36 Hours – Part 13

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The wind blows cold from the east, carrying with it the scent of freshly turned earth and blood. It unsettles my hair but its caress is soft enough to make me close my eyes. I can not reconcile the things I see with reality and I shut them out. Darkness is much easier to understand than this.

I stand here for an eternity. The whole of the world moves on without me. The war ends, life begins again, the Union and Confederacy collapses. These images are more real to me than the present and I surrender to it. Continue reading

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36 Hours – Part 12

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A gunnery sergeant arrives and asks for me. I stand and go with him to the firing line where he directs me to my little sniper hole. “Southwest, to the left of the wire,” he says. I look where he indicates and frown. “Mortars,” I say, sighting down my scope.

“Are they trained on our position?”

I flip down a few lenses and adjust the sighting but find no way of knowing for sure. I shrug. “I don’t know sergeant.”

“Pick off any crews that come to man it, I’m alerting the Captain.”

“What’s up?” Kat asks a moment after the sergeant has gone.

“Mortars setting up along the line by the forest,” I say, nodding toward the area we’d been gassed the night before. “He wants me to pick off any crews I find.”

Kat hisses through his teeth and tosses his cigarette into the muck. “Damn them. Half a day to go.” Continue reading

36 Hours – Part 8

It is mid-day by the time I’m allowed to sit up. Len doesn’t say it but Kat does. Even this is too soon, but they need every man who can hold a rifle. A big offensive is coming soon.

“It’s less than a day,” Kat says as I hobble through the medical station with Shiod. Shiod is proposing a game of cards and we’re in search of Len again, full of purpose that we’ll steal him away from the center long enough for a game. Ever since Shiod spilled the news about Vanmere, Len hasn’t been around. Continue reading