tagSci-Fi & FantasyAnd the Snow Fell

And the Snow Fell


© 2018 Unity Mitford. All rights reserved. The author asserts her right to be identified beyond the grave as the author of this story. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

Well, it's the Winter Holidays competition on Literotica, and okay, it's time for a grimly dystopian little wintery tale of snow, sex, love, war and death. This one's an alternative-future-history SF story and it's more than a little downbeat and way grim but it does have some hot sex of course -- but it's not primarily sex, so if you're after a quick stroke story, this isn't it. For any of you that've read S. M. Stirling's Draka series, that was partly an inspiration for this, as was Jerry Pournelle's "Future History" to some extent. George Robert Elford's "Devil's Guard" was also something of an inspiration, as were a few books on the Spanish Civil War. It's also "military sex" in a manner of speaking - so enjoy, or experience, or recoil in horror, as you wish.

Before you read, be warned. This doesn't have a happy ending. It's not at all Christmassy either, although the theme is wintery and in line with the Literotica Winter Holidays Competition guidelines. It's in the Winter Holidays competition, but I'm not running for any prizes with this one. Read it and, well, you'll understand. It is intended to provoke a little thinking and there's a lot of death and violence as well as sex so I can say with complete certainty that it won't be to everyone's taste. It was a bit intense to write too -- and after all that, please do remember, it is fiction, because some people do read the author into the story and really, you shouldn't. It's fiction. Maybe fiction with a message but still, it's fiction... Unity

Music to listen to while reading this: "The Snow Fell," version sung by Saga, "First to Die" by Haymaker and "Be Still My Soul," men's choral version

* * * And the Snow Fell * * *

And the snow fell

Covering the dreams and ideals.

And the snow fell

Freezing the blood and the wheels.

And the snow fell

They had to keep up for survival

And the snow fell...

"The Snow Fell", Skrewdriver, version sung by Saga

* * *

"Snowing again, ma'am." That was all Sergeant-Major Maddock said as she shook me awake and her face was grim in the grey light before dawn. Yesterday, the sun had been shining and it'd been one of those Indian summer afternoons. Today, this morning, zero five hundred on my watch, the ground was covered in a layer of soft white. Even inside the cab of the command truck it was below zero. Well below zero, from the frost on the glass but at least I wouldn't need to slap on bug juice.

"Right." I wormed my out of my sack, reluctantly, because the dreams 'd been real bad last night and I was exhausted. I remembered waking up screaming a couple of times. That was why I slept in the cab by myself now. So's my nightmares and the screaming that came with them didn't wake the others up and I tried not to think about them. The nightmares that is, because they were always bad now and they were getting worse and I just hoped they stayed nightmares because if I started screaming when I was awake, I was done.

Slipping my boots on was like sticking my feet into a freezer and I should have kept them inside my bag. Slide into my field jacket, shivering. Body armor over the top and I always wore body armor now, after what'd happened to Brad. No need for full battle rattle because right now we didn't anticipate any crap going down but I always wore the armor. Do a quick check of my M4 and yeah, it was the Mk18. Short barrel.

Easier for me to handle and it wasn't like my shooting was ever long range was it. Safety on, mag seated, round up the spout because if the Ratdogs did launch a sneak attack behind the frontline, better be ready for that at least. Not that they did that much, not these days. The Ratdogs 'd once boasted that their guerillas were fish swimming in an ocean of the people. Our High Command were onto that one. Not much use being a fish when the ocean was drained dry and that was my job.

Draining the ocean.

Me and a few hundred others and if I'd cared anymore, I'd have hoped the others weren't anything like as fucked up as me. Now? Didn't care. Anyhow, by the time we'd finished passing through, the Ratdog fish had no ocean to swim in anymore and they'd sure stopped boasting about that one. Checked my 1911 as well, because I used that most days and this was my third. Worn out two already and yeah, cleaned, mag in, worked the action and she was real smooth, round up the spout and I was good for another day I didn't want to face.

Ratdogs were getting desperate as we advanced. The further south we came, the more desperate they got, because they knew what was coming for them. We didn't make any secret of it, not now, not after what we'd seen the Ratdog militias doing on the streets of New Leeds and Los Diablos and a whole bunch of the cities they'd taken control of. Fifty thousand dead in New Leeds in the first weeks and those were the ones they'd broadcast over the web and on the news.

