I would then burn your thread to the ground... I can do that you know. Remember the "How do we find Cars?" thread? Of course you don't. I burned that sucker down.
I would then burn your thread to the ground... I can do that you know. Remember the "How do we find Cars?" thread? Of course you don't. I burned that sucker down.
You best do ma'am...
*Spits tobacco on ground*
sir yes sir, now you'll have to give me a couple of days, I'm reading through one of Jay's Fic to keep him happy - and plus he promised me Co-Leadership of world domination - so I'm motivated to give his Soul Killers some love and attention.
Yeah, yeah, yeah... just don't let me catch you here ever again!
I sting like a butterfly and float like a bee! I'm made out of steel and you can't see me!
What'chu gonna' do when the RAVAGING RICK RUDE comes after JOO!?
Chapter Eleven will be up soon, just finishing it off, will probably put it up by tomorrow, but this is looking like a dark chapter I warn you now.
This is quite a dark chapter, so I warn you now
Chapter Eleven – Retrieval
Aidan quietly crept into the dormitories, casting her eye across each of the beds in turn in the hope to pick up any movement of the missing boy. She let out a frustrated sigh, she had always hated hide and seek as a kid, the notion of searching countless hiding places for the possibility of finding giggling kids really did not appeal to her. Usually whenever she had been 'it' she used to watch them all run off to hide then walk off in a completely different direction and wait there till everyone had either gotten bored of hiding or couldn't stand the tension any longer. This time however she couldn't just sit back and wait for the boy to come to her, he was a scared child that knew very little about the threat they were facing. Typical she was left with the only person on the Compound that didn't know how to protect himself. As she made her way into her family's sleeping quarters she scanned the room, dropping to her hands and knees to look under the beds in case the boy had really taken it upon himself to hide well. She had a feeling it was going to be one of those days, playing babysitter to a child who seemed to excel in getting himself into trouble.
"Hey kid," she called out, already aware that the boy wasn't within earshot.
Considering how much she hated hiding, Aidan had done a lot of it during her life at the Compound, it was something that the Lieutenant had sworn to her from the day he had taken them in, plus it was the only request left by their father written on the note with a wedge of money tucked inside their basket. The twins were never to be parted and protected from the farms. So as a young child the Lieutenant used to play hide from the COG with her, the moment the troops came in to collect the new arrived females in the Compound, Aidan used to hide in the loft. Brewer had trained her to hide as discreetly as possible, so if COG squads came in to search the sleeping quarters there would be no visible signs of her escape. She had even kept a bag hidden safely in the rafters inside the loft with random personal effects should she need to flee the Compound. Even from a young age the Lieutenant had taught her about patience and the need to use a Longshot should she ever need to protect herself from a distance. Subsequently in the hours she used to spend in the lofts she sat and lined up her sights on the Sniper, playing target practice with obstacles randomly scattered around the wasteland outside the grounds, hiding the weapon where no one would ever find it. She knew the layout of the loft system better than she knew about the ground floor complex, she had worked out exactly where a section would lead her and which tiles were loose around the buildings. She had also marked out an escape route many years ago, during her rebellion years when she had dreamed of running away to find her father, that was until her attachment to Washington had kicked in and he had persuaded her otherwise.
Approaching the drawers where her family had kept their own personal mementos she pulled each one open and took out a couple of each item, placing it in a knapsack ready in case they didn’t have an opportunity to return to pick any important items. She took hold of a woollen shawl and wrapped it over her shoulders, pinning it with a small lapel badge of the deaths head COG symbol, a gift left by her father that had attached her name to her clothes. Now feeling a little warmer she clambered onto the drawer unit and poked at the ceiling tile with the muzzle of the shotgun, wedging it out of place and reached up to slip the knapsack into the safe depths of the loft. Slipping back to the ground on light feet she left the sleeping quarters with her mind set on finding the boy.
It wasn't until she felt a sudden rumble beneath her feet that a shiver crept up her spine. She had experienced enough Locust in her life to understand what to expect when the ground started shaking. She edged to the dark stained glass window and peered outside, she could see a troop of Locust making their way into the compound with very little resistance from staff or children. Some separated from their troop and started to make their way into the building, looking for weak children to pick them off one at a time. In that instant her instincts told her to do one thing, head for the lofts. She picked a place just above a wardrobe in another sleeping quarter she didn’t quite recognise, making sure she didn’t displace anything she took a running jump and heaved herself over the top of the cupboard and quietly pushed the ceiling tile across enough for her to slip into the safety of the loft, securely locking it back after her. She straightened herself up inside, glancing back down the darkness letting her eyes adjust themselves to the dramatic change in light and picking out her location above the Compound. Quickly she picked her way down the length of the room, picking out the spots she knew were quieter under foot, she could hear the Locust below her grunting and clattering around the rooms. For a moment she pressed herself against the hard wooden planks to peer between the gaps in the ceiling to look down at the whereabouts of the monsters. She could see them tossing the room about as it scented for a child, every now and again it would pause and sniff the air before rushing to another area and destroy any hiding places, letting off a burst of gunfire to ensure that nothing was alive.
Aidan realised now that she had to find the little boy before the Locust did otherwise he would most certainly have very little chance in their hands. She quietly rose to her feet and lightly stepped over the beams following the direction the Locust would follow, counting each footstep where she remembered each sleeping quarter lay, she could hear the gunfire behind her as the Locust sniffed ground below her. She was almost running through the loft till her brain set upon a different location, she remembered it as the canteen area, the smell of food wafted up through the ceiling and she felt her stomach rumble in response. She quickly clutched her belly in hope not to alert the Locust to her position, and lowered herself to peer into the room through the ceiling tiles. She could hear a noise that was most certainly not Locust, a weak whimpering coming from the far corner of the room. She got up and walked to the area she predicted the sound coming from, slowly pulling the ceiling tile back to peer down. She couldn’t see anything but she could certainly hear a feeble crying noise. She pulled the tile back a little further and called down into the room.
“Psst, kid is that you?”
The crying paused for a moment before starting up again.
“Hey, err...” damn what was the boy’s name again, “Dave... can you hear me?”
The crying stopped and the cupboard door slowly creaked open below her and a little head poked out.
“Wh...Who’s there?” he squeaked.
