Barely Nothing

by Devvie
This is one of the contributions to a fan-fiction contest we had some time ago. It used to be a part of the Aftermath site, and will soon be part of the StrategyCore site. In the meantime I'm posting it here.

Written by Devvie.

In a pale mist, I could see a young girl walking along a dirt road, she was singing a melody I barely could hear, but i recognized it well. It was an early morning in late autumn, I stood still as she moved away from me, and I didn't know what to do, I didn't believe what I saw, and as she started to disappear, I ran towards her. Her long blonde hair on her back, and her white dress was moving with a soft breeze. I ran all that I could, but I couldn't get closer. The grass was moist and thick, and it ran from the dirt road, all the way up to my grandparents house, she walked through it with her bare feet, I screamed for her but she didn't stop, she just turned to my and smiled as she passed the swing, hanging from that old oak, my granddad used to sit under, smoking his pipe. And then she was gone, i ran towards her, but I couldn't find her. The door to the cellars was open, and I ran down. I almost fell on the old cranky stairs, I stopped for a moment and looked around. Dead bodies, flames. She was standing there, in the middle of it all, and the flames just swept around her, without scorching her dress, she was looking straight at me. She smiled, I was horrified, the bodies of my loved ones, burn in piles, but my sister just smiled at me, and then she said, -"are you alive?".

As I woke up, I was shaking, and i was all cold. It was another nightmare, but now I was awake, cursed, but alive, and awake.
It was very early in the morning, a strange, foul, mist covered the ground, I swept close to the ground, slowly moving around, like a predator searching for a prey. We where far into enemy territory, and I felt the stench of sulfur.

I turned and looked around, the sky was grey, the ground was brown, and everything between was a mixture of both. The situation wasn't bright, we had lost most of our men and equipment last night. They where waiting for us. It was common these days, and well I didn't really care, it happened, some people died, but so what.
I decided to eat breakfast. Whatever it was I ate, it didn't taste of anything, nothing did, and whatever the scouts reported, I always sounded the same, I didn't really listen.
We wasn't more than a few hundred meter from the village by now, and smoke rose from that direction. Many wanted to stay a while, to wait for survivors from last days attack, but I told them we where moving out.
We didn't need any more wounded anyway, they couldn't fight, and they just slowed us down. We where going to finish the mission anyway, I didn't tell the others about it, they just complained. That was the only thing they ever did.
I gave the order to move out, and a pack of rookies and rednecks started walking towards the village. I was in the front, the terrain was hard, and we had to climb a hill before we could see the village before us, it wasn't very far now, and my soldiers was scared, I could see it in their eyes. I didn't really care, they was suppose to die anyway, sooner or later, it didn't matter.
I didn't want to stay in this place any longer. I didn't like the base either, to be true I didn't like to really anywhere, but I always wanted to be someplace else, wherever I was.
Slowly the men started to understand what we where going to do, and they was really scared, and complained a lot, but I didn't listen, I never did. We continued down the hill and walked along a backstreet. This place wasn't much better, just brown buildings, and everything else was grey. Nothing really smelled anything, and there wasn't any sounds.
Silently we moved on, and after a while, we reached what used to be a garden in the back of a burnt out building. The garden was encircled by a wooden fence, with a small gate facing the main street. I opened the gate and took a glance of what beyond. Then I turned back, and told my men to prepare for combat. I switched of the safety on my plasma shotgun, and took a position by the gate, the soldiers spread out, and found places to attack from, they we're quite lousy, everyone trying to find a place where they would be safe. I didn't really care, and turned around to take a few final breaths. I could feel the scent of burnt rubber, of some stuff lying on the ground. Suddenly everything seemed to have more color, and the brown and grey slowly faded away. As the last few seconds passed by, I felt more and more scents, and everything felt more alive, my heart started beating, and I felt adrenalin pumping in my veins. Everything was much clearer and I gave a few more orders.
But now it was time, the gate opened, I leaped forward, and everything felt really beautiful, I was going to survive, as all those times before. This was where I wanted to be, I really was alive.

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