The Diamond King – Excerpt 2
The younger man, Henrik de Klerk, had only been with the Commando a short time, but Hans had chosen to watch over him, until he was more capable of doing it himself. It was not hard to see that Henrik was totally exhausted. So Hans lifted him on to his own horse and led him by the halter.
They went this way for several miles, but Hans found it both tiring and restricting. He stopped for a breather and tried to figure a way out of their predicament. He had decided on a solution. They would separate, he would give Henrik the horse and the water canteen and point him in the direction of the nearest settlement where he would find help and hope that the British were not waiting there.
At least this way, Henrik had a fair chance of survival, carry on as we are, and both our lives are in jeopardy, thought Hans. He had hunted and prospected this area for years and knew that there was water within a hard days march. He was willing to take that chance. And so the die was cast, Henrik went his way and went mine. Maybe our paths would cross again, but only fate knew the answer to that question?
I adjusted my rifle and my pack, and set out to clear the bushveldt and reach the mountains. It was hard going trudging along in the hot sun. I had given all our water to Henrik, his need seemed greater than mine, but now I was beginning to have second thoughts.
Under normal circumstances, the distance that I had to cover would not have been a problem, but with exhaustion setting in and the heat of the sun overhead, my prospects of survival were not looking so good. I had to get a grip of myself and keep heading for the nearest water.
(C) Damian Grange 2019