Defiant began life as a writing exercise.  What if, I thought, during NaNoWriMo – which I am not formally taking part – I made a writing exercise of my writing exercise?  My slovenly, lay-about, unemployed wife suggested that she study some training manuals while I write each night.

“Fine.  Forty five minutes.”

“Why that?”

“Ten to immerse, thirty to write, five imbedded to tactical edit on the fly.”


We started Monday. Not being an idiot, I’ve built in a 3-day lag for the blog, for RealLife(TM) events.  Dailies, these will be shorter than my typical additions.  I enjoy the exercise.

Joe lay flat on his belly, both eyes open. One taking in the iron sights of the rifle, the other hunting for any movement ahead. He was no more than three yards up the bridge, proper, on the right-hand side, looking north and waiting to shoot at any counter-attack.

A drop of sweat dropped into his left eye. He quickly blinked it away. He told himself, again, it was just the reaxion to the sweat that came from his eyes.

Of the seven marksmen, he was part of the two shooting at those on the southern side. It wasn’t that Nichole had that kind of confidence in him, as the south bank drew farther away, but that they needed expert firepower towards their landing. How she intermingled the placement of cannibal shooters to her crew while dictating azimuth changes to the two mortar crews – her sentences sometimes woven together – eluded him. He’d not known that mortars would explode upon contact with the water, but all that time she spent with the crews before dawn…

Fifty yards before their barge hit, both of the two teams of three tubes yelled, almost in unison, “smoke complete!” As it was being gently pushed ahead of them by the wind down the river valley, they’d just enough time –

The RORO banged down.

“GO! GO! GO!” Captain Hong shouted. He didn’t look back but made a sweeping motion with his left arm as he jumped down into the mud. Attached to Nichole, Joe couldn’t move until she did or he was ordered. Right then, she was speaking very quickly to the senior corporal of the two teams, all angles, distances, and times. Joe wondered if –

“Marksmen!” She shouted. “Follow me!”

She was already off the barge and moving between the buildings ahead. At this rate –

“Ma’am!” The lead sharpshooter from their team called, catching her attention.

She paused and looked back. THAT grin, again, Joe saw.

“Lead! Don’t run!”

After getting to his feet and making his way onto shore, THAT look was long gone. Something much more reflective had taken its place.

Somewhere around a warehouse along Terminal Road, she flashed her team a smile.

“Follow me, boys?”

There were no verbal replied. Joe tried not to sigh. They’d have followed her into Hell.

Her eyes looked brighter; she turned and led them behind the main Regular force. Mortar rounds were falling no more than fifty yards ahead. Had the cannibals not put any defensive troops along the shore, at all?

A marksman just off Joe’s right stumbled, fell. He wanted to yell, but knew that stopping them would get them all killed. He reached out and pulled at the man’s flak jacket.

“Dude! Let’s go!”

Nothing. Had he been injured…? Joe lowered him and quickly rolled him over.

The man’s face was gone. Shattered bones and one dead eye looked back at him. Joe looked around, but the others were already yards ahead. He leaned to lay the dead man down…

The corpse convulsed, spraying up some blood. Joe vomited into his mouth and staggered after the rest of the detachment. After a few paces, he spat out his puke, wishing he was anywhere else.

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