Michael is the host this week of Sunday Writing Prompt over at Mindlovemiserysmenagerie.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” –Nelson Mandela
Compose a story in which you get yourself up off the ground or from some adversity and turn your situation into something positive.
Wow! THAT’s a prompt I gotta respond to. Now, I’m a Spoonie, I have four distinct separate chronic, incurable, life altering diseases. I fight for my life every day in ways you can’t imagine (well maybe you can) but that story doesn’t feel right for this. So … let’s go with this one.
A Wolf Howls at No Moon
The fire burned bright and warm against the cool dampness of the pacific northwest night. No moon to detract from the stars, our remote wilderness campsite was naught but varying shades of darkness. Talk flowed freely among friends around the fire, the children were all nestled in their sleeping bags in a central tent surrounded by the smaller shelters of the adults. Military all, various firearms were disassembled, unloaded and locked up.
The fire was bright, that’s probably why we didn’t see the lights at first. Headlights, that was really all we could make out, some sort of van or truck from the dimly outlined silhouette. Mad Dog (CB call sign, not his real name) was the first to stand, he was also the first to go down. Aquaman (so called because his real name was Guill) stood next to me and without warning shouted “DOWN” in a parade ground voice I’d never heard from him before. The entire circle of friends around the fire went down all at once. Aquaman grabbed my hand and yanked me to the ground with him and a red hot pain shot through my hip. Damn, that was gonna hurt tomorrow.
That’s when I heard the zipwhooshes. Little swooshes of air from an indeterminate source. It took a moment for me to recognize the sounds of small caliber gunfire. Shouted commands, cries of pain and shock. Wet stains on the ground that didn’t really look like blood but on some level I knew that’s what they were. I wondered idly if my hip had fractured when I fell and if I could get up and run.
I looked over at the kids tent and suddenly the shouts, noise, and the whizz-fap of the rounds all went away. Standing there outside the tent flap was one of the 12-year-old girls looking stunned in the glow from the headlights. I gathered myself into a crouch, silently praying she would see the adults and go to ground. She didn’t. A wolf howled, stark defiance at these noisy intruders. All the fear I’d felt up to this point was suddenly replaced by searing rage. How dare these bastards come in here and disrupt our gathering, injure our people, threaten our children. HOW DARE THEY? Staying in a low crouch, I sprang up running for all I was worth. Shouts behind me to get down, what was I doing, get back here, fell on empty dirt. I grabbed Bonnie around her waist and pushed/pulled/shoved/guided/flung her and myself to the nearest cover I could find. One of the vans. I stashed her there on the floor behind the drivers seat and looked out to see what the situation was. Bonnie started to cry, loudly. I sat there held and shushed her until KamperKiller (our groups leader) came to find us.
They drove me out with the other wounded. We made CB contact with the local police within 15 minutes and were escorted to the nearest hospital. After some first aid, a few stitches and lots of questions, all of the wounded were helicoptered back to the hospital on our naval base. The balance of our group followed by car. Seven days later, they released me from the hospital, I was the last out. Of 12 adults and 6 kids there were 5 injuries all adults, mostly gunshot wounds but one broken leg and (ahem, cough, cough) one case of anaphylaxis. Turns out the hip pain was a bullet graze and in my mindless search for cover I had become entangled with a bramble bush to which I am, apparently, extremely allergic. The ER gave me an epinephrine shot but kept me on a respirator for several days. They found a stolen white van abandoned less than a mile away from our site with the radiator shot out (courtesy of KamperKiller), a broken windshield and a heavy hunting knife (belonging to Aquaman) still stuck into the front seat. The two intruder bodies we left lying in the dirt apparently survived and escaped. Did I mention that half of our leave party were Navy Seals?
Scars fade, so do friendships. All those people with whom I was so close have long since gone their separate ways. A few have passed away, all have been re-stationed or discharged. But I’ll never forget the night the wolf howled at no moon.
Yes, this is a true story that happened to me, names and some circumstances have been changed for privacy of the people involved.
Word count 724 (OMG that’s like a Novella for me) 😉
Til next time ~Peace ~JPP