The Sailor's Stories

1026 Chapter twenty six – The Sailor’s Awakening.

with 7 comments

The sandstorm hadn’t let up for days. Though the storm had been forecast, it certainly wasn’t supposed to last this long…, or be this hard. If forced to admit it, however, the light buffeting wind, on the roof of the cover was somewhat…, soothing. At least the ambient temperature wasn’t extreme anymore. The wind…, that was the real problem…, picking up again about a half hour ago, not strong enough to really get the sand going again…, but bone chillingly cold. He was still warming his hands on his tea mug…, it was getting to be a habit. Swirling the tea…, realising that it was just about the right temperature…, he raised the mug to his ruddy lips…, for a well deserved swallow, as he took a look outside.

Beyond the confines of the cover, was a rocky wasteland. Not that you would know from the weather of the past few days. Looking out at it now…, marvelling at the barren desert…, it seemed…, almost peaceful. The only evidence of the sandstorm, was the slight wispy dust clouds…, and of course…, the detritus strewn across the front of the position. The camp had been set, just outside a small wadi, and the sparse foliage had taken a beating, over the past few days. This is a major problem…, he thought to himself. What he faced now…, was the fact that Bin Laden himself, could sneak right up to the perimeter defences and take a piss without being seen. He took another long pull on the tea…, fully prepared to savour the slightly tart flavour of the brew. However, with a grimace, he looked down…, into the half full mug, of now cold slightly golden liquid. Maintaining the perfect temperature…, was a very delicate balance.

“Fuck it! … I was enjoying that!” He said, looking at the offending tea with barely concealed disgust. With pangs of regret, he flicked it over the lip of the cover, and watched as the sand swallowed it up.

Stepping back into the fire trench, he spotted Jaime heading his way, a sheet of paper in his hand…, grinning from ear to ear…

“Beautiful day today Skipper…”

“Every day is a ‘Beautiful day’ with you Jaime, what makes this one any different? Honestly…, I don’t know why I put up with you sometimes.”

“ ‘Any day above ground…,’ as they say Boss,” The smile on his face broadening, “I’ve got those weather reports you wanted.”

“Where’s McGhill? … I told him to bring these to me, as soon as they came in…?’

“He was on his way…, I told him to get some sleep. He was dead on his feet boss.’

“You’re a good man Jaime…, sometimes…”

“Maybe that’s why you keep me around boss…, maybe?’

With a slight chuckle, I strode off toward the command bunker. However, before I got too far…, I looked back over my shoulder…

“Smart ass! … See if these Brits, have got a flamethrower or something…, to clear that crap from around the perimeter will ya? Don’t want any surprises…, now that the weathers clearing. When you’ve done, that get the others together and meet me outside the bunker.”

“Sure boss.” Even though he could see my concern…, and I could see that it was echoed in his eyes…, that smartass grin just wouldn’t go away.

Pulling the heavy canvas flap, of the bunker, to the side…, I stepped in, followed by a slight gust of cold air. In front of me…., his legs resting on a small half dug ledge in the wall…, breathing in the cold, like a long lost relative…, was the commander of ‘A Company – 1st British Airborne’, Major James ‘Jimmy’ Anderton.

“Alright my lover? …” He said, with his very thick, Welsh accent. “You were away early this morning.”

Grimacing at the foul odour, that the wind had stirred up…, I walked over to the cot in the corner, that I had claimed on arrival. With a barely contained look of disgust on my face, I made to sit down…

“Jesus Jimmy! … What the actual fuck, is that smell?”.

“Best of British old boy…, Ox tongue soup…, why? You want some there’s plenty more…” He said, pointing towards the small stove in the corner.

“Fuck No! …  Smells like a half rotten corpse.” I stated, flopping onto the cot. “I swung past comms just now, looks like we could be seeing some trouble soon.”

“How so?” His interest peaking, Jimmy sat up straighter in his chair.

“Activity reports from Intel, are showing movement about eighteen kilometres to the north. A little heavy armour, and some infantry. Moving slow, but bending this way.”

Not able to get comfortable, I slid round so that I was now lying on the cot.

“Armour…, how much armour?”

His concern was palpable…, Airborne boys were light infantry, and by their nature, lightly equipped…, and even more lightly armed. No light infantryman wanted to face down even the weakest armour…, if they could, at all, avoid it…, no one wanted to willingly get slaughtered.

“Unknown…, there’s heavy dust cover over the target…, so they say…, probably the same sandstorm we had…, it’s playing havoc with the satellite imagery…, that’s probably how they managed to get so close without being noticed. Intel says it should be ‘Minimal and mostly old stuff.’

