Episode 55 - What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be

It was briskly evening and I had just finished collecting fire wood for the night. I was looking forward to a nice meal by the fire pit. I was outside the cave, sitting by a rock ledge, watching the sun go down. In autumn, everything is yellow but the pine trees. The grass goes gold and the brittle weeds are like smooth grey stalks poking everywhere; even the river seems golden. Watching the sunset had become a ritual for me. It was like building up hope for the next day. It kept me sane and honestly the Mulberry Ridge is just plain beautiful this time of the year. I was about to go in for the night when I spotted something moving across the river. At first I thought it was a deer but I couldn’t take any chances. I hid by the cave’s mouth and watched as a silhouette passed under the trees. It had to be a person. Decided to investigate, I took off towards the waterfall where I could cross the river easily. The low light made it hard to see where to step though. But slowly, I reached the other side of the Abrams River. I crouched behind a small hill and waited. Minutes passed and I didn’t hear or see a thing. - Am I paranoid? - I asked myself. Right then I heard a few twigs crack. I laid so flat on the ground that I almost tasted the dirt. Gradually the crackling became louder. Whatever it was it had to be at least 15 feet away. I lifted my head up just enough so I could see below the hill. It was Dr. Johnson! He was carrying the tracking device. - How perfect! - I thought to myself. I watched him closely for a while and waited till he turned around. Moving quietly I walked down the small hill and stood behind him. - Good evening Doctor! What a pleasant surprise! - I said sarcastically while pointing my gun at him. Dr. Johnson didn’t even flinch. He turned off his tracking apparatus, turned around and smiled. - Oh, John…How nice to see you. I had a feeling it might be you. - said the doctor, now walking towards me. - If I were you Doc, I wouldn’t take another step. Now pass me the metal box, would you? - I told the doctor. He smiled again. You know Johnny, things could’ve been a lot easier for you if you weren’t such a curious fellow. - said the doctor still smiling. I noticed the doctor’s eyes looking at something behind me. My stomach muscles tightened. - I should’ve got rid of you a long time ago, Johnny. - said the doctor nodding. I felt something touching my back. Before I could turn around I heard a familiar voice: - Easy there cowboy, hand your gun to Dr. Johnson. - It was Brian holding a pistol. What a bastard…I thought about fighting him, but Brian had the gun way to close. I had no choice but to comply. And there I was: unarmed standing by the river with two guns pointed at me. - So what now Doc? You’re gonna shoot me and feed me to your Giant Turtles? I asked him nervously. - Yep, that’s about right soldier. I knew you were kind of smart. - Replied the doctor nodding his head again. I felt the cold barrel of Brian’s 9 millimeter touch my back again. I wasn’t going to go that easy. Suddenly something moved atop the hill. It was Ben ! That was enough distraction for me to make a move: I hit Brian’s face with my elbow and jumped on Dr. Johnson. Brian was getting up and I was still wrestling the doctor for my gun. I heard several gun shots and for a second I thought maybe I was already dead. Then I thought of Ben. Brian screamed and I heard some commotion by the river bank, followed by a loud splash in the water. Ben had Brian good. During the struggle with Doctor Johnson the metal box felt out his hand and hit the ground hard. - Rats! All this for nothing! - I said it out loud as I looked at the broken box a few feet away. - You’re going to pay for this Harris. I swear! - hissed the doctor. I finally managed to free my gun from Dr. Johnson’s hand. Ben was running up hill really fast, almost faster than possible. - Wait! - I yelled. But Ben was already out of site. I had barely gotten up, when I saw a pair of headlights heading down the logging road. It was probably the sarge concern about the gun shots. Dr. Johnson clenched my wounded arm making me realize I couldn’t put up with the fighting much longer. I had to bail fast. The rest of the men were going to be here soon. I punched the doctor in the face one more time, finally knocking him unconscious. Brian was getting out of the cold river water and didn’t look too good: he probably had hypothermia. I kicked his gun in the water and helped him out. On my way to the cave I grabbed the metal box and ran as fast as I could, making sure that the men in the Jeep saw me head in the opposite direction. I couldn’t risk giving up my hiding place. That night, after running in circles for hours, I decided not to light a fire. I wonder where Ben is sleeping…
I hope it’s warm in there.

by Corporal John Harris, October 26, 2006