Posted by: TheAuthor | 03/03/2011

Out on a Limb

“Alright William, its twenty minutes to two, I am off to wake the next guy” spoke William’s companion of the past hour. “See you in the morning” he replied as he was left on his own in the pitch dark.

William picked up his night vision equipment and scanned his arcs, looking for any signs of activity. Nothing, quiet as a mouse. He panned around behind him, and began to watch his colleague stroll away across the wide open space between the Sanger and safety. Normally, in daylight, walking casually across the open space is risky, this is because you are in full view of ‘dickers’ or enemy combatants.  Slowly, William panned back around and took another look to the front of the Sanger and saw nothing. He put down the goggles and slumped over the parapet, thoughts drifting to home and what he would like to do. It had been a long time since he was home, not stuck in the hell hole he was now thoroughly mixed up in. Stag duty was the worst task to do, but at night it wasn’t too bad. The heat was down to a minimum because the sun had sunk beneath the mountains, the enemy were at their most sluggish and passive time. Little happened.

William spied his watch, ten minutes until his new company arrived. The night duties are overlapping, so that you spend your two-hour stint with two different friends. Then shortly before the end of your final hour, you proceed to wake the next guy and see him off before returning to your bed. “One hour to go” Uttered William as he arched his back in a long stretch, “Can’t wait”.

Suddenly there was a rustling of metal coming from close by, from the sound William knew it to have been the razor wire surrounding the perimeter fence. His heart leaped into his throat, he rose his rifle and switched off the safety catch. The perimeter fence was one hesco block high, around four feet, with razor wire on top – some sections just had razor wire. The camp was still being constructed, assets were required elsewhere and Williams company just had to make do. William, fearing the enemy were infiltrating the camp beside his post, drew his bayonet and fixed it to his rifle ready for close quarters combat. He then proceeded to scan the razor wire around his section of the line, for signs of movement.

Heart pounding he saw nothing from within the Sanger, then he heard it again to his rear left. Definitely the razor wire near his Sanger. William, slowly brought the night vision to his eyes and began scanning to the rear of the Sanger, seeing nothing he checked his corners outside before being happy nothing was immediately outside. He stood motionless, assessing what to do next. Currently he was safe, but for how long. If the camp was being infiltrated by his Sanger, he could do some good from his covered position, however everyone knows where he will be. Taking him out during a change over and then launching a midnight assault on the British base would be a far better option than in daylight. Thoughts flew through his mind, if I turn my back they could come from behind or else I could face out as usual and again be attacked from behind. He looked at his watch before making his choice, five minutes to.

Again he heard the rustling of razor wire. “Right”, William concluded mentally, his mind was made up.

Holding his rifle with bayonet fixed to the shoulder, he radioed to the operations room notifying them of what was occurring “Zero, Roger, wait” came the response. Then he, began to edge out of the Sanger to his rear wearing his night vision and ready to engage any targets that appeared with lethal force. Nothing, he saw nothing. The rustling had ceased and the razor wire intact, he was now exposed however and withdrew back to the Sanger to think for a second. “Zero, Sanger 6, nothing seen and wire intact, wait out” he spoke in a hushed tone to his commanders. He heard the rustling start again, this time he heard a screeching noise. He grew exasperated over the issue, were they trying to make him go insane? He clutched a mini flare and without hesitation fired it towards the sounds.

A huge plume of light engulfed the area, he saw movement in the corner of his eye! Raising his rifle William saw a figure running towards the Sanger in open ground. Taking a double glance, he saw it was his colleague approaching. He had been startled when the flare went off and began running towards the Sanger to get out of the open ground and help with the situation. William, looked back towards the razor wire with his rifle ready to bring into action. He couldn’t believe what he saw before him. A desert fox, caught in the razor wire, writhing around in agony as the barbs cut into its body.

“Zero, Sanger 6, just a fox caught in the perimeter wire. False alarm, Over”

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