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PREFACE: Unlike most of my attempts at novels that've been relegated to the "SHORT STORY" section of this site, I actually managed to write two chapters for this instead of one. Unfortunately, neither are worth reading. But here we are, 'cough potatoe'.

Chapter 1 - Not your grave

I stared at the black, rough rubble above me, thinking deeply. I wondered where my squad was, where anyone was. I pushed through dirt and lifted the broken, no longer illuminated sign and flung it away. I stepped up and out of the rubble I thought would be my grave and I stared into the blackness. What lay ahead was more barren city. A forest of crumbled skyscrapers and towers, with few left standing. Stores caved in, houses destroyed, apartments reduced to rubble, they all layed out in twhat was left of Aeroedifice, a city full of now crushed hopes and scatted dreams. I could only thing of what could've not happened, what could've been prevented to stop this atrocity, but alas it was too late. A miserable city with nothing to hold of value.

I took a deep breath and slid down the pile, coming to a stop on the road. I patted my ripped suit for dust and observed my surroundings. I looked at the street lights, all cracked and only few lit up the barren wasteland. I observed the red, yellow, and green lights that now shone black. As I walked the avenue, I studied the vehicles that littered the road like crumbs litter a cough potatoe's shirt. Each one held the deceased. Men, women, and children, all who tried to escape. I held back my sorrow for them, realizing that if I don't stay focused I'll end up just like them. The Russians were here in the city still, I knew, because whatever is in or was in this place, they want.

I took a turn on the corner and found myself at a dead end. A massic firetruck, still lit up with it's sights and horn still blaring, it somehow squeezed itself in between the buildings from left to right. I thought for a moment on how to get past when I noticed a door. The building belonging to it was a store named "Mike's Brand New Electronics". I sucked in air, pulled out my combat knife and twirled it in my hands. I saw the moon shine and glint on the blade. I held my weapon close and walked to the door. I grasped it's cold handle and pulled gently. Not a noise was made as I stepped in.

Open entering, I immiediately noticed a dead man sitting at the cash register. It looked like in the madness of the city's destruction, looters came in and held the place up. Shelves were thrown everywhere and broken television sets skimmed along the floor. The dead man had a bullet wound right between the eyes. I spoke gently,"I guess he didn't want to give up his money." I walked to the right and saw the firetruck's nose sticking out, followed by broken glass. I stepped over and through the window and found myself back on the streets of Aeroedifice. I quickly took cover behind an SUV as I noticed patrolling Russians wandering the streets. I checked my knife and stared at them. "Once more unto the breach...."

Chapter 2 - Encounter

I waited behind the damaged SUV with patience and contempt. I kept thinking to myself, "Why won't they MOVE?" As if on cue, the Russians started towards a building. "Fresh American Cheeseburgers". Just looking at the sign made my stomach growl. I thought about how long I had been knocked out, and how long I've gone without a bite to eat. I snapped out of my thoughts when I noticed two Russians go in and one Russian stay behind. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it up, then started walking around. I decided that he'll be my first target. I took a good look around and studied my surroundings. "Let's see..." I murmured. "Firetruck behind me.. store to my right. To the left is a bunch of rubble and dirt, and right next to that is Fresh American Cheeseburgers..." I crouched and walked slowly to the firetruck, plan in mind. I stared at the Russian smoker. He took a long drag on his cigarette and turned the other direction. Perfect. I grabbed a hold of the firetruck's ladder and pulled myself up.

When I got to the top of the firetruck I flattened myself, stomach first, onto the roof of the truck. I looked at the Russian man. He turned in my direction and continued smoking. Then he threw the cig to the ground and stomped it out. He then walked over to the door of the restaurant and laid back against it. He turned his head sideways. As the signal for me to move, I inched myself forward till I reached the end of the truck. Now I was face to face with the rubble. I grabbed a protruding pipe coming from the pile and tested its sturdiness. It was jammed in there all right. I grabbed a hold and lifted myself on to it, then leaped into the pile. I then pulled myself up on what looked like a fridge, and made it to the top of the pile. Then I silently leapt to the restaurant. I inched myself forward to the edge of the roof where the entrance was and more importantly, where the Russian was. I held my knife firmly and stared at the Russian, and silently waited. Months of training taught soldiers like me that if you want something, you have to be patient.

