I took the challenge …

Well, I couldn’t let Harvey Black, http://www.harveyblackauthor.com/#/author/4549541074,  get away with writing romance and not have my turn at writing a bit of war.  He can’t have all the fun!

Harvey had taken the challenge up from author Paul Anthony  http://paulanthonys.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/harvey-black-accepts-challenge_20.html to write in another genre and I have to say, he made a pretty good job at it.

Here’s my stab at writing a bit of war.

A Bird’s Eye View by Sue Fortin

One minute he’s walking in front of me, the next there’s the crack of gunfire and the force of the bullet propels Wilko round, his knees buckle and he hits the ground.

‘Man down!’ I yell. ‘Medic!’  I belly crawl over the stony, yellow dust of the Afghan terrain. Wilko is groaning. That’s good. He’s alive. I roll him over, looking for the blood. The top of his arm took the hit. ‘Medic!’ I shout again as I quickly pull the plastic bag containing the sterile dressing from his pocket. ‘Alright, Wilko, let’s stop that bleeding.’ I peel his fingers from his upper arm and push hard with the compress, my fingers turn red from his blood.

‘You’re a regular Florence Nightingale,’ grimaces Wilko in between muttering obscenities directed at the sniper.

‘Aren’t I just.’ I laugh along, although I don’t find the reference funny at all. Even after taking a bullet he still finds time to take the piss.

Chapman, the medic, has managed to get to us by now. ‘I’ve got it now Birdy,’ he says taking over.

I scan the terrain through the sight of my sharp shooter, trying to channel the adrenalin that is coursing through me. I can feel the sweat beading on my forehead. I sweep the gun from left to right across the area. I don’t like it, we’re too close to the crop field on our left. There’s a compound on the other side of the field, about one hundred metres away.  Something catches my eye on top of the building.

‘Sniper on the roof,’ I shout to our Section Commander.  I make another visual sweep of the compound, but this time I don’t see anything.

More crackling of bullets pierce the air. They’re firing short and the dust scuffs up just metres in front of us. I can see muzzle flashes from the trees ahead. They’ve been waiting for us. Picking their moment.  We return fire. The bullets rattle off as Smithy calls in our position.

‘We need to take the sniper out,’ shouts Lance Corporal Carter. ‘We’ll use the Javelin.’

The shoulder mounted rocket launcher was Wilko’s bit of kit. Without thinking I unstrap the weapon from his day pack.

I don’t miss the look that Wilko and Chapman exchange. They don’t think I’m up to it, that much is obvious. I ignore them and look directly at Carter, our Section Commander. After a moment’s pause, he nods. Yes! I’m given the go ahead.

‘Prepare for rapid fire, fifteen seconds,’ he orders, then turning to me. ‘Ready?’

I nod. I hope my face doesn’t betray the fear I’m feeling but nothing is going to get in my way. This is my chance to prove myself. To finally be accepted.  As I load the Javelin, a movement to the left catches my eye. The crops sway in the breeze. Just my imagination. I turn away back to the task in hand and in a heartbeat I realise my oversight.  Apart from that small section, none of the other crops are moving. There’s no breeze. I drop the Javelin and grab my rifle. Rolling over in the dirt I aim at the field and fire at the exact moment an insurgent erupts from the crops. He didn’t stand a chance. He’s dead before he even hits the ground.

More firing into the crops by the rest of the lads. Everyone is unnerved by this suicidal attack.  Another flurry of fire from the compound and I’m back with the Javelin. The rapid fire clears the way for the rocket launch. I send it on its way.

A direct hit. A small rasp of ‘yes’ sounds out from a few of the lads. Job done.

The smoke screens we let off cover us so we can regroup. It seems the enemy have retreated – for now anyway. Two Section have won their battle today. But what of my personal battle for acceptance and validation?

As we prepare to move out, the lads one by one, pass me and pat me on the back, offering words  like ‘Nice work’ and ‘Well done, Birdy.’

With his good arm, Wilko gives me a gentle punch on the shoulder. ‘Good shot, Birdy. Not bad for a girl.’

I have my validation. I’m accepted.


20 thoughts on “I took the challenge …

  1. Amazing! Sue–this is your calling! I am totally hooked. Loved the tension, the observation, the atmosphere. Loved the way you introduce Bridy as a woman right at the end (but then there was the Flo allusion at the beginngin, pure genius!). Stunning–you should be really proud of yourself!!! XX Please can you finish the story?

    • Ah, thanks Jan. Not sure I could write a whole novel – I spent ages watching British Armed Forces on YouTube to research that short piece.
      Sue x

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