A soldier with dissociation and insanity is trapped in a post WWIII era and has to learn how to cope in this apocalyptic world without humanity or sanity.
The ashes were wafting through the air and I couldn’t stop it. The fires tore even harder into the remains of the city. Charred remains of the innocent littered across the streets, their dead children and friends at their feet. Cars sat smashed to my left and right, while electrical wires crackled life into the shattered pavement. The rivers flowed red, the city’s residents crushed on its banks. Intestines and brains scattered amongst the bones of the society. I’m alone in this world; no teammates, no friends, no family, no army to follow, no country to fight for. I’ve been left behind and all I have left is my M16A2, my Interceptor body armor, and my now tattered uniform. Nowhere to go, no one to protect, I’m alone.
I sat upon a fallen timber and glanced skyward, no angels looking upon, no sunny smiles to greet. The heat stung my face making sweat dribble off onto the collar of my shirt. I looked back to the burning city; this was what I had to look forward to. I felt a presence next to me, with apprehension I turned to see who was now at my side. It was almost like looking in a mirror, I saw me. The figure was a copy but something was off, there was an aura of darkness and suffering that hung around him like a mist. He had my blonde hair, my azure eyes, my thoughts, and my voice. Yet the darkness seemed to permeate even those traits. He turned to me and flashed a smile before gazing to the crimson horizon.
“Beautiful isn’t it?”I paused, staring at the destruction around me.
“Maybe for you Merrick,” I scoffed angrily at his desensitized view.
“Oh lighten up Noah, you enjoy this!”We both looked at each other, he grinned and I shuddered.
“So what now,” I sighed. Merrick laughed, “What?!” I growled.
“Is it really so bad being alone?”I stood, shifting my gun. Merrick watched as I began walking across the gore covered streets.“You can’t run from me Noah!” His voice whispered across the breeze. I turned to the tree to see that he had vanished. He was with me I knew it; he didn’t have to be seen to be heard. I turned back to the city and started to walk again. I didn’t know where I was going but I didn’t care. Merrick materialized next to me and hoisted his gun, checking the bolt.
“There’s no one left to use that on,” I stated grimly.
“It’s not the who you should be worried about Noah, but the what.”
Just then the city began to reverberate with a loud metallic whine emanating from the city’s bowels. I dropped into a crouch and sighted my rifle ahead; Merrick was nowhere to be seen.
“Shoot!”The metallic whine echoed again. Slowly, I moved closer to the leering skyscraper. Their stature mixed with the red sky and echoing noises, sent chills down my spine.
“Help,” A voice cried from the city.
“Please help me!” the female voice was growing desperate as I spun around looking for the source. I squinted into the shadowed street, not seeing anything I used my scope. Sweat was pouring off me and my hands were shaking, I sat up against a small beige minivan. Hallucinations were not my favorite part of insanity.
“Noah!” I twitched as Merrick crouched next to me.
“What now?” I muttered as I retook a sentry position.
“Flip on your thermals,” he whispered, agitated. I turned the switch on my scope and raised my rifle again.
With the blackness stripped away, the scope revealed the monster. A tall bi-pedal machine stood four blocks down the street. It was moving what looked like a head, as though it were searching. Its dimensions reminded me of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton I had seen in a museum. I could only hope that it hadn’t seen us. I took a quick inspection of my surroundings. Cover appeared as a large semi-truck, half a block away. We both took off running, my equipment rattled and the clatter of my boots rebounded off the glass buildings around me. I slid like a runner to home base and slammed into the driver’s side front wheel. The semi itself was sitting perpendicular to the road, half melted from the fires that had raged throughout the city. I turned to my right; Merrick was sitting next to me, casually smoking a cigarette.
I shook my head and returned my sights to the metal machine veiled within the smoke of the city. The machine had shifted its gaze in our direction.
“If we only had a-“
“Rocket!” Merrick exclaimed.
“Stop messing with me I really mea-”
“No look!” He pointed to a Humvee; bodies of fellow soldiers were strewn about and in the vehicle. The driver was slumped over the wheel, a bloody pistol still in his hand. About 20 feet behind the Humvee was a lone soldier, next to the body was the familiar shape of an AT-4 Anti-tank weapon. Merrick looked at me, I knew he wanted to go after the weapon but the risk was too great. He took a step then stopped, I glared at him, he turned and scowled at me.
“We don’t know what it is or of it’s even friendly,” I yelled angrily.
“Screw what it is; it’s a machine, an enemy! I don’t care if you’re a scared, I’m killing that thing!”
I reached for Merrick, when I grabbed his shoulder he stood completely still.
“Listen, I’ll get it, stay here.”
Merrick began to protest but I took off running. I grabbed the rocket and tried to steady my breathing. With a sense of triumph I looked back to Merrick giving him the thumbs up. But just as my sense of exaltation had shown, an earth shuddering thud rocked the city. Again the long metal whine returned. THUD…THUD; I saw the mechanical menace drawing closer to me, pushing away the smoke. I clicked the rocket eye piece out and steadied the rocket on my shoulder.
Closer and closer it came with nothing impeding its motion. With my finger cradled on the trigger, I pulled it, releasing the rocket. The missile sped away and struck dead center on the machines face. A long guttural scream reverberated as the creature recoiled. I took off for Merrick and the semi. Grinding across the pavement, I stopped and plastered myself against the cab. I tried to catch my breath as Merrick looked out from behind the truck. His eyes widened in fear as he saw the beast open its jaws.
“Move,” was all he had time to say.
We jumped out of the trucks shadow as the machine vaporized the truck with a blue particle laser beam. Merrick and I looked at each other, the adjacent buildings doors were locked and there was no other nearby cover. So that left us with option number two, return fire. The 5.56 rounds peppered its face. Angered, it spun around and brought its etched sheet metal tail to bear. I wasn’t quite sure what it was doing till the high pitched ringing slammed into my ears. A wave of nausea crippled me and brought me to my knees. I lost all sense of direction as my last meal spilled from my lips and onto the road. Merrick kept firing, seemingly unfazed. With a show of incredible strength, Merrick threw me over his shoulder like a rag doll. With one hand he held me and the other he shot, not caring if he hit or not. The machine followed anxiously waiting and watching. I could tell Merrick was growing tired, his breathing had become labored.
“Let me down, “I coughed weakly. Merrick slid me off his shoulder and we took off again. We passed another semi and ran another quarter mile. The machines footsteps stopped and were replaced by the crunch of metal. We turned to see our nightmare get worse. In the jaws of the machine was the semi. “Subway!” I yelled as the truck took flight towards us. We managed to reach the bottom of the stairs before the truck exploded in the entrance way above us.
“Guess we can’t go back,” Merrick chuckled. I just stared into the dancing flames wishing that this was just a bad dream.