As battlefields go it wasn’t so different from any through the centuries. Heavy rain fell, had fallen for hours, mixing blood and mud into gory sludge. Tazz stood over his brother with arms crossed, legs spread for balance or fatigue would take him to his knees beside the dying man.
“You didn’t flinch,” Razz noted approvingly. “It’s about time you fight like a man instead of a frightened little girl.”
There was a reason for the nickname, the elder McDyver brother notoriously hard on his sibling. In fact, Razz had been slated for death long before by his whole platoon. Tazz, saddled with the rhyming name thanks to a smartass drill sergeant, had simply drawn the short straw the week before.
“I finally had a worthy target,” Tazz countered after a long moment. ‘What else should I suspect? Of course he’ll be a smartass to the end,’ he thought to himself.
Razz blinked the rainwater from his eyes, wincing as if even that hurt. Perhaps it did. Tazz doubted he could feel much of anything, though. He wished the smarmy son-of-a-bitch would die, already.
His head was the only thing that he could move, now. Vision graying, Razz figured his time was just about up. Simply sorry he wouldn’t see his wife again, the man didn’t fret over the cause of his demise. He’d never expected to die in a rocking chair. Friendly fire or not, one bullet was as good as the next. The ever-demanding man prided himself on not having tried to stuff his guts back in. Something about his brother’s eyes had told him help would not be summoned before credit for the shot had been taken.
“Just promise you’ll kill the rest of these piece-of-shit Martian bugs, T…,” the dead man said with his last breath.
Another soldier approached, the unexpected hand on Tazz’s shoulder not quite making him jump. ‘Razz would be proud,’ he thought angrily. ‘Unflinching. I’m finally becoming like him.’
“Come on, T. There’s nothing more to see here,” the new platoon leader asserted.
“What did you call me?”
“T, man; I called you T. I heard Razz. It’s your new name. Now come on. We got to hump our gear over the next hill. There’s bugs to squash.”