Things Long Lost

By @Machi_moooo

Things Long Lost

By @Machi_moooo

Chapter 1

Vivere

The recent victim flooded the young boys mind of a girl only by the age of 10 who rested lifeless in a pool of blood as black as the sky the moon bathed in as the day pulled to an enviable end. It appeared darker than the curtain of stars the moon gently drapes over the warm rays of sunlight. 

it was blacker than a raven’s wing gliding under the light of early dusk. It was almost beyond the darkness of which humans perceive. It was eerie. Unsettling even, it felt like looking into a soulless pit to hell. nothing quite compared to how it mirrored the depth of which monsters arose from.  

Seeing the mentally imprinting sight A sensation of mellowing fear pooled in the boy’s stomach, making him ever so often squirm while staring at the scene. Often enough stuff like this seemed to possess the power to do that to people. He couldn’t shake the feeling of knowing that something like this could exist in a world already filled to the breaking point of horrible deeds.

Slowly a eerie feeling began to creep up the spine of Damien like claws of horrifying beast lurking behind him. never seen but felt ..always seeming to be waiting for a chance to strike him down with a fatal blow. It wasn’t long before he began to slightly shake and tense up at the feeling of unease and fear he felt beginning to control his every movement like a twisted puppeteer, twisting and pulling on the sharp strings that moved him against his will. Making him dance the dance of a failing jester. 

The feeling could almost be compared to a lurking beast toying with its prey, letting it think it had a fighting chance when all along it was all a sick game. He felt like if he took a breath too quick the Beast his mind created would make its move and devour him with a swift action. It’s quite humorous how paranoia seems to always have an interesting way of twisting perception of its viewers in order to keep them under a powerful spell of crippling fear.

He scanned the girl. She was pale almost like freshly fallen snow but not as innocent and beautiful as the blessing winter graciously gifted to the world. it was sickly, her skin was as if it was becoming tainted…stained with the liquid Darkness she laid in as her final breath was stripped from her, greedly stolen away as if a thief in the night had captured it for they’re own misdeeds. 

the expression the eyes forever had imprinted with, held a look of utter horror and fear pertaining to the unknown. Intriguingly enough When asked, people seemed to have a common belief that eyes are the window of the soul, always showing the true emotions of a person. As He stared at her having to unfortunately look at her twisted expression. He grimaced when he turned his attention to her eyes. she was almost hollow. her fight, her future, her life was gone. She was dead long before now. she had given up a long time ago perhaps it was better she didn’t have to struggle to exist in a world that didn’t want her or care for her existence.

The spiraling thoughts twisted and morphed into monsters growling and clawing in his mind running rampant across a vastless space. his breath quickened. His heart rate picked up with the gentle movement of him bringing his shaking hand to his uniform and gripping it tight like it would disappear within seconds. He felt himself begin to try and rationalize the homicide that had occurred. his mind told him she wouldn’t have ever survived long anyway no one ever survived the..darkness. she needed to be put down. He was speechless. was he actually trying to convince himself that what happened was okay?

He had watched her life vanish before his very eyes and now his own mind betrayed him trying to twist his thoughts to a horrific believable lie. The worrying thing was he was two steps away from actually letting himself believe it, to fall into a trap his mind laid out for him to save himself from guilt. to save himself from having to remember her and everything about what was happening. but then again at what cost. With everything she was forced to endure she at the very least deserved to be remembered in some form…to be given some honor for at least trying for as long as she did. She fought for a while even though she knew what her untimely fate was. 

People like her were nothing more than goners. all of them riddled with Illness and the poverty the economy had sunk into. the fear that had sunk into people not knowing whether this day would be their last. the government didn’t care about people like her. they were simply replaciable pawns In an unforgiving game of chess were only the elite win. Those who had enough money to try and live as long as they could. 

They were people who had the money to die comfortably…to say goodbye to loved ones. They were people who didn’t have to fight for the little they had, they didn’t worry that if they went outside if it would be they’re last, however one thing people in the slum and people in the elite had in common, everyone eventually succumbed to the darkness sooner or later but they at least had the status and money to make it a little longer than the people in the wasteland. they weren’t forced to fight for the scarce items that were thrown into the wasteland that honestly was only enough to barely get by. It was like a sick show of entertainment for the elite, seeing people struggle to keep the little they had.

he couldn’t help but stare at her eyes. open and lifeless. the blood vessels were exposed and some were left shattered leaving an eerie red color that covered over the glassy film in her eyes. Damien forced himself to adverate his attention.

