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Purple Hearts - Combat! Fan Fiction

 

 

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The Escape

Combat! Fan Fiction
by
Mary Wright "Eagle Lady"
eaglelady80010@netzero.net

          The six men pressed themselves to the cool ground, eyes closed, hands clamped over their helmets.  The ground they lay on shook as though the planet was trying to throw them off.  Tree limbs, branches, leaves, dirt, and rocks rained down as the Kraut .88s exploded around them in a deafening fury.  An eternity later, the cacophony of death was replaced by the soft sighing of the breeze through what was left of the trees, accompanied by tentative calls of frightened birds.

          Ever so slowly, the helmeted heads lifted and wary eyes peered through the settling dust, each man hoping to find his companions alive and unhurt.  The lithe, well-muscled Cajun scout was the first to rise and stand on wide-spread legs, followed by the slim, wiry BAR man.  Littlejohn was next to come to his feet, his hulking form dwarfing that of his friend, Billy, who stood beside him.

          Turning, Caje spotted Doc on his knees, staring at something on the ground in front of him.  Knowing only one squad member was unaccounted for, and afraid to voice the question, Caje crossed the few feet separating them to peer over the medic's shoulder.

          "Sarge!"  His dismayed exclamation quickly brought the other three to them.

          The sergeant lay on his stomach, one hand fisted into the weeds, his knuckles white.  His left leg was soaked with blood from mid-thigh to boot, the right from knee to boot.  The men watched in silence as Doc bandaged the shrapnel wounds and gently eased the injured man onto his back.

          "Caje."  Saunders' voice was hoarse with pain.

          When Caje knelt beside him, Saunders reached out and gripped the front of the scout's jacket.

          "Caje."  He repeated.

          "Right here, Sarge."  Caje grasped his friend's arm in reassurance.  "Take it easy."

          "Caje, you're in charge.  Find that OP."

          "Alright, Sarge."

          Unzipping the sergeant's jacket, Caje removed the map, then eased the binoculars strap over the blond head.

          "Can't you give him something, Doc?"  Kirby asked.

          "Yeah.  It'll put him out, so if you got any questions, you'd better ask now."

          "Go ahead and give it to him."  Caje instructed.

          Caje kept a hand on the sergeant's arm until the injection took effect and he was asleep, then rose and looked at the others.

          "Let's get a litter made.  Littlejohn, give Billy the radio, then you and Doc take him back.  Kirby, Billy, you come with me."

          A short time later, they had the litter prepared and the sergeant ready to move.

          "Take care of yourselves."  Doc said as he took hold of the end of the litter.

          "You, too."  Caje nodded.  "Get him back home, huh?"

          "We'll take care of him, Caje."  Littlejohn promised.

^^^

          The three men watched Doc and Littlejohn start back, then turned and moved onward with Caje in the lead and Kirby bringing up the rear.  They picked their way around the bomb craters and debris,  moving in silence.  At the banks of a shallow stream, Caje called a halt and brought out the map.

          "Alright.  We're right here.  The OP is supposed to be here, at the pump house.  We'll cross here, and move up along this hill.  When we get to this point, Kirby will take the left, Billy the right, and I'll go up the middle.  Try to avoid a fight, we just want to take a look at it and call in an air strike.  Got it?"

          "Yeah."  Kirby answered, echoed by Billy.

          "Alright, let's get going."

          Followed by the other two, Caje splashed across the water and angled to the right toward a series of low hills.  Reaching the point where they were to separate, Caje lifted a hand to halt them.

          "This is where we split.  Check it out and meet back here in fifteen minutes."

          "Alright."  Both men nodded.

          "Move out."

          Confident in his friend's abilities to follow orders and do their jobs, Caje didn't bother to glance back as he started working his way up the hill.  Kirby settled the heavy BAR more comfortably and moved off to the left in a low crouch.  Not used to being all alone on a mission, Billy swallowed nervously and eased to the right after double checking his M-1. 

          Kirby made it almost to the top of the hill, stopping just before the line of cleared trees to belly down on the damp earth, cautiously lifting his head.  Sure enough, the Krauts had themselves an OP on the hill.  He could see two Krauts lounging outside the battered pump house, smoking.  Squinting, he made out the shape of a man at one of the window holes, using binoculars.  Very carefully, he slid backwards for ten feet before rising to a crouch.  Turning to make his way back down the hill, he hit the dirt in a reflex action as bullets tore into the trees around him.

          Caje dropped to his hands and knees halfway up the hill, crawling carefully to the edge of the trees.  Gripping his rifle tightly, he covered the last ten feet on his belly, careful not to snap any twigs as he moved.  He ducked his head and lay perfectly still, holding his breath, as one of the two Krauts turned in his direction.  When no outcry came, he inched his head up, sighing in relief when he saw the Krauts casually talking to each other.  Slowly and silently, he slithered back down the hill.  He'd just risen to a low crouch when gunfire broke out on his left.

