wants. I guess I’ll just suffer in silence for now.’
I slammed the book shut and dropped it back where it was. My heart was pounding with confusion, excitement, worry, a little guilt, and (strangely) longing. I didn’t quite know how to take what I just read.
I walked out of Lydia’s room as swiftly as possible and almost plowed headlong into my sister who had just come up the stairs.
“Oh, s-sorry!” I stammered.
I looked down at the floor feeling very awkward. Lydia stood very still again, deathly still, like the calm before the storm. She gave me that piercing gaze again, but there was no hint of a smile in it this time.
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