My story, “Pinned”, is now live on the Kasma SF Magazine website.
Prior to reporting to Fort Knox for the Armor Officer Basic Course (AOBC) as a newly-minted second lieutenant in November 1998, former tankers and cavalrymen had warned me of soldiers getting grievous injuries after making careless mistakes when operating the infamous seventy-ton M1A1 Abrams tank. They would regale me with stories of soldiers losing arms when they failed to remove a tank round from the ammunition storage compartment quickly enough before the automated blast door sealed shut or men losing fingers because they failed to remove their wedding rings before climbing onto a tank.
When I first reported to AOBC, our instructors never ceased warning us about the dangers of operating the M1A1. For instance, our non-commissioned officer (NCO) instructors would tackle any oblivious second lieutenant who unwittingly ventured under a tank’s main gun—the logic being that if the gunner decided to lower the main gun at that precise moment, it would crush the lieutenant’s skull. We even had an incident during tank gunnery in which a lieutenant nearly suffocated when his tank’s halon firefighting system malfunctioned.
As part of this tank “lore”, I heard a story about a soldier who got pinned between two tanks at the torso. The other soldiers knew that the instant they separated the tanks, the pinned man’s torso would be severed from his waist and legs. Consequently, while the dying man’s blood slowly drained from his face, the Army rushed to bring his wife and children to him so he could see them one last time and say goodbye. I can’t remember if this incident was rumored to have occurred in Germany or at Fort Knox, but everyone in the Armor branch seemed to be familiar with it. I’ve never been able to confirm if the story was true, but it obviously served as the inspiration for “Pinned.”
I based this story’s firefight on an actual one that happened in 2004 during the Battle of Mosul near ancient Nineveh where there was extensive fighting between U.S. forces and insurgents over control of key bridges spanning the Tigris River.
Similarly, Sharur and Asag come straight from Sumerian mythology. Sharur is an enchanted mace belonging to the god, Ninurta, that is used to defeat the primordial demon, Asag. Of course, I added some of my own fantastical elements to these mythological components to make the story my own.
I hope you enjoy the story.
Buy my first complete anthology at Amazon or Smashwords. It includes ten stories about cursed alien artifacts, interstellar investment banking, ancient alien astronauts, parallel timelines, alien experimentation, and space colonization gone horribly wrong.
First published in venues like Fictionvale Magazine, NewMyths.com, Mad Scientist Journal, Plasma Frequency Magazine, Outposts of Beyond, and The Colored Lens, several of these stories have received Honorable Mentions in the prestigious Writers of the Future Contest.