EXCERPT FROM “HEIRS OF HONOR” – ‘THE COURIER’


“….The jungle changed.  A quiet graced the path.  Charlie had moved all he was going to move that night.  It must be getting late.  I waited, listening.  No one was there.  Slipping out of the trees near the path, I listened for direction.  At first, nothing; then, faint leather creaking became audible.  It was moving away.  They were headed down hill, and no longer coming up.  I followed carefully, hoping they had not put trip wires in place, or that there were no stragglers aside the path resting, and most of all, no rear guards….”

“…..I knew if Charlie was moving away from me, he wouldn’t hear me coming up behind him, so maybe I could follow the last man to the hidden depot.  But I was dead if another group was coming up behind me.  I froze to listen and heard nothing.  I moved, following them down the path.  I had managed to get this close without being detected, and felt pleased with myself.  Then, after I covered about two hundred yards, my worst enemy appeared.  A flickering light flashed as a diffused ball in the fog up front.   Instantly, and without looking directly at the light, I squatted and moved into the bushes and ferns.  Scrutinizing the bright spot after I’d stopped, it dawned on me they were smoking, a small group of men, lighting cigarettes from the same flame, and whispering quietly, after working hard all night.  The light wasn’t flickering.  Men kept stepping in front of it to light their cigarettes.   I could see their outlines clearly, despite the jungle path being so thick with fog.  I was not spotted because I wasn’t close enough to be seen, so I was safe.  As I watched the men mill about in front of the flame, it occurred to me they were not loaded down with equipment.  They really were taking a break after work.  They were waiting to go underground, and as I watched, their numbers dwindled, as one man after another went inside the tunnel/depot complex.  I’d located the depot, of that I was certain, but I needed some co-ordinance to report, and in this fog, that was damn near impossible.  No matter what, I had to figure a way to report this location to the brass, and I had no idea how to go about that.  Then, a chance to find this place again came my way, when a fleet footed gook started to run toward me from the light….”

“…..The runner’s silhouette showed me he was carrying a flat bag, a courier’s bag made for papers.  One of them probably said the transfer of the war material was a success.  There was also a likelihood of an inventory list in those papers.  If lost LRRPS have a God looking out for them, just maybe a map indicating the location of this depot, and if lost LRRPS have a God protecting them, I would convert to ‘believer’ after spotting him….”

“…..No matter what, I knew I could not let him pass, and I had to be quiet about stopping him.  I braced myself, as he approached me.  When he was twenty feet from where I was waiting, a voice called to him.  He stopped and turned to answer.  While he spoke to his comrade, I moved into striking position and closed the distance.  A conversational lull stopped me dead.  I waited, knife poised, ready for him, the moment he resumed his journey.  My heart was going like a trip-hammer, as he shouted his last “Sin Loi” (good luck) to his friend, and turned to his death….”

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