Rout


One week tell I find harmony.

One week tell everything subsides.

One week tell I die.

Two sweaty grey furry hands clutched worn faded yellow glass goggles. His firm grip tighten against the plastic rims. A quick injection of lead to the head will do.

Six steel bunk beds aligned in rows of three rested symmetrical of each other. Bars of Bright blinding daylight reached into the humid barracks through the dusty windows.

The occupants of one of the beds rested his sweat drenched aching back against the head frame. His short white muzzle half open, panting with deep breaths. Each inhale assaulted his burning lungs from the humidity, and rancid smell of perspiration that built up inside the insulated cylinder barrack.

Tim set his goggles onto his aching lap. He tugged on his faded sweat stained gray t-shirt, fanning it out as it made rustles. He shut his heavy eyes and made meek nerdy grunts.

Ugh, I hate this feeling so much!

A gruff voice seized Tim's attention. "How the hell did we end up with someone like you." Gulzer rested on a bunk next to his. He leaned back with his arms crossed behind his head. His M1 helmet covered half his face.

"U-ugh, what?" Tim halted, staring at the other grey squirrel. His mouth left half open and a brow raised. Here we go again.

"Great, an idiot too." Gulzer tipped his helmet back. His blue eyes peeked from the shelter, narrowing a cold stern glare at his teammate. "I know who'll die first."

"Ngh, nuh-uh...Just because I handle..." He tapped his finger against his chin, stammering from the words stuck in his throat. "What was it called again?" He leaned his head back. "That thing, ugh, that spits hot fire." Tim stared up in the air with a blank face. I'm an idiot.

"Oh you stupid fuck." Gulzer pressed his thumb and pointer finger against his nose bridge, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "Do you even know what you do in our battalion?" He scooted himself against the side of the bed towards Tim; His scrawny short legs swayed a few inches above the floor.

"I burn things." Tim's teeth appeared through a slither of his grin. "That's all I need to know."

Pull the trigger, spray flames, and no aim! I hope...

Gulzer extended his right fist, he poked his thumb out, setting his left hand's pointer finger on it. "Position." He shot a cold glare at Tim. "If your canisters gets shot, y'know what happens?"

Sweet relief of...

Death.

Tim set his hands together. "Ka-boom!" He burst them apart making a poor attempt of a exploding sound. He collapsed his back onto the stiff bed with his arms wrapped around himself, kicked his bare feet up in the air while they flailed about, and maniacally laughed.

"...Fucking idiot," Gulzer said below his breath, narrowing his brows and crooking his lip to the side.

A low southern drawl voice cut them off, "Knock it off, y'hear."

"Shut it one eye!" Gulzer spun his body halfway to face the other old grey squirrel across from him. His narrow eyes locked with a partly visible brown one that hid behind a book. Neither of the two flinched.

"That's no way to speak to a elder." He set the book in front of his face, tilted his head to the side, and licked his thumb to turn the page. "Y'hear."

Oh! Get him Caribbean, put that butt in his place!

"For the love of Glubrsh. The only reason you're okay with it is because you're not front line."

"I reckon I am." Caribbean blinked, trailing his eye up the page to settle on Gulzer. "Y'hear." He grinned.

"You sit behind us taking pop shots!" Gulzer wiggled from his bed, making his way to Caribbean. "And not only that." He set his stern clinched paws onto the end of the bunk bed's railing. "Your sorry ass can barely pass training."

"It's not how it's done, it's that it's done." Caribbean plucked a pen off of a oak night stand beside his bed, placing it between the pages and shutting the book. He set it down onto his lap. Caribbean let his body lax, kept his unflinching eye on Gulzer, and clasped his lips together to half-heartedly smile. "You city folk always get riled up when it's humid."

"I'm not pissed about that." Gulzer helmet slumped forward, blocking his vision. "I'm pissed." He raised one hand, pointing up at the ceiling. "That you're all incompetent!" His extended arm came crashing down, his fingers clenched into a fist as he swept it by.

Tim shook his head side to side and rolled his eyes. He's so angry and dramatic as always.

"Well I say boy." He paused. "Your bravado sure is showing. And I gotta say." His benign expression faded, his brows narrowed and his eye slanted. "I've seen military boys like you come and go." He leaned forward and set his arms out, placing one hand next to his pajama's pocket; His itchy trigger fingers idled. "Y'all ain't nothing but huff and puff."

Sweat beat down Gulzer's face.

Tim sat silence, he pulled out a bucket of fried chicken from under his bunk as he watched the two. He munched on it's rough peppered skin, tasting it succulent greasy flesh, and savoring each delightful tantalizing bite.

Brevity of painful silence went by from the two. Tim's annoying smacking prevented any other sound.

"I reckon hotshot like you better cool down." Silence ensued between the two. "Unlike you, I don't miss my target, nor do..." A crude grin stretched along Caribbean's muzzle. "I shoot blanks."

Gulzer's face went cherry red, his lower lip trembled. "H-how the fuck do you know that!" Sweat poured down his face, blotching the dusty wooden floor.

Caribbean kept a stern stoic stare. "I see everything, hear everything, and know everything." He clenched his fist, pretended to draw a pistol, and pointed his index and middle a finger at Gulzer with his thumb pulled back. "That's why I'm called Long Caribbean." He made a half-assed attempt of gun shot.

Got him dead on as always!

An acerbic British feminine voice seized the room's attention."Tch, that's because you go on and on." Her steel toe boots clattered against the wood floor. She brushed her blond thick pony tail off of her shoulder. "And take in garbage." She stopped at Gulzer's bunk bed across from Caribbean's. She narrowed her eyes as she stared at Gulzer. "He also read your letters." She pulled out slips of crinkled paper from her charcoal baggy pants' pocket.

She stepped to Galzer and extend them to him. "When you write them, you should mail them."

"I-I did!" He snatched them out of her hand, his trembling eyes glanced at his writing, his pupils shrunk. He spoke below his breath, "It...it really is mine." He reared his pinken sweaty head up towards the brown chipmunk, narrowing his eyes and twitching brows. "How the hell did you get these!" His helmet slid down, stopping at his muzzle.

Tim's lip curled into a smile, a low snicker escaped his muzzle. Oh-no! Don't laugh. He snorted, covering his mouth as his eyes went round.

"Tim." Gulzer's eyes slanted, the paper made a crinkling sound as it balled up in one of his shaking stern fist.

"I swear!" Tim shot up, setting his sweaty hands onto the end railing of his bunk. "I didn't do anything." He extend his body out. "I laughed because you're an idiot." The right side of Tim's half open mouth crooked up. Bulbs of moisture blotched his face.

I didn't mean that.

Gulzer clenched teeth screech as he grind them, his buck tooth cracked. "Oh? I am, huh!" He balled his tense sweaty paws into a fist. "Coming from the guy who couldn't do drill!"

"I...I get mixed up, it's not like I'm that off." Tim faced away, staring at his bedside. I mean...I'm only off a few seconds, right? Yeah. Tim bobbed his head. He reared up to look dead on at Gulzer. "It's you who can't hit a single target!"

Gulzer stormed to Tim's bunk side. He tiptoed, yelling right into Tim's face and causing Tim to lean back "Get this! Come on!" He spat, "Yeah that's you! You want some of this." He pounded his fist into his palm, making a clapping sound as he did. "Fuck You!"

I've had enough that's it!

Tim and Gulzer went into a heated head to head argument. They'd throw around words, or anything that'd came to mind. Caribbean put in his two cents, flicking pennies at them when either of the two would say something arrogant. The brown chipmunk rolled her eyes, crossed her arms as she leaned against Gulzer's bunk bed pole, and shook her head at their obnoxious outcries.

Tim and Gulzer would go from yelling to dead silent right back to shrilling which ends with hostile silence. One wrong look would stoke the flames, bringing back the insufferable inevitable tension.

Gulzer rested on his bed arms crossed, and helmet slanted down to cover his face. "If you think it's cute to share secrets." A penny hit his helmet, causing it to ting and sway. "The hell was that for!" He shot up to face his assailant.

"Arguments over," Caribbean said, flicking another coin up in the air. The sound of the copper humming made Gulzer silent.

"Eye for an eye!"

"If you're going t-" Caribbean stopped when interrupted by a loud snore. "Look here kiddo. It's o-" He stopped once more cut off again. He stared up at the ceiling, flattening his lips together before shutting his eye. He took in a deep soothing breath before he let out a heavy sigh. "Just leave i-" He snatched the coin mid air, slowly turning his head to the right of him. He glared at a round hefty grey squirrel sleeping in a bent bed two bunks from him.

"Hey Dix, do ya mind toning it down a notch?"

Dix pulled his blanket over his head; He grumbled under the covers before he rolled himself to face away from them . He was thanked by Caribbean.

"Now." Caribbean faced the rest of his squad. "We're getting shipped out tomorrow, I don't want this day to end like the others. Y'hear?"

Tim nodded. "Y-yeah, it'd be good to at least have one good day." His gut wrenched. "...Before it goes down hill."

"I'm not letting it go." Gulzer's cold stoic stare settled back on Tim. "You piss sitter."

...Really...What are you twelve? Tim blinked. "What's that sup-" He winced when he was yelled at by Gulzer.

"You always sit when you're on the crapper!"

Tim's nose twitched, his curled tail swung side to side. "Don't we all?" He lifted his open palms up in the air as he shrugged. "What's the big deal?"

"That's." Gulzer stressed his S for brief second. "The problem." He halfway turned his body to face the chipmunk who stared down at him with slanted eyes and clasped lips. "Sneeker, baby."

"I have a name."

"You do? Shit, I thought that was your name." Gulzer crawled his way to the end of his bed. He rested on his side with his right arm to support his head. He faced away from her with lax eyes and a playful grin. "So." He trailed his free hand against the bed, his fingers tips tapping against the cloth.

A swooshing sound of metal made Tim hold his breath.

She flung a throwing knife right between Gulzer's fingers causing him to jolt back with wide eyes, and trembling clenched teeth. The blade danced as it sprung back and forth. "I've told you plenty of times." The cast of the light made her brown eyes gleam. The intent to kill was evident

...I've forgot too... was it Snapples? Snappey? Nutter-butter?

Caribbean interjected, "Sneakers. C'mon guys, it ain't that hard to remember."

Everyone has such awful names. "Jeez Gulzer, how couldn't you remember that?" Tim's cocky grin dimpled his cheek.

"What? No...what? Really, that's your name?" Gulzer tugged on the knife that was lodged into his bed with one hand. "That's what I said." He grunted as the weapon refused to budge.

"Nope." Sneakers said, leaning over to Gulzer.

He used both his hands on the knife handle. He leaned forward before he attempted to heave. Sweat trickled down his twitching little nose, his face pinkened, and his arms quaked. Sneakers flicked him on the nose, causing him to let go and jerk back.

"Don't touch what you can't handle." She pulled the knife out with one lax hand, twirling the handle between her gloved fingers. She leaned back to her old position.

"Whatever." Gulzer rested his back onto his pillow with his arms crossed.

He's such a pouty baby.

Gulzer tipped his helmet back. "Anyway." He paused, facing away from Tim with a cold stern glare, but kept his eyes on him. "Sneeker."

"It's Sneakers!" She paused with the knife clutched into her tight fist.

"That's what I said!"

"You said sneeker, when it's Sneakers," Sneakers snide. She snickered and sneered. "How are you not getting it?

"Okay..." Gulzer paused to take a quick breath. "Sn...?" He hold the N. "Ea...?" His eyes darted from place to place as sweat beat down his face. "Ker." His bottom lip jutted out, he stressed his R.

"That's something I suppose." She spun the dagger once more before she sheathed the blade in a small leather scabbard connected, and belted around her waist. "What is it you want?"

"You know about secrets, right?" His eyes settled on her.

"Yeah, but at a cost."

You spying bimbo! Bulbs of sweat emerged on Tim's forehead. His hands trembled, breaths hasten, and his nostrils flared.

A crude grin stretched across Gulzer's muzzle. "How much sponduli?"

"Hundred flat, take it or leave it." She leaned forward, extending her open paw towards Gulzer. "You've got till I count to three."

Don't you dare! Tim eyes widen, he sat frozen in place.

"Hey,hey, hey!" Gulzer shot forward, his helmet came crashing over his face stopping on his muzzle. "It's not that expensive!"

"There's only one other person who knows." Sneakers' eyes dragged towards Caribbean. "He-" Her face was smacked with a coin, making a indention in her cheek. She pivoted as her left shoulder crashed into the metal bars of the bunk bed; Causing it to budge and screech as its legging scrapped the wood. Sneakers body made a thud as she made contact with the floor.

Brutal. But, needed. Tim thought.

"Secrets are private." Caribbean's eye narrowed as he fixated on Gulzer who sat petrified. "I only said yours kid, because you're a dim a dozen idiot." He pulled out another coin from his pajama's shorts pockets. "Who I reckon needed to be put in his place."

Gulzer's brows furrowed, he snarled which made grooves on his nose bridge, and his tail twitched. Sneakers recuperated, rubbing her bruised cheek while leering at Caribbean.

"You're a soldier, y'hear?" Caribbean flicked the coin. "You reckon what that means don't ya?" He faced Tim, giving him a quick nod. "It means we're one unit. Not an individual." He snatched the coin as it landed into his open palm. "There's no I, just we. We're all the same no matter what." Caribbean went on.

"In war we're all brothers and sisters in arms. We fight, we bleed, and we all die. Butchered at the hands of our foe, but we still stand, we still go on."

"We all know what we want, we all know what we're protecting."

"Freedom, righteousness, and a pursuit to happiness."

Caribbean's one cold eye settled on Gulzer, he checked on his team, seeing all their burning passion and fear. "We know what we're facing."

"Brutes."

"Savages."

"Machines with machine minds and machine hearts, they're arm to the teeth standing for tyranny! totalitarianism! And turmoil!" Caribbean slammed his fist against the bed. "We wo-"

"We get it Uncle Sam." Gulzer yawned. "If you kept yapping, I was going to blow my brains out."

Tim replied, "I like his speeches." He was thanked by Caribbean with a quick nod. "Makes me feel inspired." He chuckled. Also don't have to hear your sorry butt. "B-besides...did you guys hear what happen to the battalion?"

The room went dead silent besides Dix's faint drawled snores. brief gust of howling wind, and the creaking of the two door entrances. The outside light dimmed as dusk settled, tinting the room in a hue of dark orange and yellow.

Guess...I said something bad? Tim's gut wrenched, he coughed into his fist. "They...almost won the war, right?" He shivered from the sudden assaulting cool breeze.

"Four hundred armed soldiers stormed that beach." Caribbean paused. "That beach turned red."

"They almost got that fucker." Gulzer leaned back against his bunk's pillow. "Got the bastard's legs blown off."

"But at what cost?"

"What do you mean? We almost won, that's the cost!" Gulzer snapped.

"Do you know how many came back?" Caribbean's cut tail flailed, he wasn't answered. "Twenty, only twenty soldiers. The rest came home in a box."

Crippling silence proceeded as everyone's expression turned grim besides Tim. A faint smirk dimpled his cheek for a brief moment.

"W-what's our mission?" Gulzer said, his clenched paws trembled beneath his crossed arms. His slanted helmet couldn't hide the droplets of sweat. His voice become more distressed, "I-it's...not the prison is it?"

What's so bad about that? Tim raised a brow, his eyes dragged from Gulzer to Caribbean.

"Trenches." Caribbean paused to take in a heavy breath, he exhaled. "Then the prison." His lone eye settled on the window, gazing into the clear dusk sky. "Ya reckon what we gotta do there?"

"Capture the flag." Sneakers plopped onto her bunk next to Caribbean's. Her gloved hand covered her trembling short snout. "You boys better cover me."

Tim's right cheek raised as his clasped lip crooked. What's that supposed t- His attention was seized by Gulzer's abrupt snap.

"What the hell are we doing that for!"

"Morale," Caribbean answered. "Propaganda too," he scoffed. "Trying to get kids to think the war isn't that bad."

"Ah fuck that shit!" Gulzer's foot thumped against his bed. The sounds of the springs screeched. "I'm not dying for some bullshit."

