Battlefield of the mind
i never thought i would write a thriller, psychological or any other kind. i dont watch them, but this story came to me all in one lump sum and i had to write it down. i am working on turning it into a screenplay. plz leave a comment and let me know what you think of it.
Hicks arrives in Iraq and joins his platoon.
Montage of first two weeks;
He settles into life as a soldier.
Meets the native peoples, many of whom receive him favorably.
Goes on several patrols-all is quiet.
Then, two weeks after his arrival, a young woman, about nineteen yrs old, carrying an infant, approaches a group of soldiers, of which Hicks is included. She makes him think of his wife back home who is due to have their first child soon. This girl asks the soldiers if they have seen her younger brother. she says she has a picture, and reaches into her jacket pocket to get it..a jacket on such a hot day? then hicks sees what looks like dynamite peeking from the opening of the girls jacket front. he yells "bomb" and dives for cover as the air is ripped by an explosion. He is one of two survivors.
Two days later, as he is patrolling with five other soldiers in the village they are stationed at, they are approached by a young boy no more than ten years old. He looks as if he has been crying. Hicks notices right away this boy is also wearing a jacket on a hot day. Then the boy asks if they have seen his mother. HE says he has a picture and reaches into his pocket. Without thinking, simply reacting, Hicks draws his weapon and shoots the boy in the head, killing him instantly before he can trigger his bomb. The other soldiers jump in surprise and ask "What did you do that for?' In answer he squats down and opens the jacket to reveal...nothing, there is no bomb. Hicks is completely shocked. He looks up at the others, stunned, and says, "But he had a bomb! I know he had a bomb...he was wearing a jacket...he was going for the trigger. He had a bomb!"
The soldier in charge takes stock of the situation, then commands Hicks to pick up the kid and follow him. It is a command that Hicks is unable to obey. He tells the officer he can't do it. The officer tells Charlie, another soldier, to get the kid and follow them, meanwhile he grabs Hicks and hauls him to his feet and shoves him in the direction of the command tent. When they reach the command tent, the officer explain what happened to the Captain. The Captain, who is aware of what Hicks witnessed and survived two days prior to this, tells the officer to have someone bury the kid, and if someone comes asking about him, send them to him. Meanwhile he would deal with Hicks. He tells Hicks he needs time to get over what happened, so he is sending him to join a platoon that has been seeing very little action and rarely sees any native people. He is to go and get ready to leave.
Hicks leaves early the next morning with three other soldiers going to join the same platoon. About a half hour into the trip, however, their vehicle runs over a mine. Hicks is the only survivor. He wakes up in the field hospital. His head is heavily bandaged and his left leg is in a cast. A Dr. walks up to him. He tells Hicks he is lucky to be alive. He has a broken leg, they had to remove a bunch of shrapnel, and he has a severe head injury. They will be shipping him home as soon as the swelling goes down in his head, and it is safe for him to fly. Several days later, he arrives safely at a hospital in the states and is settled in. A couple of days later he is allowed to go outside for fresh air, and his parents who are visiting, take him in a wheelchair around the grounds. While outside, a passing car backfires. Hicks reacts automatically and dives out of the chair, landing face first on the lawn, eyes closed, arms protecting his head. He soon becomes aware of someone shouting his name and yelling for him to get up. Then he realizes he isn't laying on grass but dirt, bare dirt. And he is no longer wearing hospital robes but full combat gear. Not a heavy bandage on his head but a heavy helmet. Suddenly he is hauled to his feet and swung around to face a very angry sergeant.
What's the matter with you, Soldier? Are you deaf?
At the moment, all Hicks can do is stare at the sergeant in mounting fear and confusion. A moment ago he was back in the states talking with his parents, now he is back in hell. It has to be a dream. To test this theory, he reaches out and pokes the sergeant in the chest.. He certainly feels solid enough, real enough. He looks back into the sergeants eyes. For the first time in his military career, the sergeant finds himself nonplussed. Finally he bounces back with;
And just what did you mean by that? Get back to your
position and quit playing games! We have a war to fight,
if that's OK with you.
What did you just say? Because my hearing must be
a bit off, I thought I heard you say something you never
want to say to me, soldier!
No. This isn't right! This is a dream or something. I'm
at home right now, not here anymore. This isn't real!
The sergeant exchanges looks with the other soldiers, who shrug their confusion. He decides he better take this someplace else.
(Grabbing Hicks by the front of his shirt)
Come with me, Hicks.
Hicks does his best to stumble along in the sergeants wake. Everything he sees and hears looks and sounds like the real deal and no dream. Finally, they reach the command tent. The sergeant looks in and clears his throat.
Excuse me, Sir, but do you have a moment?
Of course, Sergeant, come in.
