PHD #180: EVENT - Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart
Summary: The base camp receives a special delivery courtesy of the SSLF.
Date: 25 Aug 2041 AE
Related Logs: The Widening Gyre and From Sagittaron, With Love
Lunair Constin Cadmus Croke NPC Polaris 
The Farmstead — The Jharkand Basin — Sagittaron
This is a sad and squalid patch of loamy earth, the blackness of which is broken up every few meters by rotting bits of green. Located on some of the highest ground near the Jharkand Delta, the farm went to seed a while before Warday — making it good only for growing weeds. An old farmhouse is the plot's most notable feature, perched as it is at the very summit of the hill — beside the charred walls of a barn quite recently set aflame. Those rickety structures aside, only two other hints of civilization remain. A poor excuse for a road winds its way down the slopes, its grey-white gravel partially obscured by encroaching dirt, while a small broken-down water pump creaks idly in the breeze, its handle worn by decades of use.
The fields themselves have the undisturbed look of once-flooded ground — before the intrusion of men. The remains of broken tractors, plows, and various other farm implements have been carried by rising waters to their final resting place by the base of the farmhouse. Just enough barbed wire fences have survived to mark the edges of the twenty-acre property.
Post-Holocaust Day: #180

Not even the setting sun can make more colorful the dreary cumuli gathered overhead, though here and there a shaft of red-orange light cuts through roiling grey masses plump and bursting with rain. But when the Marines' synchronized clocks strike 1900 hours exactly, those clouds at last fulfill their ominous promise, exploding like so many shells in the sky — and then the rich and loamy soil in which our heroes are dug becomes altogether more difficult to navigate, transformed to mud by the warm and welcoming deluge. Curtains of water slash into the ground, skitter across puddles, and bounce off helmets, carving through the hill's gentle incline in creeks turned streams turned rivers.

Water, water, everywhere — but nary a drop to drink.

With evenly placed steps and a careful eye, Cadmus advances through the shimmering leaves and across the thick loam. The Lance Corporal's expression is a careful blank, his features obscured by the thick layer of greasepaint and mud that he has taken to applying at all times when outdoors. Indeed, his uniform and rifle bear similar adornment: strips of moss and dirty ragcloth, tied about all parts that might clank or rattle, leaves and sprigs woven into his MARPATs to break up his silhouette. He has taken to the sullen heat and pervasive damp like a native; every moment he's not indoors, he wears the look of someone hunting. After all, he is: there are enemies out there, always watching.

On the upside: it will be much harder for the enemy to spot the marine pickets in their hiding places. On the downside: their hiding places are drenched. Hunkered down in an oucropping of tall crabgrass, Constin shifts and does his best to keep GMAR and low light scope out of the worst of the weather.

Since her last venture out was so peaceful, Lunair must remind herself to keep far more alert than before. She wonders about the rhythm the raindrops play along her helmet. She does her best to keep her gear dry at least, watching her companions on watch and the horizon as well. She's followed Cadmus' example, though tragically it's a fairly artistic arrangement of moss and such on her MARPATs. She squints, peering. Hunkered like many of the animals that live in the area.

<FS3> Cadmus rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Lunair rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Good Success.

"This is bullshit," mutters the fourth member of this merry gang: PO2 Preston Croke, the only navy corpsman who fantasizes about killing things despite the oath he swore to do no harm. He cuts a sad and drooping figure as he leans against the wreckage of a bright orange tractor, his scraggly features twisted in something like disgust. "Sun, sun, sun, sun, sun — and then I pull the long patrol and bam, just like that, the weather gets all frakked while Helios goes to, I don't know, snort coke off the tits of a hooker or something." Restless fingers toy check his rifle to make sure the rain doesn't interfere with its action, his body bent over the stock to keep it as dry as possible. "Bullshit."

