Fictive Dream

by Andrew Davis

The soldier has a gun.

He is twenty-six years, nine months, and seven days old. In his five years of service, he has used it to kill seventeen people. He knows the number well, although he does not want to. He cannot remember every kill. Most of the time, he does not think about his kills: he holds them in the back of his mind, and makes brushing his teeth or shining his shoes the centre of his world. As he shines his boots, he remembers the videos he watched in cadets, instructing him on the correct shining method. Base coat first. Just a tiny dot of polish. Brush vigorously.

He does remember the fourteenth kill: a civilian, whose death he thinks about often. The soldier was not aiming at the man. As he pulled the trigger on his gun, the world had shaken from a fallenโ€ฆ

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