- Writer, soldier, thinker, and science fiction lover. I just can't seem to find a way to divide my adventurous self of constant outdoor activity and exercise from my nerdy self playing games and going to conventions. So why not just be both?
I am a young professional living out of Tallahassee, Florida for the past five years. I have been on a deployment with the United States Army and continue to work outside of my other occupations to better myself mentally and physically. My passion for writing is driven by my passion for everything I find entertaining in life, and of course by my friends and family.
Monday, October 20, 2014
The Horseman's Blade, Part 1
1974 Somewhere in central Angola:
Samuel’s foot crunched the thick weeds under his heavy boot. He wouldn’t walk on the trail; he had learned his lesson in Vietnam only five years back. The foliage overhead broke up the light coming down on them. The insects came into the light, and then disappeared into the scattered strips of darker shadows. He had become more aware, again, of the two engines of two land rovers behind his right. They were at a crawling speed on the trail. Samuel looked up farther ahead on the trail as he took another step into the thick weeds. His foot slid a little as the ground became uneven; he was now on a decline. The trail had a bend coming up where the light seemed to lessen.
Samuel looked over to the opposite side of the trailer where it seemed the foliage blocked out even more of the sun. His shamrock eyes didn’t linger. The man parallel to him walked with a slouch, his head forwards, and his Adam’s apple out. His black skin was dripping in the humid air, and his rolled up sleeves revealed his bug bitten arms. Samuel looked back down on his own body. He was standing slightly slanted now because he wasn’t on the trail. His boots were buried into the mud, and with each step made a sloshing noise with a crunch from the weeds growing in it. His dark brown tiger striped pants were covered in dried mud around the ankles. His belt sagged with magazines filled with 7.62mm bullets. His AK sling wrapped tightly around his left arm and his right hand clutching the pistol grip, the stock tucked away under his right arm pit. His own sleeves rolled up with his white pale skin glistening in the little light from sweat. His cap kept the light out of his eyes.
The side of the trail was becoming steeper, it was hard for Samuel to stand up straight but he managed. They had made it around the bend and the foliage on the right was now thick. The foliage on his left was drooping because of the hill he was now on, but tall weeds and grass still stood all around him and he still had the dark shadows of the trees around him. Samuel looked back at the small column of other ‘hired guards’ behind him. They all walked nonchalantly on the trail next to the Land Rovers. Samuel looked between the two Land Rovers at the column on the other side, and there was the same story. He looked ahead and he could see a small stretch of clearing where the shadows of the foliage stopped. He continued forward hearing all the sounds around him and glancing across the tall grass and weeds which were covered in the dark shadows of the trees.
He stopped at the end of the shadows. Something was missing. He looked all along his left, down, in-between the trees, and across the rocks and among the bark. It wasn’t there. He didn’t know what it was he was looking for but something had changed. He looked forward into the lit trail. He still stood in the shadows of the trees and it seemed the trail in the light was covered in a haze coming from the earth. His breath quickened, something was missing but what it was he didn’t know, was it someone? It was like a ghost around him. His eyes darted back and forth on the trail, what were the lessons he had learned? He looked over to the man at the front of the column opposite of him. The man took a step into the light and looked up. Samuel realized what it was, it was sound. A high pitched whistled cracked like thunder in the trees. The man’s neck jolted towards Samuel as a hot stream of red blood spurted out onto the trail.
Samuel fell onto his stomach and pushed himself off his rifle and through the tall brush. The cracking of gunfire was everywhere, the thundering of pops and the supersonic whistle of bullets had erupted from the right. The column on the right was gone, Samuel looked back to is right and saw the responding flashing of the other guards returning fire. Samuel mounted his rifle on his shoulder and tried to find a target in the trees across from him. He’d seen this too many times, they wouldn’t have the ammunition to just fire into the trees. The first of the figures came into the light and Samuel began his succession of semiautomatic shots. The figures dropped from his iron sights but it seemed like they became more and more numerous with every shot he fired. He hit his selector switch up into fully automatic and fired the remainder of his rounds into the brush across from him. He dropped out the empty magazine and fumbled to roll over enough for him to remove another magazine from its pouch. He finally slid one out and slipped it into his AK. Just as he pulled the action back on his rifle and taken aim he heard a noise over the guns shots. A voice, it was enough to make him think twice and he finally pulled his face off his rifle and looked for the sound. It was a man, bloodied, and under one of the land rovers. It was another white male. He had one hand extended out towards Samuel. Samuel tried to understand he was yelling out to him. He didn’t know the man, and he didn’t know why he had stopped firing. He focused in on the man’s mouth, his teeth gritting as they closed between words, his tongue arched back, was he calling his name? He strained to hear the man, to focus on him and then in a flash of bright white and orange the man was gone along with the land rover and dirt and rock was thrown about in a rain of shrapnel.