Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m now sharing from Chapter 81, “A Friend Is a Friend,” of my WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest. It’s the second day of the brutal Battle of Saipan in mid-June 1944, and lifelong best friends Patya Siyanchuk and Rodya Duranichev are serving with the 2nd Regiment of the 6th Marines.
Patya came to Rodya’s rescue after a Japanese stabbed him in the shoulder with a bayonet, and then saved him again when three more Japanese approached. They believe the coast is clear now, and are on their way back to rejoin their regiment. But on the way there, Patya is hit, and now Rodya is faced with the fight or flight instinct.
Ródya glances to his left and sees a rifle grenade has found its target about two inches below Pátya’s right elbow. Most of his lower arm has instantly been rendered useless and withered, the hand frozen in the position it was at the time of impact. Without checking to see if Pátya is alive or dead, Ródya tucks his rifle under his left arm and charges towards the retreating footsteps and laughing voices. The adrenalin flowing through his body has completely taken away his shoulder pain.
As soon as he’s got the three Japanese in close range, Ródya maneuvers the rifle into position and pulls the trigger. The first Japanese is caught unawares and doesn’t reach for any weapons in return, though the other two drop to the ground. When the second starts to reload the rifle grenade, Ródya shoots again, aiming for his head. As Ródya pulls the trigger to try to take out the third, the rifle jams, and the remaining soldier’s eyes gleam.
Patya loses his arm the same way the late Senator Daniel Inouye, one of my heroes, did. Although unlike Sen. Inouye, Patya wasn’t holding a grenade at the time (which he pried out of his withered right hand and threw left-handed), and he didn’t remain conscious and able to lead a charge against even more enemies.