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.