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Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 71, Part 4

"Battle positions!" a gruff Welsh sergeant called out.

Aubrey Dansworth set himself lying half in and half out of his trench, pointing his AS gun forward. He looked next to himself at the Irish veteran who had taken a shine to him. He tried to imitate the Irishman's experienced stance as best as he could.

"Bit different from driving a tank or racing lice, eh, Dansworth?" the veteran asked laughing.

"It is," Aubrey said, starting to sweat a little.

It was his first time in a regular ground battle. The Easterners were somewhere just outside of eyesight. It was very disturbing, and Aubrey could feel his nerves beginning to fray. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, Easterners came charging at the British defenses.

"Ambush!" the sergeant yelled.

Dansworth opened fire. The ground stank of mud, guts, and decay. The sky was filling with acrid fumes. It was a far cry from his glory days now long behind him with Richard Arrington.

The Welsh sergeant shook suddenly as though struck by palsied convulsions. He tumbled backwards into the trench as a mess of mangled and intertwined limbs.

"Bloody hell!" Aubrey exclaimed.

"We can't hold on for much longer. Move to one of the further trenches," the Irish veteran said.

Dansworth and the veteran risked their lives by showing their backs to the enemy to leap into an auxiliary trench. The Easterners were like voracious maggots swarming over a carcass. The bold English lines couldn't hold. Aubrey felt like he was trying to hang onto a tree branch but gravity was prying his fingers away from it. He kept falling further and further back.

"We can't go on like this," he said finally to the Irishman.

"What do you suggest we do?" the veteran, who had received a serious head wound, asked.

Perhaps he was foolhardy, or perhaps he was very courageous, but whatever the case was, Aubrey Dansworth leapt out of the trench and charged forward, firing his AS gun repeatedly. His comrades began swarming all around him, bolstering his spirits.

“Come on!” Dansworth yelled, “We can beat them back!”

The Britons were cheering and firing. Grenades flung from the fists of those who had them. The Eastern Army ground to a halt.

"Don't let up!" Dansworth yelled.

Instantly a single shell grazed his side. As though they had caught the scent of blood, a dozen more shells ripped through the Briton. He tried to take a step forward, but realized most of his leg was gone. He stared forward, then his eyes crossed of their own accord and he fell to his knees. He felt his side and drew his fingers painstakingly back up to his face to look at them.

“Blood,” he said weakly, his strength draining out with the vital red goo, “I’m bleeding. Medic!”

He yelled out the last as loud as he could with his last ounce of strength, then collapsed dead. Soon afterwards the Eastern invaders evacuated the island nation.

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