Nope. No secret what we were doing either and now we made a real point of telling them. We were well down Highway 5, the frontline way south of Blacking and moving southwards fast. Fast as High Command could keep the frontline units supplied. The artillery thudded faintly in the distance, right at the edge of hearing and over on the highway, an endless column of supply trucks and new units rumbled south to join the fight. By the time we were done, Azteca would be a memory and so would the People's Republic of Barkley and all those other Ratdog-infested shitholes around San Martinez and Los Diablos and then we'd be turning and heading east and after everything that'd gone down, there wasn't any mercy left in the National Liberation Army.

We were coming for blood, their blood, and after what'd gone down in Emerald City and Rose City and what was going down right here and now as we moved south, they knew it.

"Praise the Lord for the snow," Sergeant-Major Maddock said, deadpan, and I was never sure if she was serious with the religious stuff or not.

These days, probably best not to ask, not that I really cared anymore. Me, I was Catholic, although I doubted the Pope and I'd be seeing eye-to-eye anytime soon because what he'd been saying about us lately, I kind of suspected he'd be taking a high dive from some twenty fifth story window soon enough and Catholic or not, I wouldn't be crying if he did. I didn't go for that praise the Lord stuff either but the regs said you gotta respect your soldier's beliefs and I followed the regs to the letter these days and Maddock had been with me for a long time. Right from the start and we knew each other.

"Keeps the smell down," she added as I slid out of the cab and down into the ankle-deep snow, shut the door behind me and I still had no idea if she was joking or not but I didn't really care.

"You go first Ma'am." The old guy at the back of the chow line gestured. New troop. Didn't recognize the face but he didn't have that lack of confidence that an FNG has and I could read the name tag. White. Didn't recognize that one either and he was carrying his own rifle, a .308 and it looked well used, not one of the standard M4's or the older M16's that units like ours got so he had to be real new.

"Nah," I said, bleakly, moving in behind and I wasn't hungry but regs and Maddock said eat so I ate. "No privileges for rank in this Army. When'd you join?"

"White, ma'am?" Sergeant-Major Maddock said. "Walked down out of the hills yesterday with maybe fifty others. Prior experience, most of 'em. Signed White here and half a dozen of the older guys on before anyone else could grab 'em. You'll see them this morning if we have time, ma'am. Provisionally assigned 'em to Ryan's platoon. He's short and he needs 'em for clearance work. That okay, ma'am?"

"Concur," I said. "Good to have you on board, White." Because the regs said you should greet new soldiers and do some social shit to make them feel welcome and I used to be good at that. Not so much anymore. "What were you? What's your story?"

The ones that walked in usually had one. Usually wasn't a good one. Kinda like mine, and that meant I probably didn't want to know but you had to ask. Brad 'd always asked and I was doing Brad's job now, as well as mine.

"Grunt, way back when," White said. "Couple of tours in the sandbox. Got out years ago, minded my own business. Goddamn Ratdog militia came up from San Martinez, started pulling anyone on their lists from their houses, shooting them in the street. Got a call from a buddy, grabbed my guns and my bug out ruck, made for the hills, linked up with a few buddies. Found a few like-minded folks and we made it through until you guys came down. Killed a few of the bastards along the way."

He turned his head and spat and there were tears in his eyes when he looked back. "Arlene was at work, couldn't get to her, she'd registered her guns along with me, dang fools that we were. Ratdogs didn't even try to take her away. Shot her on the spot."

Yeah, White's story was no exception and I didn't need to ask who Arlene was. Par for the course these days and the further south we went, the worse the stories got and yeah, sounded like White was a good fit.

"You okay with what we do, White? Lot of people aren't and no foul there. This Company's all volunteer and it's crap work..." I'd volunteered once, and now I couldn't un-volunteer because if I stopped, I'd start to think and the nightmares were bad enough now that they woke me up even when I took the pills the medic gave me every night and he wouldn't give me more. I'd asked and sometimes now I almost remembered the nightmares and I was scared that one day I would.

