The tanks rolled slowly though the ruined street, a line of soldiers walked alongside, their eyes scanning the ruined building to the sides, although closer up most of the soldiers just turned their head every now and again for show.
“Careful boy don’t throw that thing too early” whispered the wizened huntsmaster, the scarred guerrilla, crouched down behind a pockmarked boiler, a modified auto-rifle poking out between window slats.
The boy looked down to the object he was holding, a bottle of alcohol with a rag stuffed into the top, a molotov cocktail.
Another weapon in our arsenal
the boy thought, shifting slightly to ease the uncomfortable position he had himself in.
“And don’t you dare light it until the signal is given, understand?” hissed the old man. Then a quick screeching sound like; glass on rusty metal echoed though the street, reverberating though the boys head to his toes “Now boy light the fraggin thing and throw!”
The boy pulled out a lighter and clicked a small blue flame flared and the cloth was afire, the boy cocked his arm and aimed for the leading tank’s open hatch.
The green-black bottle sailed though the air and smashed on the hatch, flames hissing and burning the tank crew alive.
The snipers opened fire, whiplash cracks tore though the air, soldiers dropped like flies, most of the tanks were in flames and the rest either ran or died from the accurate shooting.
‘Right boy time to go resupply” said the old man, smiling as he shouldered his rifle. The he walked back down through the rubble, dodging fallen pieces of masonry and twisted metal.
The boy was huffing when he caught up to the elder.
How the hell does he move so fast?
The boy wondered before he started searching the corpses. Turning the still warm bodies to get to their webbing, emptying their pockets of anything useful or valuable for the trader convoys, this alone was the pulsing lifeblood of the isolated bandit enclaves.
More and more fighters moved out from cover as the day wore on, the bodies had been picked clean by noon and they were piled on the burning tanks, by the time the guerrillas left nothing useful remained of the patrol. Only the charring bones of the dead.
The guerrillas moved slowly though the maze of ruined buildings, winding their way deeper into the dark depths of the abandoned city, the boy walked behind the body of the group, keeping up but paying little attention to his surroundings, his mind miles away….
He daydreamt of a world without war, a world where he didn’t have to watch for traps and live in a never ending nightmarish struggle for survival and on top of that a world which wouldn’t steal his father away. Most of all a world where a boy could have his dad….
The guerrilla camp was nestled inside the lower levels of a shelled mechanicum forge complex, the colossal building was dark and foreboding monster metal and concrete melded together in ruin.
The raiding party ducked behind cover in buildings opposite the entry to the complex, an open plaza was littered with bodies and frozen tanks, forever silent except for the watchful eyes of hidden sentries.
The old man pulled a torch from his coat and flashed it on once, twice and a third time. Across the plaza a single flash was the only reply and the raiding party dashed across the plaza. Silent as ghosts they ran, ducking low to keep hidden form any observers.
The sentries watched the raiding party as they walked in, their eyes plastered on both their own area of the perimeter and the raiders, not willing to be kept waiting in the raiders identified themselves before being nodded on. The sentries went back to their work, waiting as all sentries did, to be relieved of responsibility.
The party filed into a lift and the old machinery coughed into life occasionally squealing as it went down into the warmer lower levels. Gusts of warm air whispered up the shaft, warming the raiders so much they began to remove their balaclavas and gloves.
The raiders moved off as they descended the levels, each moving to his own home, already imagining the hot meals that was sure to be waiting for them, the boy was the last to leave the lift, standing alone in the dark until he reached the furnace level, when the lift clattered to a stop the boy walked out, silently making his way though the maze.
When the boy made it to his own shack he was stopped by his neighbor.
“Boy, the boss wants yer at the fire” snarled the older man, pointing a stump of an arm at the roaring bonfire.
The boy glumly nodded. Dropping his loot and outer clothes in the back of his shack
“Still haven’t found ye voice yet boy?” asked the man when the boy got out of his home.
The boy nodded again.
“Shame that is, best be off “
The boy nodded a third time and walked away, as he walked he fell the eyes of someone boring into the back of his neck, when he turned he saw no one, shrugging he continued walking.
[The boy knew were we are
[Good, he’ll make a fine recruit, order the strike, make sure those amateurs don’t kill all the young ones, we want captives
[My lord, it will be done
The leader of the guerrillas was a tall, bulldoggish man with dark wiry hair and beard, a scarred veteran of the imperial guard and of the brutal Metronome Wars if the stories were true; a failed aspirant of the adeptus astartes. His name was Hugh
“Hey boy, how are you?” roared Hugh, waiting for an answer. “Still no voice yet?”
The boy shook his head.
“Heh, life has its own perverse humor doesn’t it?” replied Hugh “Boy we need you to take a squad down to the old plasma generators it seems the connections are getting faulty and we need you to go fix em”
The boy nodded.
“It’ll be Old Greer’s boys with you so I’ll get them ready at the exit at 0800 tomorrow morning?” said and turned back to the fire, “You can go, and sleep you’ll need it”
The boy turned and made his way back to his hut, crawling into his blankets and falling dead asleep…
He woke to the sounds of fighting, dull explosions echoed though the cavernous room, and the boy scrambled over to his autorifle, pulling out the clip and replacing it with a new one, before he clipped on his brace of precious grenades and stuffed his pockets full of clips for the autorifle.
