Welcome to the Always Forward Series

Cover for Always Forward. A woman's arm is tatooed with the words Always Forward set in a desert.

Prologue:

Milk. All I want is milk. Fresh cold milk. It's funny how that's what I think about. I can't remember the last time I had anything to drink. I try to keep track of the days and nights in here. It's hard. I only see daylight through a small crack in the hatch. I have no idea where I am or who else is here with me. I heard voices for a while, but not for what has to be at least a day or two.

All I know is I am in a hole in the ground with a hole to pee and shit in. I still can't remember what happened.

The burns on my legs are beginning to stink. Maggots are in the wound on my left leg. I picked out the shrapnel, but I have nothing to keep the maggots out. I guess they are the closest thing I have to antibiotics. The blood on my head finally slowed down and has stopped dripping to my eyes. I don't dare touch my forehead because I fear how bad the wound may be. I know head injuries tend to bleed more, but this feels worse than just a flesh wound.

I go through the list of names of the guys in my truck; Rodriguez, Simmons, and Grant. I call out for them again. "Rodriguez, Simmons, Grant!" This becomes the chant I repeatedly repeat until I am so tired and thirsty that I shut my eyes again and try not to pass out.

'God, a glass of milk is all I want right now,' I silently thought.

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Chapter Fourteen ~ Emily

I feel the cold dirt under my cheeks, and I stretch out my left arm to probe into the darkness. The darkness is like a dark cloud shrouding my eyes, and I have no idea where they have taken me. I open my mouth to cry out, but my throat is so dry. I close it and try to swallow, but there is no saliva in my mouth to coat my throat. My right arm is tucked under me, and when I try to move, there is a searing pain that shoots out from my right shoulder and travels up and down the entire right side of my body. The pain is what gets my vocal cords working. I scream a hoarse cry, fueled by the pain. After a while, the pain subsides, and I try again to make my body move, but the pain completely paralyzes me. This time though, not only is there a stabbing pain moving up and down my right side, but my head begins to throb something fierce. I pull my left arm back in and rub my forehead, and that's when it all begins to come back to me. I can stick three fingers width into the gash. God, that's not good. I press my right cheek against the cold dirt floor again. It gives some relief from the pain in my head. I try to force myself to stay awake, but I can feel my eyes begging to close again. All I can hope for is that I don't wake back up.

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