I have held lives in the palm of my hand and curled my fingers around them, either to keep them safe or to squeeze the essence from them. It has been up to me to choose who is to live and who will die.
I have looked into the eyes of those who have just realised that I will be the last thing they will ever see. I have seen the life in them plead with me as they saw my finger tighten on the trigger… and I have seen those same eyes seconds later when there was no life in them.
I have looked into the eyes of men… and women too… as I did things to them and their loved ones that no-one should ever have to do. I have pleaded with them to say just what I needed to hear, begged them not to let their wives, their children endure another second of what I had my underlings do as I stared into those eyes, waiting for them to make it stop.
Yes, I have woken in the night by my nightmares filled with their screams far too often for me ever to escape back into sleep.
Those eyes that haunt me now, now I can no longer sleep, some of them stared back at me with hatred, some even with pity. Too many of them with a belief that they held in the mind that lay behind them something, some greater truth, that was worth more than the screams, the pain, the lives of their loved ones and – in the end – themselves.
Time after time, I pleaded with them to tell me, begged them to listen, screamed at them that no idea is worth the life of a single wife, husband, lover or child. That nothing you cannot feel the living heartbeat of is worth dying for, but far too many of them believed in the nobility of sacrifice and that there was some greater destiny that sacrifice could bring about… and… for that I stay awake deep into the night staring back into those eyes that will never let me sleep… ever again.