The sergeant enter the tent followed by Hicks. Both men come to a stop, standing at attention in front of the Captain's desk.
At ease, gentlemen. What can I do for you?
Well, Sir. Private Hicks here seems to be having a problem
with reality, Sir. He thinks this is a dream, or something,
and that right now he is back in the states.
Is this true, Private?
The Captain can see real fear as well as confusion in the face and eyes of the young soldier standing before him considering his reply.
Sir, I don't rightly know what is going on. I know the
vehicle I was in hit a mine and I was the lone survivor. I
woke up in the field hospital with a broken leg and a severe
head injury. I was shipped back to the states. My parents
came to see me. while we were outside visiting, a car
backfired. I reacted automatically and dived face first onto
the lawn. Next thing I know, the Sergeant is yelling at me
to get up. Frankly Sir, I am a bit scared. Being home felt
just as real and solid as this right here does now.
Well, Hicks. I know about what happened to the unit
you were riding with. And you did end up in a field
hospital...Ours in fact. But you didn't have a broken leg.
In fact, you managed to walk away from that event with
nothing worse than a concussion and some shrapnel. A
pretty lucky man, I'd say.
Sergeant, make sure he drinks plenty of water and try to
keep him out of the direct sunlight for the next couple of
days. It's possible that between his head injury, the heat
and dehydration, he had an hallucination.
Yessir. Come on, Hicks.
Hicks returns to duty. All seems to go as normal as is possible in a war for a couple of days. All has been quiet. It is evening and Hicks is eating dinner with several other soldiers. He isn't paying attention to the comings and goings of the troops, so doesn't notice when a soldier stops behind him and brings a small paper sack filled with air from behind his back. This soldier can barely contain his laughter at the joke he is about to play, and he completely ignores the urgent head shakes from two of Hicks' eating companions. Just as one of the men speaks up to warn Hicks, the soldier pops the sack loudly just behind Hicks head. Hicks jumps and freezes. Then his eyes lose focus as he loses consciousness. When he wakes up in a real bed, in a semi-darkened room, he mutters;
I knew it was just a dream.
He sighs in relief and goes back to sleep. The next time he wakes up, it is morning, and an orderly is busy about the room.
Hey. you're finally awake. How you feelin' man?
OK, I guess. How long was I out?
Oh, a couple a days, at least. What happened, anyways?
You hit your head or somthin' ?
Look, no offense or anything, but I really don't feel much
like talking right now, OK?
Sure, man. No problem. I'll just let the nurse on duty know
you got your lights back on, if you know what I mean. Take
it easy, buddy.
The orderly leaves, closing the door gently behind him. Within a few moments, the nurse comes in and checks his vitals and asks him how he is feeling. He tells her he feels fine physically, but mentally he is feeling confused and frightened. She asks why. He explains briefly what he has been experiencing. She says she will let the Dr. know. Meanwhile, she tells him his mother will be by to visit him soon after breakfast. He asks why only his mother. She tells him his mother will explain. When his mother does arrive, she pulls a chair close to his bed and sits in it. He tells her she is looking tired. She just pats his hand and tries to smile for him, but quickly looks towards the window. He asks where dad is. At first she doesn't answer him.
Hun, he is in the hospital. He...
(Struggling to sit up, to get out of bed)
What? Why? When did this happen?
(Hitting the call light and trying to get Hicks to lay back
James! Lay down. Calm down before you hurt yourself
again. I won't tell you anything unless you stop this and
and lay back down and be quiet!
This is so much like the mother he always obeyed that he responded automatically and lay down quietly again just as the nurse came in.
Is everything OK in here?
The mother took the nurse aside and told her she was trying to explain why his father was not here. He had gotten very upset just learning he was in the hospital. She was concerned how he would react when she told him his father had had a heart attack. The nurse tells her to wait a moment. She soon returns with the orderly, who waits outside the door, and a needle with a tranquilizer in it in case Hicks gets out of control. The mother returns to her sons bedside.
Mom, what is going on? You are scaring me. Is Dad...gone?
No, Baby. Your father is going to be OK. You know how
he has a weak heart. Well, he hat a heart attack the other
day. But the Dr. says...
I've got to see him!
(He once again struggles to get up out of bed)
Please, Mom, you have to help me! I have to see Dad
before it's to late...
As soon as he started to get up, the nurse and orderly came fully into the room, one on each side of the bed. The orderly grabs Hicks by the shoulders and forces eye contact, startling him.
Hicks! Look at me, now!
In that moment of startled distraction, the nurse injects Hicks with the tranquilizer. Hicks knows immediately what has been done and fears what will come next. He looks towards his mother in desperation and fear, as if she can stop it from happening, and cries out;
Mom, no! Don't do this. Don't let them do this to me! I'll
behave! I'll be calm and quiet! I'll...
