Episode 71 (PART 2) - He, who waits until the wind shall silent keep, will never find the ready hour to sow

Halfway through this…The thought echoed in my mind. The elevator’s motor kicked in and we started ascending through the guts of the Old Mulberry Ridge Lab. Five floors above the unknown waited for us. More guards, perhaps a trap. Redman took his boots off. He had been hit on the leg. His blood now soaked the elevator’s floor. - How bad is it? Are you ok? - I asked him. He didn’t respond. With Dr. Walker’s assistance he lifted the part of his pants that covered the wound. - A straight shot, the bullet passed right through - said Susan Walker. She took her scrub top off and proceeded to rip it apart, making long strips of cloth out of it. Malloy and I watched her curiously. Within a few seconds she had Redman’s leg all bandaged up. Out of Redman’s pack, Malloy produced a black bullet proof vest and handed it to Dr. Walker. - We brought this for John…I don’t think he will mind if I give it to you. Right, John? - Malloy asked me. I nodded in agreement. With Redman all patched up, we then needed a plan to exit the elevator once at the ground floor. Malloy tried to find an exit through the elevator’s ceiling with no success. - We don’t have much time…pass me a grenade! - I asked no one in particular. Redman complied. - Ok, we’ll kill the elevator’s lights to avoid being seen…As soon as the elevator doors open, I’ll toss the grenade out. That should take care of things till we find the exit - I told them. It wasn’t the best plan, but it was the only one we had. Everyone agreed. We worked out the plan as fast as we could. Soon the elevator was going to arrive at the ground floor. Redman stood up to ensure his leg was fine. I took a long breath, then nodded to Malloy. I pulled the grenade’s pin and instructed Malloy to shoot the lights. For a few seconds we stood in the dark. I scanned my surroundings, trying to note the degree of similarity between the elevator and the small room I was being held captive in. The elevator’s motor stopped. I returned my gaze to the door. Redman, Malloy and Susan pressed their bodies against the elevator walls. Its door bell rang, announcing the end of our climb. And then the door opened. As planned, I tossed the grenade out and hugged a wall like the others. A burst of bullets hit the door near me. Someone inside the building yelled: - Grenade!!!! - And with a thunderous boom, the grenade exploded, shattering glass on the eastern side of the building, slightly pushing me backwards towards Malloy. I quickly exited the elevator noticing a few guards taking off through the main entrance. They were the lucky ones. A few yards away from me, the bodies of six guards littered the floor. Their clothes covered by rock and dirt, their bodies mangled by shrapnel. Carelessly, I ran across the wrecked building towards the exit door. I peeked outside. Sure enough, about twelve to fifteen guards were waiting for us. Above on the second floor, I spotted a sniper. - Where the hell is your second team? - I asked Malloy who had just arrived by the exit door with Dr. Walker. - They are out in the woods - she whispered back at me. Redman arrived shortly with a limp. I explained the situation to both Marines. We promptly devised a plan of escape. - We better make this work, guys. We better pull a John Travolta and stay alive! - said Redman nervously. His analogy was so bad that I chuckled. Malloy got on the radio and contacted the second team. Subsequently, I took off for the stairs to the second floor balcony. Slowly, I climbed the steps. I could hear my heart beating, my hands steady on my AK. I spotted the sniper. I walked behind him and grabbed his head covering his mouth. The sniper was much bigger than I expected. We struggled for a second and he attempted to bite my hand. But before he could sink his teeth into my flesh I stuck to the plan and threw him of the balcony towards the guards below. A dreadful two seconds passed and the sniper hit the hood of the old Willis Jeep parked in front of the building. Following our plan, Malloy and Redman immediately opened fire at the guards hidden behind the Jeep. All hell broke loose. Surprised, men flung themselves to the ground, burying their faces in the dirt and under their riddled comrades. There were screams followed by what sounded to me like the lowing of slaughtered livestock. I hurried down the stairs as fast as I could. The guards fired back at us. I found Dr. Walker by the door, her eyes closed in horror. - Stick with Malloy!!! - I yelled at her before stepping out the door. Smoke filled the night air. The second Marine team stormed out of the woods and opened fire at the guards. This caused enough distraction so Malloy could break apart and run to the forest. Still firing, I glanced at the woods and recognized the second Marine team: Roy and a face I had almost forgotten: Jill! As I turned back to the shooting guards, I spotted one of them seeking aim at me. Before he could take action I hastily shot him. By now Malloy was getting close to the second team. Finally Dr. Walker gain enough courage to step out of the building. She fired a few shots at the guards and sprinted behind Redman and I, heading towards Malloy. Dr. Walker definitely could run. She reached Malloy shortly and both of the women concentrated their fire power at the enemy so Redman and I could get an opportunity to book out of there. Redman emptied his magazine at the broken down Jeep and leaped into the clearing. I couldn’t sit out in the open for much longer. I took another guard down and kept moving. Malloy and Susan Walker reached the forest at last. Redman was getting close to the second team when his left leg gave up. He felt hard on the ground. Jill left her position and went out to Redman’s aid. I heard the distinctive noise of a grenade launcher and ducked for cover, only to realize it was meant for Redman and Jill. The noise and concussion of the grenade exploding was deafening and immediate. Miraculously, Jill managed to grab Redman without a scratch. Malloy knocked the grenadier out with a single shot promptly. Dead bodies piled up by the Jeep. I realized I had only one opponent: The civilian. The man in charged of Ivanov’s guards was still standing. Suddenly, from inside the building another guard appeared and fired at me. I felt the sting of a bullet on my left shoulder; I hit the ground and shot the bastard real fast. The guard dropped his weapon and fell unresponsive at the door steps as the civilian man cranked up bullets at me again. I rushed for cover. I checked my shoulder, only a minor scratch. Using the Jeep as a shield, I rolled over the dead guards bodies and sought the civilian man. I had him! - Drop your weapon! - I yelled. But in a last attempt to subsist, he jerked his rifle around. I had no choice: I shot him, point blank. I hid behind the Jeep for a while. The shooting finally ceased. Roy wisely kept his gun pointed my way. I noticed something poking out of the civilian’s jacket. I rolled him around and patted his pockets. At last: A pack of cigarettes. I reached for a book of matches inside my pack. I filled my lungs with nicotine and exhaled it with content. I walked towards the Marines. - Are you ok? - Malloy yelled. To which I replied: - Tell Redman I’m changing my last name to Travolta!

by Corporal John Harris, March 15, 2007