Three times we have had other countries try to invade us. We were going to be prepared if they tried again so we built the Demon Line. First it was a thousand meters of fields of grain and then a deep trench filled with water that was twenty meters across. On the other side of that was the demon line.
The outside was plates of steel and then several meters of reinforced concrete. The demon line was thirty meters high with machine guns in it. On top was huge turrets that held artillery and anti tank guns. Others had mortars and along the front edge of the demon line was ports for men to fire out.
There were ten meters of reinforced concrete and five of crushed rock and earth on top. The demon line was fifty meters thick with the back sloping down to the ground. That was the outside, inside there were bunkers and barracks for men. There were command centers and ammo storage areas.
There was a tram that ran under the entire length of the demon line from ocean to ocean. The only way through were narrow kill gates. They were called that because if the enemy used them they were flooded. It took us twenty years to build and for another thirty no one attacked or started a war. We still manned the demon line and even extended it along the coast.
I was eighteen and had started my mandatory two years in the military. I was assigned to the north demon line and the first year went quickly. I doing a regular and routine patrol along the far side of the grain fields. I heard motors and stopped walking and glanced through the fence.
On the other side was forest but I could see engine smoke and heard another engine start up. Someone moved and I saw the top of a tank and spun and started running as I pulled out a special whistle. I started blowing as I kept running as fast as I could and heard men shooting behind me.
I could hear the crack of the bullets and then the demon line sirens began to sound. I ignored the kill gate as I reached the trench and dove in. I swam across and lunged up and out and shifted and side stepped to the rope ladder that dropped down. I scrambled up but they had stopped firing at me as tanks crashed through the border fence.
I had just reached the top and was climbing over when the anti tank guns opened up. I glanced back and frowned when I saw the trench in front of the kill gate empty. I turned and then started pulling the rope ladder up and over. I rolled and came to my feet and ran for the hatch down.
I closed the hatch and put my feet on the outside of the ladder and slid all the way to the ground level. I turned and ran for the kill gate control room. I heard firing and when I got there an officer was dead in the doorway. I knelt and took the pistol out of his hand and checked it as I stood. I took a breath as I brought it up and stepped into the doorway.
Two men were in the room and one lifted a rifle towards me and I shot him in the head. The other spun as the first fell and I shot him in the chest twice before I walked towards the controls as he fell. I started yanking levers down and spun two large wheels. I sagged against the wall and looked at the two men that had been spies.
I looked at three men as they stepped in carefully and shook my head, "we need to send an emergency signal in case there are more like these."
One moved to the wall and switched on the intercom and started talking. I looked at the pistol in my hand and moved the thumb safety before slipping it into the small of my back. I straightened and strode out and towards the barrack lockers. I ignored my wet clothes as I put on my ammo vest and grabbed my rifle.
I trotted up the stairs and moved to one of the machine gun ports. I looked out as the demon line shook from artillery. Burning armor spotted the fields and dead enemy soldiers lay everywhere. The gunner grinned at me and I turned to head up to the top. Reports were coming in from along the demon line.
The enemy here had moved early because of my alarm. There had been other spies but the kill gates were sealed and flooded before the enemy could use them. This had been a minor attack, the three sites where whole armies struck were under heavy artillery barrages. Our anti tank and artillery was doing serious damages.
Machine guns and mortars killed enemy soldiers before they could even reach the trenches. From the top of the demon line I knelt and used my rifle as I searched the far trees. It was hours before my platoon assembly was called. When I reached the assembly hall it was full and everyone was talking.
The company commander slapped my shoulder as he walked by, "excellent job private."
I grinned as he spoke with the lieutenant and then left. The lieutenant called us to attention, "listen up. We are moving out. Grab you packs and go to the tram and stand by."
An hour later the long tram was speeding through the demon line with a thousand soldiers to help a weak spot. The enemy was pounding it with artillery but the artillery and mortars in the demon line were answering it. All the trenches had opened the water systems so even if they breached the demon line they could not cross unless they swam.
We could feel the tremors of the artillery before the tram stopped and we unload. We stayed in company formations and began to trot towards the next set of stairs. Each company split off as we moved down the demon line and climbed up. My platoon split off finally and we climbed up again.
We split into squads on the level below the top and moved towards the front. I stepped into one of the firing port rooms and stared at the giant rips and breaks in the outer wall. The men in the room were dead and I moved to the outer port. I glanced at the others before I moved back and went to my stomach as I shifted over.
I was looking out a rip and could see men in the far wood line. I took a breath and flicked the safety off before I squeezed. The report was contained in the room and so was the flash from the muzzle. The man I was aiming at went down and I shifted to another, "use the breaks and stay back from the port to fire."
That was when I saw the radio one of the enemy held. He must have been an observer for their artillery. This time I aimed at the radio and fired and the man went down with it. The others started firing and the enemy went down and moved back. When several tanks charged out they were different and had flames licking at the muzzle of the big gun.
Of course a half dozen anti tank guns fired and two exploded but that left two and they were headed straight for the trench. I doubted they would try to cross and I was right they stopped and a huge plume of fire shot out towards the demon line. I was ready to leave like the others when I saw the fuel tanks on the back of the tanks.
I fired into them rapidly and suddenly one tank exploded and was engulfed in fire. A moment later the second joined it and I relaxed and looked across the field to see an army of men. They were running and I began to fire and kill them. The machine guns started firing and the men fell in whole ranks.
Bullets began to strike the firing port and the two men using it ducked back. Those of us firing through the cracks continued and the charging men faltered and turned to flee. Tanks opened up and began to fire into the demon line from inside the trees. They were focused on a single spot and just kept hammering at it.
The demon line artillery and mortars began to rip the woods apart and after several tanks were destroyed they pulled back. Everything went quiet except for a shot every once in awhile. They were always answered by several from us. The day stretched out as our army filled the whole demon line in this area.
My squad was relieved and sent to eat and rest. We went to get more ammo and wash before heading to the dining area. The cooks were busy and there was a long line of men and I saw families standing along the wall. I gestured, "what are they doing here?"
Another soldier that was eating snorted, "their farms were inside the demon line but the enemy artillery was striking them. They are looking for food and shelter."
I moved towards the families, "get in line."
A man held his hat, "soldiers should..."
I smiled, "defend those we protect. Get in line and eat."
I waited and stood behind the last one who was a striking teenager. She had black hair and smiled back at me, "thank you."
No one said anything as the cook fed them and they went to sit and eat. I sat and started eating and looked at the girl when she moved to sit across from me. She ate and kept looking around, "there must be something for us to do?"
I looked at her and then at the families before I grinned, "there is. You can carry food and water yes?"
She nodded and I looked around and cleared my throat, "lieutenant?"
He glanced at me and the captain who was across the table stopped eating to look. I gestured to the families, "instead of shoving them aside we should use them."
.... There is more of this story ...