Short Story 9

The Bringer of Death

He had a burning pit of hate inside him. The type of heat and fire that consumes a person until there is nothing left in their soul, the type of intense anger that rivals that of hell itself, and the type of inferno that made him commit unspeakable acts. At least that’s what people tell me. I don’t believe what people say about him, they’re just rumours.

So, in spite of these innate qualities that are apparently at the core of who he is, I still find myself falling in love with him. Maybe it was because somehow he reminded me of a happier time, in an era that is far less than happy, or maybe it was because I have always been a little bit twisted too…but I’m leaning more towards the former.

We have been trapped on campus for longer than I can accurately count anymore. The campus is supposed to be a safe haven in these times of war, but people are starting to get killed within the boundaries.

Our leader, a man that got power thrust upon him when the communications got shot down, told us it must be the enemy, sneaking in at night, killing our people. I beg to differ; I think it is one of our own, someone who has infiltrated our ranks.

People were scared of our leader, that much is true from the rumours. I think it is mainly all a façade, a mask that needs to be worn during battle. I still see light inside him, and the kindness. I think that’s why right now, as I watch his chest rise up and down while he sleeps, I’m not worried.

I don’t question him, because I know that the things people say about him being the bringer of death simply can’t be true…or at the very least, his actions are justified.

I’m sitting cross legged facing the window where we always slept. The sun is starting to rise, and from where this room is, in the old science block, the light starts refracting off the aged windows.

“Have you been up all night again?” His Scottish accent is strong years after leaving there as he ran down my arm, squeezing my hand. His eyes are still shut.

I avoid answering, he knows the answer anyway, “Today’s the day, yeah? Whatever they have planned is going happen today. Do you think the intelligence is good? Do you think we’re in danger?”

This sort of thing happens all the time. It’s normally failed attempts to kill our leader, or kidnapping attempts that have ended with our people alive, and theirs dead.

He replies as he sits up and pulls on his military cargo pants and army boots, “I don’t think anything will happen, but it’s better to be prepared. We’re going on full lockdown, with level five security being implemented until midnight. The crows will be sent in advance to scout their main camp, and then we will send a covert group lead by yours truly to place a bomb under their artillery. But I promise, you will never be in danger if I have anything to do with it.”

The war had been going for years now, and the back and forth was becoming a way of life. According to our side, they had started the war by way of terrorist bombings, and according to their side, they were retaliating to a set of assassinations.

I’m still not sure who’s at fault, and I suppose I will never truly know. But in these times of conflict, you pick a side or get caught in the crossfire. And this side definitely feels relatively like the right place for me to be. My friends over here seem like fairly decent human beings, but maybe, so are our enemies.

I’m standing in front of the window now, looking out on a training exercise going on with new recruits from camp we found five hours south. They were all loyal to the cause and they had a weapons cache which made them assets. Some of them would have only been fifteen, and they were holding guns, learning to kill.

What has the world come to?

Hell, the other planets weren’t even intervening any more. They called humans a lost cause. It was one thing when we were arrogant enough to think in the whole universe, we were the only intelligent life forms out there. But then these petty international wars left the council with no other choice but to abandon us.

There are bigger enemies out there, and they said we were too busy fighting amongst ourselves to notice. The council could no longer waste time and energy on a lost cause.

I think they had a point. I mean, if we couldn’t get along with each other, our own species, how were we expected to function on an intergalactic scale?

They gave us an ultimatum. Only when we gained our humanity back could we be accepted back into the council. We’ve done a bang up job so far, it’s only been, what, five years? There’s still plenty of time to make up for humanities mistakes. I’m embarrassed that I am a part of a war that is so insignificant.

My leader hugs me from behind, his head pressed lightly against mine, “They’re so young. How did it get to this point?” He sighs, “The only good thing about this messed up place and this even more screwed up war is that because of all this conflict, I met you. I’m so in love you, you know that right? You are the only reason I’m still alive.”

I turn around and smile, “That’s lucky, because I love you too.”

We hear a whistling sound and run outside to look at the sky.

The council are terminating the human race. Like an exterminator with termites, the other planets must have come to a unanimous decision that we were more of a nuisance.

A silver disc the size of a football field hangs in the sky. The leader pulls me in close, and we await our impending doom, while staring at the true bringer of death.

Everything goes dark and silent, like it would be in one of those deprivation tanks. One thing is certain; I’m still clutching the leader.

A screen opens and we are looking down at our planet from orbit, and the surface of the planet is covered in explosions that are big enough to be witnessed from here. Fire reigns across the planet.

My leader cups my face in his hands, and we stand there in silence looking at each other.

A woman’s voice sounds overhead, “Congratulations, you have just survived the apocalypse. Welcome to the intergalactic amalgamated realm for refugees.”

By Naomi Eleanor

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