I took one look at the oncoming wall of people and broke the
line. There were too many; we’d be crushed, they’d be injured. It was too
dangerous. Around me, soldiers made similar calls, stepping back, moving out of
the panicked protester’s way. Some tried standing their ground, only to fall
under the first wave.
"Fall back! Fall back! Let them through!" I ordered, screaming into
my radio. "Fall back! Let them through! Fall back!"
Some listened, others didn't. I didn't know if they could hear me. It was
pandemonium. It was chaos.
It was war.
I watched in horror as a soldier, panicked, started beating a woman who’d run
into him with his baton. She desperately tried to push him away, twisting to
avoid him, trying to move towards the exit. She managed one step before his arm
came down cracking her on the head. She went down, landing on the street,
immediately swallowed by the wave of stampeding feet.
"With me!" I screamed, surging through the crowd, eyes on the spot
the woman had gone down. I prayed someone was behind me. I fought against
the people, using my shield as a weapon. I was pushed, shoved, and beaten as I
clawed my way to where she'd fallen. I stepped on her arm. Immediately pulling
my foot back, I looked down. Her face was a bloody mess, her body completely mangled
with blood and bruising. I stepped over her, bracing a foot on either side, the
soldier who'd hit her nowhere to be found. I held my shield up as still more
people streamed through the narrow entrance, eyes panicked, bodies
What the fuck was going on?
My radio crackled, but I couldn't hear it over the screaming and thunder of the
crowds. A child tripped beside me. I snapped out a hand, hurling him up,
pushing him behind me. He clung to my leg, whomever he'd been with already lost
in the crowd, pushed along by the surge.
A soldier appeared beside me. The guy from earlier.
"Colonel!" he yelled, struggled to be heard over the crowd. He
braced, lacing his arm with mine, crouching we shuffled slightly, moving to
fully cover the woman. The kid kept clinging to me, his small arms and legs now
wrapped completely around my leg.
"She's bad," the guy said as the crowd started to thin.
"I know." Her legs looked broken, and she had to have internal
injuries. Her face was a complete mess.
"She won't be the only one."
His arm flexed around mine, but we didn't move. We couldn't. We had to hold, or
we'd all go under. I could see the end of the crowd, the line of soldiers three
deep, followed by a row of trucks.
"Shit," the soldier yelled. "This is some dystopian
I grunted, shifting my grip on the shield. "Pray the truck is for
The crowd thinned, light enough I could shift into a crouch, my hand going
immediately to the woman's neck.
"Pulse," I reported. "Weak as shit. She's bad."
"But alive," he pointed out. "We’ve got to get her
is a transplant to Australia’s capital, Canberra. Kim loves it for the food,
the weather, the mountains and even the roundabouts.
She is a
part-time writer, full-time worker bee and lover of all things romance. Kim
lives with the hero of her own love story and their dachshund in their house
full of books.