Dust Runner

Dust Runner

A Story by roobato

A story of allies, medals, and tactical superiority.


Haze. Haze is all I witness and feel, waking from yet another crucifying nightmare. The nightmare repeats and repeats, unable to let me go from its torturous grasp. I stare at the ever so bright sky, witnessing the monochrome nature of yet another nightmare.


“Good luck.” I hear, eavesdropping a person who I assume is my accomplice. We seem to be wearing similar outfits. Rugged and dirty, yet simple and easy to manoeuvre in. There is a difference however, as his outfit seems to be padded with Kevlar. He is also carrying a pistol which looks like it could stop a man dead in his tracks. Many men, in fact. The smile he gives me when I glance at him is reassuring. So reassuring that I am able to put a big fragment of my trust onto him. Behind him stand three more people who seem to be similarly dressed, so I assume that they are part of the pack as well.


Before I am able to speak up to my brethren, I am surprised to find a tool of manslaughter of my own, in my own hands. I also find a green sphere clinging onto the side of my belt. Upon closer examination, I realize what it is. A grenade. Another gadget from Thanatos’ arsenal, with its only purpose to take lives. At that point, I also realize that I am frozen in place. I cannot even take a step forward, some mystifying force is preventing me from moving from my specified position. But that doesn’t last long. A short moment passes before the ephemeral bleakness is gone from my vision and the world is submerged in all sorts of beautiful, yet dispiriting colours.


“Split up.” My guardian declares assuredly, addressing everyone within our vicinity. Everyone nods in agreement, and before I have chance to utter anything, everybody scatters into two of the three paths that our urban, desert-like environment provides us. Two people jump down into a long corridor that leads into an even more spacious, open corridor. I go down a ramp to the right, following my guardian’s footsteps into the unknown abyss that is out current location. Everything seems to be so run down and feels hollow. Closed shops, abandoned crates and kegs. It’s all so lifeless, as it has always been. We approach a building with two towering wooden doors half open, almost like it’s inviting us to its innards. On the wall I see the letter “A” written in an anarchic manner, crimson in colour, with a ring surrounding the grapheme. Before I enter the door, I am stopped by my accomplice.


“Wait for the ‘nades.” He snaps suddenly as we hear several clinking sounds from inside of the seemingly unoccupied building.


“What do yo-“ I respond before I am knocked onto the floor upon hearing several explosions booming and roaring from inside the barren slaughterhouse which shakes everything around us and gives me a mild concussion. Several seconds in, and I am already feel like I am on my dusty death bed. Just like in every other nightmare of mine. At this point I already feel like I regret my decision, but I am also torn on the thought whether I ever had the decision to partake in this ordeal in the first place


“You alright?” Asks my accomplice, whose name is unknown to me. Not that knowing it would change anything, so it’s logical why I would not ask for it. Because the answer is always the same " it doesn’t matter.


“Yeah I’m good, just a light injury” I reply.


“Good. Then let’s do this. Stick close to me and we wipe them.” He commands in a somewhat authoritative manner. At this point, my other brother-in-arms pulls out some sort of explosive. It has a weird shape. It’s a cylinder, but the middle of it is thinner than the rest and it is penetrated by many holes in a repeating pattern. Its middle is also painted sky blue. He stretches his arms, and with great violence he tosses the contraption over the building. The brief explosion and flash is a cue for us to begin the next operation. My guardian sprints right into the building and we follow right after.


“Enemy contact!” He shouts to us as we pass the building and bolt out of the other side. I see two people also outfitted with pistols, but their uniforms are vastly contrasting ours. Professional, camouflaged and threatening. My accomplice wastes no time. He points his shining cannon at one of the adversaries who seems to be stunned by the previously tossed explosive, and unleashes a single, deafening shot which promptly impacts the opponent, spraying the contents of his head in a one hundred and eighty degrees cone behind him, also knocking him back into a wall. With his blood staining on the contrasting pale walls and his body laying besides all the mess, his partner unleashes a torrent of vengeance-filled bullets in our direction. At this point I regain my cognitive skills, and along with my brethren, we counter-attack, unleashing a barrage of our own. We exchange fire for several seconds as bullets whiz and dart in all directions. Both sides take heavy damage, but before I know it, the antagonist slaughters both of my friends at my side. They fall on the ground, dust puffing as they impact.


“God damn it. Finish the mission for us…” My now-deceased friend whimpers as he passes out in a pool of red. Now I have run out of bullets to finish off the newly made nemesis of mine. Fortunately for me, he is in the same predicament, and is now running at me with a blade like a homing missile. I am able to skilfully move out of the way and take a swipe at his abdomen several times with a knife of my own. It seems like it’s enough to finish him off, as he clumsily stumbles with around with multiple gunshot and knife wounds. With his abdomen now spilling blood out like water out of a tap, he drops onto the floor in defeat.


