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Excerpt from

Women in the River
By
Gene Hines

The women were as small as American fourteen-year-olds and naked; the small tufts of silken hair between their legs moved with the rhythm of the Vietnamese dance, their faces passive, their eyes focused out in the jungle beyond the hut. The monsoon drowned out the small brass cymbals on the women's fingers and the bird-chirping flutes.

I closed my eyes and saw the shadows of the dancing women and the gold haze of the lamps through my eyelids. None of the women would be for me, no small round body to warm my bed, the first real bed I'd slept in for a month. They were for the Vietnamese.

I was an advisor to a Vietnamese sniper team; we were the nightmare-ghosts of the Ho Chi Minh trail and no one knew when we would come out of the jungle to kill. No one knew who we were, not even the President of the United States. Weeks in the jungle hunting people pushing bicycles strapped with supplies down a jungle trail. Killing them when we found them.

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Literary Fiction, Noir, Pulp Fiction, Short Stories