Take Your Last Breath

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  1. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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    HelloColdWorld
    Hello again, I've decided to write another story about a warzone. Because I like those types of cheerful topics. This will hopefully be a short story, but I'm not sure. I might accidentally lengthen it out, but oh well.
    Thanks for reading!

    Four years. Four whole years of training. Now I'm out of the classroom and in the real world. My guns rest nicely on my hips, and my blades lay on my back. I stand among my comrades, ready to fight with them. Ready to die with them. We're standing in a courtyard, all sixty of us. I glance at the faces, remembering all the times we practised together. But the days of practising are over. This isn't a game or a test; it's war.

    My heart is hammering against my small chest. Small was one of the insults laid upon me; now I wear it with pride. My lack of height and skinny frame was always teased, no one thought I could take down someone who is six foot tall. Well, they were gladly mistaken. But still, my courage can't save me from fearing this. This is the ceremony of our soldiership. Once we are fitted with gleaming badges, we'll be sent to the front lines. There we will go to serve our country, or die trying.

    My commander stands in front of me, her hand raised in a salute. I follow suit, my hand on my forehead. She lowers her arm, but I do not. I've seen ceremonies like this hundred of times; I know exactly what to do. She turns to a man, holding a shiny badge on a velvet pillow. She picks it up delicately then pins it on my uniform. I lower my salute then click my heels together, I give a small nod, thanking her. She gives me a tight smile and walks on, ready to do it all over again.

    I stare off into the distance; rain has begun to fall, dampening our new uniforms. I've been standing here for exactly fifty-two minutes, eleven seconds. A horn blows, and we all snap to attention. On the raised platform stands our commander, Commander Johnson, next to her is the man who had the badges. Now he has a small scroll. Platoon announcements. I think, watching him unroll the thin paper.

    'Well done, cadets. Today you will be leaving this courtyard for the last time.' Commander Johnson says in a clipped voice. 'As you should already know, you will all be in the same company, company C for that matter. But you will all be divided into different platoons. There will be 12 of you in each platoon. Lieutenant Keynship will announce the platoons.'

    The lieutenant clears his throat and begins to shout, 'Platoon Alpha, Cadet Bertino, Cadet Downs, Cadet Friedland,'

    Once their names are said, the cadets walk over to the empty space of the courtyard. In this area is five signs, each embellished with the names of the platoons. Along with these signs is a lieutenant from each platoon, ready to order the newcomers. I stand and watch as my comrades walk to their areas. Then comes my name.

    'Platoon Delta, Cadet Bey, Cadet Cormack, Cadet Geoffrey, Cadet Hubsch, Cadet McCall,'

    I slightly jolt at my name, but I blink out of it quickly. I start to walk at a brisk pace, my back straight, my arms at my side. The perfect soldier. I walk over to an older man with an emotionless face. Above him is the sign 'Platoon Delta' I notice the rest of the cadets are lined up in alphabetical order. I snap out of my curiosity and stand behind Cadet Hubsch. Once we are all lined up the lieutenant shouts,

    'Welcome cadets, I am Lieutenant Jackson. Commander of Platoon Delta, you got that?'

    'Yes, sir!' We all shout in unison.

    'The rest of your platoon is waiting in the jeeps. We will be heading to the front lines in a matter of moments. You got that?'

    'Yes, sir!'

    'Good, then let's go!' He shouts.

    Again we reply, 'Yes sir!'

    With that, we jog over to the waiting jeeps, about ten are there. Lieutenant Jackson ushers us into the vehicles marked with a large red 'D'. The doors slam shut, and the jeeps begin to move. My comrades begin to talk in quiet murmurs when the reality kicks in.

    I am going to war
    I sit in the bottom of a trench, a sniper rifle in my arms and ammunition surrounding me. Next to me is Private Brack, or well, what remains of Private Brack. The machine guns tore through this place; I was lucky enough to be flat on the floor. Brack and a few others weren't so. I pull myself up and put my gun on the lip of the trench. There I spy through the scope of the rifle, waiting for my next victims head to crop up. There I see, someone looking up, only for a second, but the bullet is already there. The soldier falls, another enemy silenced. They don't call me Sharp Shooter Harper for nothing.