“Good fight.” I whisper faintly, having taken a lot of damage from the skirmish. I walk towards my dearest friends’ corpse, and pick up his prestigious hand cannon. Upon closer examination, I noticed that it’s very exclusive. It’s embossed with gold décor and engraved writing which spells “Head Hunter”. I reload the man slayer, and move to examine the environment ahead of me.


In front of me, there is the first victim of the skirmish, with his head non-existent. To the right, there is a pit with a garage, but it’s closed off. To the left, is a long open area with sides blocked off. And at the end, is my goal. I know that, seeing as I have gone through this pain so many times. I decide to head to my only objective. I stagger through the open passage way, stumbling upon burning cars to my right, and different signs written in Arabic on the left. Those don’t matter however. I hear gunshots further west, which I assume is my comrades whom I split up with earlier. I approach an elevated stone platform which can be accessed through a ramp on the right side. I see one of my comrades running towards me through a tunnel that the elevated platform overshadows and bridges over. We meet up, exchange brief introductions and head up on the platform in order to complete our ultimate mission. On top of the platform we are surrounded by metal and wooden crates which make the whole area nearly completely safe. It feels very cosy, knowing that you can be attacked from only two angles, which is a rare feeling in this game of ‘dog eat dog’. My accomplice takes out our key to success. A bomb. Yes, after all, we are terrorists, and this big red ‘x’ marks the final destination of our journey. I stand up and watch one three openings that we are exposed from " the way that I came from, the way that he came from, and another one, which is above the tunnel that he was coming from. After examining my environment and positioning myself to look at the above-tunnel entrance, my accomplice inputs the code into the mechanism.


“Forty five seconds. I’m going to hold the upper of the tunnel, you look into the tunnel. Only one left.” He says as the bomb starts making high-pitched beep noise perpetually, every second. I get off the platform and peek into the tunnel from behind the wall while my accomplice starts walking on top of the platform pathway above the tunnel. He slowly walks in the direction of the upper tunnel. We wait several seconds as the bomb keeps ticking, but it feels like more than eternity. We are anticipating the final combatant to show his face, and we are growing impatient. It’s at that moment when the audio-space is filled with violent gunshots once again. He just got into a firefight with another one of them. There is barely any time before he has to retreat, he is heavily wounded and is now limping towards the direction of the bomb. That is, until his opponent shows his face one more time, and lets out his final projectile. Just like that, the last gunshot marks my ally’s fate, as his head is cracked open like a chasm and he collapses face-first into the crates that I am hiding behind. I suddenly feel like a great responsibility has been passed onto me, and my every move being judged by my now deceased allies. Before I have any time to contemplate my current situation any further, the adversary proceeds to advance at my position. I peek behind the crates and aim my pistol in his general direction. I press the trigger several times, with the gun’s recoil knocking it skyward every time. The other combatant seems to also be shifting from side to side in an elusive manner, making all of my shots miss their mark. I am completely helpless. I don’t seem to be able to control this beast, and before I know it, the enemy retaliates with great precision. The bullets hit the general area of the crates that shield my body, and one bullet even manages to rip through my shoulder. With great pain, I decide to shelter myself behind the reliable crates and reload that monstrous pistol. Just then I realize that the other combatant’s footsteps and gunshots have ceased, and now that I look behind the crates, he is nowhere to be seen. He vanished, and I am overtaken by an overwhelming feeling of uneasiness. I don’t even know where I am supposed to look at. The bomb keeps ticking and ticking, faster with every beat. The end is approaching, as the bomb’s ticking reaches a more-than-rapid pace.


“Got him.” I hear in a victorious tone behind my exposed back. That’s right. My opponent seems to have deceived me. He silently jumped down from the platform and flanked around me, and is now unloading a whole salvo of life-ending bullets into my body.


“Wha-“ I manage to choke out before the pain paralyzes my body as I fall down from the platform, incapacitated. Now half-lifeless, I am lying on the cold hard ground, facing the tunnel where three corpses lie face down in blood. Two of them, one of ours. It’s takes only few seconds before I know that I have failed.


“Yes sir. We win.” I hear the combatant speak over the radio as the bomb’s rhythmic ticking comes to a halt.


As I lie down in the rose-coloured by-product of my failure, I embrace my defeat in a state of melancholy. After all, this nightmare is one of many that have been, and one of many to come. I close my eyes, feel a disconnect, and slowly fade away into another nightmare.

© 2015 roobato

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Added on September 4, 2015
Last Updated on September 5, 2015
Tags: dust, runner, war, tactics, roobato, murder, weapons, espionage



Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom

I'm a Polish guy living in England. My passion is Computer Science but I love writing as a hobby, so here I am. more..

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