The Crimson Sun

By
A silent buzz rang through the ears of the weary soldier, perched upon a blackened tree. The sound is familiar yet unknown. A different thought drifted into the minds of each individual, a distant car, an annoying mosquito, a rhythmic hum. But the truth is known. The drill which each had practiced thousands of times through is flawlessly performed. They hit the ground and covered their heads in reflex. In an instant dirt flew across their squad, shaking their very soul. They shook the loose gravel off and proceed without a glance, having moved onto the next dugout in their sights.

They were debriefed the week prior, a tricky scouting mission across the western plains with little to no cover. Tricky was an understatement, an image of a heavily barricaded road quickly passed. Ten versus a hundred was as easy as they were going to get it.

As their breathless lungs opened to the crisp air, darkness covered the shady valley, sending a veil of blackness throughout. Mud filled the soles of their worn boots, sending chills up their ashen calves. Another buzz rang out, instantly drowned out by a repetitious drumming. And the drill was repeated, partially. Blinding light filled their eyes, a morbid moan within their ears. The moaning stopped without warning, the next burrow sighted.

They had reached their mission with flawless precision, effortless work for the veterans of the past. Their goal had been to map the surrounding area, a simple task for the professional. The men’s final position was atop a ghastly hill, a single house mounting the darkness, ten kilometers from their current position. From this point they would rendezvous, signaled by the single flare they held.
As they sped out of the previous hole, rain struck their faces, a painful reminder of their venture. They raced across the swaying grass, a miniscule wave within the endless tide. They approached a dense tree, propped against another upon a gradual slope. A dead look crossed each face, a vulgar curse uttered against the howling wind. Each scattered as the realization hit them. And the drill was failed miserably. One of the soldiers, a short, white man of twenty, scanned the crater, having picked himself up immediately. As he scooped up a thin, orange stick, he broke out in a desperate sprint, heading up the steepening grade. As they reached the broken house, the white man of twenty broke the orange stick, light spewing into the dark surroundings. Another sound jumped into the ears of the soldiers, this time a beating flutter increasing in volume. A single crimson light cut through the grey sky, their savior only a few minutes away. The beating increased until a deafening roar could be heard, passing directly over their heads. Their drill would never be repeated again.
As the men let out a joyous cheer, darkness engulfed their outpost, casting a thick blackness upon them. The beating passed, silenced by a new drumming upon the roof. Within a minute the angelic beating ceased. Another buzz rang through their ears. Their drill would never be repeated again.





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