The smell of carbon and sulfur. Ash and dust choked his lungs, smoke clouding his vision as the dirt rained down on him. The sound of a thousand bells ringing in his ears muffled the shouting around him. Someone was tapping his shoulder, jostling him left and right as a he struggled to his feet.

A cry of inhuman pain from afar, or was that him? Crouching with head bowed, he shook the grit away from his face and looked out. Between the clouds of fire and sand he could make out the shadows of looming buildings; their doorways shared and cool, the slight bend in the rickety frames marking the poverty and desolation of the area.

He sprinted towards one niche, ignoring the screaming whistles of bullets flying past him, ignoring the burn of his ankle on each step. His thoughts split between only two impulses. Kill and live. Back to the wall, he peeked out long enough to catch a glimpse of a hostile; and with one quick fluid motion his sights were aimed, his barrel steady, and his target dead.

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