          Realizing that Kirby must have been spotted, he headed in that direction, using trees and fallen limbs as cover.  Crouching behind a splintered log, Caje studied the situation.  Kirby was flat on his stomach behind a low rock, unable to return fire without taking a bullet in the head.  Several Krauts were between him and Kirby, their backs to him.  Resting his M-1 across the top of the log, Caje took careful aim and started firing.  The instant the Krauts turned to meet the new threat, Kirby started firing, the heavy sound of the BAR countering the lighter sounds of the rifles.

          Nearly back down to the bottom of the hill, Billy froze at the sound of gunfire from the other side of the hill.  Listening for a minute, he picked out the sound of Caje's M-1, then the BAR.  At least they were both still alive, he thought in relief.  He took a step in that direction, then changed his mind and slid the radio off of his back.

          "King Two, this is White Rook.  Over."  He called urgently.

          "White Rook, this is King Two. Over."

          "King Two, this is Nelson.  We've reached the objective.  Sighting verified. Over."

          "Nelson?  Where's Caje?  Over."

          "They're taking fire.  I'm on my way to them. Over."

          "Roger.  Chorus Girls arriving in thirty minutes.  Get out of there.  Over."

          "Roger. Out."

          Planning to pick it up later, Billy left the radio behind and headed toward his friends.   Working his way across the base of the hill, Billy took cover behind a tree to survey the area.  He could see Kirby off to the left, Caje to the right, and between them several Krauts were dug in among a pile of rocks and logs.  Realizing he had a perfect field of fire, Billy brought his rifle up and started firing. One of the Krauts flung his weapon into the air, sprawling backwards on top of one of his companions.  A sudden, sharp blow to his back knocked Billy to his knees, his rifle dropping from his hands.

^^^

          

          Caje nearly jumped out of his skin at the feel of a gun barrel pressing against the back of his neck.  He froze, his finger still on the trigger.  A hand reached around him to rip the rifle from his grip and he was roughly jerked to his feet and  pulled around to face three Krauts.  His web belt was pulled off, along with his watch and helmet.  Two more Krauts joined them, pushing Billy ahead of them.  They shoved him so hard that he slammed into Caje, both of them nearly going down.

          "American!  We have your two companions.  Throw down your weapon or they will be killed."  A German sergeant yelled to Kirby.

          "Don't do it!"  Caje shouted, then grunted in pain when the butt of a German rifle slammed into his stomach, doubling him over.

          "I will count to ten, American."

          Kirby peered over the rock, uncertain what to do.  Five Krauts stood in a semi-circle behind his friends.  As Caje slowly straightened, one of the Krauts grabbed him by the back of his jacket and pressed a pistol to the back of his head.

          "American!  You have five seconds."

          Figuring that they had a better chance with the three of them alive, Kirby laid his gun on top of the rock and reluctantly got to his feet.  A shot rang out and Kirby crashed back to the ground as a bullet slammed into his leg.

          "He was surrendering!"  Billy protested.

          The sergeant holding Caje shoved him aside and shouted angrily in German, which resulted in one of the men in the rocks standing up.  The sergeant promptly shot him, then crossed over to where Kirby lay clutching his leg.

          "You may bandage his wound."  The sergeant told Caje when he and Billy were brought over.

          Moving awkwardly with one hand held to his stomach, Caje knelt down, dressed and bandaged the wound just above Kirby's knee, then helped him to his feet.  Billy moved in on the other side to help support him.

          "Walk.  That way."  The sergeant pointed toward the pump house.

          "The chorus will be singing in about twenty minutes."  Billy said quietly.

          "You got through?"  Caje asked in surprise.

          "Yeah."

          "Be quiet!"  The sergeant ordered.

^^^

          

          They were taken inside the pump house, their hands bound behind their backs, Caje and Billy's feet also bound; then they were pushed down to sit against a wall in a back room.  Between them, Kirby closed his eyes, his head leaning back against the wall, his jaw clenched in pain.  Billy looked past him at Caje, trying hard to hide his fear.  Caje grinned at him, offering the only support he could at the moment.

          "Caje, the...the chorus."  Billy whispered, one eye on the guard left at the door.

          "I know, Billy, I know.  Take it easy."  Caje whispered back.

          "The chorus?"  Kirby didn't bother to open his eyes.

          "You know, the chorus girls.  In fifteen minutes."

          Kirby opened one eye to look at him, then glanced over at Caje for confirmation.  When Caje nodded, Kirby sighed and closed his eyes again.

          "Maybe they'll be late."  He suggested.

          "We gotta get out of here!"  Nelson whispered frantically.

          "How?"  Kirby asked.

          "I don't know!  Can you reach my hands?"

          Gritting his teeth, Kirby inched around till his fingers brushed the ropes on Nelson's wrists.

          "Just a little more."  Nelson urged, straining to get his arms as close to Kirby as he could.

          Trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his leg, the BAR man closed his eyes and focused all of  his attention on his fingertips.  When the ropes parted, Nelson almost whooped in delight, quickly changing it to a loud cough.  The guard glanced over his shoulder, saw nothing to alarm him, and returned his attention to whatever it was his companions were doing.   Very slowly and very quietly, Nelson freed his friend's hands, then untied the ropes on his ankles, leaving the rope in position. 