Five seconds. Thirty seconds. One minute. One minute thirty seconds. One minute forty-five seconds. It was quick, but it felt longer than a boy waiting for a Church service to end. Finally the man moved from his spot and walked a little to the right. He definitely looked bored out of his mind. He walked over to a car and started tapping a beat on it's roof. "My chance..." I softly thought. I lowered myself from the roof with a gentle landing that made a sound equivalent to the wind hitting a flat wall. I crouched and held my knife out from me. I inched slowly, thinking a thousand thoughts. Finally I met his back. At first I wanted to draw away, to run from this whole scene, but I remembered why the city was in the state it's in. I swung my knife, and I didn't miss.

I dragged the corpse from the spot and brought it back into the store I previously was in. I pushed the dead body from the cash register and replaced it with the Russian. I then got to work and searched his person. After three minutes I found his dog tags, a knife, a PP-90, and three nine mm clips. I put then gun and ammo and in my rucksack and threw the knife away. I looked at the dog tags for a minute and gently put them back on the person. The next thing I heard wasn't pleasant. "Hey Viktor, I brought you a... What the hell?" A voice called out from the streets. I quickly crouched and moved my self to the bathroom hall where I pulled my knife and waited. "Viktor you dumbass you were suppose to stand guard. C'mon now, where are you...." The voice sounded pissed, but then changed to a pleasant tone. "Oh I see, hide and seek. Well, I'll find you. Then I'll slap you across the face, idiot." I waited silently and patiently for what seemed no more than four minutes when I heard the door swing open. "I'm coming for you Viktor..." I readied my knife in a throwing position. Once he crosses the aisle facing me, I could land a perfect shot.

His feet dragged through the store. He looked around in every nook and cranny when he finally walked down my aisle. I aimed my knife, and threw in an arc. My face turned to horror when it landed next to him. He looked shock and stared at the knife, then to my now seen figure. I wasted no time. I ran at him like a bull seeing red and rammed my fist into his face, He recovered with great haste and delivered a kick into my stomach. I doubled over and landed on the cold floor. I couldn't breathe and I kept sucking in for air. The Russian took a knife from his person and swung at me. I rolled over to him and slammed my foot into his, tripping him. I got up and grabbed his shirt before he landed. I grabbed his knife that he dropped and punctured his chest. He recovered from this and rammed his head into mine. I fell back. He then raised his foot and slammed it into my chest. It felt like a jet had just hit me. Tears escaped my eyes but I didn't think this was the end. I pulled up my feet as he tried to slice them with my thrown knife, then sent a kick in his direction. He grabbed my foot but not the other, and it sent a personal Hello from me to him, right into the face. He fell back against a cabinet. I wasted no time and grabbed my fallen knife. I ran to him and held him by the collar. I took my knife and put it close to his face. I barked at him, "What are you doing here, worm?" He looked at me and smiled, then spit in my face. I answered the saliva shot with my knife. I let go of his collar and he fell to the floor with a THUD.

I buried my face in my hands and thought for a moment. I sheathed my knife and pulled out the PP-90. I thought about the remaining Russian, probably wondering where his comrades had gone off to. Surely he heard his friend and me's struggle? I shook these memories off and held the gun close. I exited the store and walked slowly to the restaurant, prepared to end this charade. I walked to the open doorway, took a deep breath, and entered Fresh American Cheeseburgers. Immediately I was met with a punch in the face, knocking me to the ground. The third Russian apparently was walking out of the store to investigate the sounds. I raised the gun and popped five bullets. All struck true, the Russian fell over. I didn't bother searching his body, I just walked back inside. I put the gun up and searched the place.

The restaurant was fifties themed. It had bright red and white tiles on the floor, and whitish wallpaper. It had a large red bar in the center of the restaurant that was curved in a circle, with bright red bar stools surrounding. Inside the circle was a cash register and some menus hanging from the ceiling. To the right of the bar where various tables and a door. I walked in and found myself in the kitchen. Remembering my cooking lessons back before joining the military, I set to work. I turned the lights on and found some frozen hot dogs, followed by buns. I cooked up three and let my mouth attack 'em the way I attacked the Russian.

I laid back in my chair and rested a couple of minutes. I felt a little bit of happiness from the meal. I looked outside and noticed the destroyed ruins. "Oh, that's right." Momentarily I had forgotten all about the the whole thing. I got up from my chair and exited the restaurant. I stepped out onto the city streets and looked up. The moon still shone with dark clouds swirling in the midnight painting. I walked slowly on the road, thinking, "When will it be over?". I shook my head and walked straight, wondering just what lie ahead.