The pools that collected on the street were much harder to define because they blended in with the darker asphalt.

I still heard the sharp crack of gunfire next to me. The sergeant directly to my left did not care what was going on around him; he was intent on finishing off every last one of the fish in the barrel. His cheek rested on the butt-stock of his rifle and his eyes focused on whatever came into view through the front and rear sight apertures of his M-16. His form was flawless; he had retained every bit of information he received while on the rifle ranges, and he put it to use. Almost all the other shooting had ceased, but this man did not feel his job was done. He pulled the trigger, relaxed for a split second, adjusted his aim, and then fired again.

“Cease fire! Cease fire!” yelled the commanding officer on top of the roof. The sergeant pulled the trigger one more time to satisfy his demon.

Some of those who had been in the crowd to came back and retrieve their loved ones who fell behind. Two younger men carried off a man lying in the middle of the street while others still rested where they fell. Another man slowly walked along the sidewalk; his shirt was soiled from the blood of the child he clinched in his arms. There was no one there for the man on the sidewalk. It would be about another five minutes before an ambulance would retrieve his corpse. From where I stood I could not make out any emotion from those who carried off our victims. They might have been afraid of provoking us again, or maybe they had nothing to express because now they had nothing left.

If there is a god he had forgotten to show up in the heart of Mosul that morning. We had managed to build our own little hell in and around that street, and our demons ran amuck under the dark clouds that day. In the down time that followed the massacre we each had to confront our own devil. Some of us were unscathed by the event, others kept silent, and others rejoiced as they told their story to their friends. The following day I let the beast within me out as I shot the side of a building to hell, and for a moment I felt some relief. That building’s wall was the only casualty my demon claimed.

Ryan Glennie
Demons of Mosul
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