Chapter Twelve: A Month On Our Own
After the first day of being on our own, we decided to stop and rest at a small wooded area that seemed like some kind of battle had happened, but we didn't care. I made a fire, and we opened our bags of food.
We had cans of beans, and many other things, but I wanted to make sure the beans would be used first. I put them over the fire, and sat down with Bo-A.
“I’m so sorry that you are in the situation we are in.” I said, and looked her in the eye.
“Jong, not even you could control that. I’m at least happy to have someone who knows what the hell they are doing.”
We went into a deeper talk and so it was really dark, and I guessed it may have been 00:12 hours. “I wonder where we are at.” She said.
“I have no idea honestly.” I said, and laughed. We had ate half of the can of beans, and the fire was still alive and well. I grabbed a shirt from my pack and handed it to her.
“If you are going to sleep, I will let you have my shirt.” I said, as she was obviously tired.
“Thank you, Hu-Ku.” and she placed the shirt under her head and we both fell asleep.
About probably 0715 I woke up, and the fire had gone out. Bo-A was still in a deep sleep.
I got up, and started to rebuild the fire. She was still asleep, and I started to make breakfast. I looked around and saw berries and a few other fruits. The wooded area had a ton of brush, and I knew I could keep a fire going if I wanted.
A little while later, Bo-A woke up and I helped her up from her deep sleep. I gave her a couple berries, after figuring that they were not poisonous. She ate one and smiled.
“Looks like your decision to choose those berries was not a bad idea. Way to go, Hu.” she smiled, and started eating her berries. I then ate a couple berries, and got up.
“We need more firewood. I’ll go fetch some.” I said, and walked into the woods with my gun and knife. I walked around and collected a ton of firewood, and after a good half hour of searching, I came back and she was asleep.
I figured I would attempt to make a mattress with whatever wood I had, and I started by making a 6x10 mattress outline. I figured we’d be here for a few days, as she was dealing with a broken leg, and all.
About 0900 she finally got up, and got on her crutches and got over to me. By this time, I had built the bottom portion of the mattress, and I was putting some leaves into it and she stopped me.
“You know, this whole situation is a mess, right? But I want you to know one thing, If you want, I can try to help. You know I am always here to help you out and finish stuff.” I nodded, and put the stick I was holding down.
“Bo-A, you know you have probably a broken leg.” I said.
“Its probably not broken, because its not feeling as bad.” She said, and let her crutches down. She walked over to me, and hugged me.
“Whats with the sudden burst of strength?” I said, laughing.
“I feel that you could be in a lot of pain, and if you’re going through it, than I can too.” she said, and hugged me tighter.
I then backed off a little, and I was still in her arms. She was looking at me, her hair in her eyes, and her face was still a little cut up, and her hazel eyes were stunning. The sun was reflecting into her eyes, and she looked great.
“You know, you look great after what you have been through, or what I’ve seen.” I said, and grabbed her arms.
She smiled, great teeth and somewhat clean, and said “Yeah, I feel like you’ve probably been in worse hell than I’ve been in.” and she laughed.
“Depends on what your hell is.” I said, and sat down by the building of the mattress.
“What's your hell?” she asked, and sat down as well. I looked at the sky, a mix of clouds and sun, and looked back at her.
“I joined the army. Haha, but no not really that. Its this war, its being a 19 year old who knows absolutely nothing, and getting shot multiple times, and being ripped away from people that you admire, and they’re just, taken from you? Ya know? It’s so unrealistic, how many people I known, are now going to be in a memorial in a few years. Kim Jong-Un promises all that stuff will be won, but how is it being won when you have the Russians and Americans trying to get me, and trying to end our regime.”
I looked down at my legs, which had a scar from being stabbed. She put her arms around me, and said something.
“I was a South Korean until this war came around, and then when my city of Seoul got nuked, which I was down south for university when the news happened. I heard that I could enlist within the week, and I did. So my parents were killed in the nuke, and I wanted to avenge their deaths,” she said, pausing to take a drink of water from the pouch.