The guerrilla were gathered in unorganized mobs, the boy saw Hugh rally the men and they formed up around the elevator, the only entry to the lower level the boy went the other way finding his way out; a small chute that went from the lower levels into an old out building overlooking the complex.
The chute entry was cluttered with the detritus of a hidden colony, old scraps of clothing and metal. The boy moved these out of the way and began to crawl up the chute.
The inside of the chute was curiously clean, a different reality from the world around it, the boy was nearly hesitant to climb up it with his filthy hands but the sounds coming from the room behind him changed his mind.
The boy scrambled up the vertical section of the chute, occasionally peeking out of grilles in the chute walls but he saw nothing.
They must be bombing the upper floors.
The boy surmised and continued, crawling faster.
When he reached the top of the shaft he opened the grille slightly and was surprised to see a girl huddled in the corner, she had herself tucked into the fetal position and had her eyes closed.
[I]I have a gun and she's unarmed./I] The boy convinced himself, but remained suspicious. Unsheathing his knife he squeezed mimself out of the grille, he nearly jumped out of his skin when the girl talked.
“If you’re wondering I’m unarmed so put that thing away if you don’t mind”
How the hell
? Wondered the boy, slowly putting the knife back into its scabbard
“Who are you?” asked the girl raising her face.
My god she’s beautiful
! The boy thought shocked and pleased at the same time. When he saw she was expecting an answer he pulled out his knife and carved into the wall behind him;
HAVE NO NAME- I AM A MUTE
“You can’t speak?” the girl asked
The boy nodded.
“And have no name?”
He nodded again.
“Well, my name is Sophie” replied the girl smiling.
The boy’s heart nearly flipped in his chest, and then reality hit him hard.
We need to move.
He thought then he gestured to the girl ‘come on’.
“Why?” she asked.
Is she mad?
He wondered, and then he pointed to himself then her and drew a line from ear to ear.
‘Oh” she said and got up and he saw how scantily dressed she was, he shrugged off his shirt and passed it to her.
“Oh thank you” she mumbled, embarrassed.
The boy walked out of the door, not before checking the hall beforehand. One side of the hall had been filled up with rubble from upper levels and the left was clear, the boy rushed to the corner and poked his head around.
He wondered. They usually have a few men up here to snipe, weird.
He turned back and nearly ran into Sophie, he motioned ‘come on’ again and rushed forward towards the stairwell, checking the area for enemies, they kept moving down floors, the boy setting a punishing pace. Not stopping until the reached the 2nd floor.
The boy turned and before Sophie could speak put his finger to his lips and pointed to the prone figure meters away, the boy crouched and began to move closer, knife at the ready but stopped when the man spoke.
“Who’s this Sophie?” he asked.
“A friend Papa” replied the girl. “He can’t speak Papa”
“I saw how you moved done those stairs boy, well done, seems like you’ve done this before” pausing the man began to crawl back and then rose into a crouch, still keeping an eye on the escalating battle in the complex. “You must’ve been one of those guerrillas; if we’re quick we can move before the governors troops find us”
He says the governor’s title with such anger, I might not know who he is but he doesn’t like the government.
The boy thought. I’ll trust him for now.
The boy nodded.
“Well that’s settled, let’s go” said the man.
The trio made their way slowly across the battlefield; the governor’s troops had taken the most intact buildings directly opposite the complex and were mercilessly pounding the guerillas positions, the sweating gun crew oblivious to the three.
They’re going to kill everyone!
The boy thought, guilt burning a hole in his chest. He began lining up his gun’s sights on the oblivious soldiers below.
“Calm, boy, most of the guerillas will escape, those soldiers have no proper leadership, just a succession of soft noble pretty-boys who brought their commissions rather than earning them” muttered the man, scanning for enemies.
He must have been in the military. Why is he stuck in here?
Wondered the boy, he relaxed and flicked the safety back on.
“We’re going to be stuck here for a while, we can’t move until they stop the bombardment, if we do their forward observer teams will direct hell on us” the man said sighing as he lowered himself down.
“Papa take care of your leg, we haven’t seen uncle in a while, it might start acting up” whispered Sophie, drawing the boy’s jacket tighter around herself.
“The leg won’t be acting up anytime soon, I have another month before I have to see him” replied the man.
“You said that last month” muttered Sophie.
“It hasn’t acted up yet, has it?” replied the man, “But you’re right, as soon as we get out of here we’ll go back to Freetown, okay?”
Wondered the boy, ducking as an explosion sent hot chips of rockcrete scalding down his shirt, the boy quickly shook the shards out. Freetown belongs to the governor, why would he go there?
Then the man turned to the boy, “I have been impolite, my name is Egan, may I ask yours?”
Sighing the boy pulled out his knife again and wrote into the dirt;
HAVE NO NAME- I AM A MUTE
“That’s a shame, but I can’t call you boy all the time, do you have a name I can call you?” asked Egan
The boy shook his head.
“Perhaps we can give you one” Egan said.
The boy’s eyes turned icy and he wrote in the dirt;
Egan’s eyebrows raised slightly, “No?”
I KNOW MY NAME BUT I DON’T REMEMBER- I WILL REMEMBER
“That’s a good attitude to have son” replied Egan, looking around “That bombardment is slacking off, time for us to go”
The boy nodded and followed the man out of his home, his city, his world.
‘Out of mind out of sight’ as Hugh would say.
The boy thought.
Well here's my newest fic, comments are welcome.