It was completely dark. It must be cloudy or something. Evans shifted on his bedroll and tried to get back to sleep. He couldn’t. Everything was eerily silent. He whispered, “Hey… Is anyone awake?”
He felt around for Evans tried reached in his pocket for his matches. He struck one. The flickering light revealed something disturbing. There was no one nearby. Except… Evans reached into his kit and pulled out his flashlight. He pumped it a few times. Some mauve fabric was blown away by the wind… From Anna! Without thinking, Evans ran after it.
It seemed to have a mind of it’s own. It jumped and dodged. Finally Evans tackled it and shoved it into his pocket. There was a pain in his leg. He had smashed his flashlight under his leg. Evans felt blood on his leg. Fuck. He tried to find his matches, but they weren’t there.
Suddenly Evans was blinded by light. They seemed to be the headlights to a car. He he covered his eyes and walked around to the side, “HEY! IS ANYONE IN THERE?!”
He heard the door slowly open. When he turned, he saw flames coming from the door. Anna exited the car in her mauve dress. She smiled as the skin melted off of her face. Evans backed away. He tripped over something. Barnes appeared over him, “You killed me Evans. Why did you do that?”
He couldn’t breath. Evans opened his eyes. Tiscornia had his hand over his face. He tapped his arm. Tiscornia pulled his hand away.
The mornings first light was beginning to show. Evans sat up. Tiscornia sat across from him and stared. He looked deep into his eyes. Several minutes passed. Tiscornia pulled a worn piece of paper out of his breast pocket. He handed it to Evans. There were about a dozen names on the paper. Tiscornia grabbed the paper back and mouthed the names. He put the paper back, “Everyone who has died either in my fire team, following my orders, or placed under my command. And you’re right. I would have forgotten half of these names if it weren’t for this list. But I read them everyday.”
“Does it get better?”
“I’ll tell you if it does,” Tiscornia looked over at two of the soldiers on watch, “Since we are awake, why don’t we relieve those two. Give them an hour of rest before we move on out.”
Evans nodded and got his kit together. The two then walked over to the soldiers. Two cav privates on the hood of one of the cars. Tiscornia waved at them. One of them got off and walked over, “Hey Lances. You need us for anything?”
Evans nodded, “We can take over the rest of your watch, give you guys some rest.”
The other private walked over and shook his hand, “Thanks really much.” She then lifted the field glasses off of her neck and handed them to Evans, “Have fun. It’s boring as fuck out there.”
Tiscornia shrugged, “We’re used to it by now pivélla. You been in long?”
The private replied, “I finished basic two weeks ago. A week of home and sent here.”
“Well good luck. I’m Tiscornia by the way.”
“Smitty. Allison Smith. From Strongfield.”
“Evans. Now you should get some rest Smitty. Long day ahead of us.”
“Right. Thank you again Lances,” Smitty then ran off to catch up with the other Cav private.
Evans sat down on the hood of the car and pulled up the field glasses. He scanned the road and the windows. No movement. Evans pulled out a cigarette and offered one to Tiscornia, who accepted. Tiscornia struck a match and lit them both.
It was almost pleseant. No hostile movement and watching the sun rise. It was half an hour before Tiscornia saw something. He pointed at the sky, “What is that thing?”
Evans’ eyes widened. It was the thing Lieutenant Ricci had been so terrified of. And it was moving towards them. Evans tapped Tiscornia, “Wake up the Lieutenant and bring her here. I need to go find someone.”
Evans started to sprint down the line, jumping over the sleeping soldiers. He only kicked a few people on his way to the communications car. Lieutenant Ricci was sleeping underneath. Evans shook her shoulder, “Lieutenant Ricci!”
“Yes Pri… Lance Corporal?” Lieutenant Ricci rolled out from under the car and stood up.
Evans pointed back at the airship, “Those things from before. What you saw earlier.”
Lieutenant Ricci mouthed a rude word, turned around, and threw open the door to the communications truck. She leaned over and started up the radio. She yelled back to Evans, “Tell your officers to get everyone inside and away from the street.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Evans ran back to the car, where the Lieutenant and Tiscornia were waiting. Evans quickly extended his hand and the Lieutenant moved her hand in front of her.
“What is it that you want Lance Corporal?”
“I just talked to Lieutenant Ricci. She wants us to hide indoors. Now.”
The Lieutenant nodded and drew her pistol. She fired it into the air, “EVERYBODY! ON YOUR FEET! MOVE INSIDE NOW!”
The Lieutenant kept yelling. Evans was surprised that someone that small could keep yelling that long. He then sprinted back to Lieutenant Ricci through the chaos. She was still working the radio. He waved at her. She gestured at him to wait for a minute.
Evans stood nervously. Most of the unit had gotten inside. Only a few of the Cav soldiers were getting some last pieces of equipment from the cars. And here was Evans. Standing in the middle of the road. A nice target for a sniper. Shit Shit Shit.
Evans snapped out of it and shook his head. Lieutenant Ricci was standing in front of him, she had finished her radio call. She gestured to the car, “We need to hide in here with the radio until the reinforcements arrive.”
“Reinforcements?” Evans started to help the Lieutenant into the car. He then slid in next her and shut the door.
“Anti-Airship guns. They’ll be fun. If we survive this,” Lieutenant Ricci smiled at him.
“Why do we need to stay in this truck Ma’am?”
“Well, I need to monitor the radio. And if I need to get out of here fast, I still can’t run. So that’s your thing. You need to help me.”