View Full Version : One Last Story For The Road.

Mr. Hyde
May 26th, 2006, 11:21 PM
The world stood amidst the flaming wreckage of itself. Men died by the thousands. Children were left without fathers. Mothers without sons. Wives without husbands. Sisters without brothers. The sky was darkened by the abysmal smoke of cannons, burning cities, oil spills, forest fires, exploded factories, and even scorched schools and churches.

It was a dark time for man. A young Corporal, Derrick Waters, sat atop the shattered ruins of an old Cathedral staring at the wasteland his world had so quickly become. The day’s battle brought almost seven hundred casualties just on his side. And of his squad, he was alone a survivor. Back home, if he still had one, his wife and three children were waiting. Not for his return. They knew as well as he that the chances of his returning home were almost zero. They instead waited for a letter and little flag telling them the king of their domestic castle was dead.

It was sunrise, though it looked as though it were night from the vast encumbering smog that had pervaded every inch of civilization. Derrick slowly lit a cigarette and sang softly to himself, “Such a lonely day…and it’s mine…it’s a day that I’m glad I survived.” It was an old song he’d heard on the radio a couple times that always stuck with him. The M4 at his side was half empty and he’d tied torn cloth to it as a makeshift shoulder strap. His fatigues were smattered with blood, torn, and cloved with dirt. His boots were covered in soot. His helmet gone. His knuckles busted. His face was bruised and his left eyebrow bore a fresh would that only recently stopped bleeding.

It was said by many commanders that these were the days that put the true fear of God in a man. And Derrick, while not being a Christian, always carried his son Michael’s crucifix around his neck with his dog tags. Underneath his shirt, just over his heart, was tattooed the names of two daughters. His young grey eyes welled with tears. And he softly sang to himself, “Wish I was…too dead to care…if indeed I cared at all. Never had a…voice to protest…so you fed me…**** to digest…I wish I had a reason…my flaws are open season…for this I gave up trying, one good turn deserves my dying.”

There was no way to communicate with anyone where he was. The radios had been destroyed. The transportation was gone. He was alone. Abandoned. Forgotten except by four loved ones at home waiting for a letter and a flag. The world around him was gone. It was a floating graveyard in space orbiting a dying star. He eased to his feet. Shouldered his rifle, and looked into the distance. He saw there what he saw everywhere. Nothing but emptiness.

Then there was a break in the silence. A small cry. A whimpering sob amidst the fetid sight of everything. In nothing, there seemed to him, to be something. He approached the sound emanating from a crumbled house. Inside was a small boy, just four years old. Derrick pulled the boy from the wreckage and held him tight to ease the child’s mourning.

When the young boy was calm enough to speak, Derrick asked, “What’s your name?” The young boy replied, “Adam.” Derrick smiled and wiped the child’s tears and snot away. Then he sat the boy down. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around Adam, and said, “This should keep you fair comfortable while we look for someone.” Adam, with uncertain eyes glanced back and replied, “Who?” And Derrick answered, “Whoever can help us start anew.”

They walked for miles it seemed. On into the afternoon and soon to the evening. Derrick sacrificed his food to give Adam something to eat. “All I’ve got is this dried up rib meat. Hope that’s enough.” They rested finally and slept for the night. When they awoke again at daybreak in the pitch black sky, there was an ashy snow falling. Derrick handed Adam his sidearm and showed him how to aim and to shoot it. Then said to him, “If anything happens, I want you to run and hide. Don’t shoot unless you have to. Okay?” Adam nodded.

As noon approached, they were met with a detachment of soldiers from Armageddon, a city on a hill. Derrick and Adam ran towards a nearby ruin of a school. As they ran Derrick stopped, turned and kneeled, and opened fire. The shots poured out steadily as he fired as accurately as possible. Fifteen rounds emptied into air and two bodies. One of the Armageddon’s spotted Adam and raised his rifle to the boy. Adam raised the pistol and closed his eyes as he fired.

There was a loud guttural roar of pain as Adam fell back and dropped the gun. When he peered out from a hole in what used to be a wall, Derrick was dropped to his hands and knees, bleeding badly from his lower left side. The soldiers approached him in a calm and almost arrogant manner. Derrick leaned back and sat on his knees. Gritting his teeth and spitting blood on the ground he growled at one of them, “Do it mother ****er.”

The man raised the gun to his heart. Derrick reached out and grabbed the barrel and pulled it up to his forehead. The look in his eyes wasn’t anger. As tears began to drip from his eyes, there was a sullen sadness. An empty somber stare as one who accepts their fate as a failure would wear. The man fired. Adam, from behind the wall, was heard screaming and soon seen as he ran towards the man thrashing at them wildly.

The men laughed and one restrained the young boy. “I’m Captain Heart,” the man said. “Don’t worry. We have food, shelter, and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of. A young boy doesn’t need to be out here in all this.” And so Adam was raised as one of the Armageddons. He grew up strong and vastly intelligent. His stoic nature shaped by the tragedy he witnessed that he had always felt responsible for. He never considered Derrick’s loss as a sacrifice, though his life was given to protect the young boy.

In nothing a man found something. And through losing something, a young boy gained everything.

The End.

[editted to add] the songs quoted are System of a Down - Lonely Day, and Corey Taylor - Bother.