Night had already fallen when we left the safety of our camp to strike out for High Peak. No doubt, our superiors were sleeping soundly in their beds. Our Special Forces unit had been split in two. I was to lead Alpha Team up the East Ridge, and Big Dave would lead Bravo on the Western route.
We travelled light, but had surprise on our side. Our night vision kit would show us the way. Several times through that long night, I thought I heard muffled sounds across the mountain, but I couldn’t afford to slow down. And we had agreed to keep strict radio silence.
The cool night air didn’t prevent the sweat from trickling down my back. Several times, I slipped and fell. But I was soon climbing ever upward. Pain and fatigue were stalking me, but I kept one step ahead.
As I neared the final ridge, I allowed myself a brief respite to check through my kit. My watch counted the seconds down to Zero hour. Now was the time to strike.
As I mounted the ridge, I peered through the gloom looking for signs of movement. But the enemy camp was gone. They had fled, with nothing left behind. Or was there? I saw Dave’s backpack leaning against a rock, but there was no sign of him. What had happened? Shouting his name over and over, I searched until I was exhausted.
It was now that tiredness and fear overtook me. I felt too young, at twelve years old, to be on this type of mission. Reluctantly, I took out my mobile phone and rang Mum and Dad in their tent far below. What would they say?
This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, October 11th 2015. For more details click the logo.
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