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Contents Copyright by Bruce Durham unless noted otherwise
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“Bloody mind readers! They’ve gone to ground again.” Duncan MacDuff scowled in frustration as he scanned the harsh scrub of the Zululand savanna. He tensed as he detected movement and ran his tongue across his dry upper lip. He squeezed the trigger of the Martini-Henry rifle. It kicked and belched smoke. Lowering the weapon, he reached into his ammo pouch for a cartridge. “Can’t tell if I got ‘em. Did I get ‘em, Griff?”

 

Private Ioan Griffith, a stocky, dark complexioned Welshman, squinted hard at the meadow. “Don’t know, mate. But if you ask me...” His answer was lost over the sound of successive blasts from a row of British cannon. Canister shot skimmed the nape of the rigid brush, tearing wide swaths for several hundred feet.

 

Moments later, several thousand Zulu warriors leapt to their feet, defiantly brandishing their aniklwas--broad-leafed spears--and thumping them loudly against their oval-shaped hide shields. The sound was like a massive host of locusts swarming through a deep valley. They charged; the arid, oppressive air reverberating with their unnerving battle cry of ‘uSuthu!

 

Griffith continued, “I’d say they know the cannon are ready when our gun crews step away. Smart buggers, eh Duffy?”

 

Off to the left their platoon sergeant barked a series of commands. “Load! Present! Fire!”

 

MacDuff sighted and squeezed off another round. A Zulu crumpled, disappearing in the tall growth. “Got one!” He reached for another cartridge, his fingers digging deep. “Griff, I’m low.”

 

Griffith flashed a worried look. “Me too, Duffy.” He shouted, “Ammunition! We need ammunition!”

 

“Load! Present! Fire!” The Martini-Henry rifles cracked again.

 

Somewhere along the thin British line a soldier cried, “I’m out!”

 

Griffith’s voice cracked. “Where’s Pope? What’s our bleedin’ commander doing? I’ve two rounds left.”

 

This story was reprinted in Abandoned Towers #3

and can be purchased through ComiXpress.

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”Missing in Action” is another classic story that shows the lengths that man kind will go through to survive. Another good idea well done.
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The speculative element in “Missing in Action” is quite a winner. Very imaginative idea, and splendid use of perspective in unveiling it.
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(I) love time travel tales, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Great story.
Missing in Action
Excerpt
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I think this story might have been another candidate for publication in a professional market. Needless to say, I liked it.

Tangent Online

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