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Athanasa

A Short Story Thing

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A write-up of a random skirmish on PR:ArmA, in prose form, from the character's point of view. Still working out how to write this sort of thing, or even if it's worth writing. Gotta say, this short story thing turned out to be pretty horrible (as in, horrible things happen), not really sure if it's the right message to be sending out about the stuff that goes on when I try to play.

Constructive criticism welcome, as well as compliments and so forth (even better if you can pinpoint the bit you liked, so I can remember and build on it for future reference). As I've never actually been in combat in real life, any advise or information from someone who has would be great. It hasn't got a title yet, and I don't think it ever will. Lack of names for characters is intentional - partially because I can't remember who was in the room with me at the time, and because if I kill a named character off, I then can't really use their name in later write-ups, because that'd be silly. Also, I suspect that the overall quality of the writing is lower than usual, as I'm not used to writing prose on a phone, and a small screan makes it hard to re-read what I've written to proof-check.





The Story Thing
Gunfire chattered outside the building, accompanied by the ping fwip noises as it hit the whitewashed walls. She crouched behind a rifleman whose name she didn't know, sweeping her rifle between the windows, for all the good it would do her. A sniper rifle really wasn't the best choice for this sort of situation. Then again, it wasn't meant to end up like this. The trucks had been happily rolling northwards on the road when the gunfire started, somewhere near the petrol station. Everyone who was able had got out of the cars and into the nearest cover: the buildings. That had been, what, two minutes ago? Not a long time in the grand scale of things, she reflected, but a long time when bullets are flying.

Groans of wounded men drifted through the air. She itched to get to them, patch them up, to save a life in this godawful mess... But that would be suicide. She had no idea where the enemy was or how many there were - running out would just add her to the growing list of wounded and dead.

It took a while to notice the gunfire had stopped. A dark part of her brain hissed that it was because everyone else was dead. Given that she no longer heard even pained moans, she suspected it was true. Maybe they - the enemy - were scanning the area for survivors. Survivors like the guy whose name she didn't even know, and her. They'd sweep the buildings soon, finishing off the unconcious with bullets to the head.

If they stayed put, they'd be flushed out. If they made a dash for it, they would probably be shot. Probably was better than certainly, but when to run? It made sense to wait a while, hopefully to time it with the enemies withdrawing from their firing positions... But if they waited too long, they'd be cornered.

In the end, the decision was made for her. Peeking out one more time, her fellow soldier dashed out of the door, heading across the courtyard.

She swore and scrambled forwards, almost skidding over on the plaster dust on the floor. Safety in numbers - if they crossed on their own, they'd be cut down. If they crossed together, there was a chance that the gunman might pause for a moment to pick a target. She sprinted forwards, a couple of meters behind the other soldier. Gunshots ran out behind her - she hunched her shoulders and cringed but continued running. Ahead, her fellow stumbled, a red mist puffing up on his left leg, causing him to veer away from the doorway ahead as his leg gave way. More shots, blossoms of red on his back, some slowed by body armour, some not.

The impacts threw him forwards, into the wall. She watched, still running forwards, as he slid down the wall to the floor, curling up slightly into a protective ball, for all the help it would do. Something hit her in the back, but she kept moving. Another impact on her right shoulder, and she was through the door, grabbing at the stair rail with her left nand and using her momentum to swing herself around and up the first steps of the stairs. Her ears picked up a clatter behind her, but she didn't stop to check what it was.

Adrenaline was keeping the pain at bay for now, pure panic keeping her from rationally realising that she'd been shot. Climbing the stairs was harder than it should be - breathing was awkward, as if she'd sprinted far further than the twenty odd meters across the courtyard. Still, she had to get up the stairs - a comparatively easily defended position.

But she never got there. Adrenaline can only counter so much - her foot slipped on a patch of plaster dust on the the last step, and her exhausted body could not correct its balance in time. She tried to reach out with her right arm to break her fall, noting with a vague sense of alarm that it not only failed to move, but was also not holding her rifle. Must have dropped it earlier. Then she fell flat on her face. It was almost funny, having come this far only to trip and fall. She chuckled darkly to herself, and then the pain hit.

