"Someone fuckin' help us!?" he yelled, coming through the front entrance door carrying a wounded man on his back. He falls to the ground exhausted, blood covering his clothes and face.
"Get him up on the table, now!" orders Tillman "Get this man cleaned up. I want to know what in the hell went on out there!"
I stand back watching unsure of what to do and to afraid to move. People gather around the table with bandages and tools at the ready. The man cries out as the pain runs through his body. "Shut him up" one of them says "He'll give away our position like that"
I walk over a bit closer to try and get a better look, blood was covering him, running down onto the table and dripping onto the wooden floor below. "Willow, put pressure on this now!" Tillman barked at me and in an instant my hands were pressed firmly on his chest with blood pushing up between my fingers.
I stood there with his blood covering my hands and looking into his eyes. The lights slowly fading from them as the medics took bullets from his lower stomach and leg. He started coughing and struggling for breath. "Give him a shot of morphine" Tillman said quietly to the medic.
"But what about..."
Tillman looked at the medic and then tilted his head slightly too where my hands were on his chest. The medic realising there was nothing they could do with their limited tools took the morphine syringe and jabbed it into the man's leg. I kept my eyes fixed on his and gave him a small smile to let him know everything would now be fine as his eyes gently closed and he faded away.
"Go check that man for any injuries, I'll be over shortly"
Tillman said to the medic while putting his hand onto mine and slowly taking them from the man's chest.
"Are you ok, Willow?" Tillman said quietly while passing me a small cloth to clean my hands.
I nodded and swallowed hard. I cleaned my hands and walked back to the fire, sitting down on the crate and warming myself. I look back over towards the table as two men were taking his body away, to bury him, I hope.
The air in the room felt thick with death, but as I look around at the others I can't help but feel that I am the only one that seems to be a little affected. They all seem to of just accepted that what has happened has and have moved on, perhaps I to should do the same.
"So what happened out there?" Tillman softly asked as he sat down across from the man. He sat and waited while the man cleaned the last of the blood off his face and hands.
"Ambush" he replied. "We were out on nightly reconnaissance, just inside the Bardines forest. We were scheduled to meet up with a small group of resistance fighters from North section around 0100 hours at the cottage where Gilbert is currently garrisoned. We weren't far from the cottage when shots rang out.
We rushed to the cottage but we were too late. The four from North section were dead and they damn well made sure of it. Each had a bullet between the eyes to accompany the other dozen rounds they had taken to the chest. They knew when and what time we were to meet them. They knew we were coming the bastards!" he says as he punches the floor.
I looked at Tillman, clearly alarmed at what he was being told. His hand clenched into a tight fist.
"They knew!" he said as he stood up and began pacing back and forth. "How is this possible? And what of Gilbert?
"Gilbert wasn't there. We feel he may have been...taken. But that's not everything. On our way back we came under sniper fire. That's how Gene got hit" he let out a sigh. "It's like they knew our exact plans and the route we would take".
"For fucks sake" Tillman said under his breath. He paced back and forth some more then stopped and turned to the man, looking him straight in the eyes for a minute or two, and then walked to the table of maps. He stood for awhile as he ran his finger over the previous night's recon route.
The feel of death had left the room and was now replaced with thick tension. I stood and walked over to Tillman placing my hand on his shoulder. It was like he was in a trance and didn't even notice me. He stood fixated on the maps that lay in front of him.
The sound of combat boots against the hardwood floor echoed around the silent room as Sergei approached the table. He looked at me with a smile and winked. I was instantly filled with burning anger and had to hold back from punching him.
"What are our plans Tillman?" Sergei asked.
Tillman put his hand onto mine which was still on his shoulder and turned to me, our hands now coupled together between us. They felt rough and dry, but safe.
"Will you join us, Willow? Join our resistance" Tillman asked while slowly running his thumb back and forth on my hand. My stomach felt light.
I stood looking at him, feeling unable to form any words let alone a sentence. I nodded in agreement.
He then turned to Sergei, our hands still coupled together.
"We will approach from this sector here" he said pointing to a part of the map and then marking it with an X. "Then we'll sweep through to here" placing another X and joining them with a line. "Put out a message to North Section immediately telling them that we require their full assistance. We are making a move on the facility" He turned to the room of people and called out
"Everyone able, gear up. Were making our push. Tonight"