Here we have the conclusion of Dug In. When I wrote this story I was working through my feelings about my role in the military, the Gulf War, and what combat is really about. This story is entirely fictional,  I didn’t do much during the Gulf War. Other people may have had different experiences, but for me it was a bit of a cake walk. That didn’t stop me from thinking about what could go wrong though, and imagining bad guys in every shadow and bird that flew by. The desert gives you a lot of time to think, even during a war.

Careful readers will note the names of the protagonist and the corpse he uses as cover are both very similar to my own and that’s because each of those people are different versions of myself. One of them useful only as a barrier to incoming fire, and the other a reluctant leader with no clear objectives other than immediate survival.

When I presented this story to the Fillbach Brothers for illustration, it was one of about a half dozen that I’d written several years ago. You can read the original story at Everything2, and if you do you’ll notice that my story lacked a conclusion. I had always meant to go back and write a different ending, but never really got around to it. Or I plain forgot. Or, and this is more likely, I just got lazy.

I’d plumb forgotten it lacked a conclusion until the Fillbachs had already rendered several pages and I went back and reread it. What the boys have done here is demonstrate their keen understanding of their chosen medium. They took my story, which was flawed, prodded it with a stick until they got something that made sense.