    Half an hour has passed, and my fallen comrades are gone. Whisked away by medics, ready to send letters to family members. They never said a soldier's life was fun. I'm crouched by the trench, my rifle resting patiently on the trench, waiting for someone. Today, I have managed to sniper four soldiers. Not bad for a newbie. Of course, I'm not new at shooting, but it is still my first month on the front line. That's an achievement in its own right. I half-heartedly remember those people who were in my platoon originally. I haven't seen them since the day we got here.

    It's six minutes past four when the new recruitments come. I am cleaning my rifle, whom I've named Sharpie when they arrive. Lieutenant Jackson is trudging through the dirt with twelve fresh-faced cadets. All of them have a hint of excitement on their faces, ready to serve their country and win the war. I can't wait to see their faces tomorrow.

    'Harper! Meet the newest cadets Commander Johnson has sent.' Jackson says, indicating at the fresh faces.

    I study each of their faces; some have a face that makes me want to laugh, they look like they can just run up and stomp the enemy. Some look a bit worried, but still excited. But then there is one person, a girl who looks about my age; she has an expression that I see on those who have been here for months. I shake my head and hold a fake smile.

    'Good bunch, huh?' I say, trying to sound cheerful, probably failing.

    Jackson nods then turn to the cadets. I turn back to my rifle, wiping each delicate piece of the weapon. I listen to the orders Jackson gives to the cadets because we lost five because of the machine guns, five will be replacing them here. Five new cadets who will think they can change the world, just my luck. Once I've cleaned the rifle, I slide every piece together like the perfect jigsaw puzzle. Jackson has left along with seven of the cadets, the remaining mill around the trench, talking to the others and checking their weapons. I notice the female cadet with that haunting expression; she is talking to another cadet. She looks over, and we lock eyes. I look away. I need to show these cadets this isn't a game.

    I push Sharpie onto the top of the trench, squinting through the scope, ready to aim, ready to fire. Just my luck, I see two soldiers trying to man a machine gun, they are above the trench line, leaving themselves exposed. Time to show these cadets and the enemy, they shouldn't mess with me. Instantly, I aim the rifle, targeting one of the two, then a shot rings out. Before the bullet hits the first one, I've already aimed at the second. They both fall within seconds of each other. With my work down, I take the rifle off the top of the trench. I turn to see every cadet is staring, mouth wide open. The cadet I locked eyes with stares at me with a slight smile on her face. Her expression gives me one thought.

    She knows it's a war zone, and she knows how to fight.
    I can't help it, but my mouth is wide open. This soldier, Harper, just effortlessly took out two enemies. Something he must have perfected over time, but by his looks, he's only been here for a couple of weeks. I've already analysed the entire trench; barbed wire is curled over with small gaps to fit rifles like the one Harper is holding. The trench is dug deep so we won't get picked off like the enemy, an advantage to us, but not to them. From here, I can tell the enemies trenches haven't been dug deep enough; this is costing them soldiers.

    Once my bewilderment dies down, a small smile creeps upon my face, Harper isn't to be messed with, but maybe befriended. The rest of the new cadets are wide-eyed and hungry to win; I, however, want to survive. This isn't a game where we can replay once we die. When you're dead, you're dead. This hasn't yet hit my comrades; I have no idea why not.

    It's been an hour, all we've done is clean our weapons and check our ammunition. Some would say this is boring, but I know that to others it is lucky. I'm sat on the dirty ground, cleaning a rifle, Harper hasn't shot anyone since the first time. Instead, he's been carefully watching us, cadets. It sounds creepy, but it is something I would do if there were new recruitments. I spend too much time staring at his face that he looks at me. I look away furiously, feeling a wave of heat on my cheeks. Stupid, stupid, this is a war, and I'm drooling over a sniper. I can feel him smirking at my embarrassment. So I carry on cleaning my rifle, then I reload it several times. I might be blushing over a guy, but I could shoot him if he's not careful.

    Night has fallen, and nothing has happened. Apparently, the bombardment was before we got here, that's why we filled in for the front lines. I guess that's a good thing, no chances of death, yet. I wrap my coat around me tighter, the air has dropped below freezing, and this coat isn't very thick. They used to be warmer and nicer when the war started, but rations have kicked in, and all we get are thin, paper-like coats. I watch my breath and count the gunshots I can hear. We're on the west side of the trench line, and according to a medic, it's hell over on the east side. It has been five minutes, and I've counted over a hundred gunshots. I see in the dim light Harper passing around food, our rations for the day. He comes over and gives me a small tin of food.

    'Here.' He says, his voice is deep and husky.

    'Thanks.' I reply, taking the tin from him.

