Sunday, June 25, 2006

Of Love and Lions

Here is part of a story that I'm working on - working title: "Of Love and Lions". I will attempt to add to it from time to time on this blog until it is complete.

Edward quickly drops to a crouch and rushes his adversary passing below the leveled AK47’s barrel and knocks the VC soldier to the ground. Simultaneously, his right hand grasped the knife in his right boot bringing it up in one fluid motion while struggling to pin down his opponent’s rifle with his left hand. The up thrusting momentum of the blade rips through the enemy’s loose fitting black shirt. As the torn cloth flaps out, two small, but well-rounded breasts are revealed along with an odd-looking golden pendant dangling on a thin gold chain. The knife stops just shy of the soft nape of the opponent’s neck. The revealing site liberated by his blade has arrested Edward’s eyes. He briefly lingers at the area of the twin small mounds that identify the enemy as a female, but he has killed female enemy soldiers in the past. What causes him to freeze is the golden pendant. Time seems to almost standstill as his eyes, finally released from the grip of the pendant, more closely examine the opponent herself. Her skin is very dark brown, almost black; her face is also unusual, the curve of the jaw, the deep green rounded eyes, the pug nose, and thickness to the lips – an odd looking Vietnamese indeed!

Seeing a chance for life, the Viet Cong soldier doubles up her feet under Edward’s chest and then kicks out as hard as she can causing Edward to tumble up and out. He ends up flat on his back, and his knife knocked out of his hand. Jumping to her feet, she quickly levels her rifle again at Edward, who was now sitting up staring back at her pendant still dangling free. She hesitates to pull the trigger wondering what is causing him to just stare back at her, not in anger or fright but in wonder! He slowly reaches into his own shirt and pulls out an identical golden chain and accompanying pendant!

It is her turn to stare in wonder! She is already suffering from two gun shot wounds encountered during this battle with the Americans and her adrenaline is fading fast. Her head slowly droops down and she collapses. Snapping out of his trance, Edward lunges forward and catches her in his arms. He now sees her two wounds, one in the left shoulder and one that grazed her right side. Acting quickly, he works to stem the flow of blood from both wounds. Neither one appeared to be life threatening.

He has several wounds from the battle himself, which he now attends to after gently laying the girl on a small stretch of grass. He then turns his attention back to her, while taking out his canteen. He wets his fingers with the lukewarm water and gently rubbed her full lips. Opening her eyes, she looks up at him and parts her lips. He brings the canteen up and allows her several small swallows; too much water would be harmful in her condition. They silently looked at each for several minutes. Then she closes her eyes and turned her head up against is chest.

Edward was also exhausted. His mind spinning from the turn of events he was just know apart of. The battle had been waged most of the afternoon. Then he had been separated from the main body of his unit and was unable to fall back. The Cong, had mostly retreated themselves, fearing that the Americans would be calling in another air strike. He had already taken out two of the enemy stragglers, and she was the last one. It seemed like they were currently the only ones left alive in this desolated village.

Life, if you can call it that, had been simple here in the jungle, just kill or be killed. As he looked down at the sleeping female, he pondered. “Life had become a lot more complicated!”

The sun is rapidly setting and the temperature is also waning in this time just before the rainy season begins. The village had been reduced to nothing but smoldering rubble, no shelter here. Edward removes his poncho from his pack and wraps it around them both as best he could.

Edward reflected on pictures his great-grandfather had shown him as a kid of an Ethiopian warrior. As a youngster, he had marveled at the old man’s war stories about how he and the Ethiopian in the pictures had been part of the war against the Italians back in the 1890s and how the Ethiopian emperor’s forces has defeated the Italians and sent them packing! His grandfather was an adventurer in his younger days, rare for a Black American back then. He and the Ethiopian had become blood brothers. For their valor during battle, they had both received identical gold lion head pendants. Edward had gotten his great-grandfather’s after he died. Fingering the back of the girl’s pendant, the same inscription, and date with the name of the Ethiopian Warrior staring him in the face!

Taking time again to examine her facial features as she lay sleeping on his chest, he mumbled, yes, she could be part Ethiopian, certainly part something! Maybe she was the Warrior’s great-granddaughter!

It was now Edward’s turn to see the adrenaline fade as he nodded off into a deep sleep.
Stay tuned for more "Of Love and Lions" ...........


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