Deception - A Short Story

Reads: 716  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Being sent on dangerous missions is in the job description for these three Commandos, but when the targets knows they're after them, things start to smell fishy to Corporal Drake, Flight Sergeant Parker and the protagonist, Sergeant Hornstra. *Just the first chapter* All work is my own, any name or places are just coincidental.

Submitted: February 18, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 18, 2012

A A A

A A A


Deception

 

Chapter 1

The sound of my own heart beat boomed in my ears. I dared not move, holding my breath as best I could, only pausing for tiny gulps of air. There was wispy fog drifting over the ground where I had thrown myself down. The silence stretched on, my heart beat the only noise filling my head. I felt, rather than heard a movement to my left and slowly turned my head. A mass of black, curly hair tied back into a fist-sized bum met my eyes. The head inched up and I saw Corporal Samantha Drake grin. Her hat must have fallen off in the scramble, I thought. Drawing my head around, I peeked out from under my green and brown camouflage hat. There was Jacob Parker, a flight sergeant and leader of our team. He was the pillar of justice to which all aspired to. Not to mention he had huge muscles, or so he thought. In truth, Parker was rather lanky and small, though he was the tallest of the group. Drake was only just shorter, and well-built with a slim fizeek. I was a Sergeant and the smallest of the group but made up for it with sheer persistence and a damn fine shot. We were all practised experts with the F-88 Austeyr, a powerful, yet compact rifle. I reached down to my side and gently patted mine.

 

Parker signalled for us to stay put while he recced the area, and with that got up and slipped silently into the mist. I was still tense and flinched with every noise I heard. Gradually though, I relaxed enough to take in the bush we had dived into. The dense undergrowth had given us enough cover to escape the oncoming group of hostiles. They had caught us off guard, coming in from the opposite direction. We were outnumbered and surprised, but quick thinking on Parkers behalf had us up and running into the shrubbery before they had time to see us. Contact now, when we were so close to our target would have been fatal. I looked over to see Sammie inspecting her rifle for damage. She looked up at me and grinned again, adrenaline still pumping. I gave her a lopsided smile back and we sat in comfortable silence.

 

A snap of a twig sent us into high alert, rifles ready and pointed. Barely audible was the hoarse whisper of “Serria, hotel, india, tango,” our agreed upon ‘friendlies code. Added to the end was “Bravo, Romeo, Oscar,” Parker’s trademark. We relaxed our positions and lowered our weapons and replied. “Hotel, echo, Yankee.” After a quiet minute, Jacob’s dirty, cammed face poked through the greenery. “All G,” he whispered, “Nothing close by. They must have kept moving fast. We got lucky that time, stay sharp.” Nodding in agreement, we got up and moved quietly towards Parker. The damp leaves stuck to our bodies and floated noiselessly to the ground, one by one. We moved forward, Parker in front and myself taking up the rear.

 

After such a close encounter we were taking no chances, stopping frequently to listen out for the sound of footsteps or heavy breathing of hostiles that had become too comfortable in their area. We slipped through the trees, almost as silent as ghosts. The leaves and branches of lantana and other tropical bushes reached out at us as we walked, the moss underfoot threatening to make us slip. Tall trees blocked sunlight from reaching us, giving the area an unnatural feel of twilight. Much of the mist had cleared from the ground, choosing to hover around head height. We kept low to the ground, crouching and moving only a few metres at a time. We had good reason to be cautious, after days of slowly trekking through enemy ground; we were just k’s away from our target, the main headquarters of the enemy’s base. Hit them hard there, and their whole system would crumble, or so we were informed. Stopping again, we could feel the pressure of what we had to do.

“It is likely you won’t all come back in one piece,” the officer had said. We were trained for this, we were ready, yet I could hear the quickly stifled pant of fear come from Parker. He was a natural leader, strong and proud and loyal. He would not let others see his fear, and he was brave enough to carry other’s anxiety. Sammie was kneeling next to me and had the appearance of being totally at easy with the whole situation. I knew her better than that though, I knew she was only just containing her excitement and apprehension. I was openly worried, adrenaline coursing through my veins. There was no point hiding my emotions, the other two knew me too well for that. My caution though, had often prevented us from continuing into a bad situation. We worked well together, our personalities rather than clashing, were often what saved us.

 

We moved on our hands and knees now, crawling through the dense, green undergrowth. Once again, I thanked everything I could think of that the ground underneath was damp, muting our movements, and that the trees overhead created shadows that hid our moving forms. We crawled along almost silently; packs occasionally catching on branches and rifles slung over shoulders. The day slowly ticked on, each hour drew us closer to the headquarters. By evening e were on our stomachs, inching forward painstakingly slowly and quietly. Parker raised a closed fist barely above his head. Drake and I stopped moving instantly, hardly drawing breath. A down turned thumbs up came next; enemies. We were here. I move my head from left to right; nothing was visible from my place at the back, and blood rushing around my head made hearing a difficult task. I could however, smell the slight waft of a wood fire, tendrils of the smoky scent tingling my senses. I crept silently forward, up next to Drake and just behind Parker. We moved so slowly forward that the animals scurrying on the forest floor did not notice us until we were on top of them. Night had well and truly fallen by the time we moved close enough to clearly see the three makeshift cabins, made from roughly cut tree trunks and palm tree roofs. They were effective at blending in with the surrounding environment, but the small camp fire ruined the conceal. The hostiles had become lazy and relaxed, having gone unnoticed for many months. I did not know who they were or what they were planning, and I didn’t care. My task was to take out their headquarters and hold off the rest till Chinooks brought backup, and that was all I cared to know. We would make our move at dawn.

 

Getting comfortable where we lay, the three of us decided we would take turns at staying awake for two hours while the other two slept. I took first picket, much too excited and nervous to sleep. I was fidgety, looking all around me constantly, but gradually I was able to relax a bit. Enough to rest my body without tempting myself with shut eyes. The camp fire flickered invitingly, promising warmth and dry clothes. And a quick death, I reminded myself. Nothing moved, animals long gone, hiding away for the night. I realized with a start that we hadn’t seen a single enemy move around the camp. I strained my hearing, relaxed now, and listened out for snores or heavy breathing. For a whole minute I sat holding my breath, though it felt more like an eternity.

 

Nothing.

 

“Odd,” I thought. We were definitely in the right place, our intel was extremely specific. The area, the coordinates, the buildings, all matched up. Why were they so quiet if they had a clearly visible fire?

 

I glanced at my watch, not risking the lights and strained to make out the time. One o’clock, my shift was over. Parker had next watch, so I stretched out my arm and placed my hand lightly on his shoulder. He startled awake, more nervous than he let on. I quickly drew back, not wanting him to freak. While he came to his senses, I puzzled over the silence. Jacob blinked his beady, sleep deprived eyes and looked over at me. I motioned him to crawl over and quietly jotted down my observation on my notepad. Giving it to him to read, I looked again over at the fire. It was burning much lower now, and had seemed to have moved along in a line towards the buildings. “Trench fire,” I thought. With enough fuel to maintain a steady fire for hours. I heard the pad being placed down next to me with “What do you think we do?” written on it. I had been thinking about that for the better part of the last hour. I noiselessly wrote, “Either wait till dawn and go ahead as planned or check now.” It took Parker to seconds to decide, unknowingly agreeing with me. He lightly tapped Drake’s arm and she opened one eye casually. Seeing us both awake, she rubbed her eyes and moved closer. I handed her the notepad, having crossed out “wait till dawn...” and circled “check now.” I glanced again at my watch; 1.15am. Parker wrote down his plan and I looked over at the fire. It was definitely moving forward. How had I not noticed it before? The pad was placed in front of me and I looked down and read. Simple enough plan, Parker would go around the back of the cabins, Drake the left and I the right. Move within 5 metres of them and listen, report back at 2:30. Plenty of time to get there noiselessly, get notes and come back. I looked up into Sammie and Jacob’s eye and gave a single nod. Without further discussion, we each crawled off in our designated direction with rifles slung on our backs and water in back packs. The heavy packs remained concealed at our original location.

 

I moved slowly, pausing often. Apprehension was getting the better of me. I moved my head to the left to where Parker and Drake had gone. They had disappeared into the low undergrowth, no noise to be heard, no boots to be seen. I turned back around and made my way to the right most cabin. Not wanting to get too close too soon, I stayed well over 100metres out. “I’m just being silly,” I scolded myself, yet I could not get myself any closer. There was something not right about the way the fire was set up. That amount of fuel would have taken days to gather, why waste it all now when there was obviously no one awake? And if there was no one awake, why was there no noise at all? I was deep in thought when a soft snore startled me. I almost sighed with relief that we were in the right place as there were people here, until I realized that the small indication of sleep had come from my right. The buildings were on my left last time I checked. I could not have turned 180°in such a short distance. Connecting the dots, I paused and heard more breathing. I turned away from the cabins and made my way cautiously towards the sound. I had not gone 10 metres when I saw the outline of bodies sitting up against trees. In the heavy silence of the night, I was sure they would hear my heart beating, roaring in my ears. I lay still for a few minutes, and slowly drew my rifle from my back. With it in my hands, I inched forward. Slowly, slowly, a centimetre at a time. When I could make out their clothes I stopped. Brown or green, or possibly black, they wore dark clothing. The colours were solid though. “Not a uniform,” I thought. There were three of them, two sitting up against one tree, the other up against another tree, all asleep. Why were they out here? Had they known we were coming? Did the group see us when we were surprised? Where were the rest of them? Questions buzzed through my head, hardly stopping for long enough for me to focus on a single one. Finally, one question popped into my head and stayed. “What about Sammie and Jacob?” I scarcely had time to fret over them when rifle fire struck my ears. The F-88 shots were clearly audible, along with the splutter of AK-47 rounds. The loud rifle fire was even louder in the previously silent night air, and easily woke up the three I had been watching. I squeezed the trigger and shot the closest one in the head before he had opened his eyes fully and the one next to him while he was sitting up. The final one was scrambling for his weapon beside him and had just lifted it off the ground when my bullet sent him flying back into the tree. In seconds they were all dead, but I was up before then. Running towards the back cabin, I drew the bolt and reloaded. The first shots had come from back there. I came to a halt just metres away from the cabin. Bodies littered the ground, some still coughing and groaning. Three shots put an end to their suffering. Footsteps from my right made me whirl around with my rifle ready. Sammie’s fuzzy hair burst through the bush milliseconds after her steyr. I swung mine away quickly, finger still on the trigger.

“Three of them…outside…cabin…sleeping…” she gasped.

I nodded, body shaking. “Take a breath, Sam. It’s okay, I think they’re all dead. There are six here, and I saw three as well. Mine were sleeping too, but it doesn’t look like Jacob was so lucky,” I stated. Sammie looked up from the mess, puzzled. Drawing a breath, she questioned my last comment.

“Well these guys all have their weapons in their hands and are all facing the cabin. They must have heard Jacob, or were awake and ready.” I shook my head, still in shock at the suddenness of it all.

“Where IS Parker?” Drake asked. I looked up at her.

“I don’t know,” I admitted, “but he’s not here so that means he can’t be dead yet. Let’s go find him.” Drake agreed instantly and we set off away from the cabins. Searching the ground for clues, we moved slowly, trying to stay quiet and hurry as fast as we could. I glanced over at Sammie and noticed she was clutching her left arm just above the elbow.

“What’s wrong?” I questioned, pointing at it. She withdrew her hand to reveal a spreading blood patch and torn shirt and skin.

“It’s just a flesh wound,” she said through clenched teeth, “Jacob’s more important, he could be really hurt.” I looked in admiration at her determined face. Reaching got my small medical kit I kept on me, I replied, “Okay, just let me bandage it up so you don’t die of blood loss or something.” Winding the material around her arm quickly, we were able to set off again in no time, move quietly through the bush in hope of finding Parker.

 

 


© Copyright 2019 KnightOfTheRoundTable. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More War and Military Short Stories