Our exodus from the city was a mix of stealth and strange tension. Brad was obviously wondering how a civilian could’ve not only gotten safely out of the city, but helped a police officer out whose mission was to escort people safely from the city. I let Brad reassume the position of leader, however there was an unspoken understanding of who was really in charge if we got into another tight situation. We moved swiftly and silently, shadows melding with the blackness of the night. The city behind us burned and before us endless suburbs stretched on for miles. About a mile in, Brad suddenly stopped and turned toward the sky.
“More bombers.” His eyes betrayed the pain he held inside as jets streaked from the clouded sky, raining fresh waves of explosives and fire onto the city he called home. I guess the city was my home as well, but recently I’ve grown further away from my civilian life, molding into the perfect soldier as my time of service grew longer. I’d been fighting about a year and a half and I was already being recruited for special ops units. Combat was becoming my life. Each day took me a little further from home, from my mom.
Oh lord, my mom.
It hit me all at once. I hadn’t even thought about her. As the flames lapped the walls of every building, the tallest crumbling to dust, fresh waves of hate and anguish buffeted my heart. All of my insides contorted into a knot the size of my fist, my stomach dropping to the floor. Devastation brought me to my knees and the tears were unstoppable. Fury brewed inside me, throbbing in my throat and bellowing out of my mouth in an uncontrollable fit of screams. Brad tried to stifle my screaming, but the rage was too much. I could not be controlled. The troopers stormed down streets, coming from the city to capture us rogue civilians. I didn’t care. When these pigs got close to me, I was going to tear their limbs off.
I fired like a mad man, my vision completely red. I drilled about six of the enemies in the head, snuffing the life from their worthless bodies. Five soldiers remained from the initial charge, but more were surely on the way. I charged them, spraying with deadly accuracy. Two more soldiers were cut down before I ran out of ammunition. I reached for my knife and prepared to take my revenge hand to hand.
I leaped into the air and kicked the first soldier in the chest with both feet. He slammed the pavement with his back and I landed straddling his chest. I wasted no time slashing straight to his neck, but his throat guard was too thick. I heard Brad firing shots somewhere behind me. If nothing else, he was brave to stick with me when I acted foolishly. I sliced enough of the soldier’s armor to free his helmet. I pulled it off, revealing his face. He was blond with brown eyes and rugged facial hair, sweat drenching his face from the flames in the city. I looked him dead in the eye and spat in his face before I began bludgeoning him with his own helmet. I didn’t stop. I didn’t think. I just kept smashing and smashing, my vision a complete blur. I hated this man. I hated everything he stood for, I hated what he had done, and I hated whoever was feeding him orders. I was a monster, a rage-fueled demon from his darkest nightmares here to exact revenge for the death of my mother.
The other men reached me, the butt end of their rifles meeting the back of my head. I fell to one side as they beat me mercilessly. I felt one slip a tie wrap over my hands and bash me again with his rifle. My vision went fuzzy and I began to slip from consciousness. I heard Brad go down shortly after and I knew we had lost. The enemy dragged me across the pavement, a sanguine trail forming in my wake from the back of my head.
This trail would always lead back to the point where I hit bottom, the point where I had crumbled to my weakest possible state, been reduced to a writhing creature who fed off his own rage. I had burned myself as brightly as possible in a state of righteous fury until all that was left inside was anguish and disgust. The pain in my heart far surpassed the pain in my body. My mental state was on the verge of collapse and the enemy had me in their hands. I had dragged another down with me, someone who only wanted to help. For the second time in the day my grip on the world around me faltered and I slipped back into blackness, reemerging what seemed like seconds later as a splash of icy water slammed into my face.
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