Excerpt: The Factory

George Clausen, The Village at Night


Toward town, there are more white stripes, on blacked out street lamps and the occasional signpost. We tie one on at an open place, packed wall to wall with locals, RAF, and staties all jumbled together, everyone hovering around the only place in town with light like a bunch of moths. Tomorrow we fly to our new home base.

“Our new home, honey,” McDowell, our waist gunner, shouts drunkenly in the ear of some poor local girl. His arm is limp around her shoulders. “And you are my new wife!”

We are holding each other up on the dark journey back down that dusty road, stumbling, cursing, numb and afraid. There is not a car on the road.

“What the holy hell is that, Sergeant?” Christopher says to me. His fingers are digging into my shoulder. I’m not sure if he’s holding me up or the other way around.

Something white is coming through what sounds like tall grass, making a swishing noise. Another mile down the road, the horrifying whine of engines blows on the breeze like a banshee from RAF, where our beds will be tonight.

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