War and History Fiction posted June 20, 2022

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One Sergeant tries to hold it together

Blood Moon

by Fleedleflump

War Contest Winner 
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

"Duck!" hollered somebody nearby.

Something whizzed through the air, raising the hairs on my neck. I followed the suggestion and hurled myself to the ground as a deep concussion shook the earth, close enough to compress my lungs and momentarily choke me. Dirt rained down like filthy confetti, covering me in a layer of grit. If this was a wedding, my bride was Death. Images ghosted through my thoughts - green eyes, silky sheets, a necklace with a lunar pendant ... a bullet hole in a blood moon.

"Echo Squad, come in," I said, coughing a plume of dust, hoping the mic in my helmet still worked. "Echo, do you read?"

Something grasped at my arm and I turned to see Grisham staring at me. Her eyes were almost black, the pupils were so dilated. Blood branched from one eyebrow down the side of her nose and grime caked her features, but she looked alive. That was all we could ask for at this point.

She spat out a channel of mud. "It's a drone, Sarge. That blast took out the others. We're all that's left of Delta." The high-pitched whizz sounded again, somewhere high above.

"Fuckin' pussies," I said. "Dyin' on me." The time for mourning would be later.

"Waste of good fighters," said Grisham. "Waste of good friends."

I widened my eyes at her. "Save it. Corpses can't cry. Survive today so you c'n fall apart tomorrow."

We were flat on our faces behind a dirt bank. As dust cleared, I saw what befell the rest of my squad. The idiots took cover behind a derelict mini-van. When the drone's missile struck, we got dirt - they got glass and metal. We were next to a crossroads populated by craters, mud and the remains of an out-of-town shopping mall. Hold the crossing, they said. It's strategic. Hold the crossing - don't let the enemy use the road. Drones don't need roads.

"Hold my fuckin' ball sack," I muttered. "Echo Squad, come in."

"Sarge." Grisham tugged at me again. "Drone's circling back. Next strike will get us dead on - we got no cover from this angle."

"Fuck." I surveyed what was near enough to run to. Cars - no good. Rickety remains of fences - useless ... A metal-clad small building, probably housing a generator - maybe a chance. I glanced the way Grisham was looking. There it was - an agile speck in the sky, settling into a course directly towards our position. In moments, another missile would be fired. We had to time this perfectly.


"Look smart, Grisham. We're hot-footin' it to that generator hut, but we can't go until the missile's in flight, or it'll adjust aim. Look at me." We matched gazes briefly and I nodded to her. "Now, watch that pissin' drone for me, and pray to Hell's asshole they're not heat seekin' heads. The moment you see a trail, holler."

"Fuckin' eh, Sarge."

"Fuckin' eh." I swung my weapon towards the hut, maybe a hundred feet away, checking the door though my scope. A padlock on a chain hung between handles like a locket on a pendant. "Shit." Green eyes, silky sheets, a lunar-

"Sarge, now!" As she yelled, Grisham was up and moving, hunkered but fast, just like we trained her. Instincts took over and I launched myself into motion. I didn't look back - no point. I just kept that hut, wobbling in my vision, as my focus and put every ounce of energy into my pounding legs. My ears insisted on listening for a hissing sound of a slim javelin of death propelling itself at the position we just vacated, but I knew it was senseless - those things flew at three times the speed of sound, so we'd feel the impact before we heard anything.

As we closed on the hut, I readied my weapon. All I could see was that beautiful, terrible memory - her subtly green eyes, one night spent in soft sheets, the lunar pendant that defined her throat, and the terrible, gushing wound from a bullet never traced.

A grunt of effort from Grisham slammed me back to reality. I aimed at full tilt - like pointing at a person in a moving crowd - and pulled the trigger. Blood moon. The padlock burst apart, the doors shifting loose as we moved within ten feet.

Then it happened, another of those concussions behind us, like a giant stamped a foot. The force of it lifted us both from our feet. In a blink, I was slamming into a door, and it flapped open, depositing me, sliding, shouting, crashing into an internal wall. I heard Grisham yell in pain then go quiet, and then her weight crashed into me. Something warm slapped in a ribbon across my face and began to run.

My back screaming, I dragged myself close enough to kick the door closed behind us. From above, slightly muffled, came that fucking whizzing noise as the drone passed overhead.

"Sarge," whispered Grisham. "I think it got me." One look at the shape of her body confirmed her assessment - blood was gushing from her nose and mouth. We matched eyes while she coughed a red glut onto her chest. "Is it worth it?" She said quietly. "Is this place worth it?"

"No," I said. "It's not. But somebody has to do it, or what's the fuckin' point?"

The glaze slid across her eyes like the sun setting, just like in my memories of my fading love, of the terrible blood moon. A rattle croaked like a toad in Grisham's throat.

"Fuckin' pussy," I said, feeling a traitorous tear. "Dyin' on me."

Overhead, the drone whizzed, circling, preying, lining up.

My radio squawked. "Delta, you still there? Delta, come in. This is Sergeant Haron, Echo Squad. We're pinned but holding on. With a little help, we might just make it. Delta, come in."

I licked the salty tear from my lips, took a deep breath, and reaffirmed my grip on my weapon.

Seemed like I wasn't done just yet.

Writing Prompt
Write a story where a character is in war or is about to be in war. Fiction or non-fiction.

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