The Pines's Betrayal
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⎰ "MASSACRE OF THE MACCHIA SQUADRON" ⎱



You are sitting in front of a large pine tree, on a cold and freezing October night, in the year 1966.
Your comrade and longtime friend, Ettore, has just been shot in the face.
You have your submachine gun in your hand, and you are surrounded by screams and gunshots.
Your recovery squadron had come for a simple task, to investigate a strange anomalous phenomenon in the area, but someone ambushed you.
You feel your anger boil, your heart starts beating wildly and the whistling of bullets no longer terrifies you.
You pick up your rifle and as your comrades start spraying with their guns, but the dazzling light of the cars headlights confuses you, in front of you, you see shadows and men behind ballistic shields; you recognize them immediately, they are those from the Foundation.
You feel the strong recoil lift the weapon and make it unmanageable, you take cover and feel something hot dripping from your head.
"They won't have hit me" you think to yourself; you touch, and feel a burning, you look at your gloves, they are smeared with blood.
You look around in fear and see the faces of your companions, illuminated by the headlights of the enemy.
Alessandro, Lucio, Ennio and Captain Macchia, at that moment you hear the latter utter a sound of pain, they hit him in the arm.

"MEN! MAKE THEM FEEL THE FURY OF A SON OF ROME!"

Immediately, your companions let out a war cry in unison and you, transported by them, join your voice into theirs.
You feel your cold hands being heated by the firing of bullets, feel your throat burn, feel the pine needles fall on you with their resin aroma.

The captain gives an order

"THE ANOMALIES!"

You know what to do, like a robot you smash two spherical envelops you have attached to the uniform and two cobra-like worms come out, moving swiftly towards the Foundation men.
You hear screams coming from the enemy ranks, then another order comes

"RUN!"

And the captain begins to delve into the dark pine forest, you run like you've never run, with the freezing night air coming in and out of your moist nostrils at regular intervals.
Your heart is beating madly, the world seems to slow down, so you look at your companions with a smile on your lips; you are alive, you have survived that disaster, you begin to immerse yourself in your thoughts as your body struggles to keep up.

Suddenly, you see multiple orange glares and hear powerful roars.
It's not over yet.
The captain yells to take cover, but Ennio, the veteran of the group, a war fighter of Abyssinia and Albania, is hit by dozens of shots.
Without realizing it, you scream his name, just before his battered body falls to the ground in a warm pool of blood.
An amplified voice resounds in the silent forest.

"You are surrounded, surrender now or we will open fire again".

You know very well that you have no chance, if you shoot now you will surely die.
The captain looks at you and takes out a white velvet handkerchief, puts it on a stick and waves it like a white flag, your heart sinks in a deep and incomputable despair.

"Now step out one at a time with your hands in plain sight"

The captain looks at you, he takes a few pine needles and sternly begins to pray.
It’s the end, Lucio, the youngest of the group, abandons his rifle, black as the uniform he wears, and goes towards the agents of the Foundation, disappearing in the light of the headlights.

"The next one, come out"

The captain takes the bayonet and fixes it on his rifle, your gaze stops on Alessandro, the last one of the group left with you and the captain, looks at you with a desperate face and with tears in his eyes; "that coward" you think in your head as you prepare and stare at the bayonet like your captain.
You get up, you are about to die, and you know it, but you also know that it is the right thing to do, that loyalty until death has always been your goal, you take a deep breath to savor this fresh air for the last time, you shed warm blood on your face to feel its macabre slumber.
You watch the captain give you the Roman salute, a symbol of our valiant ancestors and of an era whose return you will not be able to see.
You throw yourself at the traitors with your drawn bayonet and a powerful scream that shatters your already aching throat.
The headlights blind you for a moment, but you see your target perfectly, a plainclothes man holding a megaphone.
You feel the explosions of the shots, you feel the excruciating pain caused by your torn flesh and the blood pouring copiously on the ground.
Your face hits the ground violently, the pain is such that you no longer feel the body.
As the hot ferrous taste of blood fills your mouth, you see the shadow of your magnificent captain fall against the man in civilian clothes, the final desperate assault was successful, you can finally rest.
Your eyes close like the curtain of a show, and your heart finally stops beating.
You see a bright white shape in the distance, and you reach it by coming out of the fog that surrounds you.

"Dad, you are finally back"

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