He’d made this jump before. Then the night had lit up with anti-aircraft fire, and he stood in the plane with Jack and William waiting for the light to turn from red to green. Only boys they had been, their hearts slamming against their chests, their bodies so pumped with adrenaline that they barely felt the cold air. And when the door opened they stomped in unison, terrified yet exhilarated. Ready for battle. Uncomprehending.
Now all that is past: the blood and horror, Jack’s fast grin and bright blue eyes, William’s soft voice when he spoke of his family, his home. All is wind and sky, forest and mountains.
He feels only the sway of his body beneath his canopy as he descends effortlessly. Frosted mountains surround him as the verdant earth grows closer, and he sees now what he couldn’t then. There is no glory in war. There is only the futility of death.