Painting by Sawyer
Sorry its been so long since I done wrote to you and Daddy. The Army shore has been keeping your boy busy. They had sent me out on another top secret mission and Mama you shore would be proud. But I aint suppose to be talking bout that none so dont be axing me no questions bout it. I will tell you this though…having to survive on just oysters so big as my fist is mighty tryin and makes me miss your corn fried coon and taters something terrible. I gots to get now Mama.
Rusty Bear Paw Donaldson
After carefully placing his stamp in the right hand corner of the envelop made out to his mother, Rusty Bear Paw sat at the edge of his bunk reminiscing about the smells of Cajun cooking coming from his mama’s kitchen back home in the swamps of Louisiana. He closed his eyes tight, and he could see clear as day the old cypress stumps peeking out of the murky bayou water. He could feel the dampness of the air beading up on his face. And he could hear the songs of the crickets and the playful bark of the squirrels as they jumped from limb to limb in the woods that made up his family home.
Rusty ached for home, but he knew he had a duty to his country. The Army depended on him to stay focused for his missions. And that last one was a close call even for him. He flashed back to the chopping of the helicopter blades as it lowered close enough to the ground for him to leap down onto the sandy beach.
His mission…survive undetected by the enemy long enough for the Navy Seals to arrive and aid him in a covert strike against the enemy’s weapons base located at the northern tip of the island. And Rusty was confident he could survive anywhere.
Fleeing the dangerous openness of the beach, Rusty dashed for cover at the edge of the dense jungle of the island. He was wary of penetrating any further in for risking being discovered, but he needed shelter of some kind. So using only his Army issued machete, he dug a deep hole in the sand to sleep in. Then he chopped down several large banana leaves to cover him in the hole for the night.
The next morning he woke to the sounds of two…three…no, four pairs of feet quickly approaching his cover. Tense, he lay there, hand on the handle of the machete at his side. He had limited knowledge of their language, but he understood enough that they were investigating the mysterious helicopter they heard during the night. And…shouting. They had seen his footprints in the sand leading back to the jungle. He would be discovered in seconds.
As the enemy group stalked closer to his hole, Rusty held his breath and waited…waited…and as soon as the footsteps were right on top of him, he leaped out from the hole in the ground hollering his Cajun yell and startling the four men. He swung out at the closest man to him, hitting him square in the jaw causing his would be attacker to tip over into the three men behind him knocking two down with him like bowling pins. The last man standing squatted down low in an attack position and reached to his side for his gun. But he wasn’t fast enough for Rusty Bear Paw, who quickly tackled his opponent to the ground. After relieving the men of their weapons and hog tying them together with thick jungle vines, Rusty left them on the beach for the Seals to find whenever they decided to show up for the action.
Starving from all the early morning exertions, Rusty collected a few oysters, giant baseball sized oysters, from the ocean water to tied him over. It was a shame he had to slurp them down without any hot sauce, but he made do.
Once his appetite was whet, he pulled out his map and pushed forward to the northern tip of the island. He knew keeping his cover was no longer an option. He had little time before whoever was keeping guard up at the weapons base realized the group they had sent out to investigate the helicopter wasn’t coming back. With fixed determination to successfully complete the mission ahead, Rusty pushed deep into the heart of the jungle. Time to go hunting.
To be continued…