Blinding – The Penned Sleuth – Medium
The world was tearing itself apart. If the blood and screaming wasn’t enough of a hint, take a look at the ground. Bombshells and graves will dot it, pits waiting to be filled by the fallen grow larger. Even in this quiet village had lost its charm. Old buildings broken or frozen. The winter of war brought a tear to my eye.
“Wipe your eyes,” Captain Holt ordered. “I can’t stop the other men if they see you like this.”
I did as ordered and resigned not to let it happen again. I could tell he was serious about that threat. The other troops grew aggressive; angry at country as much as angry at theirs. Nobody was safe until they were. At least, when the enemy made themselves known, everyone got together and gave them more than this cold hell could give them.
“Private, I know what you’re thinking,” Holt continued. “But that behaviour is not appreciated here. If I see you spouting fears and lowering the morale, I will not hesitate to put a bullet in you.”
The fears I felt were made colder by those words. In addition to that, they went dormant and I nodded in reply. That was enough for Captain Holt and he walked away. I don’t know what he expected of us to do in this ghost town.
It seemed the enemy was quite happy to throw it away. Leave it to the allied to defend. There were tactically advantages buildings and it was situated in the middle of a mostly flat piece of land surrounded by trees. I say mostly because of the craters and holes everywhere. We could be surrounded by the enemy, shooting us from the forest, and our best chance at survival would be climbing into the pit of bodies and pretending to be dead.
Catching sight of Holt crossing my view I decided to quit those thoughts and take my position in one of the buildings facing East. The walls were strong and thick, able to take a few bullets and a tank shell would only knock a chunk out of it, but never destroy it completely.
Not knowing its purpose before the war, I climbed up the stairs and towards a window. I had built a small sniping nest that faced one side of the forest. It covered everything except for a thin opening which gave me a view of the treeline.
When hope failed me, the thought of dying while fighting gave me some hope. Looking through the scope, I scouted the tree line. I saw plenty of dying foliage, but no movements. It would be a long winter, but a happy one if it stayed that way. However, the number of enemy controlled towns were fast decreasing thanks to the main force.
Before I could even think that we were the weakest side of the attacking forces my scope shattered. Darkness. My eye was destroyed by a bullet that ran through my scope, cutting through my left eye and exiting through the side of my head instead of going inwards towards my brain.
Still, that shot alerted the whole village. With blood pouring down my face, I fell to the ground and began to scream. I was cut off halfway through when I passed out. I don’t believe I was given that much time to rest as I was shaken awake by two other soldiers.
“Jesus, he is still alive!” I heard one of the blurs say. I recognised the voice belonging to Steven. A private greener than me, but more energy. “I’m going to get the medic, wrap the wound!”
With that, Steven vanished from my half-sight and I closed my good eye. I heard shots, I heard explosions. My fears were made a reality by the aggressive enemy forces, desperate to get their hands on a town or to cut through the force and make an escape.
The second soldier, who didn’t say anything, bound my head with bandage. The pain was numbed by the cold only slightly. I believe my body decided to raise the temperature, because I felt hot. Still, this mock job or treating a wound helped stopped the blood flow and the medic who arrive gave me a once over before handing a soldier some tonic to clean my face with. I don’t know what it was, but it burned like hell.
The bandages were replaced a bit more skilfully and the medic disappeared. Propping me up against a wall, I was left alone as the other soldier ran to join the fight. My vision was clearing in the other eye as I wiped away some deserving tears. With that I looked back towards the gun propped up in my makeshift snipers nest.
I pushed myself onto my knees, taking the rifle and removing the scope, throwing it aside. I wasn’t about to drop out of this fight left. The practical feeling in my jumping heart was still there. I would die fighting before dying anyway else.
I saw figures in the snow, dressed in black uniforms. Excellent camouflage for the dead tree line, but not out on open snow. I could still aim with my other eye, although pulling the trigger with my right hand felt odd. Despite the discomfort, the ring of rounds being ejected, the sight of soldier after soldier, dropping in the snow, it helped establish me as what I trained to be. A killer.
The soldiers were trying now to take cover, but their options were limited and my sights on them always. I heard footsteps behind me, I turned in time to see who it was, but I sighed in relief when I saw they were allied soldiers who came to take positions at the other windows.
“Leave some for us!” one grunted angrily. It was Captain Holt.
Despite being surrounded, our cover was still better than theirs and every soldier either entered the village to be cut down by machine gun fire or fled back to the tree line. At least, they tried to, but with my rifle and other eager guns, it was a slaughter.
More than that, it was a slaughter that I was remembered for. The Blind Sniper was a nickname that reached even the highest office back in Washington and I was applauded for bravery, promised medals for when I come home. However, keeping the Captain’s words close to heart, I didn’t mention my high hopes of the enemy finishing the job.