Free Fire Zone extract The Ambush

Free Fire Zone, a book of seventeen linked short stories by Dennis Maulsby, published by Prolific Press. An extract from each of the stories will be posted, one a day. Lieutenant Teiglar struggles with multiple personality disorder — a berserker reptilian persona released in Vietnam attempts to become dominate.

Extract from the second story entitled “The Ambush.”

The monsoon rain beat at the men. Great gray pillars of rain stomped over every-thing. The triple canopy jungle surrounding the patrol never got dry. Water trickled off millions of exposed plant surfaces to make background noise unique to the season and place. One could hear the percussion of drops landing on leaves like a thousand brushed snare drums. Water fell on the top foliage, then dripped downward from leaf to leaf accumulating until one heard the thrup, thrup, thrup of rivulets slapping the spongy jungle floor. Flesh could take the constant soaking, but standard issue leather boots rotted out after three months.
So far, it had been one of those usual patrols; no sign of the enemy. A man took a pungee stick in his calf from a pit trap. Two others hauled him back, reducing the group to nine. The remaining men dealt with the damp misery by focusing on family, girlfriends, or the chance the next mail call would bring something good. Everyone drifted off in his own little world, lulled by the drumming, drumming, drumming of the rain. The dreams were better than reality but not being alert in the here-and-now could get you killed.

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