© 2009, Patrick Hester. All Rights Reserved
Evermist: Chapter Five
Sergent Fesh’s voice boomed, quickly followed by the sound of a dozen rifles going off. Elias had one eye closed as he squeezed the trigger on his repeater and saw the puff of smoke on the other side of the range where the bullet hit the target. He knew it was in the center again. Everyone said he was the best shot, and he didn’t believe it at first, but Fesh told him he was a natural and that… That he -was- starting to believe.
He brought the lever down, bringing another bullet into the chamber but he didn’t squeeze the trigger again just yet. You learned early to never fire until Fesh told you to.
A dozen more rifles exploded with sound, and Elias saw the puff of smoke that indicated a hit on his bag of sand. Again and again, Fesh gave the order to fire, and the young men lying on their stomachs, weapons stretched out before them, fired until their weapons were exhausted, then reloaded and started again.
“Break!” Fesh shouted, and Elias let himself relax. He pushed up to his knees and took a deep breath. He was sweating like a pig and his skin ached where the sun had turned it appleberry red. He wasn’t used to the sun, but he knew he’d get there eventually.
“Elias,” Fesh called to him. He rose and stood at attention until Fesh waved him off and told him to stand at ease.
“You’re getting better with that rifle. I’d say every shot hit in the two center circles this last round. You’re calm and you make each shot count. Not much call for snipers on Evermist, but hitting what you aim at? Most of the farmer’s sons we get jump each time their gun goes off. Stick with it and you’ll wear the Marksman’s Patch on your sleeve. Maybe make something of yourself.”
“Thank you Sergent,” Elias said with a smile, and meant it. The Marksman’s Patch?
Narut stepped up as soon as Fesh was gone, a grin on his face.
“What was that all about?”
Elias grinned back. “He said if I keep it up, I could earn the Marksman’s Patch.”
Narut laughed. “I told you! But you wouldn’t listen. You’re too modest!”
“I didn’t think I was that good!”
“Nonsense! You’re the best shot out here and Fesh knows it! Heck, everyone knows it except you!”
Elias laughed again.
“This calls for a drink!” Fyet said as he and Broat walked up. “Everyone have passes for the weekend?”
Elias and Narut nodded in unison.
“Good! I’ve heard about a place I want to try…”