By Anthony Schiavino
Wind currents buffeted the flying fortress’s wings. Four engines drinking in deep, one last shot, before facing certain doom. Inside the cargo bay, soldiers prayed with their rifles in hand as the fuselage rattled, threatening to tear itself apart and plummet into the drink. Under the cover of a billowing mass, they approached a fortified coast high above but not out of reach. Flak exploded outside of the thin glass, shaking the plane harder with blunt force intensity. The cabin lit up by tracers closing in.
One of the soldiers made the sign of the cross. “You going to be able to handle the door?” he shouted, straining to be heard across the cargo bay.
The other vomited in his helmet before wiping his mouth on his sleeve. With his pallor still ripe, he said, “I’ll get it done. Don’t worry about me.” Another wave of nausea crested.
“Two minutes until dead drop!” shouted the co-pilot through the cockpit door.
The light came on, bathing the soldiers in a blood-red haze. Both of the men stood up and hooked their safety lines onto the rod above. The bay doors opened as they made their way down, slowly approaching the cage.
The Wolves of Omaha © 2013 Anthony Schiavino
Taxis to hell – and back photograph © 1944 Robert F. Sargent