So busy is he that doesn't notice the strange figure scrabbling up the hill some quarter-klick away, attired in a dingy plaid dress that's been cut to pieces by the briars and wire at the base of the farmstead. She's advancing upwards as quickly as the muddy ground will allow, her head turning back every so often as if checking for pursuers — and as if on cue the crack of a high-powered sniper rifle cuts through the pitter-patter of rain, eliciting a high-pitched scream of terror that jolts Croke from his reverie.

Lunair blinks, jolted by the scream. "Think someone got hit-" She asks quietly, perhaps content to listen to the council and defer to someone with more experience in the field. Admittedly, she'll lead, but she's learned quite painfully that more experienced folk are better to listen to. She's trying to check on the girl and frowns. "Frak, snipers looks like?" She's trying to guess, and not seeing a rifle or disgruntled toaster… Mostly, she's trying to see if the girl got hit or if there's anything of that nature.

"Croake. Shut your hole." Cadmus's low growl is barely above a whisper, but it rasps out with all the rattling of gravel under a tire: the WP fire and subsequent shouting haven't been kind to his voicebox. But the Lance Corporal isn't waiting for a response or even *acknowledgement* of his statement - as soon as the crack erupts and silences Croake, Cadmus is in motion. There is a quick series of hand gestures toward rest of the fireteam: advancing right, ten meters, silent. Eyes fixed on the ridgeline, he begins searching for probable snipers while advancing slightly ahead and abreast, lest more mortar fire end up surprising the team.

Constin had drawn a terse breath to advice Croke exactly what he can do with his complaints when the movement is spotted and the shot goes off. Into the wireless, he reports "Female advancing uphill, estimated quarter klick off, fired upon by unknown parties. Advancing." Cadmus's movements are noted with a curt nod as Constin takes a moment to scan through the magnification of his scope, looking for the gunman.

<FS3> Cadmus rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Lunair rolls Alertness: Failure.

A nod. For now, Lunair has trouble - bother. She wipes some of the rain off. Still artistically arranged, she's the hottest piece of mobile shrub this side of the thickets. But frak all if she sees anything useful. She defers to the senior NCO for now, unless she feels a need to step in. She grunts softly and nods in acknowledgement as well.

Going is slow. Slogging her way through mud so viscous it clings like an octopus' tentacles to her boots, it's a wonder the girl manages to stay upright as long as she does — but when a second shot rings out through the air, her girlish yelp of terror sends her diving to the ground, her braided hair flying around her before her head slams into weed-infested dirt. Thin elbows till the earth in a frenzy born of desperation, dragging her forward until at last she pushes herself back to her feet. Let the race begin anew.

As for Croke? No more wisecracks from him. Up goes his rifle with a rattle and a click, trained on the ridgeline like all the rest while he searches for the source — or sources — of fire.

Cadmus growls quietly under his breath, eyes squinting against the rain as he pauses against the bulk of a tree, searching the ridgeline. The rain playing merry hell with his vision, thankfully, cuts both ways: he begins advancing again, taking bolder steps now that he's more certain he won't be spotted by the snipers. It's a side-stepping slide/walk, really: a few steps here, then a slide, and he hunkers down against the next piece of hard cover, rather than be caught in the open. In such a fashion he moves inexorably closer to the fleeing woman, and to danger.

Constin sweeps his field of vision (and thus, his field of fire) over the most likely avenues of enemy advance in the downhill territory, reporting as he does so, "No enemies apparent. Weather has to be fouling their sight as much as ours. If they hit her it'll be a lucky shot." A slow breath drawn as he observes the renewed dash of the female in plaid. "No muzzle flares, no mortar emplacements." He looks for the telltale flash that will place the armed enemies.

<FS3> Constin rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Lunair rolls Alertness: Success.
<FS3> Cadmus rolls Alertness: Success.

There — about half a klick away — a sudden flash of light that, like lightning, makes itself known before rolling thunder — that'd be the bullet — echoes across the battlefield. But the girl doesn't stop, not when salvation is so close in sight, pressing forward with unparalleled determination. She's no older than a girl from those old-fashioned spaghetti cowboy dramas, her oversized dress cut to protect her modesty against the leering, impure eyes of men. But with all the dirt and grime covering every inch of her body, she seems nothing less than a swamp monster arisen from the bogs to torment aforementioned men. Mud sloughs off from her flailing arms and her churning feet as a fourth — then a fifth — and a sixth bullet embed themselves into the rivers of water flowing down past her feet.

"Contact!" sings Croke into his com. "We have contact on the ridge."

Sliding to a stop near a tangle of roots, LCPL Maragos digs in. He seems to have no qualms about getting mud *all* up in his business. "Copy that," he whispers into his comm pickup, "Target *close*. I am not seen. Orders?" All the while he is opening the scope atop his rifle, flipping up the lens protectors, and lifting the rifle into a ready-to-fire position.

"I see them," Constin drawls evenly to Croke's exclamation. "Private, when the subject on foot gets here, you are ordered to get her out of the line of fire and make certain she is not armed- Cad, take your best shot, I am opening fire from here," the Sergeant voices. "Sir," he voices without looking to Lunair, "I would ask you open up on the enemy to the far right. Light 'em up."

A soft grunt and a nod Lunair finally sees them. "Got it, I see him," She's going to open fire on the third sniper then. It's an odd arrangement, but there's a deep respect. She's learned balance of power and expertise it seems. Trust the NCOs in the field, deal with the paperwork. She peers out thataway.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Sniper3 attacks Lunair with Rifle AP but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Sniper2 attacks Constin with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Sniper1 attacks Lunair with Rifle AP - Light wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Lunair attacks Sniper3 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Fleeing1 passes.
<COMBAT> Croke passes.
<COMBAT> Constin fires fullauto!
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper1 with Rifle Ap - Serious wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper1 with Rifle Ap - Light wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper1 with Rifle Ap - Serious wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper1 with Rifle Ap - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper1 with Rifle Ap and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper2 with Rifle Ap - Critical wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper2 with Rifle Ap - Moderate wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper2 with Rifle Ap - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper2 with Rifle Ap - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Cadmus takes careful aim at Sniper2.
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Constin has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Sniper1 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Sniper2 has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Constin spends a luck point to keep fighting!

"Roger," is all Toad says — before he's breaking cover while the Marines open fire, dashing across the twenty-five-odd meters separating himself from the terrified girl in front of him. "Stay down!" he shouts, keeping his body low to avoid as much of the fire as he can. And then Croke remembers the first lesson of infantry school: civilians never listen to orders.

"Coming!" whispers the girl, her body shivering as a blast of wind propels her up, ever up. Her voice is heavily accented — seriously, does anybody speak proper Colonial Standard down here? — and shot through with pain. She probably sprained an ankle or something. "They be coming — get away, get away, get away — "

And in the distance, just like that, three muzzle flashes fade into one.

Constin lines up his shot, but the enemy's bullets start flying first. A grimace sets his teeth on edge as a Saggitarian bullet tears into his side. "RR! Oh, NOW you sonsabitches gonna get it.." he growls, clicking over to fully automatic and unloading half his clip at the left and center enemy positions.

Cadmus is in no rush to give away his position to the flank of the main fireteam. Instead, he lets the fleeing girl pass him, raises the rifle, and sights down the scope. Against the cheekplate of the rifle's stock, a slow smile begins to curve upward. It grows, and grows, eventually sprouting teeth and a breath exhaled on the heels of three words: "Open wide, baby…" The smile dies down a little as his target unceremoniously erupts in a fountain of blood, but no matter - time to reposition on another.

