You know that feeling, where something is waiting for you?

It's a primal fear. Like when you're a kid and you get woken up at three 'o clock in the morning during the winter months by some giant unknown moving down your street. You huddle under your covers and you can feel that thing go by, a rattling, roaring, coughing something that you just know is trying to get you. By the time in life you're old enough to realize it was just a snowplow you've forgotten about it. By this time I know covers can't save me.

I miss that.

That ignorance.

I don't know how long I've been here. I can't remember when I stopped screaming. I don't remember ever starting, but my throat is raw and bloody so I must have. This rasping is nothing compared to the chafing in the back of my mind. To the point where I stop wishing they would go away, and wish they would get it over with.

I'm just sitting here.

I think they're waiting for me to try and escape, if they think like that. Toy with me. There's a window not thirty feet in front of me, the only thing I can see anymore. They'd like me to go for it. To prove that my hope was only a fleeting illusion, to not just kill me, but crush me. They told me they can't think like that, but they aren't sitting here. Big men with big words, backed by big ideas. They don't know shit. If they did, I'd be dead by now. But I'm not. I'm sitting here.

Here is an office, or what was an office. Now it's not even bathed in the dim glow of emergency lights anymore. The little shits melt through the systems like big black termites. All I can see is the landing beacons outside the window. If I stare at them long enough maybe I can get there by sheer thought. It's worth a try. I'm not going anywhere otherwise.

Those goddamn, goddamn clanks. The pitter-patter like raindrops on a tin roof. A horde of blind men tapping their way through the vent shafts above my head. I won't scream this time.

My motion sensor doesn't work. If it did, it would only tell me what I already know. I'm fucked. So I sit perfectly still against a table which is against a door. A barricade that is effective only in soothing my mind. It won't stop them, but it helps to have my back to something that has even the illusion of being solid.

Fucked. All that training, just to be fucked.

I'm not bothering to pray. I've never given God the time of day my entire life, and he doesn't owe me anything. Custer might have prayed. Thought he had it bad, Custer. At least you can talk to Indians. At least he didn't die alone. But this is my last stand, and mine only.

Compromise here would be about as useful as trying to talk down a bullet already speeding towards your brain. Maybe they're as stupid as the big men said they are. Maybe they just don't want to listen.

Let's count them off. Avery, Contrano, Williams, Granirch. Yetland. His motion sensor here might be useful, if his head hadn't melted on it like a candle. Oh wait, no. The motion sensor is useless, because I already know where things stand.

One more for the list, fuckers- I'm not done yet. I have a plan. It's a simple one, so pay attention. I run like hell for the window and hope that, A- The fall doesn't kill me, B- The bugs don't kill me, and, C- I don't kill myself before I get around to doing it.

Shit like this always works in the movies.

Somehow, I've found the strength to stand.

Everything but the window leaves focus as I barrel towards it. I think I'm screaming again, which isn't a good idea, and probably serves to distract only myself. The window is close, closer, and then I'm through it.

The impact makes enough noise that I'm sure every fucking bug in the place heard it. They know where I am anyway, but I don't want to bring anymore.

I didn't see it. I didn't see it. I'm fucking stupid, and all that training did not a fucking thing for me. Of course they were waiting. Did you really think you were going to make it you dumb fuck? I've accelerated the inevitable. I've lost.

The bug on the side window sill buries its tail in my back. I can feel it scrape off my spine before plunging into my vitals. I've never been in so much pain. I've never been so mad.

The roaring in my ears stops and I realize my gun is empty, and that I've been firing it into the face of the bug.Then all the sounds stop, and I can't move my arms anymore. He got me.

That fucker got me.

Not yet. fading I've got more ammo, I've got some fucking grenades. fadingWhy can't I move, goddammit move your arms you stupid fuck. fadingI can feel the acid on my face. My lips have burned away. fading

At least I'll die smiling.


Author's Note (Added 1\29\07): Of the three dark shorts that I remember writing and posting, this is the only short that remains. This is because out of all of them it is the best, and one of my least embarrassing older works. It went through a rewrite at some time past, which helps. It could definitely stand to be longer, and I think it falters a bit towards the end.

This story was my first attempt at writing in first person POV, and is the precursor to my more thorough delve into that style with Artificial. So it least it serves some sort of purpose as a literary excercise.

-Caleb Nova