Silent Hill Homecoming (Alex, Elle & D. Wheeler Diaries)

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Three different perspectives.

Transcript of Silent Hill Homecoming (Alex, Elle & D. Wheeler Diaries)

SILENT HILL HOME COMINGALEX SHEPHERDAugust 2 Its hot here. Sweltering. I can barely breathe. But I guess thats the point. War is hell, right? Why am I writing this? Some of the guys said it would be good for me to communicate with the outside world. Keeps up your morale and improves mental health. Sir, yes, sir. Besides, what else am I gonna do with my free time? Write home? Unfortunately, I cant tell you where I am. And I cant tell you what Im doing here either. All I can tell you is my name, PFC Alex Shepherd. And all you need to know is Im a million miles from home in the middle of the nowhere, with thousands of people trying to kill me every day. So how did I get here? Well, I guess I should probably explain. August 4 Went on patrol today. Thats pretty much what we do every day. Id give you the details but a) Id get court-martialed and b) its not that interesting. Its mostly driving around, keeping your eyes open, looking for bad guys. Most of the time, nothing happens. If something does, Ill let you know. I said Id tell you how I got here. I guess there are a lot of reasons. Theyre pretty much the same as everybody elses. Small town, not many choices. Military dad, military son. Ill get to him later. Dont have energy right now. But I guess the main reason I joined up was, I wanted to make a difference, do some good. I know it sounds cheesy, but who knows? Maybe Ill learn something about myself. Im not trying to be a bad ass or a hero or anything; I just want to do something that matters. August 5 Today it was so hot I thought my skin was gonna melt right off my body. Our tents have A/C but the cool air never stays in. Still, when you go inside any of the mobile CPs, you stay there as long as you can whether you have any business there or not. It feels good.

I used to love the heat. In the summertime my brother and I would spend every second we could at the beach. Our town is on a lake and there were always tourists coming into town to go fishing or boating or whatever. When I was in high school, I would sometimes work at the docks filling gas to make some money. The girls who came there on vacation dont even get me started talking about girls while Im stuck out here. Damn, I just got really homesick for a second thinking about summertime. My last summer there, I hung out with my friend Elle pretty much everyday. I could probably write five pages just about her. Just about the coolest chick in the world. We were friends all through high school up until I left, but I havent really been in touch with her since. I havent really been in touch with anyone. I guess thats kind of the point. One of the reasons I left. Things werent always so great back there. They werent always like the summertime. In fact, most of the time, things sucked. To be continued... August 6 We took a patrol through a town about 50 miles from here today. It was like a ghost town. A storm blew through and you could barely see twenty feet in front of your face. Every once in a while some villagers would appear and we would train our weapons on them. They wouldnt even react. They would just walk right by us as if we werent even there. It was spooky. I was glad as hell when we got out of there. That was the first time I ever really felt afraid here. I felt like there was something waiting for me around every corner. I felt vulnerable. The only thing that kept me going was the mission. Im just glad to be back in my tent now. My dad would have called me weak. He spent fifteen years in the military. Yeah, nothing to live up to there, huh? He tried to groom me to be a soldier for a while, but he pretty much gave up on that after my brother was born. I think it surprised the hell out of him when I enlisted. He probably didnt think I could do it. Well, here I am. August 8 Theres a local kid here who comes by everyday trying to sell stuff. When he first showed up, the MPs were nervous and searched him to make sure he wasnt carrying

