John W Partington
suspend disbelief - have an adventure

Forever Infantry

A hail of machinegun bullets slashed across the top of the wall. Corporal Blake Slate felt a shower of stone chips rain down on his head. He glanced to the right; the wall tapered down drastically to waist height. Blake turned his head in the other direction. His platoon commander was signaling for his attention.

“What?” Blake mouthed. The Captain made a walking motion with his fingers, and then pointed to the building across the courtyard at the end of the wall. Next, the officer made a sweeping motion with his hand. Blake looked at the other half dozen men crouched with their backs to the wall, and then he made a rude face.

He immediately turned his back on the Captain, and then walked to the end of the wall. He crouched over and scuttled the remaining distance until he was at the very edge of the wall. He waited.

“Covering!” was heard above the din of battle, and then the sound of intense gun fire from Blake’s platoon. He ran as fast as he could across the fifteen feet of open space between him and the relative safety of the building. A spray of bullets knocked out bricks just as Blake passed the corner. He slammed himself into the wall to catch his breath. He was standing beside a burned-out door frame.

Blake removed one of the hand grenades from his load-bearing vest, pulled the ring, and then tossed it through the doorframe. He counted to three. There was an ear shattering blast, and dust blew out the door. Blake rolled into the room, and came up in a crouch with his rifle, trying to cover the two other doorways in the room. One was directly in front of him, one was to his left. In the centre of the room was a decimated couch, which had been ripped to shreds by the grenade.

Blake wasn’t particularly good at house clearing. He wasn’t particularly good at soldiering as a matter of fact, but he was extremely lucky. He often felt that the Captain had it out for him, as did the platoon sergeant. The other corporals were knobs, and the privates were slobs. All that aside, he was the platoon’s good luck charm. As long as Blake was there nobody would get hurt, because every single bullet would have his name on it.

There hadn’t been a single fire fight where Blake hadn’t been hit, but on those occasions nobody else was. None of the wounds was enough to get a ticket home. The worst case had bought him three weeks in the infirmary as the muscles repaired themselves. Normally that would only have bought two weeks, but an infection had set in. Never had an organ been pierced or a bone broken. He had only received flesh wounds, but they hurt. Still, he was considered lucky by anyone that cared to voice an opinion.

What happens next:

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