5 Hearts Beating Boldly: The Ambush

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Part five of a seven part addition to the Rose Houston Saga. Sergeant First Class Rose Houston’s patrol is ambushed.

Submitted: February 21, 2017

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Submitted: February 21, 2017



Seconds after the landmine explodes the good Sergeant’s heart is pumping at well over 200 beats per minute.  Her gun truck is on its side and she is half in half out of the turret.  She can’t move her foot and she can’t feel it.  It is clamped between the turret ring and the ground and the place where the turret pushes against her ankle hurts like hell.  She sees the old man still inside the gun truck.  He’s caught between the upper half of Rodriguez’s body and that part of the gun turret housing that’s still inside the gun truck.  His lips are split, blood is streaming from his nose and ears and he has a deep cut across his forehead.  She doesn’t know where the lower half of Rodriquez’s body is but there is a lot of bloody flesh spattered around the inside of the gun turret and dripping from the walls.  She’s thinking about cutting her foot off so she can escape.

The insurgents are firing wildly and bullets are splattering off the metal around her.  Bits and pieces of tiny shrapnel sting the unprotected surfaces of her face and arms.  She can see the second gun truck.  An RPG had hit the left front wheel and a second had hit the driver’s door.  Its crew is out and returning fire.  The corporal comes around the rear of her truck and fires at the closest muzzle flash.  He’s yelling at her but her ears are ringing from the explosion of the landmine that flipped the gun truck and she can’t understand what he’s saying.

The old man crawls over her to get out of the gun truck.  He is dragging both her and Rodriguez’ rifles with him.  He too is yelling at her, and she can’t understand him.  His exhaled breath spews blood in her face and fills the air with a pink mist.  She takes the rifle and begins firing at muzzle flashes.  He removes the bent barrel of the .50 caliber and uses it to pry the turret off her leg.  She pushes herself out from under it and he helps her to her feet.  Bullets and stucco  ricochet off the walls and what remains of her gun truck.  He pushes her back towards the third gun truck.  The two of them leap frog toward the others.  The corporal moves with them, firing at muzzle flashes as they go.

Her heart pumps great gallons of blood throughout her body and beats loudly in her ears.

The three surviving soldiers from the second gun truck stay in place and fire at the advancing enemy until the surviving crew from the first gun truck passes.  The good sergeant is having difficulty running.  Her ankle hurts badly and isn’t supporting the weight of her body, but it isn’t broken and the strength seems to be returning.  She holds tightly to the old man’s collar and they hop and stumble on three legs 30 or 40 feet past the other soldiers, turn with the corporal and begin firing.  The 2nd gun truck soldiers run past them another few feet, turn and fire.

She doesn’t know where they are going.  They are simply trying to break contact with the enemy.

The enemy pursues.  Non-combatant pedestrians flee in all directions, the wounded scream for help; the dead lay silent, twisted, shredded and dripping in expanding pools of blood.

Scavenging dogs dart from shadows to lap pooling blood from the street.

Houston turns, ejecting the empty magazine and reaching for a fresh one.  She sees the old man rise up and turn toward her. 

The bullet catches him just below the left shoulder.  It spins him; he goes down, pitching forward on his face, sliding on the fractured concrete street surface.

Houston inserts the fresh magazine as she turns.  She sees the old man struggling to get up.  Blood spurts in short streams from the hole in his shoulder.  His face is covered with road dust and blood.He spits sand and gravel, blood and teeth. He sticks the middle finger on his right hand in the bullet hole in his shoulder.  Another projectile passes through his body armor from the rear and exits through the front scattering flesh, bone, cartilage, blood and ceramic plate before him.

She no longer thinks.  She sees, her body acts. She steps toward the old man and makes eye contact.  He is hunched forward, teetering on his feet, shaking his head from side to side.  His right hand moves from his shoulder with palm out and his mouth forms the word “No.”  A an unkempt unshaven face pops around the corner of a building behind him and points an AK-47 at him, her rifle puts at least one bullet through the face. She hears a rifle fire several bursts of three from behind her and to the left and to her right front an unshaven face she hadn’t seen dissolves. She feels the other soldiers coming to re-engage.  They are moving forward, stepping deliberately, not hurrying, toward the enemy and the old man, 6 soldiers firing deliberately from the shoulder, aiming and squeezing single shots at faces that pop from behind walls and destroyed vehicles. 

The old man is still motioning her back.  She sees a grandfather spoiling his grandchildren, a street cop chasing felons through alleys, a man who believes in duty and honor and has trusted her with his life.Blood spurts weakly from the hole in his shoulder.  Once again he shakes his head and mouths the word, “No.”

The good sergeant reacts.  “I can do it.  I can reach him.  I can bring him in.  I can save him.”  Her right knee comes up, her left leg straightens propelling her forward, a sprinter launching from the starting blocks, launching her body forward like an arrow in flight. 

Her eyes stare coldly.  Her face is stone.  He’s dying.  She will bring him in.  She will save him.  He is one of her’s.

Her soldiers move forward in a line.  One step at a time.  Rifles spit fire and lead.

Waves of thunder course through the city streets.  Thunder, one bullet at a time. 

Her eyes focus coldly.

Her heart beats boldly.

© Copyright 2018 Eddie C Morton. All rights reserved.

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