Bombard the main guns. Banging on the hatches ring



“Keep firing,
Edwards!” The Captain yells down from the top hatch of the Mark I.

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The belt-fed
machine gun hisses with every raindrop as the beat red barrel rains lead
towards the Nazi entrenchment. Edwards could not see much out of the small slit
within his rolling, metal fortress; the glass is chipped from a round that
ricocheted for what feels like days ago. The rain, ever increasing, turns the
dirt road into a mudslide, while distorting the enemy soldiers into nothing
more than moving shadows.

“C’mon now! Get us
moving, Adams!” the Captain orders the driver.

“I can’t get any
traction!” Adams screams.

“They’re climbing
on top! We’re sitting fucking ducks!” Johnson yells in a panic as he reloads
the main guns. Banging on the hatches ring through their ears as the Germans try
to destroy the locks. The engine roars as the treads spin on top of the mud. A
never-ending hailstorm deafens the Mach I as the bullets continue to try to
penetrate its thick steel. Edward’s machine gun continues to unload on the
dancing shadows.

“Adams! Pigeon!”
the Captain calmly ordered through the commotion. Adams grabs the pigeon and
the pigeon letter. The Captain writes on the letter and gently puts it in the
pigeon’s ankle pouch.

“Are you mad?!
You’re going to get us all killed!” Johnson retaliates as the first hatch

“Edward! Behind
you!” Johnson yells while raising his firearm. A pistol enters the hatch and fires
before Edwards could react. Everything goes silent except for a loud ringing
sensation and the flapping of wings. His eyes try to adjust, but eyes cannot
adjust to a spinning canvas.

“Edward! Grab the
pigeon! 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 see
where it hurt, but nothing did. He concentrates on the pool of blood next to
him, following the trail to the source.

“Don’t do it!”
Edward hears from Johnson.

“Grab the God
damned pigeon, Edward!” the Captain repeated.

“Its suicide!
You’ll destroy us!” Johnson begs.

Edwards stares at
the source of the blood. Adam lays half face up and half face down with a
bullet wound through his skull. The pigeon and the letter fly toward Edward
landing on the army green, burlap sack in front of him. The pigeon cocks its
head to the side confused on what to do next.

“It’s the only
chance we got!” the Captain yells at Johnson. “Edwards,” the Captain continues
firmly, “Grab. The. Pigeon.”

Edwards slowly
leans forward and gently grabs the docile bird as he grabs his senses.

“Don’t listen to
him!” Johnson cries, “If you release that pigeon, you’ll kill us!”

 “Edwards! Release the pigeon, that is an
order, son!” the Captain commands.

“Sir.” Edward
states as he nods his head. He gingerly carries the pigeon to the pigeon hatch
on the side of their tank, and releases it into the outside world.

“You’ve just
doomed us all.” Johnson remorsefully states as he slumps down, but his
sorrowfulness is not heard through the drunkenness of the barrage. The
hailstorm continues to blanket the Mach I. The engine thunders on still trying
to force the treads into traction. The banging of the hatchets grows louder and
more numerous. No thoughts can be heard except for a few prayers as a new sound
enters the arena: the high-pitched whistle of artillery rounds.


Avery Stivale