Chapter 14 ‘Run…….now’
The sickness subsided as he spat out the remnants from within his throat; he could still feel his throat thick with mucus when he caught a movement out the corner of his eye. Without any hesitation his attention was drawn to the movement; his face now concentrated on the forest where he had just seen something move! A man entered the meadow, he wore combat trousers and was topless even from this distance his scarred torso could be seen; on his head he wore a red baseball cap. Akecheta knew instantly who the man was; he looked around the meadow and nodded to himself this is a good place to die…a good day to die!
The Mexican came into the meadow; his walk oozed confidence; Akecheta moved his hand down to his leg to the hilt of the Bowie knife; his palm felt the hilt, then it tightened itself around the handle. He breathed in deeply through his nose, the Mexican was around two hundred metres away, even from that distance Akecheta could see the scar around his neck and the one which ran down his eye and onto his cheek; his whole torso was full of scars what kind of battles has this man fought? The Mexican continued walking toward the middle of the meadow as Akecheta waited for his death yes this is a good place to die!
Without any warning Akecheta was back on the ridge there were no buffalo anymore they had all disappeared into nothingness; the plains were empty, now it was just Akecheta and Annawan, it all seemed like slow motion. Annawan’s face seemed older than he remembered; his wrinkles more prominent he looked into Akecheta’s eyes ‘Watohanl Unkis Iyayekiya Kize Acajt (sometimes we runaway and fight tomorrow).’
Akecheta was afraid but his honour and his tribal history were within his thoughts ‘Hemaca Sni Kokipe Annawan (I am not afraid my chief).’
Annawan nodded sadly ‘Yaye Wana Kiya Ohasko Kize Acajt Nistuste Kici Nitawa Oyate Kice Miye (go now; fly quick, fight tomorrow; run for your people, for me).’
Everything had disappeared Akecheta was back in the meadow staring at his advancing foe; evil emanated from his stature as he moved through the ankle length grass what kind of devil is this man? Akecheta had to get away; there was no dishonour in running; Annawan had told him too; fight tomorrow were his words and perhaps they were wise words perhaps this was not the right time to fight, perhaps Akecheta was not ready and the warning was serious? His hand released its grip on the hilt of the Bowie knife; he turned and began sprinting away from the advancing Mexican; his mind was made up he would fight tomorrow; now he would run for his life, for his whole being depended on it!
With legs as light as feathers he crossed the meadow without once looking behind him at one point he had thought that the Mexican was right on his tail; but then the feeling had disappeared. He reached the undergrowth on the other side instantly disappearing into the greenery; once inside he chanced a look behind; he could see the Mexican standing above the shard remains of his demonic ally. His face full with rage and intent he began running toward the forest; toward Akecheta, who turned on the spot instantly and began running through the forest, through the thick undergrowth as though the hounds of hell were hard on his heels for that was the reality, they were…..Akecheta was being chased by the Devil himself! Now was not the time for thinking, now was not the time for fighting, now was the time for running and Akecheta now ran for his life, just like Samson the boy he had been sent to protect. But now it was all for nothing it was a hopeless situation, the devil was running on the air of corruption, on the air of everything evil, its ally was pain and fear; the fear which now emanated from Akecheta.
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Samson ran and ran following the hawk which flew high above the tree-line, every now and again he would lose sight of the majestic bird but then it would reappear through one the breaks in the canopy overhead. He heard shots in the distance and knew instantly that his new friend was dead, he had not seen any gun on the Indian named Akecheta; Samson was on his own again, running for his life, for survival, for hope and goodness. The mountain that Akecheta had told him to head toward was looming overhead; he wondered how far he had actually run since he had left his new found friend? The leaves he had eaten had given him a real good energy boost as he progressed quickly through the forest; jumping logs and landing with ease and with a start he was off again; running, stopping and running again. His thoughts eventually turned to all the people he had lost over the last three days three days, is that all it’s been? Seems like so much longer his mind went through the process of working out the first night they came to the cabin, the second night I was in the cave and then again last night I spent it in the cave ‘yes three nights’ he whispered through gritted teeth as he continued forwards. Three nights since you first saw these evil men and since then everyone you’ve known or met has ended up being killed, first Mom, Dad and Candice then the old couple in the campervan and now the Indian named Akecheta ‘you’re a dangerous person to know Samson Baker!’ he panted.
The hawk was ever present in the skies above as Samson ran and ran toward the looming mountain; soon the forest and the mountain would merge into one. Samson prayed that his new friend and ally had died quickly and although he thought it was perhaps a bit selfish he also prayed that Akecheta had bought him a little time? Although the sun shone brightly above Samson realised that evening was not too far away where will I sleep tonight? Without even realising it he had reached the mountain and was now manoeuvring up the gradient which was now fairly rocky and sparse; pebbles and dusty sand moved under his feet as he moved upwards and sideways on. Samson had already made up his mind to skirt around the base then move higher; if he could get high enough he could probably see how the landscape faired in the distance! This would give him an idea of the best direction to head; he may even see a road or even a town; his hopes were slowly rising again, Samson felt he could maybe see an end to his nightmare?
The hawk had now disappeared as Samson carried on his gradual march and climb; his arms and head burned from the heat of the sun making him unsure on whether to take off his t-shirt and wrap it around his head again? Common sense then told him that his back would burn; it did not matter what he did something would burn; he decided to pull the neck of the t-shirt over his head but still keeping the t-shirt on his body; that way only the small of his back would be exposed! The hope he felt earlier was beginning to subside as he moved slowly around the mountain; his feet sliding several times, causing him to fall onto his side more damn bruises and scrapes! Samson cursed himself for leaving everything behind, he had no water, no coat, no torch anymore, no food, no rucksack, it was all gone, all his possessions in the world were what he had on him; boots, socks, pants and trousers and a soaking wet t-shirt and the rolled up blanket that Akecheta had given him………..and the pouch that he had also been given! At least he would not be so cold tonight; the blanket would come in quite handy of that he was one hundred per cent certain.
Step after relentless step he plodded forward; not even realising that he was crying. He now walked unsteadily; wearily his whole body was beaten, the pain he felt from bruises, blisters and aches was now beginning to wear him down; his morale dipping severely; hope had deserted him and most of all he was feeling like God had deserted him. His throat was dry again, every breath he took burned his trachea; his throat pleaded with him to give it water but again he had left that behind ‘stupid, stupid, STUPID!’ He cursed hoarsely, Samson slipped again this time he landed on his funny bone the feeling that shot down his arms made him want to vomit as he rolled about on the dusty slope, the pebbles burning his naked back. The sun beat down on his face as he closed his eyes and just lay there motionless on his back; Samson wanted his world to end; he was beaten; he was defeated ‘just take me’ he whispered to nothing and no-one.
When Samson next opened his eyes it was dusk as the sky now began turning to night; how long he had been asleep he had no idea but although he could feel blisters around his lips and his face felt like a radiator he at last felt a little more refreshed. The sleep had done him well, now he needed to start walking again what if they’ve caught up with me? It was too late now he had already slept if they were out there watching him they would have taken him, so he figured that it was common sense to say he was still on the run?
Samson decided to carry on walking now that he had rested; he would walk until it was too dark to see anymore then he would hold up wherever he found himself, wrap him up in the patterned woollen blanket and continue in the morning. He stared hard down the two hundred metres he had climbed; looking for a sign that they were there, but he could see no sign of anything; he looked skywards for the hawk but that too had deserted him; he was on his own again as dusk began to settle! Yep Samson we’re on our own again just me and me!
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The Mexican screamed a deathly scream then began running through the meadow; like hell was pushing him forward; Akecheta had already turned and was now sprinting faster and faster, he could hear the wind on his tails as he ran. Jumping over rocks and boulders he felt that he could feel the Mexicans breath on his neck as he progressed through the undergrowth; branches snapped behind him. Still Akecheta ran and ran and still the sounds of his adversary were gaining; now he landed on a path and began running un-obstructed for around seven hundred metres, never once chancing a look behind. There was no need to look over his shoulder he could hear that the Mexican Devil was only now twenty metres behind him; up ahead Akecheta made out a drop; there was a loud sound from below the drop? With each step Akecheta knew what the cause of the sound was; he would soon be at the river; if he stopped he was done for; there was no way he could fight the Mexican, not yet. Annawan had told him not to fight yet and there must have been a reason; fear egged him on encouraging him to run even faster than he already was; but still the sound of the Mexican was gaining!
