Somewhere over the English Channel
"HEY CHAR! TAKE A LOOK AT THIS!" Welsh called out, from his spot next to the open door. I pushed myself up, leaning over him to look out at all the boats in the water and planes around us.
"I ain't seen nothing like it. Damn." After the everyone in the plane had admired the enormous power of the Allied forces around us (from various windows), we all settled back in, reality finally kicking in as we realized we were a part of something huge.
"DOES ANYBODY HERE WANT TO BUY A GOOD WATCH?" Skinny called out over the sound of the plane, breaking the tension and eliciting a roar of laughter. But soon the quiet was back again as many prayed or slept or just sat in silence with their thoughts.
Soon flak started up, startling all, and waking any who were asleep. The plane began rocking side to side as prop blasts went off nearby.
"We gotta get ready to jump!" Welsh said to me.
"But the red light?"
"We're too low already!"
I nodded as he stood up and started calling out the procedure, the rest of us standing up and hooking up and checking each other's equipment. I felt Luz pulling on my harness, checking straps and my parachute, as I did the same to Welsh.
"I'M HIT!" Somebody called out, I vaguely recognized it as Cobb.
"CAN YOU STAND UP?" Welsh shouted back.
"UNHOOK HIM," Welsh ordered Ranney.
The red light turned on then, before being hit by flak, which effectively knocked it out of service.
"Shit!" Welsh said, looking back at me. I shook my head not knowing what to do.
He gave me a wink before calling out "GO!" and jumping.
Our plane was maybe 250 feet in the air, much too low for anyone to jump safely. I was afraid my parachute wouldn't have time to deploy when another plane crashed directly below us, the explosion lifting me up, giving me time to orient myself a bit before landing with a painful "thump!"
Before I even had a chance to get out of my parachute, Welsh was next to me, tugging me along.
"You got your weapon?"
"Yeah. Any idea where we are?"
"I'd wager strongly on France." My attempt at lightening the situation fell flat, as Harry ignored my comment.
"Alright, let's go this way," he motioned in the same direction the planes were headed, "at least until we find some kind of landmark."
I nodded and followed Harry along a hedgerow. It wasn't long until I heard footsteps and voices.
"Harry, Harry!" I hoarsely whispered, motioning him to get down. I peeked through the hedgerow, spotting a few Germans in a clearing. They didn't appear to be carrying any weapons other than their rifles.
"Ok, we've got six Germans through there, but there's an old blown out barn, I'm not sure if there's more in there." I whispered to him.
"Think we can take them?"
"I don't know, Harry. If it was just the six, I'd say we could, I mean we've got relative cover and the element of surprise, but if there's more hiding…"
"Where's your sense of adventure?" he joked, sneaking his Thompson through a small hole in the hedge, just big enough for him to see his targets. I mimicked him and did the same, sighting down the barrel. "Be ready to retreat." Harry said, and I nodded in response. "On my mark, then."
"One," he whispered, "two," and then he started firing, pinning down one, two, three of the men with his Thompson. I worked on doing the same, shooting as accurately as possibly with my M1.
"Reloading!" I called out, quickly switching out the clip and resuming fire.
All six of the men were down. Harry slapped me on the back, both of us out of breath. "Let's go check the place out, alright?" He asked, I nodded, pulling myself, and then him to our feet. We quietly went around the hedge, me watching down the road as Welsh entered the clearing, so that we were back to back.
"Stay here, watch the road, make sure no more Germans come this way. I'm going to go check out the barn."
"Yes, sir." I nodded, getting down on one knee behind a tree to watch the road.
He crept towards the barn, rifle positioned and ready to fire.
"Anyone there?" He called out first in English, and then in German. At no response he jumped in through a huge hole in the wall. I didn't hear any immediate gun shots, so I took that as a good sign.
Returning my focus to the road, as Harry continued to scope out the area, I noticed two figures walking towards us.
"Hey, Harry, we've got company!" I looked back to call out to him, but was surprised to find him already next to me.
"Yeah, I see them, you got your cricket?"
