Steve Barnard-Webster Book Chapter What Lies Beyond the Mountains: Chapter Survival. It was beginning to wear on Brian. You could tell by the way in which breathing started to become a chore to his lungs. The icy air pierced liked needles in his already numb face and chest. As the winds whipped around his body, Brian began to look for more food. He was weary and worn down from dehydration and cold; yet were it not for his father’s words repeating in his head, “It’s the ones who pull through the tough times who survive,” Brian would have given up a long time ago. As he trudged through the deep snow looking for food, Brian realized that the more energy and sweat he gave off, the worse it would be for him in the end. He began to walk slowly and with purpose. Each step was vital in bringing him closer to food that would keep him alive a few hours longer. Suddenly the sound of a broke hit Brian’s ears. The slow whimper of the water through the many pebbles soothed Brian’s mind, relaxing him for the first time in weeks since he’d been on his own. Brian’s face shifted into a smile. Where there was water, there was likely to be fish. Fish that Brian could catch and devour. With his hatchet Brian could skin and gut the fish, a skill his father had taught him when he was just a kid.
He remembered a day when his father had come in from fishing, smelling of raw fish and sweat, and called for Brian. Eagerly he came running. “Today I’m gonna teach you a valuable skill Brian” His father proclaimed. “What’s that Pa?” Brian said with a certain curiosity in his voice. “I’m gonna teach you how to prepare a fish. Look here and follow closely. First you gotta descale the fish. Don’t want to be eating all these scales for dinner would you?” “No way Pa” Brian’s dad continued to run the fish under cold water, so as to loosen up the scales. Next he held the fish up by the tail over some newspaper and began to slide the blunt edge of his knife down the body of the fish, taking off scales as it moved from tail to head. This first step was quick and easy. “Now it gets a little more intense Brian. But no need to be squeamish, this is food. Its no different than peeling a carrot.” Brian thought about his for a moment. As a kid this seemed to make some sense. Food was food and all food was prepped differently. But looking back on it now, this seemed to just be a way that his father made sure Brian was scared or upset about gutting a fish. Excited to see what his father was concerned about, Brian sat up in his chair to see the next step. Brains father took his knife and quickly yet efficiently stabbed it into the fish’s abdomen. He then began to slice open the fish, exposing the insides. Next, he scrapped all the guts out and continued to run it under cold
water to wash away any traces of blood. “Make sure you clean it out nice Brian. You never want to leave behind any guts, they’ll destroy the flavor.” Finally, Brian’s dad cut the fishes head clean off with one hammering swing downwards with his own hatchet. Before this moment, Brian had never seen anything like it in his life. He was eager to show his father and family that he could be the best at cleaning and gutting fish. He was always an eager child, trying to learn everything and everything in hopes of impressing the world. As Brian snapped out of his childhood memory, he walked on down to the brook. He would have to spear a fish in hopes of capturing one, since he had no form of nets. It wasn’t long until Brian had found a large stick and began to widle away at the tip, sharpening it to the finest point he could. Once completed he stood up and began scanning the glossy water for his meal. The water continued to speak softly to the wilderness as it moved along swiftly over rocks and fallen trees. Brian’s eyes were plastered to the reflection of the pebbles at the bottom of the water. Suddenly, his reflexes jumped. With one immediate motion he launched the newly made spear downward into the glassy complexion of the brook. The water was instantly broken and splashed up as if it were in pain and had been startled. For a second, the calm brook that had once been humming softly gave out a small cry as it splashed through the silence surrounding it. The spear stuck out of the water at an angle. Brian, hoping for a fish to be at the end of the spear, gave out a sigh as he pulled the spear out of the broken glassed water and revealed nothing but dirt and sand covering the pointed
