Free Speculative Fiction short stories online.
Read it here: "Walking Point"
By Ian Schwartz
In Reflection's Edge
Walking point is a military term forthe job of leading a formation through dangerous territory, thereby being the person most likely to be hit first when the firing starts.
Top Carlin is a soldier who wanted to be point man. He could have trained to be an officer, more pay and less hazard, and his recruiter thought he was mad, but it was what he chose. It was what he stuck to.
In hospital, his dead son visits him. Carlin wonders about this. It makes him remember bits about his life. What makes the story good is that the reflection is not too deep. At one point, Carlin mentions reading philosophy, but one gets the impression that this is more for the soporific effects after traumatic missions than to find any answers. It is up to the reader to wonder about the things he leaves unsaid, whether he would have joined the army, would have wanted to be the first into danger, if not for the premature death of his son.
In the end, he is still trying to go first.
This story is mainly well told, maybe a couple of bumps here and there. It would be particularly enjoyable for people who like military stories involving bullets and flying rubble. For the rest of us, it's a curious story of looking at life without being too touched by it.