Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been really busy with work and stuff. Here's another story. I hope you all enjoy it.
The sniper’s perfect 20/20 vision and lightning-quick reflexes surely helped him, but it was his ability to remain calm and level-headed in any situation that made him the ideal sharpshooter. He never felt any tension from his vantage point far above the battlefield. It was like there was no war going on at all, only him and his rifle. It was just like target practice. If he saw the slightest movement, the smallest protruding appendage, he’d pull the trigger and the body would fall. There was never any real danger for the sniper. The first target would never even know he existed, the next few subsequent targets would be caught off-guard looking for the source of the previous shots, and any remaining targets would be in such a panic at this point that they no longer posed a threat.
It seemed like the easiest job in the world to the sniper. However, he could not avoid the repercussions of his work forever. It was another hot day in the desert. He had set up shop in a third-story apartment overlooking the main street of a contested town. The mission proceeded just like any other until only one target remained. The sniper quickly pinpointed his next target, but the target had found him first. His position had been compromised, but there was nothing the target could do at this range. He just stood and stared at the sniper. Normally the trigger would have already been pulled at this point, but the sniper had never seen the eyes of one of his targets before. Never before had he seen the fear. Never before had he seen the humanity, and never before had his own humanity been so apparent. The sniper himself was absolutely frozen; he did not have any idea what to do. Before he could make a decision, the target took out a grenade and pulled the pin, but held on to it. Initially it appeared as though he did not know what to do himself, but it soon became all too clear what his intention was. The grenade detonated and the target was no more.
Luckily, none of the sniper’s comrades were harmed in the operation and the damage from the explosion would not be difficult to repair. However, the sniper still could not get that mission out of his mind. He began to question his entire military career. He thought about how many people he killed, how many wives had been widowed, how many children had been orphaned. The sniper did not know if he could go on and keep killing, and he began to question how long he could still emerge from the battlefield unscathed. It began to occur to him that he was just as mortal as any of his targets and at any moment, he himself could be neutralized. He remembered how that last target had chosen to end his own life in order to further his cause, and it made him think about what exactly he was fighting for and whether he could ever feel that strongly about it.
However, the war was not going to wait for him, so he had to keep fighting with a soldier’s resolve. The sniper returned to the front lines and all went on like it had before. His skills were still sharp as ever, and he now took more care to protect himself and keep his location secure. However, the sniper was challenged again when he met his counterpart. The mission was to storm a town of strategic importance, and he was to provide cover fire once again. Shortly into the mission he had located an enemy on patrol and decided to neutralize. The sniper fired one shot, but heard two. He immediately attempted to trace the sound to find the location from which the other shot was fired from. What he saw when he found it was an enemy sniper whose rifle pointed right back at him. He felt an uncertainty much like that when he saw that other man’s face through the scope, and it appeared his counterpart felt the same way.
The stalemate continued for what seemed like an eternity. The two sharpshooters stood completely still, completely silent. They ignored the battle going on around them. It was as though nothing truly existed except for the man on the other end of the scope. Neither one of them knew whether to make the first move. Each one just waited eagerly. The sniper used this time to reflect, and decided that there was no point to this little staring contest, as he would gain nothing in his death from taking his counterpart with him. His men had certainly already taken cover, so they wouldn’t be in any danger. Eventually, the sniper grew tired and began to lower his rifle. It was apparent that his counterpart felt the same way as he followed suit. The two slowly, almost casually, exited their compromised locations and looked to find new ones, and the battle went on. No one else would ever know about this exchange, but it would stay with the two men for the rest of their lives.