A Smokey Day
The Germans no longer covered the burning hills around them. The only shooting Martin heard was far away. There were still plenty of screams, though, plenty of moans and breathless prayers. The Germans had not bothered to come down and check on their handiwork, and were too occupied to miss a couple hundred Allied soldiers, a quarter of whom, judging by the noises and the movement, were still alive.
One man, not even five feet from Martin, had suffered the misfortune of having part of his brains blown away. The man lay with arms outstretched and eyes staring blankly at the clouds. His jaw was slack. His breath came in ragged gasps; each exhalation was accompanied by bloody froth foaming from the mouth. Strings of brain matter hung loosely from a deep crease in the top of the soldier's head. The face was vaguely familiar. Martin felt he might have recognized it when it if it was better lit by reason.
Martin tried to stand. He crumpled immediately, swearing foul things by the Lord's name while at the same time praying for relief. His leg had an awkward feel to it; it was like holding the limb of some dead animal and watching it swing to and fro lifelessly. He feared that the bone was shattered.
He slowly realized that he was one of the fortunate ones. Most of his companions had been hit at least twice by the lethal M60's the German wielded, some several times. Martin was blessed in that he only took one bullet.
Astonished to hear a human voice form actual words, Martin Anderson turned toward its source. Billy Parkins was crawling slowly toward him. Parkins had lived on a farm half-a-mile from Martin's own. He seemed distressed and Martin followed the...