"Where are you going?"
I watched her lips as she spoke and I could swear that, somewhere within the breath of her words I could see the essence of angst, doubt and fear floating between us as she ran toward me.
I could never quite understand what it was about her that pushed me to the brink of self control, but every time I looked into her green eyes I couldn't help but dream about everything I wish I had, and every time, I was already looking at exactly that. I could lose myself looking at her, and I often did.
She came to me and grabbed my arm and then slid her hands down to mine. Her eyes were soft and worried; her breathing was fast from the run.
"Please, don't go."
How could I go? How could I walk away from the only thing that kept me alive in this place? I couldn't, but it wasn't up to me. I had a choice, and I made that choice knowing well what the consequences would be and now, it was too late to go back.
There are some things I wish I could forget, but I think that even if I did forget them, my body would know, my heart and soul would inevitably remind me that I have no choice but to love this woman, and I have no choice but to leave her.
"Just say it, please, before you go."
She took my shoulders and pressed herself against me, as much as she could. Her soft brown hair flowed across my cheek as my lips slightly touched her ear. I could feel her breathing down my neck and hear her weep silently against me. Our hearts beat together, perhaps for the last time. Both ripping at the seems with an indescribable sorrow.
"Please." Her voice, so close to my ear, penetrated every cell in my body. I crumbled into her and could feel my chest jerk as I began to cry.
"I love you." Every motion of my body threw the words at her with as much meaning as I could possibly shed. My tears wet her hair as we wept against each other.
She's most likely dead.
The report came in yesterday. Five cities in one night. I sat in the bunker looking out toward the fields of dead flesh and rusting steel that was sprawled out before me and thought about that day.
Maybe I'm insane, but I can't help but believe she's not dead. I think that if I would believe that she was, it would kill me.
I've never seen so much death before. I've been here for six months now, and I've seen more people come and go than ever before this last month. The machines seem unstopable. I doubt that humanity has a bright future ahead of them.
Last week was the worst. It was the second week since Operation Dark Storm. At first i thought that it just might work, but the machines just kept comming, wave after wave.
They're relentless, and although most of us think that the smaller war machines are most likely non sentient combat doirds, they seem to attack and mutilate with a hatred that is unmatched by any other entity in existence on this planet, other than perhaps humanity.
I've seen a man get every limb ripped from his body after an inital strike from a droid that broke his spine and left him unable to do anything but scream. I've watched a machine strike a soldier in the helmet to rip it from his head specifically to tear the flesh from his skull as he lay unconscious from the blow.
Just this week my rifle jammed and my own fireteam partner was killed beside me. An AIU saved my life shortly afterwards as the larg armored infantry unit quickly targeted the machine in question and blew it into four peices as it readied itself to lunge at me with the entrails of my friend freshly leaking from it's limbs.
The darkness that has swollowed the sky has destroyed the last of my humanity. Now I only have memories of being a man, I am already dead.
When my infantry unit finally gets the chance to rest in the bunkers behind the lines, I often hear the pilots call us "the living dead" as they walk by, or point from across the mess hall. At first I resented this, but recently I've seen more truth in those words than at any other time in my life. The only thing that keeps me from losing my sanity is her voice.
In the first few months, she sent me several audio recordings, and I've kept them all on me or near me at all times. I listen to them at night, I can't fall asleep unless I do. I listen to them whenever I eat, in my headset. I listen to them before battle, while the others pray to their gods or put on their lucky charms.
Since yesterday I've been listening to them none stop. I had done this once before. In October, I didn't get a recording from her. I waited, but it never came. Near the end of the month I was almost put on I.U. status as an ineffective unit within my regiment because I was caught several times listening to the recordings on the battlefield. Since October, I've received nothing from her.