I couldn’t hide the sarcasm in my voice…, it was blatant, as the storm had been. Jimmy knew the score…., we had been close friends for a decent amount of time. Besides…, Brit intelligence wasn’t that much better than their American brethren.

“Well this time they might give us a little support of our own…, old chap” Jimmy said as he turned to lean on the small table in the middle of the hollowed out room.

“You can’t seriously believe that?” I said, looking on incredulously.

“Why not? … The boys from the 11th are not that far away.”

“Sorry to disappoint you buddy…, but the 11th are being held in…, now how did they put it…, ah yes ‘Tactical Reserve’…., in case of a breakout by the enemy.” To punctuate my statement, I handed over the message transcript, that we had received. “We are to expect re-supply of all tube missiles, and possible reinforcements by ground troops in the next few days.”

“The next few days?!” He looked shocked. Screwing up the message form…, he threw it to the desk in disgust… “The enemy will be here in less than two…, if they are that close…, what are we to use till then, old boy…, harsh language?”

I knew what he meant…, I had Jaime do a quick look around, after we got here…, the poor bastards had some pretty sparse supplies.

“We lost most of our equipment and stores in the drop. It’s testament to my lads’ ability that they were able to dig in at all, in such awful weather!”

“Hey pal…, I hear ya! … Trust me…, I know what you’re saying…, but calm down. It does no one any good…, we’ll just have to make do…., besides…, me and my boys, will show you a trick or two…, we’ll slow them down some.”

“That doesn’t make me feel any better, you know?”

“I saw a really big stick earlier…, I could give you that if you like?”

“You cheeky bastard!”  His burgeoning grin belied his strong tone.

“I know…, but you still you still love me…, I’m going to have a get together with the boys in a few minutes…, do you want the stick first?’ I said, dashing to the door flap…, as he looked as though he was going to through his soup mug at me.

Opening the flap, the nine other men of my team, were waiting….

“Right on time gentlemen.”

Quickly outlining the situation as I knew it, the boys just listened…, there were few questions. I looked at them each in turn…, to a man, I could see it in their eyes…, they knew just how tenuous a position the Brits were in…, and to a man, I knew we would do what we could to help them…, or die trying. This wasn’t the first time we had worked with this unit, as we shared the same ‘AO’. Many of my team…, myself included, had befriended several of the Brits in that time. No one wants to let a friend down. However, this was the first time, we had been this exposed. Taking a brief moment to meet the eyes of each of my team-mates…, I outlined my plan.

“Well that’s the situation guys…, here’s what I want to do. When it gets dark, we’re gonna go and see what these poor bastards are up against…, then…, if we can…, harass the fuck, out of the enemy…, any ideas?”

“There’s a natural bottleneck on the north side of this wadi skipper…, I saw it when we came in…,if the bad guys are headed this way with armour…, that’s their only doorway…., there’s no way they’re getting tanks and shit up over them hills…”

There was no faulting Jansen’s eye…, he could smell an ambush, even when there wasn’t one there yet.

“If we can set as many charges as we can, along those hillsides…, it should bring enough scree and shit down to bury the fuckers…, at the least it’ll slow them down some…, wadda’ya think skipper?”

“Sounds good to me…., get some sleep guys…, we move as soon as it gets dark…, pack light.”

‘That went pretty well I thought…, that man of yours…, ‘Jansen’? …, I’ve never met a man quite like him…, to be fair, he scares the shit out of me…, I like him…, but…, you know?”  Jimmy said, once everyone had left. “I’m just glad he’s on our side!”

‘Well enough I suppose.’ I said, as knowing that I would need rest, I once again tried lying down on my cot. “Yeah Tom is a good guy…, sharp, loyal…, I don’t know what I’d do without him sometimes.”

Jimmy was checking the small stove keeping his soup warm. “You sure you don’t want any?” He said, indicating the pot.

“I’d rather drink warmed piss! Thank you…, but no. I’m going to get some sleep, wake me if anything changes.”

As I drifted off to sleep, I couldn’t help but think of my favourite line, from one of my new favourite films, that I had seen when I was last on leave…

“I have long feared, that my sins will come back to visit me…, and the cost…, is more than I can bare…”

My eyes shot open as I heard the scream…, They can’t be here yet…, they haven’t had time…, I thought, as I jumped out of bed. Reaching out for my rifle…, I came up empty handed…, What the fuck? I have to get out there…, Hang on! … Bed?…, my mind was struggling to catch up with my surroundings, as I heard the scream again, this time louder…, yet more pitiful. What the hell is going on? … I thought, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, crashing down to earth with the sudden realisation of where I was…., and where that scream was coming from. Corey!