tip of the spear. Brian regained his bearings let the water settle. By missing with his first attempt Brian had startled the fish surrounding his area in the brook. He had no choice but to stand still and hope that the fish would venture out of hiding in curiosity so that he may try again for capturing his dinner. Moments passed as Brian stood in the brook watching the agitated water turn slowly back into glass as it regained its calm nature it had held onto before Brian first interrupted it. Fish began to swim around again. This time Brian waited for the perfect instance to strike. He didnâ€™t want to stay in the water longer than he needed to. Suddenly, just as quick and swift as he had been with the first strike, Brian launched the spear into the waters complexion. Once again the water cried out with a splash and jumped into the silence surrounding it. The spear was at a steep angle this time, but it was stuck solidly in the ground. Brian pulled the spear out with one swift jerking motion and held it up. The sunlight bounced off the scales of a squirming salmon at the point of the spear. Brian let out a sign of relief as he waded to the edge of the brook so that he could begin preparing his dinner. Without hesitation Brian began to relive his childhood memory of the first time his father taught him the skill of gutting and cleaning the fish, as he proceeded to descale, gut, and clean the fish in the water. Clean, fresh, gutless fish in hand, Brian walked back up the bank away from the brook in search of some sticks to start and fire and cook the fish with. It wasnâ€™t a hard task; sticks were all over the place. He grabbed what he thought would suffice and constructed a small pile for the fire and a single stick across so
that he could place the fish on it and cook it rotisserie style. After a tasking couple of minutes of continuously banging two rocks together he had grabbed from the brook, the single spark he needed leaped from the rocks and landed in his pile of sticks. He continued to bang the rocks together until the fire was constant enough that his fish would cook thoroughly. Time seemed to slow as he waited for his fish to cook, rotating it as he sat there. The sun was slowly setting. It was a simple action, the sun setting, that occurred once every day, but Brian began to worry about the number of sunsets he had left. He had been on his own for some time now and was still confused about how he was going to revenge the Japanese for what they had done to his life and his town. He wasnâ€™t afraid. Fear was something he controlled at a young age. It was something he had grown up being told could only harm him, and for that fact he had learned to let it by pass his emotional track. Yet, he wasnâ€™t numb to it. He felt scared from time to time, such as at this moment, just as any normal human would, wondering how many more sun sets he would be able to take in. Sitting near the small fire, taking bites of his fish, Brian thought about his town before the invasion. The way his life used to be. How each skill he had acquired was something he used to do for fun. The simple pleasures in life were now things he was using to survive on his own. Suddenly a noise pierced from across the horizon, waking Brian from his dream. It was a peculiar sound. It was not any animal he had ever heard. The
sound seemed to be moving closer with each passing second that he tried to comprehend what it was. He felt like he had heard it before, but what was it? The dull blurring seemed to be whizzing around his head with no direction from where it was coming. Could it be that the Japanese were bombing the land in hopes of leaving no survivors? No, it wasn’t bombs, yet it was amplifying slowly. Fear that it could be violence began to creep on Brian. Yet he couldn’t let fear get in his way. Not now, not ever. As he stood, confused with what to do next and still unsure exactly what the loud noise was, he suddenly realized what was happening. Coming from around the mountain, and headed his way, was a plane. The plane was falling. A line of smoke, not too thick, trailed it. Not as if it had been hit and caught fire, but a thin smoke as if it were overheating. It was coming straight for Brian’s location. Brian realized that the plane was crashing as soon as he saw it barrel rolling above him. Brian did not move. He watched as the plane rolled over him, only about 40 yards above his head. As the plane rolled Brian saw what he thought was a glimpse on an American flag on the tail of the plane. Could it be that American soldiers had finally made it for the rescue? Suddenly, Brian’s thoughts were interrupted by impact. The plane entered the tree line and brought trees down with it as it hit earth. Flames erupted immediately and the plane slide, in pieces, to a halt. The air was silent again. Silence filled Brian’s mind as he decided what to do next. He was certain that the Japanese heard the crash. Yet he