“It’s Aidan,” she called a little louder this time, then hearing the monsters crashing ever closer to the canteen, she pulled the tile right back and poked her head out, “Listen kid you need to get out of there.”
“I can’t,” he whimpered.
“Why the hell not?” she snapped frustrated now.
“For crying out...” she mumbled to herself, there was only one way she was going to get the boy out and that was to get him herself, although she had marvelled at the child’s ability to hide so well in such a short space of time. She let out a breath and dropped down from the ceiling onto the work surface cringing at the muffled clang from the impact, and then jumped to the floor, crouching to the boy’s aid.
“Come on kid, get up,” she pulled the door open a little further to see the boy in a rather roomy cupboard, he had crouched into a small ball, wedging himself as far back as possible. He shook his head defiantly as she offered her hand to him.
“I can’t, you’ll just take me away from him again,”
“Look kid the only thing I’m concerned about right now is getting the hell outta here,”
A hiss sounded at the far end of the canteen signalling that the Locust had finally reached them, she shook her head and squeezed into the space with the boy, she could feel him shaking next to her, his teeth chattering away, she was quite certain that that was enough to give away their position to the monsters seeking them out. She pulled her knees right to her chest and positioned the shotgun so it was aiming right at the cupboard door. She then placed her other hand against the boy’s mouth as he let out a little squeak in protest. She set him a look that swore that she would kill him herself if he made as much as another sound. Her heart thundered inside her as she thought about the safety of the loft, where the Locust wouldn’t find her, but instead she was stuck in the biggest kitchen cupboard she had ever encountered.
Their footsteps thudded ever closer, she could smell their putrid stench already as they grunted to each other in communication. She picked out little words that she thought were ‘tiny ooman’ and ‘slaughter’ she could almost feel them now, so close as they ran their rough scaly claws over the work surface scenting out their prey. David next to her was quaking so violently she could feel his tears run freely over her hand and his teeth chatter silently against her fingers.
She held her breath and tightened her finger on the trigger, should the monster pull the door open to reveal them, she was ready to greet it with a blast from her gun. Each step came closer to them, she closed her eyes unable to believe that this was it, after all this time she was going down in a cupboard surrounded by creatures with much bigger weapons than hers. Her heart had almost stopped, the thudding inside her had slowed down dramatically as she prepared herself for the inevitable.
She imagined them reaching a claw round the handle, tightly gripping it and creaking the cupboard open.
A loud clatter sounded from the neighbouring school room.
The claw realised the handle and the Locust turned away from the cupboard, heading swiftly out of the canteen.
Aidan wasted no time, she almost fell out, gun first, quickly giving the room a sweep over, then grabbed hold of the boy and pulled him out, he was now a weak gibbering wreak, his cheeks stained with tears and he gripped hold of her as tightly as he could. She lifted him to the work surface, noticing that there was a large wet patch on his shorts where the little boy had quite clearly wet himself. Remorse swept over her, and she had to stop herself from hugging the boy back in reassurance. Instead she clambered up to the work surface, unpeeled the boy to stand up.
“Reach the ledge of the ceiling tile, pull yourself up,”
The boy looked back her, “I can’t.”
“Please David,” she looked back at where the Locust had left the room, a niggling doubt that it wouldn’t be long till they returned to find them, “You have to do this.”
Reluctantly the boy reached one arm up to grab the hole into the loft, she bent down and grabbed round his legs to help lift him up, pushing him up to safety. Quickly she passed her shotgun up, closed the cupboard doors as if nothing had actually been in the room and heaved herself up after him. The muscles in her arms crying out as they took most of her weight as she pulled her body up into the gap. She then pulled the ceiling tile over the hole and securely clicked it into place.
A sense of dread filled up inside her, they had been saved but at what cost, as she realised that most of the children would be hiding out in the school room, as they had always practiced. They were now sitting targets.
She led the shaking boy away from the kitchen area to somewhere the Locust were less likely to smell him, and knelt down to look at him.
“Stay here, I’ll be back, I promise,”
He looked at her, unable to respond, his body shaking wildly in convulsions, she pulled off her shawl and placed it around the boy’s shoulder in the hope that it might ease him slightly. She then headed off in the direction of the school rooms. She didn’t need to look far she could hear it before she could see anything. She hesitated, sickness rising up inside her, she could hear the children crying in the room they had always thought was safe, unaware of the Locust approaching.
Aidan dropped to the floor to peer through a gap and heard it creak under her, she could see them all there, the little ones all tightly bunched together holding onto one another, none of them able to protect themselves. As the monsters rattled the door handle into the school room.
She could see a small vent which the children could squeeze through leading them to the safety of the air duct unit, she crawled across the floor edging closer to them in the hope to coax them through. Before she could even dislodge the ceiling tile the heavy sound of boots smashed against the door hinges as it shattered under their impact. The door burst open crashing loudly against the floor. Two huge Locust stood baring weapons bigger than Aidan had ever seen, they barely took note of the room’s occupants before they fired their guns.
Sounds of screams filled the air, desperation and loss of children so small, so innocent.
Aidan went to pull away and heard the tile creak ever so slightly under her weight, she froze to the spot, too scared to make a noise any further. She closed her eyes unable to watch the massacre below her, her cheek pressed against the tile as she wept silently at the pain of failing those lost children. She wanted nothing more than to run away and hide.
She could have saved them.
If only she had a little longer.
She listened as the Locust swept the room for any survivors sniffing the surrounding area for any further scent of human. With a grunt they triumphantly left the room.
She let out a stuttered breath and finally pushed herself up against the rafters, she wanted to get out now, the metallic stench of blood and death oozed up around, as she felt the souls of the lost children clamber around her, questioning, why?
It took her a while to gather her senses together, whilst she had sat there sobbing her heart out. A part of her kept niggling at her to get up and return to David, but there was no way she was going to show her pain to this boy when he was so scared himself. Eventually she weakly rose to her feet and staggered back towards the boy.
He sat there watching her, still shaking nervously as she approached, she rubbed the heel of her hand against her eyes to wipe away any remnants of tears.
“Come on David, we have to get out of here,” she offered a hand, her voice faltered a moment, she closed her eyes to steady herself, uttering a few words to herself to keep her confidence going.
