Thursday, 27 May 2010

The dreams that haunt

It's just another bad nights sleep.
Another recurring dream keeping me from forgetting the things I wish I could.
To understand this one you have to know the events leading up to it.
Maybe it wont make sense but here goes anyway.
I'd been wondering what to do when I left the army and a friend of mine told me to go see a guy in Manchester. I went and was offered a job working for a security firm specialising in protection for company's and organisations working in high risk locations. Every now and then I would get a call asking if I wanted a few weeks work, kind of like being a temp but with much better pay and I took the job.
I'd ended up working all over on for several different companies on this basis including west Africa, east Africa, the middle east, eastern Europe and south America. It was a way to make really good money doing something I enjoyed and knew I did well.
The periods between this work were filled with the mundane day to day life back in England and as far as everyone else was concerned I was just a normal bloke with a seasonal job that went absent from time to time.
But I longed for the phone calls and the adventure they would bring. I missed being sparked up and the rush of adrenalin when I was at home, I was frequently in a bad mood due to this and was only really happy on one of my outdoors adventures or when I was "away" working.
Things changed a bit one September when I was stood in the Colombian jungle having done a CTR that had went loud and I was facing a scruffy flip-flop with an AK, I'd just given his mates the good news with a few short bursts and was about to brass him up with my XM177 on auto when I herd the dead mans click. Its the sound you never want to hear, its the sound that tells you you miscounted your rounds and the hammers fallen on a empty chamber. Not something that should happen with an XM177 as the bolt should lock back on an empty mag but these were very old weapons dating from the Vietnam era sourced from some guy in Bogota taking backhanders from the Colombian government, the firm that I was there with and the US operators that weren't officially there either.
I yell "magazine" to let my mate Steve know I was out of rounds and changing mags, but I had miscounted rounds and he was still in the retreat part of our pairs fire manoeuvre as we wer trying to brake contact. I changed mag slick as shit and was cycling the bolt when I herd Steve open up behind me and the flip flop open up in front of me.
Then I felt myself lifting off my feet and landing on my back, I stared up at the canopy of the rain forest and wondered where I was. then I felt the searing pain in my chest and realised I was not able to breathe.
I herd Steve screaming at me as I fought for breath and as the mist of my confusion cleared I realised he was dragging me through the bush by the drag loop on my load vest and it was only cracked ribs and not holes in me that were killing so much.
Thank fuck for body armour and Teflon plates, three AK rounds had hit me squarely in the chest.
Steve got me out of the bush on his own and sorted a private clinic in Bogota for me.
We spent a few weeks letting the dust settle as the company we wer working for decided we didn't exist and we couldn't fly anyway as all flights wer grounded due to the 9/11 attack on the world trade centre.
Neither me or Steve ever worked for that firm again but i did work with Steve several times after that.
The last time we worked together was the last time i did that kind of work.

This is my dream and perhaps it will make sense now.
It was just another job for me and my mate Steve, we knew and trusted each other well and could work as well oiled machine together in the most fluid of situations without passing a word.
It was another CTR, this time in the Balkans, we both knew the consequences of things going tits up on this particular job as we wer on our own from drop off to pick up but it was paying well and we had both operated in the Balkans before, so we felt comfortable taking on the job.
All was going well until we started swapping lead with a patrol on the exfil.
After a very long exchange We wer pairs fire and about to brake contact when Steve dropped like a sack of shit and didn't move. I called to him but got no reply and increased the weight of fire I was putting down regardless of my ammo state while I moved to his position.
He was in a bad way, one of the rounds he had took was in the belly.
I had spent all my rounds and was using Steve's last mag in our defence when number five of the six man patrol went down, the last guy decided he wasn't playing on his own and legged it just as I ran out of ammo. Then I saw Steve had taken another hit and was loosing blood rapidly from the femoral artery, I started putting field dressings on but he reached out and stoped me.
At first I didn't understand, then when I bent closer I herd his words faint and week.
"they will be back, Go while you can". I told him to shut up and not to be so stupid but he griped my hand even tighter and sed "You and I both know you can get out if you go now, but I'm going nowhere". He was an experienced soldier and he knew he had no chance of surviving his injuries, if I tried to Carry him I would be carrying a dead man and probably get caught in the process, The guy that had leged it would soon return with more mates and we wer both out of rounds. We could hear voices shouting in the distance now and we both knew if I left on my own now I could slip into the night and ex filtrate to the pick up point 25 kilometers away. He looked me in the eyes and sed with a smile "fuck of Jack", The tears started to roll down my cheeks, I knew he was right but I couldn't leave him. Then he slapt me round the head with little more than a week pat and sed "don't be a silly cunt, just go", I said "OK" got to my feet and slipped off into the dark.
I still hear his voice telling me to go and I know Steve had maybe a minute left if that, but the choice I made not to stay with him is hard to live with.
Steve dragged me out of the rain forest at great risk to himself and was a very good friend, and I left him dying alone in a cold wet dark field in kosovo.

Monday, 10 May 2010

My new home county.

Dear avid fans.
You will be pleased no doubt to hear that I now live in Cumbria, home of the Lake district.
Yup, that means I am no more than a stones throw from all the outdoors I can handle. So, as soon as I have my new life in order I will be posting my latest adventures in this huge playground that I now live in.

I still have lots to sort out here, but I can taste the mountains and lakes as I wake every morning, they call me from my to do list and tempt me to stray and neglect the things I must do before I can play.
But I am happy and I will soon be living an outdoor life again.