“Fuck!”, shouted Oscar.
“Don’t move or the next one is for you Cristo!”, yelled Pete. “Oscar, grab his gun!”
But Oscar had already begun to move away from Cristo to grab his machine gun. Cristo was frozen on his knees and now put his hands up.
“Stay right here until I call for you.”, said Pete to me and he put a huge hand on my head to emphasize the message. I nodded to show I would. Then he got up and ran down the slope to where Oscar and Cristo were. Oscar was holding Cristo at gun point. Both men were naked.
Pete ran past them to see if the new guerrilla was dead. While there, he grabbed the machine gun and a pistol from the body and slung them over his shoulder. He then turned and joined Oscar and Cristo. He held Cristo at gun point while both men got dressed. Oscar armed himself, and Cristo was put in plastic cuffs before Pete called for me to come down from where I was. Oscar and I dragged the dead guerrilla into the cave so that no one would find him anytime soon.
Pete said to Cristo “Do you think this guy was a scout and that means that the other guys are right behind him? Or do you think that he was going to report back to them?”
“I have no idea what it means that Alberto was here. But if I were you I would not hang around here too long find out. My comrades know this location well as we have used it before and they knew I was coming here with the woman.”, replied Cristo very honestly and gesturing to me. There was no need for him to mislead us, we could have guessed as much.
“Sound advice.”, said Oscar nodding his head sadly.
Pete just frowned and shook his head.
“Fuck. We are so fucked. I didn’t want to, but we now have to use the radio. I will use a different channel, but we risk that the guerrillas will hear what we are saying and be able to locate us and know what happened.” Without further ado, Pete took out his radio and contacted
“Snoopy this Charlie Brown. Come in.” A little bit of time went by and some radio static but then…
“Snoopy here. Over.”
“Message received. We will head for GPS coordinates immediately and radio for help. Snoopy out. Over.”
Pete turned to me and pulled an automatic pistol out of the new guerrilla’s thigh holster that he had taken off the body. “I read your bio and I know that you have some limited shooting experience. I would not do this unless it was completely necessary. This is an automatic pistol with 24 rounds in the clip. This is the safety. Rule number one: don’t shoot us. If this is not enough bullets, we are done for. Got it?”
“Yes Sir.”, I said as I took the thigh holster that had been on the new guerrilla and used it. It was a bit loose, but I adjusted the sturdy nylon straps to fit me. I sure hoped I didn’t have to use it.
“Okay everybody let’s book it out of here.”, commanded Pete. Off we went at a forced march that was a bit quick for me. I had a time of it keeping up and we were going to keep this pace for quite a time today, at least until we met up with “Snoopy” and the boys. I took a deep breath and gritted my teeth. I dug down deep inside myself; I had to do this to stay alive today.
* * *
The radio static and crackle of an incoming call from Pete was just the perfect answer to his prayers. Mr. Butterfly was there and heard the entire exchange. After the call,
“Chuck I just received a call from Pete. He has rescued Dr. Fairview and has killed one guerrilla. They are fleeing to these coordinates and want us to proceed to same ASAP to meet them in case they are being followed. I’m going to radio the Ecuadorian Army for assistance.” Then he did just that.
“Ready yourselves for departure. Mr. B, have you ever shot a gun?”, asked
“Um, once. I shot a pellet rifle with some pals on a dare.”
Mr. Butterfly’s adrenaline was pumping so he was ready to run at a faster pace than the trot he had getting to the 3200 meters north camp. He had to save Sue. He was a bit surprised at the controlled, yet quicker pace that
* * *
Pete kept thinking back to the hug. He couldn’t keep his mind on the trail. This pace was easy enough for him and that was why his mind was wandering. Why was he so turned on? He rescued Dr. Fairview and then she insisted on hugging him. Sigh. God she was so cute and sexy. That ass! He had to resist mightily not to grab handfuls of that action. He just wanted to drag her back into that cave and have some alone time with her. Mmm. He bet he could show her a thing or two. He had noticed her before, but now, he just had to figure out a way to be alone with her. Focus on the moment. Focus Marine! No “Suzy rotten crotch” for you yet. His eyes went to the path just in time to keep himself from tripping over a moss and bromeliad covered branch. That was too close.
We kept this relentless pace for almost three hours as the sun went down and a bright orange harvest moon rose above the forest canopy. Footing was difficult to see in the persistent twilight of the rain forest. Sometime later, it became apparent that we were being pursued. There was a twig snap well behind us. Pete had moments to find a defensible position in the forest.
A Kapok tree
He chose a rise that was surrounded by kapok trees with large root bases that would surely stop machine gun fire and provide cover. There, he and Oscar set up two machine gun nests to fire upon the advancing guerrillas. Cristo was stowed behind them as was I. I would watch the rear approach. I felt faint with fear and my heart was pounding. I had never been in a gun battle before.
Pretty soon, the air was filled with bullets whizzing by. I kept my head down. We returned fire sparingly as ammunition was limited. In a lull in the fire, Pete radioed for
“Charlie Brown to Snoopy. Over.”
“Snoopy here. Can hear your gun fire. Our GPS coordinates are…. Over.”
* * *
In the distance, Mr. Butterfly could hear machine gun fire. It scared the shit out of him because he knew they were shooting at Sue and her party. Then the radio call came in and the gun fire was even louder on the radio. But they were closer than he thought. He wished his feet had wings. But he was not the one that could really help Sue, because he did not have a machine gun or the training to use one. She needed military men. But Austin and Chuck were there and fit and running at top speed, or as fast as the difficult footing allowed, towards the fire fight.
* * *
Pete radioed our coordinates and Snoopy and the Peanuts gang were closer than I would have thought. They were maybe only a half an hour away. They must have been running at full tilt to meet us. Certainly they would hurry now. But the guerrillas would mount a full court press while they had an advantage if they were listening in. It was just as I had thought and the hail of bullets rained harder.
I felt so useless with my tiny pistol which I had not bothered firing. I looked at Pete and he was busy shooting as was Oscar. Suddenly, Oscar stayed up too long to get a shot and was hit in the left shoulder. The impact threw him back a few feet. I rushed over to see to him. He said that he would be okay and brushed me away.
Cristo whispered “Son usted bien Bebé?”
Oscar just gave him a look.
Pete called to me.
“Sue, pick up his machine gun. Oscar can take care of himself. We have got to hold them off for another 15 minutes until the guys get here. Hold the machine gun like this so it doesn’t kick back on you. Gently fire one round at a time. Don’t aim or look. Just point it at the bushes over there. That is where they are.”
“Yes Sir.” I replied in such a way to give Pete confidence, if only it would work on me though. I was scared shitless.
So, I took Oscar’s position and gun and gently fired one shot at a time in the general direction indicated by Pete. At least I was in the fire fight. I was going to have to be careful what I wished for. When would the boys get to us? Would we be able to hold out for that long? Where was the Ecuadorian Army?