A General Pettygree Short Story
Welcome back to our first serialized dramatic short story, Brace Up! We return to Desperatu Island following Lieutenant Arthur's surprise attack on the enemy garrison posted at Pongolongo. Though automatic weapon's fire pinned down the lads for a time, our chaps were able to get away up the jungle trail in the moonlit darkness. Chapter 1 --- Night Attack appeared on 29 March 2020.
Naturally the enemy will pursue. But, when? A tough mission into the unknown I daresay. However, you will have it easier viewing two reconnaissance photographs taken during daylight hours.
Centered is a ridge rising from left to right. It is bisected by the Turawa mountain stream descending from right to left. Lieutenant Arthur's detachment will arrive on the jungle trail in the upper left.
That rope bridge appears worse for wear. Arthur needs to cross it to reach his base camp off image in the lower right.
CHAPTER 2 --- PURSUED INTO DARKNESS
"Kuhla khana (Greetings) Kolamantu! We've been waiting."
"We heard explosions an' quick guns down in Pongolongo. Where are your white men?"
"Walking best they can. --- Here Tenent Arthur comes."
"Kuhla khana Tenent Artur!"
"Thank you. Glad to be here. May we rest till dawn?"
"Not dawn. --- Enemy come before sun. For small time rest, drink, eat boar good cooked for you. Then take you up mountain."
"Alright lads, our Desperatuan allies have some fine boar for us to eat. Good eat'n. We'll rest here for an hour. Afterwards we'll get back on the trail and go up the mountain to our base camp."
"We've made excellent progress men. Steady on across the Turawa. A chance to cool off some."
"What about the enemy Lieutenant?"
"We shattered 'em good Bob. Chas'n us in the dark right away will be the last thing they can do."
Earlier At Pongolongo Village
"The enemy got away Captain Shimoda. Shall I prepare the company to move at daylight up the jungle trail?"
"No waiting Lieutenant Meada! Assemble those able to march now. Then chase the foe at the double. When they turn to face you, pin them in place. I will follow with the reserve flanking the enemy when I know where you and they are."
After bowing, "Sir. I beg your pardon."
"What is it, Tanizaki?"
"Lieutenant Kymatsu requests the honor to pursue the Australians."
"Your section is ready?"
Hai! (Yes!) Sir, my officer readied us after our machine guns stopped firing. He is taking care of last minute details. To save time he asked me to rush here to report. He thought...."
"Very well. --- Lieutenant Meada go with this soldier giving Kymatsu my orders."
Kymatsu Moved Out Almost Immediately
About Two Hours Later His Men Slowed Down
"Resume the pace at the double! At the double you laggards! Faster. Even faster!"
"Bayonets only! Don't shoot!"
"Imbecile! Do you realize what you've done Private Yosujiro?"
"Your shot warned the enemy we're approaching placing us and the entire mission in peril."
"I apologize Lieutenant Kymatsu."
"No good. --- Shut up and get back on the trail. --- At the front of the column. --- Run!"
After bowing low and bellowing, "Hai!," Yosujiro fled.
"Sir! A rifle shot behind us."
"Well, this is a fine muddle. Bob, set up a defensive line on the far bank. I'll be along directly."
"Very good Sir. --- Uh, how far back do you reckon that shot was fired? What I mean is, how much time might we have before the Japanese arrive?
"A mile maybe. Now get yourself across the stream. --- Kolamantu let's go."
"No tenent. I stay in the bush and ambush enemy when come. I join you after."
"Very well. Good hunting my friend. I'll see you on the other side."
"Sir, a stream is just ahead with many fresh footprints imbedded into the muddy bank."
"Anything else Private?"
"No Sir. All quiet."
"Go back. Then cross to the other side to be sure. We'll cover you."
"This is more punishment. --- No. --- An opportunity to restore family honor. The moonlight reveals nothing because the far bank is shrouded in hateful shade. We have pursued into darkness. I only hear the gurgle of the stream passing by. My heart is beating faster. My breathing is shallower. I'm no coward. Forward Yosujiro."
The men abruptly commenced firing into the darkness at unknowable hidden targets.
Don't miss the dramatic conclusion coming soon:
Chapter 3 --- Back To The Bridge
Meanwhile, "Brace Up!"
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