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WE STAND AT THE GATE

A Short Story by James D. Pratt

Copyright 2012 James D. Pratt

Smashwords Edition


Cover image © HeroMachine.com

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Smashwords Edition, License Notes


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Heinrich hated sentry duty. A grizzled veteran at forty, he damn well should have merited exemption from such menial tasks. That’s what new recruits are for, and there were always plenty of new recruits. The mortality rate was high out on the edge of the southern frontier, but such was a soldier’s life. Dying from unnatural causes was part of the job and where the Damned Company was concerned, there was plenty of unnatural to go around. The Blight wasn’t going to guard itself, after all.

Granted, it was a small consolation that he was sharing guard duty with Eobard Critchler. The younger man was fairly tolerable as far as fresh recruits went. Most of the new guys grew up rough and tumble and arrived with scars on their faces and chips on their shoulders. With no prospects back in civilization (unless you counted death by knife or noose a prospect) they came south, lured by the promise of a generous pension for a mere ten years of service spent in shouting distance of the most dangerous place in the world. Heinrich didn’t just know their collective story, he’d lived it.

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