First draft is just shy of the 33% mark. I’m feeling the flow, but I’m not doing the bull dance yet – classical reference. No plot spoilers ahead.
Jason reached the top of the cut and eased his head up for a peak. He drew it back just as slowly, but when he turned back to look at Sandy and Richard, his eyes were wide and his face was pale.
The youngest man was silent until Richard hissed, “What? Is it clear?”
Jason swallowed and nodded quickly. Sandy adjusted his grip on the bat and followed closely as Richard moved up to Jason’s level. Together, the two mean took their own look at the road.
The National Guard had assembled an inward-curved wall of concrete Jersey barriers across both lanes of the bridge. A trio of olive-drab painted Hummers sat right up against the inner wall of the arc. Sandy supposed that had given the assemblage a bit of stability. Since the wall was still intact, he supposed that the position of the vehicles had fulfilled the intended purpose.
The persistence of the construction was cold comfort for the men and women who’d manned the blockade.
The pile of skeletal remains started a good twenty feet in front of the curved wall. The mound grew in height as it drew closer to the barricade, limbs and ribs and skulls interwoven into an unrecognizable mess of human detritus; a literal wave of bone coated in scraps of rotten flesh. The torn remnants of clothing fluttered here and there in the breeze.
The stink must have been ungodly. Sandy realized his jaw was hanging open and he closed it with a soft, abrupt pop as he continued to study the remnants of the doomed last stand. The wave of bones rose and crested over top of the Jersey barriers. In some spots they covered the Hummers to the roof line. Piles of spent brass winked in the sunlight. The barrels of heavy machine guns sagged down on all three of the big trucks, though the turret stations were empty on all save the one closest to them. The skeleton still wore shreds of camouflage fatigues and a helmet, but lay half-out of the turret, prone on the windshield. The exit hole punched in the helmet and the locked-back pistol still clutched in one desiccated hand told Sandy all he needed to know.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God,” Richard whispered and crossed himself.
“How many?” Jason whispered. “Hundreds?”
Sandy scanned the bone slope and muttered, “Thousands.” He started counting skulls and gave up after he got to twenty just on the hoods of the Hummers.
“Go tell the Spartans,” Jason muttered.
Sandy just shook his head. “They rang the damn dinner bell for them. Big guns like that, you can hear them going off for miles.” He glanced at Richard. “Where’d they come from?”