Finale··On-going Novl duration N/A
Originally written in 2008, reworked in 2018
He struggled to remain conscious, something hot pooling beneath him. Though heat prickled across his skin, a cold was slowly but surely starting to seep into his bones. It all felt wrong, but he couldn’t explain how. A flash of light seared through his eyelids, but his limbs felt too heavy to move, to shield his eyes. Squinting against the glare, he realized after a long moment the sun was rising.
How long had he laid here, immobile and semi-conscious? He couldn ’ t remember. His thoughts were sluggish, disorientated, dangerously dragging him deeper into oblivion.
He tried to raise himself, but his side sent a jolt of agony through him. His senses reeled, his breath coming in quick, sharp gasps. Pain made him lucid: his glassy vision cleared, his buzzing ears finally let sound seep through.
But the first thing his senses took in was the smell: putrid, decaying, rotting flesh. His breath stuttered in his throat, his gaze skipping over corpses stacked around him haphazardly; some were still fresh from last night’s battle, while others had surrendered themselves to the earth and the soil days ago.
All around him, men were either dying or already dead, their vacant expressions making panic start to push its way past the numbness. Almost as if they were warning him that to die or to be dying on the battlefield held no pride, no glory.
He’d known that when he volunteered to come in the first place. He’d known about the dangers, of course he had, but... but deep down, he’d never thought that anything would happen to him. It was always someone else who’d get lost, hurt, wounded, killed. Everyone thought like that, he knew that, but…
But here he was, his senses reeling, his thoughts flitting between hope and despair, and all the while blood — oh god, his blood — was seeping into the earth beneath him.
His body spasmed. Would flowers grow here, years after the war ended — if it ever ended — or would the ground be forever stained crimson by the blood of the fallen?
The sun climbed higher, and he wondered why he’d been spared a last glimpse at its beauty and warmth before he joined his departed companions. He supposed it was part of the irony of the cosmos, part of the grand scheme of those who preyed on the wicked.
Almost as if in response to his thoughts, a shadow suddenly obscured his vision. His sluggish mind tried to comprehend the reason for the sudden darkness, until the hazy shape moved and he realized someone was standing over him.
“This one’s still alive,” he heard a voice say.
He drew in a shaky breath, hardly daring to believe his ears. Had someone come to save him? His lips parted to croak out his thanks.
“Kill him,” came a curt reply.
Steel drove through his flesh, cold and sudden, the metallic taste of blood filling his mouth before his vision went black.