Vignette:Curtain Call

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Curtain Call
Niguernon, Federal Republic of Arbenz
July 4th, 1991

imo had been stuck in this godforsaken place for over a decade now, and the only way he’d be getting out now would be in a coffin. As the walls around him shook off dust as artillery pounded the city, he quietly checked his rifle one last time for any gunk or detritus stuck in the chamber. It was as clean as a whistle. He let the bolt go, chambering a round with a high-pitched chunk. Rising from behind haphazardly placed sandbags, he calmly walked towards the entrance to greet his rowdy audience.

“It’s showtime,” he muttered to himself with a slightly mad grin on his face. Nobody else heard him.

He raised the rifle’s sights up to his left eye and lightly tapped the trigger as the front post steadily waved towards the head of an unfortunate bandit. He never saw the body fall, jerking left to fire a shot towards another. A single shot towards the head was all they needed, after all. His rifle wildly swung left and right, always pointing towards someone. His rifle kicked back softly with every shot, owing to over a decade of use. By the time he’d thought to check his magazine, there was a litter of corpses riddling the ticket hall. He sighed as he opened the entrance, greeting the smoke-scattered sunlight shining down on Niguernon with a murderous smile.

He ran on an open street towards the rising sun, rifle in hand. His dusty jackboots reverberated across the bullet-ridden buildings of the burning city, amongst the sounds of gunfire, artillery, mortar fire, screaming, crying, and fire. No longer was the city a safe haven for the Federalists. No longer was he welcome in the streets of Niguernon. And yet, he remained.

He could hear the distinct sound of engines approaching him from the left, followed by commands shouted by hoarse voices in a familiar language. He slowed his pace down, lest his tired legs give out. Soon, a column of Goetic paratrooper-laden trucks rolled out from the street ahead, driving towards him. His voice cracked as he shouted.

“Hey, look over here!”

The trucks came to a halt, parking parallel to him. The grin on Timo’s face grew impossibly large.

“Who are you?” came a voice from the truck closest to him.

“A fellow Teuton!” shouted back Timo.

“Friend or foe?” came the voice from the truck.

He started chuckling. Soon, he started laughing.

“Answer!” shouted the voice, annoyed.

Timo could see the confusion in the officer’s eyes as he quietly aimed his rifle toward his truck.

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