Like every day before, the officer wasn't late for duty. He sat in the Squad room, paying attention when he needed to, joking with his fellows when he didn't. He climbed into the seat of the car, and settled in for the morning patrol.
Sometime after breakfast, (coffee and a McMuffin for his partner, just a McMuffin for him,) and before lunch (he will wonder, later and only once, if it might have been good), the call comes in. Man with a gun, wife and children in the house. His partner flips an otherwise illegal U-turn he calls flipping a bitch, and puts the V8 Interceptor to work.
The scene is the chaos that finds its home in the heart of every warrior, its meaning and pattern apparent only in his mind. Shots are fired out the window. Tear gas is fired back in. The wife and kids come out. The gunman doesn't. The officer wonders how people can be so cruel to one another at times, doing that to their women, and their little ones. He thinks maybe he'd like to have a pup or two of his own someday, but doesn't have time for deeper contemplation. They're lining up, going in, he's got to go - All thoughts are on the door, the monster behind it, the monster with the gun.
They put flash-bangs through the windows as the great big man in-front slams the backdoor into a thousand splinters, a million motes of dust - Each one lit up for an instant by the flash of the 'bangs.
They're in, dust and smoke clouding the already hazy unlit room. The gunfire comes from within that haze, muzzle flashes - A cheap nine-millimeter, something that any other time might not have even fired. Call it fate, call it irony, call it tragedy, call it life. Gunfire in response, the solider, more reliable, fire of forty-five's and five-point-five-sixes, all well made, well maintained, as ready for action as he. But he's not acting anymore, he doesn't hear the return gunfire - One round, just the wrong side of the edge on his vest, has torn through flesh and bone and gone deep inside.
The Earth trembles when he falls.
He hurts when he breathes, but knows he must keep trying. He doesn't know where his partner is. Where the bad man is. He fights - To breath, to be loyal, to serve. It hurts, deep inside where it hasn't hurt since his heart broke once, when he was young, the last time he saw his mother.
His partner is there then, looking down at him, saying soft, soothing things, calling him "buddy". He likes it when his partner does that. The bad man is there too, but he's not standing up, or fighting. The officer relaxes a little now, but its still so hard to breathe and he has to breathe to make sure there are no more badmen.
His vision falters, he's going to sleep. Somewhere out in the growing blackness what might be a green field, and old friends, are visible. He blinks. The dust is settling in the room, but its all light and shadow.
They take his vest off, he feels them placing something over the wound. A needle sticks him between the ribs. Its easier to breathe now, but he's still so tired. He cant fight sleep anymore. He hears his friends calling him into the soft grass of the field.
I see him as they bring him out of the ambulance. One paramedic just picks him up off the gurney, and steps out into the harsh midday light. His blood runs down the front of the 'medics white uniform shirt, but that's okay. He's one of them, a compatriot, a force against the destruction they all feel chasing them - Chasing the world - a brother, a Warrior.
The other paramedic is holding the door open. Right of the door there is wall of his fellow warriors folding in behind the one carrying him as they go through the door. Tears are in their eyes. I can feel the reverberations in the Earth now, as I see them disappear within, and the Veterinary clinic doors close behind them.