Christmas Ceasefire Part 3: An OWS Round Robin
We’ve been having a lot of fun with this month’s story. David Wiley started it, and we shared Katheryn’s advancement last week. Now it’s Nancy Miller’s turn.
From last time:
“Ceasefire! By order of the Supreme Emperor, in agreement with the rebel forces, all soldiers are to cease fire for the next 24 hours.”
Johnson glared at her attacker and waited for him to back down the trench before she relaxed. The silence filled her ears making her wonder whether there really was a ceasefire or if she went deaf. All movement, mechanical or human, stalled as if joining her in disbelief.
O’Leary. Had he survived the firestorm? Johnson tore a band from the bottom of her t-shirt and wrapped it tightly around her arm. The bleeding was now a trickle. She couldn’t help but think about the loss of blood her partner suffered. Picking up her knife and reclaiming her gun, she worked her way through the scorched remains of bodies and weapons to the hole where she left him, grabbing a singed med bag along the way.
“Sean?” The fading sunlight and the dense smoke layer combined to make it even more difficult to see past the darkness. She’d seen hundreds of people die and felt nothing more than fury that such a rebellion was even necessary. And here she was-one of the underdogs- fighting against a force greater in number and weaponry. She closed her eyes and hoped, just this once, Sean wouldn’t be one of the casualties.
“I’m still here.” The announcement issued from the darkness. The voice was weak but Johnson gave silent thanks at the response.
She ducked down to clear the ceiling and found her battle buddy on the ground. The flow of blood appeared to have been staunched. A few feet away was a piece of wood with the end still smoldering. The smell of burned flesh made it clear what desperate action Sean took to cauterize the wound.
“Hey, Kira! I didn’t think I would see you again.” He made an attempt at a high-five but lacked the strength.
“I’m just full of surprises.” Kira Johnson plopped down next to the only man she trusted to have her back. Any other feelings were squelched behind her military training. Love was one more of the losses in the rebellion. Love meant trust. Trust meant breaching the wall of will so carefully built to protect the heart and soul. Trust meant having faith in someone other than yourself.
She smothered feelings as she tore into the med bag. Every soldier was trained in starting an I.V. Once the needle was in, she attached a bag of saline and hung it from the sight on her rifle as she leaned the gun against the wall. A hypospray delivered a shot of long-term broad-spectrum antibiotics. Another shot was for the pain which, by the look of relief, took effect quickly. She debated one for herself but decided one of them needed a clear head.
“Feeling better?” The goofy smile he displayed made her wonder about the dosage. At least he wasn’t hurting. Johnson finished dressing his wound. Eventually, he would need a doctor to do the patch up.
“It’s quiet out there.” His words were one step higher than a whisper.
“The ceasefire came through.” She tried to sound matter-of-fact. In truth, it was the closest thing to a Christmas miracle she could imagine.
“You’re kidding. It’s not nice to take advantage of dying man.” Sean laughed like she made a joke.
“You are not dying. You aren’t allowed. What would I do without you?” She reached out and tousled his hair. He caught her hand as she drew back. Eyes met. The moment hung like the moon now filling the opening to the outside.
Kira looked away. The rising full moon shone brightly casting a cool glow past them and down a corridor…a man-made corridor leading…where?
“That wasn’t here before.” She took back her hand and shuffled down the corridor.
“There’s a door back here.”
“How can you tell?” Sean kept an eye on the opening just in case the armistice didn’t hold.
“I have a door knob in my hand.” She shot back at him.
“Oowww, sassy.” He made an effort to move toward the corridor.
“Stay put.” She ordered as she returned.
Kira took more gauze from the med pack and wrapped it around the still smoldering piece of wood. Blowing on it to build the flame, it caught and Kira again looked into Sean’s eyes. Moving him far would break open the wound. He needed rest. A safe haven might give him the time needed to recuperate and possibly let the war pass them by. She could block the wall back up. The doorway wasn’t directly visible if a person just briefly checked it out. Twenty-three more hours. It wasn’t much time.
Kira returned to the doorway and examined the frame. Taking a lesson from her grandmother, she ran her fingers above the door. There, half buried in the dirt, was a key. The thought went through her head that finding the key was too easy but the need for safe shelter took precedence.
[bctt tweet=”There, half buried in the dirt, was a key. @NE_Miller #amreading #Christmas #shortstory #roundrobin #ourwriteside” username=”OurWriteSide”]
The key turned. The door released with a swoosh of cool air expelled toward her. She stepped inside and the motion-sensitive lights blazed to life. It made her jump and reach for her handgun.
A Doomsday room. Obviously, the people who built it never made it to its safety. Beds, real beds, lined one wall. Provisions of food, water, and amenities lined another. A makeshift kitchen and bathroom completed the floor plan. Kira turned the knob and water flowed from the tap. Must be a gravity feed tank above.
The toilet was one of the newer recycle units. Kira hadn’t seen the luxury of a toilet in three months. Her ears perked up as she heard Sean call to her. She grabbed a blanket off one of the beds and ran out to check on him.
Sean began questioning what was going on but stopped as she rolled out the blanket. Whatever she found was better than what they had now.
Kira loaded him up and made her way to the closest bed. She had work to do. Build the wall back up. Check out the provisions and keep the two of them alive. Tonight they would sleep in safety.
She sent her thanks out to whoever or whatever might be listening. She didn’t believe in one particular God or religion but, when all was said and done, she wanted to believe there was still love and light in the world and tonight it guided her to this place.
Kira bent over the sleeping Sean, kissed his brow and whispered, “Merry Christmas.”
To be continued…