 He couldn’t continue to stare at her eyes. It seemed like it only added to the guilt that weighed on his shoulders like a crushing burden that you would crumble under if you even made the slightest movement. you would think that turning his focus somewhere else would’ve helped but he found himself looking at another disheartening sight making him sick at his stomach. 

The ripped shirt exposed part of the child of the stomach held the appearance of copious claw and scratch marks as if the poor child tried to rid the illness by clawing at the spreading disease as if that would save her fading life. The opened wounds she created spread severe additional infections causing the skin to turn into a sickening palette of colors. The skin had begun to rot away little by little because the infections hadn’t nor could be treated. the pain had to have been excruciating. she was “lucky” she survived until now. “lucky” …..what a poor choice of words on his behalf how could anyone with this be lucky to be alive. the bluntest answer that could be given was absolutely no one at all deserved the torture people were being subjected to on the daily.

The aroma that radiated from the corpse sickened him like a sudden occurrence of the flu. He became light headed causing him to lose his footing and come close to colliding with the cracked and destroyed floor where injuries seemed to be enviable.

  it was covered with glass shards, dust and rocks metal from the destroyed buildings. With a pre-built instinct to aid the need to survive. He threw his arms out in order to grab anything to hopefully protect his body when he collided with the floor or something to stop the fall from occurring. Perhaps he had a little luck in that moment because he barely managed to grab onto the small rotting table in the room. He took a large gulp of air in faint relief that the table didn’t shatter under his body weight leading to possibly severe injuries.

taking that breath seemed to be another regrettable choice that could be easily added to a rap sheet of poor decisions. The waves of nausea crashed over him like waves of a vast sea being beaten and thrashed around by a harsh storm in the dead of night. He felt himself slowly beginning to wish he had no senses anymore.

 if he was being completely honest with himself, if a monster from the flaming pits of hell crawled out of the depths of an eternity of suffering and inquired curiously about his soul, he wouldn’t even hesitate to give up the one thing he truly had left in this world. just to forget…to forget everything. the guilt. the sight. the smell. everything about this.

he stiffly swallowed and forced himself off the table and tried to maintain his balance. The annoyance that covered the room like a heavy fog made it hard to take breath and regain any form of focus the young soldier had left. a large man twisted his head and looked sharply at him. 

 ” You’re a soldier!! and yet you fail to even take care of this situation..instead you collapse to the floor like a newborn animal.” 

The pure anger that laced those simple words were like a flaming whip cracking against his skin causing it to split under the harsh beating making seeping wounds, oozing his only life support. He couldn’t remember a lot about his mother but a few quotes and stuff she did had always stuck with him even causing him to subconsciously mirror some of her actions.  

She always told him words were a poor man’s weapon, the one of only a few things that could equal the sharpness of a cutting blade. words were the only weapon these people to use against the government granted it still wasn’t much but it was something and that was the mentality you had to have to survive. 

Damien blinked his eyes rapidly to prevent tears from spilling. you could laugh and call him a child for becoming upset and beginning to spill tears over the situation but everything was taking its toll on him both mentally and physically. he was tired, filled with more emotions than he should probably even have left in this world. he felt lost, completely drained like someone had hooked him to a cord and used him as a portable battery. he was diminished into a husk of his former self. what being a soldier hadn’t stripped away from him he was beginning to hold the feeling that this did.

he should’ve been able handle situations like this better than he did but no matter how familiar the situations were to where he grew up. however none of his childhood experiences could hold a candle to this. He had seen how bad it was in the slum but this is different. He flinched remembering the familiar scent. death, burning fabric, and the heavy scent of blood drenching the oxygen. The air always seemed to be hung heavy with the emotions of people who had been forced to the point of cynicism. 

