All posts by Jeremy Rawls

A former active duty Marine with 2 combat tours in Iraq. A former DOD contractor with 2 contracts in Afghanistan. Currently a freelance writer.

When the Farmer Calls a Hunter

A prominent farmer wandered the local market, running into another farmer.  The other farmer said, “I’ve sighted wolves near the forest between our lands.  Be careful.  I don’t know how many there are.  They could become dangerous.”  The farmer replied, “Thank you for the information.  I will see what I can do.”

The farmer brought two sheepdogs to his farm to protect his sheep.  He believed in being prepared and could use the extra help in controlling the sheep around the pasture.  One day, the wolves attacked.  One sheepdog fought them and was wounded.  The other sheepdog, believing its life more important, ran away.  Two sheep died because of the cowardice sheepdog.

The farmer now had a new problem.  His good sheepdog was injured and there were surely more wolves.  He now only had a useless sheepdog that refused to fight, though it would still control the sheep; its spine only strong enough to bend the will of weaker animals.  The farmer had to make a new plan, since his farms guardians could not contain the evils of the woods, for the farmer knew nothing of fighting.

He contacted the local hunter, a warrior, well versed in killing.  He told the hunter he would pay him to destroy the wolves.  The hunter said, “I will use traps and take them out easily.”  The farmer said, “No.  My sheep fear traps. I fear traps. They are not humane. You must engage the wolves on my terms.  You must sign this contract.”  The hunter signed and said, “This agreement may get me injured.  If that happens, due to your instructions, you will be held responsible.”  The farmer retorted, “As long as my sheep having nothing to fear, I am fine with what may come.”

The hunter delved into the dark woods, searching for the wolf pack.  He found them in a heavily dense area; one he could not well maneuver in.  They hide within a lingering fog, gliding low to the ground.  He readied for the assault as he knew it was too late.  The wolves had the upper hand, trapping him with their numbers.  They leapt at him, causing his face to be maimed, his body torn, and his anger to rise.  His weapon fired; his blade swiftly stabbed.  He killed all of the wolves, taking their pelts as proof.  Weary and spent, he began his journey back.

When the hunter returned to the farm, he wore the wolf fur across his shoulders.  The rest were bound and wrapped above his pack.  The sheep were horrified.  The farmer rushed out to meet him, seeing the shock in his flocks’ eyes.  “Don’t scare my sheep! Why do you wear such trophies?  I will compensate you for your losses, but please hide the blood and fur,” he wailed.  The hunter stood before the farmer and replied, “Killing is not the business of sheep.”

The Burning of Mulberry Bridge

Small towns spring up in the craziest places sometimes.  Often the reason is forgotten.  Someone may have travelled to a point and given up.  They may have made a camp and just never left.  The area might have been really nice or just nice enough to not care about wanting more.  Maybe it wasn’t nice at all.  They were just stuck there.

No one gets to choose where they were born.  No one gets to choose their family.  Some people will go through their life with no thought towards this issue.

Somewhere in the eastern United States, two bridges stood far apart over a muddy river.  One bridge, Mulberry Bridge, was wooden and old.  It was worn down, creaking; it could barely support a passing car.  The other bridge was new, concrete and steel.  It was built for bad weather; meant to last for many years.  The two were polar opposites.  Built for similar purposes, they had completely different types of destinations.  One was built in haste, the other with dedication.

Mulberry Bridge connected a family to the rest of the world.  It was the only way onto their property.  They were fierce about their land, even plotting against one another for it.  They had no idea that no one else cared to own it.  They didn’t even realize that no one visited.  They all lived in the happy bliss of ignorance.  The show Days of Our Lives, could take notes from them, these masters of puppetry and oratory arts.  They plotted and schemed, ostracizing those that went against the grain.

The old bridge connected them to reality, jutting up to a major highway.  People passed the bridge, wondering why no one would fix it.  Can’t they at least put some paint on it, replace the railing, or try to make the sides match in height?  No, no one was ever going to fix that bridge.  It was the monument to the lives of those living on the opposite side.  Decaying, rotting at the stanchions; it surely couldn’t stand for long?  It could; it was in that shape years ago, longer than anyone could remember.  Mulberry Bridge had been standing on its last leg for decades.  A sane person wouldn’t attempt to drive across it.  The boards that ran the length, two strips just for tire guides, looked like they were not even nailed down.  Some bent upwards, making it impossible to drive quickly.