The boy grabbed her hand tightly and walked closely to her as they stepped across the loft towards the place she had previously hidden her possessions. She picked up her Longshot, attached it to her rucksack which contained boxes of rounds and slung them both over her back. She then handed the knapsack to David, gently placing it over his shoulders and led him away to a gap in the roof structures which she had attached with a hinge. She pushed the slate tiles back revealing the night sky to them and a rush of cold and stifled air greeted them. She kept hold of the boy’s hand as she led him onto the base of the roof, where she had created a flat hiding place, safe from being found by anyone in the outside world.
“Just lie here a second Dave, keep close to the roof,”
She dropped to her belly and wriggled up the pitch of the roof to peer over into the courtyard, she could see the two Locust head toward the exit of the building coming around behind Washington and her brother, a hot sense of hatred filled her body, like bile rising up in her stomach. She had never hated anything so much in her life. She untangled her Longshot from her rucksack and set it up on the roof pitch. She couldn’t save those children, but there was no way that she was letting those monsters walk away freely. Digging in the bag she pulled out a box of rounds and set them up beside her, slotting a couple of bullets into the chamber. She then lay down and sighted the creature up with the gun, she had never aimed at anything moving or alive before, she had always used bottles as target practice. But there wasn’t any time to worry about lack of training, these creatures had to be stopped before they easily wiped anyone else out.
She closed one eye and lined one creature up, she tried to slow her breathing, but her heart thundered too recklessly inside her.
She couldn’t do it.
Her hands had started to shake and before she knew what was happening tears had started to stain her vision again.
“Come on Aidan,” she chastised herself, “You have to do this.”
As she lay back on the roof she felt a draft of air batter roughly against her, she turned momentarily to see a King Raven approach from the darkness, its loud thundering filling the air as it drew closer. Her heart sank, the COG were coming to save them, and all was lost for her. She could see at least four soldiers in the aircraft each one firing at the Locust within the Compound. She slid back down the roof to the flattened safety of the walkway she had created and she poked at the little boy.
“Come on kid, your ride has come,”
Just read chapter ten:
I don't know, that doesn't really sound right for a Drone. Perhaps it's just me, but something like "roared" or "bellowed" would be better.It squealed in pain
Other than that, you seem to have kept the Locust scary, rather than fodder, which I find a good move! Everyone actually seems to be afraid of them, so you get credit there.
Don't be afraid to describe human deaths though, I mean, I had a COG gear get a chainsaw in his testicles...
Thanks Jay, have changed squealed to bellowed.
I'll see about adding more to human deaths, I think that the more I get involved in the character the more painful I want the death so it'll only get better.
The way I see it, these kids don't have a vast amount of experience fighting Locust - the eldest is eighteen but we have a young child who was born into the fear. So why can't they be scary.
Also plan on making the COG a little more than threatening at least to Aidan.
There you go, that was it.She picked up her Longshot, attached it to her rucksack which contained boxes of rounds and slung the[m] both over her back.
Excellent chapter, Rusty!
I liked the change of pace that this POV provided. While the last was more hectic and crazy, this was one a lot more tense even with its little "action" per-say. The bit with the kitchen and hiding inside the cupboard reminded me of Jurassic Park, haha, that was great! And the COG is here to save the day, baby, WHOOOO!
I await to see more. Will the COG take her into the breeding farms? Will the COG even make it!?
Thanks, always appreciated. I really enjoyed writing Aidan's experience in the loft, after all she is clumsy with a heavy weapon so she wouldn't be that suited to slugging it out in the courtyard. We'll see what happens to her if she comes in contact with the COG
Working on the next chapter, I've kicked up a gear on the writing speed but I really don't want to sacrifice quality.
Now... I has read chapter 11!
I was wondering if I'd have to replace Locust with Skulls, but that wasn't the case.
Of course, I'm not so certain about the COG. Not sure what they might get up to... Hmm....
I'll await the next chapter!
You never know what will happen, at the moment I'm toying with different scenarios (took me five attempts to spell that damn word, whats happening to me) -obviously if the COG came and saved the day and took them to Jacinto that would be a really short and pointless story and even I would have to chop my wrists off at the let down.
So I have to work out how to mess up the storyline a little bit - maybe the Compound gets sunk by Locust - after all it is around the same time as other towns sinking.
Maybe the Raven gets hit and the crew have to jump out.
I'm toying with ideas - anyone else have anything to contribute perhaps to help me
To be honest I might have the group miss the Raven as it takes off with some of the other survivors, only to have the Compound sink shortly after, forcing them to walk that long road to Jacinto - thus leading them to encounter some delightful characters - I dont know why but for some reason they are mostly all sinister -poor kids.
^Cool, just spoil it then, will you!
hey Skorgio cool your jets, nothing is written yet - I may decide to opt for the whole - and it was all a dream - to which subsequently you would all kill me as violently as necessary. Because I would deserve it.
Don't lie to me, you've spoiled it. I must burn your thread down and ruin it all!
hey at the moment I have Lieutenant Brewer elbow deep in Hunter's guts, nothing is set in stone, so put your match down now boyo
I am Ice, but I am no Jesus.
The COG are coming, here we meet Corporal Olly Wilks and his squad Cam and Tate (plus another)
Chapter Twelve – Blood
Brewer slumped down beside the barely conscious body of Hunter, he started to question himself as to why he felt so useless. Why couldn't he protect a group of children from a relatively small Horde of Locust, why was he leaving it up to two teenagers? He could only marvel at their boldness, he could barely even remember when he'd ever used his brain in such a circumstance. He reached over and touched a finger to Hunter's pulse, a very light thudding barely tapped back at him, it had slowed since he had last checked, ever so slightly he could feel the boy's life slowly slip away from him. He pulled back Hunter's blood soaked shirt to reveal a puncture in the teenager's chest, blood pooled round his belly button oozing from the hole in his torso. Bloody bubbles erupted from the wound, as the boy gurgled back at him, his lungs starting to fill with fluid, his ghostly eyes gazing back at the Lieutenant barely recognising the man who had protected him for over a year. Brewer pressed his hand hard into the wound to try to stop the bleeding, like he had done so many times all those years ago with his soldier buddies, back when he was useful as a soldier, his heart sank as the boy barely struggled against the force.
