Eternal Soldier

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Short Stories

“I’m sorry…”
“No,” Willow seethed. “He can’t be dead!”
“I’m sorry,” the nurse continued. “Your friend was scorched. No one could survive those kinds of wounds. I’ll need to notify the next of kin.”
Willow stared blankly at the wall, bottom lip quivering. Kendra pushed away an orderly trying to re-wrap her burnt arm. “We’re orphans. There is no ‘next of kin,’” she explained to the nurse.
“I’m so sorry for your loss, but the police will be here shortly. They’ll have questions for you. They’ll also need to notify his social security worker.”
“Screw this,” Willow finally snapped and shoved another nurse aside and strode out the door. The white hallway glared at her, tempting her to fill it full of flames and scorch marks. If this is where he dies… In her mind, the hospital leapt to flames around her, Ian’s body burning in a massive pyre with the dance of the dying welcoming him to the afterlife.
“Will!” Kendra’s desperate plea brought her back to the present. She balled her hands into fists, squashing the flames that began to lick at her palms. “What are we gonna do?”
“We’re gonna leave. You think the security in this small-town dump of a hospital can keep us here?”
“But Ian’s…”
“Don’t say ‘body.’ He can’t be dead.”
“Fine, but we can’t just leave him here. He’d want to be buried in the crypt with old Hannon. And Malcolm needs to know.” The two girls walked as they talked, Willow dragging Kendra along behind her like a puppy. No one made a move to stop them. After all, there was no sign of foul play…yet. The rest of the bodies must not have been found yet. Once they found them, Willow and Kendra would be the primary suspects in a massive arson and murder investigation. They had to be gone before the police got there.
“Maybe we can convince them that Malcolm is our social worker. Then he could claim Ian’s body and take us home and…” Kendra’s hurried whisper droned in Willow’s ear.
“No!” Willow stopped and spun Kendra around to face her. She put her mouth next to Kendra’s ear so no one else could hear. “We’re not going home.”
Kendra reeled back as if she had been slapped. “But…”
“We can’t. Not now.”
“Then where will we go?”
“We’ll figure something out. There are other people like us out there. We’ll find them.”
“But the Council always says that the others are bad, Willow.”
“Maybe we are, too,” Willow shrugged. Somehow she was perfectly fine with that. Three days earlier, that realization would have floored her.
“No! We’re not bad. We just made some mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It wasn’t entirely our fault!” Kendra insisted.
Willow’s retort was cut off by an inhuman shriek from the direction of the morgue.
“Ian!” Willow flew down the hall to find the source of the sound, Kendra at her heels.
They found Ian in the morgue, naked from the waist up, still wearing the scorched and tattered remains of his jeans. Two men lay in pools of blood at his feet. His eyes found Willow’s the moment she burst into the room.
“We should go,” he muttered, gaze returning to the bodies on the floor. Blood dripped from the corners of his lips.
“I told them you weren’t dead, Ian,” Willow clutched her friend to her in a quick hug. “You just needed to feed. Nothing can hurt us now.”


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