The wood of the bridge was so old that it powdered on the running boards.  The pillar legs looked fossilized.  Debris was stuck in the stanchions; left from some rain that caused the water to rise that high.  The river below, slowly creeping, didn’t have a history of fishing quality.  Alligator gar infested the waters, along with some small brim.  The banks were steep with broken portions of sandstone extending out; shelves for the turtles and snakes; cluttered brush and debris with random trash.

The bridge up the river, made by a single man, was newly erected.  The bridges were not close together; you couldn’t see one from the other.  They were only close enough to each other to know of the others existence.  The concrete bridge was wide, built solid and superbly tested.  It was engineered for longevity.  Trials on many types of bridges had been conducted by military engineers for centuries.  Their knowledge and applied science went into the construction of this testament to the will of man.  This bridge wasn’t going anywhere.

There would be no legacy of Mulberry Bridge.  Though it stood through many trials and tribulations, its boards absorbing all of the trauma and history around it; the days were numbered from the start.  It only took one spark.  One loss and the whole bridge went up in flames.  It burned for hours, until nothing was left; only scorched earth on each embankment.  The man that made the concrete bridge, once being part of the troubled family passed Mulberry Bridge, burned the decrepit bridge, locking the fools in.  They were now on their own, alone.  What goes around, surely comes back around.  This time, Mulberry Bridge will never be rebuilt; the concrete bridge will forget that there was ever another option to cross.  The eye sore will not be missed by those that passed by on their daily errands.  It will be forgotten, lost to time like so many things before it.

The bridges are only a connection, from one thing to another.  We put them in place to make things convenient, to travel; but roads go both ways.  When no one travels a certain direction, there no longer needs to be a bridge; there is no connection.  It takes effort and work to maintain a bridge, a connection.  If two cities are connected by a bridge, which one pays for it?  It should be both, but that isn’t the reality of the world.  It isn’t the reality of families, of parents, of friends.  Will someone will always pay more? You don’t have to.



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Three Things To Make You Rich

Read this article in its’ entirety to get the answer you seek.  It may have been right in front of you the whole time.

You knew that title was fake, right?  If not, you do now! Well, sort of fake. I mean, this has a purpose, but the answer isn’t until the end of the article.  The answer you are looking for, anyway.


Unfortunately, there are no easy items/ways to just make you rich, but there are 3 things for you to consider:

  1. Stop reading articles meant to mislead you (like this one; see what I did there…).
  2.  Be more cognizant of what is going on in the outside world: travel.
  3.  Stop supporting bad writers/writing/media/news. You feed them; they grow and they are now out of control.

There are too many writers or journalists out there ripping you off with bad judgment and good intentions, stealing your free time with mind-numbing garbage.  The truth is out there folks, you just keep looking in the wrong direction.  One major thing to realize is that all writing is fiction, no matter the topic, so take it with a grain of salt.

I am not a journalist.  I consider the term as vulgar, so you will not see me doing “Late Breaking News!”  That is just click bait for poor writing.  The title of this article is also click bait, meant to show you just how easy it is to have a title that doesn’t even relate to the article, which is mostly what you read these days.  It’s infuriating isn’t it?  I know, right!

If you like short stories, stick around my site and read a few.  If not, I would challenge you to read and tell me you don’t like the stories anyway.  Stories are created for a purpose; to convey a message.  You have the time.  Don’t give me that excuse, sitting on the toilet playing Candy Crush or some mess.

If you like scholarly journals, go to The Warfighter Journal for leadership, historical, and military related articles, but quit reading dumb stuff.  It’s killing us, and you know better.  The dumbing down of America has been in full swing for way too long.  We will break that trend together.  Share this post and start the discussion of a better life of reading, or you can just share it to troll your friends.  Either way, I am going to monitor the numbers and see just how people deal with click bait articles.  Thanks for participating.

psss. Finally the answer!

If you want to really be rich, help in your community.  Money isn’t everything and you knew that to begin with.  Now go out and make a difference in the world.


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Here at Warriors Against Reintegration (W.A.R.), we pride ourselves in doing the opposite of what culture demands of us. We are warriors, and warriors don’t conform. No shit right? You would think this would be a no-brainer. We didn’t choose this path just to backtrack and be “Billy on the Block”. Transition isn’t real. It is a farce of bubblegum ideology from hippie-dippie socialist. Don’t fall into that punji trap. Join the W.A.R. movement, and keep being awesome.