To the point of no return. a breaking point. They were Shaved and carved until there was nothing left but a barely beating heart. the people had been forced to the point where the only thing for sure…the only thing you could count on for certain no matter what was death. the unforgiving memories of being forced to grow up where the world is against you from the very moment you take your first breath and let out a newborn’s screams and then that very thought being reinforced the second you could speak you were taught your simply replaceable, your job is nothing more then the give your life to people who never deserved that power and never will.  

Growing up in the slum or waste had seemed to always have high rates of crime. murder for food, medicine, daily items was all to common. if anyone was lucky they were taught to be wise, never go out early in the morning or the second the sky changed from a heavy grey to a deep black. Everyone needed practical advice to survive unfortunately not everyone was able to be blessed with that and if you think anyone in the slum would give you advice like that you’re sorely mistaken. 

where he grew up the crimes were so common you were always in a paranoid state. Thoughts of the worst things know to man running across your mind leaving you always stuck in a flight and fight response. Always biting your nails praying you wouldn’t fall victim to the evil people had quickly become with the quick passing of loose laws and no repercussions.

Damien could remember when he would walk down the street with his mother. She seemed always uneasy causing him as a child to question everything from why was his mother nervous to the tough question of why did they live like this when others weren’t forced to live like this. Looking back on his memories he felt foolish and apologetic for accidentally putting his mother between a rock and a hard place. 

No sane parent wants to answer the question of why they lived off of a portion barely made to feed a small child, or why they were forced to live in run down buildings that held the ability to fall apart with just a soft breeze blowing against it. One memory that always stuck out to him was he could remember going to the place with people in the slum to the ” shop” at least that’s what his mother called It. probably in order to create some sort of happy place, she always tried to make things fun, playing I spy or some form of games to keep him from truly understanding how bad everything was. She had always wanted to give him some form of a decent childhood no matter what it took from her to do it. The times she went without eating in order so that he wouldn’t be damaged due to malnourishment and that he could have a full meal, or even the times where something bad would happen like the holes on the roof of the house becoming bigger with every passing second. She always would have him make stories and shapes out of the stars if it was a clear night by some miracle.

No matter what. the reality was always much more depressing…. For instance The place was built for rationing. “The shop” never existed but his mother tried to make it seem as if everything was okay even for just a minute. The “shop” held a flawed system. People didn’t always get food and when they did they got cheated out of an already poor meal. This never bothered him as a kid, sure it raised questions but his mother did her best to give him a decent childhood but even with all her best efforts and all the love she gave could never fix what the world had stripped away from him and every other kid born into the world.

 Despite everything he was a pretty happy kid always talking away as if his life depended on it. Honestly when you’re a kid and you’re hyper it feels wrong to not run around and talk or do something at least no matter the situation. His mother always encouraged his tremendous and probably tiring energy but no matter how tiring and draining it had to have been for her she encouraged his imagination to run wild so he wasn’t focusing on the worst in the world. 

“What do you see on the corpse G.E.R.U.N.T?” his commanding officer asked coldly as if he couldn’t be bothered to put up with the young soldier in field training. With his thoughts quickly being shaken away from his mind. He looked over at his commanding officer wishing he had some sort of understanding that Damien was practically still a child.

 He was eighteen but had been training for years. a law had been passed when the outbreak happened that used people like him like a simple pawn in a game. The law forced kids at age of 12 to be stripped from their families and begin a strict training. to push them beyond their limits. to break them down farther than they already were. to become empty, to work till nothing was left of you except your uniform. you were to be convinced that you were made to give everything to the job even if it meant your life.

” uh i..” he paused hesitantly. an exasperated sigh sounded cutting through the heavy silence after Damien’s hesitant response ” it’s a ducking simple question..don’t strain youself there you might have an aneurysm G.E.R.U.N.T.” 

Damien glanced over at his commanding officer. ” I know it’s just I don’t.. really feel like it’s appropriate to talk about her like she’s just another deceased body.” with a sharp turn of the head his officer looked at him with a raised brow. ” She is…. she’s dead.” he responded in a rather bluntly manner. “You’re not hurting her feelings, I mean maybe we should ask if that will make you feel better.” the officer replied sarcastically as he began to open a small pocket on his uniform.

 with a few seconds of struggling he pulled out a lighter and roughly homemade cigarette. things like a simple cigarette became luxuries now that the world had been destroyed. ” Listen Recruit..…

off the record. That little angel on your shoulder making you feel guilty will leave your ass high and dry after a few months’ shoot maybe maybe a few years if it’s persistent enough. but sooner or later you’ll be like every other soldier. Death is a part of the job. it’s a daily occurrence you won’t be able to escape it.

 It’s your job to Clean up the streets and rid them of the filth we consider people and if you’re lucky enough maybe you’ll be put as a guard for the subjects.” He stated in a more calm manner before however his voice held an edge to it as he blew a cloud of heavy smoke into the air.

Damien flinched at his comment. did he really consider people like himself “filth”. people were sick and dropping like flies because of poor conditions, food, and lack of medicine and housing and this man really degraded them to the term “filth” because of the conditions they were forced into against their wills. Damien shook his head in a firm disagreement without voicing it, not trying to add fuel to the flames of the already residing annoyance from his commanding officer. Damien refused to fall to the idea of becoming empty, and letting the world, the government for that matter strip him down like a mechanic stripping parts from an old car to rebuild a new one.

 he began to make a silent promise that he wasn’t going to let himself be rebuilt into a completely different person. a mindless robot, lacking empathy, simply following orders. letting himself be torn away what made him a human. 

despite Damien’s preference. a report had to to be filled out. his eyes dimmed a little more, it was as if you were watching a light slowly begin to lose power and die causing it to dim little by little until the light finally ceases to exist leaving the world sunk into a freezing darkness. It had become as if it was so draining to open a pocket on his rough uniform. it was as if every movement took a little more out of him.

 every breath was a hassle. imagine what you must do to get to the point where simple tasks were draining. Where breathing consumes your every fiber. moving your hand an inch felt like a heavy workout. speaking suddenly became a whole new playing field. The very thought of existing becomes tiring to the point of wanting to sleep for an eternity just to regain the energy lost by doing these tasks.

After some time Damien slowly began to pick around in his pocket until he found a small device used to log cases. It took too much time to fill out a paper report on the field or so he was told considering he wasn’t around when paperwork was a thing on the field. The elite decided to make a choice to create a device to log files Because it had become a dangerous situation to carry the forms of the mass “eliminations’ ‘ occurring because It made it quite simple for people fed up with what laws were passed to get them and cause worse damage.

 The people who became fed up banded together under the government radar surprising everyone on both sides of the spectrum. They called themselves the revolutionists and made they’re goal quite clear. They wanted to get data from the government to prevent future elimination of cases and if you were a G.E.R.U.N.T holding the files you were given a choice to give them files and be “removed from duty” once the elite found out of your failure to side over with the government. Your second option is facing the revolutionists and getting severely injured or worse.

 In reality it’s signing a contract with one of the four horsemen. Death the undertaker of hell would simply get a soul either way so you in the end just try and ration out which death would be less horrific. you merely had the choice would you rather lose your life to a government that was against you from birth or a group of extreme revolutionists who held no morals but held the mentality that they were better then the elite simply so every action or death they caused to any bystanders were justified because they simply were trying to save the world of government tyranny.

If advice could be given to anyone, an extreme of anything is never good. An extreme power from the government is a death wish and an extreme amount of power given to the people is always a death wish. 

Why ? Well getting a taste of power can manipulate a person and shift their stance in reality. Power is sickeningly both beneficial and harmful. It’s needed in life for a balanced universe but at the very same it’s one of the few things that can destroy it with just a snap of the finger. In life everything must be balanced if not and the scale tips a little more to a certain side, life becomes a hurricane to clear the scales and rebalance them. Life will quickly become its own enemy and destroy itself in order to regain balance even if it’s for a second.

Taking a breath he looked at the device trying to gain some form of energy to force himself to be able to speak. He didn’t need much just enough to get out a string of words. He felt like he was trying to summon the power of heaven and hell combined to get enough energy to form words. He stayed silent looking at the device. 

It was a small slender object. It was cold to the touch. Its cool black metal sent shivers up your spine like a snake built of ice coiling around you, slowly turning your skin to ice with every touch of the device. It served a multitude of purposes, no one would think that by looking at it but it held a multitude of things. the young soldier eventually gained enough courage and possibly as much energy as he could get. He waved the quarter sized square over his wrist. The device was built to activate an implant that was placed in the wrist when you began training. It was made to not only track a soldier to prevent soldiers rebelling and vanishing while on the field. 

