1. The Sacrifices
Blood in eyes, pooling swiftly to cover gray irises in liquid scarlet. Blood in waves, surging—frothy, salty, and quickly—toward the shore, red ocean water momentarily bubbling before moving forward to ephemerally bathe numberless corpses that lay—half covered by sand and bloody water—along the shoreline.
He crawled toward this water, hissing as salt cleansed and stung bleeding wounds and as deadly chemicals seared away the remnants of his flesh. The further he moved, the higher the water rose, the salty liquid filling his nose and mouth, sending him gasping back toward the shore. He clawed the wet sand with worn fingers and broken nails, breathing in deeply the blessed air, ignoring—as best he could—the burning sensation of nose and lips swiftly losing anatomical structure. Laying his head upon the wet earth, he closed his eyes—as much to block the image of the jawless man to his right as to curtail the stinging blood that pooled from a head wound into his eyes.
Then, he saw her. Situated a few yards away, she lay sprawled head up, facing toward the stinging sun and smoking fires that billowed toward the sea from the distant city. Crawling toward the woman's corpse, he saw that she was young—perhaps no more than twenty-five years of age. Her blonde hair was smothered in blood and knotted by salt and human bodily fluids (much of which oozed from her mouth and multiple wounds). Her eyes--dull and blue-- gazed upward, her melted mouth open wide and twisted in a state of shock and agony. Her right hand lay within the water, the flesh singed away by the acids poured into the sea only hours before. To her left, a dead dolphin lay nestled nearby, ruined skin encircled by the remnant of the young women's left arm.
Dare he touch her? Deciding to do so, he placed a three-fingered hand upon her arm, wincing at the state of his digits. Not so long before, he—like most of those dead upon the beach—had been healthy, strong, possessing five digits on each hand and on each foot. Kicking away a discarded gun that blocked his path, he pulled his body closer to the corpse of the woman, weeping as he viewed her acid-seared face, her bullet-riddled body, her blood-seeped clothing.
So, this is the price of dominance, of mastery, he thought, wiping his own blood upon the tattered remains of army fatigues that covered the remaining flesh of his form. The price of power, the sacrifice for economic security.
He rested near her corpse for hours, feeling his blood pool out into the sand beneath the dead woman and the dead dolphin. Every so often, when he gathered enough strength, he turned his good eye (the one that had not yet melted away) toward the sea, watching numerous sea mammals and fish wash upon the shore, dead—like their human counterparts.
Glancing upward, toward the smoking horizon, he watched in stunned horror as a fiery blast and a mushroom cloud erupted into the air, churning the waters and moving ever toward the shore of his death. Before sudden darkness enveloped his vision, he thought that he saw a ship—white, swan shaped—sailing toward the beach and a fair-haired and robed man sloshing toward the shore.
Don't come, he thought. Don't come.
Then, fire swept all away.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.