The young soldier lay wounded on the ground. All around him were his comrades, either already dead or dying. He was badly wounded in the leg, he could not walk, but if need be he could defend himself.
But, against what? the Afghan tribesmen had done their deadly work. Their ambush had been successful, and now they had gone back from whence they came. But they had left one survivor, one young man in the khaki uniform of the British Army. the only one left to tell the tale of their treachery.
The young man lay, the rising sun was already taking its toll on him. He tried to weigh up the odds on his survival. He had little mobility, due to his wound, but on the plus side, due to being surrounded by his fallen comrades, he had plenty of water and ammunition to spare.
He felt quite content until he remembered his old sergeants warning, ‘If you are separated or wounded, take your own life, die like a soldier, The Afghani women come in the night and they will leave you much less a man, better you be dead!’ the sergeants words haunted him. But he had seen corpses that the Afghani women had mutilated and he truly would be better off dead.
He reconnoitred the area as best he could crawling, and found a depression between two rocks, a small natural cave. He struggled for most of the day, moving spare rifles, ammunition and water to his place of refuge. Then rested and waited for night.
He awoke with a start, he had heard a rock fall, not loud, but enough to disturb him, after all he was expecting company. He peered in to the darkness, sure enough the Afghani women were there doing their Unholy work ! Should he fire on them, and give away his position, or should he wait them out and pray they didn’t notice him.
The soldier decided to wait them out, after all, someone needed to report what had taken place here, and it appeared he was the only survivor. When the women had finished mutilating the corpses, they drifted away back the way they had come.
The following morning, the killing ground was a feeding ground for the local carrion, who in turn attracted a patrol of cavalry, who found the young soldier and returned him to his regiment. He was cited in dispatches for his courage!
(C) Damian Grange 2017