“No, no, no…”
You followed the voice, rifle at the ready.
“Hello? Where are you?” you called into the darkness. The only answer was the repeated mantra. “No, no,” again. More desperate.
You hurried through the rubble as quickly as you could.
Bursting through another half-broken door, you came across the source of the sound at last. A combat doll – same uniform as yours, different unit – knelt over a vaguely humanoid form. It was holding something. A ribbon? The remnants of a banner, maybe?
You did your best to remember the brief training you’d received on how to talk to a doll. Soft, easy voice, like you’re addressing a child, don’t spook it…
“H-hey, there. Where’s your unit leader?”
You approached, slowly, quiet enough to not startle but just loud enough to be heard.
“Hey. Are you operable? Damage?”
You slowly slipped the flashlight from its mount and slowly pointed it towards the doll.
It was kneeling over a body, a woman’s, horribly mangled. Probably by the blast that took out this building.
“Hey, we need to move, okay? I need you to come with me.”
Still no answer.
You arced the light over the doll. It was mostly unscathed, though its uniform was tattered.
“No, please, ma’am, get up, it needs you…”
Such a quiet and gentle voice for something that could tear apart a platoon with its bare hands.
Its hands were stained red. You didn’t think dolls could bleed…
Another step closer, and you had a clearer view. The dead woman had been nearly bisected by a falling beam.
The doll sobbed so quietly.
Its hands futilely tried to contain and reassemble the corpse’s entrails.
Your boot knocked a few spent casings across the floor, and it finally turned to look at you.
It finally looked up at you.
You stared back into the eyes of a terrified and lost child.