The Attack

The Attack

A Chapter by Pillow Of Winds

Account of Patrol 60781: Mercer, Phillip, armed patrol in Enfield, North London, March 27th 1982, World War lll: 

 

The sky seemed to hang low above the town like a haunting canopy, it was as miserable as a graveyard and grey as the skin of a dying man. Mercer-or patrol 60781 as his superiors called him-took slow, sauntering steps along the long street which led to what had once been a popular shopping centre; but was now a combination of an artillery outpost and emergency distress station. The overwhelming knowledge of the gloominess of the sky was only equalled by the lack of activity on the street. There were plenty of people around but they weren’t doing a lot; exchanging dreary conversation; standing around not doing much. There were hardly any cars moving, petrol was very much rationed.

Mercer held his rifle loosely against his chest as he trudged along; what a grim world 1982 had thrown up; it had been expected ever since 1962; what was next, 24 hour surveillance by fanatic dictators?

Ever since the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the outbreak of WWlll as a result, the world had been in steep and obvious decline. Many nuclear missiles had been fired at the Western forces: America, Britain, France, West Germany and Canada being perhaps the worst affected; and plenty had been fired back at the East in retaliation. And other lands, such as the Middle East, South America and the Far East for example were wrapped up in their own wars. All the countries-or at least all you could think of-had been affected by the war in some way; cities lay in ruins; islands were hopelessly polluted; beautiful countryside was withered and decaying; and the number of battles that were taking place at this very moment filled Mercer with a sense of powerful despair.

Mercer could make out a very faint whir, but he couldn’t define its origin or where it was coming from. He looked around. Nothing that could be creating the low din of noise could be seen. It was only when a fellow guard up on the rooftop of a food store shouted “Hey! Look! Up there!!” that Mercer looked up into that grey sky.

 There was a long line of shadows behind the clouds. They littered the sky in a horizontal line. The machine gun turrets on the rooftops all swivelled in their direction, southward toward Central London. Mercer could tell what was going on-even if he didn’t want to believe it. The drone grew louder. People began murmuring and moving around more quickly, eyes still focused on the sky. Still the whirring grew louder. Mercer and many other guards-most town and city streets were crawling with them-had all stopped and stood looking at the sky. The shadows emerged from behind the clouds. “Enemy planes!!” yelled a voice from the rooftops.

Now people began to hurry and the noisy rumble of countless worried voices filled the air. Civilians all ran and scurried off in all directions. Calamity could be heard across from the town park despite it being quite a number of metres away. Even above the hotbed of noisy anxiety a new noise emerged, louder and more shrill than everything else. It was a whistle. A whistle getting louder as it descended. Mercer could hear several yells around him but only caught the odd word ‘Oh my God!’, ‘It’s a nuke!’, ‘Run for your lives!’ Mercer’s heart seemed to sink with dread almost as quickly as the whistle. And then it happened.

BOOM!! A flash of unbelievable white light. A deafening reverberation of noise. A devastating explosion as the nuclear bomb landed on Central London. The light illuminated the grey landscape for e moment. Everyone was awe-struck. Then as the light receded and the mushroom cloud rose up into the sky-like the devil rising up from hell-a mighty gust of wind flew out from Central London and swept through the whole city.

Mercer covered his face and fell to the dusty ground. Cries and screams now erupted all around. The fighter planes began to split off and seemed to be flying all over the city. The turrets on the rooftops opened fire. Mercer and the other guards opened fire with their rifles, it wasn’t much use of course, but they could do nothing else. His head was swimming…it had been two years since the last nuclear bomb had landed on Britain. He couldn’t recall one landing on London before. Was this a wipe-out? Would they be able to fight off the Eastern forces this time?

One of the planes fell to the earth in a ball of fire. Another explosion ripped the air. This time it was a carpet bomb which landed near the Canary Wharf area. Then another; this time in what Mercer assumed was the Southgate area, judging from where the flames were rising from. A few more planes were destroyed, but the fleet was still beyond numbering. Perhaps this really was the wipe-out.

The former shopping centre, which consumed both sides of the street and the main bulk of the buildings up ahead, would surely be a target. The thunder of the turrets was overwhelmed by the sound of the fighter planes sweeping down. Mercer dived behind cover. Hails of bullets seemed to run up the street, cutting through some guards and civilians, leaving their panicking bodies reduced to bloody heaps on the cold ground.

