So, Wednesday once again. We’re almost half-way through July and I feel like I haven’t accomplished much of anything. I am, however, determined to at least get some new words using the #1LineWed and #ThursdayThreads prompts. That said, due to circumstance and on account of because, I only had the #1LineWed prompt this week. I still managed almost 600 words based on **MESSAGE**. As a set-up, this scene happens towards the beginning of CROSSFIRE, not long after the Hard Target team arrives to rescue Meg and discovers the orphans. Half the team and the older kids are walking back toward Moldavia for safety for…reasons. Ahoy, plot bunnies. So here we go…
The frigid rain pounded them and ran in rivulets down the trail, turning into a slick miasma.
“We need to find shelter.” The men exchanged looks and Meg correctly read the implied d’uh in their expressions. “Fine,” she snapped. “It’s obvious. But while you macho men are all for soldiering on, the kids are flagging.”
“I’m aware of that, Ms. Muir.”
She bristled at the condescending tone in the big soldier’s voice. And using such a formal address was his way of putting it in her place. Whatever. She understood the reason for this trek. Watching the helicopter fly away with the smallest and sickest of the children had been hard. Worse, when word arrived that the chopper was grounded due to weather and Russian jets, the decision had been made to keep moving on foot. Then the weather turned even worse. Streams became raging rivers and their course had changed numerous times due to unexpected terrain.
In the distance, a dog howled. She blinked. No. That was not a dog. Wolf. She’d worked with them long enough to tell the difference. Besides, the K9 was right there next to his handler. This was mostly wild country so she doubted any shepherds or farms would be nearby.
“A wolf.” The tall, dark soldier with the Scottish accent finished for her. “Not to worry, lass.”
“Humphf,” she grumbled.
Surprisingly, the guy in charge—and she really needed to concentrate so she could remember their names since they’d come to rescue her and all—headed in the direction of the howl. She herded the older kids ahead of her, having learned that the men would look after the smaller ones. In fact, the one with the goofy grin and teasing eyes—Dalton? Something like that. Anyway, he had a little girl perched on his shoulders, wearing a rain poncho. He also carried two packs, one on his back and one on his chest.
A low rumble reverberated above them. A gush of mud flowed down the hillside, followed by a tumble of rocks and debris. Meg turned around, her breath catching in her throat. “Watch—”
The little girl flew through the air and the soldier who’d come up behind Meg snatched her out of the air, swung around and deposited the surprised child on the trail behind him. Maxim was there, grabbing her hand and leading her away. Petrov, the soldier she secretly called Ta-dah, for the initials Tall, Dark, and Handsome or TDAH—hey she wash her father’s daughter and the military had a love affair with anacronyms—had the rest of the kids in hand. The soldier who’d been directly behind her was nowhere to be seen. She glanced down and saw him clinging to a tree further down the hill.
In a matter of minutes, Dalton was back on the trail, though scraped, bruised, and covered in mud. The pack that had been strapped to his chest looked crushed. While Tank and Kin worked to clean him up, Duke and Uri studied the radio Dalton had been carrying.
“Can we get a message out?” Duke looked resigned.
Uri stared at the mess of electronics in his hands. “Not with this.”
Scrubbing at his face, Duke made a decision. “Then we’ll just keep walking. We’ll eventually find a phone or another radio.” He glanced at the falcon huddling wet and miserable on Uri’s shoulder. “Any chance Golda—”
Uri shook his head. “No. She would be far for me to control.”
Yeah, talk about a clean-up on Aisle 9… Hey, there has to be reasons why they didn’t stay at the deserted farmhouse and why the “Air Force” wing of the team didn’t return ASAP to pick up the rest of them. For those bunnies, you’ll have to read the book. You know, once I get off my arse and get it written, edited, formatted, and uploaded. I’ll get right on that. No. Really. Writers, any messages you want to share? Readers, have you ever found a message in a bottle?