Caspian Hope – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 17

I had wanted to snatch the boats on the following night and disappear straight away but, after Floppy got killed, having transport would give the others impetus and a sense of security that would elevate morale. We all went to our packs and removed anything we wouldn’t need, then we used mud to cake our hands and faces. Then we checked our knives and side arms. In five minutes we were heaving the dinghy to the shore.

The water was like oil in the moonlight. It felt thicker somehow as we chugged along in a low gear, each of us thinking about Floppy. It didn’t take long before Toddy cut the engine and we started to drift. The air was dead in the small hours out on the lake. I told Longshot to wait with the boat and cover our retreat then I slipped into the oily dark water with Big Tits, Big Brin, Toddy and Simon. I can’t remember if it was cold, I only remember the darkness and the silence when I think back to it now.

Reaching the two jetties I pointed at Simon and Big Brin and then pointed at one of the wooden peers, then I pointed to Toddy and Big Tits and pointed to the other. And off they went. Not climbing up out of the water, but rather swimming up to the moorings and untying the binds that held each vessel in place. One man at each jetty undid the moorings while the other followed him and tied the loosed rope to the back of the next dinghy along the peer.

This way the four boats at each jetty made a caravan of sorts that could be towed by the lead vessel. I climbed into the first dinghy of the string to my right as Big Brin climbed into the lead dinghy to the left. Once we were set I gave the order and we started to pull on the cords that started the outboard motors. As expected, the moment we started to heave the pull-cords instant noise erupted from the buildings onshore. Shouting men and boys brandishing rifles and handguns came flooding out to the buildings, the light from inside the small structures pooling out into the night behind them.

Don’t stop! Keep pulling!” I yelled, as bullets started to whiz over our heads.

As Big Brin and I heaved on the cords for all we were forth the rest of my recruits climbed aboard beside us and began to return fire. It was a mess, we were meant to be in and out before anyone saw us but, as the saying goes, “no plan survives contact with war”. Just as we got the engines running Simon stepped off the dinghy he was in and onto the jetty beside him. He couldn’t get a good shot with Big Brin torqueing the cord beside him. The sound of the engines exploding into life didn’t break his focus and he dropped four men with five shots from his side arm. It was truly exceptional shooting. In the dead of night, amid the commotion and under immense pressure, he had remained calm.

As our lead boats bucked like mules the two caravans began to speed away, each dinghy chomping at the bit and dragging the next behind it in kind. As the last vessel pulled away Simon fired one more shot and threw himself into it at the last second, just barely avoiding getting shot. As the villagers ran down the jetties we were twenty yards out, with Longshot firing up the engine of his dinghy ahead of us. It was electrifying, but I couldn’t help feel for the people whose livelihood we were steeling. Better us than them though.

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

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