"Come on Hunter stay with me lad,"
Hunter's eyes rolled back into their sockets as he tried to gaze back at him, his head flopped over onto one side and he gurgled back at him. It was hard to believe that this lad had once been part of his more efficient recruits.
Brewer thought about Hunter's mother, she had been a medic during the Pendulum Wars, a clever lady who had helped stitch him back together when all had been blown apart. He had never forgotten the look in her eyes when she had made the decision to hand her son over to him, he knew she would never forgive herself. She had promised the boy over and over that she would return when the war had ended, that the last final push was coming and she'd be back before he knew it. Almost two years later no end to a war that lasted a lifetime, and her son was now dying in his arms. What would he tell her the day she finally returned to him?
He hated keeping secrets from these kids, all those promises he had made to parents to keep their identity a secret, paying him so much money to protect their children. How long before the outside world could see the adults these kids were growing into, how close they were developing into their parents without even knowing them. He could only do so much to hide them from the real world before it caught up with them.
His eyes settled upon Washington and Eli, it scared him to think how similar each boy looked like their fathers, the promises he had made to do everything to keep the pair out of the COG for as long as possible. How long could he possibly keep this up?
The sound of the Raven overhead made his heart soar, at last an ounce of hope for his little compound, soon with the help of the COG they would drive the Locust out and get back to normality. At least this is what he hoped. He could see four soldiers crouched inside the craft's belly, all armoured up, helmets fixed tightly and Lancers held at the ready. The rotors of the craft whipped the loose dust and earth around him, he leaned over Hunter trying to protect the boy from any further damage as blood and dirt mixed together around him.
"You hear that Hunter, help is coming, keep with me lad,"
Afraid to remove pressure from the boy's chest, Brewer had almost forgotten about the Locust threat and that the only people holding the beasts back were the pair taking cover behind the courtyard statue.
The man was too distracted to see or hear one lowly ticker as it scuttled towards his cover, sniffing around the wall picking up the scent of Hunter's blood and edging ever closer to his prey. Its claws scratching at the ground around it, feeling the weight of the ticking bomb loaded to its back, but its mind had been programmed to do one thing, create hell regardless. It placed a claw against the wall as it tried to lever itself over, peering eagerly over the ledge and picking up sight of its target. It let out a little hiss of delight, human victims within reaching distance. Edging around the wall it wiggled its bomb to activate it and scuttled closer. It opened its jaws in glee, after so many months of training it to do the right thing now it was achieving its purposes, the humans wouldn't know what hit them. Creeping right behind Brewer as the man protectively held himself over the fallen boy's body. It let out a hiss of joy as it jumped into the air letting the final ticks set the timer off.
A line of gunfire burst into the ticker, a Gear standing behind the cover of the Angel had picked up the creature and had sighted it in his Lancer, letting out a blast of bullets at it. The blast was still enough to knock Brewer over the boy, as he fell into an unconscious lump.
The Gear leant heavily against the base of the statue, pulling his Lancer back to his chest, he turned to the pair and nodded, his face hidden behind his helmet.
"Corporal Olly Wilks at your assistance,"
"Wash," Frost nodded, “This is Eli.”
“Who’s your commanding officer?”
Frost indicated the two bodies behind the destroyed wall, “The one you almost blew up.”
“Ahh Sh*t,” Wilks cursed, then pressing a hand to his helmet he spoke into his communication unit, “Cam, get here now we need a medic.” He paused for a second before hollering back to the rest of his group, “Cam get your ass over here now. We need a medic pronto.”
“I hate to burst your bubble but we kinda need help with these Locust first, you know life over loss and everything,” Eli added from beside Frost, feeling relatively useless without an effective weapon now.
“One thing at a time, kiddo,” Wilks snapped leaning out of covering and firing back at the drones with ease, “Cam where the hell are you?”
“I’m a comin’ Wilks no need to git your grundies in a twist,”
Wilks mumbled to himself for a moment as he turned to the arrival of the shortest adult man that either Frost or Eli had ever seen. Wash had always been a tall lad, especially now that he was starting to grow into adulthood, but this guy was shorter than Eli, and Eli was no tower himself. Growing up in a compound filled with children you got used to the smaller ones and respected them for their differences, and the same should be for this Gear. But it still didn’t stop Wash from stopping to stare at him. It wasn’t until he had a harsh dig in the ribs that he realised that he was pulling attention to himself and that Eli had to remind him about it. Quickly he turned his concentration to the Locust, not before noticing a smirk on Eli’s face as he cast him a glance.
Despite his height Cam looked like any other battle worn Gear, tiredness lined his face as he ran a hand over his salt and pepper hair. Tribal tattoos etched their way across any visible section of skin, arching down his arms in a wave of elegant twists ending in a swirl around his fingers. He leaned down to dig through his medical kit, pulling out swathes of bandages and wrapping them around his wrist into a large loop. As he did his COG tag slipped out of his armour revealing two wedding rings looped through the strap, they clinked against each other causing him to pause for a moment and very gently tuck it back inside the safety of his armour. Stretching back up he peered out from behind the statue at the injured Lieutenant.
"Cover me, Wilks" he grumbled, "I sure as hell don' wanna have Locust takin' pot shots at me."
"Yeah yeah, got you covered," Wilks responded.
The drones had started firing at the statue, attempting to take away the only shred of cover they had, bits of the Angel started to chip off around them. Cam took hold of his kit and sprinted towards his casualties whilst Wilks fired back in defence. Frost felt compiled to join in, tugging on the trigger as it let out wild blasts into the oncoming Locust. Wilks paused for a moment glancing back at him before reaching over and pressing his hand down at the top end of the Lancer.
"Try aiming a little lower to start with, it'll naturally kick upwards on its own," he commented, lifting his hand away, "If you start by aiming high, all you're gonna hit is air and waste ammo. We need to maximise Locust hitting space."
Frost bristled, hating the idea of someone other than the Lieutenant telling him what to do, let alone a faceless Corporal.
"You always aimed higher than you should," He heard Eli snipe next to him, it took all his patience to not elbow him in the nose. He partially turned and sent Eli a look, who stared back at him unblinking as if he meant every word.
