War of Descendants

War of Descendants

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Genre: Science Fiction

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Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

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Chapter1 (v.1) - Suspicious Isolation

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 24, 2017

Reads: 32

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 24, 2017

A A A

A A A

Darkness….

Silence….

I come to and try to break free. My helmet is hit with dust and rock, but still no light. My arms reach out for dim beams break through the rubble into my eyes. In a panic, I flail out of the pile of debris to a dark, open street. The large hill of rubble was spilled over the road like a blanket of snow. Oddly quiet. No gunfire or bombs dropping. Not even the sound of movement. The battle was no longer here. The sun rises in the drizzle, covered by clouds.

Where is everyone? Where is anyone?

Shaun. I turn back to the rock pile and begin digging. Maybe he survived. I did, and we were in the same room. I lift rock after rock, after rock. Heart pounding in hopeful determination. Rocks being thrown far by the fear driving me. He’s deep in this rubble, I can’t let him suffocate like this. I can’t leave him here. The strain beats at my arms, but push through. Finally, I remove one more only to be hit with a wave of despair…

Shaun. My heart stops beating, and my throat closes. I can hardly breathe with the shock. His peaceful look made it more daunting. Eyes closed and face relaxed. Like I’ve dug him up from his grave, keeping him from his deserved rest. An inviting look with the given circumstances. Almost like my situation will be more unpleasant than his.

I hold back the tears. Death never shook me before. Not like this. It’s obvious now I’m no longer the noble warrior I thought I was. Just a naïve computer specialist with a death wish. My reality now just a stranger passing by my sorry state.

With this being the only spot in this concrete landscape, I cover him up in the rubble and lay his ID onto the surface. A moment of silence for the departed. Two minutes go by along with a third for good measure. A pure moment of reflection. Private Shaun Matthews, squadron 74c; Harriot’s squad. Just two years younger than me, but twice as enthusiastic. We had so much in common. I knew his brother… It takes a few seconds to let the feeling pass and get to my feet. There’s no doubt on what happened to the rest, so there’s no point in disturbing them too. I must leave them behind.

I turn to the dead street and take a moment to look around. The rain relentlessly continued despite being dawn. Clouds covered the aftermath in a distressing shroud, hiding the several casualties that laid silent through the night. A ruin of devastated machinery acting as a tomb for victims of their own pride and bravery. A screaming battle that drowned out these voices, is now just a gentle hush that nurtures their silence. Not a soul was wandering this open graveyard.

After losing my own, I grab a nearby side arm and make my way down the street. The dust had settled but the fires kept raging as I passed. More bodies appeared as I passed while my isolation grew ever stronger. Dead from both sides were strewn across the road and pavement, over and under the carnage. Did any side win this battle?

The violence was still alive in the still image of which these corpses were left. To what was a glorious demise being just a twisted and horrific end. Other than the smell, the thought of being any part of this is sickening. Neither side had any less gruesome fate, by the looks of this display.

I wonder to myself whether I’m still on this road of death. I know no one will come for me. Even if we won they won’t come looking. Pawns don’t get the privilege of a safe return from battle. They should’ve died like they were supposed to. Survivors are just cowards that didn’t give enough to the cause and deserve nothing less of shame with a slow death. This was never mentioned but still I can’t stop thinking it amongst the bodies. All I should see is fellow soldiers, but all I can tell from them are squad IDs. 34c, 25c, 70c. No longer people, just husks and meaningless numbers.

I’m left confused to find the ID 45b, as attack force b were deployed elsewhere. I look ahead to find a crashed dropship in the distance. I approach cautiously, gun in hand. The silence grows ever suspicious as I continue to the wreckage. My head twitches from one vantage point to the other waiting for an ambush. The towering buildings look down upon my open position as they surround me. Every possible situation runs through my head, telling me I’m not safe. I try to reassure myself that they would’ve done it by now and I should stop flattering myself with the thought of being hunted. My hands shake and sweat in my gloves but eventually, with a deep breath, I manage to collect myself.

