Chris leaned on the counter. He looked down at his hands, calloused and dirty. They were strong hands. Killing hands. The tools of his trade, and he was feeling strangely detached from life in Afghanistan today. His head still echoed with the sound of bullets and the screams of horses. He could still smell the blood and the death.
It was inside him—part of him. Like a physical thing, the blood and carnage of this place had wrapped itself inside his chest and hardened there, making it impossible to sleep at night or to walk from the barracks to the chow hall without resting his hand on his gun, waiting for the attack to come.