That I had been in the Afghan War was painfully obvious to anyone with eyes to see and a brain to think.
There was not a soul in London who had not heard the stories of soldiers returning from abroad with strange battle scars unsound minds.
It was implied by looks and unsaid words that the lucky ones did not return at all.
My medical schooling had not prepared me for the half of it, not for the raw brutality of war, nor for the injuries that could not have been inflicted by any earthly thing.
Nor for the keening madness that followed men off the battlefield and sunk its claws dream-deep in their brains. I was not prepared for it to happen to me.
This affliction I carried back with me, it hung over me like a miasma. Some ineffable animal sense alerted people around me that I was not like them.
Never in my life had I experienced this sort of tacit rejection. Upon my return to New Albion I wanted nothing so much as to be surrounded by people and to feel the safety of a crowd.
But even in London, surrounded by millions, I was bitterly alone. It was almost as bad as being at the bottom of a cave.
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