Have you ever gone to a bar and had some dip shit give you the googlie eye because you have a t-shirt that has your branch of service on it? They should if you wear a bunch of moto trash, like custom made Nike’s with airbrushed HOOAH on the sides or some mess. No, you are the casual veteran that likes to rep a tee every now and then. You leave your shield at the door. Why do we not have shield racks? I will tell you why: a bunch of self-righteous hippies think shields are the devil, so they would rather have bicycle racks for their gender-confused friends and space for the mobility scooters of the impossibly obese. Have that hipster hold your axe the next time you order a beer. Hopefully his sissy arms won’t break under the weight of an 8 pound household item.


That’s right, we are bringing sissy back like it’s 1995. The populace at large doesn’t know diddly about us, nor do they actually care to take the time to learn. Don’t you stand there and lie to me saying you genuinely care and support the troops. That was a magnet your ass bought from Walmart. Half of the civilian population would think the Department of Defense is the governing body of Mixed Martial Arts if you told them. Saving some cross-eyed toads in a third world country on the other side of the planet is more important than actually knowing about the people around in any general sense. Isn’t that right hippies? That old man down the street is just some jerk, because he tells you to slow down when you blast through in your 84 Honda. Never mind that he has shrapnel in his spine and still holds a day job.


We aren’t going to let a bunch of limp-wristed-jack-wagons tell us to be something we are not. Why you ask? Because we don’t care what a bunch of Nancy Boys feel like because they live at home with their parents and rage on Call of Duty. The shit show of college bound, pseudo intellectuals continues to divide our nation in an attempt to gain one more participation trophy by gargling man parts. We don’t do participation trophies homie (except for the Army…that damn participation ribbon-you know which one). What we give out is earned, and usually by some unfortunate turn of painful events that often leave lifelong scaring and mental anguish. You better get you some scaring and mental anguish if you want street cred in this establishment. Getting stabbed with a fork from your cousin Dante doesn’t count. Neither does getting bit by your aunts’ vicious Chihuahua; even if it was on your eyeball. Should have stayed out of the little fuckers’ face.


Only warriors need apply. Sword-carrying, gun-slinging, angry, men and women need to tell those sissy, hipster do-nothings to go suck start a Harley. We will not retract, retreat, or reintegrate. It is time we rise. We are W.A.R., and we are truly legion. Eat shit comic books; we’ve got this.


P.S. Hillary Clinton is a traitor worse than Jane Fonda. When did it become popular to get people killed and make a career on camera afterwards? I will tell you when: hippies. Hippies are the root to the cancerous core that spawned hipsters and frappuccinos. They also ruined Batman with Ben Affleck’s dumb ass. Call your congressman. Do something to stem the tide of idiocy today, but mainly find that one ass-hat that hasn’t arrested Hillary Clinton yet. What the hell is this person waiting for? Get your shit together Trey Gowdy, quit tiptoeing. Tell that security detail to bust out the handcuffs and lay the smack down on that traitorous clown.



Thank you.

Warriors Against Reintegration (W.A.R.)



All Hail to the Church of Emotions

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Welcome to the new Inquisition; a softer, gentler Inquisition prepared to kill you with kindness. Common sense is now burned in street bonfires with full media coverage. You can be reported to the PC police for minor infractions, labeling you for your actions with drastic consequences if your emotions do not align with the judging leaders. If you disagree, you can be placed on public display for the masses to chant and point their fingers through social media. Nowhere is safe; and nothing is without scrutiny.

You, the heretic, have entered into their holy world, encompassing the globe through ties of humanitarian aid with the new nobility of Hollywood stars shepherding the masses to enlightenment. You were born a heretic, as your privilege has deemed you labeled based on your class, gender, race and so on. If you refuse to self-identify, you are the lowest of the low, worthy of only being a social outcast for your blasphemy.

Borders have been erected with imagination. Flags of equality fly high over the heads of the indoctrinated as they march forth to seek out all heresy. The followers drink Starbucks, wear skinny jeans with black socks and Chucks, and sport stickers dedicated to their favorite belief or idol of their chosen emotion. They lecture on the virtues of microbreweries, healthy food options, and trendy new books. Often, they congregate to pray to their favored musical saint, fully subscribing in their message of “The lyrics don’t matter. I just like the beat.” The musical saints preach from stages with great fanfare far and wide. Their dedication leads them to denounce clothing in an effort to prove their emotional identity or lack thereof, utilizing vast amounts of glitter and an ever expanding marketing scheme.

