The disruptive screech of the alarm clock was an unwelcome sound, ripping the peaceful veil of sleep away from Heidi. She opened her eyes and rubbed her finger across her phone's screen, silencing the cacophony. Heidi swung her legs out from underneath the sheets and reluctantly stood up, brushing blonde hair away from her brown eyes. She then shuffled over to the door and opened it, letting the light and sound of the TV wash over her. Mary was already awake. The living room was fairly bare; a table and four chairs were to Heidi's right whilst to the left a grey couch was pushed against the opposite wall. Facing it was a flatscreen TV displaying all the news concerning modern day London. Mary, Heidi's wife was sitting on the couch sipping tea, brown eyes intently focused on the TV. Mary was rather short; 1.6 metres, compared to Heidi's impressive height of 178 centimetres. Her long brown hair was tied back into a ponytail and she was dressed in a simple t-shirt and blue jeans.
"Morning," Mary said, eyes shifting to look at Heidi. "Did you sleep well?"
"Oh ja. Ze alarm clock is a pain though," Heidi replied, staring resentfully in the direction of her phone.
"You're the one who chose that awful sound. Brekkie's in the kitchen."
"Oh thank you dear," Heidi said as she moved in to give Mary a peck on the cheek.
Mary moved her head away swiftly. "Bleugh; morning breath."
Heidi laughed and blew air all over Mary's face. "My gift to you," she chuckled as she walked over to the kitchen.
The mouthwatering smell of sausages and eggs wafted over to Heidi, filling her mouth with saliva. As she voraciously shoved a mouthful of egg into her mouth, she reflected on how lucky she was to have such a kickass wife. It was luck that when Heidi was in the German Army she came across a backpacking brit whilst on leave. Said Brit was getting shitfaced and needed to be walked home. The two talked and one thing lead to the next and four years later, the couple were getting married.
After the last morsel was removed from the plate, Heidi returned to her bedroom, threw open the curtains and pulled out a red singlet, grey cargo pants, underwear, socks and a pair of boots, hold-overs from her army days. She subconsciously scratched the tattoos of barbed wire on her arms; they were generally covered by a suit when she worked as a lawyer. Collecting her clothes in her arms she wandered into the bathroom and unceremoniously dumped them on the chair positioned next to the shower. Heidi stripped off her pyjamas, strode into the shower and turned the water on, letting the initial chill of the water wash away any sleepiness that remained. As the water ran through her shoulder-length blonde hair, down her body and she washed herself, she thought about her job as a lawyer. She liked it to be sure; it was great running your own business with the love of your life but it lacked something. Heidi didn't feel as if she was achieving her full potential, she was just stuck doing this same old thing. Conflict brewing in her heart, she turned off the taps and the stream of water trickled to a halt
The towel was soft as it absorbed the beads of water on her skin. The singlet and pants weren't rough either. Just the way she liked it. After tightly tying up her shoelaces, she strolled back out into the kitchen, still unsure of her role as a lawyer. As Mary was about to say something, blooms of orange and yellow and red explosively sprouted outside the widow. Shortly after the shock waves reverberated throughout the building.
"What was that?" Mary asked, real fear creeping into her voice.
"I don't know," replied Heidi, Mary's fear infectiously creeping into her. "We need to leave though."
"Should we grab anything?"
"Nein. We have get everyone else out though."
The couple sprinted out the door and began frantically knocking on other residents' doors, getting them out of the building. After all the apartments on floor 12 were vacant, Heidi and Mary ran towards the stairs and then lept down them, three steps at a time. As they stepped out from the open glass doors onto the street, both of their phones beeped, indicating that a message had been received. Heidi immediately pulled out her phone and read the message out.
"'All residents of London and its suburbs must make their way to their nearest sporting field immediately.'"
A fearful stare was shared between the two before they ran over to Mary's car.
