Another Chance

I was surrounded. That old familar feeling of a few dozen eyes and guns trained on me, ready to deliver my execution. It was times like this that my heritage really made a difference. Every split-second decision was made with the knowledge that it could be my last. Moving faster than I could think, my hands found their way to a single stun grenade hanging astride my thigh. I pulled the pin and slung the canister upward. The eyes around me were all at once trained on the object that was now hanging in the air, a moment between ascent and descent. I moved from my stage, pulling the first weapon my hand found and pointing it at the unit's commander. My other arm slid tightly around his neck, letting him know he wasn't going anywhere. The grenade fell in front of me. I could almost see the exclamation points of surprise above my enemies' heads as they saw the situation their leader had been placed in. It wouldn't last long, however. My trump card fell with a metallic "tink" to the floor, and my vision and hearing were monopolized by the grenade's release. Not that my sensory solitude would harm me. I felt the commander go limp and dropped him to the floor. As I returned to the world around me, I made a quick note that all the threats were incapacitated.

I didn't bother taking in the sight. Soldiers were already pouring into the area again, and it was a good 15 seconds of running to the nearest viable hiding place. Turning a corner, I found the stairs unguarded. "What luck" was the last thing I thought before tripping on the top step. My mind turned quickly to thoughts of my injuries, ignoring the pain of my body's unwilling rampage down the staircase. Bruise, broken bone. Another step met with my head as pain was substituted by a simple damage report. Head trauma, gunshot wound. If those guards at the top of the staircase weren't so well-trained, they might find humour in my situation. Instead, they do what they always do. "What luck," I thought.


Lights and music invade my barely conscious mind. Beams of aqua flit across the blackness in my dying mind, spelling out their condemnation. In the distance of my ear I recognize the voice of a loved one. "Snake?" It's anything but comforting, however. "Snaaaaaaaaake!" Fruitlessly, I try to respond, knowing already I'm too far gone. Stopping my fight for life, I embrace the darkness around me. A little rest after my long and difficult life, surely a just reward for my years of service to the world I now leave behind. Yeah, right. Like I get any rest. The neon glow of the death sentence keeps me at arm's length from the solace I seek. It has its own kindness, however. A pair of options presented in the same piercing light that keeps me awake. I barely realize they're there before putting myself back into the fight I had moments ago been happy to escape from. There's too much left to do, so I give my life a second run.

I'm surrounded. That old familiar feeling.