The Rose

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The Rose (Inspired by Kimberly)
Publisher & Category:
Twilight Times

EXCERPT: “Are you crazy? Or maybe you saw too many love movies before you left home?”

“Well, is it him?”

“Damn, Eric,” Private Christopher James McBride said as he sank to his knees in the snow and lowered his automatic assault rifle. The body was propped up to one side of the tree but he saw enough.

“Pick your weapon up!” Private First Class Eric Saint James snapped as he kneeled under the snow heavy branches of the evergreen tree with his machine gun. “Get out of the open!”

Chris quickly moved beside Eric and glanced around the dark snowy forest.

“I can’t tell,” Chris said. “He ain’t got no head.”

Eric glanced at him, then at the barely visible figure sitting beside the tall thick tree with bare branches.

“Shit. Headhunters around here.” He keyed his microphone and said, “Sergeant, I think we found Doug. His head’s gone.” He listened and nodded. “Right,” then to Chris, “cover. They’re going to get him.”

Chris, almost 19 years old, was of medium height with short black hair and dark eyes with tired circles under them within a lean dirty face. After three months with the mechanized infantry unit he lost weight, toughened up and was as acclimated as possible to the wintry surface. And he was tired.

They heard the swift crunch of snow and a pair of green and snow white camouflaged soldiers rushed across the open between the trees to the body. The soldiers dragged the bloody, headless body to the makeshift road that wound through the forest from the nearby Pelican Mountains, and the front, barely 20 miles away. A dark object slipped from the frozen grasp of the dead soldier. Chris pointed and Eric shook his head.

“Come on,” Eric hissed. They took a final look around then left their shelter. Eric was a year older than Chris, stood a thin six feet tall and had blonde hair streaked with gray. His wary, watchful blue eyes, almost intensely suspicious of everything, sometimes held a glint of sharp humor in them. Now there were dark circles of exhaustion under them.

Chris grabbed a hologram recorder, a camera size device that soldiers used to send messages home, from the torn up snow…

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