If you were found to be planning on trying to escape the tyranny of the government you would be sharply found and “removed from duty” which ended up being a fancy word the elite used in place of saying you were brutally executed and made a display for the future soldiers entertaining the idea of a future.

was also built to log files and prevent the access of them from others. Each device was built to become like a fingerprint. Killing one soldier and using their G.I.D wouldn’t access any other soldiers files but their own. The amount of deaths caused because of the revolutionists not understanding the device resulted in a considerable loss of soldiers causing a law to pass again where if a mass amount of soldiers have been killed from the darkness, injuries, radical groups and ect the government had full power to take children under the age of 12 and give them a unfortunately quick training lacking much needed detailed explanations over situations giving them less of a chance then a newborn deer unable to walk surrounded by a pack of starving wolves with snapping saliva filled mouths baring their teeth built like razor blades made for the devouring of its prey.

” 42018134 making a report about X case. case X has been terminated. I failed to complete my mission…commanding officer G.E.R.U.N.T was successful in eliminating case X. case X exhibited stage 7 parasitic infection, we’re preparing body disposal.” Damien said over the implant. He sounded forced, like every other soldier. He was a broken record leaving him forced to forever repeat the same phrasing or a variable of it.

With a slow movement he gently once again began to move the reactive device over the implant reluctantly closing the report, he was well aware of what the cause of him failing to “eliminate” the case would entail. 

Long hours of being stuck in a room with the authorities questioning why he once again failed to complete the simplest mission they could give. Did he still feel some compassion over already dead people? So many questions like that would be asked. If he wasn’t found fit for duty he would be “politely removed from duty” he wouldn’t be brutally executed because he wasn’t trying to escape but they would see his failure to complete a mission an act of defiance to the government. 

Not completing a mission meant you weren’t truly surrendered to the elite, your every being was not devoted and as you could guess that’s against the rules. So they would simply state to the officer that another soldier was found unable to perform the tasks given and was “politely removed from duty” therefore the officers in charge must find a replacement willing and fit to do the duties of a G.E.R.U.N.T

The word G.E.R.U.N.T stood for Government, Enlisted, Recruits, Under, National, Threat. The term was given to people made into soldiers because of their lack of a specific Gene trait that only a select few seemed to have. It was such a long and quite frankly unattractive word, many soldiers made a shortened version of the terms like for instance G.E.R. or G.R it was up to preference of the person in question saying the terms. Personally Damien never liked that name just like many other soldiers. When you hear what it stands for it almost sounds like something good, like you were something good like you were given that name for a good purpose. 

To save people from a threat. In reality it was nothing more than a Box you were slammed into at the age of 12 or younger if hell had it’s wish. You were crammed into a box you didn’t fit nor want to be in. Damien never felt the need to fight, it wasn’t in his nature and his feelings were easily felt by many others as well. People Who wanted to spend their life doing nothing more than living, to have some level of comfort however fighting seemed to be the only option the soldiers were given. 

Honestly he could easily say he was never built to fight but then he’d be lying to himself. All he had ever done in his life was fight. Fight to live, to have a normal life, to become someone his mother would hope for her son to be but all of those things are hard to do when you’re always being carved down. Being built into nothing more than a hollow soldier with a title that meant nothing in life. Do you know what it’s like to finally gain the title of a G.E.R.U.N.T. it’s like you became a monster, the one thing you feared.

 I mean that’s what you were always seen as by people, the elite, your own family. Despite people on the wasteland knowing you were forced to do the things you did, that didn’t change the fact if you were walking down the street with your platoon people grabbed their kids and hid, people ducked away and hid to “protect” themselves. That was what happened on a good day. However on a normal to borderline hell people on both sides radiated just pure hatred and in favor of the revolutionists idea of violence they would throw stones, metal scraps, any and everything they could grab and throw or if they were bold they flat out attacked you. 

You could always tell which people were gonna attack. Their arms covered with tiny or massive, black squares. some having had so many of the squares that the arms had half been covered in black ink. 

