Bombard to destroy the locks. The engine roars

 Bombard”Keep firing,Edwards!” The Captain yells down from the top hatch of the Mark I.The belt-fedmachine gun hisses with every raindrop as the beat red barrel rains leadtowards the Nazi entrenchment. Edwards could not see much out of the small slitwithin his rolling, metal fortress; the glass is chipped from a round thatricocheted for what feels like days ago. The rain, ever increasing, turns thedirt road into a mudslide, while distorting the enemy soldiers into nothingmore than moving shadows.

“C’mon now! Get usmoving, Adams!” the Captain orders the driver.”I can’t get anytraction!” Adams screams.”They’re climbingon top! We’re sitting fucking ducks!” Johnson yells in a panic as he reloadsthe main guns. Banging on the hatches ring through their ears as the Germans tryto destroy the locks. The engine roars as the treads spin on top of the mud. Anever-ending hailstorm deafens the Mach I as the bullets continue to try topenetrate its thick steel. Edward’s machine gun continues to unload on thedancing shadows.

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“Adams! Pigeon!”the Captain calmly ordered through the commotion. Adams grabs the pigeon andthe pigeon letter. The Captain writes on the letter and gently puts it in thepigeon’s ankle pouch. “Are you mad?!You’re going to get us all killed!” Johnson retaliates as the first hatchopens.”Edward! Behindyou!” Johnson yells while raising his firearm. A pistol enters the hatch and firesbefore Edwards could react.

Everything goes silent except for a loud ringingsensation and the flapping of wings. His eyes try to adjust, but eyes cannotadjust to a spinning canvas. “Edward! Grab thepigeon! Edward!” He hears distantly. The cold shell of the Mach I turns warm.Edwards looks down at his bloody hand, staring at the site dreading the truth.He slowly starts to check his inventory, touching every part of his body to seewhere it hurt, but nothing did. He concentrates on the pool of blood next tohim, following the trail to the source.”Don’t do it!”Edward hears from Johnson.

“Grab the Goddamned pigeon, Edward!” the Captain repeated.”Its suicide!You’ll destroy us!” Johnson begs.Edwards stares atthe source of the blood. Adam lays half face up and half face down with abullet wound through his skull. The pigeon and the letter fly toward Edwardlanding on the army green, burlap sack in front of him.

The pigeon cocks itshead to the side confused on what to do next.”It’s the onlychance we got!” the Captain yells at Johnson. “Edwards,” the Captain continuesfirmly, “Grab. The. Pigeon.” Edwards slowlyleans forward and gently grabs the docile bird as he grabs his senses.

“Don’t listen tohim!” Johnson cries, “If you release that pigeon, you’ll kill us!”  “Edwards! Release the pigeon, that is anorder, son!” the Captain commands.”Sir.” Edwardstates as he nods his head. He gingerly carries the pigeon to the pigeon hatchon the side of their tank, and releases it into the outside world.

“You’ve justdoomed us all.” Johnson remorsefully states as he slumps down, but hissorrowfulness is not heard through the drunkenness of the barrage. Thehailstorm continues to blanket the Mach I. The engine thunders on still tryingto force the treads into traction. The banging of the hatchets grows louder andmore numerous. No thoughts can be heard except for a few prayers as a new soundenters the arena: the high-pitched whistle of artillery rounds. Avery Stivale


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