Gah! Lunair winces as her arm's dinged. "Sargeant!" She hisses. She seems somewhat relieved as the girl is audible. She winces, noticing Constin is hit. Frak on a stick. She keeps calm though, even as her stomach burrowed somewhere to the center of Sagittaron when Croke broke cover. "C'mon, you can make it…" She murmurs. Poor girl, hopefully not poor Medic soon. For now, she maintains status quo.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Fleeing1 passes.
<COMBAT> Sniper3 attacks Constin with Rifle AP - Serious wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Croke passes.
<COMBAT> Constin fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper3 with Rifle Ap but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper3 with Rifle Ap and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Constin attacks Sniper3 with Rifle Ap but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Cadmus attacks Sniper3 with Rifle Ap - Serious wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Lunair fires a 3 round burst!
<COMBAT> Lunair attacks Sniper3 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Lunair attacks Sniper3 with Rifle AP - Moderate wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Lunair attacks Sniper3 with Rifle AP and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Sniper3 has been KO'd!

The third shooter drops to the ground in an explosion of mist where her head once was, a victim of the same crack shooting that dropped her two comrades not five seconds earlier. And just as quickly as it began, the firefight ends, with only the girl taking cover by that broken tractor giving any indication that anything out of the ordinary might have happened.

"Hey, baby," says Toad, demonstrating precisely the sort of man-leer one might expect from a fellow who hasn't seen fresh meat in six months exactly. "Shh — it's all right, you're all right. They're dead — all of them, shhhh…" He braces himself against the side of the tractor as he safes his weapon, his narrowed eyes skimming the ridge to see if any more insurgents — if those were indeed insurgents — are around and about. "Can you walk?"

A terrified whimper is the only answer he receives.

"Great," he mutters. "Now she's gimped. Someone give me a hand?"

As the red center dot of Cadmus's GMAR zeros in upon the third sniper, the Marine's grin suddenly widens. With a sudden shift, he pops the rifle up a fraction of an inch - it's more a settling of the shoulders, than anything else - and lightly depresses the trigger of his rifle. The single rapport is drowned out in the burst fire from Constin and Lunair, but is rewarding nonetheless: as Lunair's rounds strike true in the sniper's arm and neck, his own strikes true in the sniper's teeth. "Bingo," he says quietly, standing with the easy grace of someone who isn't particularly bothered by the fact that he just killed someone.

Constin fires off a burst at the remaining enemy sharpshooter, but takes a second bullet to the torso, this one worse than the first. Doubling over and clutching at his gut, where the blood is welling through, he turns his head and spits. "Never shoulda gone for cover.." he mutters. "Sir, take charge of the civilian?" El gets out, before hollering for, "Croke! Get your ass over here."

Lunair isn't quite as badass as the other two, and grunts softly. "I'll go get her and send Croke back. You two cover us," She's useless at first aid, her arm is dinged and the senior NCO is dented. Not bueno. She's trakking down the hill low towards Croke and the girl. "I'll get her - can you help the Sergeant? He's hit pretty good." She is at least - gentle about orders. /For now/. One wonders what an angry Lunair is like. "Stay here," She frowns at Constin. "I'm not having you leak out all over this damn field." She seems hell bent on keeping in on— well, his yell seems to get the point across more than her shuffle, but she's moving towards the girl and offering gently. "Hey there. I'm here to help you. Are you able to walk? I can carry you if not-" She gently offers her hands out, in a crouching position should she need to pick the girl up.

<FS3> Lunair rolls Alertness: Good Success.

"But Sarge," Croke protests gamely, his reedy laughter ringing through the air. "The last time I checked, you don't have a fine pair of funbags for me to play with, now do you." Still, he dashes toward the fallen soldier with his combat kit in hand, keeping low all the while. Hey, the man's trained — despite all evidence to the contrary, like the low whistle he gives upon seeing Constin's wounds. "Damn, Sarge. I'll make sure these are sewn up with little flower patterns so you can show your lady friend up on that ship. Now stop squirming like Zeus is about to swan-rape you so I can work this magic, mm?" And work his magic he does, injecting Constin with a shot of morpha before he gets to work.

