APROXM: SHORT STORY

UNTITLED

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PREFACE: Untitled, and likely best left unposted. But here we are. I think I was trying to write something to go with a character I've drawn infrequently for a couple years by this point, but evidently I didn't care THAT much about his backstory given I got bored and did something else (better, likely) with my time.



Four bullets ripped through the air and dug themselves into the rubble before me, causing myself to instinctively go prone and assess wherever the hell the origin was of the gunfire. I surveyed the left side--hundreds of soldiers dressed in the same uniform I was dashed into a maelstrom of artillery and chaos. To my right laid only corpses, a story I was all too familiar with by now.


Then I caught it--a single figure crouched in the doorway of a partially eroded restaurant, its sign melted away leaving only few letters distinguishable. Another volley of bullets travel in my direction as I dash forward into cover, returning fire myself. As my opponent takes a moment to cower behind the doorway, I seize the opportunity and rush forward without hesitation--by the time the gunman pops back out to begin another assault, I'm already face to face. I throw a single, focused strike into his chest. He's out, and I breathe.


"Vernon, are you any closer to the objective? Respond."


I paw at the gear on my back for the walkie and, grabbing it, hurriedly respond.


"Had a run in. I'm fine now, proceeding normally."

"What do you mean you had a run in?! You're supposed to be keeping a low profile--do you understand just how important what you're carrying--"


One swift press and the walkie's shut off. She has a point: a failure to stay hidden puts my life in danger, and with the role I've been assigned, my death carries far more weight than it deserves to. I inhale and exhale very slowly, very carefully, as I build a plan inside my head for reaching the objective. And then I'm back out again.


Lying within the ruin and decay of the war-torn city lies The Constructor, a building of immense potential, or so I've been informed. Its creation ordered by a now dead aristocrat, its purpose seemed to only be known to him, his team of scientists and engineers, and select heads in our government. While I only ever knew whatever newspapers billed, my mission is cut and dry: reach The Constructor, insert the item I've been trusted with, and leave. In other words… go in, drop off, walk away. Simple.


Agonizing screams echo off in the distance as I sprint down alleyways, careful to avoid any further interactions with enemy soldiers. While I've been ordered to carry out this specific mission, everyone else is busy either holding onto the city or cutting through each other for reasons known only to them. The world has been thrust into complete chaos and anarchy with only few governments and organizations remaining. Everytime I turn a corner, I'm struck with a pitiful sense of nostalgia recognizing streets and homes from my childhood. All that was left was blood and dust.


I come within just a few meters of The Constructor and carefully sidle up against the brick behind me to peek. Unfortunately, none of my allied soldiers are in the area while a contingent of enemy combatants patrols the intersection. I take a few moments to think up some semblance of a plan.


If I run out, will they even notice? Some of their eyes face my direction. But would they open fire? Not everyone in this city is trigger happy--if I could just move my legs fast enough, maybe I could cross from here to my objective with them not even finishing their initial thoughts upon spotting me. I raise my weapon and hold it close as I realize the true danger in my plan. If only--wait. A single thought flashes across my head--this could work.


Backtracking through the alleys, I then change my direction and head down a familiar set of streets that run parallel to the intersection--by the time I'm done sprinting, I've found myself on approaching the opposite side of where I hid originally. I peek out to confirm my suspicions, and set my plan in action. Taking a few steps back, I begin placing grenades down onto the concrete, leaving a trail leading up to the stairs of a ravaged hotel. I dash back down alleys and ready my weapon carefully, my finger resting on the trigger.


squeeze


Explosions ripple throughout the alley in an uproarious display of fire. I then begin wildly firing my weapon, depleting its ammunition. Dumping the gun, I then sprint as fast as my legs allow until I find myself back at the intersection. A quick peak confirms my plan has worked--the soldiers are nowhere to be seen, presumably investigating the source of disturbance. I waste not another second as I dash across the street and let myself in to The Constructor.


What follows next are a series of darkened corridors where light is absent save for select ventilation shafts. Further and further I delve until I'm face to face with a large set of iron doors equipped with a peculiarly shaped lock--something I was prepared for. Reaching into my pack, I produce "The Icon", a key shaped like a wide, bolded letter T. The doors give way, and I enter.