Thanks, Ladies

The encampments were hidden under the brown fall leaves, dug deep into the ground and fortified with stones. Back in May there were as many as forty-two people stationed on The Hill, designated as a transit point to Bruiksmark. The bears came in and wiped them all out. Even the little bears came in and bit the soldiers in their cots, while they were sleeping off a drunk. And the wild turkeys nipped and pecked and screeched, creating such chaos that the grizzly bears went unnoticed until they were close enough to lunge, leaving men bleeding out of deep gashes in their necks.

We always went up to The Hill, Petey and I, to rummage through whatever was left behind. Today Petey found an old, very useful camping stove. I found some ancient girly magazines and a metal box with some bullets.

But the bears must have smelled us because they came back. I was rooting around under an army cot when I heard Petey shouting. There was one gunshot then some branches breaking. I went out there and they tore a hole right through my jacket into my chest. I turned around, hyperventilating, blood spraying through my fingers, and I tried to pull my jacket back together. The big one took a chunk out of my back as I retreated deeper into the cave, holding one of the cots up as a shield.

There are no doctors on this mountain and no cars with any gas in them so I’m stuck behind this cot barricade for now with just a flashlight and these girls with faded airbrush tans to keep me from losing consciousness. Thanks, ladies. I know I don’t look like much right now, seeping blood as I am, but I love your smiles and when this is all over I’d love to make your acquaintance.

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