The awakening was unpleasant. His body ached with the exercise and his chest, limbs and joints suffered and burned where they’d gone without real oxygen. The sharp intake of breath was silent in the black void. His grip tightened around his rifle and his muscles pulled him into a staggered curl on all fours. The moving corpse gagged on coffin-dry lungs and swallowed greedy breaths over his rough lips and sandpaper tongue, and the great groan of exasperated pain haunted the entire length of the corridor.
In the silence afterward the stale air was choking and the dust on the floor was stifling around him. The room was pitch black and claustrophobic. Before, in the same darkness, he could almost feel the pulsing of the removed heart and lungs of the crucified in the room above him. Now it was silent and only he lived in this mockery of a tomb.
The sniper pushed himself back onto his knees and sat against the wall behind him. Whilst staring down the corridor a silent click made him blink away the black before him into an electrical blue film that outlined his surroundings.
That revival trick takes its toll psychologically as well as physically, and slowly his memories returned.
Probing, feet. One red light, a torch. Three men. One woman. A sword, four pistols, two rifles, that rifle. The rifle that killed him. Professional, different, and not of this planet. Earth Union Marines. He did not know them, but he remembered them. He’d missed; a one in a thousand chance. Moments later there was running. Then what came next was…
Then what came next was the shot that came from the Bloc one. Was it the Bloc? Yes. Yes, he was the one. The one who swore with his shots. The accent was heavy and the language was too.
He picked himself up, still trailing with his thoughts and looked over to the area where they’d come from and where he’d hit the runner. The colonel. They’d gone. The marines were here for a reason. They had no objective to hold here and had moved on, as they do.
To him, the courthouse itself held two points of interest that would have garnered the attention of the Earth Union war machine. Their objectives could have been both for intelligence and for the Earth Espionage Unit. If they were here for the Earth spy alone then his cause may be safe but if they were to find what else was here then his contact wouldn’t have much time left. If they didn’t know, then Union would take his head a little later than he’d expected.
Picking himself up from the dust and blood, the corpse made himself a shadow and a ghost, befalling a shameful and silent darkness in the basements of the courthouse.
– by Kier Sparey
© Kier Sparey 2014