Doesn't matter what I die for. As lo- Tim set his trembling palm on his sweaty throbbing forehead that leaned forward. Gulzer's voice droned. Do...I rea- Tim clasped his lips together, his buck tooth sank into his skin. I've made my choice, wrote that stupid letter. I'm here this is it. His breathing hasten as his legs quivered. It...won't be painful, it's okay. His eyes faded as he went into a trance.

Best case scenario; Straying bullet from a high caliber rife hits me in the head, that's instant; Tank, grenade, or rocket blows me to pieces. Won't feel a thing; Take morphine shot and run right in, it'll be quick.

Tim faintly smiled, his breathing became heavy.

Worst case scenario...; Bullet miss and hits me in an artery, bleed to death or go into shock...maybe it won't last for long? Probably; Legs get blown off...survive...It'll be just like the bullet, I'll bleed out; Morphine isn't strong enough...and it'll be painful, but it won't be for long.

Could get burned to death, but adrenaline makes it painless.

Stabbed by their bayonets or sliced and diced by their blade.

Captured...

Imprisoned...

Tortured...

Or make it out alive and have to go back. Bits of tears welled up in his eyes, he blinked to remove the moister. I'd have to go back. Tim spoke below his breath, "No matter what." He paused.

"I'm fucked."

Tim shook his head. I'm not going back, I made my choice this is it. His paws trembled, he clutched them to tighten his grip, but he couldn't make them stop. A-am...I regre- Tim's flatten ears and slanted eyes shot open from the sudden door bang. He fixated on the end entrance to his left.

A haughty British voice caught the room attention. "Oi, didn't mean to aggro."

The grey huffing and puffing squirrel dressed in a dark brown flight suit trod into the barracks. His yellow leather gloved hand kept the door open. "But you chaps need to go!" He waved them on out, his tan cotton garrison cap leaned forward. "You're being shipped out!"

Tim's heart skipped a beat, cold sweat trickled down his face. I'm not ready, I'm not ready! His trembling paws gripped the bed sheet.

"Wait, we weren't supposed to go yet!" Gulzer said, his eyes went round as his small pupils quivered.

"We got the bastard by the ropes, so get to it!"

This is really happening...Tim blundered as he shot up from his bed. He leaned on the edge extending his arm out towards a steel locker. His sweaty paws slipped against the cold latch. Get it together, get it together, you got this! His supporting hand slid causing him to topple over. He landed face first onto the wood floor.

"Fucking shit Tim, if you're clumsy out there I swear to motherfucking damn." Gulzer sleeved one arm in a mustard tan wool coat. "I'm not saving your sorry ass." He clothed his other arm, and did his buttons. "Capeesh!" His helmet came crashing down over his face. "Ah fuck tits!"

Tim sat as his bare leg went through one sleeve of the pine green wool serge trousers. Yeah I got it, he's not worth saving. He wiggled his toes as he grumbled below his breath. He did his other, but his leg was snagged on the cloth. I'm such an idiot. His face became red as his brows furrowed.

"Concentrate boy." Caribbean said, He stood at his bunk, starring down at Tim with a benign smile and shut eye. "Take one thing at a time, focus on it." He grabbed his M1 helmet out from his locker, setting it by his suited chest. "When the hard time roll. I know you'll be able to handle it." He put it on, fixing it for a bit before continuing.

"I believe in you kid, don't let us down."

Tim's heart burned with courage, his blood pulsed. He slipped on his pants, got his coat, sleeved up, and grabbed his helmet with his fire proof gloves. I'm doing it, I'm really doing it! A faint smile stretched across his muzzle.

"Don't get too cocky now." Sneakers pulled out a rope from her locker, lapped around her shoulder. She grabbed a black beanie with a gold insignia on it. "You're on the front lines with me, I'd like to not get burned." She secured the hat. "I'm putting a lot of trust in you."

Tim faced his comrades, his eyes settled on Gulzer who shook his head at him, Caribbean was next and he did a quick nod with his helmet, Tim's eyes trailed to Sneakers who huffed as she tapped her boot against the wood, and finally Dix who stood there geared up.

Dix's body slumped as he went into a snooze, he snapped out of it, shaking his head. Dix's lax eyes settled on Tim. He closed them, toothily smiled, and gave Tim a thumbs up.

This is it, there's no going back. Tim stretched his goggle's strap around his helmet. He held onto the yellow tinted round eye pieces, staring through them at his team who stood ready by the exit. It's one step closer. He let go which made it slap against his face. "I'm ready."

"Then move your bloody ass!" The grey squirrel beckon him out to his team. "Get your guns and meet me at station one helipad." The howling gust of wind caused him to grab his hat. "Be proud you got an ace pilot in this weather, now get going!"

Tim stormed out, huffing and puffing. He was assaulted by the relentless chilled wind, his nose twitched from the smell of rain. Tim blinked to adjust his eyes to the blacken night field. He reared his head to the left, noticing his team running a few paces away down a dirt road lit by the dim street lamps.

His heavy leather combat boots rapped against the top soil, and his helmet joggled. He passed Gulzer, Dix, and Caribbean leaving them in the dust. Sneakers was dashing ahead a few feet away. A concrete square bunker embedded to a hillside came into view.

Sneakers opened the steel door, letting bright light bleed out. She used her foot to keep it open.

"Wait, why'd you come?" Tim's sprint faltered into a light tramp as he came up to Sneakers.

"Blades are in there, duh." Sneakers set her palm on her short muzzle, and chuckled. "You're actually fast."

"Oh...ugh, yeah." Tim panted. "I honestly don't even know what you do." He passed her by, making his way into bright lit confined room walkway. "Where is it." He passed by racks of sniper rifles, heavy duty rockets, blades, and light machine guns. "Ah!" At the end of the chamber hall was a green canister connected by a tube to a cylinder gun; The racks are empty besides the one. He stared at the copper coils which rested in front of the muzzle.

Feels different from...training. His gut knotted. To...burn something that's ali-

Sneakers' voice snapped Tim out of his thoughts. "Slicing and dicing is what I do." She set the tip of her sabre an inch from Tim's nose. "Do know that." She pulled the blade back, sheathing it behind her back. "I get a bit excited with my blade." She watched as a trickle of crimson oozed down Tim's nose.

"I-I didn't." He set his paws on his stinging nose, covering his muzzle. His voice was muffled, "Feel it, how the heck did y-"

"Thank the craftsmanship of the squirrels." Sneakers set her palm on her chin as her other hand held her elbow. "I actually didn't mean to cut you." She rubbed her fingers against her cheek. "Make sure to keep your distant, don't want you to lose you head."

"If it cuts that easily, yeah." Tim reached for the canisters. "We're going t-" His body jolted forward from the weight, making him slump over before recovering. "Heh." Sweat trickled down his face. "Forgot how heavy these were." He playfully smiled and lapped it onto his back. "So...ahm." He leaned forward to grab the gun. "We're on the front lines...aren't we."

"You, me, and Dix."

"Dix? Why? Tim slipped his arm through the strap, setting the gun against his back.

"Apparently those rockets don't hit from a distant."

"So...I have to be careful of your bla-"

"I promise you I won't cut you." Sneakers sucked air through her clenched teeth. "Okay...maybe." She raised her hand below her muzzle, setting her thumb and pointer finger an inch away from each other. "A little cut, but nothing bad."

"Promise?"

"Umm...I Don't know."

Cool, dodging rockets and blades! Maybe she'll cut my head off...if...it can in one slice. Tim's faux smile faltered. "What...happens, happens." he shrugged.

"Not when you set me on fire."

"Or blown to bits." Tim snickered at Sneakers' unamused expression. "Sorry." I'm not held accountable to what happ-" Tim posture snapped straight when he heard Guzler's obnoxious voice.

"Mother fucker horse shit, butt fucker!" Gulzer's heavy steps echoed down the corridor. "Where's the damn grenade launcher!"

Sneakers halfway rotated her body, setting her fist against the end of her lips. "We don't get the fancy stuff."

"You shitting me! Ah donky balls!" An echo of metal being slammed against the concrete roared. "Shit, shit, shit!"

"...Hey..." Sneakers whispered.

"Hm, yeah, ugh what?" Tim stood there for a fleeting moment. He stared down at her as she refused to look him in the eye. His stomach filled with butterflies.

