The Sniper

The Sniper
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  • On a rooftop near O'Conell bridge a republican sniper lay watching. His face was the face of a student thin but ascetic but his eyes had the cold gleam of a fanatic.They were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death. He was eating a sandwich hungrily He had eaten nothing since morning.
  • Placing a cigarette between his lips, he struck a match, inhaled the smoke hurriedly and put out the light. Almost immediately, a bullet flattened itself against the parapet of the roof. The sniper took another whiff an put out the cigarette. Then he swore softly and crawled away to the left.
  • There was a flash and a bullet whizzed over his head. He dropped immediately. He had seen the flash. It came from the opposite side of the street.Just then an armored car came across the bridge and advanced slowly up the street. It stopped on the opposite side of the street, fifty yards ahead.Then round the corner of a side street came an old woman, her head covered by a tattered shawl. She began to talk to the man in the turret of the car. She was pointing to the roof where the sniper lay. An informer.
  • The sniper lay still for a long time nursing his wounded arm and planning escape. He must kill that enemy and he could not use his rifle. He had only a revolver to do it. Then he thought of a plan.Taking off his cap, he placed it over the muzzle of his rifle.Almost immediately there was a report, and a bullet pierced the center of the cap. After a few moments he let the rifle drop to the street. 
  • The Republican sniper smiled and lifted his revolver above the edge of the parapet. He took a steady aim. Pressing his lips together, he took a deep breath through his nostrils and fired. He was almost deafened with the report and his arm shook with the recoil. He had hit his target.
  • When the sniper reached the laneway on the street level, he felt a sudden curiosity as to the identity of the enemy sniper whom he had killed. He wondered did he know him. Perhaps he had been in his own company before the split in the army.Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother's face.
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