Caspian Hope – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 54
BOOM!! Our world exploded into fire and lead! Sleeping men leapt from their dreams of the Caspian to war incarnate. They’d found us! As I put my head up from my pack I saw my whole unit take up positions around me, each laying their rifles in the same direction and L2 and Tony scrambling to the ends of the line. Beyond them a line of at least fifty men knelt and lay at a hundred yards or so, already firing their rifles. Their aim was useless, sending bullets over our heads by at least two yards, thank God. In a second we were ready and L2 looked at me. I glanced around to be sure we weren’t surrounded and gave him the nod.
Right then and there all the anger at running from the fight poured out of us in a controlled surge of power. At the exact same moment all of us fired and almost all of us dropped an enemy. Despite firing at the drop of a hat, after being torn from our sleep, we were ready. The enemy all dropped to the ground as our first volley took a dozen of their men outright. Before they could return fire we had another round downrange and caught another ten of them. Their response was lame. I could hear the rounds go high over our heads. As we continued to fire I pointed at L2 and raised two fingers, then pointed right. He responded by running right and slapping Tyk and Donkey on the back as he went. They followed and all three took up a position fifty yards out.
As they headed off to the side I looked left and saw Longshot working Eleanor’s bolt with smooth precision. His trigger finger barely had to touch her mechanism and she would sing for him, ridding us of another opponent each time – his calm demeanour serving us all with quiet professionalism. The rest of the men, though exact and true of aim, were more excited – their gritted teeth and wide eyes exclaiming their thirst for blood. I watched the enemy through my binoculars and could see their line fall apart. They were putting their heads up too high and that was all we needed to win.
I couldn’t see a commander, or anyone, directing their unit; they had no cohesion. L2, Tyk and Donkey cleared off a few more from the angle they had taken up. The heads of their target snapped to my left as their bullets cleaved through them with well-trained accuracy. Each round was spent with the purest of hearts behind it, and my undying pride. The air fell silent in a matter minutes, but as the last round went out I looked to my left and saw red.
“Murphy’s hit!” roared Glynn, turning him over.
Without a word Pretty Boy was by his side in a heartbeat, his knife out and cutting through his trouser leg.
“Urghhh! Sir, it’s fine, Sir. I can fight!”
“Shut the fuck up, Murphy and do what you’re told. Pretty Boy, how is it?”
“Through and through, Sir.”
“Urghh, ahhya Baaaaastard!!”
“I know, Murphy. It’s gone right through so I don’t have to dig it out” consoled Pretty Boy.
“Fuck, is it bad?!”
“Well you were never a handsome fucker but the scar will you give you some character.”
“Urgh fuck you! You pretty prick!!”
Pretty Boy turned back to me and shook his head. I knew at once what had to be done and considering the pain Murphy was in I didn’t hesitate. Tapping the inside my elbow I signalled for the poppy. All the men gathered around as Tony kept one eye on watch and the other on the situation with Murphy. We could all see the thick black pool of blood gathering in the sand under Murphy’s right leg. The bullet had entered just below the hip, he didn’t stand a chance.
“I fucking tart with jam, you wanker I fucking hate your lovely face,” drooled Murphy as the poppy worked its magic.
I pointed at Murphy’s legs and L2 and Grubber started to rub them from knee to ankle. Hands took Murphy’s hands and Pretty Boy rested his palm on Murphy’s forehead.
“You’re a bunch of hairy banana lovers you are! I know you’re like. You’re mothers would proud you men. I don’t need Jesus, I’ve got youssszz… oh zhIT!!”
Murphy went limp and the blood pool slowed and then stopped growing altogether.
“That’s it, Sir” announced Pretty Boy.
“Gentlemen, a minute’s silence,” I ordered.
The desert wind gusted around my collar and in over my shoulders, grains of sand catching on my skin. The exertion of the fight had slicked a shine of sweat across my body and the tiny shards stuck to my skin. I could feel them grating against me with each blustering of my shirt, but the sensation was numbed. Then, as the heat of the sun began to penetrate my awareness, Pretty Boy drew his shirt across Murphy’s face, ending the minute’s silence.
“Lay this man to rest, Gentlemen. And plot his grave.”
Without a word Donkey and L2 went to their packs to get their shovels as Pretty Boy checked Murphy’s pockets for personal belongings to return to his kin. I watched over the process and in my heart I thanked Murphy for his contribution to our survival. I always remember him as a brave soul. And I still miss him.
“He’s sleeping now, Sir. We said a prayer for him and plotted his grave. What now?”
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey