At about two hours after sunrise the daylight was so oppressive we had to take to the shade. Even the animals only came out to play at night out there. Nothing other than the birds of prey would venture out during the day. They’d kill anything that wasn’t strong enough to fight them off then pick their bones clean in minutes. This constant danger from the land itself – as much as the cornucopia of venomous insects and jackals – was in stark contrast with the far off mirages and gentle slopes of the desert which seemed to go on forever. It truly was quite beautiful.
Each of the boys were either sleeping or patrolling for the day. All except Glynn, I had to refuse his offer to be sure he got every possible chance to recuperate. We needed every man we had and I wasn’t gonna take any chances. Credit where credit is due though, he would’ve done it if I’d let him – exhaustion or not.
As the heat peaked during midday I took my rest. It was the hardest time to sleep so most of the men sat in whatever shade they could get and looked out across the land they knew they had to cross. It was vast and flat for the most part – with, grasslands, lakes, mountains and eventual liberty lay beyond the burning sands. We all knew what had to be done. It didn’t need to be spoken about. There and then I knew we’d make it, with the group of lads I had under me I never doubted we’d reach the western border. I just wish we’d all made it.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey