Base

 

 


 

“It’s so cold…” Mike’s whispered voice trailed off as Johnno bent over him, pressing the field dressing over the gaping wound in Mike’s stomach.

 

Even here in the clearing the hot, humid jungle was oppressive and stifling. The sweat from Johnno’s brow trickled down his cheek and dribbled into the red rivulet that oozed from Mike’s abdomen, darkening Mike’s jungle greens, then to drip into the puddling red-brown mud.

 

“You’re going to be fine mate, you’re going to be fine,” he urged, all the while chanting in his mind, “Oh, God. Oh, God.”

 

Johnno lifted his head at the sound of the chopper as it whoomp-whoomped its way over the trees. The downdraft from its rotor flattened the grasses and sent a cold breeze rushing and buffeting over him.

 

Johnno looked down at Mike, “It’s okay, it’s okay, they’re here.”

 

Mike’s bright blue eyes dimmed, and the sparkle faded. He stared up at Johnno, his eyes now cold and dark.

 

The Medic pushed Johnno out of the way and bent over Mike. Slowly he turned and said, “Sorry, Digger, he’s gone.”

 

The Platoon Sergeant came over and put a hand on John’s shoulder. John shivered. “Sorry, John, I know he was a mate.”

 

Johnno stood there in the clearing with the hot Asian sun beating down as his tears mingled with his sweat. He had never felt so cold in all his life.

 


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