Inductive Radioactivity

Inductive Radioactivity

A Story by zdzd

Two soldiers are on a mission which is bringing them through an endless wood of "green, brown, and tan". A short story about Power. Written: 18 March 2010 by Kyle Roe


Inductive Radioactivity

A short story about Power

 By Kyle Roe




            Two men prudently prowled through the thick woods. They wore leafy green camouflage suits; fake leaves of green, brown, and tan cloaked their entire bodies. Both bore a light leafy backpack, which contained food rations and other necessities. The taller and larger man, who also carried a small electronic telescope, was Corporal John Bear. His accomplice was a shorter and thinner dark-haired man who had refused to tell John his name. Nevertheless, his recently polished stars showed that he outranked John considerably.

Neither man carried a rifle, even though they were a sniper squad on a sniping mission. This operation would not require such “crude weapons”. When John had asked how they would assassinate the target from a half mile away without a weapon, he had been shoved aside. But he did notice the shorter and thinner man grin a disturbing smile at the comment. John was instructed to simply bring the dark-haired man within range of the target, and then locate the target, providing any assistance along the way. That was all he was allowed to be told.

            The two camouflaged men slowly creeped through the dense jungle of green, brown, and tan. Above them, the noon sky struggled to leak its blue light past the continuous canopy of leaves. Progress was slow. Every downed tree and open field was to be avoided. They were not to be seen or heard, from the air or on the ground. With compass in hand, they continued north. Slowly, the dark-haired man reassured John, they would reach their target.

            Throughout his short career, John had been less than a perfect soldier. His lack of any true skill or experience had dropped him directly in the average curve. He was not extraordinary, but he never did anything notable. He was simply an average army man. So why, after two years of laidback service, had he been chosen for this highly important mission? For the last two years, he had done nothing honorable, nothing to get himself promoted. He served as an ammo jockey and a spotter for an insignificant squad in an insignificant district. Yet here he was, on the most vital mission of the War, crawling north into a chilly brown forest.

            Six hours into the endless jungle, they continued to creep north. Their light, crunching footsteps slowly pulled them across the living void. The air was thick with pollen and the musky smell of decaying wood. Every so often, a necropolis of fallen trees slowed their progress. Green giants of old stood weeping over their collapsed comrades. Younger colossi stretched their thousands of brown arms in futile attempts to grasp a fair share of sunlight. Foreign birds of contrasting color jumped athwart the air, singing songs of joy and despair. Larger animals of similar diversity scurried into their foxholes, while snakes of all lengths and thicknesses whipped across the leafy turf or spun up the towering trees. The endless infinity of wild imprisoned the two prowling men, cloaked in their artificial leaves of green, brown, and tan.

            At numerous junctures, John attempted to talk with the other man. He asked about family, other missions, and his goals for after the War. But the man remained silent. When he did talk, it was only to tell John to shut up.

            As the trees glowed anew on the second morning, John began to worry that they were lost. Even as they stayed true north, they still had not reached their target. But whenever he attempted to ask his colleague, his voice fell on deaf shoulders. When John asked if they were near, the dark-haired man only responded with: “I will inform you when we have arrived.” And when John asked if they were headed in the correct direction the dark-haired man showed north on his compass and then responded with: “I will inform you when we have arrived.” John soon realized that his dark-haired ally did not intend on conversing, even as the exhausted men creeped onward for days.

            By the third day, John was becoming weary. Even though he had been eating well and they had been sleeping on regular intervals, he felt sick. Twice while they inched through the forest, he found himself heaving up his food. He was having difficulty keeping anything down. And yet the dark-haired man took little notice. They were to continue to the target, he had said. “I will inform you when we have arrived.” Thus, they forged forward, occasionally leaving a spot of vomit, as they creeped slowly through the eternal sea of green, brown, and tan.

