Lost in a completely unfamiliar environment, Tyson Noland discovers a new form of life.
His eyes fluttered open. A jagged diamond of bright white light, fuzzy like he was looking through an unfocused camera appeared directly above him, blinding him and spiking a convulsing pain down his eyes. It was a matter of moments before his vision cleared and his brain was finally able to drink in the situation. He was lying sprawled on a bed; in a room he'd never come across before. Bolting up, he frantically scanned his surroundings.
'Where am I?'
There weren't much to examine: an ancient looking table with a candle burning indignantly atop, a gloomy fireplace and a mildewed mantelpiece. The walls and floorboards were of wood, and to his bewilderment, there weren't any windows throughout the entire cabin either.
He shifted uncomfortably. His memories vanished like fleeing shadows; his own name wrestled free from his grasp. Brows arched in an unmistakable frown, he strained with the effort of recalling who he really was, but to no avail...his head was surprisingly empty.
"Tyson," he murmured seconds later, "Tyson Noland. Yes, that's who I am...Tyson Noland."
That was it- just the name. No matter how hard he concentrated, it only turned out to be worse. Frustrated, Tyson stomped his feet hard against the wooden floorboard. It creaked with agony, sending out an inexplicable resonance that rang through the still, passive environment. Resting his head against the wall, he delved into a countless number of thoughts. What was this place, and why was he here, of all people?
His thoughts were soon interrupted by a soft, steady pad of footsteps. The door, something Tyson hadn't noticed before, creaked open slowly, and in came the most beautiful girl he'd ever laid his eyes on. Her rippling black hair swayed all across her shoulder, and with a pair of starling grey eyes, she studied him intently with absolute concern.
"Are you alright?" the girl asked timidly. Her voice was just as he'd expected: rich, warm and mellifluous.
He wanted to say "'Course I am", but thanks to his despicable consternation, it came out as "Uh duh duh."
She suppressed a smile. "We heard noises from downstairs, so mama sent me up to check you out."
He nodded. Clearing his throat, Tyson asked the question that had been biting at him ever since he'd regained consciousness.
"Ma'm, can I please know what I am doing here?"
"My brothers found you lying unconscious over a hedge a few miles from here," the girl replied, then added, "you know, after what happened last night."
"What? What happened?"
A puzzled look overtook her face. "You...don't know?" She asked carefully.
"This is bad," a worried expression clouded her features.
"What? Is something wrong?" Tyson asked impatiently, "hang on, before you answer that, can I please know your name? I'm Tyson by the way, Tyson Noland."
"Annabelle Grace...call me Anne, and as for your answer, Tyson..." she hesitated.
"Look," he let out an exasperated sigh, "I'm really sick and tired of this. If you know something about me, anything, please...spill the beans. I'm all ears."
Anne pursed her lips. She seemed lost in some quick calculations. She opened her mouth, but before she could reply, someone yelled at the top of her lungs from downstairs in a language he didn't know. Anne's eyes widened fearfully; she turned, and suddenly darted towards the stairs, disappearing from Tyson's vicinity.
What on earth was going on? All of a sudden, the house filled with screams and wails of terror as he sensed people from the other cabins rushing downstairs in full fledge. Tyson was about to join in, when something in the environment made him freeze. He heard something...a whistle. Then another. Hundreds of whistles followed, and the air soon turned heavy with piercing sounds that reverberated through the still ambience. And then, something happened... everything came to a halt, and got replaced by an eerie wave of silence.
'This can't be good,' Tyson thought, 'I need to get out...' he faltered as a different hum reached his ears. It sounded like a high pitched roar with the overwhelming power of a speeding train, and it echoed through the wall next to him. Instinctively, Tyson dived. Just then, the earth shook, and the wall on the near corner exploded with a tremendous boom.
A few minutes later, Tyson looked up. Doused in sand and cinders, he rose shakily to his feet. The house had caught alight- fire and smoke surged around the edges of the room. Something small whizzed by him, just a few inches over his head. At the same time, something crashed behind. Whipping around, he was taken aback to see shattered pieces of glass lying underneath his soles. He tiptoed forwards and discovered a hole on the door's glass frame. When he finally figured out what had created it, he dived again just in time as a torrent of similar objects whizzed by and sank themselves into the wooden wall, the position exactly where he'd been standing moments prior.
'How could've I been so stupid?' Tyson cursed. He had known, somehow, from the very onset that the faint rattles outside were gunshots...machineguns roaring from over a long distance. Over the crackling of raging flames, he carefully crawled towards the door. The smoke in the room was slowly turning out to be suffocating, and he urgently needed to get out of there. He knew a battle raged outside, he knew he should know what was happening, but somehow he didn't; the memories stubbornly refused to fit in. Once he had reached a safe distance, he stood up. The stairs, somehow, hadn't been kindled by the fire yet. On his way down, Tyson risked a glance inside one of the rooms. His breath stuck in his throat, and he could only stare and stare. Heaps of burnt corpses lay piled on the floor, each more horribly misshapen than the next. Roasted intestines were stained all across the walls and floorboards. Erupting flames raged within. A flag of the United States, burnt in a million places, hung loosely from the ceiling. Eyes both locked in terror and watery from the smoke, Tyson unfroze, and quickly marched down the rest of the stairs.
Just as he was about to escape through a broken window, a moan hovered in from behind. Tyson closed his eyes, fighting to keep his feet from turning behind. He'd been through enough for one day. However, his curiosity got the upper hand, and inadvertently, he whisked around. Just as he rested his gaze upon the scenario behind, Tyson immediately threw up all over the floor. It was the most gruesome sight. There lay a woman, whom he could never have recognized if it weren't for her red satin burnt in places. Her once beautiful features were completely ruined, destroyed by the accursed fire. She was now pale, pale with splotches of crimson red set around her body. Looking at her face, Tyson felt his heart wrench. It was drooping, oozing away as wax leaks from a melting candle. Her beautiful black hair had burned away; her limbs were charred, scorched to the extent where the skin would just crumble where the slightest of pressure was applied. Drawing open her denatured mouth, she muttered weakly: "Tyson."
Just after that, her head slacked, and the distorted form of Annabelle Grace let out her last breathe.
Tyson sobbed. As warm tears trickled down his chin, he shuddered as though he'd received an electric shock. His memories materialized slowly...like bubbles surfacing from the darkness of a bottomless well. He remembered who he was, and as he did, a chill went down his spine. For the first time, Tyson looked down and took a peek at his attire. A sleek green uniform, with a flag of the United States printed on the left side of his chest. On his left was pinned a badge; it read: "PRIVATE TYSON NOLAND, 10TH FOX COMPANY, US MARINE".
Tyson gasped- a quick succession of panting breaths, the gritty taste of sand in his teeth. If he was a private, and these were his countrymen, then the assaulters were...
"Germans," he answered to himself, "the Second World War."
Just then, an armed Kraut ranger marched into the house, rifle pointed straight at Tyson's chest. In the blink of an eye, the beast in his hands roared; searing pain shot up the Private's left foot and he collapsed. He tried moving, but any endeavor to bend his knees or push with his feet spiked a debilitating shock into his back, blinding him and nearly rendering him unconscious. His life flashed before his eyes; waves of grief passed through, turned him over in riptides of hungriest despair, while roaring death pounded mightily at his door. As the final bullet made its way towards his chest, Tyson felt a strange joy, a feeling of new found happiness. Just before his vision dimmed, he drew open his jaw, and whispered his final words: "Thank you Lord...my peace, finally."