Hicks sinks down into darkness. When he wakes up, it is as he feared, he is in his camp cot. The sounds of military life surround him. It is daylight. He sits up as someone approaches. He looks up to see Doc.
Good, you're awake. How are you feeling?
What happened to me?
That idiot Kurtz thought it would be funny to pop an air
filled sack behind you. It startled you enough to make you
choke on the food you were eating. If Corporal Stevens
hadn't been there...Well, just be thankful he was.
I gotta get home! My dad is in the hospital. He's had a
heart attack. I may never see him again. My mom needs
me. I gotta get home!
What are you talking about, Hicks? How did you find
this out? When did you find it out?
(Burying his face in his hands and rocking back and forth
on his cot)
I gotta go home. I just gotta go home.
Doc leaves Hicks and goes in search of the Captain. He tells the Captain what has just happened. The Captain tells Doc about the things Hicks had said and how he had behaved earlier.
So, what are we gonna do with him?
We only have one last village to check on to make sure it's
still empty before we get back in to HQ. There aren't
supposed to be any enemy in the area at this time, so he
should be OK. We'll do this one last sweep, return to HQ,
then let them decide what to do with him.
So, you don't think he is faking it just to get home early?
Well, Doc...I've heard a lot of crazy lines, but I'll never
forget the look of fear and confusion in his eyes when this
first started. If he's good enough to fake that, then he
should be in Hollywood, not over here being shot at.
Later that day as the patrol is approaching the abandoned village, Corporal Stevens sees something sparkle, like sunlight reflecting off of a shiny surface. He tells the Captain. As the Captain turns to issue a command to his driver, the driver suddenly jerks, then slumps over the wheel. Then they hear the delayed report of the fire. The Captain shouts "Get down!" Everyone dives out of their vehicles, putting them between the snipers and themselves. A windshield shatters, then they hear the delayed ping of the report. They are pinned down. It is a stale mate. The snipers are protected by the buildings and the troops are protected by the vehicles. There is about three quarters of a mile of open space between them. The longer the situation stays this way, the more frantic Hicks becomes inside. He had been told if he could just hold on through one more village check, they (the Captain and Doc) would see what could be done for him, when they got back to HQ. Now they were stuck. Finally, he decides, as complete darkness descends, to do something about the stale mate himself. He sneaks away from the safety of the vehicles and towards the village, which he can just make out by their flickering firelight. It takes over a half an hour to reach the edge of the village. He spies out four snipers making rounds. He hides from the sound of approaching footsteps. When the sniper passes by him, he rises up out of the dark shadows behind the man and snaps the mans neck before he can cry out. He catches the man, and lowers him quietly to the ground. Just as he looks up, he thinks the man looks like an American. He quickly takes a second, closer look, and is reassured to see the man is definitely an Iraqi. Hicks hides the body in a nearby building and goes searching for the next sniper. He takes that man out in much the same way as the first. As his glance sweeps over the mans face, he is again struck by the fact that the man looks like an American, and this man is wearing clothing that resembles what the hospital staff was wearing. Hicks shakes his head in confusion and rubs his eyes. When he looks again, it is at an Iraqi sniper wearing military fatigues. He is becoming troubled. Just before he attacks the third sniper, his foot accidentally kicks a loose stone, giving away his advantage of surprise. There is a struggle. Hicks finally gains the upper hand, yet, just before he snaps the mans neck, the man cries out "Hicks, no!" In shock, Hicks lets the dead man fall to the ground. After a moment, he finally looks down...and into the face of the orderly who was in his hospital room. Hicks is frozen in fear. Who has he been killing? He hears a noise and spins towards the sound. For a split second he sees an Iraqi sniper aiming his weapon at him...But then even as he takes a step towards the man, he becomes an American MP. Then the bullet takes him in the head.
Hicks wakes up in the field hospital. His head is heavily bandaged and his left leg is in a cast. The Dr. walk over to him.
Well young man, I have to say you are lucky to be
alive. Not many live, let alone live to walk again when
their vehicle comes into contact with a mine.
(Screams in complete fear and hopelessness)
Hicks wakes up in a bed in a darkened room. He is drenched in sweat, he has a pounding headache, and his heart is racing. Someone moves next to him. He looks over and is startled to see a pretty young woman laying there looking at him with love and concern.
What's wrong, Baby?
I don't know. I think I just had the worst nightmare
Shhh, it's OK, Love. It was just a dream. You're just
nervous about going over to Iraq, that's all. It's normal.
Sara looks over at the clock. She then reaches over and gives Hicks a comforting hug. then she tells him;
You may as well stay up now, Baby. Your plane leaves
in three hours.