This is how the dreams always started. In some mundane situation, no memory of how he got there. Things would go bad soon, they always did, and when they did they would go for broke. The Red Lady sweeping in to reclaim him, the war restarting around him, the faces of his family rising as mushroom clouds, ready to devour him for failing them. He was ready for it by now. But this time, all he did was sit on a bus. It never crashed into enemy fortifications, never veered just enough to run over his infant children. Just drove. From what he picked up, it was driving past the airport, the local one. He’d pick up more if he wasn’t trashed.
That was why he didn’t remember! It was just the booze. He was on a northbound bus, and none of it was real. It was all just the goddamn dreams, and soon enough he’d be home to his…
No. He couldn’t. There was nowhere to go, no one to go to. The dreams were real, or at least some of them, or at least real enough. He didn’t know, and puzzling over it wasn’t his speed. What he did know was that he needed to get off this bus to… To nowhere.
For some reason the bus driver didn’t appreciate him laying on the cord and yelling for a stop on Veteran’s. Prick stopped pretty easy when he let the machete flash. And after that, the blur. He was used to the blur. Growing up in Vegas, it was hard to avoid drunkenly staggering past blinding lights. Casino signs, headlights, at this point it didn’t matter to him, and soon enough one blended into the other. He didn’t know how long he’d been walking, or how long he’d been on the bus, or how long he’d been back in the world, or how long he had been gone, and none of it mattered. One foot in front of the other, mind not so much away as gone, running more on the wheel lashed in place and a brick on the accelerator than autopilot. The sun was rising to his left, and he liked the heat. But he needed dark, for the time being, and safe. So he followed his feet. Luckily, his feet had a better memory than he did, it was something hey picked up on his Tour, back when they were distinct enough to need it. He’d already been somewhere dark, and safe that night. So they took him back, and found part of it that was warm. And then they all fell asleep, broken, alone, with not even himself left to fight for, but nothing t do but fight. This was how the dreams always ended