The Things They Carried Chapter 13, Ambush
As a nine-year-old, Tim's daughter Kathleen asked Tim if he ever killed anyone. She thought that since he wrote so many stories about war, he must have killed someone. He told her he hadn't, but now he wants to tell the story of what really happened, as if he was talking to her as an adult. He begins:
The man was small and thin, and as he walked down the trail Tim saw him, was afraid, and threw a grenade at him. Tim elaborates: he was on watch in the last hours of the night; everyone else was asleep. He saw the man coming and, automatically, without feeling anything personal or political, he threw the grenade. He saw the man start to run, and then in a puff of smoke he was dead. Tim can't forget it, and even today he sometimes sees the young man come down the trail, smile, and continue on the path, back into the fog.