Earth IntrudersMature

Fandom; Fullmetal Alchemist.
Introspective one-shot about Roy's experiences in Ishbal.

 

Song; Earth Intruders - Björk

***

[We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders
Muddy with twigs and branches]

He shouldn’t be here. He knew that now. He was an intruder. An antigen spreading through this place on tides of blood, infecting everything he touched, causing it to wither and die. He felt the sting of his own destruction, as sharp as if it had been meant for him. He recoiled inside, trying to escape the horror. But he could not, for he was the horror.

[Turmoil! Carnage!]

Thousands of homes and villages and cities and streets and lives and people, burnt to the ground. To nothing. The stench and stink of seared flesh permeated the air. He would be proclaimed a hero, they said. He felt like a murderer, another common criminal perpetuating the carnage.

[Here come the earth intruders
We are the paratroopers
The beat of sharp shooters
Come straight from voodoo]

The fire ranted and raved as it tore around him, ripping apart a nation with deadly accuracy. The roar of the flames scarcely blocked out the screams of pain and desperation. The hot ash and blistering air engulfed him, in his eyes, his nose, his mouth, his heart. The heat wrapped its tendrils around his soul, scorching and blackening it beyond recognition. What was he? Not a man? A monster? Maybe. He didn’t know anymore.

 [With our feet thumping
With our feet marching
Grinding skeptics
Into the soil]

Why was he doing this? Under orders, yes, but why?  What had these people done? So, they didn’t like alchemy. Big deal. That’s no reason to decimate them. No reason to print the image of the faces of the dying masses on his brain for the rest of his life. No reason to give him cause to wake up every night, screaming, while that bastard Kimbley just laughed and laughed, as if he were the butt of a cosmic joke. He sure as hell didn’t get the punchline.

[Shower of goodness coming to
End the doubt pouring over
Shower of goodness coming to end]

The rain came. It cooled, soothed, washed away the evidence of his crimes. It stopped him, kept him grounded. Rain in a desert. Ridiculous. Even God wasn’t on his side, not anymore.  He was forced to retreat. No, retreat was the wrong word. Run. Run as far away from the million faceless ones whose death rattle haunted him, its sickening judder pressing into his skull until it felt like it was coming from his own throat. The rain pelted his back, hard and torrential, as if the Heavens were trying to punish him for his sins. He collapsed, shaking, crying, begging for the absolution he could never achieve. The rain stopped. The tears never would.

[We are the earth intruders
We are the sharp shooters
Flock of parachuters
Necessary voodoo]

Again and again. Again he was sent charging into battle… there was always something else to torch, someone else to ruin. Again and again, with every death he created, a part of him died too. This was not his war. This was not his fight. All that was his was the fire. That beautiful, harrowing dance the flames did around him became his sole reason for living. The smoke blinded him. They wanted him to look t what he’d done. He couldn’t. Even if he had to look, he refused to see. He was afraid of the retribution in the eyes of the ones he had slain, no matter how much he deserved it.  He was sick with himself. 

[I have guided my bones through some voltage
And love them still
And love them too]

The rage ran through him, consuming him. Rage at the army, for putting him here. Rage at himself, for staying. Rage at these people who just wouldn’t fucking run! Why were they fighting? It was doing no-one any good. The sooner they stopped fighting, the sooner this whole fucking trauma would be over. No. it would never be over. He would live with this, with himself, forever. He would live for all these innocents he had slaughtered. That’s what he would tell himself.

[Metallic! Carnage! Furiocity! Feel the speed!]

Faster and faster they were moving now. The resistance against them was diminishing. They marched on and on, annihilating everything in their path. Even the peaceful were not spared. No-one was spared.

[We are the earth intruders
We are the sharp shooters
Flock of parachuters
Necessary voodoo]

The order was clear. He stared into their eyes, and they stared back at him, together, defiant ‘til the end. His hands shook. These were faces he knew he wouldn’t forget. He squeezed the trigger. Once. Twice. They fell silent, still looking up at him, so unafraid. He fell to the floor, sobs wracking his body, as he smothered himself in their blood, so as not to forget. He took the picture on the table. A reminder of what he had done. There were three bullets left in the chamber.

[There is turmoil out there
Carnage, rambling
What is to do but dig
Dig bones out of earth]

He locked himself away for days. Weeks. Books, arrays, in chalk and blood, littered the tiny room. The cries from the other side of the door did nothing to calm his thoughts. He was focussed entirely on the task before him. Just one more change, one more line, one more sigil, and it would be perfect. What else could he do, to atone?  In the end, he was too afraid. Not for the first time, he was sick with himself.

[Mud graves! Timber! Morbid trenches!]

 A decent burial. Was that too much to ask? Instead they were to be incinerated, like infected meat. No graves, no headstones, nothing to mark their existence save for a patch of charred ground where the pyre had been.

 [Here come the earth intruders
There'll be no resistance
We are the canoneerers
Necessary voodoo]

 The country crumbled beneath them. Still they pressed on, the enemy diminishing further and further with each passing hour. They said this was the right thing to do. The just war. The Holy Crusade. This was not a war. This was an extermination.

 

[And the beast
With many heads
And the arms rolling
Steamroller!]

A whole race of people, crushed under the iron fist of one country. Flattened, rolled up and tossed aside by the far reaching arms of the military. All those tiny existences, snuffed out for… no reason except that they were there. Their eyes were red, their skin was dark, and this made them worthless. In a nation run by an institution where the aim was to look the same, what chance did these different people stand?

[We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders
Muddy with twigs and branches]

The war was over. The forces began to pull out. Crawling back to where they belonged. He may have survived this battle, but his war was far from over.

[Forgive us, tribe]

He was so, so sorry.

 “I’m going straight to the top, Maes. I can never let this happen again. I have to change things.”

 

[We are the earth intruders
We are the earth intruders
Muddy with twigs and branches
Marching]

 

 

The End

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