[center Lauren was a small town girl, she lead an ordinary life with two ordinary and dull parents. She came from money, but she wasn't rich. Her father was the towns dentist and her mother worked as a surgeon in the local hospital. It wasn't until one day while working at Betty's Diner that Lauren's entire world was flipped upside down.
They had heard of the war, but nothing like that ever came to the suburbs. Or at least not until today...
Lauren was taking orders and putting on her girlish smile as she had time and time again, day in and day out when the first bomb hit. It shook the diner and all its customers hard, hard enough for one of the walls to cave in on itself and debris to rise and fill the air with smoke and dust. When the world stopped trembling Lauren looked around, there was a man hanging from one of the light fixtures and his legs had been torn from his torso, a mother clung desperately to her lifeless son, a husband holding the hand of his dying wife.
It was trying to evaluate her own bumps and bruises that Lauren saw the flare, another bomb. "Everyone get down!" she screamed, just as the bomb made impact with the diner, collapsing the building to the ground.]
[center LT Ryker was making his rounds, it had been a hard day. After a bomb had struck their convoy and killed three of his men they were all feeling a little out of sorts. He slowly walked through the mess of broken spirits and quiet sorrows taking a silent count of those that remained. He wanted so badly to tell them that this war was almost over, that they would soon be returned to their loved ones, but even to him that was more of a fantasy.
He had heard rumor that the fight had been brought closer to home and that had only put everyone more on edge. Defending their country in a foreign land was hard, but defending their homeland while the ones they loved were at risk, well, that was a new definition of hell. He looked at the faces of his brave brothers and sisters before taking a seat and opening his meal in a brown bag, wanting desperately for one of his moms home cooked dinners.
The next morning a helicopter arrived, they were taking the men back home. It wasn't the homecoming LT Ryker had hoped for, but rather the one he feared the most. A town not too far from where he grew up had been hit and they were sending troops back to the homeland to fight.]
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She was thankful for the water as it passed through her lips and washed away the taste of dirt. [b "Shhh save your strength"] the voice told her. [b "Your okay now just rest. My name Lt Ryker I was sent to help you don't have to worry anymore."] Was she okay, was anyone really okay after what had just happened? She looked up at him, [b "Do you remember your name or what happened to you?"]
She thought for a moment about what she was doing before the bombing had shook their world to it's core, [b [+purple "I, I was at the diner. I was waiting tables and making small talk when first bomb struck."]] she fell silent for a moment before licking her lips to continue, [b [+purple "We thought it was over after that, we thought that everything was going to be okay. I remember looking around, trying to help those that had been injured when I looked out and saw the second bomb before it hit."]] She closed her eyes, picturing in her head the bomb as it sailed toward them and hit the diner head on. [b [+purple "I remember feeling trapped, I couldn't move and I felt as though I couldn't breath either. It was hours after that you pulled me from under what remained of the building. Did- did anyone else make it out? There was a man hanging, and a woman holding her son, did they make it out, are they alright?"]]
She looked up at the soldier with desperation in her eyes, she couldn't bear to hear she had been the only one to have survived the attack.
Finally after a while the tremors came to a stop. 'Thank the lord,' He thought to himself. He wiped away some saliva with a rage that he had on him. As he did she reach out to him. "Why is this happening?" She asked him. Her voice was weak and raspy, but still held some strength to it.
Why was this happening, he asked himself. Why had they attacked an innocent town. The town held no tactical advantage. Nothing that would have warranted an attack on civilians. No they had done it to spit them. They had done so to show that they could, and there was nothing they could do to stop them. But he could tell her that so inset he pulled his canteen back out.
"Shhh save your strength" He told her offing her some more water. "Your okay now just rest. My name Lt Ryker I was sent to help you don't have to worry anymore." He put on his best smile. "Do you remember your name or what happened to you?" He asked hoping she hadn't suffered memory loss.
Lauren felt helpless, there wasn't anything she could do as her body began trembling and shaking violently. She couldn't take hold of her own bodily functions, she felt as though she were trapped in her own skin. She tried to make it stop, tried to call out for help but still all she could do was close her eyes and pray for her body to stop.