was far enough away and experienced enough to turn the opposite way and continue on in remaining hidden. But the plane was American. He swore he had seen the flag on the tail of the plane. Was the pilot dead? Was there a chance he could be alive? Or was there even a chance that the plane had supplies that Brian could use? This must be a sign of something, Brian thought. If ever there was a chance for some luck while out surviving on his own, it would be now. Brian hurriedly trudged through the snow, arms pumping at the air as he worked his way through the terrain toward the crash. Snow cascaded away from his legs with each step. The shacking flames seemed small enough that he would be safe to walk up to the plane. As he trudged nearer he began to notice pieces of the plane scattered throughout the crash site. Scrap metal and random parts littered the ground. Trees had massive scraps in their bark as if someone had taken an axe to them. As he made his way to the body of the plane, which was still somewhat in tact, he noticed the painted American flag on the side and warped tail of the plane. He was right. This was an ally. All Brian thought about next was whether or not the man flying the plane was alive or dead. The side door to the body of the plane was jammed. Brian hurried over to the front of the plane to enter through the window. The glass was broken and jagged. Yet, through the half broken glass and smoke, Brian could see a person. The limp figure laid heaved over, kept semi upright by his seatbelt. Brian continued to break the remaining glass with his tomahawk so
that he could climb in the cockpit. As he climbed through the glass he noticed a first aid kit and some other helpful supplies in the back of the plane. Brian maneuvered over to where the pilot was lying in his chair. His seat belt was half torn off his shoulder, and he was unconscious. He was badly scraped up, but had a pulse. His breathing was quiet and almost unnoticed, yet he was still breathing. Brian cut off the rest of his seatbelt and pulled him from his seat that was starting to fold together. Blood soaked the pilot’s shirt, yet through the rips and bloodstains, Brian could make out a badge that read “11th Airborne.” This guy must have been flying in search of something. Brian couldn’t help but think that the US army was planning a full-fledged attack on his town in hopes of saving it from the Japanese. At least that was Brian’s hope. In heist, Brian continued to pull the unconscious and wounded pilot from the cockpit. He took a towel taken from the plane and wrapped it around the bicep of the bleeding arm in hopes of stopping the blood from coming out. The pilot couldn’t have been more than 180 pounds. Unsure if he could carry him over his shoulder or not Brian thought of how he could get the pilot to safety. Looking around Brian saw a blanket tucked inside the wreckage. He quickly pulled it out and laid it open on the snowy ground. He then began to maneuver the pilot’s limp body out of what was left of the cockpit and over to the blanket. He set the pilot down on top of the blanket and grabbed the two corners of the blanket near the pilot’s head. Then, with the help of the snows slick condition, Brian started to drag the pilot along. It took much of Brian’s leg
strength but it was easier than picking up and carrying the pilot. The blanket acted as a sled as Brian dragged the body through the snow and dark air, away from the crash site. The snow was up to Brianâ€™s shins, making it even more taxing for Brian to not lose energy and focus. The mental strain was something his dad had taught him to conquer a long time ago. A mental edge can be the key to survival in times like this. Brian wondered. He did not know where he was headed, only the direction. He didnâ€™t know this area well. He was miles away from his hometown even though he was still on the same island, Kiska. He was searching for a safe spot for shelter. The bitter air still stung his lungs as he took in deep breaths of exhaustion. The cold had invaded his inner core and was nipping at his feet. He ignored the pulsing sting emulating from his toes and continued on his unknown path. Finally he found his shelter. Two trees where bent in towards each other, as if they were leaning in for a whisper. Low branches made it possible to hang anything and make a roof. He gently laid the wounded pilot down and began clearing out some snow and finding what he could to make a fire. Ten minutes of searching was all he needed. He was back with twigs and some leaves pulled off a near by bush. He began the arduous task of creating a fire. It again only took him a couple of minutes to spark a flame but as soon as the fire was up Brian brought the pilot nearer to the fire and began to bandage his wounds with the first aid kit he has acquired from the crash. He opened the kit to find band-aids, string for
