Sunday, March 27, 2011
Nearly there. So near yet so far. If he could only make it back to his lair without being found he’d be safe.
He could see the light of the enemy checkpoint behind him on a hillside, flickering though the swaying branches of a menacing black tree which loomed over him as he cowered in the wet grass beneath. He had been warned not leave the safety of his hideaway, but did he listen? Well,he was listening now; listening so hard he could hear his own heart beat. If only he had stayed put. He was angry with himself for being so foolhardy.
His colleagues knew he was in danger. They knew they had to rescue him. And although he was under strict instructions to stay put, they knew he wouldn’t be able to resist acting the hero. So he’d ignored his captain's instructions and crept out into the pitch dark of the night armed with nothing more than a rifle and a few rounds of ammunition thinking he could round up his foe single headedly. After all there were only a few of them.
What he hadn’t reckoned on was a sudden and unexpected break in the clouds. Suddenly the open field he’d been crossing unseen was lit up by a silver moon, as brightly as a set on a stage. He’d heard the shouts as they spotted him and then saw several armed men rush through the gates of the hut. He felt the pounding of their feet as raced in his direction, then as if a switch had been flicked the clouds closed in again and he was plunged back into darkness.
Suddenly three of four shafts of light criss-crossed in front of him, and as he rolled to avoid hem, he suddenly felt himself tumbling down a bank then coming to an abrupt halt as he smashed into the something that felt like a rock. He lay there for a minute, dazed, confused. He was cold yet he’d broken out into a sweat. He felt something warm on his face. Then he tasted it, blood.
In the distance he could still hear the voices of his pursuers. Then he heard a shout, a command. He didn’t understand the words but there was sudden silence. He was listening for them and they were listening for him.
A loud fluttering, a rush of air as if from a fan. He froze with fear, then realized it was nothing more than a bird taking off into the air. He turned onto his back. The silence was deafening. Suddenly a cracking sound behind him as if someone had stepped on twig. He was paralyzed with fear. A few seconds passed, it seemed an eternity but there was no one there. At least he hoped there wasn’t.
Soon it would be dawn. If he was to get back to safety he had to make a move, but he’d become disorientated. Which way should he go? Like a guardian angel a star briefly appeared in the sky. He wasn’t a religious man but he’d always liked the story of the star of Bethlehem so he took it a sign and started to crawl in the direction from whence it came. Through the gloom he could just make out some bushes and rocks which looked familiar. He was back on his side of the line again.There was the entrance to his cave. Nearly there, nearly there, nearly........
From every direction came dazzling lances of light. There he sat in the undergrowth, motionless, like a creature of the night caught in headlights.A rush of relief flowed though his veins, his mates had come to get him. He staggered to his feet shielding his eyes from the beams. But why were they silent? Come on lads, say something! Guys? Hi boys?.............................................
Written for Sunday Scribblings prompt, 'Nearly'