It took away what little breath she had left, bringing tears of pain to her eyes. The suddenness of its assault induced a reflexive gasp of agony, which only made things worse. Somehow she retained the presence of mind required to keep herself from screaming, although shortness of breath may well have played a part as well. Shallow breaths came in ragged, hissing gasps as she lay face down on the floor, clenching and unclenching her left hand like a cat’s claw. Think, think. Identify the cause of the pain, find it, analyse it. Easier said than done – with the initial morbid thrill of flight now shattered, everything seemed to hurt equally.

Probably sensory overload, muttered the rational part of her brain. That part of her brain could always be relied upon to make some sort of useful contribution, although she didn’t always listen to it. It was probably also closely related to the nasty little pessimist voice, too. Logic had probably prevented her from screaming, maybe, possibly. They don’t know how badly you’re hurt. Any information she had that they didn’t was power to her. Information is power. No idea where she’d heard that from, but it was something she had clung to throughout her life… which didn’t look like it was going to last, if she was completely honest with herself. Still, if they didn’t know she was down, they might just assume she’d done as intended; set herself up, crouched under a window and training her sights onto the stairwell at head height. It might give them pause in coming to find her. They might even leave her alone entirely… or throw a grenade through the window.

Analyse the damage, where was she shot? Shortness of breath could suggest a broken rib, but it was probably worse. Maybe a punctured or collapsed lung. Treating other people was one thing, would it be possible to apply the needed pressure and angles to treat herself from the floor? In fact, were her medical supplies even still intact? Analyse the damage, her entire upper torso felt like it might as well be on fire, hard to focus. At least having something to focus on, some sort of procedure, seemed to be keeping the pain at bay. Or at least in the corner of her mind.

The medical pack. On her back, its weight pressing her into the floor. That wasn’t helping breathing at all, and it would make rolling over almost impossible. She tried to move her arms, but the right outright refused, complaining with another agonising jolt of pain: another stifled scream, coming out as a hiss like an enraged cat. Reflexively she tried to curl into a ball to make herself a smaller target which only made it worse. Shuddering, she fought to regain control over herself, eyes clenched shut as she forced her twitching muscles to relax again. Right arm out of action, then. Definitely no chance of being able to treat herself effectively one handed.

Wriggling her functioning arm around, she freed it from the shoulder strap of her pack, then reached awkwardly for the knife attached to said strap. Flopping about on the floor, she used it to saw through the shoulder strap on the right arm. Progress was painfully slow, literally. Each movement jerked her shredded shoulder, sending flashes of agony jolting around her body.



[Incomplete, will continue later]

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Updated 12-06-2011 at 06:47 PM by Athanasa

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Comments

  1. Athanasa's Avatar
    Feel free to make comments even before it's completed. Doubt I'll get around to editing more onto it for a while.
  2. Arithea's Avatar
    I like it--it's very vivid, very much in the moment. You get a good sense of the near-panic of the battlefield from the microcosm of one soldier.

    Also, welcome to TG. Good to see another female around here. That makes at least three or four of us; at this rate we'll have our own locker room before we know it.
  3. Athanasa's Avatar
    \o/

    Sent the link of this to various roleplaying friends, to see what they think of it too.

    Edit: Edited what's there already slightly, people picked up on typos, odd choices of words etc. Always good to have someone else proof-read it.
    Updated 11-30-2011 at 06:43 PM by Athanasa
  4. Athanasa's Avatar
    Not sure if I should actually post up the ending to this, as it's kind of depressing...

    SPOILER: EVERYONE DIES. Alone.
  5. Arithea's Avatar
    Go for it, unless you just don't want to kill the reader's hope entirely or change the tone of the piece.
  6. Athanasa's Avatar
    Fair enough! Dumping what I have so far.

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