Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

Chest heaving, the soldier lifted himself on shaking limbs and began leopard-crawling towards the rocky ridge. Bullets whined and shrieked overhead, and dirty sweat stung his eyes. Rolling into the relative safety of the outcropping, he lay on his back gasping for breath and surveyed the field behind him. Garrett was perhaps 10 metres behind, huddled behind a tree against the fury of semi-automatic weaponry. He could see a body, bloody and lifeless, crumpled on the path a little way back. His eyes strained to count epaulets on the shoulder of the corpse. Shit.

“Right, you shitbags, I’m in charge!” he yelled over his shoulder. Bullets buzzed in response, like bees protecting their hive, and he ducked back into his cover. Eyes scanning the ridge that ran diagonally toward their objective, he beckoned his new charges forward, swallowed the terror that rose like bile in his throat.

He moved slowly forward. The screams of the dying soon faded into the haze of adrenaline once again.


The Institute for Advanced Hindsight

‘Institute for Advanced Hindsight’, the sign above the doorway read. As I stepped from the fading industrial zone into this nondescript building , I knew that my time here would be useful.

“Hello, sir,” said a bright and cheerful secretarial voice. ‘I see that you will enjoy your stay.”

I crinkled my brow a little, and looked around the room. The secretary sat off to one side, exactly how I expected her to look. And everything was just as I remembered it. But… I was so sure that this was the first time I had been here. Strange, I thought.

Dr. Abramov stepped through a door that may or may not have been there when I arrived. “How are you feeling, Sean? Comfortable?”

“well, if I had known how I would fit in here, I would have arrived long ago.”

He smiled a knowing smile. “Just so. Now, shall we skip to the end?”