The Day I Survived

by Mark-lee Foster

A storm of clouds started to blow east towards the town of Pontefract. The expression on my face was frightful, the light was fading as the clouds moved even faster. I felt enclosed in my room. It was now pitch black. My room looked like an empty prison cell, all I could hear was creaking of the floor boards, and faint voices as the drunks walked home from the night clubs.

There was a huge explosion outside and a white light hit my bedroom window.

"Thomas, Thomas"

A faint voice whispered my name, I instantly sat up in my bed.

"Thomas, Thomas"

There it was again, another faint voice calling my name. It felt like the thing that was calling my name was sat right beside me. I stood up and attempted to turn on my light... Nothing. I tried again. It worked! I opened my door to see that I was no longer in my own home, I was at school, as I was looking around the classroom I could not make my friends faces out clearly. I attempted to talk, but there was only words coming out of my mouth.

I screamed. My eyes opened as if I had woken up from the most freighting nightmare, I was in my room. I then started to panic, I turned the light on and then opened the door. My feet ran as fast as they could down the stairs. The front door automatically opened.

"Scary" I murmured to myself.

It was snowing, I opened my gate which led to the street only to find a collapsed building. I heard the faint sound of a radio, it got even louder as I was walking to the town of Pontefract. I was stood in the middle of the town looking toward what seemed to be the most distraught street in England, and also one of the most deserted. There where even more building that had collapsed in the middle of the town.

"What's happened?" I was pondering to myself.

The sound of the radio stopped. It was if time had stopped, everything from my wrist watch to it snowing had stopped. Bang.

"Huh what the hell was that?"

I thought for a moment. Was I going crazy? Or was I just dreaming?

I nipped myself to prove to myself I wasn't dreaming.

"Arggg!" I was not dreaming.

I saw a faint shadow walk across the street whilst walking towards the bus station. I then started to run. I yelled, but I don't think that they had heard me. I then started to jog down the road, only to spot another shadow running across the street. Again, nobody there.

I looked up towards the grey miserable clouds. I then saw that one of the clouds was shaped as a skull. Was this a sign? Or was it just a coincidence?

I didn't know what it was, so I just kept on walking. Until I heard a loud sound in the distance, I started to scrape my feet across the floor, purposely trying to get some attention from someone or something. As I approached the bus station a vicious dog appeared from nowhere, it slowly climbed down the steps of the deserted bus station. Cautiously, the dog moved slowly, staring at me intensely; it then approached me as I was some sort of threat.

The vicious dog started to circle me, it then just glared at me and walked away. My heart was thumping; this went on for several minutes. I sat down and had a rest. It was great knowing I wasn't going to get mauled by a vicious dog. Knowing that I was stuck in Pontefract all on my own, it made me think. I need to keep moving. As I laid there, in peace. The wind was whistling, like it was trying to tell me something. I tried being as quiet as possible. I stopped shuffling about in my sleeping bag which I found in the streets. I heard somebody scream. I immediately stood up.

I ran around the corner, only to find another vicious dog. This dog had blood dripping down is dark yellow teeth. I gently started to move backward round the corner. It spotted me anyway, I stood still. My mind was going through a whole load of emotions. The dog jumped at me. I scrambled towards the opened door of the corner shop. I managed to get in, the dog stuck his teeth into my leg as if I was a huge lump of meat.

It started to rag my leg about, as I was screaming in pain a light shun in my eye.

I looked toward the mysterious light; it was a smashed lamp, flickering on and off. There happened to be a shard of glass next to me.

As the dog was attempting to dismember my leg, I attempted to grab the shard of glass and slash the dog. As I had reached the shard of glass, I did not want to move. The pain was unbearable. I could see the blood pouring out of my leg, it wouldn't stop. I couldn't take it. Slash. I had cut one of the dogs eyes open. It howled as if to say help me. "My leg" I repeated over and over again to myself. The bone, I could see the bone. I saw a towel, it was covered with dirt, I then realized that on the second shelf of the shop there was some duck tape. I rapped the towel around my wounded leg, and then rapped the duck tape around the towel several times to secure the towel in place.

