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.