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Able.Team.13.Scorched.Earth.1984 by Pendleton Don

Able.Team.13.Scorched.Earth.1984 by Pendleton Don

Author:Pendleton, Don [Pendleton, Don]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0100-12-31T22:00:00+00:00


11

In the red light of sunset, vultures feasted on the bodies of the soldiers who had died on the high ridge. The squat black creatures, their heads and necks glistening red with gore, paused in their feeding to look up at the helicopter. One vulture pulled its head out of the chest cavity of a naked corpse, a torn mass of lung tissue flopping in its beak. The vultures flapped their blood-splashed wings to drive off the huge mechanical insect descending onto the ridge.

Dust gusted. The rotor storm swirled red in the sunset as the chopper settled on its skids. Inside, Colonel Gonzalez, Lieutenant Colomo and a squad of soldiers looked through the Plexiglas of the sliding doors as the mountain wind carried away the dust. Without speaking, they watched as the dust-grayed vultures returned to the dead men.

The lieutenant threw open the door. Jerking out his autopistol, he fired at the vultures, the rapid-fire popping of the 9mm cartridges insignificant in the vast expanse of shadowy mountains and red sky.

Awkward, their gullets heavy with Mexican flesh, the vultures flapped away, squawking into the canyon.

Except one. The lieutenant's wild shooting had broken the wing of one vulture. Flailing the disjointed wing, the crippled carrion bird screeched and waddled away, its good wing fanning swirls of dust. The lieutenant rushed the vulture and executed it with three point-blank shots to the head, then launched a vicious kick at the gore-splashed headless creature.

Cursing, muttering prayers to their Catholic saints and God, the soldiers jumped out of the helicopter. They moved through the dead, groaning at the sight of vulture-mutilated faces with empty eyesockets and torn-away noses and lips. Soldiers shouted out to one another as they found dead friends.

Men forgot their machismo, their curses and obscenities becoming sobs.

Snapping his riding crop against his jackboot, the colonel finally took command. "Search the area! Perhaps someone survived and is hiding. Look for the bodies of the ones who did this. Look for weapons. Anything. We cannot take revenge until we know who committed this massacre and find them. Now! Soon it will be dark."

"The gringos did this!" the lieutenant declared. "We will search the mountains and make them pay. They will wish they were never born."

"It could not have been them," the colonel told his junior officer. "Sergeant Mendoza reported the gringos in the canyon, down there..."

Walking to where the ridge ended, Colonel Gonzalez pointed with his leather crop into the darkness of the gorge. "The ambush trapped the DEA men there. Sergeant Mendoza reported fighting between the gringos and Sergeant Orlando's platoon. Then Mendoza opened fire. The helicopter went down to make the kill. That is when the others attacked here."

The two officers looked at the twisted, gory bodies scattered around them on the ridge. The colonel continued his analysis. "The gringos could not have done this. Someone else. A force that came down from there..."

Like a professor lecturing, the colonel pointed to the mountain engulfed in shadows behind them. "They came from there.



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