"But somebody's gotta do it, right ma'am?" White said that without a smile and his eyes had that dead look you saw a lot these days and I knew why. Half my company had that look and me, I was no exception. There was a reason why we'd all volunteered for this. Even me, and two of those reasons were dead and buried back in Emerald City and the main reason I kept going now was dead and buried two weeks and three hundred miles north of here and White musta seen that look because he stepped back a pace and Sergeant-Major Maddock's hand was on my arm and I had my M4 unslung and my thumb was stroking the safety and my finger was on the trigger and I wanted... I wanted....

"Ma'am... ma'am, easy now... he's ours... easy, ma'am." Maddock's voice cut through the ice, soft and gentle and I stopped myself from easing back on the trigger and I wanted to so bad, because when I started shooting, I stopped thinking and I really didn't want to think.

"Yeah, somebody's gotta do it, White," and my voice was flat and cold like my hands. At least my M4 wasn't pointed right at White and I slung it and I wasn't hungry anymore and now my hand was shaking so bad because all I wanted was to pull the trigger and I'd had to force my hand to let go the grip.

"Bring me back a coffee will 'ya, Sergeant-Major. I'll be in the head shed." Doing what we did, and at least that'd keep the memories of Brad at bay for a while, because I didn't want to remember.

Didn't matter what I wanted. The memories, they came back all the same.

I heard "Coming right up, ma'am," but I was already walking away, back out into the snow.

"Be real careful with the Lieutenant, White," I head Maddock say. "She's no butter-bar. Her and her husband, they're the ones that held the Pass up north at Smiths Crossing and stopped that Ratdog counterattack stone dead and he died. I was there and I know what the public broadcasts said and they gave her a medal for it, but the Lieutenant's head's a bit fucked up so just take it easy with her, whatever she does or says, huh. She's ours, and best remember that because without her, we'd all have been fucked a long time ago."

"She's that one?" I heard, and his voice held a new note. Respect. Awe. Fear? Because they'd all heard that story by now, about the pass and about afterwards and the Ratdogs used it to scare their own people into keeping on fighting and our side used it to scare the crap out of the Ratdogs and me, I really didn't want to remember at all because remembering scared the crap outa me as well as bringing back the sadness and the loss and I didn't want to think about that.

"Jesus Christ, that's really her?" I heard White and I tuned him out.

"How many we got to process today, Roskill?" I asked, standing in the doorway.

"Couple of hundred, ma'am," he said, looking up. "Got the list here. Mostly rounded up when we cleared the town yesterday. Held 'em overnight. Got a couple of dozen hardcore Ratdog militia in the pen, tried to fight and then changed their minds and surrendered."

"General Order Sixty Two," I said. "No exceptions." I looked over my shoulder. "Deal with them now will 'ya, Fujimoto. Your squad's on today."

"Ma'am." Fujiomoto finished his coffee and stood up, stretched, took a last suck and stubbed his smoke out. Picked his M16 up from the wall beside him and he was gone.

"Roskill," I said, neutrally, because people changed and if Roskill wasn't up to it, well, pretty much every unit in the National Liberation Army was short. "You need a break from this?"

Roskill shook his head. "No ma'am. It's just..."

"You know what we do, Roskill," I said, and Roskill nodded because yeah, he did know. Every man and woman in this unit knew and we knew why. The rot 'd gone way too far and we were making a new Republic and we were the ones dealing with the rot. One of the units dealing with the rot anyhow, and it was a crap job but someone had to do it and everyone here was too old or too fucked up or too young or female and not allowed on the frontline but we'd all lost family or friends to the Ratdogs and there was a job to do and we'd all volunteered to do it.

I'd volunteered. Once. Now I didn't think there'd be any going back. Not for me. Not after what'd happened to Brad and what'd happened after.

I gestured with my head at the door. "Shoulda done it yourself last night without waiting for me. Those're standing orders. Go join Fujimoto and do it yourself, Roskill, or put in for a transfer."

"Ma'am." Roskill limped out, dragging that gimpy leg of his, out the door and I guess he figured he'd got a rocket up his ass or something because his 1911 was in one hand as he stepped outside and he was working the action and I forgot about it because he'd do it or he wouldn't and he looked like he would, so it wasn't a problem that I had to deal with but I'd prefer he stayed because we'd been together for months and we knew each other.

