Read by Phil Rossi
He had been trained, as all of us had, to assemble his rifle by touch – but
to our dismay, we discovered that Private Sperling could do it in
near-silence. He pushed the parts together with delicate care underneath
the stiff, thin sheets of his bunk bed, the click of pins and bolts so
muffled that none of us heard a thing in the cramped confines of our modular
In our defense, we were doped up on Lithium. But even if we hadn’t caught
the faint scratching of the cleaning brush, plunging in and out of the bore
like an obscene masturbation, we should have heard him crying. Afterward,
Sperling’s bed was a smear of stains – grease on the sheets, tears on his
pillows, blood on just about everything else.
We didn’t know the Decharai had made contact with him.