On and on he ran rounding corner after corner until he saw the river flowing off into the distance; it was white water now that blocked his route as he approached the drop; his pace never let up as he reached the drop; once he reached the tipping point he jumped. Leaping the seven metre plunge; there were rocks everywhere below him as he descended downwards toward his doom!
The Mexican now reached the edge of the drop and stopped instantly watching the Indian as he plummeted to his certain death; he saw his initial landing; just missing a large rock; his body was then taken by the current. The Mexican watched smiling to himself as the Indian crashed into rock after rock; parts of the rapids began turning red from blood as the Indian was swept away floating, then sinking in the current. With a laugh he watched the Indians body disappear down the river; his attention was now drawn back to the boy, time to go hunting again; he glanced upwards into the sky, night time was nearly here, he walked off back into the forest.
Akecheta was in the hands of the Gods as he plummeted toward the water below; the rocks were everywhere as he landed feet first in the rapidly flowing river; his landing just missing a large rock. The current grabbed him and threw him into a curved rock just below the surface; the impact had the wind pushed from his body, he was then thrown into another rock. Then the current had him spinning; his head connected with a jagged piece of rock; its sharp shards pierced his scalp as he struggled to breath; struggled to regain some control. His eyes were full of blood and the froth from the rapids as he tried to keep his head above the water. Then the current took him toward another large group of rocks; this time he managed to turn his body so his legs took the impact of the first one; his body twisted as his back hit the second.
The second impact had him; his back took the first blow then his head the second; Akecheta was unconscious; luckily he was now flowing through the rapids on his back; missing all the rocks by inches. The current dragged him through rapid after rapid toward the calmer water which waited further down the river; Akecheta’s unconscious body breathed all the air it could, as he drifted around bend after bend. After he had travelled about a kilometre in distance the current pushed him into a small pebbled cove where his unconscious body came to rest; blood ran from the wound on his forehead and from the cuts on his legs and back. He lay there for some fifty minutes; his back resting on the pebbles while his legs still bobbed in the shallow water.
His mind began to come into focus as he felt something tapping at the side of his face; the tapping slow at first then it became a slight soft nudge! Eventually his eyes opened into piercing sunshine, instantly closing them again. He could still feel the tapping and opened them more cautiously now as his sight tried to readjust itself. Everything seemed hazy until gradually his sight began to regain its focus; he could see the last of the sunshine as it began disappearing over the tree covered hillside, something tapped at him again! Akecheta turned his head slightly wincing at the pain as it shot through his skull; next to him stood the Harris hawk that he had followed over the last few days ‘hello my friend’ he mumbled as he tried to roll onto his side.
His body was battered black and blue under his tanned skin; he dragged himself up on to his front and struggled to pull himself onto his knees, the pain shot through every inch of his body as his eyes clouded over. Akecheta rested in the kneeling position, closing his eyes against the oncoming dizziness that was forming inside his brain; he rocked slightly willing his senses to come back. After what seemed like an eternity he began to regain some composure; his eyes opened once more, he waited for the blurriness to return but luckily none came; he nodded to himself and let out an enormous sigh ‘that was close my friend’ he spoke to the hawk that stood watching him. The cut on his forehead had stopped bleeding and now his face was a masse of bloodied stains, he dragged himself back into the water and splashed cold water over his face and body, careful so as not to touch his cut, he did not want to start it bleeding again. He took off his vest and looked down at his battered torso; soaking his vest in the river he now used it as a sponge and wiped himself over; once he felt refreshed again he pulled himself up onto his feet, letting out another weary sigh. The hawk hopped off on to a nearby rock where it continued to watch Akecheta; it let out a caw; Akecheta smiled at the hawk ‘well my friend we need to start back on our journey; the hawk cawed again turning its head to look at the setting sun. ‘Perhaps you are right; we should rest up and start again early in the morning’ Annawan will watch over the boy, he will protect him tonight ‘I hope you can help me find him again in the morning’ the hawk cawed again.
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