The Last One Standing

The series of miniature battles had gone on for days. The adults had all gone to the battlefield years ago. None of the kids knew if their families were even alive. Then, the kids split into groups, acquired guns, and they had fought. Fought for territory, fought for revenge, either way, it was fighting, and it was deadly.
There were two types of guns used in the war. There were the steel guns, which were not at all precise, but did more damage than the laser guns. However, the laser guns were incredibly precise and didn’t stop until they hit something.
It was in the middle of winter when another fight broke out. It was between two groups of teenage girls, both wanting the territory, which happened to be the mostly-intact basement of a house. They had set up small barriers out of metal folding chairs, plastic baby chairs, pots, and pans. Anything that could protect them they had in their territory. A box of steel bullets laid, half-buried, in between the two territories.
A gun fired. The battle had begun.
Angel, one of the fighters, sprinted for the box of ammo, but someone from the other group got there first. Lexi scooped up handfuls of the shiny, deadly bullets. Angel growled in frustration, swinging her machine gun like a sword. The barrel of the gun hit Lexi in the wrist. She gasped in surprise, and some of the bullets fell from her hand, to be snatched up by Angel. Angel ran and slid behind one of the walls of metal chairs, just in time before Lexi aimed a bullet at her. Angel ducked down behind a chair, and the bullet hit the metal, leaving a large dent in it.
“Meagan! Get the laser shooter!” Angel gasped, showing her teammate the threat on the other side of the battlefield.
That person happened to be Nikki. She locked eyes with Angel for just a moment, before swiping a metal pan in the air, blocking the laser bullet from Meagan.
“Angel!” Ray called, “Wanna trade?” He held out a laser gun. Nikki watched as the two turned around swapping guns with each other. She fired. The laser bullet grazed Angel in the shoulder.
“You dare?” Angel hollered, whirling around. The blood dripped down her arm, splattering the ground. Lexi used that to her advantage, shooting off bullet after bullet. One of the youngest girls, Shayla, returned with a constant stream of laser bullets.
Angel leaped backward, sliding behind an old, beat-up piano. Occasionally, a red laser bullet would fly out from under the bench.
The fight got more intense. Bullets were flying every which way, and nobody knew who was shooting what. Blood splattered the ground, staining the brown earth a crimson color. And yet nobody had died. Everyone was still standing.
A loud scream of pain came from the other side of the battlefield. Shayla was kneeling on the ground, her hand over her eye. Blood dripped from between her fingers. In her other hand, she held a bloody bullet.
“She lost an eye!” Nikki said, looking away.
“I know we’re against her, but… I can’t help feeling sorry for her,” Leo, Lexi’s younger brother said, “I mean, she’s so young. She probably didn’t even know what she was getting into.”
They watched as Shayla was led away from the battlefield by a couple of people who were against all the fights. Usually, they just tried to help injured people. “You think your injuries were bad” The look in their eyes seemed to silently challenge, “Look at the 11-year-old girl who just lost an eye, and tell me how badly you got shot.” Shayla was breathing heavily, tears of pain streaming from her good eye. There was an unexpected cease-fire as she was led into the small medical tent.
Bang! A gun fired. Nikki ducked down, but not in time. The bullet left a gaping hole in her coat sleeve, and blood gathered, and soaked into the cotton insides of the jacket.
“You okay?” Kate, Alexa’s sister came over.
“Yeah. I’m fine.” Nikki said, taking off her ruined jacket.
She watched in awe as Shayla walked back onto the field, the left side of her face wrapped in a blood-stained bandage. But as she was going to rejoin the battle, someone else came up out of the barrier.
“What?” Shayla gasped, looking at her replacement.
“Sorry, but we don’t want you fighting for us anymore.” Angel said, “I mean, you’re half blind now, so…”
Shayla backed away in fear, away from the gun that was pointing directly at her face, from the people who had been her team!
“Shayla!” Lexi hissed.
She turned in the direction of the whisper. Lexi beckoned for her to come over.
“What do you want?” Shayla asked in fear.
“We want you to join our side,” Nikki said, seeming to read Alexa’s mind.
“I… Okay.” Shayla tentatively agreed.