Didn't like Roskill much and he didn't like me that much either but that didn't matter. I knew him and he knew me and it was knowing each other and trusting each other that counted and I knew Roskill 'd always have my back and me, if they were in my unit, I had their back and they all knew that too.

"Mendoza." I looked around and she was there, silent as ever and I knew her story too. We all knew each other's stories and none of them were good. "Bring the first ones over and I'll deal with them.

"On it, Ma'am."

"Coffee, ma'am." Maddock was there and I took the coffee, drank. Black, no sugar. Strong enough to give a mule a heart attack but it didn't do anything for the ice inside me. "Got some waffles and some kinda horse-cock here for you. Smells good and the cook sent some syrup over."

"Thanks, Maddock." Suddenly I was hungry and Maddock poured the syrup over the waffles like my Mom used to and that was enough that I thought about my Mom and the tears started to trickle down my cheeks and I froze and just sat there looking at the waffles.

"Shit!" Maddock said, and her hand took the plate away and my hands were shaking again as I found my coffee and the burn brought me back and I sat there, panting, sweating and not thinking not thinking not thinking not...

"Here, ma'am," Maddock said, and it was a plate of MRE crackers and some sort of processed dead animal out of a tin that looked and smelt like road kill and yeah, that didn't bring back any memories and I squirted some tabasco sauce onto it and ate it and I washed it down with the coffee and I wasn't hungry at all but the regs said you gotta eat three meals a day so I tried and this counted as one I guess and all I had to do was get through today and let tomorrow look after itself.

* * *

"First up," Mendoza said, and two of the old guys were escorting in a tall dark-haired hipster-looking dude with a coupla ear studs, a nose piercing and a goatee and his hands plasti-cuffed behind his back. First glance said late twenties, maybe early thirties. Looked like the High School teacher that'd tried to put the make on me for a blowjob a few years ago and then accused me of being anti-lgbtq when I told him to screw himself and the asshole'd just about got me kicked out of High School. "ID says he's Eduardo Steven Fullerton. Here's his file."

"Siddown, Fullerton."

The guys sat him in the center chair. Handcuffed him to it and the chairs in front of me were bolted to the floor. Standard procedure because some of them had tried to go for me in the past when they found out what was gonna happen to them and couldn't fault them for that. I'd have tried it myself. Didn't worry me if they tried. I was fast, but why bother. I wasn't in this for the drama.

I looked at Fullerton, really looked and he was looking back at me and he had that condescending stare that so many Ratdogs had and he was everything that'd been wrong with the way we were. Entitled, no fucking idea what was going on and he just didn't care. Arrogant, had an attitude, even sitting there in front of me and I shook my head because there was no reasoning with some of them and his name was on the list and I knew I'd already prejudged him and the regs said I shouldn't.

There wasn't a lot on his file but I read it anyway because that was my job, and my job and following the regs was all that kept me going now. Registered Ratdog party member. Active. Very active. Donated. Volunteered for the last couple of election campaigns. Participated in protests that'd turned violent, been arrested a few times, twice for assaulting seniors and one had ended up in hospital. Been released without any charges. Participated in "possible" voter fraud, and given how the police and the voting around here had been controlled by the Ratdogs, that was pretty much a certainty if it'd been blatant enough for them to record it even if he hadn't been prosecuted.

Active in encouraging illegals to vote and we sure didn't call them undocumented any more. Illegals, that's what they were and if we caught those ones, well, short and fast kinda described that process. No camps for the illegal's and there were less of them now because they were getting the idea. Anyhow, Fullerton. List of associations and organizations he belonged to and any one of them by themselves justified sending him off to the Labor Camps.

Not the Re-education Camps, they were for the ones that could be recovered. There was no coming back from the labor camps, not until the war was over at least and maybe not even then. The labor camps, they were for the incorrigibles, and that for sure was Fullerton.

High School teacher. He was, and Jesus, I really had to hold it down when I saw that and I knew the type. Asshole probably corrupted god knows how many susceptible teenagers and yeah, pre-judging and I had to rein that in and the Lord alone knew why he hadn't run with the others when he had the chance. Have to be a really good reason to pass this one but I'd listen, I'd listen and I'd do this by the regs and I opened my mouth and...

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byUnityMitford© 9 comments/ 8254 views/ 10 favorites

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