In the valley of the vast hot Northern side of Iraq, sat four soldiers. Soldiers who remained the last ones from battalion – clover. The heat was brutal enough to make them sit back in the shadow, except for Charlie whose dark skin made him enjoy hot weather. Their situation was dire, forcing them to start a campfire for rescue chopper and stay at a fair distance from it. In falling shadow from tree sat Jenkins, with his urge of getting out of there, as he continuously monitored out coming smoke from a campfire. The squad of four people stood under the one tree, the four people from different places in the world, become closest friends in the military. Few feet from Jenkins, slept Hudson on his duffel bag and looking at the sky, awaiting the sound of chopper coming in the valley.
“Chill out boys, they are coming.”
With a positive attitude, Debbie turned her head towards Hudson and Charlie. Being the only girl in the squad turned her into ass-kicking optimist.
“Just like that time… when they came for us on last-minute,” Jenkins spat his chewing tobacco on the ground “Last seconds. We were seconds away from getting a bullet in our heads.”
“Relax man. This isn’t the hot zone and we already radioed our location, now they have to see our smoke and were out of here” Hudson pulled out his pack of smoke “Charlie, you want some?” both of them extended arms each other direction, Charlie pulled out one of his pre-rolled smokes and stated.
“Can’t believe you smoke this crap all the time.” Lightly coughed smoke from terrible tobacco Hudson offered him “Shit, I need a drink.”
The whole squad laughed and Debbie pulled out a flask from her duffel bag.
“Here! This might get the taste off of it.”
Charlie took a small taste of it and his face said it all. The disgust from it made his face squeeze together like he just poured a liter of lemon jest in his mouth. Through disgusted feel from her booze, he spoke words of an unhappy man.
“This is even more terrible. Fuck!” the whole squad laughed at him and Hudson who’s always quiet managed to give out tiny laugh.
“Damn Charlie, how did they accepted you in the army anyways. I hope your girl back at home enjoys you this way.” Debbie set all squad laughing again.
“Wouh Debs, that is something coming from a woman like you. Hear your girl’s into boys now, might pay her a visit after this.”
“I want to see that. She doesn’t enjoy guys, especially the ones who bitching about the shitty booze.”
“Ohhhhh!” Jenkins slid into their conversation “Seems you got more roasted from the inside, Crispy. That happens when you try to joke with Debs.” He stared at her and both exchanged smiles
“You ain’t married? Are you?” Hudson raised his hat and looked at her
“Of course not. Why would I ever want to be bonded to someone by law, that seems like a stupid idea if you ask me. Besides, there are times when we spend nights with complete strangers. Ahh, good times.” A smile rose on her face and she sipped small amount from here booze “God I love this strong stuff.”
“What about you Jenkins, what’s there for you at the end of the chopper ride? Because seems like you’re anticipated to go home. Don’t worry the won’t be faster than an hour or so.”
“Married, two kids. Can’t wait to get there. Those messages they sent me, made me miss them even more and the steak my wife makes, damn!”
“Sounds like you have some quite family there. Not like the Crisp, who enjoys sticking it in every woman who passes by him. Don’t mention if she winks at him, then it’s straight fuck fiesta.”
“Lay off of me, will ya people.” Charlie began getting slight unease
“Okay, okay Mr. Emotional.” Jenkins put his hands together and bowed his head towards Charlie “What about you Huds? By the look of it, you don’t hurry anything.”
“I have nothing there for me. Mother’s dead, dads a drunk, wife divorced me and left god knows where with my kids. Can’t blame her, after all abuse I delivered to her. All I got left was joining the army, some last action before the end of my days. Perhaps one day I open the door of my home and she’ll be there, but I highly doubt it. I don’t know about you people, but I’m not afraid to die here.”
“Ouch. Huds, none us want’s to die here and then there is you. You, who sounds like a man who got nothing left to lose, except himself. I hope you’ll snap out of it.” Jenkins began to worry about their situation, slight paranoia occurred in his mind.
“Boys, boys! Relax will ya. Chopper is coming, I’m sure of it. By the way, look what I got.” She pulled out what seemed a crappy rolled joint “who wants a hit?”
Everyone turned her direction, with multiple reactions towards the smoke she held in hand. Hudson decided to ignore the fact she’s about to get high, he didn’t minded and continued looking in the clouds. Charlie stepped in the shadow and sat next to Debbie.
“Finally something good for a change. This is from that field we crossed with a battalion, is it?”
“Hell yeah Charl’s. Jenkins, you want some?” Jenkins looked at Hudson’s face; the face of lying man told him not to, but he decided to do it anyways.
“Ahh, what the hell,” walked closer and sat next to both of them “pass me that Crisp.”
“Why the hell you call me ‘Crisp’?”
“Dude, look at your skin and you will get the answer. When I bake cookies for my girlfriend and accidentally forget them in the oven; I swear, they look as black as your skin.”
“That is rich coming from someone like you Debs. At least I can sit in the sun for hours, not like you ‘yogurt skins’.”
“Ohohoho,” Hudson looked a them “Seems like you both just got roasted by Charlie himself”
Laugh raised above them all and gave out slight echo in the valley. Three of them sat on one rock, with backs at each other and monitored the campfire, as it slowly began fading away. Skies became clearer by minutes and no sound of incoming chopper occurred. An hour had passed since they began signalizing their location, but nothing. They hope for rescue began fading away with extinguish of the fireplace. A sudden trembling sound in the far distance started to occur, Hudson raised up and began lifting his duffel bag.
“It’s the chopper, i’m positive. Get your bags ladies.”
“And Huds at it again. The speech.” Debbie made a small joke and it worked, everyone was laughing.
Sound become clearer, the sky began trembling and the wind got stronger. It was here, chopper began hovering above the valley and all of them started waving hands. With fast pace they began going for the chopper. Another sound came from a distance, like something going off, they couldn’t explain it. With the glimpse over the chopper, who was there finally, their last hope was hovering over their heads.
Charlie screamed when he saw rocket hitting the hull of their chopper. The rocket that came from nowhere, had blasted their last hope from the skies. Charlie turned his head right and saw Jenkins falling to the ground from the bullet hitting back of his head. Another shoot and Debbie who were in front of him met the same fortune. He turned around and saw Hudson, standing with a pistol in his right hand, aiming at Charlie’s head.
“I’m so sorry, they have my family.” A tear slid from his eye “They left me no choice.”
“Wait, wait, wait, wait….”
The sound from a gun was the last thing between Hudson and Charlie. Hudson grabbed his guns hot barrel, to feel slight remorse about the pain he inflicted, just to get his family back. Threw his duffel bag on his shoulder, grabbed few pieces of gear from his fallen friends and continued moving forward. Hudson, who wasn’t afraid to die, now had something to live for, his family.