As he climbed the staircase towards the top, the storm outside raged even stronger than before. The lighthouse’s walls seemed to shake at the sound of thunder. When he reached the top, he realized the machine that operated the lighthouse was still working despite of their best effort. Fast as he could, he grabbed something from his backpack and stuck it against the control panel that was lit with a variety of colors.
Outside, the storm seemed to be getting worse every second. The waves were hitting the coast hard, as if nature was intentionally trying to bring the lighthouse down. But working with erosion would take too long so that’s why Miller volunteered to go to the top of the lighthouse and plant a bomb to destroy it from inside it. On the ocean, there was a sound louder than the one of the thunder: two ships seemed to be attacking positions in the ground and they did it all thanks to the help of the lighthouse.
Once the bomb was planted, Miller ran out of the building, into the storm. From a certain distance, he saw how the lighthouse collapsed into itself. The sound of the explosion wasn’t really that strong because of all the scandal the storm was causing but what mattered was that the mission had been accomplished. Miller ran down the hill towards the beach, were the forces of his country were supposed to be. He didn’t find them there and he was afraid something bad had happened.
Fortunately, he found their camp still set up where it had been that morning. Only a few tents remain though, because of the storm. The soldiers there said the attack from the ocean had been way too strong and that, even with the lighthouse out of their way, the enemy had known where to attack and how. So most of the army had moved south and, apparently, so did the battle.
Miller had an obligation with his people, to defend his land until his death but he was very tired from running from one place to the other so he decided to have some rest with those wounded soldiers and wait for good news from all the battalions fighting the enemy. There was no food there, which was a shame, but one of the soldiers had a small flask with a very strong alcohol. Although forbidden, it helped Miller be aware until he fell asleep just before sunrise.
He only slept a few hours. The storm had finally stopped or almost stopped as it was still raining after all. He decided to grab one of the transports that hadn’t been destroyed and follow the army down the path. The vehicle had four wheels but seemed like one of those cars you use at the beach or somewhere where war is not an issue. It had no doors, no real protection but it had to be enough.
As he travelled south, Miller was not very happy about what he saw. Because he saw nothing. There weren’t any bodies on the beach, or coming form the sea. He tried to get to high ground but there was nothing to see on the ocean. No big ship destroyed or trying to attack anyone or anything. The ocean was deprived of any life forms, at least on the surface. And the beaches were the same. Even tracks of other vehicles were difficult to find. Miller would only find the occasional boot print every so often.
The first day following his army was a waste. Miller only stopped driving at night, when he stumbled upon a former fisherman’s village that had been abandoned by its inhabitants. The most likely scenario was that they had left the town because of the impending attacks of the enemy on the coast. Those people that had lived of the ocean for so long, now had to move to the far away from it, leaving everything they had known and loved behind. It must have been very hard for them.
Miller left his vehicle next to a house that had clearly been attacked but was still standing after it all. He walked around as clouds in the night sky moved and revealed the full moon. The white light from it helped Miller look for anything he could use such as a small tank of gasoline and some bullets for his handgun. There were also nets and fishing rods but he left them there, as he wouldn’t have time to do anything with them.
He slept inside the abandoned house that night. Nature or man had removed part of the roof, so the light of the moon illuminated his room. It was filled with sand and smelled a lot like fish. However, he slept in an actual bed that he tried to clean up the best he could. It was very strange to feel such a soft matters and the sheets really smelled like fabric softener, after such a long time of having been abandoned there.
The next day, he charged the gasoline tank of his vehicle and moved on with his search. It was until the afternoon, several kilometers from the fisherman’s village, where finally found the bodies of some soldiers. Unfortunately, they were not only dead but they seemed to have been scorched alive. Their bones were practically pieces of coal, forming strange angles by the ocean.
It looks as if they were two soldiers or maybe they weren’t even soldiers. It was difficult to tell as the clothes had burned too. Something bad had happened there anyway and even if it didn’t have anything to do with the fighting, it was worth taking note. Maybe the people were going crazier than anyone had anticipated.
A huge explosion was then heard just beyond some sand dunes. Miller left the vehicle behind and run up the dunes in order to see what had happened. A column of smoke could be seen easily as his feet sunk into the sand, trying to run as fast as he could in a place were running was not very practical. When he got to the tip of the dunes, he saw something horrible. It was the army, his army. They were all dead. Their bodies covered the stretch of sand between the beach and the tree line. There didn’t seem to be a single spot without a dead body.
The smoke was coming out of some sort of gun near the center of the agglomeration of bodies. It was artillery and was pointed towards the ocean. Miller tried to look for anything there to indicate what had killed all of those men and women but there was nothing. The weapon had maybe overloaded and that’s why it had exploded. It meant that Miller had missed his peers for a very short time, maybe even only hours.
It was awful to see all of those familiar faces rotting under the soft rain and the pale sunlight that filtered through the very thick clouds. He didn’t know what to do with them. Leaving them there would not be according to their code but burning each corpse would take him forever. And then, there was the gun. He decided to walk among the bodies, towards the weapon, in order to check if any information could be saved from its intelligent software.
He tried not to step on any hands or legs but it was very difficult. He tried to look forward instead of downwards. For a moment, tears began pouring out of his eyes. It was just too much for him. After all, he was just a young guy that no many months ago had ben trying to turn his life around after been a thief for all of his life. He had tried to learn a trade and be good at it and then the war happened and now he was stepping on bodies.
When he reached the artillery post, he sat on the chair of the gun and clicked some letters. The machine was still working. The shooting capabilities were out of order but he could check what they were firing at moments ago. An image appeared on the small screen and he had to get closer to see it fully. When his eyes focused, he thought he was looking at the worn image or maybe he had done something wrong.
But the image was not the wrong one. Understanding the danger he was in, he ran stepping on every body towards the dunes and reaching his vehicle fast. He had to leave for the inland, where the inhabited cities were, in order to tell them what he had seen. They wouldn’t believe him but he had to tell them that a monster was out there. Maybe it was the enemies, or maybe not, but it seemed to have come straight from hell. As he drove, he checked his mirrors every few seconds, afraid of the ocean.