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beth writing 30 days without

FIC: "The Scent of the Living" (1/1) - PG - Written for the LFWS #2, Round 4


Title: The Scent of the Living
Author: maddie_amber
Word Count:  511
Rating:  PG
Theme: Action Snapshot
Characters: Military mainly, civilian personnel can be present, but not as POV
Description: The story must be an action piece featuring mainly any military personnel, but any civilian can be present as long they are not POV of the story.
Disclaimer:  The characters and setting of Stargate Atlantis belong to MGM.  The plot and original characters belong to me.  No infringement intended. 



The Scent of the Living


Hitting the ground hard he dropped and rolled behind the fractured masonry, energy beams blasting so close he could feel their searing heat.  Hunkering down behind a shattered cistern, he tapped his earpiece and listened for the response.  He heard only background noise.  Peering over the top of the broken stonework he studied the shattered structures that were all that remained of the village that mere days before had been a bustling community. 


They had encountered the remnants of the Wraith force at the edge of the river.  Separated from Lorne’s team during the resulting firefight, he had managed to make his way here to their rendezvous point outside the village.  He risked another glance over the top of the cistern just as a Wraith stunner fired from his left.  He fired back, pouring ammunition into the area where the shot had originated.  He thought he heard a grunt, but he couldn’t be sure.  Then more energy beams shattered the air, pounding his position from three sides.  


Behind him, only feet away, was the shell of a building, what was left of the town tavern.  Better shelter than his current position and possibly easier to defend.  Standing, he fired liberally into the locations were the blaster fire originated as he threw himself backward, and into the open tavern door. 


Landing amid the carnage, he came to a crouch in the middle of the room.  The Wraith had been hungry.  Dropped against the base of the bar, under tables, half in and out of the doors, their victims had fallen where they had been fed upon.  The desiccated husks stared slack-jawed into eternity, soundless witness to the destruction of their community.  Each mummified body so stripped of life that there wasn’t even enough left to rot.  There was no scent of death here, no putrid sweetness of rotting flesh.  Just the dry whisper of dust and bodies wasted beyond recognition. It always amazed him that there was no smell. 


He heard a double click in his earpiece.  “Yes, Major,” he responded, quickly apprising Lorne of his situation.  “No one left alive here,” he finished.


“Hold if you can.  We’re almost to your position.” 


“Yes, sir.”


Only then did he notice the difference.  The sharp metallic scent of blood, the musky odor of fear, the scent of a living, terrified human being.  Cautiously, all senses alert, he scanned the emptiness around him.  The subtle shuffle of fabric, an almost imperceptible whimper, a tiny movement in the darkest corner of the room brought his P90 to bear on the spot.


“Come out.”  He tempered the command with gentleness. 


Slowly, crawling on hands and knees, a figure emerged from the shadows.  Huge eyes in a thin pale face surrounded by ragged dirt brown hair, stared at him, before tears burst from her eyes, and she began to shake with relief.  Filthy, covered with dried and fresh blood, reeking of urine and spilled alcohol, she was alive.  The rattle of P90’s outside announced the arrival of help, just as she reached out and took his hand.