This weeks prompts are at the bottom. The short story below is just me practicing. Practice makes perfect.
The moon was a new moon so the night was dark as we moved quietly up country. We needed to move quickly because we had fifteen clicks to cover before sunup or the mission would be lost before we even got started. There were three of us, Beth, Manny, and myself. Beth was officially a clerk. She wasn’t even supposed to be here but regulations could bend when someone was as good as she. She wore her self- made ghillies and carried her piece. She was ‘old school’ when it came to firepower. She used a bolt action Savage 10FP, and only a bolt action Savage 10FP. She liked the .308 Winchester cartridges and the Leupold black matte scope. It had a mil dot reticule and came standard with the Savage. It gave her an effective range of up to a little over 900m. She was OK with that and she had certainly made shots longer than that on the range but she never extended beyond that distance in the field.
Beth came from an upper middle class family. She grew up in small town Nebraska where her father was a banker and her mother a math teacher. She liked to shoot people. Manny came from a border town in south Texas. He was a scrapper who had fought for everything he ever got. He fought for food, growing up. He fought to get a GED when he had been forced to quit school and go to work after his dad died. He liked the whole idea of helping Beth kill people. Me, well I was the rich kid. I grew up in Connecticut, in a house where my father seldom visited because he was too busy making money. My mother was seldom seen, I was raised by nannies. We had cooks, housekeepers, gardeners, chauffeurs, and butlers. I was aware of families like Beth’s but I never suspected that there were people in the world like Manny.
Manny was Beth’s spotter and he was walking point. His attire matched the ghillie suit that Beth wore, but he carried only a sidearm and a Leupold Mark 4 20-60x80mm. The scope was a little heavier than the standard issue, but he wouldn’t use anything else. He figured his and Beth’s lives were worth the little extra weight. Manny and I had been friends since basic.
I took up the rear. My position was unique. Beth was the sniper, Manny was the spotter, and I was the sniffer. For reasons never understood I’ve always had the ability to detect scents from the future. When I was a kid I would know what was for dinner before anybody had even made the decision what to cook. I could come into the house and know that tomorrow, we were going to have pizza, or hamburgers, or whatever. I didn’t realize that I was the only person in the world to have this ability until I was about thirteen and I mentioned to the cook that I wanted her to grill my fish tomorrow night instead of poaching it. She laughed it off until one of Dad’s friends shared his halibut, caught in Mexico, with us the next morning.
Anyway, I digress; Beth, Manny, and I had moved up country, north of Khe Sanh, in an area rife with tunnels. Not a very safe place for us to be, but we found high ground just as the sun was coming up to our right. We had an unobstructed view of the village below; where our objective was expected to arrive before noon.
We settled in and waited with a high sense of expectancy.
“Whatcha smell, Dawg?” Manny asked.
I sniffed and took several deep breaths through my nose, “Nothing, Man. I smell the jungle. I smell nothing but damp and rot.”
Beth stayed still and breathed slowly, “Does that mean he’s not coming?” she asked.
I gave her the best reply that I could, under the circumstances, “Maybe. I guess that would depend on who would notice if he was suddenly wasted.”
Beth nodded her head. Manny studied the village below. I watched our back. We sat in silence.
Twice more Manny asked, through hand signals what I could smell. Twice more I merely shrugged my shoulders. If a firefight was going to break out I should be smelling gunpowder and smoke. I might smell ordnance or fuel, but I only smelled the jungle.
The day came and went with almost no movement in the village below. A little after midnight we collected our gear and began moving back to the south. Beth was a little bummed; she hadn’t gotten to kill anyone. Manny took the point again, and I strolled along behind. I really wanted to whistle as I walked, but I was too busy sniffing for trouble. I didn’t need to invite it.
This week’s prompts are:
- Whiskey in a glass
- The keen edge
Use these prompts to write anything you like and would enjoy writing. Or ignore them and write whatever strikes your fancy. I like that idea too.
Go ahead and dive in,
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.