bombs. But after two days he became everybodys best friend. Hes got this huge smile and he just charms everybody. He reminds me of my brother Joshua. Everybody loves Joshua. Even when he does something wrong, he never gets in trouble. He just smiles that big smile and gets himself out of it. I remember the day he was born how happy my parents were. It was almost like relief. Joshuas ten years younger than and I think they were trying to have another kid the entire time so I think they were just glad he was healthy. They pretty much spoiled him from that day on. I didnt mind it at first, because he and I get along great. But they basically wrote me off after he showed up. Even now, I havent received a single letter from them since I left. I dont bother with mail call. Back in high school, I knew I had to get out of town. Thats something I could never really talk to Elle about. Both our families have been there for generations (get it Shepherds Glen? I know, dont remind me how much it sucks to have the town named after some great-great grandfather of yours) so its not an easy thing to discuss. But Elle never really felt that pressure to live up to her family name. She was independent, she did her own thing. No one told her how to live. I loved that. When I left, everything was just so chaotic that I never even got the chance to say goodbye. But Ive been gone so long now. I dont even know if shed remember me. August 9 I saw a guys legs get blown off today. He was walking patrol alongside an APC when an anti-personnel mine when off on the side of the road. The top half of his body did a back flip and landed right in front of me. Without thinking, I wrapped a tourniquet around each bloody stump and began to give him CPR. I was at it for an hour before the medics showed up. Then I went around the corner and threw up for twenty minutes. To be continued... August 10 I grew up in a small town. I left because I wanted to make a difference and the people around me were too blind to see that I could. I don't care if I ever go back there, but I'd like the people I do care about to know that in a bad situation I did everything I could to make it better. I'd want them to be proud of me. We're going on a mission tonight. No patrols, no guard duty, a real mission. Militias have taken control of a nearby town and we're going in to clear them out and liberate the civilians living there. We're trained, we're ready, and this is the reason we're here.

August 22 I know it's been a while since my last post. I've been asking them to let me get to a computer, but they kept saying I was too weak. I guess it's kind of obvious I'm not in the field anymore. The last time I wrote, we were just about to deploy in a small town to dislodge the militias that had taken control. It sounded like a good idea. The town was quiet when we entered it. That already made us suspicious. We were entering the town center when small arms fire erupted all around us. A rocket took out our lead vehicle, trapping us. It was an ambush. We called in air support and returned fire. But we were outnumbered. Guys starting get hit all around me. Guys I knew, dying right in front of me. Sgt. Nash pulled us together and we took cover behind a concrete wall. The last thing I remember was the whistle of an incoming rocket and the weight of that concrete wall crashing down on me. A chopper ride and a couple flights later, and I'm back in the States. I don't really remember any of it. Everything went black and I woke up in this military hospital, being wheeled in for surgery. I was in an out for the next few days, dreaming mostly. Even now, I'm not 100%. In fact, writing this has made me exhausted. I'll have to finish the rest later. August 23 They gave me a hard time about using the computer again. I need my rest, they say. That's all I do. Rest. I need at least some connection to the outside world. I found out today that Sgt. Nash is alive and here in the hospital. I'm gonna try to visit him when I get a chance. I'm still in a wheelchair, so it's hard to get around without someone's help. Makes me feel pathetic. I don't know if anyone else made it. Maybe Nash will know. Haven't heard anything from my parents. I don't even know if they know I'm here. To be continued... August 24 I found Sgt. Nash. He's in good shape and remembers a lot about what happened.

As it turns out, the militias were tipped off to our coming that day. The very same villagers we were sent there to protect were keeping tabs on us our movements, our departure from base, everything. They gave all this information to the militias so they would be ready for us when we got there. They sold us out. Air support arrived shortly after I got hit. They leveled any building the enemy might be hiding in. Choppers came in to make sure everyone got out wounded, dead or alive. We lost over half our squad. This whole ordeal taught me an important lesson. Instead of paying attention to the task at hand, I got sidetracked, thinking I had to do some sort of "greater good" in order to prove myself or some shit like that. I got caught up in trying to save the world instead of focusing on what was important and sticking to the mission. That kind of thinking costs men their lives. It won't happen again. August 25 The food here is terrible. My bed is stiff. There's only one thing that makes it bearable The nurses. These girls are incredible. They have these pristine white uniforms cut right above the knee, their breasts spilling out from their shirts. Look, I don't want to sound like a dirtbag or anything, I'm just saying I appreciate the military providing us with this one thing to brighten our days. Maybe it's sort of like payback for getting us stuck in this place to begin with. I don't know. All I can say is, "thank you." August 26 Started my physical therapy today. I'm making it a goal to be walking in a month. They say that's pushing it, but I don't care. I can't stay in this place forever, alth