"Yeah, give me a sec." I dug out my cricket from my pocket, never once looking away from the approaching men. Finding the small device, I gave it one click. I watched, with a bit of humour as one of the men started searching his person, supposedly for his own cricket. "I think they're American." I told Welsh, the man never did find his cricket, and we were too far away to hear them call out the signal, but they were close enough now I could see their uniform.
"Let's wait for them to get closer, and then challenge them again."
So we did, although now they were walking slower, with their weapons drawn. I too had my rifle set on them, in case they were imposters. Harry, however, lazily had his Thompson slung over his shoulder.
"Flash." He called out.
"Thunder." They replied. "That you Lieutenant Welsh?"
"The one and only." We both stood up, and I now recognized the painted faces of Luz and Skinny.
"Oh, hey, Charlotte." Luz called out.
"Hey, you two."
"Alright," Harry interrupted, "do either of you know where we are, because it's nearly dawn, and we need to get going."
"Yeah, ran through a town about a kilometer that way," Skinny pointed behind him.
"You got the name?"
"Yeah, wrote it down, but can't for the life of me pronounce it."
"Alright let me see." Welsh pulled out a map and took the scrap of paper with the name of the town and tried to figure out where we are. "Ok, we're about 16 kilometers out from where we need to be. Let's go."
The sun was starting to rise, as we waded through flooded fields. It lit up the sky in a pretty orange, which, if we weren't pressed for time, I would have liked to stop and admire. But as it were we had to keep going to make it to Ste. Marie-du-Mont before the rest of Easy moved out.
We finally made it that late afternoon, to stories about Speirs and about the assault on Brecourt Manor.
"Hey, Dick." Welsh said, sitting down next to the redhead. "Anything happen while we were gone?"
"Yeah, took out a group of four 105s," Dick replied.
"Wynn was hit, but he'll be okay. Lost Private Hall, though, and some men from Dog Company. "
"Hall?" I asked.
"Able company. Radioman."
"Oh, sorry." I said, squeezing his shoulder as I turned away, "I'm gonna go check on everybody. Let me know if something happens."
"Don't worry, Char, you'll be the first to know." Welsh winked.
I first ran into a group of Easy men, including Muck, Malarkey, and Penkala. "Have you guys seen Joann?" I asked.
"Liebgott said she was in the aid station, screwed up her ankle on the jump."
"Alright, thanks." I headed over to where the aid station was set up.
"Hey! Char!" Someone called out from behind me, "Wait up!"
I turned around to see Nix jogging towards me, grabbing by the shoulders and checking me for wounds.
"Lew, Lew! I'm fine. See?" I twirled around for him.
"Oh good, I don't know what first platoon would do without you."
"You mean what you would do without me?"
He just smirked in response.
"So are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm all good."
"Good." I reached up to give him a side hug before continuing on my way, but he looped both his arms around me, pulling me into a longer embrace.
"Lew, people are watching."
"Lew." I warned.
"Fine," he dropped his arms, "stay safe, ok?"
"Yes, mother." I smiled at him, and he smirked back as I turned away to enter the building.
"Hey, Roe, you seen Joann?" I asked.
"Yeah, sprained her ankle, I bandaged it up for her and she left. Don't know where to, though." He responded, not looking up from where he was digging a bullet out of somebody's shoulder.
"Ok, thanks, Eugene."
I then left, running out of places to look.
"Hey anybody seen Joann?" I called out, walking amongst the men assembled, "You seen her?"
"Hey Char, she went that way." Perco pointed out.
Finally I found her with Liebgott, Alley, and Plesha.
"Joann!" I called out.
"Charlotte!" She responded, wobbling over, wincing, as I met her in the middle of the square, and squeezed her into a hug.
"You okay?" She asked. "I was worried about you."
("I'll stand as witness for that" Liebgott joked.)
"Yeah, fine and dandy. You all good?"
"Except this ankle, I'm fine."
We stayed in our embrace for just a while longer, happy that both of us had made it through these last couple days.
So you know that plan i had to crank these out before my break was up, well that didn't happen. Sorry. This is probably the last one for a while. i will try to go back to writing once a week, though. :)
So if you review i will seriously become your best friend. and i'm really awesome to have as a best friend, because i make lots of baked goods. ;)