    He walks off, giving others food while I chew on the tough meat. It's so cold that I'm shivering, we have blankets, but they are meant for sleeping. I finish the tin of food and rub my hands together, hoping the friction will warm my hands a bit. After a while, Harper sits down next to me, thanks to the one lantern, he can't see my blush on my cheeks. He smirks at me shivering.

    'Cold?' He asks in a joking tone.

    Instead of answering, I look away staring at the sky. Why is it the good looking guys the horrible ones? I want to hit myself at that thought; I'm here to fight and maybe die, not to find love in a war zone. Of course, my heart doesn't think that. When he realises I'm not going to answer, Harper speaks again.

    'My names Private Harper, you?'

    Still not looking at him, I answer, 'Cadet McCall.'

    'Nice to meet you, McCall,' he says, I notice he is trying to start up a conversation. My brain says no, but my heart says yes. For once, my heart wins the fight.

    'Nice to meet you too.' I say, turning to him.

    I see him smile; he finally got me to look at him. He's very handsome looking with light green eyes and sandy blonde hair half hidden under his helmet. His uniform is scruffy and sprinkled with dirt, his face also has dirt on it, I want to wipe it away, but I don't.

    'I have to ask, what are the other cadets like? Because not much has happened since you've arrived, I have no idea how well you guys can fight.' Harper says, looking me straight in the eyes.

    I've memorised all their names and then think back to our training. Everyone is talented to some degree, some better than others of course. I go through all eleven of the cadets, and their strongest points and also their weakest points. Harper doesn't interrupt me once; he sits there nodding every so often until I finish.

    'What about you then?' He asks.

    I feel another wave of heat on my face, sitting here with Harper has stopped me from shivering thanks to my burning cheeks.

    'I don't think it's wise for me to outline my talents, you should ask someone else. I'm not completely sure what my talents are.' I say truthfully, staring at the dirty ground.

    'Well, I've managed to work out that you're good at memorising things. I asked someone else if they could tell me about you guys, he didn't know half of you.' He says.

    'I guess if no one knows my talents, you'll have to wait and see.' I say, smiling.

    Harper smirks then nods; he begins to talk again when someone calls out.

    'Lights out! Harper and Cormack are on the first watch!'

    I hear Harper sigh then say, 'Well that's me out. Sleep tight.'

    He gets up then walks over to his post while I lie on a sleeping mat staring at the stars. I fall asleep listening to the sounds of guns and cannons.
    The darkness covers me like a blanket while I hold my rifle. It's been about an hour since I was called for the first watch, everyone except me and the cadet beside me are asleep. In about a day or two, I will be taken off the front lines and back to the safer side of the trench. The new cadets will be staying on for a week or two so this is probably first and last time to see these fresh faces. I've talked to them all, interesting people I guess, but I haven't seen them fight. Hopefully tomorrow they'll show the rest of us what they're worth because right now they are like children in a park.

    Two hours have passed, and I'm struggling to stay awake, each watch is three hours and a half, and right now all I want is to be asleep. No such luck for me yet. I noticed the cadet beside me is bounding with energy as if a spy is going to pop out. It's silly, but I was like that when I joined, look at me now. All grubby and never fully rested. That's the life of a soldier. Nothing has happened during my watch, only the bombardment on the east side. Apparently, troops are dropping like flies over there, but if we move people on the north side, awe could be attacked there. I just hope I get behind the lines before they throw in the foot soldiers. I never understood the foot soldier tactic, all that happens is the machine guns filling people with bullets.

    Finally, my watch is over; I trudge over to a sleeping soldier, wake them up and then collapse on my sleeping mat. I roll over and see McCall sleeping softly, she looks a bit younger than me but compensates for her killer stare. Tomorrow I hope the seniors organise a sort of brawl for the cadets to show their worth. By the way, she acts, the opponent will laugh at her, but seconds after they'll be on the floor. A whisper of a smile creeps on my face, thinking of the cadets fighting. It happens every time they are on the front lines; I just hope I get to see it before I leave.

    It's early morning when I'm woken up by one of the cadets. I roll out of the mat, letting out a small groan. Mornings are the worst, especially when you have to get up at five every morning. I carefully roll my sleeping mat up and put it away along with my blanket. I grab my rifle and sling it around my back; then I walk towards the small forming group to listen to the seniors.

