Chapter 4: Chanda

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 277
Comments: 1

To be safe, Eddie stayed in the tree another fifteen minutes.  After he climbed down, he thought about what to do next.  The shortest route back to Vietnam was the direction he had come in, southeast.  Unfortunately, that was where the bad guys were.

He studied the map.  If he followed Prek Chhloung to the east, he could reach National Highway 7 in a few hours.  The road led to Krong Kracheh.  A port city on the Mekong River.  Which eventually flows into South Vietnam.  Eddie decided he would not attempt to escape from Cambodia entirely on foot.  He began walking toward the highway.

As he approached the bridge, he began to see signs of civilization.  There were farmers and others living along the road.  He would have to move slowly and stay hidden.  Fortunately, the vegetation was thick.  A corn field stood on the edge of the river.  The stalks were tall enough to hide in.  At the road was a small shed.  Eddie assumed it was where the farmer kept supplies.  As he expected, it was unoccupied.  The shed became a temporary hideout.

His next goal was to figure out how to get a ride to Krong Kracheh.  Every few minutes, a vehicle would pass by on the road.  He wasn’t sure how to get one to stop.  Standing in the road, pointing his pistol at a car or truck might work.  Or get him shot or run over.

Down the road, he could see a hut.  It was only slightly larger than the shed he was in, but Eddie could see it was occupied.  A motorcycle was parked in front.  A woman sat under the porch, behind a counter.  After a few minutes, a car stopped, and two people got out.  He realized, the woman was running a produce stand, selling vegetables from the farm.

Eddie considered carjacking the next customer at the vegetable stand.  That would be easy enough.  But he would have to kill the civilians.  Leaving them alive would have the local police on his trail soon afterwards.  That was not acceptable.  Neither was killing unarmed civilians.  He ruled that out.

He kept looking at the woman running the stand.  And the motorcycle.  It looked big enough for both him and her.  A plan formed in his head.  Major Anthony spent the rest of the daylight hours underlining words in his English-Khmer dictionary.  He could only hope that would be good enough to communicate with the woman.

And, he would have to hope she didn’t have a particular reason to hate Americans.  We had been bombing her country long enough to give her plenty of reasons. 

On the other hand, the men on the Ho Chi Minh Trail were also unwelcome invaders in her country.  We had heard stories about abuses against civilians at the hands of the NVA and the Viet Cong.  Eddie hoped the woman would at least hate his enemies as much as she might hate him.

As twilight approached, the woman began to carry the trays of vegetables inside the hut.  That was Eddie’s cue.  He made his way through the field to the edge of the building.  When the woman entered the hut again with an armload of produce, he walked up on the porch and stood next to the counter.  He did not want to startle the woman any more than necessary. 

She froze when she saw him.  He saw the fear in her eyes.  Eddie held his finger up to his lips and hoped that a Cambodian would understand what he meant by that.  He hoped his diction was good enough when he spoke Khmer for the first time.  He hoped she would believe him.

His best guess at the pronunciation sounded like mitt phokte.  He said the phrase several times, with the calmest voice he could muster.  It meant friend.  She could see the pistol and the knife strapped to his belt.  He hoped she understood why neither of those weapons were in his hands.  It was important for her to grasp his intent.  Eddie needed a friend.


Submitted: June 05, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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Criss Sole

Good plan so far. I like how Eddie has morals and didn't go ahead and shoot innocent civilians even though it may have saved time and been easier. Wonder what his plan with the woman is, and if she will be friendly to him. Looking forward to reading on.

Sun, October 9th, 2016 7:20am

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He is already having nightmares over what he has done. Doesn't want to peel off those scabs again if he can help it.

Sun, October 9th, 2016 5:45am

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