Evans dived to the side of the road and tried to track the tracer bullets back to the machine gun. He noticed something out of the corner of his eye. Lieutenant Stoddart was standing, frozen in fear, in the middle of the road. Without thinking, he dropped his shotgun and sprinted for the Lieutenant, watching the tracers slowly work there way towards the Lieutenant.
With a dive tackle, he knocked the Lieutenant behind an overturned cart. Evans patted down the Lieutenant and looked for wounds, “You’re OK sir.”
Sergeant Giardot ran up to the two of them behind the cart and ducked down, “Lieutenant, what are your orders? We’ve got wounded and we are pinned down.”
“Um… I…” Lieutenant Stoddart started to cry.
“Well Shit,” Sergeant Giardot poked her head up and looked around. She ducked back down and looked at Evans, “Evans, find Corporal Blake. If she’s dead or wounded, take her rifle and take out the machine guns. If she isn’t, ask her why the fuck she isn’t doing that already.”
“Yes Sergeant,” Evans looked around and tried to remember where Corporals Calepino and Blake had been. Usually they were in the back of the platoon right? He saw what looked like the Charles Rifle near a destroyed car. He took a deep breath in. As he exhaled he sprinted back to his shotgun and dived to the ground. Privates Delage and Hawke were hiding behind a pile of rubble nearby. He crawled closer to them and yelled towards them, “HEY! GUYS! I NEED RAPID FIRE COVER!”
The two nodded and poked their rifles out from cover and started firing. Evans waited for the gunfire to be attracted to what seemed to be a machine gun opening up. He then sprinted low towards the destroyed car.
He stumbled over himself on the way there. A sharp pain shot through his leg. He managed to make a recovery and limped behind the destroyed car. Calepino and Blake were hiding behind the car as he had expected.
“Corporal Blake, Sergeant Giardot wants you to take out those Machine Guns,” Evans patted down his leg, there was gash through his pants, and little blood. Just a skim.
Corporal Blake called back to him, “I need a distraction. Marksman has us pinned down.”
Evans nodded as the bullets pinged around him. He looked across the street at a pile of rubble. He gestured for Corporal Blake to get in position. He took a deep breath in. As he exhaled he sprinted across to the pile of rubble. He heard the crack of the Corporal’s rifle. He dived for the rubble. A brick hit his chest. Rolling over, he managed to see Corporal Blake fire off two more shots in quick succession. The machine guns fell silent.
“FUCK YEAH! I AM A MOTHERFUCKING BEAST!” Corporal Blake slowly walked over to Evans, ignoring the waning rifle fire. She knelt down and offered a hand, “Nice doing business with you Jim.”
He accepted her hand, got back on his feet, and dusted off his uniform, “Thanks Corporal. Glad to be done with that pitter patter.” Evans looked around at the scattered platoon. Only three soldiers seemed to be badly injured. Privates Penney, Ullman, and Maczek.
Lieutenant Stoddart had pulled himself together and started giving orders, “Sergeants Giardot, Campbell, and Parker, set up a defensive perimeter. Calepino and Turner, hold here, and run to any fire. Blake, go scout out the surrounding area. Sergeant Gabriel, deal with the casualties. Private Clark, run down to Captain Simmons and report our situation.” He nodded, pulled out his map and compass, and started marking down where the fire had come from.
Evans ran towards Sergeant Campbell, who was organizing the team. Corporal Hardin looked at Evans, “Shit Evans, are you do the Vledscan’s just really like you? Like did they have a meeting agreeing not to shoot you.”
“Really, Corp? We only got three bad, and they’re green.”
Hardin patted him on the back, “We weren’t the ones running around. We were all hiding…” Hardin gestured to Morgan and Evans, “Help me move this cart,” The three started pushing the cart into the middle of the road, “And if we include your whole show at White Beach.” The team took up positions behind the cart, “You ran into the middle of No Man’s Land during an attack, survived untouched, were hit by an artillery shell, and were perfectly fine. I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.”
“Ah…” Evans pointed to the little red stain on his pant leg, “I did get hit. Right there.”
Sergeant Campbell looked at the two, “Knock it off, keep your eyes on the line.” Sergeant Campbell drummed his fingers and pointed at a nearby door, “I’m a bit nervous about that building. Evans and Hoste, clear it and take a position on the third floor window.”
Evans nodded and moved to the door with Hoste. He raised his shotgun and waved to Hoste. Hoste kicked turned the handle and threw open the door. Evans ran in and swept the shotgun around the room. Nothing.
They cleared the bottom floor. Nothing. Same with second floor. The two reached a locked door on the third floor. Evans kicked the door. It didn’t budge. He raised the shotgun to his shoulder and fired two shots into the lock. He kicked again.
The door flung open.
He saw a man. Evans brought the barrel around, almost fired when he froze, “Shit. Hoste. Run down and get Sergeant Campbell. Tell him we have civilians.”
Evans looked around the room. A man, a woman, and two little girls. He put his shotgun on the ground and knelt next to the two girls. Reaching into his webbing, Evans pulled out a chocolate bar and offered it to the girls, “Shokolad?”
The girls grabbed the chocolate. The older looked up, “Spasibo. Spasibo.” Evans then offered cigarettes to who he presumed were the parents, they declined.
Lieutenant Stoddart came upstairs with Private Ustinov. The Lieutenant waved Evans out of the room. Evans picked up his shotgun and looked around the remaining rooms. He went to the room that Sergeant Campbell had pointed out and went to the window. He looked around the street and sat down on a chair in the room. Private Hoste entered the room, knelt by the window, and aimed his rifle. Evans shrugged and knelt next to Hoste.
“So how long do we wait Evans?” Hoste fiddled with his rifle sights to dial in on the end of the road.
“Until either some guy tries to kill us or the Lieutenant yells at Sergeant Cambell to yell at Hardin to yell at us to leave,” Evans pulled a cigarette out of his breast pocket and lit it, “You know, I really don’t have much more experience than you. Also, it just feels weird giving advice to someone older than me.”
“Really? How old are you? I would of thought of you as like… late twenties. You were making me feel better because I thought you were the oldest Private in the company instead of me.”
Evans laughed, “I’m nineteen. Is there a reason why you thought I’m so old?”
Hoste shrugged, “You look kind of haggard, and you always talk about your wife and how she’s pregnant or something.”
“Well as I said, I’m nineteen, and so is Anna. And our kid is about seven months from being born,” Evans put the cigarette pack back in his pocket and then removed the envelope with the pictures Anna gave him. He pulled out the first picture and handed it to Hoste, “She gave me this picture before we left for Urbs.”
“Wow, real looker there. Did she take the picture herself?” Hoste handed it back to Evans.
“No, she had this one done at some shop,” Evans slid the picture back into the envelope, “She got her own camera took one on her own, but it’s not nearly as good looking… Though I do think she’s more good looking in that pict-”
Gunfire opened to the west. A few seconds later Evans heard more fire from the North. Evans could hear Sergeant Campbell cursing. The Sergeant looked up at Hoste and Evans in the window, “GET THE LIEUTENANT DOWN HERE!”
Evans was about to run when Hoste yelled down at the platoon, “CONTACT BY THE WEST ROAD! ENEMY INFANTRY AND ARMORED TRUCK.”
The platoon opened fire.