    'Good morning everyone, nothing eventful happened over here last night. However the east side is coping too well, once the new rotation is in, we'll attack here on foot,' says a commander, his hands behind his back. 'For now, we will have our front line initiation shall we say,' he smiles at the cadet's bewilderment, I can't help but smile too.

    When I joined the front lines, I was confused; everyone was almost bursting with laughter. It was after we got told what was happening that it hit me. We're the war zone entertainment. That thought rings in my ears every time we have a cadet brawl. The cadets are always confused and somewhat frightened, while we watch them fight. That's the sort of amusements you get on the front lines.

    The commander has explained the rules and the aim. Get your opponent to the ground before they do that to you. The rules are, no weapons and no outside help. The other soldiers sit back and gamble. I never include myself in the gambling, high risk, low reward. First up is a large girl with muscles bigger than her legs and a pale boy who looks quick on his feet. Not a good matchup I'd say, but it was chosen randomly so I can't complain.

    The commander shouts go, and the brawl begins. The girl attacks first, she lunges with a powerful punch, but the boy easily jumps out the way. They circle one another, trying to work out each other's weaknesses. The boy lashes out with a kick to the stomach, the girl's reflexes kick in as she grabs the kid's leg, throwing him to the ground. The other soldiers shout and cheer as the girl is declared the winner.

    There have been four matches, but there is one I'm looking forward to the most. Finally, the commander calls out two names, and she steps up. McCall stands there already in a fighting stance; she's probably already assessed her opponent, a tall girl with a mean smile. The commander shouts go, and I'm already on the edge of my seat.
    The commander shouts go, and I begin circling round. In front of me is a tall, muscular girl who already thinks she'll squish me like a bug. Of course, my odds of winning are very unlikely but doesn’t mean I won't make it easy for her. If I remember rightly, her name is Cadet Rutherford; she is an unyielding girl who could probably lift me up and chuck me across the trench. I hope that doesn’t happen. I have my arms up, protecting my chest. Rutherford sends out a powerful punch, but I slickly dodge it. The swing makes her stumble; I take this opportunity to lash out, kicking her in the stomach. She stumbles back, cursing.

    We circle more, trying to find a chink in one another's armour. I never let up; my fists are clenched tightly, ready to strike. Rutherford swings another punch, this one aiming at my face. I place my forearms in front of my face, her fist connecting with them instead. I grimace, pain throbbing through my arms. But I never let my guard down; my heart is pumping madly. Sweat is forming on my forehead, hand to hand combat has never been my favourite. People instantly think I am no match, so they never fight me. Hopefully, people here will take me seriously, unlike training. Four years of it and no one thought I was even decent.

    Our match has dragged on the longest; we've both sent strikes out but not enough to get one another on the ground. No one thinks I'll be able to bring Rutherford down because of my size. But no one thinks she'll be able to get me down seeing as I've got a rigid guard. We're both breathing heavily, and a bigger crowd has formed. Originally there was only ten soldiers and three cadets; now over twenty people are watching us. I turn my eyes back to Rutherford and strike. I throw out a punch, which she dodges, then immediately send out another blow, making her stumble. I then lash out with a roundhouse kick, making her stumble more. I attack once more, and she falls. There is silence, everyone trying to figure what just happened. My attacks occurred within less than ten seconds. Then there is an uproar of cheering and booing. The commander shouts out, silencing the soldiers.

    'Our winner, Cadet McCall!'

    The shouting continues, many people clap me on the back. I never realised this was how everyone was going to react, I mean all I did was do a brawl. I turn to Rutherford, who is still on the floor. I hold out my hand out and help her up. She nods in thanks then walks over to her friends. I walk off as well, and the crowd disperses, the brawls are over. One of the seniors shouts for everyone to return to work. I sit away from the others, cleaning my rifle. I may have won a brawl, but we still have a war to win. After I've cleaned the gun piece by piece, Harper comes over and sits with me, drinking something from a flask.

    'Well done for winning,' he says, raising his flask then taking a swig.

    'Are you saying that because you betted on me?' I say, putting the rifle back together.

    He laughs in a low voice, taking another swig. He places the flask on the ground and takes the gun from my hands. I begin to protest, but then he starts to examine it, unloading it and reloading it. I stare in amazement at his absolute care and precision. He gives the rifle back to me and says,

    'Good work of cleaning that.'

    'Um, thanks?' I say, unsure of what just happened.

    He grabs the flask ones again and drains it of its contents. I have no idea what was in the flask; I just hope it wasn't alcohol. By the way, he's acting; I can't guess.

    'So, you're good at hand to hand fighting, let's see what your shooting is like,' he says, standing up holding his hand out. 'Let's shoot some people.'
    I help McCall off the ground, and she follows me to the front of the trench. Once there I grab a rifle left on the floor, it isn't Sharpie, but it doesn't matter. This is about her shooting, not mine. I place the rifle on the top of the trench, in between the barbed wire. McCall follows suit, eyes already through the scope. I look through my scope, trying to find a good target for her to shoot. It's been ten minutes, and none of the enemies has cropped up. I take the rifle off, then say,

    'Come on; there's nothing there. Let's go...' My voice trails off as I hear the sound of McCall's rifle going off.

    I place my rifle and stare through the scope; I manage to see someone collapse. By the looks of it, she shot them straight through the head. Perfect bullseye. So she can fight hand to hand, she's good at memorising, and she can shoot accurately. Pretty scary considering she is only 5'4. She removes the smoking rifle from the trench and asks,

    'Did you say something?'

    I can't help but laugh. Naturally, she didn't say that for humour, but it is humorous regardless. I was telling her to stand down, and she sent out the perfect kill. God, she'd be an impressive spy. McCall gives me a puzzled look as I try to stifle my laughter. Her brows are furrowed, but then she gives me a small smile, dimples on her cheeks. I manage to calm down; it wasn't that funny but for some odd reason to me it was. Maybe it's just her that made me laugh, not what she did, just her. I snap out of it. Finally, my cheeks are burning. Hopefully of laughter rather the embarrassment. McCall gives me another smile before asking,

    'So, now what?'

    'Well, we can probably shoot some more stragglers like you just did. Or we could do some target practice with the others.' I say, holding my rifle.

    She nods then say, 'We can do target practice with the others, I'd like to see everyone's shooting skills too.'

    'Then let's get going.' I say, walking away from the front of the trench.

    Half an hour later, McCall and I rounded up as many new cadets as we can. Including those who weren't placed on the front lines. I already set up a small target practice for everyone to have a go at. Because our resources are sparse, I could only use empty tin cans and other random objects dotted around the trench. Everyone has a rifle in their hands, ready to shoot. I will be watching in case anything bad goes wrong, seeing as I am the senior of the bunch. To be safe, everyone is shooting one at a time. We don't want a frenzy of bullets on our hands.

    'All right then, you on the far right, go!' I say, pointing at someone in the line.

    They begin shooting, hitting off one of the cans on their second shot. I shout for the next person; they shoot off two cans with one bullet. Once all the cans are knocked off, I picked them back up, and we restarted. Every time it's McCall's turn, she always gets them in the middle of the can. Mostly everyone is good, but for some people, their aim could use improving. I would help them, but I'm being rotated off soon so they'd be no point. McCall could assist them seeing as she is as good as me. The cadets carry on shooting until they run out of bullets.

    'Okay then, we'll wrap it up for now. You did pretty well.' I say, about to begin a small speech but I am cut off by the sound of clapping.

    We all turn around to find the commander from this morning clapping loudly. He doesn't stop clapping until there is a bigger group of people staring. I can tell already he's drawing up a big crowd because he has big news. I can feel in my gut I won't like whatever he says.

    'Well done cadets!' He says, finally stopping the applause, 'That was impressive, of course, improvements will be needed. You will all be getting a better sort of training. A real fight.'

    His words make my blood freeze. He's planning to get them over the trench, a battle on foot. Four out of ten people survive and none of them knows it. He's sending them to their deaths, but they think it's training. That's one thing I hate about war; they lie and pretend. I look at McCall, unlike the faces of her comrades, her mouth is in a thin line. Of course, she wouldn't think it'd be a fun game; she's too smart for that.

    'In a couple of days, once everyone has rotated, you will be all going over the trench lines.' He says.

    Exactly what I predicted he'd say. Now some of the cadet's faces fall. They must know the myths of the battlegrounds. We sit around and play in the trenches, but on the muddy battlefields, there's only death. I'm still looking at McCall, and one horrific thought goes through my mind.

    I've known her for a day, and she will be killed in less than a week.
    My heart stopped at the commander's words. I never thought they'd send us over so soon. We'd been here for a day. There's obviously no way out of it; I better prepare myself to fight. Or of course, die trying. My mind begins to plan out how to survive when the commander speaks once again,

    'But first, I'd like to see Cadet McCall; I have an opportunity for her.'

