Whispers

They were silent for about an hour. Listening to orders shouted as the sun came up. Both sides were doing their ‘Stand To.’ A few machine gun bursts were fired off, and a few shells were dropped. But, even with that, it was about as quiet as Evans had ever heard on the front. It was actually a pretty nice day. The sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky. Weather was plenty warm.

Captain Ricci eventually broke their silence by whispering, “So what do we do Sergeant?

“Wait Ma’am. Isn’t nothing else we can do.”

The two waited a while more before Evans whispered, “So what was the actual mission Ma’am?”

“Well part of it is true. I was supposed to be getting pictures of the new artillery shells in action. But I was also supposed to try and pick some intelligence off their officers. Luckily, the first man you killed was an officer, and his papers were relatively intact. That’s why I had you flip him over.”

“What do they say?”

“I don’t know. That’s not my job. I checked for the official seal and date and then hid it.”

“Can we read it?”

“No, it’s above even my clearance.”

“Really? It’s probably just a daily update or something.”

“All updates have to go directly to my superiors, who pass it up the chain. It’s read once it gets to the top… How do you know if I can even read it?”

“Because that would have been the easiest way to deny it. You could have just said-”

There was a loud fwoosh noise. Shit. Evans pulled out his pocket periscope, dirtied up one mirror and poked it over the top and scanned the horizon. A jet of flame burst out from the Vledscan Trench and swept over a few shell holes.

He whispered to Ricci, his voice as quiet as possible, “Flamethrower. They’re trying to flush us out, or burn us alive.”

“Fuck. Pattern?”

After three more bursts, he got a pattern, “Ten second burst. Ten second pause. Sweeps about twenty meters with each burst. They’ll reach us in about two minutes if the pattern doesn’t change.”

“Alright. We have to do this fast. Take off your webbing, helmet, and scarf,” Evans followed her orders. Captain Ricci pulled the letter out of her boot, ripped it open, read it a few times and stuffed it back. She dropped her bandolier, haversack, helmet, and scarf, “How close is it now?”

“One Burst, two at most,” Panic started to rise in Evans’s voice. He didn’t want to die. And not of this. He had been lucky to avoid flamethrowers in comb-

Captain Ricci whispered, “Deep Breath” and pulled him underwater.

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