• If they thought everything was going to be alright, they were sadly mistaken. If they thought she was going to be alright, then their expectations were going to be ruined. Very soon, she would be the farthest thing from “alright;” at least, if you’re going by the strictest sense of the definition.

    First Lieutenant Lailie Canabar of the U.S. Marine Corps lies awake earlier than she should be at 2:34 a.m. (Funny the nuisances you notice when you’re this close to death, she muses humourously to herself), contemplating her imminent suicide. First Lieutenant, she thinks, how in the hell did I even get this far? Really, that was the question. Lailie knows she is the weak link. Compared to her peers, she’s nothing but the tag-a-long, the little girl with the pigtails who wants to be just like her big brother, strong and fearless, when in reality, paper cuts make her suck her finger and cry. Oh, sure, they give her missions and targets, but how vital really are they to national security? Exactly. Just something to keep her pacified.

    Not that they really need to bother. Lailie doesn’t care. She would rather them tell her that she just couldn’t cut it rather than try to hide it. Her electric green eyes glance over to her alarm clock, reading the equally colored digits. 2:36 a.m. “You play the game you’ll never win,” sings the husky voice of Emilie Autumn through Lailie’s headphones. The music helps with the insomnia, though any psychiatrist probably wouldn’t approve of the lyrics, especially in her current state. “...How else can we survive? Dead is the new alive...”

    2:37 a.m. It’s not that she’s depressed or anything. She’d just rather not go through the whole humiliation of handing her resignation, or even worse, eventually being “honorably discharged.” Bobbie would never let me live it down, she thinks, rolling her eyes sarcastically. Just for that, I’d rather be dead. And besides, without her, they’ll be able to have a lieutenant who’s actually useful, not just a pretty face or a quota filler. She’s doing this for her country, not herself. “They’re all better off this way,” she whispers, voice hissing sharply in the quiet of her apartment.

    She can almost hear her brother, Captain Robert Canabar, hear his sexy, angry, raspy (Is it weird that I think my brother’s voice is sexy? Does it even matter now? Well, she decides, it is sexy. So there.) voice admonishing her: “What are you thinking, Lai? Are you crazy? (Maybe she is.) You’re a First Lieutenant in the United States ******** Marine Corps, for Christ’s sake! You’re one of the best in the world! Do you really think they’d let someone as far as you’ve gotten if they were useless?”

    Well, “the United States ******** Marine Corps” made a rather grievous error, one that she is about to rectify. Lailie purses her lips, wondering mildly exactly when Bobbie took up residence as the little voice in her head. And for a moment, she doubts herself, thinking about the one person who means more than the world to her. Bobbie would be absolutely devastated at her death, Lailie knows that. Leaning to the side, she pulls open her nightstand drawer, fingering the letter inside. Hopefully, Bobbie would understand. He had to. And the moment of indecision passes as Lailie lays back down on her bed. 2:42 a.m.

    She cocks one leg up and twiddles a strand of copper red hair between her fingers, scrolling through her song list on her i-Pod with the other. R...S...T...Take...Tell...The—there. The Art of Suicide. She laughs a little to herself. “Why live a life, indeed,” she says.

    The gun is stowed underneath the pillow beside her. It’s her standard issue M9AI semiautomatic, a weapon she knew how to use well. Too well, she thinks wryly with a sigh. Too bad I’m pretty. She touches her face, her well-defined cheekbones, her slender, pixie-like nose, her pouty lips. Oh well. I guess they can reconstruct it. It’s freakin’ amazing what they can do with dead bodies these days, she consoles herself.

    She reaches under the pillow until her left hand wraps around the cold, heavy metal of the gun, the weight comfortably familiar in her hand. Drawing it out, she double checks to make sure the mag is properly inserted (No misfires allowed, this time, she thinks) and that all of the parts are in working order. She had taken special care to clean it the day before.

    2:51 a.m. She disengages the safety, ready to end it all.