“When I enlisted, I was put immediately into after boot camp battle with over 4500, and over 200 of us got captured in the loss. When I was carried into the camps, they treated us harsh, and I was in it for a few months, and then finally we were moved to the Yalu and we were forced to work on a defensive formation with other prisoners. Finally, we were forced into the mountains, and I was told that I could either be killed or fight for the North Korean army.”
“Obviously you chose the North?” I said, chuckling.
“Yes, and so skip to this time period, and I had orders to escort 200 men to helicopters and defend them if needed. So we got one up, and then another got destroyed. Right after that, we were thrown off the side of the mountain by an explosion, right? And so I ended up with you, which I am not entirely mad at, at all.” And she grinned.
I nodded, and knew on the spot she had feelings for me.
“Thank you, Jong, for helping me, knowing I could of stayed loyal and tried to kill you. I honestly could’ve, but I chose not to, thank you.” And she grabbed my hands.
“You’re welcome, Bo-A.” and she leaned into me, and we kissed. It was a great kiss, despite it being an awful time at the moment, and I got lost in her lips.
Next thing I know, we were both naked and laying down by each other, staring into the afternoon clouds.
“That was great, Hu. that was.” and she smiled at me.
We had sex in the middle of a goddamn forest, in the middle of a war, and we were not even worried.
About 1440, we decided to get moving, and go away from the fire. We needed to get to lines without being killed, and we needed it.
So I helped her up, and we started the month long trek a 25 kilometer search for anything.
About night that day, we stopped in the middle of a less wooded area, and it was raining. I decided to put my water bottle opened, and put it to where I could get raindrops in it.
We laid under a small tree, and I waited until she slept to fall asleep. It took her a while to fall asleep, in my arms, and I eventually fell asleep, with my pistol by us incase we needed to use it.
When I awoke in the early morning, it was still sprinkling rain, and we were completely soaked. My bag, which I had placed on a log, was completely soaked up. I groaned, and got up. I then spotted something that shouldn't be here, a Russian company of 120 men.
“Bo-A. Get up!” I said, and got my bag.
“We got to go! Russians!” and I handed her my pistol. I could see them crossing a road, and getting close. I quickly loaded her pistol with 5 bullets, and gave her a knife.
“This way.” I said. I think the Russian soldiers may have heard us, because they were coming into the area with guns drawn and seemed ready to execute.
I had my gun ready, and we sat behind a tree. I quickly got a glimpse of the soldiers walking around, and they were spread out, while other men waited behind them.
“Look, we got to get out of here. I will cover you, you go to that point. You will be alive. Go.”
I aimed my gun at the enemy and she quickly crossed. No problem. Then a Russian voice yelled in our tongue.
“Hu-Ku. You are wanted! Come out of hiding now! Hiding will be seen as an act of aggression!.”
I didn’t believe that for a single second, and I quickly got up and ran to where Bo-A was hiding. Unfortunately, though, I stepped on a large stick and it caught the attention of a few soldiers.
“Hu-Ku?” they said, and started walking towards us. I had my Arisaka drawn up and ready to shoot.
“We know you’re here and we don't want to kill you, we want to help you.”
I scoffed silently. I nodded for Bo-A to move fast, and I would follow. The Russian men kept coming towards us, and I couldn't tell if they could see us.
“You will be brought to Moscow, and you will be given as much peace as you want, in exchange for the whereabouts of Kim Jong-Un.” and I couldn't handle it anymore.
I quickly pulled my trigger, and the gunshot seemed to go slowly, everything slowed down for a split second, but then reality sped up, and the bullet tore through the Korean speaking Russian soldier. He fell to the ground, and I started to run, he screamed in pain, as he had a bullet tear through his upper torso.
“GO, go kill him!” He yelled on the ground, and his men ran after me, about 20+ men.
They had more automatic guns, and they started to shoot at my general direction. I ran through and caught up with Bo-A.
“Quick, let's go.” I said, and explained the situation.
“How did they know you were here?” she asked.
“Probably the campfire smoke, I’m not sure.” I said, and we finally got far away enough that we felt we could sit down. The ground was soaking wet, and we were in the middle of a forest with 9 days worth of food, being chased by Russian soldiers.
