Please, I don’t want to die.
It was the only thought he had in the seconds between noticing the Lovecraftian horror on an out-of-control hoverbike and realizing it was headed in his direction.
The wall of the building caved instantly under the impact, and he was buried beneath the rubble of what had once been a smoothie shop.
This wasn’t real. None of it could possibly be real. Monsters hadn’t descended from a hole ripped in the sky. He was at home in his own bed, trapped in a nightmare. Soon, he would wake, and his mother would make him pancakes. Only his mother never made pancakes. She wasn’t the sort of -
A creak, a groan, and the last remaining bit of the wall crumbled, sending indescribable pain throughout his body. When the initial shock faded, he realized something was terribly wrong.
Fuck, it was his leg. Pinned and twisted somewhere he couldn’t see, but he could feel the white-hot line of blazing fire that made his stomach roil. He was going to vomit. Did vomit. Turned his head to the side and puked his lunch right onto the dead monster’s ugly face.
At least he had that.
There were other people - had been other people in the shop. People who had jostled and pressed him along when the first massive beast the size of a building flew - flew! - through the sky. He had been separated from his friends, escaping into that shop under the futile hope it might keep him safe.
God, he didn’t want to die. He would miss his parents. His sister. His boyfriend. He couldn’t remember the last thing he’d said to any of them, and that thought made him sad.
They might not ever find him. Might not know that he died there, buried under the debris. Another one of a countless number of corpses left when all was said and done.
Dying was going to suck.
The rubble shifted, increasing the pressure on his mangled leg. He screamed - a hoarse, desperate sound ripped from his throat as he begged for it to stop. He wasn’t brave, wasn’t strong. He was scared, and he wanted to go home.
The wall moved. He was sure it was God or the devil or something in between lifting it up. Tossing it to the side as though it weighed nothing at all. A child discarding a toy.
There was a man standing there. Broad shoulders, wide stance.
“It’s alright, folks,” he said. “Got a safe place you can go. Single file if you can walk.”
He couldn’t walk. He moaned instead.
The man crouched down and then there was an arm under his back. His legs. Perfect strength lifting him and the pain was unbearable. Excruciating.
“You’ll be alright,” the man repeated. It sounded like a promise.
His head was swimming and what was left of the room began to spin.
The last thing Bucky Barnes saw before the darkness took him was a white ‘A’ emblazoned on the cowl covering his savior’s face.