Never before had she seen such carnage, so many casualties, so many of the dead littering the ground beneath her feet. Violet herself found herself smeared with blood, though none of it her own. She hadn't been wounded in the fight, just a small bump or bruise here and there where she had been knocked aside by someone who hadn't known she was there – but hey, every power has a downside, right?
She was invisible now, her hand still clenched around her gun – a once foreign object that now felt like an extension of her arm – just in case the rebel forces came back.
They raided the safe house, an abandoned factory on the outskirts of a captured town, killing and wounding nearly half the soldiers, taking another dozen or so with them. Kneeling she pressed an ear to a comrades chest, waiting for the feeble thump… thump of his heart. It didn't come. She pressed her eyes closed in a silent prayer, her mouth set in a determined grimace as she moved on the next body. By the end of the rounds there were roughly sixteen men dead, another seven wounded, but still capable to move, and handle a weapon. Only three, herself included were uninjured.
"Violet," Her second came forward, his body nearly doubled over as he supported a much larger man, whose limbs flopped about uselessly as if he'd lost all ability to function. In another life, in another time, Violet might have found it funny, the way they hung like comically stretched rubber – had it not been for the dark red stain growing on his left side.
She nodded, not needing him to go on, gesturing for a small man hovered above a man to their right, wrapping his head in thick gauze as she helped lower the man on a makeshift bed. The group's paramedic rushed forward, way too bloodied for a man that had been rendered unconscious in the first five seconds of the fight. He went to work, stripping away the cloth to get a better look at the gaping hole in the man's right side.
She turned her head, her military regulation black hair just long enough the shield the nauseating procedure in front of her – though they did nothing for the gurgled screams, the frantic instructions to stay calm, and stop wriggling dammit!
This was the part she wasn't used to. The after-battle stuff. The counting-the-dead-stuff. The hey-no-big-deal-but-I'm-going-to-pull-a-fucking-bullet-out-of-your-side-so-try-not-to-move-yeah? Stuff. She joined the military straight after high school, at her brother's urging. She had six months of training before being shipped off to classified coordinates, handed a weapon, and a good-luck-try-not-to-die-please pat on the shoulder before being hauled off the helicopter. She didn't know how to deal with the constant death, the killing, the never-ending looking over her shoulder. Guess they didn't teach you that at super special super school.
She excused herself, slipped through the door that had previously bled enemy forces, under the pretense of checking the perimeter for remaining soldiers. She found herself walking a bit too far past the lines, found herself laying with the hard packed soil beneath her head, and endless blue above her.
God, she was tired.
She wondered if anyone would find her missing, or if she'd just lay here until someone ran over her with a tank or wagon. Personally, she much liked the latter. Not the squished underneath tank tracks part, just the resting part, without all the screaming and the constant chatter of semi-automatic machine gun.
At first she loved it, loved the thrill she hadn't gotten back home, enough to rival the rush she got when she was fighting Syndrome. It was after that second battle, when all the cockiness of the victory of the first crashed down around her, when the man beside her dropped dead, blood rushing out of a near perfect circle in his forehead, when she stabbed the man who had shot the bullet that killed him beneath his left shoulder blade, that she realized what she had signed up for.
These people weren't supers. They didn't have that secret weapon, that cushion to fall back on. They died so easily. They were so fragile.
And she wasn't.
She weaved around the bullets, squeezed the trigger that killed many, pushed her fellow soldiers out of the line of fire – all without being seen. Not once had she been shot in the eighteen months she'd been on duty, not once.
And yet all around her, the mortals dropped like flies.
That's what made the after-battle so unbearable. The knowledge that she would make it out unscathed when so many around her wouldn't.
One day there would be no one left but her to fight the battles, no one because they all laid slain in piles around her feet.
One day she would be alone.