As night came the streets became quieter. The skies were lit with stars. The moon light shun down onto a rotting corpse's hand which was hanging out of an overflowing gutter. But it wasn't just sewage which was coming out of the gutter; it was guts and body parts. I reached into my pocket to try and find my mobile phone. I hadn't brought it with me. What was the point in taking a picture of the body parts anyway? For all I know I could be dead in a few minutes. My leg was still bleeding and the streets where crawling with dogs and other vicious animals. I began to calm down, and quickly became tired. I closed my eyes.

I opened my eyes. It was morning, it felt like I had blinked. I couldn't stay in the same place anymore. I grabbed hold of my sleeping bag. I then struggled to get to my feet. I looked down to see if my leg was alright. The sight was sickening. There where maggots crawling inside the wound, and the towel had fallen off. The bone even had gaps in between it. The maggots had gotten everywhere in the wound. I felt like I had to be sick. I stood up, I shook my leg to try and get the maggots off. It was no use.

My eyes began to water. I was scared, so scared I felt like giving up on life. I wanted to just sit there and die.

Two days later and I still hadn't got anywhere. I was only in knottingley. This wasn't a town, but only a village. My leg had gotten better, but it wasn't like a cut on your arm. It didn't just go away like that. I saw a man as I was walking down the road. He looked confused, was it a supernatural being? I don't know. I did not want to say anything. It looked straight towards me, but it hadn't taken any notice of me. I kept on walking. Did it see me? I don't know. At this point I was terrified. As I was walking into knottingley, there was a sign, it said. "Knottingley" It would have been a normal sign, if there hadn't been "Beware" spray painted on the bottom. I took no notice of the sign and carried on. As I was walking, I noticed that some of the trees where on fire. This time I didn't panic, I was thinking. Things couldn't get any worse. I suddenly noticed that the sun was going down again. It felt like days turned into minutes. As the sun's light grew stronger, and my bones grew weaker, the moon started to shine.

I wanted to feel safe. I went to my granddad and nanas flat. It was empty. On the door it said. "Don't stay here, it's not safe. GO. They will find you"

What where they talking about, and where are they? I opened the door. I found hand prints on the wall. They weren't just normal hand prints. They weren't just hand prints, there was blood slid down the wall as if they had been ragged about the room like rag dolls. I also saw bullet holes in the wall. At this point I was worried for my grandparent's lives.

I started searching for my grandparent's. I first started in the flat, but there was nothing. I searched for a full twenty four hours. But nothing. I crawled into a ball in the corner of the street. I began to cry. "Life's not worth living when everything you love and hope for is gone"

I really thought that was it. I went to my cousin's high school. On the way, I tripped. The blood began to pour out of my leg once again. I was outside the front doors of the high school. I started to yell in pain, I sounded like a badly wounded dog.

A girl ran out of the school, she had mascara running down her face. I felt like I had to help her. I was already on the ground, so I reached for the girl's hand, but she pulled away. She pointed towards the school as if to say, come with me. As I struggled to get to my feet I saw that my shoes where knackered. They where ripped and the sole was coming off.

I was in the groggy corridors of knottingley high school. It had been abandoned for several days now, and already has started rotting. I followed the girl.

"What's your name?" I asked politely.

"Hannah" She replied nervously. She smiled.

I smiled. Because I knew I wasn't alone anymore. She left the room for five minutes. Within those five minutes, I reminisced what had happened the last few days. I don't believe in supernatural beings. I don't believe they someone would do something like this with no reason.

Hannah returned with bandages and duck tape. I felt comforted. I started to cry.

She asked me what was wrong, I replied with a negative answer.

"What if my parents and grandparents are dead" "Or even my brother"

"Could I be all alone in this world?"

She shook her head. With the softest voice I had ever heard she whispered. "You have me now" She smiled. I couldn't help myself. I stood up as quickly as I could, ignoring the pain coming from my leg. I rapped my arms around Hannah. I could feel her heart thumping, weather it was with relief or fear I don't know.

Hannah took me to a room in the school where she said I could have a rest for the night with no disturbance. She left me alone in the room. As the darkness filled all the room I then again felt all alone. At this point my emotions where scrambled. Every time I was left alone, I felt like nobody cared, like nobody knew I even existed.

I closed my eyes. Tomorrow could be my last day. Tomorrow is the day I want to survive. I woke with a fright. Hannah was looking outside. She was looking through the blood stained blinds. I heard gun shots. Hannah turned her head, and stared into my eyes. She asked, "What should we do"

I didn't have an answer, I shrugged my shoulders. Her eyes started to water. It was if a tap had just been turned off and there where a few drips left. I stood up, and then collapsed. Hannah knelt down and grabbed me by the hand. My leg was infected.

