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Doctor Simmons

I trudged through the muck and the gloom of the streets before me. My boots paid me little relief in the moisture of the clod path as they became soaked through. I thought hard about taking them off for the better advance of my progress. However, seeing the dead swimming head-down among the rubble of the fresh war zone, I decided my feet did not need to meet such impurities directly.

Daybreak broke through the clouds ahead of me to the East. Outlined against the waxing light was the camp of the newly made veterans. I saw the silhouettes of the tents and the defined shadow of a small stationary building. I made my way carefully through the muck, keeping away from the decaying flesh around me. I swallowed my pride – which felt like bile—and focused my eyes upon my destination ahead. Instead of taking in the smell of death I focused my attention of the soreness of my back. For hours now I had been trekking the maimed countryside with my pack of medical supplies bearing weight against me. It had the many tools and medicines I would need for the days to come as relief to the warriors of truth.

Even though my pain was welled up inside me to a place I would not reach, tears stung my eyes and blurred my vision, making my destination on the horizon shift into nothing by specks of worn green and brown. My progress started to falter as I became weary from hours of walking. As the sun rose higher in the sky I looked farther and farther back into my past for the motivation to keep moving. I saw the old and distinguished dean of medicine hand me my diploma from medical school. I saw my brother charge into the world of chaos and hatred. I saw his mangled form on the ground surrounded by a pool of crimson blood. I saw the tears fall from my eyes again and again by his bed side as I held his lifeless hand, wishing for my only family to come back from the land of death. I saw the scorn of the many men who rejected the possibility of a woman with my short stature to make it this far into the wilderness of suffering to help what was left of my people. They rejected me, a volunteer willing to do what many would refuse even in the line of demotion! I was no member of the military, I understood, but I was qualified beyond their needs.

Needless to say, my help was granted and I was sent here. First in a helicopter, and then forced to travel on foot because of the mountainous range around me. That was yesterday. I had been walking since the sun had fallen down. Midday came in a gust of bitter heat with humidity levels rising. I wanted to stop and rest. I wanted to sleep for a year under the shelter of a tree, but there were none. I could find no spot on the ground clean of blood or muck for me to sit upon and catch my breath. Even if I did not mind the dirt, which as this point I might welcome as a blanket of darkness, I could not let my supplies ruin with the moisture. They needed to be hung up out of the reach of life and contamination. The area around me was a valley though, one stripped of life entirely. The rain that had fallen as the battle had progressed was the first this land had seen in two years. It was ironic that there was no one left to enjoy this miracle except for the aliens to the country who had made camp ahead of me.

I reached for my canteen that hung by my side and gulped my last of the clean water. It was hot and bitter, but refreshing all the same. The camp loomed closer and closer. My vision started to falter and I started to trip needlessly over my own two feet. I would never make it. I would never save the lives that needed me so badly right now. Who knows how many are already lost as I trudged so slowly towards them? I did not fall though; I did not succumb to the weakness that wished to engulf me. I kept on, no matter how much it tore my insides, or how much it felt like it tore my insides.

At last, the entrance of the camp was before me. I could grasp the guns of the guards standing as protectors and informers. They both looked at me with shock. I handed one, a military man much stronger than me, my pack. The other stood where he was. Cadet Strive, whose name I later found out, led me to the sick tent, one of green tarp and wooden pilings keeping it in place. My advancement slowed, and the good cadet noticed my fatigue. He picked me up, much against my will; however, I did little to fight back, for I could do nothing but feel instant relief.

I did not want to ever walk again, among the living or the dead. After what felt like not long enough, the cadet set me down on my own two shaky feet. A mad adorned in obvious commandment looked down upon me. I suck all of my weak pain in and let him have a good look at me in my borrowed military garb and my new, shining silver dog tags. His face, stern and serious from years of strict command broke out into a weather beaten smile that warmed my cold and dreary heart almost instantly.

“Thank you, Doctor Simmons, for coming.”




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