stitches, rubbing alcohol, more bandages, and a few other tools and instruments. The pilot’s arm was in need of a few stitches, so Brian did what he could to sew up the wound. He was by no means an expert at stitching up a man’s arm, but it would do the job. The pilot was still unconscious and Brian was beginning to worry; yet there was nothing more he could do. He wrapped the pilot up in as much warmth as he could and joined him next to the fire. Suddenly it struck Brian that he had not cleared away his footprints before leaving the crash site. If the Japanese were to search the site they would see his steps and follow them to his campsite. In a nervous rush, Brian began to clear away his footsteps and make his way secretly back to the wounded pilot. It was going to be a long night with little sleep. Brian was intent on staying up to make sure he was not followed, and in case the pilot were to wake up. The night was unwelcoming to such an idea of staying up. The cold made it hard from Brian to focus. All he wanted was to close his eyes and dream of a beach where he would be warm and relaxing, the hot sand crumbling around his feet as he walked along the beach, the sun beating down on his shoulders, hugging him in warmth. Yet the wind punched at his face waking him from his trance. His eyes remained on edge as they scoured the landscape for any shadows that could be dangerous. His ears were on high alert for any sound of an enemy coming through the wind. His eyes fell back on the wounded pilot, a man with no history to Brian. A man with no story yet as to why he had entered Brian’s life. However, Brian
couldn’t help thinking that he had been placed here for some reason. Brian leaned in and checked the pilots breathing. He was still alive. A sigh of relief escaped from Brian chest as he leaned back down and rolled near to the fire. The night drew on as the wind danced with the fire and the air howled over the makeshift campsite.
Frank Lipton The sun shone bright the next morning. Its rays seemed to tap at Brian’s eyelids until he awoke to see them glimmering amongst the snow. The pilot seemed to still be sleeping. His position had not changed since Brian had last dozed off. Brian’s stomach growled, as if it were talking to him. With a stretch, Brian stood up and looked around the trees. His next thought was about food for him and his new companion. If the pilot were to wake up, he would most likely be hungry and in need of food. Unsure of if he wanted to leave the pilot for too long, Brian decided to hunt near the campsite for some food for breakfast. The weather was calm and the wind was barely blowing. The sun was a welcome sight for Brian as it seemed to warm him down to the core. Hatchet in hand, Brian wandered through the trees in search of food. He heard small animals around but couldn’t find where. His eyes were glued to the scene around him as he scanned for squirrels. Finally, he spotted one. It was up in the trees. Occasionally it would slowly crawl from one branch to another with an abrupt
scurry across the face of the tree from time to time. This would be a tough animal to kill. Brian had only the hatchet at the moment. His hopes of making a spear in time were out of the question. Yet he didn’t want to completely destroy the squirrel either by throwing his hatchet at it. The squirrel crawled near the base of the tree and hover for a bit, as if it were studying the snow beneath the trunk of the tree. This was Brian’s chance. He crept up from the other side of the tree and peered around at the squirrel’s back. The tail was right in front of him, about a foot away. He raised his hatchet and lunged off his left foot into the air as he spun around the tree a little. With the hatchet raised above his head he powered it down, broad side facing out. With a forceful smack, Brain landed the broad side of his hatchet on the squirrel’s head. With a thud the squirrel’s limp body hit the snow. Brian picked up the squirrel and triumphantly walked back to the campsite to skin and cook it. The walk through the snow back to the site was again comforting with the addition of the sunlight walking beside him everywhere he went. Brian couldn’t help but enjoy the sights nature had to offer. Even though he was surviving on bare essentials, at this exact moment, Brian was happy. As he returned to the campsite, Brian set the squirrel down and poked at the fire to keep its ambers burning. “Who are you?”