Hands, she felt the warmth of another's hands as they rolled her onto her side and held her as still as she was going to get. She tried to look up at him but she couldn't get her eyes to focus, he looked more like a blur than he did a man. [b "They will pay for this."] She could hear him say. Who would pay? Did they know why?
As she could feel the trembling beginning to subside Lauren could only pray for control of her body. She attempted to reach a hand out to the man and to her surprise it moved. [b [+purple "Why is this happening?"]]
Her voice was weak and distant, it wasn't her usual melodic sound. She didn't recognize it as she pulled her eyebrows close together, [b [+purple "Why is this happening?"]] she repeated once more, licking her lips and tasting the dust and debris from the diner that had only hours ago been standing where she was lying.
As Ryker returned to work he noticed the woman from early was starting to shake. 'CRAP' he thought. "LUCAS GET ME THE DOC" he yelled as he rushed over to her. "Say with me," He said as he tried to turn her on her side. 'Dam she having a seizure. She was worries off then I thought.'
The medic got there not soon after. "Doc what do I do," Ryker ask. The medic shook his head.
Just hold her on her side until she stops," He said. "When she does stop use this to clear any saliva or vomit. It the best we can do sir."
"Dam it Johnson can't you do anything to help her." It was the first time he had seen a person having a seizure.
"Sir I don't have anything that can help her. I know how to keep her alive until someone with better care can help," Johnson said.
He knew that, but it wasn't easy for him to see people suffering. "Your right, I'm sorry."
Johnson just nod and put a hand on his shoulder. "I know sir and I feel the same" He then stood up and ran off again.
Ryker stayed there keeping the girl on her side as he watched his men work. Some had saved more people form the building. Some lucky some not so lucky. Until he saw Lucas holding the lifeless body of a small boy probable no older then nine. Lucas looked down at the boy in his arm's, eyes filled with sadness.
Lucas had one told Ryker that he didn't cry for the dead and he had saying why "I won't waste my tears on the fall while at war. I will use them when we win this war, and honer there sacrifice. This time was not different because behind the sadness burned a fire that Ryker also felt it as he look down at the girl in his hands.
"They will pay for this"
The only part of her body that Lauren could for certain move was her eyes. blinking wildly she looked up only to see men in uniform staring back at her. She wasn't sure when they had arrived or why they were there but she was sure happy to see them. She blinked over and over, wanting desperately to speak, to tell them what had happened and where she was hurt but for one reason or another words wouldn't leave her lips.
[b "On three lift slowly"] she heard one of them say. She wanted to tell them to stop, to tell them that her head was pounding and that she couldn't feel her body but again, words would not escape her. She screamed in pain internally while the two soldiers lifted her and squeezed her eyes together until finally she felt the soft ground beneath her once more.
All she could do was watch and listen, watch while the soldiers tried to pull others from wreckage and listen to they way the communicated with one another. She watched as one of the soldiers left her side to offer someone else their aid and the second exaimend her over, cleaning her cuts and making some sort of splint for her leg. She tried desperately to talk to him when he lifted her head to offer her water, a gesture she graciously accepted. [b "Don't chug, just sip"]
She watched him from the corner of her eye while he grabbed his helmet from the ground, [b "I'll be back to check on you in a bit."] Again she tried to call out to him, to ask him not to go, but again the words simply did not come out. Instead she lie on the ground helplessly, praying that someone, anyone would come over to her and she would be able to speak.
She tried to relax, to not focus on the pain, but something inside didn't feel right. Soo a darkness washed over her once more and her body began to violently shake, she was having a seizure.
As Ryker finally got the last of the rubble out of the way he turned to the medic. "Give me a hand with her doc. You two" He pointed at two soldiers Lucas had sent to help. "Keep digging around there has to be more people buried under there." Both men nodded as he turned to look at the medic. "On three lift slowly," the medic said as he positioned himself by the woman feet. Ryker did the same by her head and ready to lift her by her shoulders. "One, Two Three," both men lifted slowly and start moving off the rubble.
