applespice: it is a sparkly fairy ([walking dead] atlanta)
How About Them Apples? ([personal profile] applespice) wrote2012-02-20 07:13 pm
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LJ Idol - Week 15 - Preoccupied

This. Is. Bullshit.

First they foist these so-called "11th hour recruits" on us in the barracks - no warning whatsoever - and now we're expected to deal with them in training as well? I get that things have been going kind of pear-shaped lately, but surely we haven't come to this!

Military training ain't no fun and games; that's a fact. I know they make out in those old films like it was a bitch then, but that's nothing compared to the current setup. Today, for example, we've been dropped off in the middle of what used to be some rinky dink one-stoplight town in Bum Fuck, Egypt - and they didn't tell us 'til we got here that we'd be up against live targets out there.

Well, not live. You know what I mean.

Either way, here we are, locked and loaded and thinking we're in for another "shoot the wooden outline depicting a bad guy" session and we're hit with the knowledge that this time, the fuckers can come after us, too! With those so-called "recruits" sitting right there like it ain't no thing!

Listen, the military might be A-OK with that kind of blood on their hands, but I'm sure as hell not. Yeah, there'll be spotters and snipers and bigwigs out there keeping an eye on us, but I've heard about this kind of training. At least one recruit dies every time. Some of the guys say the bigwigs let it happen, to teach us that you can't underestimate the enemy or some crap like that. No matter how you slice it, I know - I just know - that it's going to be one of those cute little 11th hours that takes a dirt nap today. And I just don't know if I can watch.

We come off the convoy and line up in the hot June sunshine, ten-hut, etc. Get the rundown on the place. It ain't much (most people assume that Army grunts are dumb as a box of hair so they keep things short and to the point), but it'll do for a tense afternoon. We're to clear out the little town before us - leave no bogeys walking. Lots of saluting and we're off to the races.

I decide early in the game that I'm going to shadow a particular 11th hour; cover them, you know. Watch their back. I choose Anderson, an impetuous redhead I'd noticed during training.

"Hey, Anderson," I call as I approach. "What d'you say we hit this thing together?"

Anderson responds with a slightly-curled lip and a shift in weight. Of course, these types are eager to prove themselves - probably not crazy about sharing any potential glory by teaming up. Still, it's the right thing to do. That's got to be obvious.

"Fine. But don't crowd me."

We jog off into the worn maze of streets. It's amazing how quickly nature creeps back in after humanity has left. It's only been about five years since the outbreak, but already trees are starting to grow through windows and weeds have choked all but the hardiest of sidewalks. I take the lead on Anderson, but turn to check back frequently.

There is a sudden tattoo of gunfire in the near distance (everything in this town is the "near distance") and Anderson flinches at the sound. What can you expect? Some people just aren't cut out for combat duty.

"Watch it." Anderson nods at the split-levels we're passing. "The noise'll draw them out."

Typically paranoid. The gunfire wasn't that close, but here's Anderson with gun at the ready, eyes strafing the street for any signs of deadheads.

"You gotta calm down," I say. "You don't want to show the guys in charge that you're jumpy."

"Jumpy?" Anderson snorts.

"Yeah, jumpy. The idea is to be alert, not flinching out of your skin every time you hear a gun go off."

Anderson glares contemptuously at me then resumes the periscope-head maneuver, gun up.

"Listen," I say. "I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, but it is what it is. You know better than anyone that you can't be jumping around like you've got a bee up your skirt every time you hear someone shoot a --"

"Watch out!"

I don't even see it coming. A hand grabs me by the collar and drags me backwards, throwing me off my feet.

"Aaargh!" I find myself on my back, staring up at the wasted face of what used to be a Taco Bell worker. Shreds of purple uniform hang off the emaciated body - he's even still got part of the hat. His eyes are all scratched up, marble-blind, but he doesn't need to see me to get a nice big bite. My gun clatters to the ground, and I feel a warm jet of urine hit the inside of my leg.

The gun report is so loud that my teeth clack together. The grip on my neck is gone, and I feel the press of warm, human fingers on my wrist.

"Get up, you asshole!" I open my eyes. Anderson is standing over me, a few strands of red hair dangling down toward my face. "There'll be more."

She hauls me to my feet. The Taco Bell worker, now practically headless, remains on the ground. "Next time, keep your fucking eyes open!" She hisses, "Or I'll tell everyone you had your ass saved by a girl!"

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