I heard the commander's shout, but could not bring myself to pull the trigger. I knew the sensation it brought: the quiet click, the irrevocable deed that soon brought the thunder, and the dreadful silence that, by necessity, followed.
I could not bear to have my reverie disturbed by so gross an interruption, and rather than discharge my weapon, I waited and watched.
The villain at whom we had leveled our weapons shuddered and twitched against his restraints, having been pierced by the small leaden lances. He then slumped, shivered, and slid down the column. His life left him slowly, raggedly, in stops and starts. I understood then.
I deceived my commander by claiming a bad cartridge, shouldered my weapon, and returned to my duties.
His ghost haunts me still.