The “authorities” built a system to give a visible warning to people explaining who were dangerous and had broken a law. Somehow the elite decided that that was a better idea than actually punishing those who did wrong, they just gave them a stamp and apparently that means criminals stop hurting others. 

The more crimes you did you earned a black tattoo of a shape. Each shape held a different meaning, whether they were half filled with ink or fully filled. It all meant something. For a rough example a triangle meant you stole something, a square meant you were or are violent, a circle meant you had killed someone.

 A diamond meant you were associated with a crime of some sort. Everyone in the slum had at least one tattoo. A lot of people just had something small like a triangle, most people stole food to eat after…. all their options were depleted. However the looks received for having those tattoos no matter the story behind them was always a look of pure disgust, hatred, obvious judgement. you could’ve stolen food for your family and you’d still could be seen as a criminal by people like the elite. 

You were always judged, watched even like a hawk, you were treated like some animal in a zoo because of your marks. 

as twisted as it was, it was just how the world was now…. “Now” using the word now in that sentence seemed so wrong. The world has always been this messed up it was just always a matter back then if people always painted over those issues and acting like it was fine.

 Now people feel no need to save their reputation now, no one felt the need to hide their true colors. Corrupt political agendas were openly corrupt, monsters crawled in the open daylight, no longer needing to hide in the shadows. wolves no longer hide in sheep’s clothes. They openly preyed on a flock of lambs without fear. No one saved face. Everyone had been pinned against each other, people turned on each other as if morals never existed. 

Then again morals itself are quickly known to be subjective. The one thing humans all had in common gets more worrying the more you think about it. You mind exploits it’s very own loopholes for the sake of giving an panicked rush to get in order to get a form of high. The human mind is so warped it’s not funny. It actively twists every piece of information it gets for its own gratification and honestly never will cease to do so until you’re laid to rest.

The pure idea of having the intention to aid someone, to help a stranger was so uncommon it became the rare jewel almost never found. when someone was able or willing to help you for whatever you needed it became easily exploited and taken advantage of in this world. 

People were turned against each other not long after everything in the world started to go downhill. Once the fact came out that the scientists had figured out some people who were born with a specific Genetic trait didn’t die from the darkness. It became a quick ride to hades. People became more Divided than ever. The thing is when people get Divided when things are quick to go bad.

 Things can easily get to the point where things like cities will crumble within a day. People are the heart of the world, losing people or becoming divided over things can quickly destroy even the most loved and cherished kingdom. Humans are selfish fickle things. From the moment everyone is born we all have faults rushing through our veins. Faults like greed, the human nature to be right on every waking thing, the need to only take care of one’s own self.

So with that being said you can imagine how people felt when they began to figure out that there was a correlation between certain genetic characteristics and the ability to survive the mass death. The Gene took a physical trait of copious lines or swirls if you must. 

They were light grey swirls they went up from the back, to the shoulders and arms. people began to take notice of this skin abnormality. Parents were obviously concerned for their children and upon bringing the concern to scientists, they tested the people born with the skin abnormality to make sure that the darkness hadn’t affected them and have any adverse side effects besides well the ones they already knew like for example, extreme skin irritation, sensitive skin, light blood flow, burning and itching, at times the appearance of black markings and the most common death. 

 When there are few cases that’s when the trait was found out accidentally brought to the public eye. Honestly it wasn’t a wise idea to tell already scared and angry people that the government hadn’t found a cure and people were still dying but some people with traits didn’t die from it.

 The mass crowds of people praying for a cure to stop this suffering. People were scared…worried for loved ones, praying they had been blessed with that very trait. It was like adding fuel to an explosive fire. The Gene that by miracle occasionally appears in some people and at times is able to be passed down however it occasionally skipped generations and possibly staying dormant for years until you find out that upon having a child it received the trait that skipped over your generation.

Once the idea that a cure wasn’t possible the government banded together and built a law for people to be recruited in order to eliminate cases of people infected with the virus. They later were given a secondary purpose, the soldiers were given orders to protect “people” with the Genetic trait. He felt himself growing ever so mad at the thought of those people. 