The world is coming to an end I thought. I don't care about an infected leg. Hannah grabbed my hand and yanked on it violently, I immediately got up and started running. My leg felt as if it had healed, it was probably the adrenaline rush blocking out the pain.

We left the grotty school, whilst we where running through the school, there was litter scattered everywhere.

Hannah and I left the school, as we were walking down the road we heard some yelling coming from behind us. I look behind, there where soldiers stood in a line with weapons help secure in there arms. They yelled, but not in English. Me and Hannah started sprinting, we spotted an alley way and turned towards it. They started to fire there weapons. The alleyway led to a dead end. There where some fire escape ladders. I got Hannah to stand on my shoulders seen as though it was just too impossible to reach. She grabbed hold of the ladders and pulled it down.

As we hid, the only thought running through my mind was. "This is the day I survive, this is the day I survive" I was not going to die on this day. We hid for 5 minutes before we heard the sound of there tired groggy voices. They shot upward. And started yelling, I could not understand it. Hannah translated, "they said come out now! We are not going to hurt you" That was a lie, they want to kill us, I know it. I threw my coat to the ground, without saying I pushed Hannah off the scruffy building calved as a mountain. I then jumped, as I landed I looked down. My leg was pouring with blood, it reminded me of the river Styx.

As we thought we had escaped from the soldiers we saw the same old man I saw earlier. I told Hannah to be quiet. I stared right at him, he did the same. But again it looked like he didn't see me at all. I was even closer to him this time, he looked blind. I was still being cautious. I told Hannah to walk around him, I tripped. The man groaned.

We kept on walking, I spotted a shop, we ran inside. I picked up a rucksack which was on the coffee stained chair inside of the shop. I collected some energy drinks. I didn't want to lose focus. However, Hannah on the other hand was collecting sugary food. I drunk 5 energy drinks at a time, it felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach when the caffeine kicked in. My head began to hurt, and my vision went blurry. I heard another gun shot, as I looked towards my feet, I felt something moving inside my arm, it was the bullet. Hannah looked at me dazed. Was this the day I survived? Or will this be the day I die? Hannah fell to the ground, and then I followed.

I woke in a dark miserable place. But I knew I wasn't alone, So that didn't bother me. The thing that was bothering me was I did not know where my grandparents where, and it was almost Christmas. The sun was still out. I attempted to move my hand but they where tied up to a pole. I recognized that there where bars on the windows. I looked at Hannah, she was still unconscious. I heard marching outside of the rusted door which I was facing towards. There was a smashed mirror on the door, I tilted my head to see my self in the mirror. I was a disgrace. My face looked like I had been hit repeatedly with a brick.

I could hear a faint sound of talking. I didn't understand what they where talking about, and Hannah was still unconscious, so I wouldn't find out what they where talking about either. Today seemed to go longer than all the other days. I didn't even know where I was. The last time I was awake I was stood inside a shop, injured. That reminded me. Where's my bag and drinks?

Hannah awoke loudly. The rusty door opened with suspense, it was a soldier. He looked at me, and then hit me with his rifle. By now my nose was broken and I couldn't open my left eye. The soldier looked terrified, what had happened I don't know. Was I about to find out? Yes.

As the soldier stood in the corner of the room another soldier aggressively enter the room and slammed the door behind him.

I couldn't bear to watch any longer. The soldier repeatedly hitting Hannah with

his rifle. It was one of the most non human performances I had ever seen. The soldier then began to speak. I interrupted him, and said. "What the hell you do you think gives you the right to hit a girl around the face with a weapon"

He bellowed a load of nonsense. I just laughed; I didn't care what happened to me anymore. The soldier pointed towards the bars on the windows and stared at me. He was trying to tell me something, but what?

When the violent soldier left the other one referred to Dierk got down on his knees and what it looked like started to beg, for forgiveness or help I do not know. But I was certain he was begging. It shocked me that someone who was working with an evil civilization was begging for help. I looked at my hands, to tell him to untie me. But he shook his head and started to talk rough English. "Nein, I Kann nicht do that"

I knew what that meant. He grabbed his knife and put it at my throat, I started to shake. He dropped the knife and ran out of the room. The next thing I heard was gun shots and a huge thud.