Individualism is the mantra. One must focus on ones emotions to the extreme for salvation. Failure in life is permitted; failure to your emotions is not. As Shakespeare wrote Polonius to say, “This above all: to thine own self be true” you are encouraged to speak your individual gospel at all times, even when it is inappropriate or irrelevant. (Hamlet 1.3, 78) Your emotions take precedent over all proceedings. Anyone that disagrees is a heretic and must be dealt with swiftly.

The crusader army is battling from government lawns under cheap Walmart tents. They chant for $15 an hour and various free items usually associated with a college education. Your degree (or the one that will ultimately be given to you) is your badge of office; a step higher in the rank and file of your church. Your dedication must be rewarded in the form of temporary achievements. Oh you, the esteemed recipient of the participation award. Your religion discredits the need to focus on the future. No, now it is all about you. You in the now and how you feel are all that matters. Raise your fist to the sky to chant your battle cry: “I am offended!”

All hail the Church of Emotions.


Given Hands

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I have spent a lot of time tracing the scars on my hands. I can remember most of them for good or bad. The shade of skin tells me how old. The numbness tells me how bad the damage was at the time. Have you ever caught yourself staring at your hands? They are the maps to our past; roadways written in scars. When we make a fist, we can remember when we had to use it. We can remember if we shook someone’s hand; awkwardly accepting them. We gage how a situation has affected us by the shaking of our hands from fear. I was taught at a young age to expect to make my way in life by the strength of my hands.

When I was young, my grandfather talked about what he could do with his hands. He was a big man built to run a farm; big arms burst sleeves of his uniform; big hands gripped handles to build fence. He taught me how to be a mechanic. I quickly learned how to bust my knuckles with a wrench. I spent a lot of time passing him tools and watching his hands go to work.

His generation knew what it meant to use their hands. They built cities, settled disputes, made friends, and waged war with their hands. Respect was given with a salute. A hand shake meant an oath. A fist was formed to stop a fight, not start one. A slap on the shoulder was a sign of good work. Identity for each person was found in the finger tips.

Today is different. Hands are not sacred anymore. Now everyone believes in words; words they hear or words they say. Words mean nothing in passing. Actions are the only things that matter. Actions are put into motion by hands. Written word is created by hands. To speak does not make you bold; to ramble does not make you wise; to blurt does not make you exciting, but you can hold someone; that makes you strong. You can tie a child’s shoe. You can throw a dog a ball. You can ask for a wrench from a young child, and show them what you are about to fix. Be that change in life.

Faith is seen in the form of praying hands; the hands that toil. Even the faithless are linked to us by their hands. Bound, we are tied together on this plane. Hand in hand, we walk the path. Remember your hands the next time you feel down. Use them to pull yourself back up. Reach for the things that words cannot describe. Latch on to life and point your own direction.

The Frozen

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The trenches were being dug for miles. Slaves broke the earth with shovels and mighty excavating equipment recently pirated from the Mechanicus on a planet far away. The tundra, that was made the unfortunate battlefield, began to look cracked and bruised by the industry of war. The war host had made planet fall days ago, immediately setting to digging in and preparing for a hard fight. The owners of the citadel they faced were known for not giving up their stock easily. Ranged before the mighty citadel fortress of the Black Templars was an army to behold, an army ran by the insidious Word Bearers. Though the Word Bearers were few, their slave army was vast. They did not come for material items, they came for the souls of the enemy Astartes. Four hundred souls would provide the key to a ritual that only they knew the purpose.

As the digging continued, a poor slave by the name of Olaf found something shiny. “Whats this?” he said as his shovel dinged on a metal object. Only a meter through the ice and he could go no further. His trench line was far from the command section and was only a fall back area. No Astartes came here and few slave wardens patrolled the area. They knew it was slow work with the ice and then the frozen soil. He waved a crew close by, “bring a tracked digger over here, I think I found something.” He shouted, as he slid back into the hole. Barricades had already been built along the ground level to shield them. Long rows of razor wire spanned out before that; and then the empty distance to the fortress. Had this been a siege crafted army, the ends would have been reinforced and heavily guarded, but the Word Bearers were few and cared little for their forces.