They move her until they had some soft grass to lay her on. "Easy, easy now," The medic said as they laid her down. They lowered her until she was flat on the ground. "Hey doc got another one." One of the men from before yelled.
"Go I will take care of her" Ryker said. Most if not all of his Platoon was CLS certification. The medic didn't even nod before running off. Taking off his ACH Ryker started to check for any bleeding.
By the end of his sweeps he only found small cur along her arms. Nothing major lucky, however. Her leg did seem to be other broken or severely sprained. After double checking her wounds, he set out to make a splint for her leg. All the while saying that she was going to be okay, and she was safe now. After finishing he lifted her head a bit, and offered some water from his canteen "Don't chug, just sip" he instructed. After she finished he lay her backdown, and grabbed his helmet backdown a grabbed his helmet. "I'll be back to check on you in a bit."
He walked over to Lucas and ask. "What it looking like?"
Lucas shook his head. "Just as many dead as we saved. This place got hit hard." Ryker looked down in anger.
"If we had been here sooner we could have saved more," He said angrily.
"Don't talk like that we did what we could" He said putting a hand on his friend's shoulder. "The best thing we can do now it be a strong support to the people." Ryker nodded lifting his head again.
"Yea, your right come on there plenty left to do," Ryker said as he got back to work.
When Lauren finally opened her eyes all she could see was darkness. The diner had collapsed around her and she was trapped beneath the rubble. She attempted to move, to wiggle herself free but instead she was greeted with a rush of pain from the injuries she had sustained. She opened her mouth to call for help but it was immediately filled with dust, dirt and debris. [i I'm going to die, I am going to die here] she began to say over and over in her head, trying to breath under the rubble. She could hear ringing in her ears but she wasn't sure if it was coming from above, bellow or around her. She wasn't even sure if it wasn't the sound of her own blood rushing in her ears.
The longer she stayed trapped the harder and harder it was to breath, she imagined she must have been trapped now for about an hour. She could no longer feel the pain of her injury either, the shock had set in and instead she just felt numb. Occasionally she would try to move, hoping, praying that she could move something, anything, but her attempts fell short. She began to picture her mothers face, she had heard somewhere that your life flashed before your eyes just before your death, was this really the end for her? She had only just began living and now her life was coming to an end.
Another hour passed and Lauren was coming to accept her death. She was no longer afraid, instead she began to welcome it. At least in her demise she would no longer feel the pressure from the debris or taste the iron from the dirt that was filling her lungs. Her breath was shallow and raspy, she only hoped she would die soon.
More time passed, Lauren couldn't imagine just how much. She started to think back to yesterday, had she known it would have been her last day on Earth she thought about what she would have done differently. Instead of laying on the beach and splashing in the waves maybe she would have spent time with her mother, father and two brothers. Sure, they annoyed her, but at this moment she would give anything just to see them one last time. The world fell silent as she could feel herself beginning to drift. She was certain it was her time now.... She gave herself to the darkness.
[b "Ma'am! "Ma'am are you in there, open your eyes!"] the voice was more like a distant sound but it was enough to make her flicker open her eyes before the closed once more.
To say he was tired would have been an understatement. The last several days had taken a told on the LT Ryker. Forty eight hours ago he lost three of his men in a bombing while on a convoy. Twelve hours after that, he had got word that the enemy had made land fall in his country. Another twelve after that, he and his men where on a plane back to that states. A few more and he was on a helicopter to a town not too far from his own hometown.
"How you holding up sir," His best friend and Platoon Sergeant Lucas asked.
"Tired mostly," He said not turning from looking out the window. "We haven't had time to rest, and we aren't going to for a while. The men are tired, and with everything going on they haven't let them rest"
Lucas nodded. "We have been running them ragged lately. Hopefully we can rest a little after we help this town."
Just then the pilot yell to LT Ryker. "Five minute til we hit the LZ."
Ryker nodded and stood up addressing his men. "In five minutes we will be landing in a town that has been hit by enemy's bombers. Are objects is as follows. First, help any and all survives in the area. Second, protect and hold the town until we can get everyone out. Three, prepare to hold the town from enemy attack. Get ready men we got along road ahead of us."
