I wretched violently, leaning against the counter I had been using as cover. I could not control the panicked spasms that overtook my body. My sense of reality began to fold in upon itself, creating a box that separated me from the world outside. Now the screaming and gunfire and explosions were only background noise, muffled by the walls of my introspective prison. I leaned over and vomited upon the blood soaked floor. I had killed them. I had killed all of them. Dozens charged through that door. Now only pulp remained. Shards of broken armour laid across the floor, a giant puzzle left forgotten. My eyes rapidly danced over my masterpiece, rolling across the whole of the small, war-torn room. The tiny concrete space seemed to never end. Gore splattered the walls, bodies drawn into fetal positions laid over every centimeter. Limbs were discarded randomly about, torn stomachs spilled innards across the floor. So many were dead. How could I have done this? How could I have unflinchingly murdered so many? How could I have run away from my only home, to take on a life like this? How could I have destroyed that home, destroyed it along with every single one of my memories, and every tiny evidence of a life that I may have had before?
How could I have left my mother’s lifeless body on the floor of that home when I destroyed it, without even looking back?
The worst part of the pain that was upon me – the pain of guilt and regret, the pain of murder and war – was that the pain was bearable. In truth, I hardly felt anything at all. Only a slight tiredness creeping along my limbs. And a smoldering desire for more. I wanted to kill. I wanted to destroy those who stood in my way. I wanted to raze buildings and leave entire districts in ruin. It was what I wanted the most, and it sickened me. I was now a murderer. Yet instead of wandering to guilt and continued panic, my mind was slowing, grinding to a halt, as my conscience deteriorated.
My boots squelched as I autonomously plodded through the maze of unrecognizable fragments of bodies. My eyes were focused on the hole in the front face of the building that marked my exit. I slung my new found weapon across a shoulder as if it weighed nothing. My mind was emptying once again, and I took on an unnatural calm. The battle was still raging outside.
Emerging from the armoury, I surveyed the camp as I strode forward. One of the Guard was standing near me, back turned, firing at some unknown target. I casually let my weapon drop from my shoulder into my hands, I took aim, and fired a short burst into his back. As his body fell, I lifted the weapon back to its original position upon my shoulder, and continued forward.
A tiny voice was still screaming in the back of my mind as I marched towards what seemed like the most violent area in the camp. It wailed of my grievances, of everything that was wrong. It urged me to drop my weapon and run, run to some non-existent place of peace and joy, a place without fear. As my weapon dropped from my shoulder into my hands, I emptied the voice from my mind. I knew no such place existed. This was reality, not a fairy tale of peace and joy. My pace accelerated as I turned into the battle zone.
And as the voice decayed into silence, I knew that even if such a place existed, I would never go.