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Capture the Flag
“Overtime, capture the flag.” I stood frozen along with my teammates, watching the timer countdown. 3…2…1…0. “Capture the objective.”
As one we surged forward, bumping into one another, into buildings and sliding up against walls we scattered. Our senses heightened, watching, waiting, listening. I, by myself, ran across the wide open road, praying none would see me. I fled inside a doorway, clinging to the wall.
I knew for certain that someone would run by me. It was possible none would but it was also possible the whole enemy team would. I cringed at the thought of facing the entire enemy team. There would be no way I would survive. It was fool hearted to think so. Bracing myself I peeked around the corner.
My eyes quickly scanned the room before me. The reds, golds, and browns lit by soft warm light of the hotel lobby was empty of life other than the small bug, scuttling across cold hard tiles and plush rugs. Swiftly my feet carried me across the lush room to the edge of a door way leading out to a small cozy courtyard. The outside yielded not a soul.
Focusing on a crooked corridor, I charge in the open, confident no one was there, but remained cautious and alert. My fingers twitched against the trigger in anticipation. My eyes were wide and flicked to every direction, trying to see everything at once. I was on the edge of enemy territory. Vigilance was absolutely necessary.
A body slammed against me with barbarous force, knocking me to the side. Dazed, I frantically searched my field of vision. I thought no thoughts. I could only feel the tension rising within me. I was the only one who chose to run this way. All my teammates had either stayed behind or ran the alternate route on the other side of the map. I just hit was an enemy soldier. This fact resonated through my body. It was inescapable.
The man was stumbling to regain his composer when my arms began to move automatically as they were trained to do. They lifted the weight of the gun to my shoulder, the smooth end rested solidly against it. The man had seen my movements and began to spray bullets, in crazed panic, without taking aim.
Deliberately, I fell to the ground. Bullets peppered the wall brick wall above me. Lying flat on the cobble stones, I brought my weapon to my face. It’s cool metal brushed against my cheek. Looking up through the sights made my breath pause for the briefest of moments.
In four short bursts bullets entered the body of the man who stood before me. His silent blood choked scream rang lost in the receding echoes of gunfire. His gun slid from his grip and clattered to the earth, where than his body followed. The lifeless heat from his dead flesh was devoured by long casted shadows and cold greedy cobble stones. This man would move no more.
Heaving myself to my feet made me realize the rapid pace of my heartbeat. The sound of it pounded in my head, threatening to turn its contents to mush. The world which has seemed to slow just for that moment sped back into perspective. As it did an overwhelming urgency filled my entire being. The enemy had taken our flag.
I leaped over the limp body and ran through the short corridor, pass the bar table, stopping abruptly before the doorway. I could see the red flag waving in tantalizing splendor. It was practically begging me to take it. As much as I wanted to I hesitated, pacing the door back and forth. So many times before this I had ran out to that alluring flag only to be shot down by an enemy camper, who was hiding out there somewhere, protecting that flag. Precious time was ticking by.
One of my teammates pushed past me and ran out to that flag without a second thought. In the corner of my eye I saw small rapid flashing of light as I watched my teammate shot in the back. His falling body tripped a claymore and the explosion threw his body out of sight. My teammate had died but in his death I now knew the enemy camper’s position.
Backing away from the door, I steadied myself. Taking a running dash I leaped out of the door from top of the stairs. In mid-air I twisted my body to the right and fired. That camper never had time to aim his fun. Landing on my feet, I spun around and sprinted toward my prize. My initial excitement of acquiring the flag dissipated when I saw three hostile soldiers rushing straight toward me. One of them carried our green flag.
Pain bit my sides as they showered live rounds at me. I staggered straight into a wall while ducking behind a wrecked car and an overflowing dumpster. I could hear their ammunition penetrate and rebound against the metal shielding me from them. I doubted I could survive.
Unexpectedly, my eyes were blinded with white. A dull ringing sound pieced my ears. Fear filled my body. It was a fear of the unknown. I laid there on the ground, next to some foul smelling ooze, blind and deaf to the world. For ten terrible agonizing seconds I waited for the execution shot to kill me but no such thing came.
Slowly, the ringing faded and I could see but my sight was blurred. Two shapes stood before me. One began to jump up and down wildly, the other paced to and fro. Both where signaling me to get up, urging me to run with them with their body language. With clear eyes I recognized my teammates. Getting off the dirty concrete I ran around the dumpster and toward the far side of the map. My teammate followed.
My Lightweight escort had moved to run ahead of me while the other, a ghost like myself, trailed after me. In one line we ran pausing only inside a building, the halfway point, meeting no foe along the way. We were so close to home base but the main battle had moved there. We could see missiles being shot in to the sky and the flashes of frags, semtexs, and concussion grenades against the buildings. The thunder cracks of sniper rifles and the distinct clangs of every gun being fired exploded in our ears, echoing all around us.
Lightweight ran out to the cascading fountain, cautiously crouch walking the rim of it. I followed him and Ghost’s footsteps sounded behind me. Lightweight scanned the area with wide sweeping arcs before aching to the entryway yards in front of us. As I was running after him I saw bursts of light to my left. Turning in that direction allowed me to see ghost fall dead to the ground. His killer backed up trying to reload. Hip firing my weapon at this enemy soldier allowed me to avenge Ghost but it took the whole clip. Turning way from the dead bodies I reloaded and entered the room.
I could see Lightweight shooting in to the small hoard of hostiles before one came up from behind and back stabbed him. Quickly I aimed and fired. The backstabber went down with a head shot. Hopping over his body and sprinting into the chaos of battle, I focused only on our flag. I was hit with enemy fire once again and my vision reddened. Taking a final leap faith, hoping, wanting with everything I had I dove head first. My shoulder hit our flag pole. Our world froze.
“Enemy flag captured. Victory is ours.”