The voice startled Brian. It pierced through the quietness and crackling ambers. It was the first human voice Brian had heard besides his own in weeks. It came from the Pilot. “Brian. My name is Brian Winters” Brian said with a slight shake to his voice. “Why am I here? What happened?” The pilot spoke with a soft touch to his voice. It was not a scared sounding voice, but more a sense of confusion. As he spoke he began to try and sit up. He cringed and let out a brief gasp of pain as he leaned on his bad arm. “Careful,” Brian said, “You were in a crash. “Your plane crashed near me and I pulled you out of the wreckage to here. Your arm was badly hurt, I had to stich it up. I’m no doctor but your arm should be fine” “Thank you.” The Pilot spoke as if his words hurt him. He was warn down and still gaining his bearings as to where he was. Brian began skinning the squirrel so that they could eat. “What are you doing out here?” asked the Pilot. Brian paused for a moment. He wasn’t sure what to say at first. “I was at Dutch Harbor the day it was bombed. I barely made it out. I found a plane and was able to make it back to Kiska before I landed it only to find that the Japanese had taken my town and family. I’ve been living in the woods every since hoping to find a way to get back at them.” Brian’s memory instantly flew back to that day. He cringed at the recollection of the bombs blowing up and the people running in
fear around him. The image of his dad popped up in his head. Quickly he shook it off and asked, “What’s your name?” “Frank Lipton” replied the pilot. “It’s nice meeting you Frank. I’ve got some food here. It’d be good for you to try and eat a little. Your bodies been through a lot and could use some energy. We’ll have to move from this site soon so that the Japanese don’t find us. They must’ve heard the crash.” “That’s fine. Have you encountered them yet?” “Not much. I’ve been on the move so often that I haven’t seen anyone.” Brian sat back and thought. He didn’t know how this man could help him at the moment. He was worn out, tired, and confused. He would be a hassle for Brian for a while till he was up on his feet. But where was he coming from and why? Brian didn’t want to barrage Frank with too many questions. Not yet at least. He wasn’t a threat. He had no weapons and was in need of Brian to survive. Brian’s only concern was what to do next. He wanted to use Frank for help but wasn’t sure how to ask him for it. That moment would have to wait till Frank was healthier. Till then, it would be survival for two, with Brian guiding the way. The evening was drawing near. Brian didn’t want to stay here one more night. “We should head out Frank. How you feeling?” “I’m okay. My arms sore but I can walk”
Brian stomped out the fire and started packing the campsite up. It would be a short transition. With the evening swiftly approaching Brian figured it was best that the two of them just made it to a separate location so that the Japanese would not find them. His fear was that the Japanese were curious about the crash and were likely to come and investigate. Brian did his best to clear away the tracks he had made while out fetching firewood, but it was no easy task. He had walked circles the night before in search of wood that his tracks were numerous. Once Brian figured the footsteps had been cleared away enough he walked back to Frank. “You ready?” He asked. “Yea. I’m ready.” Frank spoke quietly still with a hint of uncertainty in his voice. It was as if he were unsure he was ready to go but didn’t want to hold back. “We wont go for too long. And we can walk slow.” Brian said reassuringly. He had no intentions of over working Frank, but he wanted to keep moving no matter what. With Frank setting the pace and Brian keeping a close eye on their surroundings, the two trudged onward. Dusk was calm and the horizon began to glow as the sun set. Brian was hesitant to ask Frank more questions. He wanted to know why he was here and what had happened to make him crash. But he figured that the best thing for Frank was focusing on getting to their next site. It was obvious that Frank was in pain. With each step he would breath a little
heavier, and he often looked down closing his eyes for a bit longer than a standard blink. A few hours passed with no talking. The two men where weary in their movements. Finally, out of the extended silence, Brian spoke. “We should stop up ahead. The sun is almost set and continuing in the dark is pointless.” Frank spoke no words. He simply nodded. “We can rest up at our next camp site. Get you some energy back. We should be far enough away from the crash by now.” The silence continued. Brian was afraid that at any moment Frank would collapse. His demeanor was slow and quick and had been since they met. But Brian couldn’t blame him. The man had been through a plane crash and was now walking hours in the snow because a man told him to that he knew little about. Brian’s respect for Frank heightened. Finally the two men stopped. Brian began setting up camp as usual. “You can rest here,” Brian said, “I’m going off for some fire wood. I wont be far. You alright?” “I’m fine. Just need some rest.” The reply was encompassed between deep breaths. Franks warm breath swam out into the air with each exhale. The night was certainly cold, and Brian wanted to start a fire soon so that the two of them would be warm through the night. Brian trekked through the surrounding area,