Within twenty minutes Hannah and I knew the Germans weren't messing around.

Hannah tried to escape. She purposely fell to the ground. The chair made a also quiet noise, She started to chew on the ropes which tied my wrists together. After she had finished I stood up, my head felt heavy and my eyes went blurry again, I knelt down to untie Hannah. She then looked at me and held my hands tightly. Her mouth was bleeding, either because of the rotten German or because she had untied the rope with her mouth, I don't know. The violent German soldier came in and saw we both had escaped from the chairs. He stood aside and let us go. He then pushed a mysterious green button. We walked down the hall like nothing had happened, all the Germans looked down at us and nodded there heads.

As we opened the door, the sun beamed onto the white fluffy snow. Before I had been hit unconscious there was no snow, but now, now there was. There was no noise. They was no building or trees. It was like standing on cloud 9. Hannah and I came to a dead end. It was a cliff. At the bottom of the cliff there where a big patch of sand. I threw a rock down to the bottom, as the rock hit the ground the cliffs rock started to collapse and the ground where the rock landed blew up. It was a mine. In the distance I could see huge vehicles and dark characters moving towards us.

As they came even closer Hannah and I started to back away, as we backed away the cliff seemed to look even bigger to what it was before. Suddenly the ground begun to shake. After 5 minutes or so the ground stopped shaking, but Hannah carried on. She was frightened. I went to hug her but she pushed me away. Her eyes started to water and she said in a very emotional way. "Don't you see? Where going to die, in a few hours we won't be able to do anything. We will both be dead. So just stop!"

I clenched my fists, and walked away scraping my feet across the rough red sand.

"Thomas" Hannah shouted.

"Yes?" I replied gently.

"I'm sorry" Hannah said softly. She started to run towards Thomas.

Thomas opened his arms to welcome Hannah's perfect body. Hannah and Thomas began to kiss gracefully. As they where kissing they heard gun shots, they immediately stopped. Hannah pointed behind Thomas. There were 3 soldiers and a tank. These soldiers where not German. The soldiers began to shoot at both Hannah and Thomas. They ran out of bullets, but missed Thomas. Hannah started to scream. She had been shot in the waist. Thomas picked up Hannah, and started to carry Hannah away from the soldiers. The tank started to shoot it's secondary weapon, a machine gun. The bullets hit Thomas in the back multiple times. Hannah dropped to the ground as Thomas let go in pain. Thomas's heart stops. Hannah was left alone on the floor. The soldiers and the tank turned the opposite way and started to move.

"Thomas?" I got up slowly to see Thomas lay on the floor bleeding from every part of his body. There where multiple shot wounds in his back, I then turned him over the see that his face was burnt. From what, I don't know. I felt his heart. It wasn't beating.

I felt alone, I hugged his cold pale body, I kissed his cold blue lips, and shut is peaceful eyes. I couldn't move him. He looked so peaceful, his eyes closed, his hand touching my hand. It felt unreal. I might not have known him for long, but it felt like I had known him all my life. Why did the soldiers just walk away?

I couldn't feel anything. I could only hear the faint voice of an angel calling my name. Everything was the colour white. I started to worry, I'm sure I was blind, suddenly everything went black. I felt my body throbbing, I opened my eyes, and there was Hannah, leaning over me, crying. I sat up and she looked at me in shock, she hugged me. "Watch ya doin?" She grabbed hold of my body and started to squeeze as if I had been gone for years on end. My back started to sting, and then the pain started. I felt like I was being stabbed over and over again. Hannah let go and twisted my body around. She stated to rub my back which was making me feel sick.

We started to walk once again down the dull and dusty cliff. Hannah started to mumble so I asked her what was up. "Thomas, don't you ever think that where all going to die at the same time? Have you ever thought bout that?"

"No, not really" I said. I thought she was going to start crying again. But she didn't, she just carried on talking. "Today has been the longest day this week, do you think where going to die Thomas?"

"No, we can't die. If we have survived all this, then there must be a god looking out for us"

"THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD" She yelled.

"How do you know? You don't!" I started to get angry because she started saying things she didn't even know about.

"If there was a god would he have made all this happen to the world? I don't think so, do you? NO!"

