Crow’s Death, Part One
by Cat Trip
Corporal Aidan Mort placed his feet carefully. He smelled the danger but he couldn’t see it. Not yet. Hidden in the trash piled at the side of the road–or rather the dirt track that pretended to be a road even though the only difference between it and the hills was its flatness–there was an IED. Didn’t look like anything more than fucking trash, but he knew it was there.
He sniffed again. Yeah, another fucking IED. Besides, he could feel his claws aching to extend. Weekly occurrence on this road, the only route to the PAX terminal. Shouldn’t be surprised.
He stood still, waved a halt to the team, and scanned the pile. Empty boxes, discarded shoes, cracked plastic containers, rusty metal, old tires. Everything caked in a layer of dust and fucking sand an inch thick.
A wind blew and he closed his mouth against the abrasions. The stench of death turned solid, directional. He scanned again. And grinned.
A press at his throat activated the microphone. “Hey, kid.” He didn’t take his gaze off the IED, trying to find the trigger. “Get yer fucking ass over here.” Hell, if the Chief was going to put him in charge of training the fucking kid, he was going to train him. At least as best as he could.
The kid trotted up, M4 in hand. Aidan kept looking, Fucking thing was hidden well. No wires, no visible trigger–like a battered cell phone–nothing. He inhaled. He wasn’t wrong.
“Tell me what you see, kid.”
“Look again. Details. Ignore the expected, observe the unexpected.”
Aidan squatted, waiting. And he still searched.
“Tires, boxes. Plastic. Crates.” Aidan could hear the frustration in the kid’s voice. “Sand and more fucking sand.”
“Yeah?” He kept his question light, encouraging. But he was getting worried. Still couldn’t see the trigger point.
“Shoes?” The kid shifted on his feet. Took a step closer. Aidan flung his arm out, stopped him from taking another step.
“Idjit! Ya don’t step on stuff you can’t see under.” He took his knife out, slid it slowly under the piece of cardboard the kid would have stepped on. He couldn’t smell death this close, but he wasn’t going to take a chance and rush it.
Mirrored from Circlet Press: Welcome to Circlet 2.0.