Teaser – Wings for Marie

…BAFF! A cliff of pure energy crashed and surged through the shoulder, into the back and out through the ankles and toes, shuddering into the rickety flooring upon which he lay prone.

With gusto he clapped the bolt up and back, opening the chamber for another massive round to be placed and chucking the used one to the side. Another clawed hand slid in the cartridge with a .53 caliber bullet at the end – smoke pouring out the chamber from the last one. The bolt surged forward and was locked into place. In the reflection of a yellowed reptilian eye, aided by a rust-tainted glass, one could see the fortified harbor, inclined at a 35 degree angle below. Smoke hovered and swept up from the miniature base according to the wind’s fancy as the stricken defenders pressed themselves into cover from him. With relish he and his team claimed the role of arbiter in this fight. Beading one of the defenders and then making adjustments, he took a breath. Heaving it back out he squeezed the trigger and felt the same recoil run through his body. He quickly looked through his scope again to see what damage he’d inflicted, but he was off his mark. He had received some brief training but wasn’t much of a sponge for absorbing the more subtle yet important aspects of sniping.

The one rule he’d quickly forgotten was his breathing and its rhythm with the trigger pull. After all, he was anchored quite securely in a prone position so it would be a somewhat superfluous practice, wouldn’t it? He was the only one who hadn’t scored a kill out of the ten-body squad he was in though, so with some humbling he tried to re-employ some of this methodology. When his next shot lined up he exhaled more smoothly but in the process began gripping too fiercely. Not wanting to miss the opportunity that the exposed head of the enemy was giving him, he rushed the shot. Recovering again from the recoil his search for a hit was in vain.

The bolt slid once more, and another round was placed. Taking a few breaths to ease himself, he willed this to be the turning point. He would pick his shots and take them clean and professional-like as most of the others were now doing. He even let a relaxed smile crack at the side of his mouth as he mozied the scope over darting figures. One stopped too far from shelter to fire at the mob which by now was only a few split seconds from breaking through. Thunder pounded into his ears and lightning through his torso as the gun kicked. As he went to pull the bolt back he found that his arm wouldn’t move forward to grab it. With a puzzled look he meant to rise to his feet but they didn’t budge.

Everything below the spine started feeling cold as he managed to flop himself onto his back using the other arm, which was still thankfully functioning. Shockingly a tall, pale creature garbed in a long dust-coat filled his vision to the edges, pointing a smoking barrel at the other prone figures lined up on the narrow balcony. The reloaders had stopped dead in their tracks and raised their hands, revealing sweat stains on the pits of their dust-laden clothing. It took another crack of the newcomer’s gun to catch the attention of the snipers, who simply stopped firing their weapons as their eyes gaped at him. At first the wounded Gugra was waiting in suspended grief for the “humen bi’ing” to finish them all off like a target shoot. When instead the audacious creature chose to march everyone out to the front door however, he felt as if he were betrayed by some invisible force of fate, if not by his own enemy.

One teammate roughly hauled him backwards down a lightly blood-spattered stairway. Out on the unkempt lawn of the guard house, the now lamed Gugra faced the noon-evening sun which obscured his vision and pained his eyes. Only when squinting he could see the fighting down at the docks, just near the entrance to the barricade. Ryalt had been beaten, but he hadn’t been killed, and given that fact the enemy mob had been dispersed and routed by his force so that what was developing now was a fairly even brawl between two teams. The humen gave a short talk to the others, which he didn’t catch due to his listening in on the melee, and sprinted off assumingly to join the battle there. As his team members began drifting away in a beaten, crestfallen manner he started shouting and cursing for someone to help him. His reloading partner took the initiative and went to work, patching the wound seeping from his chest and back…

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