Beyond Man and Machines, Chapter 7.
Kansas City, 2000hrs, 26th December 2011
The mornings disaster was a taste of things to come. Further pushes into the city is hampered by sniper fire, IEDs and well constructed, well hidden improvised traps. 6 engineers and 51 soldiers are dead or injured. Not a single body, civilian or hostile, is found.
By nightfall the army had only taken back a few blocks of the city, but dug in to secure the area they had retaken. With the uncertainty and fear of the unknown, even experienced soldiers feel the fear creeping in. During the first hours of nightfall everyone is jumpy. Soldiers positioned in 50cal nests, shoot at shadows in doorways and falling debris from burnt out buildings. Everyone that hears the gunfire getting even more jumpy.
By ten o'clock it is cold and dark. Generators hum in an otherwise silent night. Sergeant Jones is camped up on the first floor of an office building, on the north side of 23rd street, with the rest of his squad. A 50cal is set up outside the entrance with a clear range of fire for 70 meters to the next building. Powerful overhead lights illuminate the area. He watches the squad he has been stationed with for the last year. These men are not the friends he was used to. Their usual laid back lol they are shooting at us attitude now almost a forgotten memory as they look out of the windows, faces white; eyes wide. They had lost a lot of people they knew that day. They had always prepared themselves for all the deaths and all the fear when joining the army, but they hadn't prepared themselves for all of this.
Jones had been putting it off for a while, but he really needed to take a shit. The shitter was downstairs at the far end of the building. If this was a horror film he would ask someone to come with him, but this is reality and he would just look a dick in front of his men. He decides he cant wait any longer. 'going down to take a shit, dont fuck things up while I'm gone' a slight smirk on the faces of his mates as they look back at him, they were the faces of the friends he knew again. Philips smiles, aims his finger pistol and shoots him with it. As Philips turns back to look out the window, Jones sees that anxious look fade back again.
His heavy boots hammer into the silence as Jones walks down the stairs to the ground floor. He looks over at the back of the heads of the soldiers manning the 50cal as they look into the street. He walks on down the hall, turning on his headlamp as the lighting down here is not great. He reaches the door to the toilet and looks back down the hall at the light at the end of it, then walks in. The toilet is not lit at all 'fuck! What idiot took the light back with him?' He carefully checks all the stalls to make sure nothing is lurking in there, then finds a stall of his own. 'I feel like a kid again, this big bad sergeant is pissing his pants'. He finishes and starts to pull up his pants. He hears the door go. He stops dead in his tracks, holding his breath listening to any sounds, there are none. After a few seconds he pulls up his pants slowly. 'Yo whos that?' no reply. He belts up his pants and grabs his gun, leaving the stall. He doesn't see anyone there. 'Yo dont be a dick, who is there?' He searches through the stalls again, no one is there... Outside the toilet door he looks into the darkness sweeping the area with his headlamp. Cautiously he walks back up the corridor to the 50cal nest. The soldiers are still sat there looking out into the night. 'Yo, anyone come down here apart from me?' they ignore him. WTF, whats up with these guys. He walks over and taps one on the shoulder, the soldier slumps back, his head snaps back and his neck opens up. Blood sloshes to the floor. Jones jumps back. 'fuck!' He checks the other and his neck is cut as well. 'Fuck, Fuck, fuck' he runs up the stairs to the first floor, all his squad is missing. 'shit, this is not happening!'. He is alone. He can run back to one of the other positions, stay here or look for his squad. He realises that he can't leave and can't stay here to be picked off like the rest. 'fuck!' He was going to do the thing that all the idiots in the films did, go looking in the dark for his friends...
He searches through the first and
second floors, not daring to shout as he was beginning to lose his
nerve. Any minute he was expecting the worse, his body sweating, his
pulse beating in his neck. There was one place left to look. The
basement. The one place he was dreading looking the most. He had sent
some guys to look down there when he first took the building, but
nothing was found. He hopes to be as lucky. He reaches the toilet
door again and quickly checks inside, empty. He walks further to the
basement door. If anything was going to be in the building it would
be down here. He slowly pushes the door open with his rifle, peering
in with his light. Inside there is a mound of earth on the floor,
looking closer he realises that it is the edge to a tunnel. It has been dug
upwards not downwards... It was big enough for a man to walk down. 'I
now have two options right? Walk down this fucking hole or get out.
Option Two. Fuck this shit!' He re traced his steps, edging back through the door. Suddenly something grabbed him from behind, he wriggled back out
of the grasp shouting. The fear not hidden in his voice. Backing up
on his hands, frantically kicking himself back with his legs. He looks up to to
see Philips, smiling down at him. Jones felt relived. 'you fucking
asshole Philips, you scared the life out of me!' Philips gives him a
smile and shoots him with his finger gun. Something as quick and
silent as a falling arrow, rips into Jones' abodmen, opening it up like a
zipper. Cutting up through his chest and throat in one quick motion.
Jones slumps down and looks up at Philips who still has the same
smile on his face, looking down. Jones lays still, gurgling blood, trying to say
something. The final synapses in his brain hitting the memories of
family and friends, before becoming lifeless themselves...