It seemed to Mercer that the last twenty years had been a prelude to this day. The constant battles; the new conflicts between nations who had never previously fought; the riots sparked by fear and anger; and now a nuclear assault would bring it all to an end. Mercer could remember when a nuclear bomb had landed on Washington DC in 1964. The capital had simply been moved and America had emerged over the disaster. But Mercer remembered the initial fear and panic, he had seen it in his parent’s horrified eyes and pale faces; he remembered the riots and looting; the outcries of doom and the worlds ending on almost every street corner you passed; and now this doom had come…

…Yet another explosion. This time the building to Mercers right erupted in a shower of glass, dust and rubble as a downed enemy plane flew into it, leaving a trail of fire behind it. Mercer dived forward and rolled several times until he was on the opposite side of the street. All strategy and organisation seemed to have been stolen away from the guards on the street. Chaos had taken over. All that mattered now was survival, survival until some sort of counter attack could be made.

As If the horror couldn’t increase anymore, Mercer then saw a small girl of about four years old, right in the middle of the street. She was standing there, looking around in fear and serious confusion. Tears were streaming down her face. She was looking for her parents. As the sound of another fighter plane descended, Mercer threw his rifle aside instinctively and ran into the street. He scooped up the child. The plane opened fire. Dust flew up behind Mercer as he scrambled out of the way, the screaming child in his arms.

“Patrol!” came the cry of what Mercer assumed was a fellow guard. He turned toward the voice and saw the uniform of a guard captain “The attacks happening in the centre! Their dropping troops, we need all available troops!” Mercer looked from the captain, then to the sobbing child he’d just rescued, then back at the captain. Even through his visor, he could see a look a sorrow cross the captains face. “You gotta go!” he yelled “Patrol! Move! I’ll take the kid back to base. She’ll be ok”

Mercer walked toward the captain but felt an unrelenting urge to refuse. Not for himself, he didn’t fear the battle ahead. He wanted to make sure the child would remain ok. How could he be certain the captain would not die and her with him? This girl was only four, too young to understand any of this. If he handed her over he would never again know whether she had lived or died. He would have no way of preventing it; if he could do nothing as to guess at her fate surely that in itself was a failure to ensure her safety?

The captain snatched the girl from Mercer’s arms, leaving him standing still and feeling horribly miserable, as though a shadow had spread over his soul. “Now go!” ordered the captain “I’ll take care of her” and with that he turned and ran north, the girl looked back at Mercer with wide eyes, red from tears and imploring him with their fear. Mercer felt as though he had just been defeated, he stood there watching as the innocent, unfortunate child, who may or may not live, slipped from his eyes never to be seen again, whatever happened to her.

An open top truck filled with guards just like Mercer, turned round the corner and stopped beside him. The wooden barrier at the back of the truck slid down and one of the guards offered him a hand “No time to waste” sounded a youthful voice from behind the black visor of the standard helmet “we might still be able to push these b******s back!” Mercer, somehow inspired by the grouping together of black uniformed soldiers just like him, all determined to defend their country, grabbed his ally’s hand and climbed aboard the truck.

Another hand reached out from the crowd of black uniforms and gave Mercer a rifle. A different hand reached over to Mercer and patted his shoulder firmly “No fear mate” exclaimed a voice that was more rough and grizzled, but no less devoid of the indefinable sense of comradeship that soldiers shared “keep low and stay alert. We’ll ‘ave ‘em” Mercer felt no fear as the truck sped on toward the epicentre of blast. He was with allies. He was with fellow soldiers who felt that there should always be a Britain. Mercer forced back the sickly feeling in his stomach and gripped his rifle tight as he headed into the heart of the battle. 



© 2010 Pillow Of Winds


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Added on April 26, 2010
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Author

Pillow Of Winds
Pillow Of Winds

Stirling, United Kingdom



About
I'm a 17 year old student at Stirling High School and an aspiring writer. Basically i joined this site in search of review and hints from other writers to help me improve and this site seemed better t.. more..

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Chapter I Chapter I

A Chapter by Pillow Of Winds