A sniper team is sent to kill a singer whose song soothes those infected with the Bug.
Civilization was crumbling. The virus named The Bug had thrown the world into two factions. No one knew where it had come from, but everyone knew it had appeared everywhere at once.
It was the night of the quarter moon, and the lights of the city were no more. A dark figure stood on the top edge of an eight story building. On the streets around, a multitude of those infected with The Bug looked upward. Their blood was pumping fast from hearing his song as if the words were slicing straight into their hearts, though it was not the beauty of his voice that had pulled them out of their dens, but the odor from his uninfected flesh, for all those infected could no longer control their desire to kill his kind. Many were filled with remorse from killing friends and family. Yet, as they approached, their souls were eased and smiles softened their faces.
A hundred meters away, a sniper team entered a decrepit building, and climbed the stairs to a third floor window. Warned of the power of the singer’s voice to crush the hunger to kill uninfected flesh, they wore earplugs, for they too harbored the virus. Immune to the song of the tenor, they set upon their task, for their leader forever needed new recruits filled with hate against old humanity; those uninfected others who sought to eliminate them.
The sniper knelt at the window, and unlatched the case containing the rifle. The components would have gleamed if there had been any light. Nevertheless, the sniper paused to stare, then, caressing each piece, he whispered as if to a lover.
The spotter raised her binoculars, and focused on the singer as the weapon was assembled. The singer was swiveling his torso with his arms raised as he sung. She tapped her partner’s head twice to affirm they had acquired their target even before zooming in to see the face. What she saw took her breath away. She lowered the binoculars to her chest, and pulled the earplugs out. As she listened to the tenor’s song, tears flowed down her cheeks and a sob burst out of her throat.
The sniper unaware crouched and brought the rifle to his shoulder. As she took position behind him, she wondered how her brother, a dozen years younger, had returned to their city thousands of miles away from the opera houses of Italy. Growing up with parents rarely at home, he was more her child than a sibling. There were only seconds left to stop the sniper, yet the beauty of his voice prevented any anger to enter her heart.
Then, realization surged into her mind. She squeezed the plugs into her ears. With silence, nothing restrained her from raising the binoculars off her neck to crush the sniper’s skull. She unplugged her ears once again to listen to her brother. Regret at killing once again tore into her soul. If there had been any other way...