Contest entry for author Natalie Whipple’s Weather Contest.
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Terrance was dreaming about the war again. Each one was different, and this one carried with it an aura of menace, taunting him in his sleep. The only thing constant about the dreams was the weather.
In this dream, the tank wing stopped at the start of the carnage, and they all got out and shut down the tanks, so it was quiet. Sixteen men walked through the blasted Iraqi armor, trucks and tents. The Iraqi dead lay everywhere. In the blasted tanks, the blown trucks, lying out of the tents, strewing this way and that, bodies mangled unbelievably, hundreds of bodies all in name only. To an objective observer, they were just parts. The sand was wet with their blood, the air smelled like burnt metal, burn bodies, burnt fuel, the tang of blood and viscera, and yes, even fear and terror. The wind carried an eerie sound, mostly the tenor of burning accompanied by the whooshing and whirling moans of the breeze low across the sand. When it blew across his face, he could taste death. The sky was a sickly gray-yellow, the sun more of a suggestion.
Perhaps, if it rained in his dreams, he would stop coming back to the desert.
It never rained when he was in the desert, and so his memories would never wash away. All they did was congeal, like blood.