Part 4 of 7 Though Outwardly We Are Wasting Away

Morning comes, yet the soldiers do not. The birds sing, and the crickets grow quiet. The stars fade, and the sun shines. All is well for those who are not in peril.

 

“A slice o’ bread and a cup of water for each of us,” says Bernard, moving over to where the food is stored.

 

“I can’t help but think, what if they could have gotten all right without us being here? I mean, the soldiers haven’t come yet, and they would almost up to the cave by now. What if . . . I don’t know!” Peter takes a sip of water, and a bite of bread slowly, savoring it.

 

“We didn’t know how far behind the soldier were, but no matter what the case is, I think we will  be worth it,” Bernard says sighing.

 

“But what if they died in the rockslide, and we are waiting here for nothing. We wait and wait until the food runs out, and die of hungry waiting the non-existent enemy,” questions Peter.

 

“What if, Peter. The soldiers are strong and they survive through almost anything. They will come and . . . they will come.”

 

Hours pass.

 

The friends recount memories of the years of friendship. They laugh. They play I Spy, but the object always ends up being a rock of some sort. They look at the few clouds passing by and imagine what they are. The two friends simply hang out, waiting to fight to their deaths.

 

They hear the crunch of boots.

 

They are in silence except for the inhale and exhale between their lips.

 

They listen to the voice of their enemies.

 

Their enemies rest from the journey up the steep incline of the mountain.

 

They hear the shink of the soldiers shovels against the hard rock.

 

“This will ne’er work! There is no way we can lift this rock out o’ the way. Too heavy and take too long,” one the soldiers informed his commander.

 

“Aww, just send a scout party over it. We don’t even know if the scientist is with ‘em, or if the refugees survived this rockslide. “

 

Scientist? What scientist, and what do they want with him? If they send over a scout party, there would be more soldiers still. How many are there?

 

“Come on, Marconi, just let the boys rest a bit. And we only know the scientist’s daughter was even in the refugee camp, who’s ta say he was. I say we should just give up lookin’ for him and head back ta the village.”

 

“Okay, we’ll compromise. Send a scout party of four or five over, and the rest of us will head back. If the scientist is there, then radio. If not then, go a little ways. If there is no sign of anyone being there, job well done. Just remember when ye guys head home without us, there are bandits in the mountains. The big group will head out in a hour. Scouts get some rest, then go over when ye feel like it.”

 

“Thank you, Sir.”

 

The boots crunch away.

 

Couldn’t have gone any better. Now we wait. But what the guy said about the scientist’s daughter? I remember Gwendalyn telling me about the ‘holy’ air that her father had about his scientific work, and how he was so mean. But is Gwendalyn the daughter of this scientist dude? And what do they want with him? I’ve never met Gwen’s father, but he seems to be pretty mean guy to his patients in the name of science; just what the soldiers need. So the soldiers aren’t after the refugee’s, but Gwendalyn to find her father. All the more reason to protect her.

 

The hustle and bustle of the soldier camp moving out follows.

 

An hour, maybe two, passes with silence between the two boys. Bernard reaches over to the food quietly for their last meal. Their eat quietly, listening to the scouts that seem to be resting.

 

One rouses and says to another, “Do ye think we should’ve just gone over when we gotten here, Watson?”

 

“Yer so silly ta think that the scientist might actually be over there, Stacy! We’ve just doin’ this ta say we did it. The daughter might be over there, but I’m betting she doesn’t know anythin’. Ye silly, silly Stacy.”

 

A half hour passes slowly, with Peter and Bernard tense and ready for action. By now the sky is darkened with dusk of on coming night.

 

“Okay guys, lets mosey. Get yer guns and head over, two at a time, and I’ll take the rear.”

 

Here they come.

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