Free Fire Zone extract

Free Fire Zone, a book of seventeen linked short stories by Dennis Maulsby, published by Prolific Press.

In Vietnam, free fire zones were enemy territory, where killing and chaos could be hourly events, and survival was achieved by surrendering to one’s most primitive instincts. Rod Teigler, a Midwest farm boy, finds himself in the zones courtesy of Uncle Sam. His ability to stay alive becomes dependent upon a second personality — a persona, rising out of the ancient reptilian portion of the human brain — that millions-of-years old ancestor who decides when to fight and when to run. During the fighting in Southeast Asia, this old berserk one surfaces to keep them alive. With each manifestation, it becomes stronger and more independent. Lieutenant Teigler will bring back home two distinct personalities. Will they learn to co-exist?

Extract from the first story entitled “Free Fire Zone”

It was black. It was blacker than black — not just the absence of light, a blackness of sound, a blackness of mind and soul…. It crept in, as it always did, after the rocket attacks in those hours of the morning that one wanted to believe were inviolate. It grew so thick that the pulse of its organs could be felt against the skin. The blackness filled every surface and irregularity. The slow tide would crest the earth berm, leak through and around the sandbagged bunkers to touch booted feet, and then rise to groins and chests. It filled the barrels of rifles and pressed cloth and hair against flesh, pushed out the air as it entered pores, noses, and ears, until its acid velvet was all there was.

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