The hard ground pressed against Drew’s ribs and his lungs protested the lingering haze of gunpowder. He struggled to keep from coughing, fearful of attracting the enemy. Dry grass pricked his chin as he scanned the field stretched out before him. Then he spotted the dark form--it was Bobby, dying right there on the other side of the field. Drew ached to run to him, to scoop his friend up and rush him to safety. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t run, he couldn’t do anything but inch slowly across the mine-laden ground, straining to spot any evidence of dangerous secrets in the soil.
Time moved slowly, racing against the blood that ran from Bobby’s side. Drew heard him moan and his concentration wavered. He saw the wire just as his boot brushed against it. He flung himself away, over the top of a boulder, covering his head as the ground shook with the explosion. The air began to clear and Drew raised his head. Thank God. He was alive.
The sharp pain from the small shrapnel pieces imbedded in his back threatened to distract him once again. God help me, please! The growing night was also making it difficult, but Drew pressed on. Nothing would stop him from getting to Bobby.
Then he was there, bending over his friend, touching him gently on the forehead. Bobby opened his eyes. “Drew? You came.”
“I told you I would. Just like you’d come for me.”
Drew was just bending to lift Bobby when he saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. It was enemy forces, coming out of the trees straight toward them! It was too late to hide--they had already been spotted.
Reacting automatically, Drew thrust his hand into his pocket, pulling the pin as he threw the grenade. Again! Again! With deadly accuracy the three grenades exploded far out, stopping the advancing army in a confusion of smoke and fire. “Come on!” Grabbing Bobby under the arms, Drew retraced his path, following the safe trail of flattened grass.
With shocking suddenness, Bobby yowled in delirium and wrenched out of Drew’s grasp. “No!” Drew screamed, pitching forward with Bobby’s weight. “The land mines!” He hit the ground hard, but only silence rang in his ears. No explosion. Drew sighed with relief. He hadn’t gone all that way to drop Bobby and die in a mine. Drew scrambled for his friend. They had to hurry and get out of there!
“Andrew!” The shrill voice of his mother startled Drew out of his reverie in the orchard. “Andrew, how many times have I told you to change out of your church clothes before you go out to play?”
Drew sat up slowly, studying his white shirt, streaked with grass stains and smeared with globs of rotten apple. He had gotten into more apple land mines than he had thought!
His mother continued scolding from the upstairs window, “And stop throwing apples at the neighbor’s cows!”
The cows! Drew twisted around to locate the enemy forces. But they were still halfway across the neighbor’s field, swishing their tales nervously. Drew grinned. He’d shown those cows.
Walking carefully to avoid the slippery mines, Drew picked his way out of the orchard. He glanced over his shoulder at the cat, who glared from a near-by apple branch. “Don’t worry, Bobby. I’ll be back.”
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