Pulling back the bolt, the spent cartridge flies over Dublin’s left shoulder, bouncing down the rocky hill behind him. Sliding another round into the chamber, settling the butt of the rifle into the groove of his arm Dublin focuses through the scope and takes aim at his next target. Between the cables he lays, overlooking Ripple Rock in Seymour Narrows. Stuck in the between the narrows, a battleship sits vulnerable, an opportunity taken by Dublin.
Contacts over the radio had ceased during the past 48 hours, static rang out from every channel. Dublin and his friend Huey had agreed to take in their own course of action after hearing about the ships sailing up the strait, destroying the Canadian Forces test facility in Nanoose, the smoke of the destruction visible for miles. Two way radios were still operational, Dublin and Huey communicated from their positions. They had trekked the trails up to the cliffs above Ripple Rock, rifles and backpacks filled with ammunition. When they reached the top, Huey split off, attaching a hook to the buoy cables that spread from the cliffs down to Quadra Island. When the ships were a few kilometers away from their position, Dublin gave Huey the green light and both began to fire upon the unsuspecting crewmen on the decks of the ships. Half an hour went by, shooting the scrambling men from above, the empty shells beginning to pile. When the battleship got wedged into the narrows, Dublin began to throw grenades onto the deck. Both men had thought they were winning this battle, but were soon taken back when a barrage of mortars began to explode around their positions.
“Pack up and move to their eleven Huey, I will rotate to their three” said Dublin.
“You got it Dub. They’re getting pretty close around here.”
Dublin scrambled backwards down the hill, rolling over warm shell casings. He found a nice little nook where the cliff lapped above a lower level. He hid between the rocks, the cliff face a perfect cover to block the gleam of the sun against the scope.
“How are you on ammo?” asked Dublin.
“Still got half a pack full, hopefully won’t run out before they’re all dead, how many of this suckers you think are left?”
“Not many I think, maybe only the mortar guys are left, I want you to take a couple of shots and then move your position once more, then do it again if they bomb where you last were, take a few more shots and when they’ve found your position again, move back, understand?”
“Roger that Dub. What about you?” asked Huey
“They wouldn’t find me even if we stopped and took a nap”
Huey replied with a laugh as Dublin set the walkie-talkie down beside him. He shot a man running on the deck with a bag of mortars on his back. Piercing the bag with a bullet, the rounds exploded, sending the man in every direction. With the attention drawn to Huey, Dublin moved his scope to the bridge deck to see if anyone was up there. A man stands behind a tinted window with a radio in his hand, Dublin fires through the glass, the man dropping his radio as he falls to the ground.
“Damn!” said Dublin to himself. “Who was he contacting?”
Huey’s voice crackled through the radio.
“Umm…Dub. There appears to be a hot air balloon coming from the west, directly towards our position.”
“How close is it?” He replied.
“It’s almost over top of your cliff, I didn’t see if until a few seconds ago”
“I had heard something over the radio about hot air balloons being here, but I can’t remember why” said Dublin.
“Was it something about them dropping a black powder from a compartment hanging below the basket?”
“Yes! That’s the reason!”
“Because it just did that Dub-“
Static cut off Huey mid-sentence, Dublin yelled his name into the radio but nothing replied. The black substance engulfed Dublin, he dropped the rifle to cover his face, but it seeped through his clothes and into his lungs. Flopping around, he knocked the rifle off the cliff, it went tumbling down and splashed in the water, sinking silently in the waters of Ripple Rock.