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The Little Things We Tell Ourselves

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Ears ringing, head in a haze.  Mouth filled with grit and the taste of iron.  Blood spilling on the ground, hand clutching at a mortal wound in a vain attempt to stem the flow.  No pain, only panic.


MEDIC!  No response but disembodied screams, abruptly silenced.  Only breathing and pulse left. They didn't feel like they would last either.  


Other footsteps.  Slippery, shaky hands grasping for a grenade.  Plan Z.  The footsteps grew nearer.  Shadowy figures loomed overhead.  Only one way out.  


“Verzeih mir.”



Nader snapped awake with a gasp.  Her heart thudded away and her skin was drenched in cold sweat, the sheets sticking to her uncomfortably.  It took everything just to breathe as her thoughts burned.  All the while Sparks snoozed peacefully next to her.


It took a couple minutes but Nader finally found it in her to move.  She sat up and took a drink from the bottle on her nightstand to wash away the dryness in her mouth.  When she settled back into bed she clung on to Sparks.


Sparks grumbled and stirred from her sleep.  Nader let go as she rolled onto her back. “What is…?”  She opened her bleary eyes to see Nader and her unfortunately familiar look of distress. “Are you alright?”  Nader shook her head.  “Another nightmare?”  A nod.  “Oh babe,” Sparks shifted so she could hold her closer.


“They never get easier,” Nader murmured, her head resting on Sparks's chest.  Listening to her slow and steady heartbeat made her calm down somewhat.  “Usually I try not to think about what could happen but…”  A lump caught in her throat. “I miss her.”


Her wife.  They called each other every day but it had still been months since she had been able to make it out of Germany.  Sparks gently pet Nader’s head, her fingers loosely combing through her hair.  “She’s visiting soon.  It will be okay, your dream is only that.  Not reality.”


The nightmare was still too fresh for her words to offer much comfort.  “You don’t know that.”


“You’re right,” Sparks admitted with a bit of a sigh.  Their line of work was far from predictable, after all.  “But I do know that I will do my best to make sure it stays that way.”


Nader took a deep breath to fend off the lingering tension and nuzzled into Sparks’s chest.  “Yeah.”  The stress still lurked in the dark corners of her mind but at least she felt safer.  It only took a few minutes for Sparks to fall back asleep, with Nader starting to drift off not too long afterwards.  She rubbed her thumb over her wedding band.  Fond memories helped lift the uncomfortable weight in her chest.  


It’ll be fine.