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Posted on Dec 26, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Interactive Combat Story: First Night in Normandy

By Brandon Neff


Fearing the worst, a German intent on your destruction, you fire two quick rounds into the darkness where your mind last recalls the glint of metal.  The report of the rifle seems unusually loud and you hope it doesn’t draw attention to your position. Of course, the entire world seems to be shooting at one thing or another and one more loud noise in this night of thunder should hopefully go unnoticed.

After the crack of the rifle, you hear a gasp and wheeze coming from the darkness!  You rush forward, rifle at the ready and examine your kill.  When you enter the darkened glade you see a writhing body wrestling with death as bright blood spurts from his mouth with every breath, his lungs filling with fluid.  You drop to your knees in horror as you realize that this man was a fellow paratrooper and not the enemy. In fact, it is Frank Greene, a young private who jumped with you from that C-47 undoubtedly miles away by now.


You cradle Frank’s head in your arms and ease his passing from this life as guilt gnaws at you.  Judging by the look on Frank’s face before his struggle is finished, he bears you no ill will and a soft look of contentment would seem to imply relief that for him this war is over and his suffering was brief.

You stay with Frank’s body for several minutes after his passing and vow that you will take more care in the life-and-death decisions that are all too commonplace on the battlefield.  You cover your fallen friend with the remnants of a nearby parachute and continue towards your objective, you heart grieved by what has transpired.

Go to 19.

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