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“Rumors of Wars” by Zachary Lunn

Cold dog tags press against my chest under the weight of kevlar body armor. Their embossed words imprint into my skin. Name. Social Security Number. Religion— Latter-Day Saint.

My Humvee’s air conditioning does just enough to make me want more. I tell my gunner Iraq was once the Garden of Eden. Guess again, he says, and throws a piss bottle into the street.

We shot a man yesterday. Righteous, someone had said. Black hair caught in the zipper of the body bag. Maybe this is what Adam looked like. Maybe I should pray when I’m not scared.

The missionaries in my ward back home told me there is a painting of Teancum hanging in the MTC. His spear in a killing motion. For Teancum and me, war is not a rumor.

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