EXCERPT FROM “HEIRS OF HONOR” – ‘HUNTED’


“….On the other hand, we could not allow our fear or pain to attribute the enemy with invincibility.  If we did, it would paralyze us when the time came to act.  That was tantamount to defeat.  Besides, he’d failed to kill any of us, so there was a chance he was a lousy shot, and not at all what we feared.  We were doing things to draw him out, acting as if he was the sniper of nightmare, toying with us and hunting us down, one by one.  We didn’t dare think of him as anything less.  Few survive a first mistake with a sniper….”

“….As the team sniper, and the only man without a wound, it fell to me to hang back, in hopes of getting a shot at our pursuer.  My nickname was ‘Lucky’.  I earned it by having an uncanny amount of luck when it came to not being hit.  It was a weird thing.  I’m not complaining, but even I was feeling spooked by it.  There were times when it didn’t seem possible, yet there I was without a scratch, when I should have been hit a dozen times, but wasn’t.  The guys in camp joked about me, and some even tried to stand close to me when it looked as if a firefight was going to occur.  I was beginning to hate it, because it took away my feeling of normalcy.  Particularly on that first day, when I watched my three wounded teammates hobble away.  They left me alone in the jungle to wait for the sniper.  I never felt so scared or alone in my life, and wished with all my heart for another nickname….”

“….I worked from hill to hill, at a snail’s pace.  East-south east was the general direction I wanted.  The team was, I hoped, able to get far enough ahead of me without concern for the pursuing sniper.  Our CO told me, “We three have all been hit from behind, so you hang back to get a shot at this sniper, but don’t forget you’re in his back yard.”  The path he chose was anything but direct and almost impossible to keep them protected.  I’m sure if plotted on a map, the team’s course would appear spring shaped and cartoonish….”

“….My rear guard precaution spotted nothing the first day.  After watching them go, I found a spot that gave me the best view and kept my profile hidden.  I didn’t move during the day and spent the time listening to the jungle and scanning as far as I could.  Hope is eternal and who knows, my luck might kick in.  I moved after the team when the sun went down and kept going until the moon vanished.  That was nearly an hour after midnight.  It got so dark it was too dangerous to move.  I half dozed in a squatting position with my back against a tree, grateful for any type of rest, and so exhausted, comfort wasn’t considered.  Whether it lasted one hour or ten, it wasn’t enough, but as soon as the slightest gray tint touched the eastern sky, I moved on….”

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