    This isn't good, whatever this opportunity is, it won't be good. But I comply, I walked out of the crowd of cadets and walked towards the commander, heart beating wildly. I feel all eyes watch me, either jealous of me or glad it isn't them. He places his hand on my back and guides me away from the crowd, whatever it is, it's private.

    We're in a dirty room with one bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. I am sat at a small wooden table with the commander, Commander Wilkinson, seated on the other side of me. His leaning against the chair, smoking a pipe. I'm still confused as to why I am here, but I don't let it show on my face. Instead, I hold a calm and emotionless expression. After what feels like hours but is only eleven minutes, Lieutenant-Colonel Drew-marry walks in. Immediately, Wilkinson and I are on our feet, saluting. Drew-marry ushers us to sit, which we do. She then sits next to Wilkinson and begins to speak,

    'Good afternoon Cadet McCall, I hope you're well.' She says in a clipped voice. 'You are probably wondering why you're here today. The answer to that is you've been noticed. Since your training, Commander Johnson has always eyed you as the star student. Now that you're here on the front lines, you've proven yourself to be up for anything. Although it's been two days, you've shown enough to be offered a promotion.'

    This makes my eyes widen, in shock or happiness I'm not sure. A promotion? After two days? What am I being promoted to? My mind whirs, trying to answer all my questions. Instead, Drew-marry answers them for me.

    'You have the opportunity to become an agent. One of the fifteen in Company C.' She says, pleased with herself.

    An agent? I think back to our training, all the different titles of the army. The title comes back, and I'm near to ecstatic. In the whole of Company C, which is over two hundred soldiers, there are fifteen agents. They are some of our country's top fighters. Agents attack from the inside, they infiltrate the enemy's base and wreak havoc. They kill as many enemy soldiers and find valuable information that has helped us many times. Being an agent would mean I'd no longer live on the front lines but near the back of the trench. Away from the immediate fight, I would plan, calculate and infiltrate.

    This sounds too good to be true, and I'm about to say yes when I think to Harper. Probably my only friend is this place, and I'll be whisked away to become a high-profile agent while he watches from the sidelines. Thinking this through I question why they instantly think I'll be fit for the role. I've been around for two days. Commander Johnson never praised me in the way the Lieutenant-Colonel says she has. I'm obviously not fit for the role yet I am still here. I know I can't turn it down altogether, I should get an outside opinion before I finalise it.

    'Thank you for the offer, but I believe I'll need some time to think about it before I accept if you don't mind of course.' I say, trying not to sound rude.

    Both of the official's faces fall, disappointed at my words. Drew-marry gets up suddenly, the chair screeching, the leaves. Guess I sounded rude then. I think, watching her leave. Wilkinson stands too and then says,

    'When you've decided see me,' he then ushers me out the room.

    I'm back at the trench, and I collapse on the ground. The way the Lieutenant-Colonel left makes me want to plead for an apology. But then it also makes me want to say no, just to spite her even more. Obviously, I won't do either, neither would help me at all. I'm holding a rifle I randomly picked up and started to clean it. I enjoy cleaning the guns, it's easy to do, and they work even better. I've taken the whole thing apart and then put it back together when Harper sits down next to me.

    'So what was the opportunity?' He says as I wipe the scope.

    'I was offered the chance to become an agent.' I say, not looking at him.

    His mouth falls wide open.

    'What?! It's not like I said I'm becoming the Colonel or something.' I say.

    'Did you accept? Tell me you did.' He says, ignoring my question.

    'I didn't accept or decline. I said I needed to think about it.' I answer, 'Why do you want me to accept?'

    'Because if you accept, you won't have to go over the trench.' He says, looking sad.

    'True, but I like it here. Also, why would they pick me? I've been here for two days. I can't have all the skills they need for an agent.'

    He turns to me, looking into my eyes then says, 'But you do, you have the accuracy of a fully trained sniper, you have a memory better than anyone else’s, and you can take down someone twice your size. You're perfect for the job.'

    I see his cheeks turn pink, making my face burn up. No one's ever complimented me like that. Of course, I've got the occasional 'Good job, McCall' but I've never been told that I'm perfect. I look away, trying to hide my blush then say,

    'I'll think about.'
    It's gone past midnight, and I'm awake. I can't sleep, my mind is too alert. I hope it's almost my watch, if I am awake, let me be useful. I study my watch, the glass is cracked, the straps are worn down, the hands are rusty, and the numbers have faded. But I can still make out the time. It's now one in the morning; there should be a rotation of night watches, hopefully, my watch. A moment later I am tapped on the shoulder. I turn around to see a figure in the darkness above me. They whisper quietly,

    'Your watch.'

    I nod and ease myself out of the sleeping mat. I stretch and yawn as if I've been sleeping. I stand and grab Sharpie; I then walk over to the small lantern, where my night watch partner already sits. It takes me a second, but I realise it's McCall, sitting there cleaning a rifle. She always seems to be cleaning a gun, I guess it's a way to pass the time. I settle down next to her, cradling my rifle. She seems to ignore me, not acknowledging I sat down. She carries on cleaning the gun before I break the silence.

    'So did you accept the role?' I ask.

    She looks up at me, forgetting about the rifle and says, 'No I haven't, I still haven't decided.'

    'The decision is an easy one to make, say yes.' I answer, looking straight at her.

    McCall looks away and mumbles, 'It's not that easy, I don't want to go.'

    'Why not? It's obviously a better life as an agent than a cadet.' I ask, still not understanding her reluctance.

    'It's not the role I don't want; it's just here.' She says, then in an even quieter voice, 'Here with you.'

    Heat flushes my cheeks at her words. The dim light covers my blush and probably hers too. I opened my mouth to reply but closed it again like a goldfish. As soldiers, we make friendships but hardly any romances. But by the way, she's talking; I want to kiss her.

    My lack of reply doesn't help me as she says, 'Okay then. I guess I'll go.' Her voice sounds angry.

    She gets up and walks over to the other lantern where she begins cleaning her rifle, pretending I no longer exist. I sigh and stare at the sky. I never was good at talking to annoyed girls, but I have this urge just to run up to her. But do what I have no idea.

    It's almost the end of our night watch, and McCall and I haven't spoken. I know if I don't go over there she will leave and become an agent. I would never find out entirely why she wants to stay because of me. I take one deep breath and think. You can do this; you've already annoyed her, just don't annoy her even more. I exhale and stand, walking towards McCall. I'm about to sit down next to her when a hear a cannister drop. I whip around, eyes wide as a see the metallic cylinder fall into the trench. I shout at the top of my lungs, waking everyone up.

    'GAS, GAS, GAS'
    'GAS, GAS GAS.' Harper screamed, his voice going hoarse.

    I'd already seen the canisters fly over. It all happened in slow motion, Harper's cries, the canisters bouncing around the trench, all of it. I was stuck there, watching as they flew over, eyes wide, already knowing what will happen.

    'McCall! Get your gas mask on!' Harper grabbed me by the shoulders, restarting time again.

    That's when the canisters exploded.
    A flurry of green smoke escaped the cans, sucking up all the oxygen and replacing it with its wicked poison. I grabbed my gas mask, pulling it on. Tears stung my eyes, I know what will happen, and I can never stop it.

    I looked at Harper; he also had his gas mask on. He seemed like an alien with the mask on, haunting me. He doesn't look at me but at the other soldiers. Some are struggling to put their masks on, but I know it's too late for them.

    That's when the screaming starts.

    Horrible screeches of agony fill my mind, the mask doesn’t muffle their cries, it never does. I saw them collapse to the ground, watching as the gas curled around them, entering their systems, killing them from the inside.

    'McCall! Help me!' Harper cried, trying to pull someone's mask on for them.

    This happens every time; he'll shout for me to help. But I never do. I tried to run forward, but the ground turns into hands to grab my legs, halting me. Harper doesn't see the earthy hands and only sees me standing there. I tried to reach my hand out to him, but I only get dragged back.

    'McCall! For the love of God, these people are dying! Help me or their blood will be on your hands too!' He cried again, anger filling his voice.

    But all I do is stand there, watching as my comrades die. Listening to their screams and also Harper's shouts of anger. Tears fall onto my cheeks; I helped kill these innocent people. I didn't save anyone; I only saved myself.


    I wake with a start, sweat dripping down my face. Ragged breaths escape me as the dream fades away. I check my surroundings, heart beating wildly. I am in bed, in my small room. It isn't my home, but I've lived here for two years.

    Two years ago the canisters imploded.
    Two years ago, the gas killed all my comrades.
    Now I am here, but so many are not.
    Attacking at night was a good tactic, too good of a tactic. Most people we're still half asleep when the gas escaped the canisters. I managed to get mine on in time, that was all down to luck.