His men looked at him and nodded a started double-checked there gear. Five minutes later they landed, and exited. As they did Ryker started to give order send some men to help the medic with look at people, and other to help clear out rubble. After several minutes mostly everyone was doing something. Til he heard "Someone give me a hand here there someone still alive under here."
Ryker ran over to help an older man. "Show me" was all he said as he moved to where the man pointed. A bomb had landed next to what looked like a dinner and had knocked it over. 'O God I hope this place wasn't very full.' He thought to himself as he started to dig his way into the rubble. 'Please be alive please alive' As he dug more he started to see a person in the rubble.
"Lucas get me the medic we got a live one," He yelled as he started clearing out the last of the rubble pinning the person.
The problem with good days is that you never know when that good day is going to be your last. For Lauren Williams, her last day was Friday July 17th 2026. Having been her only day off that week Lauren decided to spend the day with her best friend Brooke at the beach. It was the one place where the 22 year old could truly unwind, a place where the day to day world she lived just melted away. As she sat with her toes buried in the warm sand and her face tilted towards the sun the end of the world she knew was the last thing on her mind. Instead she was listening to the crashing of the waves against the shore and the squawking of nearby seagulls begging for something to eat.
She was wearing her favorite bikini, it was an off white lace material that was banded together with small ties on each of her hips, the top was made up of only two small triangles that covered each of her breasts and more lace wrapping around to her backside. Covering her was a shear wrap around her waist and she topped it off with a large sunhat and dark shades. [b [+purple "I wish I could live here."]] She smiled, her eyes still closed and face still facing the sun.
[b [+blue "That would be the dream wouldn't it?"]] Brooke was Laurens complete opposite, where Lauren had long blonde hair, brown eyes and sun-kissed skin Brooke had a long brown bob, blue eyes and fair skin. But their opposition went deeper than looks alone, Lauren was a bubbly, vibrant woman whom loved meeting new people and attending parties and Brooke was more of the black on-top of black quiet type. The two had meet when they were both children in daycare and were inseparable since, even through high school the two remained the closest of friends. Lauren never gave up on her Brooke regardless of the disapproval she received from her other friends. Brooke was more than just a friend, she was the sister that she had always wanted but never had.
Jumping up Lauren grabbed Brookes hand, [b [+purple "Last one to the water buys the first round tonight."]] Laughing the two ran towards the water, letting the waves hit their bodies as the sun reflected down around them. That was Lauren Williams last good day....
Saturday July 18th 2026
[b "You're late."]
[b [+purple "I know, I know I'm late. I overslept, but I'm here now."]] Grabbing her apron Lauren wrapped it around her waist before quickly throwing her hair into a loose braid.
[b "That was what you said last time you were late Lauren, I mean it, one more time and you're fired. Do you hear me?"]
Lauren walked over to her manager Bill, he was a quaint looking man, he looked as though he should have been born about 70 or 80 years ago. Where most of the men in this town wore polo t-shirts and golf shorts Bill wore button downs and ties. He used old words like ma'am and sir when talking to people and he was a sucker for the older generation. But he admired Lauren, she pulled in the most amount of money between all the waitresses, she was the reason that people came back to the diner and she knew it, as did he. Smiling she tugged gently at his tie, fastening it into place, [b [+purple "It won't happen again Bill, promise."]]
He sighed, his shoulders loosening slightly, [b "Just get in there and get to work."] She smiled once more before grabbing a pad of paper and pen and make her way out onto the floor to take customers orders.
Lauren was taking orders and putting on her girlish smile as she had time and time again, when the first bomb hit. It shook the diner and all its customers hard, hard enough for one of the walls to cave in on itself and debris to rise and fill the air with smoke and dust. When the world stopped trembling Lauren looked around, there was a man hanging from one of the light fixtures and his legs had been torn from his torso, a mother clung desperately to her lifeless son, a husband holding the hand of his dying wife.
It was trying to evaluate her own bumps and bruises that Lauren saw the flare, another bomb. [b [+purple "Everyone get down!"]] she screamed, just as the bomb made impact with the diner, collapsing the building to the ground.
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