The girl, for her part, stays where she is. Her command of Colonial Standard seems limited indeed, but the fact that she's pointing to her left thigh should say all Lunair needs to know. A left thigh that, now that the officer looks closer, just happens to be flashing red ever so faintly beneath her thick cotton dress …

"Copy that, El," Cadmus calls from his position. Now that the immediate threat is handled, he moves slightly up the ridge, keeping his rifle and eyes trained outward, rather than inward. Unfortunately, this means that his awareness of the young girl's leg - and its flashing components - is somewhat less than stellar.

"Boy, I *will* smack you," Constin mutters back to Croke's jovial irreverance. The Sergeant is no fun when he gets shot. He's also none too inclined to inspect the legs of the Saggitarion girl.

Uh oh. Lunair swallows hard, somewhat thrown off. She decides - above all, to throw up a hand signal. Don't. Come. Any. Closer. Possible explosive (Or just explosive). There's an awful realization. This poor girl - so afraid - "Can you take it off - frak-" She is torn briefly. "Bastards!" She snarls and decides - "I'm sorry," She whispers and moves to help get the bomb off and throw it to the side and out of the way. better far shrapnel than close IED right? She realizes somewhere deep in the part of her brain that governs survival that this is a frakking stupid idea and what the hell are you still doing here run run run. Every reflex and inch of training tells her to get out of dodge. But in the wise words of Rejn… sometimes it's about mercy. Either way, her slender fingers are working faster than a herd of toddlers on free cake and ice cream. C'mon, c'mon.

Cadmus stops. Looking backward over one shoulder, he stares at Lunair, eyes flickering between the Lieutenant and the young girl. This tableau holds for five, maybe six seconds - and then he promptly jumps *back* around the tree he was crouched behind before, looking to make it some hard cover, for when the IED inevitably detonates and blows everyone else to pieces. The LCPL may have survived all engagements thusfar without so much as a scratch, but he didn't do it by being foolhardy.

<FS3> Lunair spends 2 luck points on Don't blow up, don't blow up, don't blow up.
<FS3> Lunair rolls Demolitions/Technical: Success.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Girl:6 vs Lunair:Melee
< Girl: Good Success Lunair: Success
< Net Result: Girl wins.

The girl puts up no resistance whatsoever as Lunair bends down, her body limp. Her upturned face is nearly parallel with the sky, and it doesn't take long for the rain to wash away the dirt from her features. She's young — no more than eighteen, by the looks of it, with only a few studs in the soma braid tied to her wrist — and the fear in her eyes only intensifies when the Marine moves aside the hem of her dress to reveal a tangle of red and green wires leading up her slender legs to the explosives strapped to her back.

All of which Lunair wrenches from the girl's body while the timer ticks down, working on instinct more than anything she can say. It's sheer dumb luck that she shoots her way through the padlock chaining three sticks of G-4 to the girl's torso. The makeshift suit is tugged off, wires and all, but as the officer moves to throw it far, far away, the girl suddenly reaches for the wires near Lunair's wrist — yanking them out with a burst of strength that seems altogether strange for someone who looks like her.

"Mote'asef-am," she whispers, a wistful smile on her face; then, her eyes following the explosives flying up, up and away, she seizes the officer's hand with her own callused fingers. "I be seeing you."

And a shaft of red-orange light cuts through roiling grey clouds plump and bursting with rain.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Croke attempts to treat Constin but Constin has no treatable wounds.
<COMBAT> Cadmus tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Fleeing1 uses a IED!
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Fleeing1 - Critical wound to Head.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Fleeing1 - Critical wound to Left Leg.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Fleeing1 - Critical wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Fleeing1 - Critical wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Fleeing1 - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Fleeing1 - Critical wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Lunair - Light wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Lunair is not hit by shrapnel.
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Croke - Light wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Croke is not hit by shrapnel.
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Constin - Light wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Constin is not hit by shrapnel.
<COMBAT> Constin tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Lunair tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Polaris has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Fleeing1 has been KO'd!