            Five days had passed. John had only become sicker. Soon he would be as green as the trees, he complained to the dark haired man, who ignored him. John had decided with himself that he must have caught some foreign disease. Yet the other man was not ill at all. And John recalled getting all his vaccinations before they had left. However, as the fifth day dragged on his condition continued to plummet. His vomiting had become more frequent. And he could swear that he found a clump of hair falling off his head. Worse of all, he was hallucinating. Ever since the first day, he had noticed dark spots appearing on his skin. And he was positive that the colors of their camo-suits and backpacks were reddening. Something was going on with Corporal John Bear it was beyond doubt.

            Finally, on their seventh day of slipping across the everlasting painting of green, brown, and tan, they reached a large clearing. Sitting in the open field was a great house. An elaborate grid of security fences surrounded the hefty white marble mansion. Winding into the clearing, slithered a thin gravel road. The road circled around the estate once and then jabbed into one of the large multi-car garages. The owner of this manor lived no Spartan life. The owner of this house would also be assassinated when he showed his face.

            Having reached the location of their hit and knowing that the target would not arrive for four more days, the two shrouded men began to set up camp. After finding the perfect vantage point, the worn out men unloaded their gear and waited in the moldy and wet shelter of a fallen tree.

            As the gloomy and chilling night began to fall on their tenth day, and after John returned from vomiting his previous meal, the dark-haired man decided that it was best to break his silence. Night was dark in the endless forest, so dark that the greens, browns, and tans of the chilly woods had become nothing but black, black, and more black. John realized that it was brighter if he closed his eyes, for when he attempted to hold them open, searching for light, they cried out in failure. And yet, he was certain that he could still make out the other man’s dark hair and his short, thin body. It was almost as if the dark-haired man glowed. He did not actually release light, but John could always tell exactly where he was and exactly what he was doing. The man began to speak. He sounded as if he was at war with himself, constantly stumbling across his own questions. Something was bothering the dark-haired man.

            “Corporal Bear, do you believe in a God?” he asked his voice shivering in the cold of the night.

            “Why, of course,” John responded. “I was raised Catholic.”

            “Interesting,” the dark-haired man mumbled to himself.

            “Do you?” John began to ask, but the other man continued with his questioning.

            “So, do you believe you will go to Heaven when you die?” he asked.

            “I believe I will. I am not a bad man.”

            The man paused, fiddling with a mossy rock.

            “Of course,” he said. “Do you fear death? If you died at war would you be satisfied?”

            “No and yes, I guess.” John responded. This was obviously a one-way conversation.

            “What do you think of evolution? Or are you strictly a creationist?” he questioned.

            “I am open to the concept, but I still believe God made life.”

            “Interesting,” the dark-haired man mumbled to himself again. John was confused about where this was going. Why did this man care about my beliefs if he will not even tell me his name?

            “Corporal, do you believe God gives each man and women his or her skills, or let’s just say ‘gifts’, or do you think man learns them on his own?”

            That was an odd question, John thought. Especially the way he had emphasized the word ‘gifts’. “I guess in some cases yes, like if a person is born with a skill. But some people acquire their skills through experience.”

            “But how can you not be sure that God had not given them that gift at birth, and through experience they learned to use it?”

            Even odder this time. What was this guy getting at?

            The dark-haired man shoved his last question aside.

            “Ok, one last question Corporal. What do you think God’s opinion is of this War? Is the other side not saying that their God supports it? So is this a war between religions? Or is the God leading both sides?”

            “I am not sure. Our country has freedom of religion, so we cannot say that any God is leading our side. Why does my opinion matter?” John asked.

            “All opinions matter.” The dark-haired man said but more to himself than to John. After a pause, he decided to conclude the conversation. “I believe you should get some rest now. Tomorrow is a big day.”

            He had ended the conversation leaving John completely confused. But John was too sick to worry about it long, so he fell asleep, dreaming about endless woods of green, brown and tan.