I felt like I had no connection to Thomas anymore. T was if we had drifted apart in only 5 minutes. We walked further apart, and he started to slur his words when he talked. He started to sing to himself. "Every little thing, will be alright"

I joined in but he stopped singing it straight away. I looked down at my feet, my shoes where covered in dirt and blood. Thomas's clothes made Thomas look like a mass murderer.

We came to another dead end, I looked toward Hannah, and she looked lifeless and upset. I walked around her, I looked down and the brown covered fields. I saw a house with dark smoke coming out of the chimney. Hannah and I set off down the muddy hill which led off the cliff. The path which led to the house was covered in blood and fur. This was obviously a bad sign, but we paid no attention. As we approached the wooden door we heard a crackling sound coming from inside. Hannah carefully opened the door to see a chief chucking body part into a gas fire. She gasped and the soldier turned round. We started to run away in fear.

The chief chased us down the path and threw a knife. We entered what looked to be a forest. Hannah and I ended up having a discussion about what we would do if we got out of this mess. I was going to find my family after this was over. Hannah heard a noise but I couldn't hear anything. She grabbed my hand and yanked on it in the direction she could hear the noise. There where multiple tree cutters sitting down on greyish chairs. They had a happy expression on there face. We walked up to them.

"Ello ello ello. Who do we have ere then?"

"Hi, I'm Thomas, and this is Hannah. We need help... Please?"

"Aye, we can help. What's wrong"

"You're telling me you haven't heard the explosions and the shooting?"

"No, why, what?"

The tree cutters didn't even know what was going on. It was better for them not to know they where going to die in a few days, maybe.

It wasn't long till Hannah and I was out of the forest. It took a few hours but it felt like minutes. The time now was 15:53... We approached deserted town. We entered a D.I.Y shop and took some nail, a few planks of wood, and a hammer. We then approached a house, no one was in, we boarded up the windows and the door, so then the soldiers wouldn't come in and look around. Hannah went upstairs and had a rest. I wanted to find where my grandparent where, so I writ a note and nailed it to the door. I left in a flash.

As I was walking in the town I spotted two strange looking figures in the distance. I started to feel queasy, and fell to the floor. My head started to ache, I blinked, but when I opened my eyes I weren't laid in a street, but laid on my bed in my room. I pulled the cover over my cold body and then gently put my head on my pillow.

I opened my eyes to my alarm going off. It wasn't my alarm, it was the alarm of the house Hannah was in, I was laid back in the street wet and cold. I looked at my watch, it was 19:16. I rushed to the house, I ran into the door. It was locked. I climbed the drain pipe into the loft, as I was in the loft I could hear Hannah crying out for help. I struggled to get the loft door open, it finally opened but I fell straight through onto my head and down the stairs. The front door got forced open, in ran my brother. In shock I grabbed his ankle.

"What the hell are you doing here Thomas" my brother said whilst panting.

"Looking for you, mum and dad. And I'm also looking for nana and granddad" I murmured. Jordan (my brother) ran up stairs to see what was happening. As Hannah was screaming, and I was down on the floor almost unconscious I heard Jordan shout "Stop!" I then heard firing of a pistol. My brother got pushed towards the stairs and fell. He had been shot in between the eyes. I began to cry and started to hit him in between his rib cage knowing that I would not be able to bring him back to life but trying anyway. There was then another shooting sound, I was ready for the worst. I walked upstairs dreading I would see Hannah dying on the floor. I got to the door, I opened it. Hannah was laid on the bed with the pistol in her hand. She had shot a middle aged man. He had a name tag on his jacket. 'Paul' it red. I told Hannah to open the window. After she had opened them I got Hannah to help me pick up Paul and toss him out of the window.

"Don't have a guilty conscience Hannah" I whispered. "He killed my brother"

Thomas and I lay on the bed, we held hands. he kissed me on my soft cheek. I smiled as if I had never had a kiss before. I snuggled up to him, closed my eyes, and fell into a deep sleep. My mind then created the worst nightmare possible. Thomas and I where walking towards a cliff. He hugged me and whispered in my ear. "Goodbye" he then ran and jumped off the cliff. I then followed. Before I hit the rough rocks at the bottom I awoke with a fright, I could hardly remember the nightmare I had just had, I was sweating like mad. Thomas sat up and hugged me. He told me what time it was.

