As Remembrance Day is just past, and Christmas is coming up, I am posting a story from the Living the Adventure section of Out of My Mind that actually applies to both.


Peace on Earth

The heat was stifling. It had rained just before sundown, but that only added to the oppressive conditions by creating a ground-hugging mist that was thick enough to cut with a machete. It was a typical night in the jungle and Vince hated it. He was soaked to his skin shortly after leaving the protection of the encampment. Now, after an hour of battling his way through the thick, vine-wound underbrush, he was thoroughly miserable. He dropped to his haunches and looked back the way he had come. His penlight flashed over the thick vegetation. Amazing! People cut their way through here every day, and yet it looked as if he was the first person to set foot in this part of the jungle. He listened to the sounds made by nocturnal animals making their rounds. What are we doing here? Vince thought. We should let them have this place. The jungle did its best to force man out, and if it was up to him, he would be happy to leave.

He especially didn’t want to be here tonight. It was December twenty-fourth, mere hours from the twenty-fifth, but you would never know it in this hell-hole. Why did he have to do a night patrol on Christmas Eve? Christmas was supposed to be a ceasefire, but that simply meant that there were no battles being fought. The night guards still had to watch for enemy movement. Knowing that there were other poor fools out here did little to relieve Vince’s misery. He could sympathize with them and still feel just as sorry for himself. He slapped a gigantic mosquito that landed on his neck, but it merely flew off, returning moments later with a few friends. Mumbling a curse, he levered himself to his feet and continued up the hill to the clearing that was his responsibility tonight.

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