Saturday, August 22, 2009

Edwin Bucknell Survives This Story!

Edwin Bucknell crouched in a trench, quite entirely alone. Machine-gun fire whizzed constantly overhead, and shells fell with such frequency as to approximate a torrential thunderstorm. (The mud their detonations cast overhead did not hurt their efforts to approximate this effect.) Edwin's rifle was out of ammo, and his pistol had but one round remaining. He held it, considering. If I see the foe approach, shall I employ my last round against them, or to end my own life for fear of capture?

Then he heard a whistling from overhead, terribly close, and he knew the moment of his end had come. He gripped the pistol close to him, huddled against one side of the trench, and when the shell burst he went instantly blind and deaf -

- and regained the former sense moments later, still rolling. Slowly he brought himself to a stop, examining his surroundings.

Why, that shell blew me entirely off the battlefield, and with no worse injury to me than a few bruises! Edwin realized, entirely to his own surprise. Well, all for the better. My mission can go on!

Two hours later, outside the enemy HQ, Edwin was to be found crouching in a bush, watching the enemy's patrols stroll by. Their dogs, vicious and lean, sniffed suspiciously at the night air.

I must be very cautious here, Edmund thought to himself. They will kill on sight here - and that would be that!

Seeing a gap in the patrols, he stood up cautiously, creeping from cover to cover. One a sentry hesitated near him; but he passed. But then he gained his way inside the HQ-building - and found himself face to face with an enemy officer, trying to exit at the same time Edwin sought to enter!

The officer hesitated a moment, giving Edwin a moment to deliver a vigorous roundhouse, topping the man; but as he fell, he cried out, something in the enemy's gutteral tongue. "Intruder", no doubt, Edwin thought. Now, I have to get through here quickly - there's no more room for slip-ups!

Swiftly, he dashed through the halls of the HQ, zigging from side to side as he ran, careening into guards and staff with abandon. Now where's the General's office - ah! There! Locking the door behind it and blocking it with a file cabinet, Edwin frantically searched the room, toppling stacks of paper and military trophies. It must be here somewhere! Where is it?

"Stop!" a voice came from outside, thickly accented. "Ve can see you through the window! Stop, or ve shoot!"

Edwin dove for cover without time for thought, firing his sole round of pistol ammunition as he fell. He heard a cry of pain as he rolled under the desk - enough to buy me time, at least! - and then, dropping his emptied pistol, saw to his astonishment two more fastened to the underside of the desk. Just what I needed! Now, it's clear this mission's a wash - time to abort!

Quickly, Edwin took down both pistols, fastening them to his belt, and made a dash for the window, firing as he went. Leaping out, he dashed through the floodlight-lit street, bullets whizzing past him to every side, and commanadeered an enemy truck, shoving its driver out with one swift motion. "Later!" he cried, and drove away, even as the enemy impotently emptied their magazines at him -

- and later, driving down the dark road, Edwin examined the pistols he had taken from the General's office. This one wasn't firing when I made my escape, he thought. Unloaded? - but that makes no sense. Why keep a pistol under your desk for emergencies without loading it? Why keep two at all, for that matter? He felt at the butt of the pistol, frowned. It's certainly loaded - but what's inside?

The mechanism clicked as it disengaged; the contents of the pistol's magazine slipped out. Edwin grinned.

The General's secret, hidden where he thought no one would ever find it. And I wouldn't have, either - if it weren't for a fantastic stroke of luck!

Edwin Bucknell was very pleased with himself.


Many writers, and creators of fiction in general, could stand to take a lesson or two from George R. R. Martin.

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