Prologue – Illuminate
"I guess sometimes the past just catches up with you, whether you want it to or not."
- Old Paul Edgecombe, The Green Mile
Oliver opened his eyes; smoke filling his nostrils as his senses awoke after his mind. He could feel heat on one side of his body, coldness on his back as he was lying on his side, a warm something…someone, in his arms. He looked over the matter of brown hair that was Leigh and saw that the fire had died down, was only a single flame and smoke drifting away from a light breeze, in his direction. On the other side lay Sam, still asleep. The sky above them was grey, clouds rolling overhead but no rain coming down. At least not yet. He moved his arms and rolled over onto his back before sitting up, stretching his arms, back and neck. He got to his feet and looked around, the cluster of trees they were camping in shielded them from sight from the sky and everywhere else anyone would look. In fact, a person would have to be twenty meters away at the most to see them at all.
"Wake up!" Oliver suddenly yelled, turning and facing the other two. Sam and Leigh jerked away, Sam on his knees looking around.
"The fuck did you do that for?" He asked, realising Oliver had yelled.
"Meh, felt like it." He shrugged, grinning.
"Asshole." Leigh groaned.
"Come on, we need to get going. We've still got a few mores to go before we reach Tauranga." He explained, walking over to their backpacks, searching for the map.
"Yeah, but do we have to go so early?" Sam asked.
"Yes. Yes we do. It's that, or we wait for it to rain before we get rocking."
"Oh you're a bitch."
"Thank you. The feelings mutual."
"Shut up, both of you. I want to sleep more." Leigh complained. Oliver walked over to her and ripped away the blanket the two had been sleeping under, leaving her on the ground with no shelter against the cold. She curled up into the foetal position ad began to rock back and forth. "So cold. So cold…cold."
"Quit your bitchin'." Sam answered her, getting to his feet and stretching. "Besides, It'll only take about half the day before we reach home."
"Exactly." Oliver agreed, looking over the map and then stuffing it back into his pack, which he then hauled over his shoulder. The feeling of a good, long hike lay ahead of him. He waited while the other two packed their stuff away, Leigh taking the longest as women tend to do.
"Smoke?" Sam offered, wondering over and opening a packet, one of many he had. Oliver took one ad stuck it between his lips, pulling out his lighter and inhaling the beautiful death mist. Sa lit his own, inhaling deep, at least quarter of the cigarette gone in a moment and blew it back out slowly, signing in pleasure as he did. It took him a full ten seconds for it all to leave his ravaged lungs.
"You know that stuff will kill you, right?" Leigh asked the two, loading her stuff onto her back, a single plastic bag still in her hands.
"Says the Christian that likes to indulge in beer and other pleasures." Sam answered, watching her pull a can out and tear off the top.
"Blow me." She retorted between gulps.
"I would, but Oliver would complain."
"Hey, fuck you. Don't be bringing me into your arguments every goddamn time." Oliver defended himself…barely. The three turned from the fire and headed southeast, back towards their home. They were on the east side of the Kiamai's, so it was downhill most of the way, including a couple of grass hills which they threw their stuff down, and then rolled down themselves like they had during school a couple of years ago.
"Alright!" Sam roared deeply, reaching the bottom of the hill first. Leigh followed in second and crashed into Sam knocking him back down on his ass. Oliver came last and rolled not only over both of them, but kept going until he hit a small bush. The group laughed until they heard thunder break out not far away, rumbling across the grey sky.
"Aww, it's gonna start raining soon." Sam groaned, finally getting to his feet and finding his pack.
"Would you rather we still be sleeping when it starts? Let's move a bit faster." Oliver explained, crushing the remains of his bet cigarette into the ground, smoke rising from the ashes. Sam's hadn't bent at all, and he was somehow still sucking on it. Leigh's can of beer had long been sculled and was now floating somewhere on a pile of leaves, crushed. They got up and grabbed their stuff before jogging off in the direction they were heading. Dodging trees was easily done at the speed they were going and how thin they were beginning to get, distances between them getting bigger.
"What are we gonna tell the others when we get back?" Sam asked, nearly tripping over a low branch.
"I don't know. Just say we were out camping for a while, you know. Revisiting old memories. I'm sure you'll make up some good bullshit to tell them." Leigh answered, skimming to the side as she nearly collided with an extraordinarily thick one. After a few seconds, and before Oliver could add anything, the heaves opened up and water came pouring down, drenching them in seconds.
"God dammit!" Sam cursed aloud, stopping underneath a wide tree, which seemed to keep anything under it dry. Oliver and Leigh ran under it, next to him and leaned against the trunk, breathing hard and heavy. The water pattered through the leaves, some managing to drop onto the heads of the others, but not enough for discomfort.
"Now what?" Leigh asked, pulling out another can of beer. Sam pulled out the box of smokes, throwing one over to Oliver.
"Now we wait until it stops raining, make camp here for a couple of hours." Oliver suggested taking his pack of and dumping it onto the ground, sitting down next to it, leaning against the tree. He lit the second cigarette in an hour and breathed, filling his lungs. "Leigh, can you toss me a beer, please?"