            Morning of the eleventh and final day arrived with a crisp breeze and a shimmering sky. The foreign birds sang of the fresh dawn as the moon slowly ran for safety from the advancing sun. As the creatures of the unforgiving forest began to rise, so did the two camouflaged men. The crunching rumble of cars running over gravel echoed across the clearing. The target had arrived. This morning of luminous light and joyful birdsong was soon to be disturbed. There was a war to be fought.

            Slowly and quietly, the two men crawled to their vantage point on a woody hill overlooking the estate from the southwest.

“Locate the target and alert me when he has entered the house,” the dark-haired man said directly into John’s ear.

            John slowly pulled his green electronic telescope to his eye. Racing up the winding gravel rode drove two large SUVs and a stretching limo between them. The two SUVs were painted with a leafy design of green, brown, and tan. Packed inside each one of them rode six heavily armed soldiers. John could only guess how many more waited in the house. The convoy continued to loop around the manor, skidding to a halt at the front entrance.

            A gagging rumble moved across John’s abdomen. This was not the time to be sick, he thought to himself. They could not move, so if he did vomit he would have to lie there on top of it.

            Moving the telescope back over his eye, John turned his attention to the black limo. Soldiers in green began to surround the limo, creating a human path into the mansion. Over their shoulders, John watched as a man ducked out of the stretch. He was a large man with flowing black hair and long dark whiskers. He wore more battle dressing and medals than John had ever seen. This man radiated fear and power. The soldiers standing at attention were noticeably moved by his appearance. In his mouth, he chewed a long tan cigar: Cuban. Without acknowledging any of the petrified troopers, he walked into the house.

            “Target has arrived,” John said turning to his affiliate.

Almost instantaneously, he felt a wave of vertigo. Beside him, the dark-haired man had stood up, appearing to glow with the morning sun.

“Get down!” John protested through blurry eyes.

“Don’t worry,” the glowing, dark haired man began to say. “It is time to finish this mission.”

What is he doing? John attempted to think, but his mind was becoming too clouded. His head ached with a stabbing pain. The forest seemed to spin around him. The ground seemed to explode in flames. The air seemed nonexistent.

Standing beside him the small and thin, dark-haired man stretched his left arm forward. His hand shone as white as the morning sun. The chilling breeze had long ago stopped; instead, John felt a blistering heat, as if the dark haired man held a star in his palm.

“Tell God that I said thanks for the gift,” the shining man said as the final oscillation of pain whipped through John’s mind.

John, the target, the mansion, and the infinite jungle around them became vaporized by the second budding sun.

The mission had been completed, the target had been killed. Where the great marble mansion had stood a Nuclear explosion had erupted. As the burning smoke and blinding light slowly dissipated, the dark-haired man calmly walked out of the dark mile-wide crater he had created from the palm of his hand. Unlike John, who had been affected by the man’s radiation since the second day, the dark-haired man could not be harmed by radiation or heat. For he could manipulate atomic energy; he had the power of a god.

As the dark-haired man walked in deep thought pondering his actions and his own immortality, he finally threw aside his skepticism. With a smile, he knew he had John to thank for this revelation. I should make a request to get John a nice medal, he thought.

Later that week, an official report stated that a nuclear device stored at the enemy’s safe house had malfunctioned, setting off the chain reaction. A less significant report stated that Corporal John Bear had died while scouting in the foreign jungle. John’s family was sent a minor ribbon, commending his service in the army.

The ribbon consisted of three colors: green, brown, and tan.

© 2010 zdzd

Author's Note

This story is the first of a Short Story series that I am working on, labeled: "Power"
Please note that all of the repetition in this story is intentional.

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The story was kinda slow at the beginning, but it sure made out at the end. You have a great writing style and the story is very interesting. Will like to know what happens next...

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on May 7, 2010
Last Updated on May 7, 2010
Tags: Power, Science Fiction, Mistery, Irony, Repetition, Science, War, Abilities, Short Story




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