This language tastes like songs of my sedo and before, days when land was soft beneath bare feet, before bombshells bore into ground, before bullet skins showered seeds in the dust.

What Rachel Didn’t Know

What Rachel didn’t know about the letters she wrote to Private First Class Moralez was that sometimes he ate them. He would read them from beginning to end and then he would lick the paper. He would run his finger along the jagged edges where Rachel had torn the paper from her spiral notebook, imagining her fingers pulling on the page and the tightly coiled metal resisting as it ripped.

Lucas Boone Gets Treatment

Repeating the trauma of Afghanistan is supposed to cure it. I don the state-of-the-art headset, 3 fucking D, and hold the controller. Hepatic feedback. Sit in the seat. Hepatic feedback. Humvee on a bumpy road? Not really. No way to simulate the choke of sand and smoke, but when she thinks you’re ready, the doctor adds smells—diesel, sweat, gunpowder, blood.