picking up twigs with each couple of steps. When he had gathered enough wood, he returned to the campsite to find Frank already half asleep. For the first time in the past couple hours, Frank looked content. A look of relief seemed to embody his face. His eyes were lowered to a close and his arms laid crossed over his chest. Worried about the threat of exhaustion taking its toll on Frank, Brian quickly set up the fire for warmth. With the fire glowing and the warmth beginning to wrap its way around Brian’s body, Brian started to close his eyes for sleep. He was hesitant to fall into a deep sleep; he wanted to keep an eye out for danger. But something was pulling at his eyelids as if to tell him to sleep. He couldn’t keep his eyes from falling and his body from relaxing into sleep. After a brief battle to stay awake, Brain reluctantly passed out. The small fire bringing warmth to the two men as the night continued on. *
With a quick gasp, Brian lunged out of his sleep. Greeted by the light of the sun, Brian rubbed his eyes and gained his bearings. The fire had gone out but Frank was still asleep. His quiet snoring reassured Brian that he was awake. The morning light didn’t seem to bother Frank. Brian rose to his feet with a stretch and looked around. The sky was welcoming as the blue radiated above him. Not a cloud was in the sky, a sight Brian often loved to see. Feeling somewhat refreshed,
Brain decided to wonder around as Frank slept. There was no point in waking him since he was in much need of rest. Brain headed back the way they had ventured the night before. He was curious to see the surrounding area that was too dark to see when they first trekked through. Sap covered the trees and made their trunks glow as the sun bounced off the sap. Brian had always felt at home in nature. It was a place that he knew he belonged. He was familiar with nature and its beauty, and felt that he coexisted with it. Up ahead Brian noticed a clearing in the trees. As he walked up to it he noticed that it was at the top of a little hill. Excited for the view this hill would bring, he trudged quicker through the snow to the sight he was hoping to witness. The hill wasn’t much, but he did not remember walking up it last night, yet he noticed Frank and his footsteps. Unconcerned, Brian focused his attention on the horizon. Looking out he could see trees and clearing. Snow touched the top of trees and the sun lit up the landscape. It was not a massive view but it was enough to fill Brian with joy. Yet, suddenly something sparked Brian’s attention. In an otherwise still landscape, movement between the trees caught Brian’s eye. At first Brian figured it was some sort of big game animal. The thought made him drool. If he were able to hunt it down and kill the animal, it would make for a delicious meal for Frank and himself. Brian focused on the point where he had seen the movement. His eyes were fixed. A single blink could impede him seeing the creature and thus
understanding if it was worth pursuing or not. Without hesitation Brian noticed more movement, but what he saw made his heart drop. Between the trees from what could not be more than a mile or two away, Brian made out the figure of a human. His eyes still fixated on the point, he suddenly noticed another person walking, and behind them two more. Brian could make out the uniform the man in the front was wearing. He had on a dark brown heavy jacket and a fur hat turned up on the sides. Behind him were three men with helmets and coats the same color as the first mans outfit and all four men were carrying guns. Brian had seen this outfit before. It was the Japanese uniform. He had last seen this uniform when he was escaping from his town. Brian’s heart began to pound. The Japanese must’ve caught his tracks. Suddenly, Brian realized that he had not covered his tracks for much of the remainder of his and Frank’s walk from the previous night. Adrenaline began to pulse through Brian’s body. The men were walking the same path that Brian and Frank had. They must be searching the area for Frank because of his crash, yet now they now two people are around because of the tracks. Brian thought quick, it would take too much time to cover up his tracks now. The four men were too close. But what would he do about Frank? He was weak and slow, there was no way he could run, and he was most likely still asleep. Brian glanced one more time to make sure he wasn’t seeing things, and then ran back to Frank.
Frank was still asleep, just as Brian had thought, but Brian fiercely woke him up. “Frank! Get up! We have to move. Quick, get up!” Brian shook Frank at the shoulders, careful not to grab his stitches. The panic in his voice was palpable. Frank opened his eyes in a haze and then upon sensing the panic in Brain’s voice, lurched up. “What? What’s going on?” Frank asked with a confusion masking his voice. “The Japanese are on to our tracks. I don’t know how, but I just spotted 4 of them following or tracks headed this way!” Brian began picking up his belongings. His hatchet was next to the tree he had been sleeping at. Brian was frantically contemplating what to do. Running would not work, Frank was not healthy enough and their tracks would still be seen. They would be on the run constantly if they ran. That did not seem realistic. The snow was not on their side. Brian finally came to the realization that they must fight. Four men versus two would not be a terrible fight. Brian felt he had enough skill to take out at least two of the men, but it was Frank he was worried about. “Frank, we have to fight.” Brian spoke as though it were a statement and not a question. Frank starred at him blankly as he began to realize the trouble they were in. “If we run we will just be continuing this chase. Our tracks will guide the Japanese to our spot no matter what and covering our tracks will take too much
time. They’ll catch up to us too quick. If we fight we may have a chance.” Brian explained with sternness to his voice. Frank opened his mouth as if to challenge Brian’s idea but then stuttered and said, “You…You’re right. I know I’m not a hundred percent but I have this that could help.” Frank stood up slowly and with effort, reached down to his right sock and pulled out a small colt revolver. Brian was amazed, “You’ve had that this whole time?” Brian was shocked that he could have been in danger by taking in this man. He never thought about the possibility that he would be armed. “I always carry it around for safety. I had no intention of harming you, what with all the help you’ve given me.” Frank’s response sounded like a defense for surprising Brian. “It’s okay. This will help us immensely. Are you a good shot?” Brian asked. “I wouldn’t say I’m anything special but I have hours of training with the Air Force to help.” Brian’s hopes suddenly lifted. He knew they had a chance now. They had the element of surprise on their side. Brian’s memory suddenly flashed back to the instance when he was first outcast to the woods when the pack of wolves had been hunting him. This was no different. He had taken down wolves by himself before and he was confident that he could take out these soldiers with the help of Frank and the revolver. “I have a plan,” Brian spoke quick knowing the soldiers were only ten to fifteen minutes away at this point, “The soldiers will be following our tracks right?
Which will lead them to this spot. If you hide over there making it so that when the soldiers walk up to this spot you will be behind them, and I had over here to the side we can confuse them. I’ll be in charge of distracting them. I’ll find a way to attract their attention and once they are facing me you shoot. Taking out at least one man. That will make the men turn around in confusion and if you stay down they wont be able to see you. I’ll distract them again and when they turn around for a second time shoot again. At this point there should be one or two men left, hopefully in a panic. From there we will distract and shoot them one more time.” The two men sat and thought about the plan. Brian was sure it would work. The element of surprise and confusion would be there best weapon. Frank closed his eyes in thought. “That could work.” He said. “How many bullets are in that thing?” asked Brian. “ Six.” Replied Frank. Brian nodded and motioned that Frank go set up and hide. Frank walked off looking more attentive and awake than he had since Brian found him. Brian figured it must be the adrenaline. Once a fair distance away from the campsite, Frank crawled down and buried himself in snow. Brian turned and jogged over to a clear spot were he could see what to do and out of Franks firing angle. He then crawled down as well and buried himself in snow.
