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The Sound of Pounding Feet


saltinespike

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saltinespike

October 1, 1914 - Battle of Arras - World War I

 

Fred’s feet pounded under him, sounding like thunder in this noisy battlefield. Faint sounds of gunfire and explosions hid behind the noise of his breathing, and his pounding feet. He had his gun pulled to his chest, but still pointed outward. His feet stopped, and he fell for what seemed like a minute, the only sound now was the wind.

 

The vicious sounds of war rushed back when he hit the ground. His boots kicks at the ground fiercely, pushing himself against the ravine wall. Others mimicked his actions.

 

Fred picked up a rusty bullet off the ground and examined it. He smiled and put it between his teeth, starting to fidget with his gun. Holding back a lever, he pulled the bullet out of his teeth and loaded it into the gun, ending with two clicks.

 

Three men scooted up beside him in the same urgency he had. They had a bit more bullets than him, his punishment for an itchy trigger-finger.

 

“You have any extra bullets?” Fred asked another soldier, and gulped, trying to steady his breath. He looked across the whole field that soldiers littered, whether running, dying, or dead.

 

The soldier Fred addressed replied to his question with regret, “Sorry, bud, I only have a few bullets myself.” Fred cursed vilely under his breath. “Alright, listen,” the soldier had the superiority in the group, “we’ll all spread out and close in the best we can. This will be the last time, so bring as many with you. Anyone volunteer to be the decoy?”

 

No one spoke a word or did an advancing movement. Everyone sat quietly, sweating, dirty, watching the sergeant. He sighed helplessly. “Private Sousa, you will be the decoy. Come around and run as fast as you can in front of that MG. Run like the devil himself is chasing you, got it?”

 

Sousa was silent for a moment. He finally spoke in a mumble, “you got it, sarge.” A trembling, dirty hand reached for his chest and grasped a gold picture holder. He opened it and kissed the picture inside: a beautiful woman.

 

They separated into 2 groups and crawled opposite ways as not to be seen, dirt riding up on their chins. They entered the concealing bushes, and made eye contact, hand signals following. Sgt. Greiner held up one finger. The environment was eerily silent, and the squad worried the bush rustling was magnified, but the machine gun handler simply kept a watchful eye out, finger on the trigger, and sweat on his brow; he squirted water into his mouth. Behind him, a battalion of Germans, also silent, everyone is on the edge.

 

Greiner held up his third finger and the silence was broken, disturbed with the rustle of Sousa’s movements. The sound of pounding feet sliced the tension, and everyone went into action. The three French soldiers jumped out of the bushes like an explosion, and ran toward the battalion, dodging bullets by sheer luck, and surprise.

 

Germans rustled amongst each other, scuttling to spread apart like sewage rats. The first layers of soldiers were pushed into bayonets, impaled by their allies. German soldiers frantically fired, but no one connected; they were forced to use their guns as melee. The members of the self-formed squadron only had about two bullets in their machine gun; they decided to hold off on shooting.

 

Sousa’s yelp indicated his death, which means the gunner would be free to shoot at them. Greiner aimed carefully at the rising gunman and fired his final two shots, before being stabbed in the neck with a bayonet. All that remained was Fred and Pvt. Aldon.

 

Their attack proved to be a success, only eleven Germans remained, out of twenty five. Another German got a shot off, piercing through Aldon’s heart.

 

After a split-second decision, Fred decided to tear off a grenade. He pulled the pin recklessly and dropped it to the ground; it hit with a thunk. The last sound Fred heard was that of his pounding feet.

 

 

 

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Just a short story I do not plan to continue, basically all it's for is for practice. Feedback is welcomed, though!

Edited by saltinespike
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Can you let other people write...you're fillin' this discussion with awesome works, you aren't leaving any room for us! Ha ha ha, just kidding! tounge.gif

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As I said over PM, it's a very interesting one. I enjoyed the deeper glimpses into some of the characters, for example Sousa kissing the picture - it was a nice touch. You feel for him a lot even from just a short piece - being the decoy he was lead to a certain death. It was good the way you incorporated the title into the sentence when he runs out as well. wink.gif

 

I liked it overall. The ending seemed a little weird though - it switches tense halfway through.

 

 

He pulls the pin recklessly and drops it to the ground; it hits with a thunk.

 

Suddenly present tense - made me a little confused at the end. tounge.gif

 

Good cliffhanger ending though, and a nice piece overall. Good job! smile.gif

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saltinespike

Fixed, though I suppose it won't do much good now. 'Cept for future readers. Anyways, thanks for the feedback!

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  • 10 months later...
saltinespike

Bump. Thought I'd fit into the norm of bumping old short stories. I believe this was the second attempted story here, meant to be short.

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That's pretty damn good if that truly is your second contribution to WD, but you've definitely improved since. I liked the intense feeling the story conveys throughout, and the frantic mood later shifts into an inspiring climax at the end. Overall, I liked it. I wish I could write war stories.

 

Just out of curiosity, was the title perhaps inspired by Ray Bradbury's "The Sound of Thunder"?

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I'd seen this before but never read through it, I'll have to give it my full attention when I get home tonight. Expect this post to be edited.

 

EDIT: Just read through it now, and can really do no more than echo what has been posted above. Obviously you have improved a great deal since this was originally posted, but this is still better than the majority of what is posted here. I can't believe this got so few replies.

Edited by Chickstick
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