I reach the half-buried drop ship. The front end had dug into the road leaving no hope for the pilots at the very least. I start climbing. These dropships hold months worth of food and supplies for emergency situations and that’s for four to six people. For me, that meant survival. Granted, these supplies weren’t meant to be carried by one person. But I needed all of it.

I reach the top to the surprise of the hatch open and only a few bodies left in the aircraft. Still no less easy to look at, but at least they weren’t all butchered in the crash. I go in feet first and carefully climb down the row of seats towards to cockpit that held the supplies just behind.

Suddenly I lose footing to tumble down the ship, ending with a safe but painful landing. The soft yet cold feel on my back sends me into a panic causes me to wail, uncontrollably. I get up with the shock of landing on someone’s dead body. That feeling was sure to stick with me for a long time. I stand staring at the lifeless carcass trying to forget the feeling.

I snap out of it and remember the goal of supplies. I open the supply hatch and haul each wooden crate out of the ship using some emergency rope, found under the seats. Taking several hours of hauling and even more careful climbing back and forth, I manage to haul all 12 crates out of the ship. These were then dragged to a neighbouring building.

Emptying the ground floor of bodies and useless furniture, I made my campsite at the doorway, out of the rain but not trapped indoors. I broke open the first crate and started a fire with the container. Filled with various canned soups, ration bricks and other non-perishable foods. It also contained water purification tablets and first aid. This made survival a whole lot easier. With it being a long day and finally dusk, I finish my tomato soup and call it an early night.

Tossing and turning on a solid floor, my body refuses to sleep. My mind flashes me with the day’s gruesome images and trauma as if to remind me of how wrong I was about the situation I was heading into. The faces of dead soldiers hang over me in judgement, making their end my responsibility. Unable to exit the state of chaos, I endure the night with its nightmares and discomfort.

The next day is more silent than the last. Reality had settled comfortably from the solid impact yesterday had. My head is clearer, but not clear on the next move. I can’t just stay here and wait to run out of food, or be found by Carreg soldiers. I need off this planet. Maybe the war is still taking place and the fleet is still up there waiting to hear from attack force c. I need to choose a direction and hope to find either; a ship, transmission equipment or a surviving regiment.

It takes days to makeshift a cart to hold the supplies. Gathering raw materials and parts from nearby steelworks and manufactories. I learn a lot from the scavenging. Theses Carreg were fond of the industrial life. With little, to no, green spaces and mainly factories and residential complexes. The architecture is cold and formulaic, no art or imagination. Only purpose. It removes my sense of hope but suppresses my despair.

With the cart being finished I look over my work. Made from an amalgamation of wrecked vehicles and the raw steel, it had a strong hold of its contents.  Difficult to assemble, but no bump or rugged road should cause even the slightest tear in the welding. A few motors were added to the back wheels to aid in transporting the weight. Unfortunately, no functioning motors were powerful enough to handle it without me pushing. Fuel was in plentiful supply due to the sheer number of filled cars and military equipment. Everything was encased in the metal cart equipped with a lid to keep it from filling up with rain.

The cart manages to hold the crates and may be easy to push, just not to turn. Not my finest engineering but not my worst either. Not worth a paint job, but the rust and dents didn't look out of place in these streets. It can only handle eight crates and a few random supplies, so unfortunately the other three are left behind. I take out my compass and choose west, then head off.

Passing rotting corpses and crumbling buildings, I push the cart until I couldn’t no more. Resting only every seven miles depending on obstacles. Sometimes only two miles. Each night, sleeping in any dry shelter available, whether unstable building or car. My cart filled with an assortment of loot during my travels, such as ammo and useful scrap for future repairs. The rain was clearing the further I went, indicating that I may be heading away from the coast rather than towards it. I assume coincidence since it’s late to head back and walk along the coast, away from unknown settlements of Carreg. Perhaps hidden to strike passing troops. The worrying thoughts are brushed off as quickly as they were thought up.

It’s been weeks at this point but luckily enough there are still seven full crates. I’ve got a while until I will even consider starvation. But water has become an issue. Since I’ve been heading west, the climate has been heating and drying up, making water hard to come by. To combat this more weight has been added to the cart as I stock up with water, by scavenging water canteens from fallen soldiers.

