Dim light from the other camps filters through the thick plastic of my tent. I can hear other climbers moving quietly around, Sherpas walking from tent to tent, offering morning tea. The Khumbu Icefall groans quietly in the early morning, ice shifting as the glacier moves further from the summit of Everest. Even in a tent and a sleeping bag, the air has a bite to it. I can feel each ragged breath as it moves over my sore lungs. But down here, the air is thick. In a few days, I will miss the comfort of its weight in my lungs.
Jed looked up into the pure blue sky, clouds of smoke moving gently against the breeze and weaving through the treetops. The ground was soft under his back, his fingers resting delicately against the damp soil and churned-up grass. He could feel something wet and warm sliding down his face. As he reached up his hand to brush it away, he was met with abrupt burning pain that shot from his fingertips and ended somewhere deep between the bones of his right arm.
The noise of the battlefield was suddenly loud around him. Springfield rifles roared as the Confederates fled up the steep slope of Missionary Ridge. He could hear men crying as they slowly died while soldiers ran past. There was a hum in the air, mosquito buzzing mini balls, the drone broken only by the dull thud of good aim. He thought he could hear cannon fire from the south, but it might have just been his heartbeat in his ears. Jed watched as Union soldiers, their blue uniforms bright in the midday sun, moved past him. With a groan and surrounded by a blissful fog of pain, shock, and gun smoke, he watched the battle rage around him.