+inload: Ambush+

She crept slowly forward, legs bent, keeping low. She could hear feet padding on the cobblestones below. Two or three of them, maybe more. Extending a hand as she approached the low wall, she gently braced herself as she settled into place next to an old wooden writing desk, waiting for them to pass. The plaster was cool. Damp, a result of the windows being blown out, she supposed, though the old hab had clearly been cheap and unpleasant even before it was half-destroyed by the shelling.

The sun languidly poured through the rents in the wall and roof, gilding the fungus-bloomed wall and frayed and broken easy chair with sumptuous gold. Dust lazily hung in the air, turning in the red-gold light. It was quite beautiful. It was quite unlike her world.

She blinked.

Bracing herself against the desk, the soldier lifted one knee and braced her rifle across it. Steadying her breathing, she peered down the iron sights through the largest break in the opposite wall. Her face wrinkled in displeasure. Studying the other breaks briefly, she considered relocating. Unconsciously shaking her head, she remained in place, murmuring softly to herself.

'Grant that one shot is enough, if you're up there.'

+++

The war seemed very distant. The crackles of gunfire were now few and far between. He could almost imagine that it was all happening somewhere else, somewhere far away; to some other poor bastard. He sighed to himself, letting his shoulder drop a little. Curc turned to him, his eyes quizzical over the grinning halfmask he wore. Haeg's own eyes were bloodshot, unfocussed. He attempted a dismissive grin, before realising the gesture was futile behind the unfamiliar mask.

'If you can't continue, just say. We can return and pick you -' began Curc, before Haeg interrupted him, waving his mutilated hand in dismissal.

'Worry about yourself.'

Curc, annoyed, peeked over the low fence before vaulting over it with a clatter of armour plates and grenades. He continued rattling as he jogged in a low, awkward, shambling run 'til he he hit the wall. The air was heavy and still. He felt a trickle of sweat run down his back into the crack of his buttocks. He was hot, and sweaty, and annoyed. This whole assault had been one great clusterf-

For a moment, he couldn't quite understand what the noise was; couldn't connect the gentle tinkle of shifting rubble to anything important. He spun around. Nothing quite seemed to fit together. The sun behind him made his shadow seemed huge, ogreish. It was very still. It was very hot. Haeg began to yell.

+++

Cursing, she tried to surge to her feet, but her boots skidded on the loose plaster. Awkwardly thrusting her arm out, using the wall as leverage, she slithered back down as the plaster slipped under her gloved hand. It all seemed too ridiculous for words. Furiously, she planted her feet and stood, swinging her rifle up as she did so. The figure had disappeared – they hadn't advanced up the street as she'd anticipated; instead appearing for just a brief moment as a flickering silhouette in her eye line.

She wasn't at all sure she'd managed to hit the hulk...

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