Boondocker's Diary: Page 19
The night was alive with thunderous sounds. Flares seemed to be tripping for no reason at all. Cans that were hung upon the wire rattled constantly and it was though we were doing a balancing act on the edge of a razor blade.
The fog had rolled in as the rain cooled the ground after another sweltering day in the Nam. An eerie light cast shadows in the mist, though nobody could be seen just heard; and we peered into the blinding cloud as it rolled in and surrounded our position.
Voices cried faintly in the distance, muffled and indistinguishable - almost plaintiff as we listened.
“Mutter one! Mutter one!” came drifting in from the edge of the wire.
We shouted, “Who goes there?” but no reply came back at us, just a chill that sent goose bumps up and down our spines.
No one told us of any patrols out, and the password was familiar but it was used months ago. We had not been briefed of any changes in the current password. We wondered what was happening as we continued to stare into the white blanket for shadows of the patrol.
My buddy called out to the hole next to ours; a radioman was present there. He crawled to our position eyes wide and he was shaking all over. As he entered our foxhole he asked if we had heard the call from the edge of the wire. We confirmed that we had.
“Shit man, I'm calling in and finding out what the hell's going on.”; and he low crawled back to his position. He was mumbling all the way and we could almost hear his bones rattling as he made his way back. Damn this was not an ordinary night in the bush, this was scary as hell...
“Mutter one! Mutter one!” came drifting in on the fog.
“Who goes there? Answer me Marine, who goes there? Give us the correct password or prepare to die.”
I could hear the radio squelching from time to time, and I prayed that someone would have an answer soon. The cans rattled more intensely and the wire seemed to make sounds as though someone was dragging it. Or perhaps crawling through it!
“I don't know 'bout you my friend but I think it's time to pop a flare. We can't see shit in this fog but it may show us something, Hell anything is better than this.”
POP, and the flare sizzled into the air and exploded. The whole sky lit up from the reflection of the fog.
Then we saw them; long shadows dark within the fog. A point man and six other shadows stood up. The first man waved his arm as in a forward movement and the shadows seemed to float in on the fog.
“HALT WHO GOES THERE!” I shouted and the shadows kept coming. The fog around them swirled yet I could still not see them clearly. They had the silhouettes of our men, the outline of their helmets, the way they carried their guns, they moved with confidence and with honor. I sat there numb and motionless as they came forward. A frosty chill went up and down my soul as they passed right by our position and still the only thing I saw were shadows.
They drifted by silently. One of them stopped and I could feel the presence. I looked up and the eyes were vacant, just two pieces of coal staring down at me, and then they vanished.
The radio man came slithering into our hole. I shouted, “DID YOU SEE 'EM?”
He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Did I see what?”
And I repeated, “Did you see the patrol that just came in out of the fog. DID YOU SEE THEM?”
He said, “Calm down Marine, ain't nobody been by here since sundown. Oh and by the way, that call sign we heard earlier, It was from a patrol who went out from Mutter Ridge a few months back. They disappeared after all hell broke loose and have been listed as MIA since then. Freaky ain't it? Man you better calm down, you look like you seen a ghost...”
I replied, “I have seen a ghost! In fact a whole squad of ghosts. They were the lost patrol of Mutter Ridge... Somebody better wake me... This has been fright night for me tonight...”
Welcome Home Mutter One. Welcome Home...
Richard D. Preston
Page created: Monday, 08 January 2001
With Thanks to Charles “Outlaw” Preston