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   Chapter 13 No.13

Black Sunrise By Christina Engela Characters: 5907

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

His military activities since retiring here twenty years ago consisted mainly of arranging benefit dances for the Veteran's Widows and Orphans Fund and (of course) the regular piss-ups in Skegg's Valley while indulging in some harmless dynamite fishing with the boys on the Whatoosie River every other week or so. Now, lying under his bivvy (old habits die hard), he could hear explosions in the distance. He stirred. Wilkins was snoring faintly under a cherubub bush over to his left. A hundred meters or so other side the clearing, the river was gently whispering away. Nobody was making a sound otherwise. The campfire was just glowing embers now, a few fish skeletons still smoldering among them. A large plastic box stood a safe distance away from the fire, under a piece of cammo-netting and a deck of Naked Lady playing cards. It contained the stun grenades for the fishing trip. (Cocka Snoek were renowned for their resilience. It would normally take a direct hit with a grenade to get a handful of the critters to float to the surface.) The surrounding area was littered with empty beer cans and used mess tins. They'd had a nice time, Cocka Snoek on the spit and some ice-cream and brandy for afters.

The Club had drawn the line at bringing a stripper along on these trips because they no longer had a qualified medic in the outfit – he'd passed away unexpectedly last year (his last words before the explosion had been something along the lines of 'Where'd this blooming pin come from?'). He recalled they'd switched to stun grenades soon afterwards. For one thing, the fish tasted much better without bits of shrapnel in them, and anyway it saved on the visits to the dentist.

It had been a long day. They went to bed around oh, 22 hundred. Nobody said a


* * *

Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller was not given to bouts of anger, but seeing the mound of rubble that used to be her neighborhood, made her positively livid. She'd just made the last payment on her apartment too – and now it was… gone – with all her worldly possessions, including her movie collection, her cat, her budgie – everything. Even the noisy neighbors upstairs and the nasty little brat that used to steal her washing off the lines. (Her washing too, for that matter.) Well, okay she considered – those she could do without. She was still alive and it was time to count her blessings. When the bombs had started to fall on Atro City, she was off duty and driving home on her bike – but fortunately, she arrived after her apartment building, the three surrounding apartment blocks and a portion of the small park opposite had disappeared inside the new crater. A few gray dusty figures illuminated by the fires were wondering around aimlessly in the dark, spluttering and bumping into things. Instinctively, she knew what to do. She had to get back to the Office – her other home, get the boys together and find the bastards who did this – and kick their asses!

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