"Sorry," Lunair is trying to be modest about it. She scowls and manages to get the thing off and toss- wait, what? "What- no-" She protests out of raw instinct, that's not supposed to happen. Little girls don't want to die. They - her hand! Lunair's eyes are wide, her expression one of being dazed and betrayed, a deer struck sidelong by a truck and reeling. "… see you," She manages softly, almost reflexively. No. No… No time to even bark a futile order to move away. She's pinged by the force of the blast. But she's honestly more stunned by the girl and her words. Mote'asef-am. The wistful smile. Why. She staggers backwards a moment. Whether it's from the blast or her own turmoil is hard to say. But. She's a Marine. No time for that. Deep breath. "Gods… that's it then, none of you are hurt?" She half-crawls back, hunkering back to the Enlisted men. And alas, Lunair is hit in the head once more. That's … really a perturbing habit.

Almost immediately after the blast, Cadmus is out from his hiding place. His eyes are wild, and his rifle is *desparately* looking for something to shoot. But there's nothing to shoot - barely even scraps, after that blast. So he winds down, second by second, moment by moment, until the rifle dangles liply in one hand. That's when he starts to laugh. It's a high-pitched, almost hysterical laugh - each guffaw becoming a choked sob as tears begin to stream down his face. "What the *frak*, man!" he shouts, ears still ringing as they are. "What the *frak*, they shoot at this girl and then she's blowing us up, but they were also shooting at us, and this isn't… I don't even… Lords, we just need to bomb this place back to *dust*, man…" No, it's not coherent.

"Frakking-" Constin starts to bark, as he feels another spike of pain along the side of his face. Lunair asks 'anyone hurt?' and the Sergeant swallows his first response behind a gritting of teeth. "Cad, if you're on piece? Congratulations, you're still on picket watch." Woodenly, he reaches down to flick on the wireless and reports through clenched teeth, "We have three wounded, Eye-Eee-Dee detonated, four enemy Kay-Eye-Aye. Request reinforcement."

"I suspect they were shooting at her to lure us out or have her pull her back to us. They can either shoot us or blow us up, it's win win for them. Or would have been at any rate," Lunair points out quietly. Her tone is even, steady. Kid's got good bearing, probably thanks to blue blood and a fairly calm personality. "Almost worked too," She admits in that same soft tone. She just sighs softly. She almost saved her. But did that girl want to be saved? Why? She just shakes it off for now. She nods at Constin's assessment and falls quiet, looking over them with no small amount of concern. "Understood," Is all she replies. She takes a deep breath. Get it together. For now, she assesses and quietly watches, an instrument of power to be called on and kept out of the way.

Bending over, Cadmus wipes his eyes with the back of a hand. This has the unfortunate effect of smearing greasepaint in them, which makes them water worse. So much the better - he has to take some more time before picking the rifle up again. Once his breathing is steadied, he straightens up, adjusts his helmet, and wipes his nose. "We need to get ourselves some napalm or something, and bomb these trees back two, three klicks in all directions…" he mutters, though his expression indicates he knows full well that there aren't supplies for that.

Croke — who's gone fetal — twitches as he pushes himself off Constin's body (the large thing he used for cover). Slowly, eyes blinking, he removes the helmet from his head, holding his hand against his bleeding scalp. "Good gods," the corpsman murmurs, threading his index finger through the neat hole the IED has punched into heavily reinforced polymers. "This — " A deeply exasperated, deeply relieved sigh. "Good gods," is all he manages —

Because it's then that he catches sight of the mangled yellow tractor a few meters past where Lunair now stands, blackened and burning as the oil inside its tank cooks off beneath the rain. Patches of petrol spread across the field like lava from a volcano, drifting down the sloping hill as the sun falls below the horizon at last. And silhouetted in the flickering flames is what remains of the body of one young girl, her arms and chest pierced by what seems like a thousand nails — makeshift shrapnel packed into her vest to maximize the damage caused. But still that contented smile remains on a face now cleansed of grime: strange, gentle, at peace.

She doesn't have to see things fall apart.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License