It wasn’t their fault they were born with a Genetic trait, blessing them from the harsh punishment of the virus. He wasn’t gonna lie, he felt some prejudice and bias when he saw the immune. They’re lives are so much better than his or anyone’s in the slum. They had food, clean water, nice beds, warmth when winter came wiping away the resources in the slum. They had it easy living in pure comfort, when others did nothing but fight and even fail to survive. He felt uncharted aggression toward them. How could they expect G.R’s to protect these people from the masses, if they hated them just as much as the mass. They really wanted him and every other soldier to risk their fading lives for them…. 

He took a breath trying to calm down the boiling hatred that coated his body like a thick heavy burning tar making it feel like you were glued there forced to endure it as your vision began getting tinted red.

 He had no reason to get mad but he was. The people were just lucky they had been able to have a trait that protected them against the government’s dark wrath, from a virus killing everyone and never slowing down. He felt the heavy anger begin to rise a little again, as he thought more of how luck just had a cruel sense of humor. He had no reason to blame them for things they couldn’t control. But it’s easy to blame someone for having a better life than you when you’ve lived a life like his.

Those who were immune didn’t have to see what he saw everyday. When he went out on patrol, the amount of death and destruction was so engraved in his psyche looking at where the elite lived became strange, Like that’s not how it should look.. it’s hard to describe, it feels like always going into a heart wrenching shock when you were lucky to go to a neighborhood where the streets were clean. 

Where kids and parents played and hadn’t a care in the world. The stark contrast from where people in the elite and people in the slum lived was night and day. In the elite; food was everywhere, some food was even thrown away that was barely eaten, in the slum you were given your ration and somehow you had try and eat enough you don’t starve but yet at that same point in time you had to save enough to have another meal for the next few days. It’s hard to manage that when it’s barely enough for one person. In the elite people looked healthy, in the slum people were sick and dying at high levels whether from being starved, sickness, crimes. People looked like skeletons barely existing, it was sick and demented having to live like that… to see that.

  He could remember when he was really young and innocent he always thought those people were monsters from the scary stories his father told him when he came home after a long month at work. The government still needed medics on the field, the government wasn’t only dealing with a national health crisis but also a war over boundaries, the government needed medics for wounds and in case the virus spread onto the battlefield. Wiping everything out like a plague reincarnated.

  His father would always come to him after months of being away and Damien could remember how depleted he looked but the second he saw his family it gave him almost a faint relief the horrible things that happened on the battlefield of life could stay there for a little longer even if it was only for a minute. He could escape the conditions his family was forced into with the warmth of his family. He could relax and just savor being in the presence of his lover, his kid. He could smile a little knowing they were okay. He could take a breath knowing he made it back to his family again.

Damien felt a warm liquid spill down his cheeks. The memories everything….. it was all so much. It was as if everywhere he looked memories spilled from the open corpses thrown around. 

Like Nostalgia hung a noose around his neck every time he looked at how people like him lived. That noose always felt like it getting tighter to where he couldn’t breath. He had no clear idea when the hot steaming tears started running down his face staining it bright red. How long had he stood there slowly crumbling under the weight of the situation. He felt like a sand castle slowly being torn apart as the waves began to wash him away. It was as if every emotion he had piled on him causing him to sink into a deep despair.

How ? How could he be a soldier when he failed to complete a task, when he cried over situations like this. He would have to do them everyday as a G.E.R.U.N.T. 

How could he continue? When he came so close to having a panic attack over the overwhelming memories and horror he saw. How…. Could he continue to feel guilty for a girl he had never met before now. How could he look at himself in the mirror and not think of everything his corrupt hands did. Every death they caused, every ill deed he did. 

He wanted to believe so much he wasn’t like the soldiers who had given up and became everything the elite wanted but…he was the same. He fell into their trap and let himself be destroyed like everyone before him and like everyone after would. 

He blinked away the newly forming tears as he stared with an empty look at the victim… he slowly lifted his head over to his officer. The look of clear displeasure over his breakdown. Despite his look of displeasure he said nothing. He didn’t criticize Damien, he said nothing. He stood there silently taking long drags occasionally from his cigarette. 

He couldn’t take it anymore; he turned his back away from her final resting place. The trembling in his body never ceased. He was clueless whether it was from the adrenaline winding and wrapping around him like dancing vines from a plant grasping at you with hands of pure ice. making you shiver and shake as

a coarse untamed energy spread across you like a newly found source of power that you just tapped into. Perhaps it was a massive bundle of fear shaking him from where he stood.

