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datatime: 2022-09-25 16:52:41 Author:aHNAKvjt

The frenetic stammering of the machine-guns stopped abruptly and in unison, the sound sheared off as by a guillotine. The sudden silence was curiously oppressive, louder, more obtrusive than the clamour that had gone before. The gravelly earth beneath his elbows grated harshly as Mallory shifted his weight slightly, looked at the two men to his right, Andrea with his impassive face empty of all expression, Louki with the sheen of tears in his eyes. Then he became aware of the low murmuring to his left, shifted round again. Bitter-mouthed, savage, the American was swearing softly and continuously, oblivious to the pain as he pounded his fist time and again into the sharp-edged gravel before him.

His last words were caught up and drowned in the tearing, rapid-fire crash of the automatic carbines. With four machine-guns in their hands-two Brens and two 9 mm. Schmeissers-it was no war, as he had said, but sheer, pitiful massacre, with the defenceless figures on the slope below, figures still stunned and uncomprehending, jerking, spinning round and collapsing like marionettes in the hands of a mad puppeteer, some to lie where they fell, others to roll down the steep slope, legs and arms flailing in the grotesque disjointedness of death. Only a couple stood still where they had been hit, vacant surprise mirrored in their lifeless faces, then slipped down tiredly to the stony ground at their feet. Almost three seconds had passed before the handful of those who still lived-about a quarter of the way in from either end of the line where converging streams of fire had not yet met-realised what was happening and flung themselves desperately to the ground in search of the cover that didn't exist.

Miller studied the guns drawn up on the road behind the two trucks and cleared his throat.

Just one more, Gawd. The quiet voice was almost a prayer.That's all I ask. Just one more.

Miller looked round at him, eyes cold and still and empty of all recognition, then he blinked several times and grinned, a cut and bruised hand automatically reaching for his cigarettes.

Won't try again, huh? Miller was already sliding his gun around the rock in front of him when Mallory caught his arm and pulled him back.

I do not believe it, Andrea said flatly.You couldn't make a mistake like that, my Captain.

We leave them be Mallory echoed emphaticaliy. The thought of any more slaughter made him feel almost physically sick.They won't try again. He broke off suddenly, flattened himself in reflex instinct as a burst of machine-gun bullets struck the steep-walled rock above their beads and whined up the gorge in vicious ricochet.

Jus' daydreamin', boss he said easily.Jus' daydreamin'. He shook out his pack of cigarettes.Have one?

Mallory stared at him, slowly released his grip on the glasses, nodded several times in succession.

Just one more, Gawd. The quiet voice was almost a prayer.That's all I ask. Just one more.

Jus' daydreamin', boss he said easily.Jus' daydreamin'. He shook out his pack of cigarettes.Have one?

Abruptly Miller's smile vanished and he nodded.

Just one more, Gawd. The quiet voice was almost a prayer.That's all I ask. Just one more.

Miller studied the guns drawn up on the road behind the two trucks and cleared his throat.

Just one more, Gawd. The quiet voice was almost a prayer.That's all I ask. Just one more.

They will, Mallory assured him.Just as soon as we fire and they find out where we are.

I was only sayin' what Louki told me, he said defensively.

They will, Mallory assured him.Just as soon as we fire and they find out where we are.

I was only sayin' what Louki told me, he said defensively.

We leave them be Mallory echoed emphaticaliy. The thought of any more slaughter made him feel almost physically sick.They won't try again. He broke off suddenly, flattened himself in reflex instinct as a burst of machine-gun bullets struck the steep-walled rock above their beads and whined up the gorge in vicious ricochet.

I would not be using these, my Captain. They have betrayed us once already. I have been thinking, and it can be nothing else. The sunlight reflecting from the lenses . . .

Gawd help us, Miller muttered.Fragmentation bombs, you said He lapsed into gloomy silence.

Miller studied the guns drawn up on the road behind the two trucks and cleared his throat.

I do not believe it, Andrea said flatly.You couldn't make a mistake like that, my Captain.

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