Before Dawn

Lance Corporal Dominic Tiscornia was sitting on the edge of a burned out building. The revolver weighed heavy in his hand. He looked out over the dead city. Fires still raged in the distance. It was three hours before the squad was supposed to wake up. But Tiscornia couldn’t sleep.

Every time he closed his eyes he saw Mary.  He saw Adelinia. He saw every person he outlived.

Tiscornia dropped all but one cartridge from the revolver and spun it. The cylinder finally clacked to a halt and Tiscornia put the revolver to his head. Click. He heard footsteps behind him. Tiscornia lowered the revolver.

“Dom,” Evans said quietly.

“What are you doing up Jim?”

“I can never sleep off the line. Just go back to Urbs in my head,” Evans sat next to Tiscornia, “Anna hates it. She doesn’t really understand. Thank God she got out before she’d have to understand.”

The two sat in silence for a few moments before Evans picked up the revolver and pointed it in the air, “You’ve gotta spin it straight up and down, otherwise the bullet will settle at the bottom.” Evans spun the cylinder, held the pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. The hammer fell on an empty chamber. He spun again and clicked the hammer on an empty chamber again. He offered the revolver back to Tiscornia who refused. Evans tossed the revolver off the edge of the building into the rubble below, “Is this all worth it?”

“The Vledscans shelled that town.”

“And because of the war… Hell, I don’t know how many towns have been utterly destroyed. Fuck, Strongfield is gone. Like Shepard, Everyone she grew up with is gone,” Evans kicked his feet a little bit, “I killed a man yesterday. One of our officers.”

“That was no man. That thing betrayed its oath as a soldier and betrayed its basic sense of humanity,” Tiscornia looked back to the camp and said, “I’ve got a bottle of brandy tucked into my bedroll.”

“Sounds good.”

“I’ll wake Turner.”

“Are you and her?”

“No, I can’t feel that way about anyone anymore. We still, you know… But it’s just an attempt to feel something,” Tiscornia said as he got up and started to walk down the stairs.

Evans stayed on the ledge for a little longer. He opened his right fist and looked at the cartridge. He had slipped it out when he grabbed the revolver from Tiscornia. Hopefully, that would keep Tiscornia from killing himself. Fucking Hell.

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