NIGHT • by Charles W. Kiley III

The enemy was at the bottom of the grassy bowl. The snipers lay prone on either side of me. Wait, my hand said. No kill. The slackening of tension was almost palpable; fingers relaxed on triggers. I lay between them on the bed of pine needles. Through the binoculars I could see two men sitting together on steel ammo boxes. One was tending the other’s wounds. There were a couple of tents and a truck on the far side of the bowl. A cigarette dangled from the wounded man’s lips. He winced in pain as the other ministered to him, perhaps removing bits of shrapnel from his calf. The snipers lay stock still. The moon was rising. I could feel my heart pounding in my ears. Two approached the medic and the patient, proffering cigarettes. The smoke spiraled upward into the blue-black night. I motioned to the snipers.

Charles W. Kiley III writes in New Jersey, USA.

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