Posted in 1940s, Historical fiction, Jakob DeJonghe, Writing

WeWriWa—Jungle Surprise


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’ve been sharing from the book I’m releasing on May ninth, And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away.

Nineteen-year-old Jakob is on a tour of duty in the Dutch East Indies in the fall of 1945, part of a small contingent of Dutch soldiers helping the British with putting down the Indonesian National Revolution (which ultimately was successful and won the Indonesian people their independence). While being chased by a tiger, Jaap ran right into a machine gun nest.

He was doing his best to defend himself and fight off the guerillas single-handedly, and thought the return of the tiger had turned the tables in his favor. Then he heard footsteps and gunfire from behind, which turned out to be his own comrades.


Jakob grabbed his rifle and assumed his position in formation with his comrades.  From what he had time to make out in the heat of battle, the entire company hadn’t come to his rescue, but there were about fifteen or twenty other people there.

It felt cowardly to shoot someone in the back, but when it was either kill today or be killed another day, he had no choice.  As he reloaded his rifle and continued firing, he reminded himself that he was a soldier doing a job he’d knowingly, voluntarily signed up for.  Soldiers who killed in the line of duty weren’t murderers.  Even the Ten Commandments only forbade criminal murder.  Killing in self-defense or in combat was perfectly permissible.

“They seem to be all gone,” the commanding officer finally announced through a haze of gunsmoke and the acrid smell of gunpowder.


I started reading at three (my first book was Grimm's Fairy Tales, the uncensored adult version), started writing at four, started writing book-length things at eleven, and have been a writer ever since. I predominantly write historical fiction family sagas/series. I primarily write about young people, since I was a young person myself when I became a serious writer and didn't know how to write about adults as main characters. I only write in a contemporary setting if the books naturally go into the modern era over the course of the decades-long stories being told over many books. I've always been drawn to books, films, music, fashions, et al, from bygone eras, and have never really been too much into modern things. If something or someone has appeal for all time, it'll still be there to be discovered after the initial to-do has died down. For example, my second-favorite writer enjoyed a huge burst of popularity in the Sixties and Seventies, but he wrote his books from 1904-43, and his books still resonate today, even after he's no longer such a fad. Quality lasts for all time.

9 thoughts on “WeWriWa—Jungle Surprise

  1. I like Jacob and his inherent dislike of violence—he’ll do his duty, because he’s a good man, but he won’t like it for the same reason. Very nice!


  2. I feel for Jacob. To be given the decision is kill or be killed is both easy and very difficult. I like that he thinks about it and doesn’t just embrace killing. Excellent snippet!


  3. What a terrible scene! They can’t even know if the enemy is gone for sure, with all the smoke in the air–not that the terrain makes it easy to see them coming, anyway.


  4. Kill or be killed… war is so horrible that such a choice has to be made. Well done snippet, full of emotion.


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