About A Solider
Her childlike innocence is betrayed only by pair of devilish red eyes that peer out from beneath her dark, long lashes. Her hands are cold; he feels them even through the thick sleeve of his uniform. Shapely, pale lips curve upwards in one corner in a mischievous smile as she approaches him.
Like the melody of chimes picked up and carried by a distant wind, her voice echoes in his mind long after she's stopped speaking.
"I truly hope you survive, Jasper," she whispers in his ear. She's standing on her toes, her cold hands on his shoulders, her lips brushing against his skin softly. He thinks he detects the faint smell of ginger spice on her skin.
She stares up at him, her crimson eyes glistening like a wild animal's in the night. "I've got a good feeling about you."
Her face was the last thing he saw before darkness. Her voice and her scent are the last thing he remembers before death.
* * *
The first thing he feels is pain. Not the soreness he experienced during his first few weeks in the military, but a searing pain, as though someone had set flames to his body and he was burning from the inside out. Screams tear through his mind, and he isn't certain if they are coming from him or from others – others experiencing the same physical hell.
Fingers tear at his arms, his face, and he knows they're his own. He thinks that if he tries hard enough, he can tear himself away from the inferno that was overtaking him. It only increases the pain. Blunt fingernails rip through delicate skin, and send trails of blood seeping through his fingers and over the back of his hands.
There are times – very brief amounts of time – when the pain is dulled. Never does it leave him completely, but during these times of half-peace he can listen. The only thing he hears is more of the same; screams, men pleading for their lives. Death.
Often, he opens his eyes and tries to bypass the stinging in them long enough to see where he is, to try and find the answers to two very important questions: where is he, and can he make it out alive?
"Go down fighting," he thinks he heard someone say. He has every intention of doing so.
* * *
His warrior attitude quickly deteriorates.
By the time he sees her face again, he has half a mind to get on his knees and beg for mercy. If his men could see him now… Major Jasper Whitlock, reduced to a shivering empty shell.
"You're coming along quite nicely."
Her voice is distant, as though she's speaking to him from the far end of a tunnel. In a state of panic – or out of need to feel something other than pain, he isn't quite sure which – he reaches out to her, grasping the air blindly. He feels her hands close over his, and she pats his palm gently. He opens his mouth to speak, to ask her why, but the only sound that he can manage is a single, rasping gasp.
"There, mi amor," she says quietly, and he feels something cool brush against his forehead. "You'll be the best, I can feel it. You'll be all I need…"
As quickly as she appeared, she's gone, and this becomes the norm. A minute-long visit with a few reassuring words, a soft touch, and then silence.
He doesn't know how much time passes, how long he lies there weak and dying. He only knows that one day (or is it night?) he wakes and feels nothing.
So this is death, he thinks as he lifts his head and stares into the darkness.
Her face appears after a short time, an unnecessary smile plastered across it. It takes him a moment, but shuffling back through to the first time he saw her, he recalls a single word. A name to go with the bringer of his torment.