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She woke with a start, drenched with sweat and screaming. Her fatigues, soaked through, stuck uncomfortably to her skin. 'Oh god,' she thought,'I'm still here. It was just a dream.' The blazing tropical sun burned in through the flap of her tent, and outside the camp buzzed with activity. She straightened her clothes and staggered outside. A helicopter had just landed, and the prisoners inside were being herded into the hotboxes at the edge of camp. She tried not to look at them.'They're not people, they're animals. They're not people, they're animals.' She ran the litany over and over in her mind, as if that would somehow help. Somehow justify the monster she'd become.

The mess tent was almost empty. She sat in a corner and picked at her food. Her appetite had disappeared weeks ago, and the thought of going on shift soon did nothing to change that.'They're not people...they're animals.'

She stepped into the surgery, and realized she was late. The prisoner was already strapped down. Doctor Halverson was arranging his tools, almost ready to begin. 'You're late again Miller' said a voice at her side. She turned to look at him. Lieutenant Haight stood there, his black uniform without insignia, his pale face in stark contrast to the jungle tans of everyone else in the camp. 'This is becoming a pattern, yes?' His voice was harsh and cold. 'This is the third time in a week. Once more and you will be disciplined. Is that understood?' Nurse Miller shuddered. 'Yes sir.' She replied. Haight crossed over to the prisoner, and whispered to him in Vietnamese. The man began to scream...

She closed her eyes and tried to block it out. Block out the screams. Block out the horrible sound of Haight's voice.

'Miller! Revive him!' Dr Halverson's voice roused her from her brief reverie. 'Yes sir' she replied. 'Ammonia' she thought. 'That usually works...the first time.' She cracked the capsule under his nose, and the screaming started again. 'They're...not...people. They're animals...'

She woke with a start, drenched with sweat and screaming. Hands on her shoulders were shaking her. 'Miller! Miller wake up!' It was Terry, the look of concern on her face at once comforting and unsettling. 'Are you okay? I didn't mean to startle you. It's just that your break was over ten minutes ago and you're late for surgery. Dr Forbes is already scrubbed and waiting.' 'I...I'm sorry Terry. I fell asleep and had the most horrible dream. Oh god...' 'I'll be ok.' She quickly straightened her uniform and ran out of the lounge.

As she entered the surgery, they all turned to look at her. 'Sorry I'm late. I fell alseep' she said. 'Well, let's stop wasting time and get on with it, shall we?' replied Dr Forbes. 'Yes lets' hissed a voice in her ear. 'Haight!' she gasped, but when she turned to look there was noone there. 'Oh my God. I'm going crazy' she thought. 'Scalpel' said Dr. Forbes. As she handed it to him she could feel the hot jungle breeze blow across the back of her neck.

Five hours later, slumped over on the bench in front of her locker, she could barely muster the strength to tie her shoes. The surgery had been a nightmare. 'I can't believe that kid died...why? Why?' she thought. 'Nobody fucking dies getting their appendix out!' The sound of boot-heels against the tile floor startled her, and she turned to see a shadowy figure standing in the doorway. 'What do you care if they die?' it hissed. 'They're not people, they're animals. Right?' 'At least he lived long enough to tell us what we wanted to know...' 'What the hell are you talking about!?!' she yelled, but there was noone there to hear her. He'd disappeared again. 'What the hell is happening to me...?'

She stumbled slowly out the door of the hospital, heading for the bus stop, waving half-heartedly at the people who called out to her. 'Goodnight Miller.' 'Yeah right' she thought. 'Good for who?' The screech of tires as she stepped into the street snapped her back to alertness but it was too late. As though in slow motion she watched the car slam into her and saw the world spin sickeningly as she flew through the air. As she lay crumpled and broken in the street the last thing she saw was the taillights disappearing into the darkness.

Agonizing pain. An excited babble of voices all around her. A brilliant white light, blinding her. Then another voice, closer, louder. 'Damn it! We're losing her!' 'No!' she thought. 'I don't want to die yet!' But she couldn't speak, couldn't move. Then a long steady tone from the monitor and a female voice next to her said 'She's gone.' As everything went black she could hear the faint sound of helicopters and the buzz of jungle insects.

She opened her eyes but could see nothing. She lay upon somethng soft, and she realized she was covered by a cloth sheet. Pulling it away from her face she looked around and could see no further than a few meters in any direction. Sitting up, she stepped off the bed onto a cold, hard surface. 'Where the hell am I?' The hospital bed she awoke on sat alone in what appeared to be a huge room, but she could make out no walls or ceiling. Only the cold grey floor stretching off into the darkness. 'Amy.' said a voice behind her. She spun around and saw a bright light in the distance. 'Amy, come into the light.' The voice sounded so familiar. As she approached the light she saw the vague outline of a figure standing within it. 'Amy, you're safe now. Come into the light.' 'Dad?' she yelled. 'Oh my god DAD!' And she ran towards him. The smiling figure of her father, dead now ten years, opened his arms wide to hug her. She threw her arms around him and in a cold, hissing voice he said 'Welcome sinner. I have waited long for this moment, and have prepared a special place just for you.'

She woke with a start, drenched with sweat and screaming. She gagged on the harsh scent of the broken ammonia capsule being waved under her nose. Opening her eyes she saw a masked face bent close to hers and a female voice said 'She's awake sir.' Then a cold cruel voice from the shadows 'Excellent. Now it begins.' Looking around she saw the familiar confines of the interrogation tent, and in the shadows to one side the tall, gaunt figure of Lt. Haight. She struggled to move, but the leather straps held her fast, biting into her skin. The air in the tent was stifling and hot, and she could hear a helicopter landing outside. Haight approached slowly, a glittering scalpel in his pale hand. 'Welcome to eternity my dear.' As the scalpel slowly parted her flesh she began to scream...


This story golab 1999. Please do not reproduce it without permission.