Olaf wiped his hand across the metal and noticed it was a helmet of some sort. The digger arrived and with one scoop, it dug down deep. The dirt fell away to reveal a horrific sight. The slaves fell to their knees. They had uncovered an Astartes, one they had never seen. His armor was ancient and corroded. He had servo arms attached at the back. As the dirt fell away, his body slid to a seated position, still half surrounded by frost and soil. “He must have been buried here for centuries, should we tell the masters?” said one of the slaves. “Yes, send word, I don’t want to be flayed alive for failing them. The Dark Gods will frown upon us desecrating one of theirs.” said Olaf.

Word was sent up but no one came. A corpse was no interest to the Word Bearers and they cared little for forgotten relics of other legions. The slaves continued their tasks and the body was placed in a corner of the trench, sitting in a dugout area like a statue. The slaves soon forgot him and sped to their chores. As they dug, more items were found. A bolter here, a broken strut there, parts of a Stormbird, the area must have been a crash site in a forgotten age. The Astartes was all that was found in one solid piece, frozen and immobile.

The war raged on and a few days later large artillery pieces were brought in to the ends of the trench line to help add to the weight being thrown at the fortress. They were having little effect and the Word Bearers were getting nervous. They had cut this region of space off and blocked all communication with their sorcery but they knew that someone would come along eventually. The Templars did not care. They were there to fight and hoped the traitors would come close so they could deal the Emperors justice. After three weeks of heavy bombardment, they had still not breached the walls and the Astartes within were unscathed.

The trenches began to heat up and the ice melted creating puddles. Where the tracked loaders crossed it became mud and as it was trampled on, it became sludge. The heat buildup allowed the slaves some comfort, as their clothes were made for this war, to survive, but not to be comfortable. It became night and a generator was placed close to the statue Astartes. Slaves had left trinkets by him to praise the dead. Water began to run off of his armor as the frost melted away. Olaf was walking along the line, patching the trench where the heat had caused the dirt to fall. He saw the statue in the corner and bowed his head for a second. When he raised it, he saw a faint red light growing in the eyes of the helmet, then it moved.

As his body began pumping blood again and his armor turned back on, he slowly twitched where he sat. His servo arm snapped forward, jerking as it was malfunctioning. He began to stand and the sludge and debris drained off of him. He stood tall and surveyed the scene unfolding around him. Other slaves noticed and stopped working. They fell to their knees. With a voice that had not spoken in what seemed like forever, he said, “Where am I?” Olaf fell before him and said, “This is planet Fador, my lord, we uncovered you.” The giant gazed around and said, “These are not the walls of my brothers, only a fool would build this trash. I am Warsmith Brontou of the Iron Warriors 37th Grand Company. Take me to your masters, so that I may show them how to war.” His servo arm then detached a weapon and placed it in his right hand. He raised his power sword high saying, “For the Primarch, I still live!”

The Warsmith took charge of the siege and within days the walls were breached. As the Word Bearers assaulted, one of their transports made for space. As he flew away he knew the Word Bearers would fail. The Black Templars would kill them all and crush their mortal army. In space he commandeered a warp capable craft. He looked out of the view ports at the world below and whispered, “Lorgar was a fool, but he has blessed me with life once more. His sons will die down there.” He turned to the captain and said, “Make for the warp, I must find my kin.” As he turned away, he glanced back at the icy planet and through gritted teeth said, “…and kill my Primarch.”

(Disclaimer: I do not work for Games Workshop or affiliated companies. This is fan fiction. All items associated are owned by Games Workshop/Black Library with trademarked items to the Warhammer 40K universe.)

The Work of Arn

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A vast warrior walked into the hallway, his axe slung over his right shoulder, thudding softly. He strolled through the open door into the cold room; the thick metal door closed behind him. The room was well lit, with a work table along the far wall. Machines for recording and data analysis were stored under the metal table. On top were all manner of tools and blades hanging on pegs fixed to the wall. Work lights hung down on arms and a large bright light sat in the center of the ceiling, illuminating the room. All was made of stone, minus the door and equipment. A voxcaster was mounted to the wall near the door and picters were affixed to the ceiling, part of the array of equipment needed. The walls were covered with traitors’ helmets, not the whole helmet, only the face plates. The helmets had the faces sawn off to only reveal the forward most portions. Every known traitor legion, even unknown chapters, covered the stone walls. He crossed the floor of the cell and placed his axe against the table edge. The center of the room held a chair and in that chair was another warrior.