“Look, we cant stay here, I think they may be on the move looking for us, its going to be a tough task to evade these guys.” I said, and I got my bayonet on.
“Do you want me to help you?” She asked.
“NO, you do not need to risk your life, over a man especially, like me.” I said, and put another 5 bullets in my gun. I then handed her a grenade.
“Go as far as 100 meters from here, and I will come to you when they are either all dead or gone. Do not leave there.”
I then kissed her, and we moved in opposite directions. I saw the Russian men in the distance, standing around trying to find me.
“Мужчина является скрытие, он скрывается он может! Он может знать лесных лучше нас но мы найдем его!” One man said, and looked around, trying to spot any sign of me.
“Возможно он ушел? Или шальная пуля может иметь убил его. Это мое предположение, но мы должны оставаться острыми! ” a younger one said, and looked in my general direction.
I was lucky to be not spotted, as I was hiding behind a bush and well hidden.
The older one, who I had not shot, he did not lower his weapon, he had seemed to gather his men. After a solid two minutes, they all broke form and headed off into separate directions, as in the search for me.
One was walking directly for me, and I knew if he saw me, he may kill me, So I had a plan, when he passes me, I would kill him as silently as I could. When he passed my bush, I jumped out as quietly as possible, and grabbed him. He panicked but luckily I covered his mouth, and dragged him behind the bush.
I put up my finger to shush him, and I showed him my knife. The Soldier went wide eyed, he suddenly fire a shot from his rifle, missing me. He then began to shout, but i quickly cut him off as kicked his rifle aside and cut his throat.
I then realized, I had been made and that the group would make there way over here.
I searched through his weapons, and found a few grenades, and his pistol was a revolver. He had a AK-12 assault rifle, which seemed to be newer than the AK47’s we had, and I put it on my back. The rifle had eight thirty round magazines for his gun and two forty five round magazines in reserve.
I knew there would be no time to hide the body. I wiped my hands off, and started to trek closer to where there was about five men. I hid within the brush, and watched them. They seemed alert and their eyes were darting across the forest.
I debated whether I should shoot or not, but I knew if I did, it would spark a greater conflict that I would be forced to fight on my own. Finally, I spotted two other guys coming from behind me, and obviously they couldn't see me.
The rain begun to pick up, and I could see the ground where I had jumped the soldier get more muddy. I sighed in a great deal of relief, and prepared to fall back. The two men walked past me, and I started moving. I then walked back to the body, and went through his bag again, finding a few water bottles, and a few snacks.
I then found a silencer, which would definitely come in handy. I then tried to get up, and cracked a stick. That crack was loud, and it definitely gave me away. The two men who were walking turned around, and I could see them looking in my general area.
“Был шум ! Пройдемся исследовать” the taller soldier said. At that point, I knew I had to either run and hide, or kill them. I quickly placed the silencer on the gun, and waited for them to get closer. They got closer, and I readied myself to cause more bloodshed.
“Hello.” I said, and they stopped. I quickly stood up, and fired off 5 bullets within a second. They both fell, both dead on the spot. I quickly searched their bags, and scavenged more water bottles and clips of ammunition, and another type of pistol.
I felt that I was betraying the ethics of myself, who I once was, a humble and nice person, but I was slowly turning into a war-ridden mad man. I then heard a shout, coming from behind.
I quickly got up and ran. I never ran that fast, and I quickly reached where the source of the yelp had came. I found Bo-A standing over a dead pair of two Russian soldiers, both had been stabbed to death, by Bo-A.
“Wha--wha--, what happened here?” I said, stuttering. I then looked down on Bo-A, and she had dried blood all over her, and all.
“They tried to suppress me. I wasn't going to let them kill me, so I grabbed the knife you gave me, and I killed them both. The shriek you heard was them.”
At that point, I knew I had chosen that she was the one. So after that, we grabbed their weapons and supplies and quickly abandoned the bodies.
After a solid 45 minutes, the platoon finally gave up with finding us, and I got up. Sharpe and I were in the middle of the forest with a bounty on our heads, more probable than not, we were going to get searched for again.
“Well, we need to get out of here.” I said, and we put the bag on the ground. “We need to empty this bag of the stuff we do not need, like shell casings. We will not need those for sure. Now, what we do need is our clips of bullets,” I said, and threw about 5 casings out.
