Mike over at Short Stories did a fantastic job of responding to a snippet called Two Bridges that I did as part of Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press. Here is his response to my piece: Two Bridges II. He challenged me to write a third installment. This is it. Anyone want to try a fourth installment?
The communications we intercepted all those months ago were accurate.
They arrived in a brilliant show of light and might at 03h00 this morning. We were dazzled and confused by their angry voices, overwrought engines, the smoke, the uniforms, the stench of our own fear.
They came for our land because they cannot care for theirs. They do not ask us. They simply take it.
We had already moved most of the women, children and elderly, but some stayed behind because their absence would raise suspicion.
Still, no preparation could have steeled anyone for what was experienced. It was so violent. I am lost. My faith in humanity is unmoored and sinks beneath waves of outrage.
It is nearly over. I am buried beneath a layer of trash. Tyrone and I were chosen and entered the box three days ago. After the others covered us again, we waited in the darkness.
When the onslaught began this morning, we dared to peek out. Tyrone held me back each time I moved to enter the fray. He repeated that our mission is too important to allow our emotions to better us. He assured me our time for revenge would come.
I pace the darkness. I drag my nails down the makeshift walls. I weep.
“Now,” Tyrone whispers.
I peek outside. She stands alone at the edge of the river with her back to us. When we heard a woman would lead today’s mission, we had hoped. We were wrong to do so.
I crawl out of the hide under the earth and into the trash strewn above. It is dawn. The icy wind whips off the river. It creates little twisters that pick up then abandon plastic bags in the air. Torn papers drift like confetti.
I am close to her. She still stands with her back to me, obviously lost in thought. I secure the hilt of my long knife in my trembling fist. I am excited. I am afraid.
A man approaches. His movement catches in the corner of my eye. He is still a way off. If I do it now, he will not stop me.
I leap up from my belly. The knife reaches the top of its arc and descends. I scream. She turns, startled. Familiarity. Tawdry dark hair. Passionate eyes, now wet with tears.
My scream trips over itself. I adjust the angle of the blade and its arc. My fist slams into her neck and she drops, unconscious. I stare at her. There is blood, but it is not fatal.
A body slams into mine and we crash into a pile of trash. The impact I am hit with is so sudden, so hard, that the knife flies out of my hand. I do not know where it lands. My attacker smashes at me with a baton. My arms take the blows.
Then I see Tyrone. He grabs the hair of the man on top of me, pulls it back and, with the knife in his other hand, slides it across the man’s exposed throat. It is bloody, but I am free.
Tyrone helps me to my feet. Nobody else is around. He smiles while we both catch our breaths then points to our hideout and starts to run. I hesitate. I sprint over to her. She is coming to. I lift her over my shoulders then run to join Tyrone in the hideout.