Ling hid down by the river. Waited. Listened. All she heard was the breeze whispering in the treetops.
She got up on her feet. She was the only one who had survived the attack, the shame ripped her soul. Her troop was gone. Her Sargent. Her mates. She didn’t know where she was, the map and the compass had been in the backpack.
The sun was going down. Southwest. She knew the base camp should be to the east.
Darkness invaded the forest, the bushes got denser as she walked. She heard the sounds of little animals jumping from tree to tree, birds flying in the leaves. They sounded unquiet, stressed. Tree-trunks were scraping together somewhere in the dark.
There had ben gunshots, but she hadn’t seen any enemies. The troop had been separated by the dense vegetation. Then the shooting had started.
Between some bushes she hid to sleep. The night was cold and dark, the moon could not be seen.
She hadn’t seen any enemy since the attack. Strange, she was deep into enemy territory. They should be swarming. She walked with caution.
Further ahead there was some kind of movement. She went closer. It could be enemies, or it could be her own. Maybe some large animal. She was starving.
She got down, crawled under the bushes. Got a view. There was a cluster of plants. Human bodies were hanging from the trees. Animals. The branches moved, but there was no wind. Roots unattached from the ground. They walked. Like animals.
There was something familiar by it all, their formation left her no doubt. This was a camp, a military camp of plants ready for war.
Now she knew what had murdered her men.
She started crawling backwards. She had to get away, even the enemy was better than this. Something grabbed her leg. Roots emerged from the ground. Branches surrounded her, tied her down. She shot wildly around, but her bullets had little effect.
They showed no pain. No fear. No sympathy.
They observed her, but she saw no eyes. From the centre of the camp seeds flew off with the wind, thousands of them, millions. The pollen made the air hard to breath.
Around them more trees and plants shivered and moved. Ripped their roots up from the ground. An army was being created. The war had just begun.