Rounding the corner where Sid had waited for us, I was disgusted to see Donkey laid out on the sand.
“Sir. We came in fast and hard, but that fuck over there,” he pointing to a body in the sand near the tent, “came back from a piss and caught Donkey in the back of the head with a rock. We knifed him, but it was already too late.”
“Sir, over here,” called out Swanson.
“L2. Take Sid, Collins and Baldy and get Donkey and that fuck there buried on the double, then meet me back here. And, lads, bury them separately.”
Walking up to the open side of the field tent, little more than a large tarp hung over a guide wire, I saw Swanson and the rest of the men standing around a half dozen scruffy looking young men, all of whom sat cross legged on the sand with their hands bound behind their backs. I walked up to Swanson and told him to take Tyk and retrieve the four patrolmen gagged and bound around the corner. As they stepped off I stood in front of the ragtag bunch and crossed my arms.
There wasn’t a soldier amongst them. I don’t think one of the six of them was even twenty years old. Their equipment was characteristically shit. Their rifles may as well have been bent crooked, their bunks were just mats rolled out on the sand, their sad rations were just rice and figs, and worst of all they had no radio. I doubt they could’ve operated one even if they did. The one thing of use they did have was the truck and a supply of fuel in cans. They were just children from the villages; frightened teenagers barely off their mother’s tit. There was no honour in fighting those boys. And even less in fielding them under one’s cause. Serik was scum for corrupting those youths. They could have grown up to be leaders, doctors, teachers, but he had stripped that from them. They would forever be ex-soldiers, veterans of a war that wasn’t theirs.
“Get these fucking clowns out of my sight and setup a cross-fire for when the truck returns.”
“Bacon, I want you guarding these boys while the rest of us take the patrol truck. Bury all the weapons, but take any ammunition that isn’t fucked.”
And off they went, herding the prisoners off to a dell somewhere nearby. A few minutes later Tyk and Swanson returned with three patrolmen carrying the fourth.
“And what fuck the happened this clown!?”
“Sir. He went for my rifle and Tyk had to stick him, Sir.”
“Damn you, Serik!” I bemoaned under my breath.
“At least this one had some heart, Sir.”
“Find L2 and get this kid buried with the lad that killed Donkey.”
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey