The light dimmed as the dust of war filled the air outside. Harsh cries warred with explosions and the clash of metal on metal as the scales of battle tipped precariously, but surely, towards their violent conclusion. The colonel continued her instructions without haste.
"The captain is to bring his unit to the South Bay within the hour. Do you understand?"
"Yes ma'am. I will—"
A rending crash tore through the room, interrupting the younger angel's reply. Dust and the savage reek of smoke tainted air clogged his lungs as he fought his sword free of its scabbard. He whirled, wings extended, his skin glowing faintly in the murky light, but found no enemy to fight. Instead, he saw a gaping, smoke filled hole where the wall had been. Blood leaked sluggishly from under the wreckage and spread in an inky pool, its thick, dark tendrils reaching for him.
"Colonel," he cried, springing forward to lift one of the largest slabs of wreckage from the body. The sight that greeted his eyes forced him to back away, struggling to control the bile rising in his throat. The blast had sent a jagged blade of shrapnel slicing through the colonel's neck, decapitating her. Survival instincts kicked in and, dropping slab, the lieutenant stepped back and looked around him, checking for a threat – or a witness.
As it became clear to him that neither were close by, his expression twitched between sadness and relief. The colonel had been a good leader; smart and well respected. Her destruction was tragic, and yet, he couldn't help but contemplate the possibility that no one else knew he had received the orders she had given him. Timing is everything.
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