As he walked through camp Jack heard the unmistakeable sound of a woman struggling. He stopped in his tracks and turned his head trying to zero in on the origin of the sound.
When he located the source he double-timed it to a tent row as the cries intensified. Jack threw open a tent flap to find a female Army private being raped by a captain.
The captain barked at Jack, “what the fuck are you looking at? Get the fuck outta here!”
Jack swallowed hard as he looked at the woman. Fear filled her eyes as sweat beaded on her forehead and tears rolled down her cheeks.
She looked at Jack’s collar, “help me lieutenant! Please!”
“Get off of the private, Captain Jones!” Jack snapped.
The captain turned back to the private, ignoring Jack’s directive. Although the captain outranked him, Jack refused to stand idly by as a woman was raped.
“I said get the fuck off the private, captain!” This time the words came louder and with more force.
The captain, enraged, spit on the private’s face and withdrew from her body. As he pulled up his BDU (battle dress uniform) pants he lunged at Jack. All Jack could do was wrap both arms around him as they fell to the ground.
The private jumped up and pulled her uniform pants up.
As Jack and the captain struggled on the ground he turned to the private. “Get out of here private!”
She bolted from the tent and ran across the camp screaming. The captain, now on top of Jack grabbed him by his uniform, pulled him a foot or so up off of the ground and slammed him back down hard knocking the wind out of Jack’s lungs.
The captain’s sweat dripped down his face onto Jack’s – he smelled awful.
“You say anything Hemingway and I’ll kill you!” He repeated the slamming of Jack again before standing up and kicking him with his right foot.
The captain left the tent as Jack rolled over, got to his feet holding his stomach. He ran from the tent, found the captain briskly walking away, ran up behind him and tackled him.
The two resumed their struggle and momentarily Jack gained the upper hand. He managed to get the captain on his back and he pressed his forearm heavily against the captain’s trachea immobilizing him.
“Fuck you asshole!” Jack screamed into his face. “I’m gonna see to it that you get courts martialed for this muther fucker!”
Jack kept his arm on the captain’s throat long enough to get his body off of the captain’s before releasing pressure on his trachea.
The captain held his throat as Jack stood up and backed away, kicking desert sand into the captain’s face. He marched rapidly towards his company commander’s barrack and reported the incident.
“Sit down Jack,” Captain Davies said as Jack paced back and forth. As he calmed down and regained his composure, the magnitude of what had just happened made him nauseous. Regardless of why, he knew he could be in very big trouble for what he just did to a senior officer.
As Captain Davies reviewed the options, a sick feeling began to settle in the pit of Jack’s stomach…not a god-damned thing was going to be done about the rape of the private.
“Just go hit the rack, Jack. Tomorrow you’re going out with Eagle Troop, I want some eyes and ears out there I can trust, alright?”
Jack stared at the floor and just nodded his head.
“Alright Lieutenant Hemingway?”
Jack stood quickly. “Yes sir!” He replied. He turned and left the captain’s quarters and went to his barrack row.
His mind was spinning and he couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned for hours. He kept his weapon leaning against his rack within arms reach for the rest of the night.
Why would they send me out with Eagle Troop, he wondered. He had seen the shoulder patch of Captain Jones who raped the private, the unmistakable Fleur-de-lis symbol, which he also wore. This, he thought, can’t be good…
Continued in the short story, Inside The Crosshairs – You Never Hear The Bullet.