I taste the musk of the earth, in the scent after rain
The storm clouds are just passing now.
Every drop of water that falls from the trees,
stings as it touches my brow.
I’m older now than I was seconds ago,
How many seconds more til I rest
I’ve given my life to the UEE,
My life was all I had left.
Beaten and broken, alone now I lie
Around me the war rages on
Hornets fly, above in the sky,
And Hornets crash to the ground.
And where is my mother now?
I want my mother now.
‘The Dying Breath of a Marine’
Retaliators fly overhead, flanked by Hornets and Gladiators. I remember seeing them, on the shore. I remember stepping out of the Prowler and seeing them, their majestic silhouettes unmistakable, even in the half-light before dawn… I remember marvelling at them, wondering at their splendour; their power.
Search lights angled out from the Rock in every direction, filling the dark sky with an unearthly glow; lighting up the Retaliators on the ground. Lighting them up like ghosts in the dawn, deadly ghosts.
I looked at those ships, those marvels of military might; I looked at them and felt safe, secure. Felt for sure we would win the fight. Now I hear them through the trees above.
My rifle slips out of my hands as the Retaliators fly overhead. Slick with blood, my blood, the rifle is heavy… I can’t hold it. It falls, again. I grab for it, again, but my legs give out, and now I’m lying in the mud, watching as the Retaliators fly overhead.
They unleash hell on an enemy unseen. I hear it, hear the fire and thunder as their missile bays open, as they fling death at the ground below. I hear the explosions, can imagine the death and destruction. They turn the tide of battle and fly back, back to safety. Back to acclaim and praise.
They fly back too late.
I lay in the mud as my blood seeps out, fodder for a machine of war.
Around me my brothers lie, some here, some there. Some here and there. Around me my brothers lie, and I taste their blood in the air; I taste my blood in the air.
I taste the musk of the Earth after the rain, and now I know. Dying Breath, I am living it. The drops of rainwater falling, they burn as they land on my wounds.
And I laugh.
How many seconds more till I rest?
Not many, now. Not many at all.
Around me, the war rages on, alone here I die. Above me the Hornets fly on, alone here I die.
I want my mother, now.
Ed’s note: I apologize for the delay posting today’s The Relay Fiction. It slipped my mind. Very sorry. – Erris