          "We have less than ten minutes."  Nelson said, sneaking a glance at his watch.

          Kirby slid a hand into his boot and handed Caje the pocket knife he pulled out, motioning toward the guard with his chin.  Noting the Cajun's pale face and the way he sat hunched over to ease the sore stomach muscles, Billy  took the knife and cautiously eased into a crouch.  Silently, the young soldier moved up behind the guard while the other two watched anxiously.  In a lightning fast move, Nelson seized the guard and slit his throat, managing to grab the guard's rifle before it clattered to the floor.  The instant Nelson had grabbed the guard, Caje started pulling Kirby to his feet.  Billy hurried over and hauled Kirby the rest of the way up to lean against the wall. Nelson quietly moved a crate underneath the only window in the room, climbed up and stuck his head out to check the area.

          "Good way to get your head blown off, Billy."  Kirby commented softly.

          "We don't have much choice.  Either sit here and get blown up or make a run for it.  Com'on, get up here and out the window."  Nelson replied equally quietly.

          With a  boost from Caje, Kirby was up on the crate and halfway out of the window before he knew what happened.  Nelson pushed him aside, and scrambled out the window, turning to help ease his friend down.  The second Caje touched ground, they seized Kirby's arms and ran for their lives.  Behind them, they heard the alarm raised and several shots came uncomfortably close; then they heard the roar of the planes coming in.

Apparently forgetting about his leg wound, Kirby had no problem keeping up as they plunged back down the hill.

^^^

          Sprawled in a heap in a depression under a fallen tree, the three soldiers lay with their eyes closed, their heavy breathing lost in the barrage of noise as the American bombs obliterated the German OP behind them.  Finally Caje rolled over and sat up, tenderly exploring his bruised middle.  Nelson, who had ended up under Kirby, eased out from under him and propped himself up on one elbow, while Kirby simply lay where he was.

          "Well, we're still alive, Caje."  Nelson grinned.

          "Yeah.  We're alive."  Caje agreed.  "We have no canteens, no bandages, one gun, and a long way to go."

          "Leave me here.  Send Doc back with a litter."  Kirby said without moving.

          "No.  Not this close to the German lines."  Caje said firmly.

          "Caje, you take one arm, I'll take the other, and we'll drag him back home."  Nelson grinned at Caje over Kirby's recumbent form.

          "Good idea."  Caje grinned back.

          "Bad idea."  Kirby glared at them.

          Chuckling, Caje got to his feet.  "You two stay here.  If I'm not back in half an hour, try to get back home."

          "Where you goin'?"  Kirby demanded.

          "To try to find you a ride home."

          "You're nuts, Caje." Kirby told him, shaking his head.

          "You want the rifle?"  Billy asked.

          "No.  Keep your eyes open, Billy."  Caje slipped away into the bushes.

          After checking the rifle, Billy stayed close to his injured friend, unsure whether he was asleep,  unconscious, or simply resting.  Twenty-eight minutes later, Billy heard something approaching them.  Unable to identify it from his current position, and unwilling to leave Kirby, Nelson crouched protectively over him and waited nervously, licking suddenly dry lips.

          "Nelson, it's me.  Caje."  Billy was so relieved at the low call that he nearly dropped the rifle, jumping violently when Caje suddenly appeared beside him, breathing hard and massaging his stomach.

          "I wish you wouldn't do that!"  Billy complained.

          "Sorry.  Help me get him up."

          Supporting Kirby between them, they pushed their way through the bushes for nearly twenty feet, then Caje stopped.

          "You chariot awaits, Kirby."  Caje grinned.

          "Some chariot."  Kirby eyed the dilapidated farmer's cart with some trepadition. "Isn't a chariot supposed to have a horse?"

          "Quit complaining, Kirby.  It's better than walking."  Caje snapped.

          He and Nelson boosted Kirby in on top of the pile of grass and leaves that he'd gathered on the way back, then they grabbed hold of the cart shaft. 

          "Hey, Caje?"  Kirby called.

          "Yeah?"

          "Thanks."

          "You're welcome."

          They hadn't gotten too far when Nelson stopped suddenly.

          "Uh-oh." 

          "Now what, Billy?" Caje took advantage of the stop to rub his aching middle.

          "I left the radio!  Sarge is gonna kill me this time for sure."  He groaned.

          Caje and Kirby looked at each other, amused at his concern over the radio when they'd come so close to being blown to bits.

          "I think he just might forgive you this one time.  Let's go home."  Caje chuckled.

 

With grateful acknowlegment to TXmedic for her invaluable assistance!

 

Copyright 2001

 

Story Copyright Mary Wright. All Rights Reserved.

Read more Dogface Tales by Mary:
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The CombatFan web site thanks Mary (aka "EagleLady") for letting us share these fan fiction stories on this web site.

 

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