Author : Guy Leaver

For days I was kept there. Held prisoner within a tailored cage, unable to move a muscle. Incarcerated into solitary confinement, with only my thoughts and emotions for company. No food did they give me; I knew not how I was sustained. I knew only that with each passing day, I began to feel less and less. It began with my extremities. I struggled, but couldn’t move an inch. Nothing I tried to do did anything the stay the inexorable advance of sickly warmth. I wondered if I was being devoured by some foul creation of the invaders, my living tissue being dissolved to feed whatever vile beings lay beneath those terrifying suits of armour.

As the days went by, I grew accustomed to my fate, resigning myself to the fact that when the warmth reached my head, I would die. I was not afraid. I was a warrior. It would take worse things than death to break my spirit. I worried only for my family; for my younger sister, and our baby brother. I wondered if they had survived, if they had fled into safety. When the invaders had come, the people of the village had been given no warning. Despite their towering suits of armour, the terrible beings somehow managed to get within the confines of the settlement unnoticed. Only ten… and yet, they destroyed everything in their paths. Implacable juggernauts carving flesh and stone with long energy swords. The people panicked. Those who could, fled into the forests, and those of us brave enough to fight charged at the looming machine-people, anger in our eyes, and fire in our hearts.

The last thing I remember was running towards our enemy, weapon drawn, ready to defend my home. But the screams…oh God, the screams. The very memory of such a sound chilled all but the inflicted parts of my body. Still, it is torture to my soul. As the being facing me down emitted the dreadful cry, I felt myself convulse; in horror, and in revulsion. My last memory of being free is seeing all my fellow warriors, my comrades, my friends, panic and fall about themselves in loathing and fear, as the other invaders took up their terrible battle cry.

I was a warrior. It would take worse things than death to break my spirit. As I felt the warmth creep over my face, I felt sick. I was filled with hatred for the plague upon our world that was our attackers, and I took solace in the fact that soon I would be dead. But as I finally felt my body fully succumbing to the transformation I had been subjected to, I was not greeted with death. Instead, I felt sensation flow back through my body, and light poured into my prison, blinding me. For an instant, I thought I was going to be free again.

Then I felt myself moving, but it was not of my doing. In a moment of shock, I realised that I was not in control of my own movements, and as my eyes adjusted to the light, I trembled at what I saw. In front of me was a battlefield. Another settlement was being attacked by the invaders. As I watched, a man came running towards me, screaming a battle cry, and wielding a weapon. In horror, I felt my arm move to intercept him, and I saw him cut in half by a long energy sword. The burning, the cracking his bones, the flow of his blood…feeling rushed up my arm.

I screamed. Oh God, how I screamed.

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