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(STBSS) Dying in Summer

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posted on Jul, 10 2005 @ 07:07 AM
This is my second submission, so if I heard wrong about multiple entries being allowed, this one should be disregarded (but not deleted please. I'm quite happy with what I've got here and would hate to lose it.)
For those who aren't so into history, the characters here are a pair of 4th Century Roman Soldiers who have sold their souls for immortality. The setting is WWI. I suppose it fits under "other website related discussion" as it is obviously dealing with a supernatural subject, but doesn't quite fit the paranormal or creation topics.

"What exactly are we here for again Will?"
"We're protecting the Yanks because we like living in their country." William looked annoyed- a little. It had been centuries since either of the two companions had shown any true, strong emotion.
Jack pressed, his voice full of need,
"That's not what I meant. Really now, it just doesn't make since to me all of a sudden."
"It's not sudden. You asked me last year. And the year before that. What's done is done. Forget it."
Will turned away, slithering his way up the embankment to peer over the trench, holding his rifle ready, though with a certain level of indifference. There was no sense clutching it in white-knuckled desperation as he had in his last real battle- as he had clutched his shield at Adrianople, when he still might have died. His weapons were no longer his life. He had eternal life- he had no life to take.

"Damnit William, I'm serious, I want to talk about this. Just talk to me. What were we supposed to get out of this deal? Why couldn't we just be content to die at our appointed time?"
There was no response. Will was focused on something out in no man's land.
"It's one of those lunatics with a metal plate in front of him Jack. I can see him moving. Where's that Brit with the elephant gun?"
"I haven't seen him since the shelling this morning."
"Oh well then, I suppose he's not our problem for now."

"That's why I want to talk. Back in the beginning, you'd have stuck your head out, just to mess with him."
Will let out a deep sigh, hoping he could just let out the feeling and avoid this annual talk. It didn't work. He ran his fingers down this gaunt, scarred cheeks to the pitiful beard that was beginning to accumulate at his chin.
"Then talk. I'll pretend not to know what you're about to say."
"I'm thinking about breaking the deal. There you didn't know I'd say that, did you?"
Will turned to his old friend in disbelief, backing down the embankment and sitting down in the trench, searching for a response.
"You can't break it." His tone was laughing, but his meaning was dead serious. "It's made. Lucifer may let you die, but that doesn't break the deal."
"And how would you know that? You never read about God. You haven't changed your view of him one bit since the Legion. You wouldn't believe in him at all if I hadn't shown you what his enemy had done to me."
"I was right in the Legion, I was right about Constantine, and I was right when I took your lead. And you're wrong if you want to go to hell just cause you read nice things about that tyrant God of yours. You chose your camp already, and you were right then."

Jack ignored him. "What time of year do you hope you die?"
"We're dying in the winter, old friend. Do you remember Valley Forge?"
Jack knotted his brow as if trying to recall.
"Not really. No more than anything else."
"I do. It was my longest winter in a thousand years. That old man I took such a liking to- Captain Daniel- he died just like we are now. He waited so long for it, knowing it was coming and not quite when. I wondered if maybe the Judgment would come the same day he died, because that's just exactly how we are. That was the last year I actually listened to your stupid 'why are we here' speech- save now I suppose. The Boss stopped telling me things after I gave him what he wanted, but I'm sure we'll die in the winter."

"Maybe you. I'll die in the summer. I think this summer. Maybe tonight. Beautiful, warm, fast- how could a man expect to die in the summer? You'd never see it coming. Even your corpse would go faster- all manner of life taking it in, bearing you anew as part of a hundred different bodies. You must get to heaven a touch faster if you die in the summer."
"Hell if you will!"
"Hell if I don't. I've already prayed."
"And? I've already told you..."
He was interrupted by the report of the German sniper's rifle. Somewhere down the line, one of their mortal companions fell.
"This is good bye William."

Before Will could answer, Jack was over the top. He flew through the shell-scarred terrain in titanic strides, clearing every obstacle with equine leaps, his face twisted in desperation and the pulse in his fingers beating like a drum, vised between his bones and the stock of his rifle. In mere seconds he'd reached the sniper, not a man on the German line had found him fast enough. He threw himself over the sniper's parapet with no attempt to catch his feet, throwing the butt of his weapon against the enemy's face with animal fury. The first blow was sufficient. Now the German line lit up, he was seen. A flare burst overhead, silhouetting the ancient soldier amidst the horror of no man's land. He made no attempt for cover. He leveled his rifle at the muzzle flashes and fired his last shot in defiance before the German's found their mark. William could only watch in shock as his old comrade's back ruptured in a dozen places, giving way to hot steel as Lucifer promised it could never do.
William was alone. What now? What did this mean?
He shook his head and clung to all he knew.
"I'll be seeing you old friend."

posted on Jul, 20 2005 @ 12:41 AM
Wow- who would have thought this would be my least viewed story. I expected a little better from this one.

posted on Jul, 22 2005 @ 09:14 PM
I normally wouldn't bump my story twice, but in light of the passing of my grand father last night, I thought a dedication was in order.

Troy Fookes died in summer, in more ways than one. We thought grandpa Troy would live to bury us all. After a while we didn't even worry when he had heart attacks. Sure enough, he never spent a moment in the hospital when he went. He got home from vacation, started a pot of coffee, went out to the garage, and spent his last moments with his tools before collapsing.
For the first time in years, his young spirit hasn't got to contend with a tired old body.
He'll have peace, but I wouldn't expect him to waste it on resting.


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