Thursday, April 06, 2006


This is another excerpt from my novel in progress.
I am unable to put the novel in this blog because Google does not give me control of dates or the archives.
The complete novel can be found at in the Nov 2004 archive or in the 'best of' list at the bottom.
Here is a short excerpt from Ch. 21:

They had been going toward the landing zone about an hour when a single shot rang out behind them. Hao stopped. Kincaid caught up to him. It was still early morning but they could already feel the heat of the day. Hao sprawled out with his back to a tree. Kincaid joined him. He wanted to drink some water from his canteen but it was too early for that.

“That was from this side of the trail,” Kincaid said.

Hao nodded. “About half and hour behind us.”

The radio squawked. “Was that you, Kincaid?”

Kincaid had disconnected the ear plug so the sound came from the tiny speaker. He pushed the talk button. “No. They’re on our tail. About a half hour behind.”

“Watch you ass.”

He gave Hao a wry look. “Thanks,” he said into the radio.

They rested another couple of minutes in silence before Hao got up and started off again. Kincaid followed when he was barely visible. The undergrowth was heavier here so they had to keep closet together.

Hao stopped several times when he heard noises. Most often they were caused by wild chickens. Once they flushed a resting boar. Another time they had to wait for a twenty foot python to cross their path. Sometimes it was small birds. The sounds of the jungle magnified in the silence so that even a small bird could make them wary.

A single shot rang out behind them. Hao froze in his tracks. Kincaid checked his watch as he closed up. Hao squatted where he was.

“It was an hour exactly between shots,” Kincaid said. He sat in a tiny clearing. It was already warm enough that his shirt was soaked with sweat.

“Time for a break.”

“Is that what they’re trying to tell us?”

“Are they about the same distance back?”

Kincaid shrugged. “Sounded closer to me.”

Hao nodded. He thought so too.

Kincaid pulled out the radio and pushed the talk button. “That wasn’t us.”

“Didn’t think so,” came the reply.

Hao studied the trail behind them. There was nothing to see.

Kincaid took a sip from his canteen. It was the first that day. The water was warm. It tasted foul.

“We could take them,” Hao said.

“Oh yeah?”

“Only a few in front. Maybe only one or two.”

“How do you know that?”

“Why else would they shoot? To warn us? They’re telling the ones behind where they are. They’re asking for help because they can’t take us alone.”

Kincaid thought about it a minute. “Maybe,” he said.

“For sure,” Hao said. “We could take them.”

“And how far back are the others? How long would it be before a whole battalion is on our ass?”

Hao shrugged and grinned.

Kincaid wasn’t sure if Hao had been serious about turning and fighting. If he had agreed Hao might have laughed at him for being so foolish. He grinned back. “Let’s get the hell out of here, tiger.” They called each other ’tiger’ when one felt the other was getting too heroic.

Hao started out again. He quickened the pace. Kincaid had to struggle to keep up but he managed.

They heard the shots behind them every hour but the sound got no closer. Around noon their pursuers had fallen behind. It was too late then anyway because they had reached the main group at the landing zone. The choppers came in and took them to their base at Nha Trang.


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