"*satic* Ok, I think it's working now. Hi David, I love you, and I *static* you so much..." Her voice once soothed me, but now it tears me apart. Nevertheless, I cannot stop listening to the tapes. "... and yesterday Moca was *static* on your side of the bed when I woke up, and for a *static*, I thought she was you. That's of *static*, before she started licking my face, but yeah, the dogs are *static*, they're always at your office door when I close it, as if they think you're in there doing some*static* and are waiting for you to come out." The tapes are getting old, and the electro magnetic interference from some of the lazer batteries are destroying them, I find myself saying the missing words outloud as I listen to them, huntched in a corner, staring at the floor. "Shit.. sleeping... second... course... just... thing."
It's been two months since the report of Denver being overrun. We were pushed back hundreds of miles and I'm quite unsure why or how I'm still alive. I don't know what city I'm in, but it doesn't look much like a city anymore. I'm alone. I deserted my unit four days ago after a battle that killed every last person I knew on my team. I told my new sergeant to kill himself before the machines got to him and I left. I thought for sure they would shoot me in the back as I walked out of the base, but they let me go. Maybe they figured I would be of no use, or that I would die anyway, and that shooting me would be a waste of amunition.
The stink of death would probably be quite promenent in this place, but my nostrils have been so saturated by it's pugnancy that I haven't smelt anything but that for longer than I can remember. I often think that it's the last thing I'll ever smell, and undoubtedly the last thing I'll see. At the moment I'm in the only building which is still intact by a low standard of the term. It looks like it used to be a post office, there's letters and mail everywhere.
I've been here for three days now. My muscles are barely working, my mind, waning. Tears run down my face as I huddle beside the mound of cassets, any voice will do now, anything I can read, hear or see that slightly resembles the world I have lost will do. On my second day in this building, I read a letter out of boredome. It was opened and destined for a soldier on the front line.
"Dear Jeremy, I'm sorry that I have to say this, and I know what you're going through * I laughed at that remark, you don't know shit I thought as I read* and that you don't need to hear this, but I can't do it anymore, you've been gone for almost a year now, and I don't even know if you're alive, I'm leaving the country Jeremy. Goodbye."
I didn't feel much from it's words, but for the first time in a long time, I smelt something other than rotting flesh. I put the letter up to my nose, and I swore I could smell the girl who wrote it.
I threw it aside and picked up another one. This one was also destined for the line, opened, and dated two months ago. Then it hit me. I looked at the pile of letters I was sitting in and my eyes widened. I searched through the pile, picking up any letter and looking at it quickly before picking up another and another. "They're all open, all opened with the same tool! All destined for the line!"
This wasn't a postal service, it was a sensorship office. I walked over to a seperate part of the building and found hundreds of letters outgoing from the line, none of them had reached their destinations. A large furnace sat on one side of the building, undoubtedly used to burn the mail. "Maybe! JUST MAYBE!"
I searched every inch of the building on my hands and knee's with the last bit of energy I had left, searching for anything from Lise, for me. I did so for two days. At last in the basement of the compound I found boxes, filled with cassets, after some searching I found a player, and soon I was sitting in a damp corner, listening to messages not meant for me. I've been laying here ever since. I haven't eaten in two days, and even if I wanted to, I don't think I could use my legs anymore. The last of my energy is being used to pick a casset from the pile, and play it.
*click*" Hi Andrew, how are you...."
*click*"Hello Dan, The family misses you..."
*click*"Well then Mary, my big soldier sister, how is the arm..."
I don't know how much time has passed now, in this place I can't see the barely visible disk of the sun, and my legs are no longer working. I'm trying to pick up one more casset, but it hurts so much. My chest is barely rising as I try so hard to breath. I'm suddenly so tired. One last tape... just this one last tape, then I could sleep.
*click* "I'm not sure if you're going to get this, I heard that the roads to the line are blocked, and they're asking us not to send anymore mail. The dogs are always barking now, sometimes I can see dark objects on the horizon but I don't know what it is. David I'm scared, I miss you, and I haven't been getting any letters from you at all since October. I won't ever give up on you David, I know you're still alive. They would tell us woulnd't they? If you had gotten hurt? Anyway, I have to go, somethings going on outside. I love you David.*static...*
"Where are you going?"