M.I.A

Bullets whiz past me deep in the Vietnam jungles. I dip and dodge as a projectile buries itself in a nearby tree, surrounded by a tornado of vines. I glance around. I hear the shouts of the nearby enemy soldiers. I stumble over some logs and get tangled up in vines, as I fall flat on my stomach. I tug on my feet, but to no avail. The soldiers are almost here. Death is in my midst. A glimmer of metal catches my eye as it glimmers in the sunlight, snapping me out of my daze. I scramble over to it the best I can because my feet are still ensnared.

I rake the ground with my fingernails hoping to pry loose this metal. After some digging, I finally pry it from the earth. I tear out a rusty moss covered spade, and a fishing reel. I was hoping for a little more than a shovel. But thinking quickly I use a sharp edge to chop myself free from the vines. I pocket the fishing line, thinking it might be useful. I jump back up to my feet and keep running. I dip behind a tree. Looking back, I catch a glimpse of one of the soldiers on my tail.
The 20 soldiers that ambushed us took out all of my 13 of my men, but I escaped. My marines had killed 16 of theirs in a long battle, but then I fled because I realized I wouldn’t win. None of my men survived, and I doubt I will. We were outgunned and out numbered about 2 hours ago, while 3 miles away from the battlefield.
Finally I get out to a clearing. There is trees about 1000 meters in front of me, a lake to my left, and a hillside leading into the woods to my right. I see an out cove in the hillside to my right, 600 meters away. The green mossy hill isn’t perfectly straight up, but a high incline. There is a small cave over cut out of the rock in it also. I have no choice, I can’t make it to the forest, no protection in the lake, and so I head for the cave, hoping I can stake out in there. Shovel in hand; I take off for the out cove. 500 meters, 400 meters, 300 meters about 50 feet in front of me a unsuspecting Vietnam soldier who is chasing me appears out of the woods. I run as fast as I can, and before he notices that I’m there its to late. I barrel into him, jamming my shovel handle into his gut as he falls letting out a groan. I pull him on his feet and whip the other end around striking him across the face knocking him out cold. I jump on his back and slide the knife out of his sheath in his back belt loop, and bury the blade in his back, then pull it out and stick it in his pocket. I put down my shovel and grab the rifle, then take off for the cave, 300 meters away.
As soon as I make it there I enter cautiously. Thirty feet deep, 10 feet wide. Then I see something that makes my heart stop, takes my breath away, and I fall on my knees. At the end of the cave, is a dead soldier. Just a skeleton, fully dressed up in his uniform. Fear floods through my head. How did he get here? Who killed him, or why did he die? Something catches my eye. A pistol, colt 45 in the holster of the dead marine. I pocket it. Also, I see a radio. It’s sitting on a rock next to the soldier. I dive for the device. I grab it and look at its symbol. It’s an American flag. I turn it on. I find the U.S. army channel. 8.3. “Hello? Is anybody there? This is a marine Lieutenant. My platoon was killed off. I am being chased by 2 Vietnam soldiers of the eastern part of the mercy jungle.”

A crackle comes over the radio. “this the marine, General Beater, posted at the mercy jungle 2 miles of your position, do not turn off the radio we are tracking your position and then we’ll send a helicopter to pick you up and capture the other Vietnams. Do you have any specifications on your location?”

“Yes’ sir,” I reply, “I am in a cave on a hillside near a clearing in the jungle and a pond.”

“We’ve picked up on your location. Were coming to get you.”

“Over and out.”

I hear a crack outside. I instinctively draw my knife. Slowly putting down the radio, I sneak over to the wall. I slide on the inside wall. Slinking over to my rifle, another noise comes outside, followed by a hushed scolding in Vietnamese. This is very bad. They found me. I hear more hushed whispers. There must be more than 2 of them.

From the sounds I make out at least four to seven voices. Desperately I look around for an exit. I see a small path in the side of the cave. I obviously missed it in the fear of the dead soldier. I rush to it, taking the radio with me. I slip out of the small cave. Knife drawn. Gun in hand. I follow the path, and it’s getting constantly lighter. I can feel the dripping of the water of the cave. I trip over a stalagmite. Getting up, I continue, more cautiously now. I constantly glance behind me. I can hear the shouts of the Vietnamese angry me, because they thought they’d caught me. They obviously haven’t seen the tiny exit hiding in the corner of the cove.

As I near the end of the cove, I start to move faster. Getting more and more anxious to reach the helicopter. I hear the distant rumble of its engine. I finally see the exit, and then hear shouts behind me. They found where I am. I break out into a run, and the path gets wider. I run straight into a net of spider webs. It must be a foot deep of spider webs. Getting tangled, and stuck. Then I see hundreds of plate-sized spiders crawling down the walls, ready to ensnare me even further with sticky strands then suck out my guts. Thinking quickly, I start to slash at the webs with my knife. I bashed spiders as I cut myself free. I can see the lanterns about 2 football fields down the cave walls, of the Vietnamese. Cutting myself free of the webs and running to the end of the cave, I pull out my rifle, and lie on my belly. I see six soldiers round the corner. Then another four. I aim and take a shot, dropping two. Went straight through him and killed the one behind him. The men spread out and take shelter. Then I have an idea. I reach into my pocket and pull out some honey. We had food before the warriors ambushed us, crackers, honey, cheese ect. I just happened to have a small bottle when we were attacked. Taking out my fishing string, I set up a trap, I put a tripwire about 20 feet from the cave exit. Hook it up to honey, which I set unstable on a stalagmite. I cut off the top of the honey bottle. Spiders start to swarm the bottle. When the soldiers get here, they will trip on the wire, pulling down the honey coating them in sticky honey, slipping on it, and getting covered by huge spiders. I set up another tripwire at the cave exit. That way, when they run out of the cave they’ll trip, stalling them. I pull out my pistol and throw a few shots downrange. I hear an agonized shout. Three down seven to go. Then bullets start flying overhead as the Vietnamese return fire. I quickly run out of the cave and round a left corner. The I hear the trampling of the soldiers running after me. I don’t turn around, lost by trees, I wonder where I am. Then seeing the pond, I immediately know. I run to it, and I see the clearing. Then the helicopter. The shouts of the exited men reach me, then the screams of the Vietnamese reach me. The spiders must have attacked them. I quickly sprint around the lake, and jump into the helicopter.

“Glad to have you with us.” He yells over the roar of the engine.

“Glad to be here.” I say back.





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