Retreat

“FALL BACK TO THE SECOND LINE!” Major Kestel shouted to the remains of Fox Company.

Evans heard a short gasp to his right. He turned and saw Howe crumple to the ground. Evans knelt down next to her and pulled her head towards him. She blinked. Good. No time to find the wound. Dropping his rifle, Evans picked up Howe and put her over his shoulders. She said something softly into his ear which he couldn’t hear, on account of the gunfire and artillery. He felt something hot and sticky dripping down his neck. It pulsed. Blood. Not a huge amount, but she would die if she didn’t get to a dressing station soon. Evans hated himself for having this knowledge. Fuck. A few years before, he had been a simple farmer. And now he was a fucking expert on death. He hadn’t even written a letter to his his family in over a month. What was he supposed to say?

He tried to get to a dressing station, but they seemed to be in a general retreat. Fuck. Running out of time. Evans knelt down and laid Howe onto an empty firestep and looked her over. Blood seemed to be centered on her abdomen. OK. Evans unbuttoned her jacket. Her shirt was stained red. Peeling up her shirt slowly, Evans got a better look at the wound. He pulled out his field dressing kit. Huh, small bottle of alcohol. Evans looked at the label. He poured a little bit into Howe’s mouth then poured the rest onto her wound.

Howe screamed quite loudly.

Evans reached his hand over her mouth and muffled her scream.

Reaching into his kit, Evans pulled out a long bandage and started to apply it to the wound.

She mouthed the word “Thanks.”

“No worries kid. I’ll get you out of here.” Evans finished bandaging her up and slowly buttoned up her jacket. Alright. Now to get her out of here. Putting her back over his shoulders, Evans attempted to make his way back up the line. He reached the third line where the Ethslin infantry was holding.

Shouting, an officer said, “WHO ARE YOU WITH?”

“202nd!”

“WE’RE THE 107TH! FIRST TWO LINES HAVE FALLEN, AND WE’RE GONNA FALL SOON FALL BACK TO THE RALLY POINT AT THE FIFTH LINE!”

Evans nodded, shifted Howe to a more comfortable position and kept running back. Fuck. Third line about to fall. How many others from the 202nd had survived? I mean, he was on the tail end of the retreat, and he hadn’t seen any enemy troops to the Second Line yet, so… With any luck, limited casualties.

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