“Hey, we’ve got an extra steel gun,” Kate said, handing the weapon to Shayla.
“Why are you guys being so nice?” Shayla asked
“YOu know, I have no idea. We just felt like it, I guess. These days, you’re more likely to find an open restaurant than kindness. It’s nice to change that a little bit.” Nikki said.
“Do you have any food?” Shayla asked. Food had been in short supply since all of the adults left.
“Yes, actually. We do.” Leo said, holding out a small treat.
Shayla tore open the package. The treat inside was covered in pink sprinkles. She ate it in one bite.
A wave of laser bullets swept across the field to the other side. Nikki grimaced in pain as one hit her in the ankle. She retaliated with her own lasers. Her red laser bullets hit Angel. Right in the chest. Nikki watched in horror as Angel collapsed to the ground, dead.
“I… Just…. Killed someone.” Nikki muttered, looking down at her gun.
“Angel! No! Please no!” Meagan screamed tearfully, “I will kill you!” She roared at the other team, “And when you’re all begging for mercy, I will not give you any! I will kill you! You will all die slow, painful deaths!”
Bullets flew across the field again, but this time, it was more deadly, as the teenagers aimed and fired, hoping to kill. A scream came from the other barricade. Nikki rushed over to see what had happened. Lexi lay dead on the ground, her eyes closed. In Death, she looked almost at peace, but anyone who had known Lexi knew better. Lexi had been the one to start many of the wars. She was a fighter. She couldn’t die… Not Lexi.
Now Nikki was filled with anger at the other team. She wanted revenge. She carefully aimed her laser gun at Mack, the guy who had replaced Shayla, and in a few precise controlled shots, he was dead.
“Nikki! Stop! Please!” Shayla said but Nikki didn’t listen.
Meagan shot again and Kate was blown back against the wall. Another dead. Nikki ran forward and shoved Shayla to safety, and almost got hit herself until Leo jumped. Right in front of the bullet. He shot one last bullet, and it missed. Blood sprayed across the ground as Nikki and Shayla ducked under a metal chair.
“Nikki. You were saying that kindness is rarer than a restaurant that’s still open, but you wanna know what’s even rarer? Peace.” Shayla said tearfully.
“I’m sorry. You’re right.” Nikki said, wiping the tears off of her face. She stood up, and dropping her gun, she walked to the middle of the battlefield, ready to end the unnecesary war.
“Meagan!” Nikki called, “Please listen!” Meagan looked up, pure hatred in her tear-filled eyes.
“Meagan. We’ve fought. We’ve been enemies for what seems like forever. But kindness is rare, and peace is even more so. I don’t want to fight you, Meagan. I don’t want to kill you.”
“Says you! You killed Angel!” Meagan spat.
“I didn’t mean to. Let’s put the past in the past. Not saying that you should forget Angel, but that we can put our grudges aside. Please.” Nikki said, and encouraged by Meagan’s hesitation, she went on, “We’re all fighting, but why? How did it start? Is that any reason to kill each other? Please, Meagan. Let’s make peace.” Nikki said.
Meagan looked at Nikki tearfully, slightly lowering her gun. Nikki relaxed a bit, and took another step forward.
Meagan made one slight motion and the laser bullet hit Nikki in the chest. She fell to the ground, her dead eyes reflecting the spark of hope that Meagan had just smothered.
“No!” Shayla screamed, leaping out from behind the barrier and before Meagan had the time to look up, she had been hit by the bullet. A series of bangs rang through the field again, and Meagan was dead before she hit the ground.
Shayla took in the scene around her, the bodies, the blood, and fell to the ground. Tears welled up in her good eye.
They had all died, Angel had been the first to give up her life for what she believed, and Meagan had been the last. Lexi had protected her, trusted her. Leo had sacrificed himself so that nobody else had to die. She had won the battle, but somehow she wasn’t even relieved it was over. She had always assumed that she would discuss it with a friend years later when all of the adults came back. But she couldn’t lose hope. She couldn’t give up now.
Shayla staggered over to the white tent near the battlefield and let them patch her up.
“Thank you.” She managed to mutter. Then she walked outside and took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry.” She said to everyone who had fought, especially Meagan, though she knew they couldn’t hear her, “For everything.

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