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6 Feet Under
Down in the Dirt (v136)
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Red Valley

Josh Bennett

    The radio chatter began after the bomb exploded.
    “Vic Two, this is Vic Four. What is your status?” said the Staff Sergeant.
     The displaced terrain sounded like heavy rain on the steel roof of the vehicle. I spun my head toward my impossibly small window. The valley showed no movement on my side. Neither base could see us with cameras in there. It was a perfect place to stage an ambush. I kept watch along the high ridges.
     The radio crackled in response. “All Vics, be advised, we are all green.” The Staff Sergeant breathed a sigh of relief as we waited for more details.
    “You see anything, Staff Sergeant?” I said. My gaze remained fixed on the valley ridge.
    “Nothing so far,” he said.
    “I’ve got no movement here either.”
     Absent were the sounds of bullets and mortars. Our team condemned the valley from the outset of the patrol. The insurgents had often used IEDs to initiate small-arms ambushes.
    I gripped the door handle, poised to defend the convoy. The silence deafened me. We sat motionless, waiting for the true nature of the valley to reveal itself.

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