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Too Long

Too Long

Bullets kicked up the dirt piled atop the trench’s lip. Jimmy worked to fix the jammed weapon, he needed to return fire. “We’ve got another group moving in on our ten! See if you can pin them down!”

Ben nodded, and crawled through the muck to gain a better position. He avoided the tarp-covered object in his path. “Jimmy, if you can’t get the damn thing fixed, toss the pineapples at them!”

“But the captain said not to use them. We’re running low on supplies and the convoy is two days late.” He freed the magazine, slapping a fresh one in. He scrambled up the side of the trench, and opened fire. The spent cartridges flew past his face, one burning his ear. “If we can hold them to their current position, the captain will order an air strike on them.”

“Damn officer should’ve ordered the air strike when we marked their position twenty hours ago. Maybe Jackson would still be alive,” Ben said in a harsh voice. “We promised his mom we’d keep her youngest son safe. What’re we gonna tell her, Jimmy?”

Tears left tracks through the grime covering his face. “I don’t know, Ben.” He wiped his nose with his sleeve. The enemy fire stopped. He lifted the binoculars, and checked the area. The enemy scrambled from their firing positions and headed back towards their line. On the edge of his field of vision, he noticed movement of something large in their direction. Dust obscured the scene, but only one thing would raise that kind of mess. “Ah hell!”

Ben glanced at his friend. “What’s wrong?”

“Bloody tanks are moving in.” He dropped the binoculars and reached for the radio. “I’m letting the captain know.” He pressed the button. “Echo One, this is Echo Five. Over.”

Static filled the air, and then a voice responded. “Echo Five, we read you. Over”

“Echo One, tanks are moving in on our position. Over.”

The static lasted for several moments before a reply came. “Echo Five, hold your position. Do what you have to keep them back.”

Jimmy met his friend’s gaze, before replying. “Understood, Echo One. Hold position. Echo Five, over and out.” He dropped the radio, reaching for the crate holding ten grenades.

“We’re not getting out of here, are we Jimmy?” Ben joined him at the crate.

“Nope.” He slung his weapon over his shoulder, and then handed five grenades to his friend. “We should be able to make it to the next line of trenches. We can toss the grenades for there.”

“Why bother?” he asked, stuffing the grenades in his pockets. “If we move closer we get killed that much faster.”

Jimmy nodded in agreement, sipping water from his canteen. “True, but we’re soldiers, Ben. We follow the orders of our superiors.”

They climbed to the top of the trench, glancing back at the tarp-covered body of their friend. Ben sighed, patting Jimmy on his shoulder. “Too long a soldier, Jimmy.”

“Yep. Been too long a soldier.”

With emboldened shouts, they left the dubious safety of their trench and ran into oblivion.


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