The revenge of the moment hid the pain of what this man thought to be a broken kneecap. The sense of urgency, and of actually having an emotion this strong, was an overwhelming experience. Still, he needed to catch his breath. Looking over the attack, the whole troup was of one mind, slipping, stumbling over the rocks, of what used to be a mix of river and ocean water. They pressed on in silence. This man turned forward driven to complete the mission, as taught to him in his past military experience. The island was close now, as to obscure the receeding ocean behind it.
That was just about the time the shooting started.
“Daddy, why is there so many guns being shot”? Alice, with her innocent teen voice pleaded to know. “There is nothing to worry about Alice, the island is well fortified. We have trained for attacks from the mainland”. Said Hank. a former official of a large financial institution, before the drought took out the economy. He had planned well, but the idea of a receeding ocean never occurred to him. Those damned scientists had most on the island convinced the oceans would be rising, he thought as anger bulged his neck.
Well, you can’t know everything as he was fond of saying when confronted with surprises.
Men were dropping all around this man as the troupe scrambed through brick and block fortifications along the edges of the island. The adrenaline took over his body and mind now, and he could barely think to know if his aim had hit the marks. Then with suddeness, there was nothing to meet the advance. This man lept into the second layer of fortifications with the movements of a wild animal. His bunk mate Curly somehow had also made it through the firestorm of bullets, their eyes locked just as more shots rang out, lead ricocheting up off the dried-out compacted dirt before them.
“We are going to die Daddy”! Alice shreaked when confronted by the sight of two raggedty-dressed men as they hopped over the wall. Hank didn’t say a word, but lined up the sights of the fully loaded AK 47 auto rifle towards the intruders, and squeezed off a dozen rounds in their direction.
Rattatatatatatat! The closeness of the noise was shocking to Alice. Her shoulders began to heave with despair. “I think I stopped them” Hank whispered. ” Oh Alice, we are going to be ok. Oh Alice, you are such a beautiful daughter, I will protect you. We’ll get through this and life will be much better”. A too often repeated promise of late, Hank thought.
This man layed out, sliding his rifle forward, he nestled the barrel into a cracked brick and began to scan the forward position. He intensly studied the building, ranging the rifle sites from one opening to the next. There. A movement flickered in the morning sunlight. He studied intently, drawing in a huge breath of searing air, he relaxed his grip on the gun and slowly squeezed the trigger. At the report of the gun, this man slumped his head into a fast forming pool of blood.
” Daddy”! Oh Daddy”! Alice rolled over through the dust and clutched the lifeless body of her father. Her screams becoming even more frantic, as a lone intruder scrambled through the opening her father had manned…
Hours later, the island being cleared of the financial scum that wrecked the Earth, Curly had one more obligation in paying respects to his bunk mate.
Curly prayed a long time crouched over the body of his friend, thin muscles impervious to the cramping pain. “I don’t know how you did it, but your shot killed him dead, even as you died from his”. Curly bowed his head, “A just reward for you my friend, I pray your mist seeks the heaven in atmosphere, Amen”.
Then as he finished covering over his friends body, Curly bowed and sifted one last handful of dust through his fingers . “May there be enough protien left in your body to compost this dust into living soil”. Curly started along his way, turned back, and with spoken retort, “I’ve had enough of killing”, talking to his friend as though he were yet alive. “I’ve heard there were chestnut seedlings that have lived beyond a year up in Maine, I’m heading there to guard ’em”.
Only with the declaration did this man’s livened soul mist up into heaven.