“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.
The Mercedes, filled with what turned out to be 200 pounds of explosives, smashed into the Humvee. The blast incinerated both vehicles. The only part of the Humvee that remained was its sizzling engine block.
The force of the explosion knocked Carlos unconscious. When he came to, he had momentarily lost his hearing. The chaotic world before him was silent, but the facial contortions of the Marines who had survived told him that they were screaming in horror.
One soldier had survived the explosion. The Marines were scrambling to get him medevac’d out of the chaos as soon as possible.
Carlos surveyed the damage around the Humvee’s engine block. Three soldiers lay dead, knocked at least 20 feet from the convoy.
The dead men looked like they were made of clay. The force of the blast had turned their bones to dust.
Carlos’s sense of hearing may have temporarily dismantled by the explosion, but his sense of smell was sharp and alive. There was an odor in the air, distinct – yet something he had never encountered before. In the pit of his stomach he knew exactly what it was.
There had been five men in the Humvee hit by the Mercedes. The Marines could account for only four. Where was the fifth man?
The smell was getting stronger, stinging the inside of Carlos’s nose.
The search for the fifth man continued, until it led the Marines to the skeletal, smoking engine block. Underneath the engine block was the fifth soldier. His corpse had been cooking under the hot, metal engine.
That was the day everything changed for Carlos Cruz....
Friday - Even the Devil Can't Fool a Dog, Part 3
(Read the previous installment of “Even the Devil Can’t Fool a Dog” by clicking here.)