"What do I get out of it?"
"Um, lack of a beating for not getting me a beer?"
"Fine." She answered, chucking a beer into his stomach. She sat down and put her head on his shoulder, watching the ain fall against the other trees. Sam sat down and opened his pack, getting out his own map.
"If we keep going in this direction, we'll come out somewhere near Pyes Pa. That's good, 'cause the last part will all be farm instead of trees." He explained, tracing their path with his fingers. "Then we'll call and get someone to pick us up."
"Sweet." Oliver said, smoke bellowing out as he spoke. He turned to Leigh and held his half-smoked cigarette out. "You wanna hit of this?"
"Fuckin'…no. I don't want to commit suicide." She answered, punching him lightly on the shoulder.
"Oh come on. Just admit you're depressed and want to commit the thirty year suicide plan." Sam added, also holding his cigarette out for Leigh.
"You guys suck." She muttered, taking a sip of beer from the near empty can. Oliver finished his can, scrunched it up and threw it out into the rain, the raindrops pelting off the can; metallic pings echoing out. The three lay there smoking and drinking for the next hour before the rain ceased and all that was left was the damp feel of the air around them, sun peeling though the clouds in certain spots. Finally, they got to their feet, lugged their stuff onto their backs and got moving, deciding to walk instead of jogging again.
"Anyone got a phone with a full battery?" Oliver asked, staring at his near-dead one, the signal at full boost. He pocketed it and grabbed Leigh's as she handed it over. He entered a number and held it to his ear listening to the ringing tone, KoRn – Did My Time playing in the background. "Fucking KoRn loving bastard…"
"Yeah?" a voice answered the phone, sounding concentrated on something else than the phone.
"Miles, it's Oliver. I need you to send someone to pick us up at the end of Pyes Pa in a few hours." Oliver explained.
"Oliver? Where the hell have you three been? Is Leigh alight?" Miles asked.
"Yea, she's fine. Dude, just send a car out there in a couple of hours, we'll explain everything when we get back to your place." He snapped the phone shut, disconnecting from Miles and gave the phone back. "Miles sends his love."
"Shut up…" Leigh replied, taking the phone and pocketing it.
"Ah, the sibling loves." Sam sighed sarcastically.
"Especially you." She added, glaring at Sam evilly. They hiked through thin and thick forest for an hour and a half before they came to farmland, their only troubles being barbed wire fences, some broken gates and an angry goat with ass sharp horns. Sa was empted to wrestle it, but decided against it when it charged after him.
"Oh fuck!" He yelled, leaping over a fence and landed on his ass, the goat trying to get through the wire.
"Stupid animal." Oliver muttered, watching it trying to get at Sam. After a while, they reached road, the highway leading up towards the roundabout, where Pyes Pa ended. All three looked up and down the road, in case someone Miles had sent decided to take the initiative of driving, looking for them instead of sitting on the ass and waiting.
"He's probably sent Josh, the fuckin' lazy bum." Sam complained, seeing a car not far ahead. They reached the top of the road, the remains of a burnt out battle tank sitting in the middle like a monument. An Audi A8, a shade of sleek black, sat in the middle of the road, engine running idle as the driver, who was wearing black shades sat in the drivers seat, looking at the roof of the car. Oliver picked up a pebble on the side of the road and hurled it at the car, the rock bouncing flawlessly off the window. The driver jumped with terror and looked around, seeing the three walking towards him. He took off his glasses and opened the door, getting out.
"Oi! You could have chipped the window!" He yelled out.
"Josh, that isn't even your car. Stop complaining." Sam answered back, taking off his pack and holding it in one hand. Josh popped the trunk and the three dumped their gear in the back before getting in, Sam getting into the front with Josh while Leigh and Oliver curled up in the backseat.
"Whatever. Look, Miles wants me to take you by his place before I take you guys home. That alright?" Josh inquired.
"Yeah, fine by me." Sam answered, doing his seatbelt up, Oliver and Leigh following suit.
"So, where have you guys been for the past two weeks?" Josh asked, turning around and driving up Pyes Pa, towards the suburban area there.
"Just chilling. Remembering old memories. You know how it is." Oliver said, looking out the window.
"Not really." He replied, looking at Oliver through the mirror. The rest of the ride was in silence as they drove towards a series of houses, each with some form of damage taken.
"Christ." Oliver muttered.
"What is it?" Leigh asked.
"Look around you. Isn't it amazing that we could have caused so much damage to the city?"
"It is. Seriously, we took out half the goddamn place anyway." Sam added.
"And t hasn't changed a bit over the last two years." Oliver whispered, staring at their old school as they drove past, bodies having been long removed, but their souls lingering on, and the school body itself still laying there, decaying with time.
W00t! War's Heart: Hell Born Soldiers has begun. I know I didn't reveal much in this chapter, the whole point was for the three quarters of it to seem like three camping friends. Next chapter will have some action, characters will appear and reappear and much more. However, apart from the next chapter, everything about WHHBS will be more secret than Area 51's contents.