Upon arriving at Jackson field, it was evident that the government was seriously concerned about whatever just happened. At the car park of the field a man wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket and wielding a megaphone directed arrivals towards the field whilst maintaining a degree more composure than the crowd diverted by him. Heidi followed the crowd, with Mary walking in her footsteps. A queue was formed in front of a row of desks, manned by people presumably taking the information of people to ensure a safe evacuation. The queue was long but eventually Heidi had her details written down by a solemn women with tied-back brown hair. After that wait was more waiting. Time dragged on and on and Heidi was sure she was going to smack someone just to stop her boredom. She talked with Mary and others to see how they were coping. Most were fine but the odd person was hysterical about the attack. The tedium was interrupted by the arrival of a fleet's worth busses. Megaphone-man, as Heidi had labelled him, called out for everyone to board the busses to be taken outside of the city.
The temporary camp erected outside of London was rudimentary and without comfort. Not too different to the barracks Heidi thought. A group of people with fluorescent stood near the bus holding pamphlets. People were directed to travel past them and collect their pamphlets which, according to the new megaphone-wielding man, would help in aiding those disembarking the busses. Heidi did as she was told: following the crowd and grabbing all the forms. After her and Mary arrived at their assigned tent, the couple lay down on their bed.
"Fuck," Mary said, exasperated. "What a day. All this shit."
"It's certainly something," Heidi replied, moving her hand to grasp Mary's. "At least we're both safe and outside the city."
"I wonder why we got shipped out of the city so fast."
Heidi's eyes drifted over to the small pile of pamphlets that lay on the floor. On the cover of one, a large, yellow symbol indicated the radioactive nature of the bombings.
"The pamphlets suggest it was a dirty bomb," Heidi said, her voice void of emotion.
"Oh. Oh no," tears started to well up in Mary's eyes.
Heidi curled her arms around Mary's body and the pair hugged, their emotions seeping into each other. The fear, loss and sadness intermingled as the pair lay there.
Heidi sat on the floor, scanning through the brochures when Mary walked in, carrying two bowls of warm soup. Dinner, Heidi thought, her mouth quickly becoming filled with saliva. She thanked her wife and was about to eat a spoonful but a brochure caught her attention. It was a simple grey one with an almost crude logo on the front. A grinning jackal with a scar across its left eye and crossed cutlasses were positioned behind its head. This company, "Jackal", was offering positions of delivery of volatile chemicals and sensitive electronics, enforcement, demolitions and required "strong individuals who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty", preferably with a history of "law enforcement, military service, bodyguard or similar professions". Looked awfully like mercenary work to her. Yet, it excited her. It was a bit illegal and dangerous as hell but working in the military was exhilarating. Heidi didn't feel like she was held back by anything. Mary looked over Heidi's shoulder, read through the page and her eyes widened.
"Please tell me you aren't thinking of joining up with them," Mary begged.
Heidi shifted her gaze away from her wife's face and twisted her mouth. "I am."
"Why?" Mary pleaded. "It's so dangerous! I couldn't live with myself if anything happened to you."
"I... I don't feel as if I'm doing everything I can sitting at that desk doing work. In the military... I felt alive. I won't do anything stupid. I'll come back home for you, I promise," Heidi replied, taking Mary's hands in hers.
"I don't want you to go. What if something happens to you? What if you die or lose your arm or leg?"
"What if you get hit by a car or attacked?" Heidi countered. "It's dangerous but it's what I want to do. We can never escape danger, only mitigate it. Which I will do."
"You've always been stubborn; once you have your mind set on something, you'll get there. I want you to give me a Skype call whenever you can though."
"Of course baby."
"I'll be with you. In spirit of course."
Nader sat in the helicopter, blonde hair blowing across her brown eyes. She reached into the pocket in her pants and pulled out a photo of Mary and stared at it. She missed her. Sawbonez noticed the photo and walked over.
"That your wife?" The former army surgeon asked.
"Jah, her name's Mary." Heidi tilted the photo to show Sawbonez.
Sawbonez whistled. "You know how to pick 'em. She's pretty."
"Of course. I'm amazing eh?"
The medic laughed, exposing his white teeth, contrasted against his dark skin. "Keep telling yourself that," Sawbonez smiled. "We're getting close though. Proxy and Fletcher are ready. You?"
Heidi hefted her grenade launcher and slipped Mary's photo back into her pocket. "Jahvol. Let's get this done."