The worst of the fighting was over. The defenders held the flank and had not allowed an Acelun foothold behind them. The Aceluns had been pushed out of the city when Rat led a counter attack on the front gate completely overwhelming the troops stationed there.

“Well kid, ya survived another day of battle. A few more of those and you’ll become a glorified vet.”

“Thanks doc.” Marcus replied. He was on a cot with his arm bandaged up. “Will I be able to use my arm?”

“Well ya should be fine, but I could’nt give ya a definitive answer on that. Mostly just try not to move for a week or two let it heel up and we’ll find out!”

Marcus replied with syrupy sarcasm “Thank goodness you know what your doing.”

“Don’t get smart with me sonny, it looks like this may just be the start of a beautiful relationship!”

Marcus mumbled under his breath “Great.” The doc left to go check on other patients.

Marcus attempted to move his left arm, immediately pain shot through it. “Wonderful, this is gonna be great.” He got up and out of bed to see if anyone in his squad had survived the day. As he left the area he spotted a few soldiers moving bodies.

Figuring that the most recognizable person in the squad was the self proclaimed and now proven avatar of death ‘Rat’ he asked “Hey, have you guys seen Rat?”.

One of the men, Marcus recognized him from one of the pubs, responded “Yeah, he’s gettin food in the mess. Guy can eat for five and fight for ten!”

“Thanks, what are you guys doing with those bodies anyway?”

“The Acelun bastards are getting looted and burned. The rest, were gonna try our best for proper funerals.”

“Do we have enough fuel for that many men? Winter comes soon.”

“Probably not, but the captain seems to have a renewed interest in holding the place. He seemed surprised that we did, said something about us being barely trained rabble.”

“Well thanks, that sounds like a resounding vote of confidence. Have fun with the bodies.”

“Oh yeah, this is the life…”

Marcus headed towards the barracks. The streets there were relatively clean. There had been no fighting here and the stench of death was only a mild annoyance. His stomach growled fiercely and his body remembered that it had not been nourished in almost day and threatened to give out.

Upon arrival he noticed the mess hall was noticeably quitter than usual. Quickly he searched for Rat. The man was hard to miss, and sure enough he saw him with the squad. Marcus grabbed his food and headed over their direction.

“Hey guys.” Marcus looked around and saw Bigs, Rat, and Red. Bigs had a bandage around his waist. Rat as usual was cut up, but the armor he had worn seemed to have taken the brunt of the damage. Red had come out seemingly unscathed and just a bit dirty. “Where’s Curley?”

Rat looked up from his meal at Marcus “The got him, the dir-ie bastards got him. Me and him had just charged the front gate when one of the bastards got a lucky throw wit a sword. Think he was aimen at me but it hit Curley righ in da throat.” He went back to his meal.

Marcus was shocked; he thought none of these guys would die. All he managed to say was “Oh” and began consuming his food as well. The rest of the meal went on in silence. Not a single one of the men at that table said anything more to each other. 

The night stayed silent. Marcus went up to his bunk but had trouble getting to sleep. He reached onto the dresser and slowly pulled out a knife. Putting the sharp point onto his finger he began to rotate the tool. 

The End

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