Never Shake a Sleeping Soldier
In high school, he’d been a runner. The slow build and burn in his muscles was a sweet pain, the need to find a steady pace, a solid stride and gait to match the terrain, the zen of a mind focused on nothing but the moment by moment exertion of the body, meshed so completely with the discipline he found in the dojo.
To be master of his body, his mind, that tenuous control requiring constant focus, was the core of his motivation.
He ran a handful of marathons, in college and during his time in the ‘regular’ military, if his SpecOps classification could ever be called that. Maybe those first two years, filled to the gills with training: Basic, Advanced, Space Assault. From there on out it was one tab after the next, the ranks of his peers growing thinner every time he looked. Which wasn’t often.
He’d started running early in his life, and looking back, he hadn’t ever really stopped. Hindsight was always 20/20, right?
Somewhere back there, everything else had ceased to matter. Friends, family, acquaintances… not that there had been so many of those to count. Tragedy had stolen some. Who he was had taken others. And once they moved out of his life, he’d never taken the time to replace them. The void was filled by the effort of honing his mind, his body, into a tool.
Like the low-tech SIG tucked tight against his ribs, pristine and primed, spotless.
Except for the deep gouging scars where the serial number had been filed off.
He had spent a lot of time smoothing the marred flesh of the steel in that spot. And yet the evidence of the sidearm’s wound remained. He often traced the faint grooves with his fingertip at night, hand tucked under his pillow while he lay stretched out on his stomach, nude in the night heat of this gods-forsaken place. The web of marks had long since burned into his brain, the pattern memorized. Even without the serial number, he’d be able to identify it by those scars alone. Blindfolded.
Nobody would ever know him the way he knew his weapon.
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