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The mud was sticky; being held together it seemed, by the flood of blood that was steadily overwhelming it. Reaching up I wiped some of the dirty gore from my eyes, blinked twice and pushed myself up from the ground. My hearing hadn’t returned yet. The aftershock of the massive concussive blast had torn our platoon apart, and deafened my ears.
The twelve that had made it so far behind enemy lines using skill and stealth, was ripped apart and torn down to two remaining members by some stray Air-ground bomb from the massive swarms of bomber jets above. In reality it was a wonder that we hadn’t been hit earlier on. The pain that racked my body was completely overwhelming and terrifying. Lumbering to my feet I stayed hunched over using the cover of the remains of an attack chopper that had gone down it seemed years ago near the start of this war. From the sign of the blood on the side of the chopper and the throbbing in my ribs under the blood on my shirt, my body must have been thrown into it when the explosion occurred.
Glancing around the park I scanned to see if we had attracted any attention from enemy soldiers. After I was certain that I was safe I glanced over to see my surviving comrade stumbling towards a half crushed car, it took only two seconds to see why. His right foot hung from the flesh as he hobbled along but it wasn’t bleeding too badly, the heat from whatever shrapnel hit it must have cauterized it. I lunged to a standing position and reached him just as he collapsed against the vehicle side.
“Hey. you alright?” My voice was hoarse and it was painful to speak, the heavy smoke in the area burned my lungs with every breath. “We gotta get out of the area as soon as possible.” My comrade turned and I was relieved to find that it was Michael; he is an old friend from all the way back to our first mission when we were still in the Navy. Recognition floated into his eyes.
“Gabriel…” He swallowed realizing the same as I how hard it was to speak. “What about the rest?”
We both scanned the remains of our fallen brothers and all we saw was the death in their eyes if they even had a face left to see. Body parts lay some feet away from where they belonged and we knew without words what the answer was, Michael just lowered his head with a groan.
“We have got to get to cover quickly and take care of our injuries, my foot is FUBAR.”
Looking at the wound I nodded in agreement it was probably only a matter of minutes before someone came along. Reaching down I picked up a discarded UMP sub-machine gun from the ground. The weapon was standard to our group and it made it easy to discard and pickup a comrade’s weapon and still have matching ammo for it. Pulling the slide back I checked the action. Ejected the clip and had another in place before the other had hit the ground. I slung the shoulder strap over my right side and grimaced at the pain in my ribs. I know that I had broken them probably three or four, but there isn’t too much that I could do about it right now. After Michael had checked the clip of his Beretta that he found still in it’s holster I helped him to his feet and we staggered towards one of the abandoned buildings to the north.
The building was obviously an office building there was a massive oak reception desk in the center of the main entry and papers were scattered everywhere from a small explosion, probably a grenade that had obliterated a filing cabinet on the east wall. I was used to this scene it was always played out like this, everywhere. In the near distance I could hear the rumble of some sort of attack vehicle coming outside as someone came into the park area. We staggered to the back of the reception hall and opened the door that said stairwell on it. After gaining three flights of stairs we entered into another corridor of offices and board rooms. Entering into a corner office I laid Michael down on top of the black wood desk. He propped himself up on one elbow and pointed his gun towards the doorway as I moved to take a cautious peek out the window at whoever it was that was outside. My breath came short as I saw a large contingent of enemy soldiers clad in brown and grey fatigues carrying heavy ordinance and being accompanied by two heavy tanks that were equipped with ground-air stinger missile launchers.
At the center of the force stood an important figure that had jumped from one of the tanks and now stood looking at the remains of our destroyed platoon. I prayed that they would move on or ignore the carnage figuring that the entire force had been destroyed by the explosion and it seemed that it would happen as the man turned towards the armored vehicle. My heart leaped into my throat as he turned towards our building obviously thinking of investigating the surrounding buildings. He motioned towards the officers and barked the orders. Acknowledging, four groups of ten soldiers each headed towards the closest buildings. Ours included.
“We have to go now!”
Racing from the office with Michael leaning on my arm we reached the stairwell again to hear the soldiers entering from below. Adrenaline pumping now I raced up the stairs practically carrying Michael up along with me, he cried out in pain as his foot hit the guardrail. Finally we reached the roof access and I shoved it open. Wind blasted into my face as we charged across the asphalt coming to the edge I cursed, we were stuck and there was no way out of here. I pulled Michael towards a junction box and braced him up against it, it is possible that they would just come to the roof and take a quick scan of the visible area and then leave. Yeah that is probably what they would do. Just as I was assuring myself of that Michael spoke up.
"Gabriel!” I turned to him and he looked up at me nervousness in his fatigued eyes, he cast his gaze down towards his leg again, blood poured from the wound. “It must of reopened when I hit it on the guardrail.” He looked up at me again. “If they find the blood it will lead them right to us.”
“Shit!” The words came from my mouth without me realizing it. The sounds of pursuit came as the access door slammed open. The sound of voices giving out commands to spread out and search, I checked the mag of my UMP that I carried then holding it in a one handed grip I reached down with my right and took out my knife. Turning towards Michael I whispered. “When I take the first I’ll strafe left to right, I want you to pop out the other side and lay down some cover fire as I try to make it over to those pipes over there.” Michael nodded in reply, gripped his Beretta tighter and slid over to the left hand side.
I didn’t have any time to prepare as the first soldier neared our position, signaling that he had found the blood. I moved before he had a chance to lunge around the corner and my knife sliced through his throat air expelling a mist of blood into the air. Continuing my momentum I pushed his right shoulder sending him into a spin where I grabbed him from behind by the back straps on his tactical vest. The two on the right opened fire immediately bullets thudding into the human shield that I had presented in front of me.
The UMP found the both of them in a hail of bullets that I know out of instinct had caught them both in the face and neck region.
The body of the soldier I was holding started to slump to the right and I used it’s cover to dive and roll behind the pipes as I heard the two others open fire. A loud succession of shots came from Michael’s direction and I new that he was engaging the enemy, I quickly reloaded the weapon and spun around to the right of the piping. Dropping into a crouch I peeked the barrel around the corner and saw one of the two men was firing with one hand at Michaels position and dragging the other soldier who was kicking and cursing as he tore at the ballistic vest that he wore, lining up the shot I let set the selector to burst fire, knowing that every time that I pulled the trigger, three bullets would be shot. The small scope of the UMP lined up on the soldiers exposed left side and slowly pulled the trigger.
I never saw them hit the massive impact that hit me from behind sent my body sprawling forward out of the cover of the pipes to lay unmoving on the roof. My mind spun out of control trying to figure out what happened and why on earth I couldn’t move. Then I realized what it must have been, a sniper from the other buildings had gotten on top of the roof and heard the gunfire. I heard Michael screaming and the crack from a rifle, then nothing. My mind was going numb and I knew my spine was broken and that I was dying, then…
When you dream, make it a good dream.
For dreams never last.