 If fear was a subject given to an artist to paint it would look like a crude twisting and darting mesh of darkness. you’re not scared of the darkness. your mind rationalizes it. The darkness itself is cold and calming but the calming sense is easily replaced with an unruly panic when your mind turns it’s back against you leaving you with your own thoughts. your mind races.

 what’s out there? it can’t be anything I’m the only one here right. What made a rustling sound? there’s nothing to cause a rustling sound so it has to be my imagination. do i feel someone near me watching me like a predator in the night? of course not it’s just an overactive imagination twisting shapes into the monsters of shadows. I can feel the hot breath of something at the side of my head. What if it’s not someone but something? Am I going to die? your mind takes flying leaps. common sense is gone. you’ve been diminished to a shaking figure rocking back and forth as your mind taunts you harshly as a sick joke. throwing outrageous conclusions to the ultimate end of your fate.

After what felt like a few seconds. Everything was going so fast. Everything was a blur. every thought was going at the speed of light. It felt like being in a hurricane. The rough storms in his mind blew him like a weathered flag. The thoughts ripped through the fabric of the situation like strong winds shredding the fabric on a clothesline. 

” Come on time to burn the body.. the infection will spread farther if we don’t.” His officer said as he tossed the cigarette on the floor and rubbed it out with his boot making a loud shuffling noise. 

It felt like Damien heard his commanding officer but at the same time he didn’t. It came out sounding blurred like you could sorta make out what he said if you focused. But with blood rushing, and his heart playing the drums he couldn’t process it. He remembered turning and looking at his officer picking up the girls body and walking towards the opening in the building. His vision was fading, everything was blurring. Like someone took Photoshop and used a brush to blur the scene, not that he wanted to see clearly at the moment anyway. 

With a start the soldier jerked himself from the nightmare spilling across his mind, like a burning acid. It ate away at his nervous system sinking himself into a fear. his body shook uncontrollably causing the bunk he sat in to shake a little and make a creaking noise. His body was drenched in a cold sweat, his face was easily a mixture of fear and disgust over waking in clothes drenched in cold sweat. He felt himself stuck into a paralyzing fear. It felt like being forced into a choke hold. He couldn’t breath….. he couldn’t breathe!! 

His lungs hurt, they burned. No amount of air fixed that. He couldn’t catch his breath. His head hurt so bad… he wanted it to all go away. His body shook and his skin crawled as the sweat ran down his skin… his face felt like it was on fire. Burning tears hurt his face as they poured out like the waterfall. He couldn’t let out the screams that threatened to come out but never would. No matter how many times he woke up like this he always felt like he was dying, that’s all that can run through your mind when your fear preys on you like a hungry monster. 

He sat there for what felt hours hugging his knees just wishing for how he felt, for how this world was, for everything to just vanish away. 

He lifted his head with tears spilling from his eyes to see the same beige barracks… he was still a soldier… he still had done unspeakable things. No matter how much he prayed for the blood on his hands to be washed away, it always stayed the same. It never changed he was still the same soldier he fell asleep as.

He slowly grabbed a small torn photo of his family, his mother, a piece of his dad and his sister he never got to see grow up…. They were gone… like everyone else. He couldn’t help letting out a few noises as he placed the photo to his shaking chest. He curled in a ball praying for everything to go away. To be back home to be able to hold his loved ones. 

It was only in vain, when did that prayer get him anywhere. If there was a god out there then why was it Damien that he liked to torture. Why did he release the demons across his mind to torment him on his every waking moment. It felt like every demon in hell put in for a vacation notice to Lucifer and decided to torment him for fun.

Eventually his body decided he needed to be able to breath and released the tight choke hold, giving some form of relief…it wasn’t much but honestly Damien would take that little over what had happened. People say things that they stay with you. You pick up things in your day to day life and you don’t know it. However Damien was acutely aware he would never be able to get rid of the scenes from one of the first few times he had been out on the field. But he could always hope that something would replace those unfortunate memories. But he didn’t have really high hopes that would happen perhaps that’s why it never happened.

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