"I'm trying, alright," he snapped back at the both of them, aiming the Lancer almost at the Locust’s toes and firing off shots at them, instantly feeling the gun kick upwards as he held the trigger. Damn the man was right for once.
Eli watched feeling stupidly helpless amongst the action as the Gear and his squad had positioned themselves behind cover each taking carefully measured shots at the Locust. He wished he could see the determination in their eyes rather than the blank visored reflection from their helmets. He listened to the Corporal yell his directions to the team and they responded as if it was second nature to them. He turned to watch the Locust, these monsters he had grown to fear as they bellowed and yelled back at their own troop. He was certain he could hear the words 'fall back' roaring from their grey scaly lips as they returned fire at the humans. He heard a Gear behind him let out a cry as bullets pierced through the armour sending him crashing to the ground.
"Ah sh*t," Wilks swore again as he turned back to the fallen Gear, "Tate, you alright?"
A moan came from the fallen solder.
"Stay with me pal, Cam will be with you,"
Eli could hear the anguish in Wilks' voice, his total helplessness at not being able to help his squad mate as he returned fire upon the group of Locust.
"Cam, Tate is down, we need you here once you've finished there,"
"One thing at a time Wilks, these two are in a bad way, I need to stabilise ‘em first,"
"I'll go to him," Eli blurted out, not stopping for permission from the Corporal and lowering himself as close as possible to the ground.
"Where the hell are you going?" Wilks cried back at him, "Get your ass back here,"
He ignored him as he sprinted across to the fallen Gear, readying himself behind cover as he linked his arms under the solder and heaved him slowly to safety. The guy was built like a brick, which made it so much harder to slide him behind cover, his hands still gripping onto his treasured Lancer as he groaned in response.
"Hi, Tate is it?" Eli didn't stop for an answer, "I'm Eli and I shall be your medic till official help arrives. There's only one snag, I'm not too sure what I'm doing."
The Gear let out a moan from behind his helmet, which Eli took as a criticism, but he let it wash over him as he took a look at the injury, blood was seeping from a wound in the Gear's upper thigh and from his chest.
Yes it was confirmed the guy was bleeding and he still had no idea what he was doing.
Pressure, surely that was something their medic had once taught them during first aid training, and he was almost certain he wouldn't have to use CPR in this circumstance unless the Gear's heart stopped beating. Plus he would have no idea how to take the armour and helmet off to apply that method anyway.
He let out a sigh and decided to pick the wound that looked like was oozing the most blood. Typically it was the thigh wound.
"Right Tate, don't take this the wrong way but I'm going to put pressure on your upper thigh, which is going to be kinda weird for the both of us, but I figure this might save your life," he babbled as he pulled one sleeve up his arm then another, he cupped his hands together and blew on them before placing them lapped on top of each other firmly onto the wound. The Gear let out a howl as he did, bucking out in response. Eli moved his head back quickly to avoid a swipe as the guy flung his arms out, he was just out of grasping range, thankfully.
“Tate?” Wilks yelled out, uncertainty in his voice.
“I got him,” Eli responded for him, feeling the stranger’s blood ooze through his fingers and wondering why this didn't bother him.
Wilks had started picking the Locust off at an alarming rate, as if anger of a fallen squad mate was enough to motivate him into taking every one of them out, his aiming had gotten increasingly accurate as more Locust fell to their knees at his shots. Washington found himself picking up on the Corporal’s energy, gritting his teeth and finishing off the ones Wilks had already taken down until it seemed that the remaining Locust had either all retreated or had been killed.
An eerie silence filled the courtyard, no gunfire sounded, nothing returned whilst all involved were starting to understand that they had finally won the battle.
Wilks all but dropped his Lancer as he rushed over to Tate’s side, dropping to his knees beside Eli, who was still keeping his hands tightly over the thigh wound. Wilks swore as he pulled his own helmet off, tossing it aside to look his buddy up and down. For the first time Eli was able to see the face of the man who had saved them and it shocked him to see that the guy didn't look much older than Washington, yet he looked battered all the same. A huge five clawed scram scar arced its way down the side of his face and into his armour, it looked like it had nicked the side of his eye but Wilks was showing no problem with his vision.
He very slowly unhooked Tate’s helmet, easing it off ever so gently, to reveal a guy about Wilk’s age. He was staring back at his squad mate, tears had started to slip from his eyes, he gripped hold of Wilks’ arm.
“Sofie,” he gasped, “Please look after her.”
“No way Tate, you ain’t doing that to me,” he responded trying to fill him with confidence but failing, Eli could see the fear in his eyes as he looked up and called out, “Cam we need you here now, Tate’s gone all hypochondriac on us.”
For the first time he registered Eli and his attempts to save his friend, his almost black eyes met him face to face and he sent him a brief smile, as he placed his hands on Tate’s chest wound.
“You did good kid, it’s appreciated,”
Cam arrived shortly after, carrying his medical supplies, placing them beside Tate and looking the pair up and down.
“He ain’ a colander guys,” he then pointed to Eli’s hands, “I’ll start with that one first.”
“You got news of their CO?” Wilks asked as he watched Eli prise himself off the wound and Cam started his work.
“Got ‘im stabilised, but he’s gonna need medical assistance I can’t give ‘ere,” Cam flicked a look at Eli who was watching him work, “The boy didn’ make it.”
“Sh*t,” Wilks muttered turning his head away for a moment to let out a sigh, then looking back at Eli, “Sorry kid.”
Eli lifted his head to look Wilks in the eyes, he could see genuine grief from the Corporal, a guy who had clearly been brought up so differently to him, yet not so different from him in age. It made him wonder how things might have turned out if his father hadn’t sent him to the Compound, maybe he would have been the one on the floor riddled with bullet holes fighting for his life.
“His name was Hunter, his parents were soldiers, they’ll need to be told,” he announced.
Wilks nodded to him, there was a boy somewhere in that man’s heart, who understood what it meant to lose someone the same age. There was compassion in the man who was helping to hold his buddy together.
“We’ll take the body back to base and get the message to his parents,” he said, “I promise you that.”
Cam finished wrapping the thigh and moved up to the chest, applying pressure via the bandages as he wrapped it round Tate’s chest. Satisfied he had done all he could he straightened up.
