Bullets peppered the dirt around Al and his partner. They instinctively returned fire, the barrels of their automatic rifles pulsing white hot from burst after burst of armor piercing slugs. Thick smoke belched from a crippled station wagon lying on its side by the mouth of the rural alley where they’d taken cover. The glow of burning fuel intermingled with the unmistakable stench of seared flesh, creating a nauseating haze. A slug ricocheted off the peeling wall, gouging a chunk of brick from the dilapidated surface.
A flickering of illumination from ancient streetlights succumbed to the gloom of late evening, casting otherworldly shadows over the rustic thoroughfare – now transformed to a killing zone.
White noise and static shrieked from their radios – not that they could distinguish anything in the cacophony of the firefight. The concussion of gunfire had devastated their hearing, and the ringing from tinnitus obliterated all sounds besides the percussive chatter of their guns.
Squinting down their sights at the blurs of motion on the rooftops of the bombed-out buildings across the street, they gave each other a knowing glance before squeezing off the last of their rounds. They weren't going to make it.