Give the Sign

He is a good man, this lieutenant, but young and very inexperienced, you think to yourself. He looks younger than you do. You would prefer to be led by someone with more battle experience under his helmet than him.

You look at him closely. He’s trembling and not just from the cold. His fear is palpable and the men are becoming demoralized. He should have ordered the charge ten minutes ago. By now, the fiends will have dug themselves in and will be harder to rout.

You wonder how he ever became a lieutenant. You wonder whose son he is.

You look into the eyes of your comrades. Each of you knows that the charge is late. Each of you knows that much more delay will kill you all. Each of you is looking for some sign from someone to go. Surely the lieutenant must sense that. How can he not when it’s written on your faces?

The lieutenant closes his eyes and takes a few sharp breaths. He opens his eyes and looks at his men. He nods and waves his hand. Your adrenalin begins to pump. Hard. Finally.

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