Nocturne, Traffic Control Point

by Hugh Martin
Martin. The Stick Soldiers. Nocturne, Traffic Control Point
In armor, sweat, and skin, I sat in the Humvee's shell of steel. Miles of traffic moved down the freeway, north to Baghdad, engines shaking, vehicles blurring against pavement-heat ghosts. A white car curved left, leapt the curb, and came at us like the line of a bullet. Jenkins traversed the 240, there were shouts and shots—then I hovered high above the roaring earth on an orange bed of smoke when the man's body, gone at the torso, twisted toward me, flailing out his thin, dead arm, like he wanted to hold my hand.