What was left of an Astartes sat strapped in a cold metal chair. The Blood Claws that had captured him beat him within an inch of his life. His injuries were not healing and his black blood trickled from multiple wounds. His head hung low and his breathing was labored. He stared at the floor. He noticed it was stained and had a drain directly under him. He wondered how many of his kind had died in that seat. He saw the other warrior with a sluggish glance as he had entered the room but chose not to speak to this newcomer. This one was not like the others, not as feral.

After turning on a few of the machines, the newcomer turned and stared at the wall. His armor was a pale blue-grey and he wore no helm. His hair was cut very short but he had a long beard. He had the face of a seasoned veteran and his armor bore totems and many leather pouches; some with weapons, some with strange items. As he was staring at the far wall, he spoke, “My name is Arnor Bruni Brodrup. I am called Arn. It will be the last name of anyone you will ever see again.” Still staring at the wall, he placed his hands on his hips and rocked forward stating, “I care not if you speak with your mouth, I have tools to speak for you but know this, speak you will.” A smile then creased across his face and he turned around sharply to his work table. “You waste your time dog, I have nothing to say to you,” slurred the prisoner. He had been stripped of his red armor. Now it lay in a ramshackle heap in the corner. Arn stepped over to the pile of gear and pulled out a helmet. He held it up and studied it with a trained eye. “Oh, you have much to tell me filth of Lorgar, much indeed.”

Arn tossed the helmet onto his workbench and crossed over to the prisoner. He stopped in front of him and bent down. The prisoner spat on the ground before him. Arn shook his head, “poor taste, that foul blood of yours makes for dim wit as well. We will remedy that!” He laughed, stepping back to his bench, he reached down and turned on some black metal machines, each with blinking lights. “So it begins and I will do the talking. The other legions, always thought us to be barbarians, stupid, feral, and only good for a hunt. I will show you otherwise but you will not live to tell anyone else,” he said with a dark tone. Suddenly with a whimsical twist he said, “It is our way. We don’t want you to know,” as he smiled. He stepped behind the wounded warrior and put a metal band around his bleeding head. He attached sensors to his hands, arms, and chest. He plugged cables into the corroded sockets of the traitors black carapace. “You all think we don’t know, but we do, we watch and we record just as the other chapters do.” He knelt down and attached more sensors to the legs and tightened the restraints. He grunted as he straightened back up and leaned in front of the Word Bearer. “Two options, cooperate or don’t, I don’t care which you choose. Most choose to not, then I watch them drool and their brains boil. Win, win for me. What will it be Lorgar filth?”

He pulled out a dataslate and read the intel log, “Eos Tor, formerly of the Chapter of the Crescent Moon, an initiate upon turning traitor along with the XVII legion. You have been sighted on multiple raider runs, attacks on Ultramar, and the battle of Terra. The Allfather will not save your soul and before you spit any vile jibberish.” He hit a button and Eos was hit with a lethal amount of electricity. A normal man would have died, his heart stopped and his inside melted. Eos bolted upright, his muscles tensed and his jaw clinched. Arn hit the button again and the pain stopped. Smoke coiled away from Eos as his blood had boiled off, his head hung low once more. Arn picked it up and said, “Underneath those black stains of your filth brothers, are sigils. You know what they do? They keep your heresy in check. Unlike the other chapters, I don’t need any confession from you, only information. These machines will get that from your brain, the locations of your vile brethren. How do you think we hunt so well? We will put them to the axe but before that, I will turn your brain to mush.” Eos stared up, eyes in shock and disbelief, then the machine assaulted his mind.

(Disclaimer: I do not work for Games Workshop or affiliated companies. This is fan fiction. All items associated are owned by Games Workshop/Black Library with trademarked items to the Warhammer 40K universe.)


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Shadows have more light than my soul. I don’t even remember a time when I felt truly happy. I can’t remember much at all. I know where I started for the most part; there just seems to be so many points in between that have gone blank. Like a film being edited, my mind seems to be missing whole sections of importance.

Why did I move to Texas? Work has motivated most of my decisions in life. Austin was nice. I should have stayed there. I liked the bar on 6th street that played 80’s music. The kid making paintings with spray paint always drew a crowd. I have never seen anything quite like that. Why does that memory stick with me? I could never make friends there.

I wish I would have spent more time in Ireland. The people there were so nice to me. I actually felt like I fit in for once in my life. Sitting in the bars in Dublin made for a change of pace. The beaches on the coast of Bree had no sand. I’m done with sand. I hadn’t been able to go to a beach in years till I saw that place. I enjoy the sea. Seeing the waves and feeling the tiny pebbles under my feet set me back a few years.