    I try and push that all out of my head. It happens too often, the nightmares. Ever since the gas attack, I was never the same. I almost feared to sleep, scared of the dreams that always came. After a couple of months, they stopped. I thought they'd stop for good.
    I guess not.

    I got up, unable to sleep. After the gas attack, I became an agent. There was no point in me deciding whether to be a cadet or an agent. The cadet in me had died along with my comrades. These two years I've been an agent, working from the inside to take down the enemy. I hated it when people described agents like that; it only reminded me of the gas.

    I exit my room; I doubt I'll get any more sleep tonight. I walk through the dimly lit corridors; I know exactly where I am going. The compound I am in currently is underground, but there is a small observatory of sorts, used to see where the enemy are.
    I just use it as a way to escape.

    I climb the iron ladders leading to the observatory, slowly turning the hatch, I climb onto the balcony. Cold air whips at me, blood rushes to my cheeks, but I just ignore the chill. I sit on the ledge, my legs dangling over the edge. I look out at the starry skies, every so often an explosion rips through the night, distorting the stars. I stay up there for a while, forty-six minutes in fact.

    I hear the hatch click; I turn to see a figure climb onto the balcony. I say nothing, silently hoping that it's who I think it is. The figure comes closer; a small smile frames my face as I am correct.

    'Couldn't sleep?' Harper asks me, sitting on the railing with me.

    I look at the stars again and nod. We were the only survivors of the gas attack. Because we were awake at the time, we managed to get our gas masks on and away in time. He also became an agent when I did; we had nothing much else to do except get new jobs.

    I rest my head on his shoulder. We both came up here when the nightmares started. It became our escape, as the years went on, I got closer and closer to him. He's the only friend I properly made during these years.

    'Guessing the dreams are back?' He asks, looking at the sky.

    'Yeah, I guess they never went away,' I say, my voice quiet and scratchy.

    He nods, not saying anything. We did that a lot, just sat with one another, never saying much. Having each other, there was all we needed to feel better. Some more time passed, I told Harper what happened in my dream. He's heard it all before, but he never stops me. Our conversation is interrupted by sirens.

    Sirens blare loudly, jolting me a little. The sound is different to the usual blaring. The lights flashing aren't red like usual, they're green. My eyes widen at the lights. This is the signal I never thought I'd witness for myself.

    'Harper... We've won the war.'

    Story = Finished​
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
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  2. Domaininator

    Domaininator Heroic Partier Elite+

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  3. Aiden

    Aiden Mythic Partier Elite+

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    I love how it's just like I am going to war
     
  4. alexithymia

    alexithymia Heroic Partier VIP

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    i love reading these, you're so creative `^`
     
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  5. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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    You guys are so nice :3

    I have a chapter kinda ready but I'm editing it right now so be patient ;D
     
  6. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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  7. Aiden

    Aiden Mythic Partier Elite+

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    YAY
    I love these things!
     
  8. Domaininator

    Domaininator Heroic Partier Elite+

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    cool
     
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  9. Uncivil

    Uncivil Heroic Partier Elite

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    absolutely amazing work, keep it up
     
  10. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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    Everyone is so nice here, I can't stress that enough.

    Also I have two questionss

    Should Private Harper be Agent Harper and should they be male or female?
     
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  11. alexithymia

    alexithymia Heroic Partier VIP

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    I think Private Harper and male, since Cadet McCall (whom I'm guessing is the protagonist) is female.
     
  12. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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    Chapter Three is posted! This chapter is extremely long, if I wrote seven more words, it'd be 1000 words long. That's double my average chapters.
     
  13. Domaininator

    Domaininator Heroic Partier Elite+

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    cool is Cadet McCall a girl or guy? XD
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  14. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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    McCall is a girl, in the second chapter Harper was talking about her ;D
     
  15. Domaininator

    Domaininator Heroic Partier Elite+

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  16. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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  17. Domaininator

    Domaininator Heroic Partier Elite+

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  18. Aiden

    Aiden Mythic Partier Elite+

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    WHY HAVE I STOPPED GETTING ALERTS
    anyhoo harper should be a dude because then SHIPS
     
  19. HelloColdWorld

    HelloColdWorld Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite

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    Harper is a male
    Fanfics are gonna happen
    I'm not even sorry
     
  20. Aiden

    Aiden Mythic Partier Elite+

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    nobody is sorry
     
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