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Not A Romance
Bullets flying. Explosions shaking the earth. People running, falling, dying. All around me is chaos.
“Squirrelly!” I scream as I shove through the crowd, going the opposite way they are all running.
“Squirrelly!” I scream again. Somebody falls to my left. I keep going. I pull out my gun, no longer in fear that I might hurt someone. I just want to get to Squirrelly before they do. I dive into the throng, bullets coming from just beyond the crowd and from my gun. The smell of blood and smoke and death hangs in the air.
I’ve pushed through the crowd and I see them. A huge hoard of mutant fish people. And Squirrelly.
“Squirrelly,” I whisper. I charge ahead in a fury, trying to save him before they notice him.
“Squirrelly!” I screech, and he looks up and stares deep into my eyes. He whispers, “Pega,” just before a bullet goes right through his chest.
You see, a while ago it wasn’t like this. That was before the mutants showed up. Everything was peaceful. Squirrelly and I pretty much ignored each other. Everything was normal. And then the mutant fish people showed up. They took over the town. At first, me, Squirrelly, and some other kids made up a secret rebel army. We stole guns and things. We fought them. Most of us are dead now. The town is in ruins. The fish people drive through it on huge, amphibious vehicles. We call them the Crocodiles, much faster on water than on land. But powerful on both. We can’t escape. It’s too late for that now.
But they’ve found us out. Our secret army. They plan to kill us one by one. And so they have. First they took Bird in the night. No one ever saw him again. Then they publicly shot Chippy and Shakespeare, as a demonstration. No one knows what happened to Abby or Lila. Beth quit out because she was too scared. They got her anyway. They tried to take my life, but Brad saved me. However, they killed him. They turned Cupid into a mutant. Ray-ray too. Naru went down fighting when they confronted her on the street. BB and Rob were ambushed one day while walking home from the new school. Nat and C-Riss were mercilessly stabbed to death during a training session at school. Fich, B-Playa, and Charles were hung at the gallows. Now just Squirrelly, Chili, Bob, and me are left. We keep at it. Every day. Until today.
Today was the one big attack that no one was expecting. In the process of having this secret army, Squirrelly and I have become extremely close. Too close. I can’t be afraid to lose him, because that could happen at any second. But I am afraid. I can’t lose him. I just can’t. But the mutants can. No one was expecting them to attack. Except us. I was stationed near the ruins of the Wawa. Chili was stationed near the ruins of the gas station. Bob was stationed near the new school. And Squirrelly was stationed near the old school. Right where they were. He always loved to be in the middle of the action. I was scared. For him. I always am, nowadays. I couldn’t lose him. I just couldn’t.
When people started running, screaming, and dying from explosions and gunshots, I became EXTREMELY on edge. Finally, I couldn’t help myself. I told Bob and Chili into the headset I was wearing, “I’m going to go help Squirrelly.” I started running through the crowd, which is how we got to the beginning.
So, he was shot. I screamed, and ran to his side. I started dragging him to the nearest hospital tent I knew of. Shots were flying right past me. I didn’t care. I just needed to save Squirrelly. I dragged him past other dying people, past ruins of old buildings, past the skinny streets left in the town. I finally arrived at the hospital tent with him. I found Kauf in the tent, tending to his wounded sister. I pulled Squirrelly onto a gurney. Kauf looked him over.
“I’ll see what I can do.” He pulled off Squirrelly’s shirt and grabbed a clean, sterile white cloth and put it over the wound. I had been looking at Squirrelly’s face, but I couldn’t stand the sight of his cloudy, almost dead looking eyes. So I focused on what Kauf was doing. The cloth had turned red almost immediately. I winced. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the pain he was going through. Kauf cleaned the skin around the wound and put on some odd salve, probably of his own creation. He then took a needle and thread and began sewing the wound back together.
“All we can do now is hope and pray.” I nodded and stroked Squirrelly’s curly, brown hair, stained with blood. I closed his eyes for him.
“Now he could be sleeping.” I murmured. Kauf nodded in acknowledgement and turned back to his sister. I stroked Squirrelly’s auburn hair, his porcelain skin. But I couldn’t forget the look of his dead, china blue eyes.
I put my hand slightly above his mouth to see if he was breathing. I felt a very slight, weak breath on my hand. He was alive! But for how long?
“Kauf, what was in that salve?” I questioned. Kauf turned toward me.
“Things that will save his life.” I nodded, not wanting to pry. Kauf has always preferred to be secretive, even before the mutants. I turned back to Squirrelly. I stroked his hair and skin long into the night, when all sounds of battle had died out. The shift switched and Kauf was replaced with Trumpet. I stayed by Squirrelly’s side, holding his hand, and ended up falling asleep on his chest.
When I woke up, I felt a warm breath on the side of my face. I sat up and realized that the breath belonged to… Squirrelly! His eyes were open, but only slightly. Tired, lethargic life, but life just the same. I screamed in joy and threw my arms around him. He chuckled softly. We stayed like that for what seemed like forever. When we finally pulled away, he looked straight into my eyes.
“Pega, you saved me.” He whispered, his words slurring together. I nodded, and kissed him gently on the cheek. Smiling, he lay down and fell asleep again.
Things were uneventful after that. Squirrelly slowly regained health, but he always held his shoulder in an awkward position, to keep his wound from reopening. And although you may have thought this story was romantic and wonderful and mushy-gushy and all that crap, this is not a romance. This is a survival story. It was, is, and always will be. This is Pega signing out. Over and out.