It had been two weeks since the ‘Incident’…, and the boys only had a week left before school started. That wasn’t my main concern, however, as the past two weeks, had not been good for my young nephew. The bubbly, cocksure, young man that I knew and loved had, for all intents and purposes, left town…, what I had instead was a terrified little boy…, so much so, that I was more than a little concerned. As time had drawn on, he had withdrawn, more and more into himself…, he barely spoke to any of us anymore. Even when his friends called for him, he begged us to tell them he was busy, or not well. Not even Sam, who had been coming round everyday , since we got back…, or Teddy, who had done the same…, could break him out of his funk. There was a dark cloud over my boy, and it was starting to make me angry. Oh I wasn’t angry at him…, I was angry at myself…, there just seemed to be nothing I could do for him.

It really came to a head two nights ago, when I had caught him at four in the morning…, trying to feed his sheets into the washer. When he saw me…, he just collapsed, bursting into tears, on the washing room floor. As I scooped him into my arms…, the ammonia smell of fresh urine, was impossible to ignore. As a kid, he had been an occasional bed wetter…, but as he grew, I thought he had left that behind him. I couldn’t help but think, that I was out of my depth. His ‘Night Terrors’, had gotten that bad, and I had missed all the signs. Though to be fair, he was certainly hiding them well…, if I hadn’t got up for a drink that night…, I would never have seen the washing room light on. Looking back on it now…, I am glad that I did…, there is no telling what would have become of him…, if I had let it go any further. Finally I ‘Manned up’ that day, and made a call to the Headshrinker. After a brief talk about what was happening, I asked him if he knew any specialists he could recommend. On his advice I had made an appointment, but we couldn’t get in, till the following week.

The situation was getting desperate though, and the past two nights, I had taken to sleeping with him…, he seemed to sleep better, when he was being held. I had offered again tonight, but he had told me not to worry…, saying that he felt alright. I didn’t sleep well…, when I was with him, and he knew it…, I was always conscious of any movement, or noise that he made…, always ready to comfort him. That night, as I said…, he had begged off, knowing I had to work early that morning. Even with the state he was in…, he was still looking out for me. As I padded softly into his room, he was still moaning hoarsely…, even in the dark I could see his rapid movements. Sliding in behind him, he squirmed more forcefully, like he had done that first night. As I wrapped him in my arms…, he started murmuring…

“No…, please no…, please…, please don’t hurt me…”

With his tears coursing down his cheeks, onto my arm…, I held him tighter whispering soothing words into his ear…, what else could I do? As he settled slightly…, I held him tight…, all the while all I could feel was…, ashamed.

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Written by bigct/Octavius

January 18, 2010 at 15:01

7 Responses

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  1. Back on my Game … lol … you had me crying in this one mate… well done … well done… you got any tissues … need them …. looking forward to the next chapter ….

    Lee

    January 18, 2010 at 23:51

  2. About near as perfect as you can get. I like the way you keep things moving. 26 chapters and summer is almost over. This is not just a blog, it is an epic journey of self- discovery.

    Dawngreeter

    January 19, 2010 at 00:11

  3. Lee, can you pass the tissues when you’re done with them?!?!?

    Rick

    January 19, 2010 at 02:22

  4. Oh man I will share .. no need on waiting rick … here you go

    Lee

    January 20, 2010 at 18:50

  5. Hate to be picky as I am enjoying the story so much, but:

    “Alright my lover? …” more West Country than Welsh?

    “Ox tongue soup”, could you mean Ox-tail, more normal? Strong and nourishing, illegal when we had the Foot & Mouth outbreak a few years back!

    If he is really Welsh, more likely to be ‘boyo’ than ‘old boy’, which is more old-school upper class (and I know many officers are).

    Sorry as a Brit these do leap out at you, just as when we try to do American, however you have the attitude right.

    It’s really a great story and I hate how poor Corey is suffering, but how good that you have taken this route and not at cartoon levels of violence. In real life violence causes problems.

    fb

    fb

    April 7, 2010 at 20:59

  6. Gawd, Tissues ? I need needle and thread and hurry please! My heart is being ripped out of my chest, feeling the pain. I, so many times, want the feelings of either and both to not affect me, now I remember why I have been drawn back to this story. I pray that you, CT, have not gone through this and what all I know is to come.
    Hugs from an dinosaur with grief and pain buried deeply within.
    Beach

    Beach

    May 6, 2012 at 07:50

  7. ahh but I should add, that the LOVE and caring for and of the Boys is a great healer. And Love for another when found.takes each and everyone of those pains and helps to heal the wounds! (maybe never erase, but heal yes)!

    Beach

    May 6, 2012 at 07:54


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