Less Than Human

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - 3/ The Troops

Submitted: July 20, 2019

Reads: 30

Comments: 2

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Submitted: July 20, 2019

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3/ The Troops

None of them wanted to be there. They could hardly be ignorant of the illness that had gripped and had got a stranglehold on the place. They were well away from the population, that was true, and they had their own rations, their own water supply. Still, there remained an air of fear among them, not of a visible enemy, but of the very air that they were having to breathe.

It’s not airborne, can’t infect me,” one of the soldiers was heard to mutter, over and over again. The truth was that he did not know if it was airborne or not. They had been sent to ensure that no one left. If they could keep it contained; stop anyone that might be infected, whether they showed any symptoms or not, from leaving the idea was that the infection would simply die out.

He’ heard them occasionally. Children screaming, adults wailing in the distance, but he had not seen anyone up close, either living or dead. He was fine. So his throat hurt and he felt kind of feverish. It was nothing more than a coincidence. His imagination was working overtime, manifesting the symptoms, simply because he knew the sickness was out there. He was strong, he was healthy. There was, he had been assured, zero danger.

The order came suddenly. Two tanks were to be deployed and he would be inside one of them.

Why tanks?” he asked one of the other troopers.

Search me,” he’d replied, “but orders are orders, better not start to question them. Not here. They’ve got a potentially fatal way of treating any that don’t.”

You’re kidding, right?” he asked, as he prepared to do as he was told. He never received an answer for high in the sky they could just make out two planes. Were they their own, he wondered.

The tanks were already on the move when the first explosion lit up the sky. Even though it was miles away, the shock of the impact could be felt from inside, soon to be followed by the smell of smoke as the ground and vegetation began to burn.

What about the people?” He hadn’t meant to ask the question out loud, and had certainly not expected an answer.

Listen, mate. Don’t think, just obey. Them out there, if they are not already dead from the sickness they soon would be. We’re helping, bringing a speedy end to their suffering.”

But you know as well as I do that they are not all sick.”

Doesn’t matter. You want to join them out there?”

He shook his head.

Well then, if you’re a soldier, you better start acting like one.”

What could he do? Desert? He could hardly walk away, not here, especially now when the flames were licking their way across the land. Another bomb landed, closer this time. He hid behind his shades and hoped the tears that were beginning to form in his eyes would hold off falling until he could blame them on the smoke.

 


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