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Vicky

An icy autumn rain turned the barbed wire covered enclave of dirt into a muddy gash. The ground oozed as if the earth itself was bleeding beneath the boots of the soldiers living in the sprawling mass grave. On the edge of winter, the days were short, and the sun had already fallen over the front. A shroud of dust and smoke smothered the light of the stars. There were only the glowing red ends of the cigarettes the soldiers clutched in their trembling hands.
Victoria or "Vicky" was a short-haired terrier with pointed ears and rings of brown fur around her eyes she wore like a mask. Vicky was walking along the sodden trench with her nose to the mud. Her flopping ears stiffed, and she suddenly stopped.
"I think Vicky sees something," said a young soldier in tattered khakis, his quivering hand struggling to bring a cigarette to his lips.
The sensory overcharge of war quickly rattled the minds of men, but Vicky stayed sharp. Nothing, not the distant thundering of artillery, the rattling of machine guns, the smell of gangrene, or the constant screaming was enough to distract the little terrier from her mission.
Just a few meters away from Vicky a rat, its belly bloated with the flesh of dead soldiers was feeling its way through the shadows. Its twitching pink nose enticed by the odors repellent to human senses.
The soldiers watched with growing anticipation as Vicky stared down her unsuspecting enemy.
"Can you see him?" they asked each other in excited whispers. Vicky's hind legs bent forward, and her whole bound wound up like the spring on a trap.
Suddenly the prowling rat froze. Its whiskers shook, and it turned an onyx eye toward Vicky, who had already pounced.
The rodent squealed as Vicky's jaws clamped around its bulbous body, and there was a collective cheer from the spectating troops. The rat struggled to free itself from the grip of Vicky's teeth, but she was too strong.
Vicky clamped her teeth tighter and violently shook the struggling rodent. It squeaked its loudest before going entirely limp. The triumphant Vicky set her trophy down for all to see.
"That a girl!" The grateful soldiers applauded.
Vicky happily wagged her tail before picking the carcass back up to bring to present to her proud master.

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