Worlds Apart

050311

  The ashen clouds overhead are a morbid reminder of the days work. We can taste the lead in the air, still hear the cracks of gunfire in the distance, still feel the heavy weight of the armour upon us despite having relieved ourselves of it hours ago. I walk back into the bunker, the cramped, crowded bunker, and into our own smoky microcosm of the outside. Sporadic cigarettes burn ember, igniting the air like stars across an oceanic expanse of sky.

  Captain Tanner spots me as I descend into the darkness and beckons me through the window of her office. I shuffle past the comrades that survived the days traumatic events.

  “Evening Buick,” she says, sitting down as I close the door behind me.
  “Captain,” I reply as I turn around to face her. She looks as grubby as the rest of us, a dark patchwork of stains covering her clothes and skin.
  “Good work today,” she says, flipping open a report on the desk as I approach to sit down opposite her. It’s full of numbers and statistics and other crap no real soldier really cares about. To the suits back home its profits and loss, to us its casualties and life expectancies. Worlds apart.
  “Was it?” I ask simply. Tanner grimaces in response, closing the folder with a soft slap and looking up at me. Her eyes as deep as Naaru lagoon to the north, brimming with sorrow. “Elspeth,” I continue, reaching my hand across the desk towards hers. She retracts it before I reach it, brushes a stray strand of hair out of her eyes and suddenly she’s back to her stoic self, ready to talk brass tax and nothing else. The melancholy is overpowering. I succumbed a long time ago but she doesn’t – can’t – have the time for it.

  Worlds apart.

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~ by Joseph Blame on May 3, 2011.

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