“What the hell is that?” Peter said as a large metal ball landed with a thud fifteen feet in front of him and skidded, churning up earth.
The man beside him, Peter thought his name was Thomas, responded “Looks like a cannonball.”
Another one sailed over head, landing in the field behind them. Peter watched the killing field, but the foe had yet to make an appearance, despite the sound they made crashing through the underbrush.
“Where the hell’d they get cannons,” Peter asked.
“I don’t know,” Said the man who might be Thomas, not realizing the question was rhetorical.
The first Other broke the tree line, and made it about twenty feet before being knocked backwards from the impact of three separate shotgun blasts. Finally, more and more of the Others broke the tree line and they began to drop from the gun fire.
Peter looked to Darrel, who, arm still in a sling, was commanding from a post atop a nearby tower, five cars high. He stood, with his arm raised, waiting to give the signal to detonate the first of the fuel trucks. The machine gun upon the tower opened fire, the muzzle flash backlighting Darrel.
Peter turned his attention back to the field before him and pulled the trigger on his gun. He was not sure if he was hitting anything, but their foe was falling in great numbers and had yet to return a single shot. Weapon empty, he handed it back to Amy and winked. She managed a weak smile as she handed him a fresh gun and began reloading the rifle he had been using. The large open space allowed for many targets to present themselves simultaneously and Peter took advantage, not watching for his target to fall before shifting to the next. More and more of the enemy soldiers poured onto the battlefield, many of them dying, others using their fallen companions as shields to make it even farther before they too fell. The battle had been raging in earnest for nearly twenty minutes, with not a single shot fired from the Others, when Peter heard the high pitched whistling of a second volley of cannon fire coming towards them. He took his eyes off of the field, looking to the sky but could not find the incoming missiles against the dark night sky. He felt the impact of the one that landed before him, even closer than the last but still not close enough to make contact with the wall. Somewhere down the wall was not so lucky as he heard a scream and felt wood shards fly past his face as the wall no more than twenty feet to his right exploded underneath the impact of the cannonball. Peter reached up and pulled a large shard of wood from his face, wincing as he did so. Blood trickling down his cheek, Peter resumed firing and finally he heard the shrill cry of ‘Now’ from Darrel.
He glanced at the man to make sure he had not misheard, and saw that the man’s arm had dropped, and Peter, along with half a dozen other shooters, took aim upon the farther of the two fuel tankers. Sparks flew as bullets ricocheted off of the trailer’s metal carapace until finally one bullet pierced its outer skin and then the sparks ignited the whole thing. He felt the heat from the giant fireball that seemed to encompass nearly fifty men, who joined many of their companions lying upon the field when the fire died down.
It was seconds later that the other tanker exploded, killing a few of the nearby Others, but having not nearly the impact the first explosion had.
Peter felt something tugging at his sleeve and looked back to where Amy was. She leaned in close and shouted, hoping to be heard over the gunfire around her. “We need to move, before those cannons fire again. The next one will hit the wall for sure.”
Peter nodded and then pointed at Darrel. “Tell him,” He shouted and watched as she ran off, handing the weapon she had been reloading to the man behind her. Peter regretted knowing so few names and promised himself that he would do his best to learn them all should he survive this fight. He took a few more shots before he noticed a glow coming through the trees. He sighted down the scope of the rifle he held and pulled the trigger, trying to take out one of the men carrying huge torches that were bringing up the rear of the advance, but the weapon clicked, the magazine empty. He handed it back and stole a glance toward the tower, where he could make the shape of Amy out talking to Darrel, who appeared to be nodding, at least from this distance.
Peter took the fresh weapon he was handed and stood back up, looking over the wall. He saw the torchbearers but decided that the closer Others required his immediate attention. Three more of them had dropped before he felt the tug on his sleeve again. It was Amy and she was motioning for him to move. He nodded, and slinging the gun over his shoulder, grabbed the men on either side of his position and pulled them back with him. They had barely made it to the bottom of the ladder when Peter heard the telltale whistling of cannonballs flying through the air. He ran for it, pushing Amy before him and was knocked onto his chest as the wood platform where he had been standing burst apart behind him. Spitting out a mouth full of dirt, Peter recovered his footing, his broken ribs causing him extreme pain, and then helped Amy to her feet. “You ok?” He mouthed and she nodded back at him.
Breathing labored, he rushed back to the wall as fast as he could and climbed what remained of the ladder, using the bodies of the cars to help him along his way. Finally he made it to the top and lay down, taking aim into the killing field, which seemed to be full of Others, getting ever closer to the city gate.