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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1469041-Purple-Vision
by momark
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Men's · #1469041
Trainees find more danger than expected.
                   Purple Vision
                       cms08

         A bullhorn broke the silent muggy summer night.

         "Eat your carrots!"

         Matt Adams heard those words before, but never from an Army drill

sergeant.


         Matt glanced about nervously as he ate his carrot. The red nightlights

lent an unearthly haze to an odd sight.
         

         Four columns of armed men, all with empty rifles, standing in a trench

eating carrots. Four columns of glowing, jerking orange sticks growing shorter

and emitting the crackle of breaking vegetables.


         The soldiers finished eating and stood at parade rest. The carrot vitamin

A would give them the needed edge in night fighting. They would soon have

'purple vision.'


         Matt was in the third row of soldiers. He learned quickly in the Army -

never first, never last, but almost last was good.


         Ten minutes pasted and the bullhorn barked again.

         
         "First column, over the top. All remaining columns follow at fifteen

meter intervals."


         When all men were 'low crawling' in the range, the final order was given,

"Commence firing."


         Two hundred meters ahead and to the right, the first M-60 thirty caliber

machine gun began its rattle, seconds later, another - until six weapons were

laying a crossfire twenty inches above the ground.


         Matt froze. The fanning, intersecting flight of tracer rounds wove a

thousand crossing patterns above his head. Suddenly, an explosion in a slightly

marked pit 5 yards left and ahead broke his pause. He forged forward in a very

low profile. It was a cross between crawling and burrowing.


         Artillery simulation explosions were everywhere. He could read beneath

the light of tracer crossings.


         Matt focused on crawling ahead and keeping low, until he saw three

strands of barbed wire. They were four to sixteen inches off the ground. They were

too high to go over and low enough to rip and snag. This was another panic he

didn't need.


         Then his side vision caught a movement, a dust covered object about a

foot high. It was the sole of a boot.


         He crabbed to the left, following the boot.


         The prior two columns had burrowed a trench about six inches deep

under the wire. His pulse slowed. He felt his sweat as he rolled to his right and

wiggled beneath the wire, using his M-16 rifle to keep the barbs clear. Then he

rolled back on his gut and crawled ahead.


         A pair of explosions to his left set half his head ringing.


         "This better end soon," he thought. 


         At that instant, slightly ahead and to the right, a hazy purple form rose

to it's knees screaming.


         "Snake! Snake! Ami..!!"


         The form and screams fell.


         Matt began crawling faster than he could walk, swinging his rifle along

the earth ahead with his right hand. Many more barbed wire traps lie ahead and

he quickly burrowed under each with his rifle between the barbs and his back.

His legs scratched and bled, but he took no notice. Finally, between thundering

nodes of blinding light, he spotted the erect movements of human forms.


         The muzzle blast and flame of the nearest M-60 lit the earth. He could

clearly hear the clatter of spent casings piling as he crawled beneath the

weapons platform.

         
         Then, the explosions were behind him and he was on his feet. Matt

joined the group of tired, dirty, filthy, sweaty, bloody, smelly, silent men.


         The last column cleared the muzzle blast.


         It was again a silent muggy summer night.


         The soldiers were formed into a column of twos and marched, route

step, toward the distant barracks lights in near silence.


         Then some of the Puerto Ricans yelled,


         "Rico Dias - sound off."


         There was no answer, not at first. Then a lone southern voice yelled, "At

least it wasn't an American."


         Then there was absolute silence.


         During the march from the night firing range, Matt lost his purple vision,

as did many others.
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