My name is Clarence Wayland and I am dying. The pavement was cold at first. It was damp from yesterday’s rain. I’m laid out in this forsaken parking lot. Now I am damp but I feel no chill. The bullet caught me in the chest. I am losing blood. I need to reach my kit and get out of sight. I can’t stop my right hand from shaking. I have to fish my kit out with my left. I keep an evac kit in my cargo pocket. Unfortunately it’s on my right leg.

He can’t see me. He must have shot as soon as I cleared the corner of that gas station. He’s in the pharmacy across the street; third floor, second window. I can put a little of the quick clotting agent on and stop this bleeding for now. Bring the pain little powder. I designed this fluid to douse blood so it cannot be traced. I’ve lost a lot of blood so I hope this small bottle is enough. That is all of my evac kit. Time to go to work.

An amateur must have been sent for me. He made a sad choice for a rifle. The bullet passed straight through; high speed, small projectile. If I live, he will regret that decision. I need to crawl back to my car. I hate rentals but when you travel so much, there is nothing you can do about it. I keep a rifle under the front bumper. I know he has already left his position. I just need to get my rifle and head to the building behind me. He will circle around to see my body.

This place reminds me of cancer; corrupt and dying. This whole town is a waste. I had to drive out here to nowhere Kansas. Why do people even live here? I need to take this man alive. I want to know why he shot me. I also like to hurt those that shoot at me, so we will see how this plays out. My right shoulder blade is grinding. I think my lung was nicked as well. Good solid center mass shot, sort of. A normal person would probably be dead by now.

I need to remind myself not to lean on any of these walls. I don’t have any more fluid to cover my blood. I keep bumping into things down this alley. Here we go, a fire escape. This will be painful. I’ve never been a fan of latters or stairs. I will always take an elevator even if I’m only going up one floor. Call me lazy but it’s a logistical thing. Save your energy; save your knees.

This is a wide open roof. Not much to hide behind. I won’t be staying up here anyway. It is too obvious. I cross the roof to the far left side. There is an overhang and a short ledge. I found a piece of tarp on my way. This ledge will get me down to balcony. It hurts so much to slide over. No one lived here, which is good. I don’t need the added drama at the moment. There are some old pots. They must have had plants in them a long time ago. I lay down between two and cover myself with the tarp. My rifle pokes out but only barely.

I hope I made it here in time. Speak of the devil. There he is with only a hand gun. Fool. He must have cut back a block and made it through another alley. He is trying to cross the street to the alley I used. Tough luck. One shot dead center and he is down. I’m going to take my time getting down. He is laying between two cars and no one can see him.

I get him back in the alley between two dumpsters. Now we get to the meat and potatoes.

“Who sent you?”

“I’m not telling you anything…..”

“You don’t have to die (I’m lying). You are American so that narrows down the customers. I’m guessing you are a mop up for that little company I did a job for a few weeks ago. They didn’t tell you I freelance for much bigger fish did they? No, what a stupid bunch.”

“You are done. Just a throw away tool…..”

“No buddy. You were the throw away.”

I find proof in his wallet. He had a receipt from a gas station in the company’s home town. It was a small favor I did by working for them. A friend in the government asked me to help them out. Who knew they would try to play the big leagues? They won’t be playing anything much longer. I push his body into one of the dumpsters. I need something to eat. I’m starting to get faint from all of this. A cheeseburger sounds good. My name is Clarence Wayland and I won’t die today.


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The fields are grey and black. Stumps of trees jut up to the sky with broken and charred husks. Their twisted remains look ancient and frail. Fine trails of smoke waft up from the holes in the ground. Small embers can be seen under roots. Bits of metal, burned black, protrude from the soil. It is unclear as to what the objects were. Their function no longer matters. Calm now blankets the land.

Two days ago, this area was a lush forest covering a large hillside. A heat haze can be seen now running the ridgeline towards a cold grey sky. The year’s cold looks at odds with the surroundings. Boots step through the dark grey soot and leave light grey footprints in their wake. Ash can still be seen drifting down like snowflakes. The only sounds are the slow wind and the crunch of the march. The only smell is of charred earth and cold air. On and up the hill, they walk. No words are spoken. The big guns were the last to speak here; unleashing fury, their words broke over like an avalanche on the land. Their shells found their mark. The message was clear. Scorched Earth Policy: everything burns.