Thirty minutes had gone by and the sounds of battle had slowly faded. The only sounds to be heard were that of wounded soldiers. I pressed my fingers hard against a soldier's neck that had been struck by a shard of shrapnel. Blood flowed between by fingers, running down into the inside of my palm and then dripping onto the white snow. I felt completely un-phased by the sight of wounded or dead soldiers that lay around the battle field. I felt almost as if I were programmed to be immune to such sights.
The soldier began shaking violently and coughing, spitting up blood onto his face. His eyes fixed on mine. I could see the terror in his eyes. I reached down and took his hand. The patter of boots on snow came hurriedly towards me, it was the medic. But he was too late. The soldier squeezed my hand hard with his last ounce of strength then went limp, the light in his eyes fading away. I stood, grabbed my gun and walked back to the rest of the squad.
Tillman, Marcus and the remaining soldiers where all sitting low in the trench line.
"They fell back inside the facility" Tillman said with a sigh. "We need to get through that fence line and it looks like there is a clear entrance through the front over there. Demo charge on the wall perhaps"
Marcus sat with his back against the inside dirt wall of the trench, his head down. He sat quiet for awhile then slowly raised his head. "Sounds like a good plan Tillman, sounds like a good plan" He let out a deep sigh and wiped his face on his jacket sleeve. "How many strong are we?"
"Twenty-Three" Tillman said while looking slowly around the battlefield at the bodies that lay scattered. "Careful approach up to the front. A couple at a time. A few in the trench till we all cross to lay cover if needed. I expect heavy fortifications within" Tillman said and then stopped looking over at Marcus. "Mate, you ok?"
Marcus sat with his hand just in front of his face, it trembling gently before his eyes. He clenched his hand closed and put it inside his pocket. He gave Tillman a small nod and stood and walked away to brief the soldiers.
They kept low as they made their way to the fence line. Wire cutters in hand. Slowly and quietly one soldier worked away at the fence wire, the other on sharp watch. We all watched from the trench keeping an eye out for any enemy movement. Fortunately there was none. In groups of two we made it across and inside the fence line, last was Marcus making his way over alone. First part of the infiltration was complete.
"You two" Marcus said, pointing at two soldiers. "Demo charge on that wall, set and get back. Go"
This was risky; it gave our point of entrance away to the enemy lurking inside. The soldiers scurried quickly over and back, the charge set. We all crouched low.
The sound of the demo charge echoed violently through the still air. The wall blew apart sending thick concrete skywards. We all aimed down towards the hole in the wall, waiting for the dust to clear.
Inside was dark, quiet, and eerie with a dry smell in the air. So far no enemy soldiers to seen. The hallway looked to be lined with a few doors on each side and at the end opened out into a main room that was completely lit. Half way down the hallway it split into joining hallways going down to the left and right. A small red alarm light on the roof, silent but twirling around was the only light in the otherwise dark hallway. It kept everyone alert. The light silhouetting our shadows onto the walls. Infiltration so far a success.
We slowly edged forward towards the lit room. All was quiet. What looked to be a shadow appeared from around the left hallway arm half way down. The shadowy figure of a hand was all that could be made out in the poor lighting as the gentle sound of small tin rattled up the hallway towards us, one, and then another.
"Everyone down!" Tillman barked. The sound was like that of an aerosol can. The smoke filled the air quickly. Soldiers could be heard coughing. Some falling to the floor.
The room was suddenly lit with a hail of bullets. Soldiers falling all around us. Blood spilling out under my boots and spraying onto the walls. It was like slaughter.
Tillman kicked in a side door, we all threw ourselves into the small room, it looked to be a weapons store. Mostly empty except for a few hand guns and small amounts of ammo. We all took what we needed. Twenty three now down to no more than ten.
"Fuck, fuck!" Tillman yelled. "I should of fucking known we'd be walking into that kind of shit"
Without thinking I walked over to Tillman and punched him in the face. His nose trickled with blood.
He stared at me in bewilderment then said "The fuck is your problem!" and pushed me. I stumbled back a few steps, gathered myself and stood staring at him.
"Willow, what's gotten into you?"
I felt different. But I didn't know in what way. I was still staring at him. Then said "I...I don't know. I...have been feeling different since we got closer to this place. I just, I don't know"
For a moment we weren't even in the room. Our eyes fixed one each others. Reality struck back as the sounds of a man on the floor beside us calling out.
"Tillman.....Tillman!!" It was Marcus. He'd been hit.
"You two close that door, barricade it. We need as much time as possible" Tillman said as he got down beside Marcus ripping his jacket open revealing three bullet holes in him.
Two low, one high in the chest. "Willow give me a hand with this, put pressure on it" Tillman ordered as he gave Marcus a shot or morphine. I knew there was nothing we could do. It was only minutes and Marcus slowly drifted from us. We were now down to nine.
Tillman sat back against the wall. Blood on his hand. He looked at me as if searching for guidance. A look I had never expected from him. I smiled at him.
Stood and walked to the arms rack tacking two handguns, loading them and sliding them into the back of my pants. Swung my rifle down in front of me, checked it and chambered a round. Tillman sat staring at me. I walked to the
barricaded door and slid a knife from one of the soldiers side pocket sleeves and put it into mine.
"Move" is all I said. They looked at me, then at Tillman and then slowly removed the objects barricading the door.
"What are you doing Willow" Tillman said. But he was too late. I open the door and stepped out into the hallway.
I heard Tillman call out to me, but that was soon drowned out by the hail of bullets that were surrounding me. I walked down the hallway completely calm. It was like a state of equilibrium. I drew my rifle around ready. An enemy soldier poked his head out of the hallway and in a quick move I unloaded a round into his forehead, a spurt of blood going against the wall as he fell.
The room was alight with bullets. One after another I unloaded my rifle cartridge, dropped my rifle, pulling the two hand guns from my back. In quick succession unloaded the clips into soldiers. Bodies lay littered in the hallway. Soldiers heaped over on each other. Gentle stream of blood pooling against the wall.
Then my brain clicked. I let out a deep breath. I realised then that for the last minute or two I had stopped breathing. I looked around. Dead soldiers all around me.
"What....what the hell" I said. I felt light headed. I stumbled towards the end room. I stumbled against the wall and then collapsed just inside it.
"Willow, bloody hell" Tillman said as he crouched beside my limp body. The gentle echo of footsteps soon approached.
Tillman looked up. It was Sergei.
"Sergei, what the hell is going on? Where the fuck did you go!" Tillman said with a slight anger.
Sergei walked over to Tillman who was now standing. "You did better than I thought, Willow" he said with a smile. "Oh and by the way Tillman, the names Gary Sills" And with a direct hit to the temple, Tillman fell to the floor unconscious.