“He’s stabilised but we need to git them both back to base,” he stuffed the remaining bandages in his box, “Help me fix ‘em to stretchers Wilks.”
Wilks retrieved two stretcher boards from the Raven and helped to slide each casualty onto the board, strapping them both in tightly. He and Cam first loaded Tate into the craft, he left Cam fuss with the securing as he moved over to the Lieutenant, calling his other squad mate over to assist him.
A squawking sound came from the outhouses as David appeared, running straight towards the Raven, a look of utmost relief on his face, completely ignoring the others as he tried to lift a leg up to scramble aboard, but he wasn’t tall enough to reach.
“Dave!” Eli called to the boy, “Where the hell is Aidan?”
The boy shrugged as he made no effort to make his way over to Eli, “Can I go home yet?”
“Not until we find Aidan,”
“You missing someone?” Wilks asked, as he walked passed them carrying the Lieutenant on the second stretcher.
“Aidan hasn’t returned yet, should have been back with David over there,” Eli responded trying to sound as vague as possible.
“What does he look like?” Wilks called back as he hoisted the stretcher onto the Raven, pushing David behind him with his boot.
“Around the same height as Eli, perhaps a little shorter, blonde hair like Eli, the exact same colour but longer,” Washington added as he helped pick up the Hammerbursts the dead Locust had dropped.
“For Pete’s sake,” Eli snapped at him, sending Frost a look, “Aidan’s my twin, okay?”
“Would have been easier if you’d have told me in the first place I was looking for your carbon copy,” Wilks responded, sliding the stretcher into the hull of the craft, he then called over to Cam who had perched himself beside a wall, wiping the blood from his hands, “Cam I need you looking for survivors, pronto. We got half a twin missing.”
Cam glanced back at Eli for a moment, let out an audible sigh and headed off in the direction of the outhouses, mumbling to himself as he went.
Nice, some action aided by professionals!
Good work, Rusty, I didn't spot anything. Anyway, story is really picking up. Sort of sad to see Hunter gone. Although that feeling was quickly replaced with a somewhat annoyed tone at David. God that kid really seems like a piece of work. :L
Yeah David is out to get everyone killed the rate he is going, he is after all an inexperienced kid that knows nothing about the world around him and thinks only of going home.
Is it wrong if I still feel like he needs to be smacked?
No it's fine, He might eventually get his just desserts, possibly after he inadvertently kills off the rest of the group.
... shoot him now I say. Who needs kids, especially when your species is dying out!
Chapter thirteen folkles, this has to be the longest chapter so far, but then I had so much to fit in. Let me know what you think
Chapter Thirteen – Left Behind
Angelo was still quivering by the time Eli entered the room, Lem stood over him protectively with a gun way too big for him to be handling, but he didn’t seem to care. He aimed the gun as Eli stared down the barrel in bemusement, his hands raised slightly in surrender as he edged past him to pick up his own chosen weapon.
“You can come out now, the Gears have cleared the place,”
“Ground still moving,” Angelo muttered to himself.
Eli frowned, “Gelo you okay?”
“Ground still moving, we’re not safe,” he repeated.
“The ground is fine Gelo, the Locust have gone,” he cast a glance at Lem who had a look of determined pride on his face, there was no way he would ever see the cracks appear on his best friend. He shook his head before letting out a light sigh, “Well come out when you’re ready.”
The other cowering children in the room were starting to unfurl themselves from each other and peer out into the night filled courtyard, slowly and uncertainly stepping out onto the empty battlefield. Lem stood beside the door wanting to come out but his loyalty to Angelo keeping him within close proximity.
Washington had started to pile the dropped weapons beside the now badly damaged Angel statue, all of its delicate features had been chipped away by bullet holes, a sadness swept over him as he noticed that even the statue’s face was now missing, that look of motherly love that he had once sought when he needed it most was now gone.
Children were starting to emerge from hiding places all staring blurry eyed out into the courtyard at the Gears helping to pick up the debris around them.
Wilks solemnly wrapped up Hunter’s body in a sheet, folding each end over the other as tidy as possible in order to protect the other children from the scene. Both men lifted their heads at the almighty scream coming from the outhouses, Wilks finished wrapping the body before straightening himself up and heading toward the disturbance. Cam had returned from the outhouses with a girl in a fireman’s lift, slung over his shoulder as if she was his latest catch. She wriggled and squirmed as he cursed at her, he offloaded her at Wilks’ feet, still keeping hold of her wrists.
Wilks looked at her, icy rage in her eyes as she glared back at him with so much determination, a mop of slightly curled blonde hair swept across her features as she all but screamed at him. There was fear in her eyes, he could see that clear enough. She looked wild in comparison to the other children in the Compound but there was no denying who she was.
“Aidan I presume,” he asked, not waiting for a response, then flicking a glance at Eli, “Girl with a boy’s name, sneaky.”
“Let me go,” she roared, trying to yank her arms out of Cam’s grip, “Get your hands off me.”
Eli had closed in on them, Washington right beside him.
“Let her go, please,” Eli pleaded, trying to appeal to the emotional side of the soldier.
Wilks sent him a look of confusion, then flicking a glance back at Aidan who, despite all the bravado of acting fearless, seemed to be quaking in her boots, this girl was afraid for her life. He gave Cam a look, who seemed to be enjoying this moment of power, a broad smile across face instantly dropped at the order to release her.
“Let her go Cam,”
The medic gave him a smirk before suddenly releasing Aidan as she was mid pull, sending her staggering forward into Wilk’s shins. She quickly straightened up, leaping to her feet in embarrassment and fled to the comfort of her brother’s arms, she cowered for a moment within his hold before glaring back at him.
“Please don’t hurt her,” Eli kept a firm grip on her.
Wilks shook his head, “I’m sorry I’m not getting you.”
Washington took a step forward, placing himself between the twins, “Isn’t that what you’re here for?”
“There’s a slight possibility we might be talking different languages because I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he rubbed his hands over his closely cropped dark hair, “We were sent here because we had an SOS from your CO. We were the only troop available for deployment, am I missing something?”
“Every time the COG come they take all the girls away to the farms, you can’t take my sister from me,” Eli held Aidan close to him, refusing to let her go.
Wilks raised his hands at them, sending a look to Cam who had clearly gotten bored with the situation and was returning to the Raven.
