Drops in the Sky

One foot in front of the other. That's all I knew. Just keep walking. Get water when you can. Get food when you can. Just keep walking. For 92 days, that's all I knew. And then, I met Amber Jeffries. And, by God, that girl became all I knew. All I wanted to know. But the War was all that mattered. Fighting is all that matters.

In World War Four, 10 billion people were killed. I'm one of the lucky two billion that survived. So was Amber Jeffries. Unfortunately, 1.9 billion people live in Europe. Mostly France, and a couple areas just outside of it. I'm in the hundred million left in what used to be the United States, which is currently in the midst of a Civil War. And I'm right in the middle of it.

We're kind of a mess. My life's messy. But Amber... She keeps everything together.


25. twenty five

Unsure exactly of what I'm supposed to do and how long I'm supposed to wait, I settle for twiddling my thumbs. It hurts, considering that most movements break open the scabs forming on my fists, and cause new bleeding. I chew on the inside of my cheek instead, unload and re-load my rifle, and then untie and retie my perfectly tied boot. 

"Dude. Stop fiddling around," Curtis demands. 

"Sorry," I mutter. 

We're currently waiting for the order that Troop one twenty two, the troop we're covering, is moving out. We're all perched on the outer wall of our main camp, with eyes on a Service camp less than five football fields away. The only reason it's there now is because it had started off small, and they've been sending in troops one at a time until the camp was its current size; huge. Basically, because of limited world resources, we don't have a bomb that we can launch over there, so we have to get a bomb in, similar to Jason and my mission. That's troop one twenty two's job; get the bomb in and detonate it. The Elite in this group is the person who was training Axel. Good soldier. The Rookie? Not so much. Alice. Okay, she's not a terrible soldier, but she definitely isn't good, either. 

So, yeah. Their job is to get the bomb in and blow shit up, our job is to make sure they don't die on the way over. The Service camp they're trying to get to also has a lot of gun-power, and they've made the area between our camp and theirs practically a no-man's land. It's pretty damn impossible to cross. We're hoping to draw their fire and take out some of their shooters while the other troop tries to get around and sneak in. 

From my vantage point, I glance around to see if I can spot my friends. Several troops have already left, going to various destinations. I know Amber was in one of the troops that's going to Oregon. They left an hour ago. Great. Now I have no idea where either of the Jeffries twins are. 'The Jeffries Twins.' Huh. That's kinda cool sounding. 

I hear a gunshot and my attention is immediately on scanning the field, trying to find the source. No bodies on the ground. My eyes dart around frantically, searching for the source. 

"They're moving!" Grey calls out. Immediately, every gun held by someone in our troop gets aimed at the Service camp. In my peripheral vision, I can see Alice's troop jogging quickly around the side. Curtis, who's stationed next to me, fires a shot. I quickly focus on the camp, trying to make out individual shapes. Once I see someone who looks to be a soldier, I quickly aim, squeeze the trigger, and fire the shot. He falls to the ground. 

Great. Make that thirty one people that I've killed

I shake my head, scolding myself. Now's not the time for self pity. 

The Service camp starts firing back. I see someone in Alice's group fall to the ground. I know they all have bulletproof vests on, so it was either a headshot and he's dead, or a leg shot and he'll likely be fine. I hope for the latter. 

More gunshots are fired on both sides, sounding like the world's loudest popcorn machine. Okay, fine. I've never technically used a popcorn machine, but I saw a clip of it in a television show, once. I never had a television, but someone was watching on their phone while sitting on a curb and I managed to watch as I walked by. 

That's besides the point. The point is, the battle's getting intense. 

"Get lower," Curtis warns me. Looking around, I notice everyone is in a much lower crouch than I am. I quickly drop, readjusting myself. I re-aim, focus on my next target, and squeeze the trigger. At this point, I don't even keep my gaze focused on my target long enough to see if he falls. I move on to my next target. When I squeeze the trigger, all I feel is the clicking of a gun without ammunition. I sigh and reach into my pocket to grab more ammo. 

After reloading my gun, I refocus my gaze on my targets, noting that the troop is almost halfway to the GWRPS camp. There are four of our soldiers who fell to Service bullets. Nobody in my troop has been hurt. 

We keep providing cover, waiting in anxious anticipation for the troop to make it into their camp. I feel beads of sweat beginning to form, unwelcome, on my forehead. I quickly wipe my face with my sleeve and turn my attention back to the troop making their way across the field. I keep firing, watching our soldiers from the corner of my eyes. When I see a blonde figure fall, I can't help but feel a pang of guilt. Alice isn't the kindest person, but she's still a Rookie. She's still part of our group. 

Is she the only one who's fallen? 

How's Jack doing? Cynthia? Alex? And, please, God, let Amber Jeffries still be alive. 

I pull the trigger and watch another Service soldier fall. What's that, now? 35? As our soldiers begin to near the camp, Grey calls for us to hold our fire. I hold my breath as I hear a lot of faint shouting from the distance, followed by all of our soldiers sprinting out of the camp. 

One... Two... Three... A giant explosion sends shockwaves through the air, making the hairs on my arms stand on end. I glance up from my sheltered position. Where the GWRPS camp used to be, there's nothing but a large crater in the ground. 

What's the death count, now? A hundred? Hundred-fifty? 

I shake my head, chastising myself for my thoughts. Now isn't the time. We're fighting a Civil War. I can't dwell on how many people I've killed. Still feels pretty shitty, though. I think I'm allowed that, at least. 

We climb down from our vantage point and join the soldiers on the ground, gathering the fallen soldiers. Some are dead, others were just injured. I sprint to Alice. 

"Fuck," she mutters when I arrive. 

I roll my eyes. "Nice to see you, too. Where'd you get shot?" 

"Leg." I crouch down next to her. 

"Let's get you to infirmary," I suggest. She nods. I help her to her feet, balancing on one leg while I support the majority of her weight. Deciding it would be the safest and easiest course of action, I opt to carry her, bridal style, to the truck that's taking soldiers to the infirmary rather than helping her hop along. 

I grunt under her weight, my sore arms aching, but I carry her nonetheless. I drop her off in the truck, helping her arrange herself comfortably. 

"Thanks," she mutters. 

"No problem," I say. "Feel better." 

She gives me a small smile before I jog the other way, stretching out my arms. If I'd known about the battle today, I definitely wouldn't have done all that boxing yesterday morning. My arms are quite sore from it, my knuckles are still scabbed over. I shrug it off and jog over to Curtis, who holds a finger to his lips as soon as I approach him. He points over to Grey, who's talking to someone on the radio. Trying to listen in, I guess. I stand near Curtis and listen in as well. 

"-Was successful," he says. I can only assume he was talking about our task, blowing up the camp. "The Service camp was taken care of. How's the situation in Los Angeles? Over." 

My eyes widen. Thomas is in Los Angeles. 

"There are survivors? Is there another troop coming out to meet you? Us? Yes, sir. Moving out in twenty minutes. We should be there in two and a half hours, tops. Over and out." 

I can't help myself from breaking out into smile. If there are survivors, Thomas could be one of them. On the other hand, he could also not be one of them, so there's no use getting my hopes up. There are dozens of workers at that plant; there could be only a few survivors. 

I bite my lip. Honestly, I hope Amber doesn't hear about the survivors at the plant. If she gets her hopes up, then gets let down, she'd be crushed. Well, at least I'd be, if I were in her situation. Then again, she's Amber, so she'd finish her duties first, and then probably cry. I frown. I've never seen Amber cry. Most likely, she'd get mad and punch whoever's closest to her. I frown again. That person would most likely be me. 

Short story short, Thomas better be fucking alive. 

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