I hold my breath, steady my rifle, and quickly blink away a bead of sweat running down into the corner of my eye.
“Two point five”, my spotter mutters.
I nod, almost imperceptibly, making sure the movement doesn’t knock me off target.

The Geiger counter starts ticking faster and faster as wind blows irradiated dust across the street and into our hideout, above what used to be a body shop. My spotter slowly covers himself with his blanket, taking care not to disturb the layer of dust that has settled on us.

It takes four minutes for any color to turn into a dark, smoky gray in this city.

“Two point seven.”
I adjust my rifle.
“Two point nine. Shit, eleven.”

A crack rings out and a hunting round zips into the window and through my spotter’s right hand.
As he opens his mouth to scream, I roll to the side, feeling a second round land where I was a fraction of a second ago.
I yell, “NOW!” as I get to my knees, bringing my gun to bear.
He flings his blanket to the window, creating an enormous dust cloud.


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