“Ouch!” I cry, as my knees buckle under the weight of my abrupt existence, but no sound comes out. I try to look down, and see no legs. To add to the confusion, no torso too. All I can see in the immediate panorama is dust, a dilapidated locality and men in armours, who, as I witness in awe, are rapidly switching between various guns and grenades. Even while this happens, I now can see myself holding a Maverick M4A1 Carbine. Of how I came to know the name of this rifle, I do not have the slightest clue or recollection. But it’s there, as is the timer, the termination of which immediately leads Pete standing nearby to shout “Go! Go! GO!”
So off I trot, without getting the time to think how exactly the action of trotting was being perpetrated without the basic necessity for locomotion or how apprehension steadily rose through my entrails even though I was devoid of a belly.
“Fire in the hole!”
“I am gonna camp.”
“I am gonna guard Bomb Site B.”
Bomb Site B, There must be an A as well then. A voice nearby shouting “Lead the way, commander.” jerks me to my senses.
So I am the commander.
Fucking uncool. I don’t know shit about leading a group of armed men.
I see Morris slinking away, and I assume that he must know something I didn’t. I intend to start following him, but am led by a reckless whim along a completely different route, with Kenny and Floyd following.
A completely barren landscape. Not a civilian in sight. And damn hot too. I pull out the silencer and roll it in at the muzzle. I do not see the point of a bunch of terrorists bombing a place that has no people or property. I would probably have helped them in demolishing this shit hole myself. But that is not an option.
“He got away.”
A loud thunk is heard before the panic of a bullet slamming on my Kevlar hits me.
I spot the bastard in a matter of microseconds, and fell him even faster. I run to duck behind boxes as a fusillade of gunfire is unleashed. I can hear Kenny scream into the radio “Taking Fire! Need Assistan-“, cut short by a guttural sound emanating from his mouth that chills my very soul. I reload, my heart thumping in my mouth as I start shooting again at the other one. He jumps around like a monkey possessed spraying lead all over. Floyd jumps in, his Leonne YG1265 Auto Shotgun roaring to life with a thunderous shot that sends the guy flying and dead.
I look down at the lifeless form of Kenny, and simply do not know how to react. I mean, he is my team mate and all, but I only just met him. The unspoken camaraderie that existed between different members of the team in this place was for survival, and anyone who misunderstood that would be lying alongside Kenny. I sure did not want to emulate that eerie sound.
“The bomb is planted.” A voice from the sky declares.
“The bomb is at A.”
“Roger that.” I find myself saying and then falling into pace with Floyd, ears and sight sensitive to the slightest disturbance anywhere. What outfit did they represent anyway? What cause would they help by bombing a deserted place? None of this questions mattered now that it boiled down to self preservation. I cock my ears as we steadily approached Bomb Site A. I can hear the slow beep of the bomb ticking away, can imagine all of them crouched behind boxes, taking aim, their adrenaline laboriously pumping the last dregs of lactic acid from their sinews.
Just behind that slightly open door…
Gunshots erupt in profusion all of a sudden, and my mouth opens up in silence. Sickening, excruciating, one and two more, many more, and I am now breathing dust. I hear it on the radio first, even before my brain starts to comprehend.
“The commander is down.”
I blink, I try to rather, while a furious fight ensues above. Minutes later, the head gear and the gun totting motherfucker falls with a thud beside. I look at him. Unshaven, blood dripping from his tartar layered teeth, the eyes lined with the kohl of hatred even as his eyeballs indicate his demise, this abomination of the society who shot me was now also free of the obligation of watching me bleed to death. Neither cries of anguish nor of anger leave my lips, and I shudder at the thought of dying here alone. Children and men scream themselves hoarse, and the beeping occurs closer together in frenzied bursts, pandemonium strikes the 12th hour with bullets dancing the salsa with fire bugs.
I never expected to exhort my team to victory mentally with such conviction. Perhaps the personal injury did the trick.
My lungs spasm.
Gunshots. And then, in a blinding, fatal moment, the indicator of the holocaust, the final explosion.