just behind the retaining wall. Someone foolishly suggested we scale
the wall but I had no desire to slice myself to ribbons in the razor
wire. Shells began to land all around us, as we scurried for cover.
We headed for some burned out rubble in front of the wall. This had
become a dangerous excursion and the night was far from over.
The moon was
full and the ground was bloody as hell. Everything was bloody here.
load.” Sarge yelled. “We really pissed em off this time.”
As I dove into
the remains of a bunker, I realized that we were trapped like rats.
We were just a few kilos of explosives away from freedom. The
Wasteland was just beyond the wall. But Explosives were just too hard
to come by these days. We were fortunate enough to have a few
homemade hand grenades, but hand grenades wouldn’t bring down a
wall that was two feet thick. A layer of dust descended over us from
the dirt that was kicked up by the artillery.
The age of
concrete and steel was coming to an end, but there were still
remnants of both scattered about. Bullets began spraying in around
us. They were close, close enough for ground fire. I slid to the
ground with my back against the rubble I was hiding behind. I raised
my rife at a forty-five degree angle and chambered a round. The
imminent battle had stolen my breath. Then I heard the footsteps on
the gravel. I knew the order would come soon.
“Cut em down,
Cut them down.”
I jumped up and
aimed my rifle through the gap of the ruined bunker. Hordes of
security forces were running through the gravel towards us. I
hesitated no more. My finger depressed the trigger and I brought down
a number of guards with shots to their head. There is nothing on this
earth more gruesome than a man’s head exploding. My vision was
filled with flying brains.
barrage of light artillery preceded the infantry. They had finally
gotten their aim down and explosions rocked the debris field we were
entrenched in. Terrible screams followed and I knew that some of my
comrades were about to become history. My shooting was efficient but
there were so many of them and my gun went dry. As soon as I ducked
down to reload, bullets began streaming through the gap. I knew that
I would not be able to put my head up again. I had to displace.
Before I could chamber a round they had reached the bunker. I saw
black metallic barrels jut themselves through the gap. Yellow fire
erupted from their muzzles. As I cowered in the corner I did what
they should have done I the first place. I pulled a pin from my last
grenade and lobbed it out the gap at their feet. Blood rained down
from the hole. That would be the last explosive, I would ever touch.
I ran out the
back of the bunker and saw a hole in the wall. One of their artillery
shells had miraculously crumbled a tiny portion of the wall. I ran so
fast, it would have made a track star jealous. I left my pack. I had
what we needed in my knapsack. Bullets began thudding against the
ground around my feet. Just as the wall grew near a grenade landed
just in front of the hole. It didn’t detonate immediately. It was
going to be close. I dove through the hole and rolled down the small
hill beyond as the device detonated. I was covered in dust but I was
I had almost
reached freedom. Security forces would not chase me into the
Wasteland but they would not be afraid to fire bullets into it. I had
to reach the forest that lay in front of me. Fortunately they would
have to wait for the dust to settle to lay down any accurate fire. I
made it about halfway to the tree line before the bullets started to
fly. I was almost out of range but anyone can get lucky. Then
fireballs burst from the forest and struck the opening. I glanced
back and saw soldiers aflame as they fell through the hole. I
surmised that a few members of my unit must have survived and made it
through the hole before me. I changed my course slightly but still
aimed for the trees. I dropped to my knees as I reached the forest.
My burned out lungs struggled to take in air. Somehow I forced myself
to position myself facing the wall and aim my gun towards the gap.
through the gap and the fires smoldered into nothingness. I knew I
only had a few seconds before I had move again. They would soon bring
up their artillery and shell the forest. We had to get out of range
before the whole edge of the forest was on fire. They wouldn’t
hesitate to use incendiaries. The information I was carrying in my
knapsack was worth risking retribution. The denizens of the compound
knew that if they harmed the forest it would risk open war, but at
this point it was inevitable anyways. Unless one of their agents
somehow recovered the map inside my knapsack, they were finished
anyways. The last remnants of the old world were about to come to an
end. What the future held no one could foresee.
rose to my feet and began making my way through the underbrush into
the heart of the forest. I was not fearful of their agents. They did
not know the ways of the forest as we did and everything in the
forest was hostile to them. It would be a shot in the dark for them.
But I knew I had a few hundred yards to cover before I was completely
safe. I made sure not to head in a straight line. I could find a new
path to the rally point after I was safe from shelling. Just as I had
predicted, I heard the pops of shells exiting their canisters. Fire
rained down from the sky but it was not yet close to me. The further
I made it through the darkness the safer I felt. I hitched my rifle
and placed my hand around my saber. Bullets were of no use out here.
That was what the crumbling government failed to realize. Their
troops were well trained. Hell, they were the last remnants of the
great American Army. But the old Empires were almost gone. The world
had changed and the men back at the complex had failed to evolve.
Soon I would have to abandon my rifle altogether. I had only a half
clip of rounds left before it became a worthless hunk of metal and
information in my knapsack contained a map that designated the
location of the last ammo dump in the Wasteland. If we could destroy
the dump before the government reached it, the old world would be
completely swept away. Some of us thought that the weapons would
further our cause and that we should use them to our advantage but
most of us felt that it would just perpetuate the old world. We had
our own methods and it was time to let the old world scatter in the
wind. It was time to form new allegiances.
bandanna felt like it was about to freeze around my face. For the
first time since the battle, I realized that I was cold. I took off
my bandanna and wiped the sweat off my face before placing it in my
pocket. It felt nice not to be carrying any gear, but it would make
for a cold night.
forest began to wail and creak as fire ravaged its end. The wind
picked up as the forest attempted to prevent the fires from
spreading. It was a fell wind, an evil wind, and I knew that forces
were gathering behind it. It reeked of battle, one last bloody
affair to end it all. I caught a glimpse of the moon above the dense
treetops and longed for a smoke. But my sticks were back in my pack.
In that one area the guards had scored one minor victory. Oh well I
hoped they enjoyed burning my smokes.
forest was a scary place. It was full of things that I am not sure I
even believe in. And now I had to walk through it cold and covered in
blood. I could barely remember a day without bloodshed and I longed
for happier times.
heard a snap of twigs to my left in the darkness and I dropped to my
knees. My hand silently stroked the hilt of my saber. I did my best
impression of a nightingale and waited for a response. It was our
secret code but I really freakin’ sucked at bird calls. In the back
of my mind I hoped that I was not attracting a predator with a taste
for birds. But then I heard a familiar sound. I flicked my lighter
twice to alert them of my position. The first rule of the forest was
not to attract too much attention to yourself. It camouflaged our
small band of revolutionaries but it was also full of old and dirty
dealings. There were forces at work in there that were greater than
all of us.
fucking Christ that was insane.”
about it. I just barely made it out of there.”
“Hah, I never
thought I’d hear you say that.”
didn’t think I would ever say it.”
“You got a
smoke?” I asked
out. What happened to yours?”
by the fuckheads, How far to the camp?”
we were going to bunk down here tonight.” He responded
and the darkness receded as the first rays of light penetrated the
forest canopy. I shivered myself awake and stood carefully. I lifted
my rifle and scanned the perimeter. After I was content that nothing
was trying to attempt to move in on our position, I sat down and woke
my buddies. The forest was a dichotomy of light and dark but the
daytime was much less fearsome than the night. It was as if the woods
were on an opposite sleeping schedule to our own. Everything was