The colors they see, I’ll never appreciate. Where I lost one sense, I gained another. The darkness others see, I’ve never known. And it’s made all the difference over the years.
Few snipers are forcibly decommissioned – like bullets, you don’t dismantle them. You put them in the rifle and pull the trigger. They’re tools, meant to be used. Expended. Nobody cares much about the empty shell that hits the ground, so long as the bullet’s on target. One shot, one kill.
The cool steel of the rifle feels alive beneath my touch. Not living and breathing, not like that. More like me. Chilled, dead and still inside. A corporeal manifestation of my soul, visible, tangible.
Strictly functional, stripped down to the fundamentals, to the core of its being. Flat, unpolished, giving no surface for even the faint light of moon, stars, or stray beam of streetlight to refract off of. No scope – don’t need one, not with my vision. Just gets in the way. Can put flying metal through the eye of a target in LOS without one.
I can feel the tension, the danger. It makes the hairs stand up on my skin. Everywhere. That sensation drives me out here to roost each night. To watch, and wait. I know that out here, I’m safe.
Never the same roost twice in a row. I’ve staked out a dozen spots, more, to use. Random selection each evening at dusk. Unpredictable is secure. Whomever it is out there watching me, I haven’t caught a glimpse of them. I feel their presence, their attention focusing where it shouldn’t. Beyond that, there’s been no sign. Nothing tangible or visible.
That lack isn’t enough to stop me from crouching in the vee of a tree, or stretching out prone beneath the dense cover of the honeysuckle bush along the edge of the property, where civilization meets the wilderness of untouched woodlands. Cool steel against the warm flesh of my forearm, finger resting flush against the trigger, waiting, watching.
I sleep with my eyes open.
Don’t remember how else to do it.