Bad Girl

 

The blood flowed out and covered the ground in front of her as the bullets continued zipping past, sometimes thumping against her field, more often not. Most of the enemy wasn’t bothering with her.
Private Castellano continued fighting for breath, staring up at Carol in confusion.
Then she stopped.
Carol reached out and touched Castellano’s–Nike’s–throat.
Felt for a pulse.
Nothing.
Something broke inside her, something important. All the previous missions and failures vanished. The lives of the people around her vanished. The attacking enemies vanished.
This woman, this soldier, this friend, had died because she couldn’t protect.
Because she froze up, or couldn’t be in enough places at once, or was always in the wrong place when it mattered most.
Because there was one way to protect the people around her in this hellhole, and she couldn’t seem to do it.
That had to end.
What had been holding her back every time she went to the fight? She had been able to react when it was her life on the line, but now that it wasn’t…
That had to end.
Deep inside she had been locking something away. Locking it away every time her father yelled at her mother or her. Every time someone had pushed her in school or called someone else a name. Every time a teacher had made a pass at her or another girl. Every time an officer had screamed in her face or gone after someone else for something they didn’t deserve.
Every time an enemy had shot at her or one of her fellow soldiers.
Her friends.
That had to end.
She looked for that something and found it standing in front of her on the battlefield, bullets zipping through its shadows without effect.
It smiled when it saw that she saw.
Do it!
Carol found the lie that was locking it away.
The lie that she was a good girl.
Carol took the truth, shoved it in the lock, and let everything go.
She was the darkness. She was the evil.
She was a bad bad girl, and every single one of those PDSA bastards was going to die.

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