They were pinned between the tanks and the river, and twenty feet separated them from the path to the makeshift hospital, across the edge of the bridge with deep bombholes that showed rebar. A flashlight signaled to them from the other side of the bridge.
"Shit, man, it's so close!" Davinia whispered. She was at the front of the line of couriers, with their packs of cobbled together medical supplies, crouching, and sweating from the run through deserted, shelled streets, from nerves, and from the heat of the humid summer night.
"Shut up," said Grace. She was behind Davina. She looked at her watch and pressed the button to light up its face. Disappointed, she leaned back against the peeling paint of what was one the side of convenience store.
"What are they doing?" asked Ian, who was behind Grace. She glared at him, as if to say, what did I just say you idiot?
"They're looking the other way, I think," said Davinia, quickly peeking around the corner. "But I can't see all of them."
"This is a bad place to cross," said Grace in a very hushed tone.
"We can't go back now," said Ian. He stood up quickly and dashed across the bridge. When he was halfway across, Grace stood and ran out.
"Oh, fuck," said Davinia. Her eyes darted to the tanks, and saw one of the soldiers alerted to the sound of Ian's footsteps. He noticed Grace. Ian was at the other side already, hidden in the lee of an old building, his hand out towards Grace. The soldier pulled out his handgun and fired at Grace. The bullet punctured her skull and she fell sideways against the railing of the bridge. Bits of brain and blood and skull rained down in pathetic droplets into the still river water below. Her legs gave out and she slid like dropped marionette into one of the bombholes.
Davinia stared, shaking. The soldier laughed and pointed out the body to the others. He talked of a clean kill shot, and what a cow she was. Davinia shucked off her backpack, then threw it as hard as she could across the bridge. The soldiers shouted, and bullets cut into the wood of the convenience store. Splinters of wood sliced across her field of view, but she saw Ian dart out to pick up the backpack and run back. A fresh hail of bullets followed him back to the safety of the dark space, and took the opportunity to run out to Grace.
A bullet tore into her shoulder and she screamed. She tripped towards Grace, and fought to pull off her backpack. Another bullet ripped into the side of her mouth, shattering her lower jaw and mashing the flesh of her mouth. Her tongue hung loosely. She got the backpack free and threw it to Ian with her good hand. As she released it, a bullet chewed up the bones in her hand. Ian caught the backpack and held out a hand for her, but she ignored him. She kicked a piece of concrete towards the tanks, then a bullet took out her knee and she fell next to Grace. Her head hit the pavement hard and blood and teeth pooled out. The soldiers laughed, and three of them got down to chase Ian.
Davinia put her hand against her friend's cheek, then pulled down Grace's eyelids. One of the soldiers came and stood over her. He looked at her, smirking. Then he pushed her with his boot, rolling her under the railing, until she dropped the ten feet to the water.