Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: HOME (02/07/19)
- TITLE: Already
By M. R. Davenport
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The platoon already knew where he was going. They were being shipped back stateside. Cheers went up. Everyone got to their feet. Arms flailed and they screamed. “Home! We’re going home!”
Valero sat back onto his gear. He thought for a moment about what that meant. “Mamma’s biscuits and gravy!”
“Susan Hayward!” The corporal said.
“San Diego sunshine. And real cheeseburgers!” Came the next.
It went on for 10 minutes. Valero fought the urge to cry. That wasn’t okay, he thought. But under his breath, he said a name. “Jesus. Thank you...”
Two hours later, thick into a mission with no air support or ground cover, 4th Platoon found themselves in the worst fire-fight they’d ever experienced. The Nazis had new weapons that they were using on them. “Sarge, how in the world did we get this exposed? It’s like they knew we were coming.” Lieutenant Casey yelled over the noise of the automatic fire.
“No idea, sir.” He pointed ahead of them. “I can see the bridge.”
Casey adjusted his position to see where the sergeant was pointing. “Yep, that’s it.” He looked about them. “We’d have to go a long way to get around these guys.” He looked back at the troops that were partially pinned down. Then back at the sergeant.
“I know what you’re thinking, sir. How many do we need?”
“Two. And only the best.” Casey replied.
“Tank and Val. They know TNT as well. Stay here, sir. I’ll be right back.” The sergeant slid down the embankment behind them and returned a few minutes later with two soldiers. PFC Gabe Valero and Corporal Kensi “Tank” Teems. They slipped in under the brush to where the lieutenant was.
“What’s the plan, sir?” Teems asked.
“Toughest assignment you two ever had. The only way to get to this bridge in the time frame we need is to come in from the flanks. But you’re gonna have to approach from a few miles out.”
“No problem, sir. We got it.” Valero said.
“Yeah, it will be.” He had to keep changing his volume as the guns fired and then stopped. And then began to fire again. “You both know what you’re doing with the TNT. Take an equal amount.” He looked at Tank. “You go up and come back from the north.” He looked at Valero. “You from the south.” He breathed deep. “We’ll keep our barrage up so they think we’re all that’s going on. But those boys are gonna be watching close for a move just like this.”
The both understood what to do and why they would come from opposite sides. And why they would be alone. The two soldiers, patriots to the marrow, nodded and slid back down the hill behind them. They took light gear and the necessary explosives. They shook hands as they parted company in opposite directions.
The 4th Platoon arrived back in camp well after dark. It had been a long, glorious day. A new route for the German Army to elude the ingress from the north was gone. The soldiers, one by one, found a bunk or a cot to lay down. The next morning, they showered and prepared to say goodbye to Europe and the war to end all wars.
They had fought together and become a unit. They boarded the ship in the same fashion. As they did so, the lieutenant with the manifest checked off names. “Okay, one thing.” He said as they all found a place to sit. “I can’t find Valero, PFC.”
Lieutenant Casey stood up. He looked back at the rest of them. “He’s already home.”
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