“Look you got the wrong end of the stick, I ain’t taking anyone away other than casualties,” he frowned at Aidan, how could she have ever thought that of him.
The brutish look in Washington's face eased slightly, almost as if his hackles had dropped in response. He eyed Wilks up and down as he stepped back in line, Frost was a big lad and he measured up to Wilks quite easily. He took it in mind not to tread on his feet any more than he had to, he took a step back heading towards the body.
"If you've finished interrogating me, you've found your missing twin and I have a body to get onto a chopper," He turned ignoring any retorts anyone might make and picked his way over to Hunter's body, finishing by tying all the loose edges together so nothing untoward would fall out during transit. He then slung the body over his shoulders and carried it to the Raven. He was aware that all eyes were watching him closely.
"Who's that?" he heard Aidan ask, her voice audibly quaking.
"Aide, that's Hunter, he didn't make it," her brother responded.
Wilks heard a gasp, and the girl whimpered back to her twin, "Oh no, not Hunter."
"I'm sorry Aida," her brutish bodyguard soothed besides the twins, as he watched every step Wilks made with the body.
As he reached the Raven, Cam watched him carefully, pausing for a moment as he offered the body up to him.
"We gotta problem Wilks," he said eying the body in Wilks' arms, "You put that body on here and there ain't be no room for you."
"Man we need to work on your grammar," Wilks muttered as he eyed the space in the Raven, "How come we're full, I always thought these babies could fit a squad of at least six inside."
"It can, but chopper pilot say with casualties and body there ain't no ground room space. So unless you want to hang from the roof, there ain't no way that body is comin' with us,"
Wilks took a moment to process the information, before nodding, then offering the body up to Cam again, "Well then I'll stay here. You take the casualties and the body back to Jacinto, come back for me when you can. I made a promise."
"Damnit Wilks, what the hell you doin'? There ain't no point in me bringing a body back, total waste of space,"
"I'm sure those kids won't say that," he gave Cam a look, "I'm not in any danger here, it's not like they are gonna lynch me the moment the Raven disappears from the horizon. Anyway the way I see it, they've lost a CO, I'm hoping having someone here with Official ranks might calm them."
Cam snorted at him, as he took hold of the body and slid it into the remaining space on the Raven's floor, "Official ranks my ass. The way I see it, that growling mutt over there has just as much qualification as you do."
He indicated to Washington who stood nearby watching them closely.
"Fine, if he takes the reins I'm not stepping on his toes, I'm just here to provide firepower if any Locust return, pass me down a few sets of ammo would you,"
Wilks could hear Cam muttering to himself as he picked out a few clips of ammunition from a chest inside the Raven, offering it down to his Corporal. He had gotten used to his medic muttering profanities at him, he and Cam had a love/hate relationship, rooted from the day that he was stationed as his superior officer. Cam had always thought that Wilks was incapable of doing the job efficiently, partly to do with his age. Although a few months of proving his worth to him was barely enough for Cam to trust Wilks on the battlefield, he was still prone to the odd gibe in his direction.
Not that Wilks would ever admit it, but he was actually looking forward to spending some time with people closer to his age.
"Suit yourself, we'll be back soon as I've got the casualties seen to, buckle in fer a long wait," He then hollered to the Raven pilot inside the cabin, "Fasten yer seatbelts guys, we're heading out."
Wilks took a few steps back as the rotors slowly started to swing round on the craft. Rapidly swooping faster and faster as the engines kicked in, the Raven gently eased off the ground and picked itself into the air, hovering for a moment as the pilot steadied the craft. Inside the holding bay Cam sent Wilks a salute as he leaned out, one hand holding onto a support strap. He returned him with a half wave, before the craft had lifted too high for him to see inside and the downdraft had almost blinded his vision. He watched as it took off in the direction of Jacinto, wondering how soon he would next see his squad again. Eventually he turned to the collection of children and teenagers who had now fully gathered in the courtyard, the eldest seemed to be the guy who had been holding fort when he had arrived. He found it weird that the only adult controlling these kids had been taken away in a Raven.
It reminded him of a book he had once read as a child, about a group of children controlling a remote island and overthrowing the adult population, before succumbing to the onslaught of horrific monsters. If anything it had taught him to be obedient as a child, lest he would face a fate worse than death, but then in hindsight, he pretty much faced monsters every day now, regardless of how much of a model citizen he was.
He took in a much needed breath to steady himself as he approached the eldest of the group.
"Well it looks like you're stuck with me for a little longer," he offered a hand out to shake.
Frost glanced down at it as if it were a foreign object, then looked back at him as he withdrew the offered hand. He'd calmed slightly, since learning that Wilks wasn't out to take any more girls away from them. In fact most of his aggression had slipped away, but then combat situations did usually bring out the worst and best in people.
"Well it's appreciated what you've done for the Compound, we just hope we can get back to some kind of normality,"
"If I can help in any way whilst I'm here just ask,"
As he started to let his guard down a screaming came from behind him and before he even had time to ready his Lancer David pummelled into him. Although for a small weedy child attempting to ram into a heavily built fully armoured COG soldier, the effect was more like being nudged in the side. He lifted his arm to see the boy repeatedly bashing his arm against his chest plate.
"I was going home!" he screamed, "This was my ride home, why did you send it away?"
"Woah woah woah kid," he squatted down on his haunches to face the boy, grabbing hold of his wrists and facing him eye to eye. David's eyes searched him for a moment, then fixing his gaze upon the hideous claw gash down the side of his face, he looked away as if he couldn't stand to see the realities of the war he had avoided for so long.
"I was going home," he mumbled, dropping his chin to fix his stare at the dusty ground.
"There wasn't any room in it kid, that's why I'm still here, we had casualties that take priority over live bodies,"
"I wouldn't have taken up much space, you could have slotted me in, I need to be home,"
"But where's your folks kid, if you're here in the first place surely it's for a reason,"
"It was a mistake," he retorted, "I wasn't meant to be sent here."
"Kid if I take you back to Jacinto, you're pretty much on your own,"
"It's okay my dad will be there,"
Wilks looked up and caught an expression from Washington that explained everything about this little boy's delusion. There was only one way to face this kid and that was with brutal honesty.