The silence filled the Brian’s ears. He couldn’t hear anything but his heart pounding and the occasionally whistle of the wind. Everything seemed to stand still. All sense of time seemed to escape Brian. His ears were listening for the sound of the soldiers and his eyes were engrossed on the direction from where they would arrive. Moments passed like hours. The minutes ticked by slow and seemed to drag on. Finally Brian heard it. The sound of voices reached his ears and his eyesight seemed to narrow. He could not see the men yet but he could hear casual conversation in the distance. The pounding in his chest began to pump louder. The cold air seemed to disappear. Everything Brian was focused on was about to appear and he cared about nothing else. Then he saw them. The four soldiers were pointing at the ground and talking. All four of them had their guns strapped over their shoulders. The man in front was smoking a cigarette. Brain waited. He wanted the men to walk into the clearing where the fire had been. They couldn’t have been less than fifteen feet from it. Brian closed his eyes tight and for a second thought about his father. His father’s face popped up in his mind and he was warmed by the confident smile his dad embraced. Brian opened his eyes and piled together some snow. This was it. The men were close to the fire pit. Suddenly, Brian grabbed the pile of snow, packed it into a ball and hurled it at the men. It landed right next to the men. Instantly they turned and pulled
their rifles up, yelling in what sounded like agitated voices expecting to see a person standing there. Brian starred at the four men praying that they could not see him. Out of the frantic voices Brian heard a shot. The noise was loud and rang out through Brianâ€™s senses. He looked up. One of the four soldiers fell to the ground, clenching chest. Immediately the three remaining soldiers turned and fired into the nothingness behind them. Bullets ripped at the bark of the trees near Frank as the soldiers blankly fired in panic. Brian instantly threw two more snowballs. One hit the man with the cigarette. This time, two of the soldiers turned around and still stuck in a state of panic fired blankly at the direction of Brian. Two more distinct shots rang out and the solider with his back to Brian collapsed. The two remaining soldiers looked at each other for no more than a brief instant. It was apparent that they had realized their situation. They were stuck in a battle where the enemy could see them but they could not see their enemy. Then the two soldiers did something Brian did not think would happen. Each soldier took off running in the direction they thought the snowballs and gunshots were coming from. One was headed straight for Frank and the other was coming near Brian. Brain waited. The soldier had his gun drawn and pointed straight ahead of him. He was yelling as he ran. The scream was startling Brian but he remained in the snow. Unexpectedly the soldier stopped and stood focused on the scene in front of him. Yet, he was a foot from Brian. The soldier must have been looking so
far forward for somebody that he must not have seen Brian. Swiftly Brian acted. He bounced up, grabbing the soldier’s leg and pulled it up with his momentum. The soldier fell to the ground quick and put is arms out to catch his fall. His gun flew down at his side as he collapsed. In one rapid movement Brian pulled his hatchet out from his belt and with one movement hammered it down toward the soldiers face. Caught off guard, the soldier had no chance of defense. The hatchet struck the soldiers temple and lodged in his head, shooting blood out onto Brian’s arm. All of a sudden a shot rang out from Frank’s location. Brian turned and fell over with the swift turning movement. From the ground he looked up and prayed to see Frank. His eyes locked and his thoughts praying for hope that Frank had fired the shot, Brian picked himself up to his knees. Slowly Frank raised form the ground. His gun was up and facing Brian’s area. “Brian!” Frank yelled, “Brian!” Brian breathed a sign of relief “Over here!” He replied. Frank lowered his gun and quickly walked over to Brian. “You okay?” Frank asked with a hint of anxiety in his voice. “I’m fine. Are you?” “I shot the bastard as he was running towards me. I could’ve sworn he had seen me. I thought I was done.” Frank’s voice was full of relief as if just saying the words was enough reassurance that he was still alive.
“I thought I was too” said Brian standing up and turning around to where his hatchet was still lodged. “Jesus…” Frank gasped as his eyes fell upon the Japanese soldier with Brian’s hatchet stuck in his head. Brian walked up to the body and placed his hand on the hatchet. The white snow was beginning to melt away and turn red around the soldier’s head. With one abrupt motion Brian yanked the hatchet from the soldiers head. With a soft thud, the head fell back into the snow and continued to color the ground red. The two men looked at each other but didn’t speak. The calm air began to flow with silence again as the blue sky shimmered above. Both men sat quietly and welcomed the suns warmth with nature’s love, both happy to be alive.