Today is the day that Tessa over at Tessa’s Blurb is hosting her Blogfest of Death. There are a whole bunch of fantastic writers signed up, so after you finish here click here and go check them out. My entry is the scene immediately following the one I did for Mary McDonald’s Terror Tuesday Blogfest about a month ago. You can click here if you want to read that scene. If not, just read below.
He staggers out of the barracks into the first cold, grey light of dawn, bumping off bodies skeletal and empty-eyed stumbling into strained lines in the center of the yard.
Eyes tearing with cold lock forward. Face still, he stands and stares, watches a dull sun arc along a thin, tight horizon.
Nothing moves across the raw, barren, black terrain beyond the watchtowers; scorched earth, all that’s left of a long ago burn.
Down the line, somewhere to his right, someone’s hacking up the latest plague. Spine straight, head unbowed, his fingers curl into white-knuckled fists at his sides.
The wind shifts; carries the smell of burning from the remains of a wild fire dancing along the serrated slopes just past the dead fields.
The sound of the shot explodes in his head. All-too-familiar rage and fear and shame churn in his gut; tighten his chest.
Wet, grey flakes of snow and ash fall through the raw, cold daylight; filter through the dead trees, the charred, lifeless trunks still standing sightless watch on the other side of the fence line.
Ash and ice, cold and wind stretch and move across the waste like a living thing, breathe harsh and jagged along the grey, serpentine river that snakes past the camp, cleaving the cauterized landscape.
He doesn’t think he’ll survive another winter.
The jolt from the stun stick slides down his spine; buckles his knees. Hard hands shove; send him staggering across the yard.
He doesn’t look at the body or the spreading spill of bright crimson against grey on his way to the pit.