"Look kid, if your dad is a soldier, he won't be at Jacinto, they've all been mobilised to Landown to start invading the hollow."
“Well why are you here then if all soldiers have been sent away?” David challenged.
Wilks released the boy and stretched up to his full height, “We lost our Squad Sergeant a few months ago and they put us on compassionate leave until they could find the right replacement for him. Today was our first day back because we were the few remaining in Jacinto that could be spared to help you.”
David didn’t seem to pick up on Wilks’ unspoken pain, the lost look in his eyes and the way he unconsciously rubbed a hand across his scar, instead all he thought about was about getting back home.
“So you were sent here to bring me back, I knew it,”
Wilks faltered, sending Washington a look of bafflement, he shrugged and shook his head in return.
“Kid I’m not promising anything,”
He moved away from the group to pick up his helmet, wiping off the earth and dust from the top, he examined it for a moment before placing it safely on the courtyard statue. He then cast a glance around the grounds and realised that there was a lot of clean up needed to return the place to normal. He noticed blood splattered across the ground at different places, with bits of body that not even he could recognise as Locust or human. Could these kids even get back to normality after all that had happened? After all a lot of their friends had fallen in the courtyard, he could see the pain on their faces. Maybe they would be safer in Jacinto, but how would they ever get there?
Slowly he started to heave the dead locust bodies away from the courtyard, dragging them through the dirt so they were out of sight. Washington had joined him, helping to pick up larger chunks, before retching at the sight and dropping it, then deciding to kick it out of the courtyard. The pair worked in silence, while the rest of children mostly watched the effort, until a boy came out of the armoury room looking unusually pale.
“Angelo, are you alright?” Frost asked, as the boy watched the floor with a look of fear on his face.
“It’s happening again Wash, the ground is moving, I can feel it, they’re coming back, the monsters are coming back,”
Wilks drew alongside Frost and exchanged glances with him, already he could see someone similar to himself, the same age, the same attitude, one didn't have a rank but Wilks could see the respect the others had for him.
“What are you talking about Angelo?” Frost frowned.
“They’re coming back,”
“I don’t think so, look I can’t feel anything and I’m pretty well rehearsed in the occurrence of Emergence Holes,” Wilks added.
“We need to run,” Angelo tugged on Lem’s arm, looking and acting much younger than he actually was. Lem watched him carefully, gun still clutched tightly in his arms.
“Lem what’s Gelo talking about?” Frost turned to the one person who knew Angelo best.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Lem snapped back, he was starting to look jumpy as well.
“What’s wrong with him?” Wilks asked Frost quietly, drawing beside him.
“I...I don’t know, but he’s behaving the way he used to when he first arrived here five years ago, all jumpy and terribly paranoid. I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” It scared Frost that such an encounter with the Locust had caused Angelo to revert back to such a quivering state, it had taken him a long time to overcome his experience years ago, so much work, all lost in a second.
Angelo quickly approached Eli grabbed his arms and staring hard back at him, “Run, run!”
Aidan, who had been standing quietly behind her brother, suddenly stumbled to the ground. The group turned to look at her, she was usually clumsy so seeing her fall or trip over wasn’t something new. But the fact that she had been standing still when it happened alerted them to it.
“Aida?” Frost asked her warily, “Please tell me you just did that to mess with Angelo.”
“I wish,” she grumbled, clambering back to her feet again, “the ground frigging moved.”
“Don’t joke Aide,” Lem snapped.
“Why would I joke about that?”
Almost as if to prove a point the ground below their feet started to rumble.
“What the...” Wilks trailed off, steadying himself beside Frost, they both exchanged glances.
Right in front of them the statue in the courtyard started shaking, the small bits that had clung on previously started crumbling, tiny rocky chunks skittered down the body of the angel, bouncing off the base and rolling to a halt at Frost’s feet. Then the cracks started to appear down the statue, etching its way up till the feature split completely in half and crumbled in a heap to the floor. The cracks spread across the ground zigzagging its way in between the children and up through the buildings.
Then the earth shook again, this time it was a hard rumble that shook them up through the depths of their souls. There was no mistaking it, Angelo was right, the ground was most certainly shaking. But this felt different, it felt like someone had grabbed Sera with two hands and shook it aggressively. Wilks had never felt anything as shattering in his life.
“Guys, I hate to say it but I think he’s right,” he watched as the centrepiece suddenly disappeared into the ground, along with his helmet, then the concrete below their feet started falling almost as if in a wave effect, “We need to run. Now!”
The group didn't need telling twice, most were uncertain as to where to run to, others just followed the faster runners, but what they all knew was that staying still wasn’t an option.
Wilks bodily picked up David as if he was nothing more than a Thrashball, half throwing him to his feet when Eli grabbed the boy’s hand and heaved him along with him. Frost had a tight hold on Angelo who had started hyperventilating and stumbling with each step. Aidan for once managed to keep a step ahead, with Lem almost on her heels.
A scream sounded behind them, Wilks turned momentarily to see the Compound buildings crumbling into the vanishing ground, a slender willowy girl had fallen in the rush, her eyes wide in fear as the building crumbled down on top of her. He let out cry stumbling himself, realising that the falling ground was catching up with him, he felt the earth give way underneath him as he fell behind the faster runners. He took a flying leap aiming for a ledge to grip onto as the area suddenly gave way and plummeted into the depths below. His hands grabbed purchase of something hard, but even that was starting to give way beneath him, his legs swung trying to find something to give him leverage, the rocks and earth crumbled under each prod of his heavy boots. He let out a yowl of desperation, as he tried to pull himself up, failing as each hold gave way under his grip.
Until a hand grabbed back at him, clutching at his arm, strong enough to heave him up, enough for him to kick out and lever himself over the lip. He grabbed back at the arm, feeling another hand take hold of him and inch him closer to safety, as they dragged him away from the crumbling edge of the gaping hole below he looked up to see the weary faces of Washington and Eli, as they pulled him that extra inch away from his doom, but their eyes were fixed on where their home had once been. He couldn’t mistake the look of complete and utter loss in their faces.
They were all screwed.
I still have a long way to go with this, and I pretty much work to the extend my brain pushes me along. Believe it or not, it took me longer than I would have liked with this chapter as there was so much to fit in.