"Are you..." Sneakers paused, pressing her bottom lip into her upper. "Afraid to die?" She halfway faced him, settling her eyes on him before escaping back to the ground.

Absolutely. "Hmm." Tim set the tip of his pointer finger on the top of his chin. He raised a brow. "I..." Of course you are! What are you doing? Stop lying for once. "Am not. That's why I signed up." To run away because all you are is a lie!

Sneakers' voice became meek, "Oh, yeah. I forgot." An awkward chuckle escaped her quivering lips. "I'm honestly scared shitless."

Tim muscles tensed, his stomach knotted. "A moment ag-"

Her voice cracked, "In case you can't tell, I'm trying to stall." Sneakers set her shaking palm on her sweaty forehead. "I didn't want to look weak but I can't hold up this facade."

"W-why are you telling me this?" Tim's right cheek quirked

"Because you're an idiot. Not like any of it matters" Sneakers leaned her back against a jutting concrete wall that separated the rooms from the others.

I'm so confused.

Sneakers shook her head. "Forget it." She wiped away a bulb of water from the end of the edge of her eye with her pointer finger. "I didn't say anything." She faced away from him, and took a step out the room, but her attention was seized by Tim's voice.

"I'm scared too." Tim stared right at her. "I'm scared of how painful it'd be." His wet nose twitched."I'm scared that I haven't gotten to experience life."

Tim's voice stifled as he choked. He took in a sharp deep inhaled, taking in the cold air into his burning sore throat. He let out the blistering words which racked his mind.

"I'm scared that I'll never know what it feels like to be loved."

Tim grasped his sweaty palms together. He rubbed his rough paw pads against one another. I don't want to be here, I don't want to be here!

"I'm scared to know that one day it'll all end." Tim breathy chuckled. "I'm eighteen, what am I doing here!" He hugged himself, clenched his shaking teeth, and let droplets of tears seep out of his eyes.

"Nineteen," Sneakers interjected, seizing Tim's attention. "Funny...isn't it?" She leaned her head back to take in a heavy purgative inhale then exhale. "Is it...awkward to ask for a hug?"

"A bit." Tim nodded. "Maybe more than that." He bobbed his head faster. "Yeah, it's weird, just a little."

Sneakers shrugged. "I just want one last one..."

"Hey, I'm sure you'll get mo-"

"You heard Caribbean. Only a few came back." She fixated on the floor. Her eyes slanted. "Do you know where we'll be?"

"Trenches?"

"Front and center." Sneakers hands quaked, her breathing hasten. "I should've dodged it." She raised her head to stare at him with pleading eyes. "Please, just one favor."

I love hugs...but hate contact. Ugh, this is going to be weird. Tim opened his mouth as if to speak; The words snagged in his burning throat. He shook his head and spoke.

"...Okay...?"

Tim raised both his hands by his chest. Extending his arms out and faking a smile. He beckon her with his fingers.

"Thank you."

Sneakers' boots pattered as she rushed up to Tim. She wrapped her warm arms around his neck, tilted her head to the side as she pressed her beanie into his cheek, and squeezed his chest into hers..

Tim's stiff arms remained extended, his eyes trailed away from her, and his stomach contorted. This is what an actual hug feels like...It's nice. Now...to hug back and not be a creep.

His sweaty paws trembled as they came closer to Sneakers' back. Okay, aerodynamics. He set his hands towards her upper back. No wrong! That's the tit slip! His breath became stifled, and his brows furrowed as they twitched. Hate creeps that do that. He lowered them, going south. Careful, that's a no fly zone. He set them right between the chest and buttock. Go! Go! Go!

An inhale would make me a creep. Sheesh, hate when people sniff me.

Wait, right! Hug. His eyes shot open. Contact!

Tim's arms wrapped around her waist, but didn't apply pressure. This is how a hug works right? His eyes darted around. How long do I hold it? He took in short shallow breathes. Did I make it creepy? No, those are the people who describe people as items. Wait. He stared up at the ceiling. Am I one of those people. Holy-moley! What if I am? Sneakers' sniffles caught his attention; droplets bled into his coat.

