As Adam walked through the ruble of the battlefield, his only wish was to find another survivor.
All around him were the bodies of his friends. Those he had fought alongside for years. They had all been survivors, but now, he was the last.
The tanks and artillery lay crumbled around the battlefield, and even when he looked across the plain to the enemy’s side, it looked like they were just as wiped out.
He didn’t know how both sides had fought until there were none left. All he could think of, is whoever had survived on the side of the enemy, had left once the battle was won.
He tripped over the body of his good friend, Charlie, and took a moment to kneel down and remember his late friend.
A bullet striking the ground near him brought him back to the reality that he was not alone, and the battle wasn’t truly over yet.
Keeping a low profile, he moved as quickly as he could towards the tree-line.
Another round hit a tree as he passed the edge of the woods.
He quickly found cover, positioned his rifle on a log, and used the scope to try to locate his adversary.
A brief flash from his enemy’s muzzle showed him where he was, but he flinched as a piece of bark exploded near him.
Adam knew he was too far to hit his target and he didn’t want to waste his ammunition, so he merely ducked behind the log.
At some point his opponent would have to close in, or Adam would have to find a way to close the distance for a clear shot, but now was not the time. He decided to wait until nightfall to move from his safe position.
No more shots came as he stayed safe behind the log.
He knew that either his opponent was taking this opportunity to close the distance, or at least move locations, but since Adam didn’t fire back, it was possible that his enemy was staying put until Adam moved from cover.
His shots were hitting close to the target, and it was only a matter of time before one of the bullets hit it’s mark.
Fortunately for Adam, the setting sun was to his advantage. His attacker would be blinded by the sun until it finally set, so Adam took this opportunity to move.
He continued to keep a low profile, and quickly moved from tree, to log, to tree, to ditch, and so on until he felt he had made good progress.
With each move from shelter to shelter, he knew he was getting much closer to his opponent.
Once the sun had disappeared, he stopped where he was to see if he could locate his attacker before he was discovered himself.
He watched for any movement, or muzzle flash to give away his enemy’s location, but there was none. He would have to just hope he was the first to spot the other.
With every crunch the sticks made as he stepped on them, he cursed.
He didn’t know how much sound would travel, but as he got closer to where the muzzle flash had originated, the more likely the sounds could be heard.
Then, off to his left he saw slight movement.
Not wanting to waste an opportunity, he quickly whipped his riffle in that direction and sighted in.
His target jumped just as he pulled the trigger, and he only shot the tree behind where he had been moving.
He let out a curse as he quickly took cover, correctly expecting a counter strike.
After the initial shot from his enemy missed, Adam rolled into a prone position and took aim once again, firing off two rounds.
The enemy soldier let out a grunt as one of the rounds hit him.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to end the skirmish, Adam sprinted towards his prey.
Seeing his opponent aim his rifle at him with his good arm, Adam dove to one side just as the soldier pulled the trigger.
After the shot, Adam jumped over the log he was behind and closed in on his enemy.
With a clear shot, he pulled the trigger.
He was out of bullets.
Without any hesitation, the enemy soldier took quick aim and pulled the trigger.
Adam felt a sharp pain in his gut as the bullet tore through his skin.
His attacker slowly stood up and begin to limp towards him.
Adam could see that the enemy soldier had been hit in the leg. He could also see the smile that was growing on the soldier’s face as he moved in for the kill.
Because of his wound, Adam was not able to move quickly, so he could only sit there and wait for the soldier to pull the trigger.
“Any last words?” the enemy soldier asked, not really expecting an answer.
A spit at his feet was Adam’s only reply.
The clack of the rifle was the last sound Adam heard.
Adam took in a deep breath as if he had just broken through a surface of water and gasped.
He rolled onto his back and checked his gut, where the wound should have been, but found none.
The enemy soldier limped, unsure what to do now that he had disposed of the last enemy combatant.
‘I guess there’s nowhere left to go, except home,’ he thought as he began to limp in the direction he had come from.
He half dragged his rifle when off to his right he saw a speck of movement from across the field.
As quickly as he could, he took cover behind a destroyed transport vehicle and standing with his weight on one leg, used his scope to get a better look at the newest survivor across the way.
He couldn’t make out any details, only that the uniform was indeed a uniform of his enemy.
Not wanting a repeat of what had happened with the other soldier, he limped his way into the tree-line and slowly made his way to the other side of the battlefield.
He would move in close and kill his opponent, using the element of surprise.
Adam didn’t fully understand what had happened, but he wasn’t going to tempt fate. He picked up a couple of grenades, and plenty of rounds for a rifle he picked up.
He remembered where the enemy soldier was, so he started to walk back. He still wasn’t convinced that he hadn’t imagined the whole thing, but there was only one way to be sure.
Just as he entered the tree-line, he saw some movement deeper in, so he quickly took cover.
It didn’t seem he was discovered, so he stayed still behind some brush, until he could better see his adversary.
He didn’t have to wait long before he saw the limping silhouette of the enemy soldier.
Adam didn’t want to take the chance of his opponent taking cover, or returning fire, so he took out a grenade, and when the soldier was within range, he threw it with deadly precision.
