Lost in the Rain
a guest Aug 22nd, 2019 93 Never
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- “Hey, kid.” The voice rang out against the dark night sky, soft footsteps trailing behind me.
- “....” Not this again. I sighed, leaning against the safety railing.
- “What’s with the long face?”
- “I’m not really in the mood, sir.”
- A hand clapped down onto my shoulder. “Nonsense. C’mon, tell your CO what’s up. I promise I won’t tell anyone.”
- I resist the urge to sigh again. It’s too damn cold up here, and I don’t have a lighter. Not that I’m really supposed to be smoking, anyways, but whatever. Not like they’re going to dock me for it. All the same, I fiddle with an empty pack of cigarettes.
- “Nothing, sir.” A bit of irritation is evident in my tone, however. He walks out, joining me on the railing.
- “Doesn’t sound like nothing if you’re sulking on the top floor by yourself. And didn’t I tell you to knock it off with those cancer sticks? Just because we get new lungs doesn’t mean you should keep killing yours.”
- He pauses for a moment.
- “Also, they stink.”
- I shoot him a side-eyed glare. “If you’re here to criticize my choice of smoking implement,” I mutter, “the least you could do is give me a raise. It’s not really cheap.”
- He laughs, for a moment, before a lighter clicks and a small orange light blooms in the cold, wet darkness. He takes a deep drag, before offering one to me. I blink in surprise. He winks.
- “Not really my thing, but my brother used to be really into it. Thought it made him look cool, or something.”
- He exhales a cloud of smoke. “Always was a damned fool.”
- I twirl the unlit cigarette in ungloved fingers, skin clammy and cold, damp air chilled by the wind. After a few minutes of silence, I turn to look at him.
- “You’re not leaving until I talk, are you.”
- He smiles brightly, the cigarette burning brightly. “Nope.”
- I sigh again, deeper this time, wearily slumping against the railing. The view is normally beautiful, but with all the clouds and rain, it’s a dreary sight. The lights of Arc Lumina, usually so vibrant and shining, struggle to penetrate the gloom.
- “It just seems...so pointless,” I say, finally.
- He glances at me, raising an eyebrow. “Not going to elaborate?”
- “I died today, sir. Again. I’ve lost track of how many times this makes it.” My fist clenches against the cold metal of the railing, and it starts to groan in protest.
- We stand there in silence, watching the stormfronts roil.
- “Well,” he says. “I’m not really supposed to tell you this, but your mindstate is in the clear, if that’s what you’re worrying about.”
- I laugh, tonelessly. “Don’t bother, sir. I know what they say about me already.” Left unsaid is that maybe it would be better if what they said was true.
- “...you’re a good man, Knox, and a competent operative. That’s more valuable than many realize, in this day and age.”
- I lean into the railing, gazing into the dark abyss below. Lightning flashes, far away, lighting up the horizon.
- “What does that matter if I can’t even make a difference, sir?” I shake my head morosely. “It means nothing to a monster like that one.”
- “I wasn’t strong enough, fast enough, skilled enough, enhanced enough, to do a damn thing. It looked at me, Captain. It looked at me like I was an ant. Barely even worth the effort to crush.”
- He stays silent.
- “I was powerless, sir. Me, a Damage Control Field Operative, the ones who are supposed to be able to deal with anything and everything.”
- We’re silent again. I close my eyes, feeling my rain-soaked uniform press against my body, the cold aching through every tendon and bone.
- “...sometimes, that’s just how it is, Knox.”
- I toss my unlit cigarette over the railing, watching it disappear into the morass of steel-grey clouds. “Hm.”
- “We just make the best of it. Sometimes you can’t do anything - but your sacrifices are never in vain. How many civilians do you think we got evacuated, just because you managed to delay just a few minutes longer?”
- The wind howls, and both of us instinctively step back. His cigarette goes out, smothered by the damp and the cold, and he curses, quietly.
- “Sometimes, I wonder if that even matters,” I say quietly.
- “....” he puts his hands into his pockets. “Take five, Knox,” he says, finally. “Don’t kill yourself out here.” He steps back inside, glass doors closing silently behind him, stubbing his wet cigarette into a garbage disposal, where it disappears with a soundless motion.
- I stare out into the night sky. The moon glimmers faintly, the stars snuffed out by the emerging night lights of the city below. The clouds are dispersing, and soon Arc Lumina will be a shining jewel once more, full of life and movement.
- “Like it’d even make a difference anyways,” I whisper to myself.
- The only answer is the chilling bite of the night wind.
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