Comfort her stat! Wait...how the heck do I do that? Shoulder pat. He raised his hand, but stopped. That'd be creepy, this is creepy. I'm such a creep. Say something nice!

"Everything will be okay, you'll make it." Tim paused, ruminating to find the right words. "You're too beautiful and luscious to die." Tim froze, his mouth went agape.

Fanfiction has not helped my social life.

Sneakers chuckled. "That's the creepiest thing I've ever heard." She said playfully, her arms loosen around Tim's neck. She took a step back. "Mood killer."

"Yup." Tim nodded, he let out a heavy winded sigh. "Guess I'm no different from the others." Awesome I'm a weirdo. "Just ano-"

"Howdy ya'll," Caribbean set foot into the room. He watched the two stare at him wide eyed as he observed them with his narrowed one. "We ain't diddle-daddling. And I know you guys don't want to be dodgers." He nudged his head to the side to indicate to them to move out.

"Yeah, I know." Sneakers gave Tim a quick nod, she mouthed, "Thanks." Before she left the room.

"Guess that's my cue." Tim made his way towards the exit of the room. Before he had the chance to pass by Caribbean he was stopped by a sudden shove to the chest. Tim stumbled back, stopping on one foot his arms spun encircles before he got his bearing. Whoa, he's strong for being old. Tim stared at Caribbean wide eyed.

"Tim, boy." Caribbean paused, his body had subtle trembles."I'm going to give you the same speech as I did the others."

"Okay." Tim leaned his head to the side to set his hand between the space of his helmet. He interlaced his fingers between the strands of hair to his fohawk.

"I'm just messing with you." Caribbean waved his lax hand through the air, chuckling. "Get your ass out of here."

Tim rolled his eyes and sighed. He ran past Caribbean, making his way outside of the building. He was greeted by the brutal gust of cold wind; It howled through the branches of distant pine trees.

He set his arms in front of him to shield his face. He went onward, stepping pass the creaking and bobbing lamp posts. His heavy footfall was masked by the gust of wind and distant rustling of the chained fence. What is going on with this weather!

The lights flickered, making a sharp sound of sparks as they cut out. The surrounding became consumed in darkness. Keep moving, keep going. Tim's heart raced, sweat drenched his forehead, and chills ran down his spine. His helmet was seized by the wind.

"Please no! No,no,no,no!" Tim flailed to catch it, narrowing his eyes to see. The sound of the metal helmet clattered against the ground before petering out. Forget it, keep going forward. Tim trudged on. Faint lights silhouetted the hillside. Okay...almost there. The hums of the air ship's engine's roared through the wind.

Tim shielded his eyes from the blinding light as he dashed through the field. He made a bee-line towards the chain linked fenced, coming to the open wired gate. His boots rap against the concrete square landing pad. His ears rung as he came closer to the rumbling machine.

He passed the rectangular steel bulky head. The pilot was visible through the canopy which rested above. He beckon Tim. He ran by, sliding his left hand against the vibrating green metal.

The heavy duty thrust reversal buffeted as the fan's blade rotor spun. The cylinder cases attached to a metal appendage to its sides jolted from the force; The mechanism faced towards the ground.

Tim inhaled the oily smell that fumed from the aircraft. His fur and hair danced from the air being pushed by the blades. His ears vibrated and rung from the masking sound of the engine. He made it to the hull; The latch was open, and his entire team sat on the benches. They stared down at him, waiting for him.

Tim's heart sank, his body froze as he stood by the hull. He lowered his head. Nose twitching, arms stiffening, and lungs burning.

This is it...no turning back.

This is my last day of freedom.

This is the last day I get to live...

The thoughts rung through his head. He swallowed saliva, his breaths turning into pants. His body trembled as his stomach filled with burning bile.

A black glove came into his peripheral view. His eyes settled on her hand. He slowly raised his head to see Sneakers extending her hand out to him; Her smile was warm and welcoming. Tim clutched her hand before Sneaker heaved him up. He clambered as he made it onto the metal sheet platform.

"There's only one way to go." Sneakers patted Tim's back. "Forward."

One step closer to the grave.

Tim gripped the latch, pulling the hatch close.