Tales of an apocalypse – Part II “The Soldier”

Today’s short story is part of a series inspired while writing my science fiction novel. It’s a chance for me to explore what other characters in my world would be doing both during and post apocalypse. Hope you enjoy my free short stories. Please share, tweet, and talk about my work. I look forward to your feedback.

Today’s story, The Soldier, goes along with “Infinite White” on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen by Steve Jablonsky.

***

Smoke and greasy green mist slung along the folds of the earthSlime become airOver the mudbrick wall, the artillery rounds flash, manmade lightning followed by manmade thunder as the rounds thump, thump, thumpInside the compound nothing stirs except the soldier and the wind.

The soldiers hands are encased in clumsy gloves, taped around the wrists to seal them to the MOPP suitIt is hard to hold the pen, but she doesShe balances on one foot, awkwardly fat in her heavy gearShe braces her other foot against the wall and uses the writing desk of her thighShe squints in the predawn gloom.  

Her notebook is small and she turns it sideways to sketch the lay out, labeling as she goes.

Crossing the yard from the breech to the main house, she kicks a body obscured in the gas fogA dogThey hate dogs, but here it isMaybe in its last frantic moments it sought human solaceMaybe it just got lost.

Her com crackles, pours the disgruntled voice of the security commander into her earHes full of questions: “How much longers this gonna takeWhat you findWe need to call for back up?”

As long as it takesNothing I can say over the com and no.”  

She turns back to her work, pushing into the guest houseThere is a body behind the doorShe rolls it overThe thin bare arm flops, fingers raise a cloud of dust as they drop, striking the ground.

It takes three tries to thumb open an eyeThe soldier curses the gear that protects her from the gas that killed this childSweat in her face and she cant do a thing about it.

The pupil is cloudy and the white is the warm yelloworange of a sunny side up eggShe adds a tick to her tallyShe wont think about how this child is the age of her ownShe wont notice the mothers body, curled in a futile attempt to shelter her babyThe baby is pale, skin marbled with blue veins of useless bloodMother and baby are just more ticks on a tally sheet.

Over the com the security commander grumbles aboutthe bleeding heart humanifuckingtarians‘. Theyre wasting everyones timeTheres no reason to count the deadNo one will claim them.

The killer chemicals are designed to rapidly breakdown in the environmentThey speed the decomposition process and are themselves quickly rendered inert as they interact with the dust, the smoke, the sand of this last, worst placeClean up is literally a breeze in most cases

The soldier counts her tick marksOutside the compound the mortars fall silentShe can see the glow of dawn illuminating the wall through the windowSurprised, she checks her watch, but its obscured by layers of latex and tape.

Hey, what time is it?” she asks the comThe verbose security commander has been rendered muteShe tries again, but gets nothingShe fumbles at the neck of her suit, trying to change the channel from 3 to 4, but the button eludes her overgloved hands.

The soldier is angry nowShe does not want to be here, counting these dead peopleShe didnt ask for this assignmentThe security commander has no right to ignore herShe wants to scream at him, make him take her and her job seriously.  

Just because shes never shot someone doesnt make her less of a soldierHes deliberately breaking communication protocol and shellwhatReport his sorry assOh, dearAnything but thatHell sneer and later, with his buddies, theyll laugh at her futile rage.  

She steps out of the breech and looks aroundThe security commander sits in his vehicle, back to herShe storms over, MOPP boots squishing noisily with each step, her face reddening, her fatly gloved hands clenching into boxers mitts.  

Hey, what the-”

Hes deadSo is his driverSo are the othersThe blood runs unclotting from nose, ears, eyesIf she looks at his lap she will see it pooling there as well.  

The flash, the lightIt wasnt dawnIt was retaliation.

The soldier looks aroundNothing stirs, nothing livesOnly the soldier and her tick marks remain.

4 thoughts on “Tales of an apocalypse – Part II “The Soldier”

  1. In this piece the experience unfolds exactly as it would have in reality. Capturing the many thoughts and emotions of the main character adds to the reader’s involvement.

    Like

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