The soldier never saw the grenade, he only heard the explosion and felt the percussion, before he shot up gasping for air.
He patted down his entire body as if he was on fire, feeling every part, not understanding why he was still in one piece.
Only a moment passed when he looked off into the distance, inside the woods, and saw the smoke and dust of an explosion.
He was laying back where he had woken up the first time, but now, his injury was missing, and he was completely whole.
He jumped up, and scanned the area, expecting an immediate attack, but none came.
Determined to get revenge, he picked up another weapon, a couple of grenades, and headed to where the explosion had just occurred.
He had somehow survived and he wasn’t going to waste the chance he’d been given.
Adam smiled as the smoke and dust cleared. He was finally rid of his killer. The battle was finally over and he was the victor.
He let out a shout of victory, but as he brought his head back down, he saw another enemy soldier running towards him.
They ran toward each other, simultaneously aiming their weapons at each other.
Both hesitating, they stared at each other in disbelief.
“What the hell?” the enemy soldier asked.
“What the hell is going on?” Adam asked.
Neither of them had an answer for the other.
“I shot you,” the enemy soldier stated. “I watched you die.”
“And I just blew you up with a grenade,” Adam pointed out.
They were both ready to shoot the other but stood unsure.
“We’re close to where I killed you the first time,” the soldier continued. “I say we see if your body is still there.”
They both lowered their weapons, and Adam nodded in agreement.
Cautiously, they both made their way to where Adam had been killed, but there was no body there.
“What the hell is going on?” The soldier asked, raising his weapon at Adam. “Did you crawl away and re-arm?”
Adam brought his own weapon up and trained it at his opponent.
“I snapped awake where I had awoken the first time,” Adam explained.
“Same when the grenade went off,” the enemy soldier agreed. “I woke up where I started too.”
Though they both kept their weapons trained on the other, they were both deep in thought, trying to figure out what was happening.
Then Adam said, “It doesn’t matter.”
Seeing Adam’s brows furrow, realizing what he was about to do, the enemy soldier did the same.
Both rifles went off almost simultaneously.
They both inhaled deeply, finding themselves back where they had started.
It no longer mattered to either of them why this was happening, only that they were the last man standing.
Over and over they killed each other, picked up what weapons were lying around, and hunted each other again and again.
Finally, after they had killed each other more times than they could count, they ran out of ammunition.
Not to be deterred, they instead, picked up knives and bayonets, continuing to hunt each other.
Eventually, they got tired of the hunt, and just began running across the battlefield, stepping over and on their once friends, as they fought over and over, taking turns killing each other.
After what felt like an eternity, they found themselves back in the middle of the battlefield, ready to kill each other once again, when they looked at each other, completely exhausted.
The exhaustion they felt wasn’t physical, but spiritual. They both felt weary of the constant fighting with no end in sight.
Though there was nothing wrong with their bodies, they both limped, as if beaten and bruised.
Once they were within reach of each other, the both stopped and only stared.
Adam was the first to just collapse into a crossed leg seated position.
Seeing that Adam wasn’t a threat, the enemy soldier sat down too.
Tired of looking at his opponent all the time, Adam began looking around at the carnage that still surrounded them.
He saw a pair of bodies that looked like they had been in the process of killing each other when an explosion went off, finishing them both off.
Both bodies were heavily blackened and looked the same as all the other bodies that surrounded them.
Adam couldn’t help staring at one of them, something looked familiar about it, though he couldn’t quite place it.
The enemy soldier followed Adam’s gaze to see what he was staring at.
His guard when up as Adam stood and slowly make his way to the body he had been focusing on.
Curious himself now, the soldier stood up and joined Adam by the bodies.
They both stared quizzically at the dead soldiers.
The soldier watched as Adam knelt down and pulled out a piece of paper that was sticking out of the dead body’s pocket.
Adam’s eyes widened when he opened the paper to read what was written on it.
“What is it?” the enemy soldier asked.
Adam handed the paper to him.
It looked like a love letter.
As he looked up confused, Adam pulled out an identical piece of paper from his own pocket. The same pocket as it was in the dead body’s and handed to him.
The soldier held the two pieces of paper side by side confused.
They looked identical.
He looked back at Adam still confused.
Terror filled Adam’s eyes as he slowly rolled the dead body over onto its back.
The soldier jumped back as he saw that the dead soldier on the ground was his enemy.
Adam fell back, his eyes looking into his own dead eyes before him.
Not fully understanding what was going on, but needing to be sure, he moved over to the second dead body and rolled it over.
The soldier let out a yelp as he stood there, looking down at his own dead body.
“I don’t understand,” the soldier said.
Adam looked at him, “Neither do I, but I think these bodies are the real us. I think we’re dead, and we’re in some sort of purgatory.”
They both looked around the battlefield, seeing all their dead friends covering the ground and realized for the first time that there was nothing outside the battleground, but blackness.
They weren’t sure how they had missed it before, but as they stood there looking around, they realized that there was no escape. They were bound together in death, forever forced to kill each other over and over again, or find a way to make peace.
Adam made eye contact with the enemy soldier and said, “I’m Adam.”
The soldier, for the first time not seeing an enemy, but a comrade, replied, “I’m Gastoff.”