Semper Mine (Chapter Seven: Sawyer, page 1 of 7)


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My first day at the camp probably couldn't be stranger. At least it's quick. After our exercises, the kids start to arrive. There's a big dinner with the families, and then my speech. By the time the evening reception is over, it's lights out for the kids.

I'm almost grateful when Katya goes to bed early, too, leaving me with the guys for a couple hours of poker and talking. I don't have to admit to her that she was right about the speech. Maybe she's right about me being too detached. I never thought of it that way, but there is a great deal of distance between me and pretty much everyone else.

I guess it's my comfort zone. I never really thought of it as an issue before she pointed out that I'm always alone. Is that really so bad, given my line of work? I'll never be able to forgive myself for the four guys I lost a few months back. If my guard was lower, how could I live with myself, if it happened again?

Like every other conversation with her, Katya somehow manages to make my head spin in a direction I'm not used to. I spend an hour with the guys before heading back to the barracks. Being with them leaves me relaxed, the opposite of Katya's effect on me. Being around her leaves me oddly energized yet also unusually drained, as if our mental grappling is taxing our bodies as well.

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