22:30 I told him we needed to get out of here. The man had told me that soldiers where going to raid this town and other towns near by at midnight.

Thomas and Hannah rushed out of the house to get to another town. On there way they found a moped with low fuel. It still had the keys in. Thomas jumped on the front and gave Hannah the only helmet. He set off down the road as fast as he could. Not forgetting about his brother he dug a hole in the gravel and buried him before he left.

Hannah grabbed hold of Thomas's waist. It began to rain, Thomas span out of control because of the coldness of the rain. He flew through the air and hit the ground. It was if a car had come crashing down and hit his body. Hannah landed in a skip full of bricks. Hannah climbed out of the skip and collapsed onto Thomas's body. Hannah then felt Thomas's pulse, it wasn't there. She then tried feeling for his heart, that wasn't there either. She thought he would be ok like he was last time his heart had stopped. She waited. And waited. But there was no sign of life. She was alone. She took Thomas's jacket and wrist watch to keep warm and to know what time it was. She carried on down the grotty, misty road.

Chapter 2

Hannah looked back to see if Thomas had moved, but there was still no sign of life. As I was walking down the road I came up to s motorway, I could see a pile of cars. Two of them looked to be on fire, part of the fire started moving towards me. It was a woman, I moved to the side looking at the woman in fear. I then saw that there was a baby a pouch on her back. It was horrific. I ran towards the cars to see if there where any other signs of life. I saw the same man I had seen with Thomas, it was the blind man. I reached for his hand, but before I grabbed it. The man bellowed

"Who's that?"

"Hannah" I replied cautiously.

The blind man did not tell Hannah his name, he held her hand and kept murmuring, "Follow me, follow me, follow me" Hannah started to worry, she didn't know weaver she was in trouble, or weaver she was in safe hands. The man took Hannah to a take away. He then said "sit down" Hannah did as she was told. She started to ponder weaver the man was actually blind or if he was just acting, he wouldn't know where he was going if he was blind, he doesn't even have a cane. He sat down and folded his arms. "So Charlotte what would you like to eat" the man said suddenly.

"Excuse me my names not Charlotte" the main stared and raised his eyebrows.

"Yes you are" he said with a groggy voice. Hannah knew the man was not blind. The man clenched his fist and punched the table, he then repeated. "You are my daughter, you are Charlotte"

I was staring the scruffy old man in the eyes. He was looking straight ahead. He rested his head on the table and started to mumble. "Were all going to die. You, me, and your family." As he had his head on the table I stood up and ran, he instantly looked up and started yelling. "Get back here you ignorant little bitch" I kept on running, I didn't want to stay with that monastic man.

I ran out of the restaurant, there was a boy, sat on a bench. He had a cover over his pale body. His hair was curly and his eyes where gleaming. He looked muscular and very handsome. I scraped my feet across the floor hoping he was going to recognize me.

The boy sat up and stared at Hannah. The boy then ran up towards Hannah and started to hug Hannah. "It's me, Hannah it's me babe" Hannah looked towards the boy. They hugged passionately, and then kissed. The boys name was James, Hannah was James's girl friend. They held hands, Hannah forgot about the man in the restaurant because of the shock from seeing her beloved. The man came out of the restraint. His face bright red, full of rage. He violently reached for his back pocket and pulled out a Luger P08 pistol. Hannah watched the man carefully, there was then a gun shot sound. The scruffy old man fell to the floor. James and I looked to our right, Thomas was stood there with a rifle in his arms. And bandages rapped around his body, arms, and legs. I squeezed James's arm in fear, Thomas was dead, and it could not be possible for Thomas to have survived multiple shot wounds and a moped crash.

He started to walk, and kept on tripping. He dropped the rifle and walked up to the man. He kicked him in the leg then stomped on his head a couple of times.

"Thomas!" I shouted. He's dead. He did it once more, and walked in between me and James shoving us away from each other

I didn't want to say anything to her, she left me there to die. She didn't even stay to see if I would have pulled through. She just took my jacket, wrist watch and went. It's been half an hour since I woke up with a German stood over my cold dead body. I stood up, failed to break his neck, but eventually took his rifle and killed him with his own weapon. His dog went to bite me but before it did I shot that too. But now, I was walking on my own, silence creeping over my soldier, noise within my head.

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