‘Not long before I catch a disease form their rotten carcasses’ I think to myself. It’s now difficult to distinguish my kind from the Carreg other than through uniform. I keep cloth around my face to keep the smell out, but it only works for the most part.

A few more days pass and the climate is totally dry and the ground is cracked and dusty. The hush of rain has become an echoing whistle of wind winding through this simple infrastructure. More silent than before. Brick work on surrounding buildings are now sandy brown rather than the dark grey they were, back in the rain. Weathered from regular and violent strikes by the material that creates it.

Broken glass reflects blinding rays of this beating sun that hangs overhead. A vibrant scene in a cloud of dust. Red, blue, yellow; colours not seen in the dark grey shroud of where I started. Blood had no chance to stick to the pavement, as rain thoroughly washed it away. Here, with its absence, the streets are dark red and no remnants of their previous colour. The ground is a sponge, absorbing any, and all moisture, on the ground or in the air. Rotting bodies, being cooked while skeletons are already being formed in their shells of body armour. A more gruesome, yet less depressing, image.

My feet take more of a beating from the sharp floor poking at the souls of my boots. I’m forced to stop more often to nurse the cuts and blisters. Going gets ever tough. Each step is a tick in this time bomb that will cause a collapse or worse. It feels like any moment could cause my shins to buckle under the stress. My body was decaying in this endless journey. My lungs strain as I take deeper breaths of, much needed, air making each one a sharp, tiring pain.

Even with the regular rest, it’s been so long that permanent damage may ensue. But those issues mean nothing if there’s no life to get to. I’d take the strongest pain as long, as it got me homebound. This thought was trivial but there was still an impending problem.

This landscape is more lifeless than ever, but my sense of being followed is stronger than ever. It causes me to sit down to combat this suspicion. How long could they have been following me for? What is their plan with me? I can’t take it much longer. These thoughts are too much to carry on with. I need to do something now.

I locate a comfy looking car, almost untouched considering the surrounding wrecks. This meaning it still had a windshield and upholstery. Not much else though since the two back doors are missing. The back was crumpled by what looks like a heavy short-range plasma tank, that is situated on the other side of the road. This car was fairly primitive compared to even those who departed earth, never mind the rest of the seven decedents. The front still had headlights and spring suspension. Perhaps the Carreg adopted a more ancient style of original life.

Upon sitting down, the light judgement was swept away by a feeling that hadn’t been felt in months. After weeks of walking and lying on solid ground, this seat was a godsend. All this, however, has not distracted me from my task. I check the cart that is sitting stably by the car. I remove my boots, tool belt and heavy jacket as I recline in the seat. Pulling out the pistol from its holster, I fire, before slumping across the two front seats.

I’ve shot a pistol before, but imitating suicide caught me off-guard as my heart rate fluctuates in a panic. I assure myself that I hadn’t shot myself so I can go still and observe my surroundings. They will probably approach when certain I’m dead. This will be a long night.

The usual cold night falls and without a fire it becomes even colder. It becomes difficult to stay awake, due to the long haul in getting here. I stay strong and hold position while listening out. Telling myself that this proves that I’m not being followed, allowing me to carry on the journey mentally stronger. The other part of me thinks ahead for whatever is following me and the best way to end them. My fear is that feeling won’t pass after tonight and I will be forced to be burdened by it. I breathe quietly and remain still the rest of the night….

The night becomes its darkest just as dawn arrives, before bursting in light. Blinded, I end up only relying on sound for my definitive answer. But is it a good enough answer? I begin to fear that this feeling isn’t going to be satisfied by this. It could be a manifestation of my longing for contact, friend or foe, creating a presence that would never be there otherwise. But what if I’m wrong? I begin to fear the consequences. Maybe I’m not waiting long enough. Maybe they’re waiting to see if I’m dead or not. The sun is higher above the skyline as hours, of daylight, are being wasted. The only person putting my survival at risk is me. I fight my still body to move, after hours of not doing so. Not a single movement is achieved, not even a twitch. I get ready for a full push to get some movement going.

My heart suddenly skips a beat as a shadow darts past the front of the car….

 


© Copyright 2017 Jay.W. All rights reserved.

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