Paradigm Shift

I didn't even have time to think. It just happened.

The cries for help erupted through my headset and eventually became perfectly audible regardless of the fact that I had ripped out the earpiece. 

I stood there, focusing on the voice for a moment. It was shrill, in panic, perfectly desperate.  Before I knew it, the system was crumbling. I'm not sure if it had to do with this other person being inside, maybe it wasn't meant for thirteen, or maybe it had just run too long; memory leak.

The wall before me shifted. The bricks moved outward and away from each other. From within, a dark shape appeared. Soon I realized it was a door, and as I took a step back, expecting the worst, it flung open.

Out from the door came several men and a young girl. The men stood out like a solar eclipse to me because for the first time, they were different then those I'd been fighting for who knows how long. They spoke, and they brandished makeshift weapons that my enemies were never even programmed to us. For a very short moment I thought they were real people.

The girl... if the men where a solar eclipse, she was a super nova. Don't misunderstand, the revelation was completely platonic; like seeing an apparition.

She seemed almost alien to me, after so much time secluded from society in the year of preliminary training processes, which seemed the only part of my biological life I could recall now. The rest a blur of endless combat in this simulator. She was so brittle in my eyes, in comparison to the ruthless warriors that roamed my hell.

I shook out of my daze, realizing that the time for action was now. I ran toward the men, it almost seemed as though they didn't recognize I was there. Their attention was fixated on her. That was, until I sunk my knife between the ribs of one, and through the kidney of another.

By now, the last man stood ready, his blade making a dimple in the side of her outstretched neck as she lay limp in his arms. She had passed out. His eyes were far less sunken than those of the simulation. This creature was not human, but it was given some semblance by something or someone. It was far more human than the husks that lurked in the debris surrounding us.

My answer soon became clear. Moments after she had fallen unconscious, the man shuddered, and dropped her, reeling back as his flesh turned to motes of dust, blown away in the wind of my personal prison.

These were her enemies, and they would only torment her if she was conscious to receive it.

I went to her and lifted her in to my arms. The weight of her was negligible. It was different, but painfully familiar at the same time. It instantly reminded me of carrying my petrified brethren to their resting places.

I hoped more than anything at that moment, that I would not be doing the same with her.


The End

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