“We do need the food, and the AK74M. Those are musts.” I said, and laughed. We emptied our trash, and I picked up the bag. We had food to last us probably a good 15 days with the addition of all of the dead soldier’s food we had taken.
“Okay, we move and we get to non open areas to stay at overnight. We need to keep the pace, and hopefully we do not get caught by the Russians.” Bo-A said, and sat down.
I wondered where she gotten the authority from, but atleast it wasnt as bad as being alone for some time.
So we waited until dark to build a fire, and it was chilly, as the rain had stopped.
She and I sat together, and we roasted what seemed to be a steak as she called it, above the fire.
The light glimmered around the space we were in, and she reminded me that she was still scared for the both of us. She was afraid I would die in the forest in the night if the Russians came, so we both agreed that we would not leave this area.
In the morning, we heard the rumble of tanks which woke me up, and I knew that we had made a grave mistake by staying in the forest.
I quickly got up and woke her up. I was in no mood to waste any time for escaping.
“Do what I say, no questioning. Grab the bag, grab a gun. We have got to go!” I said, and she got up. I picked up the AK74M and handed her the pistol.
“We go and we do not stop. If you see someone, you hide. If they see you, you shoot. Do not get caught. We need to go.” I said, and put the bag on my back. We quickly started running through the woods, as we knew if we did not, we would be captured or killed.
For about a solid half hour, we ran and hurried through the rough terrain in the forest, and then came up on a small creek. We figured that the creek was deep in the forest that we could hold for a while as we wanted to figure out what to do.
“They seem to have brought a extensive power of force with them, so we need to evade them, at all costs, unless it's too risky.” I said. Then I looked over, and could see the Russians in the trees advancing around towards our location.
“Bo-A. You go, I will provide your cover and you get the hell out of here. Take the bag. You will need it.” I said, and handed it to her. I knew that this would be coming down to a confrontation between us and the Russians.
“I can't believe you’re going to do this!” she said sharply, and took the bag.
“Go, now!” I said. I had 4 clips of ammunition waiting for me, and a grenade. I figured if I was going to go down, I would bring as many people with me. So she managed to get away, and I watched in horror as probably 100 men started coming towards me, they couldn't see me quite yet, but they would be if they got closer.
They then got right in my sights. I could hear an exchange of words with them as they were walking, which I think they were searching for me.
Then I think I got spotted, as someone pointed towards the creek and eyes bugged.
They saw me, and I opened fire. Immediately, a hailfire of bullets flew. I knew it was going to be hard for me to hold off one place, so I quickly backed up into the creekwater, as I was running out of ammunition for the clip.
They had taken a few bullets, and I think I got at least 8-10 men at minimum, and I quickly reloaded. By now, the forest was becoming a battleground between a army and one person, and I was the one person.
I knew that I had to get back with Bo-A and hurry fast, because otherwise I would be dead.
I quickly sprayed a clip at the enemy and since they were by the creek, the ones who got hit, they would fall into the water and I think they died there. I didnt look or make sure, but I knew I had gotten some.
After exchanging gunfire for a solid 30 minutes through the woods, I ran out of ammunition and was trying to catch up with Bo-A. She had really hidden from me, and the Russians.
About midday, I stopped, as I believed the Russians had lost me, and I sat down. I had my pistol, and had about 12 bullets to defend myself with, and knew that I couldn't sit much longer, as they were more likely than not, searching for me. I could hear the rumbling of trucks, and other vehicles.
Then I saw what was unbelievable. Bo-A came out of the bushes, and said “I was here.” and started laughing.
“We still need to go though.” I said, we would not be able to hold off the Russians if we stayed, which there was more arriving as I could hear the rumble of tanks and trucks outside of the forest, despite them not knowing our location.
“Look, Im pretty sure that if we go towards where the sun sets in the morning, we may be able to find a way out and away from this forest.” and I got my compass from my pocket.
“We go east, and I bet there's not many defenders in the area. If we don't see anyone, we break for the road if there is any.” I said.
So we faced east, and started sprinting towards the east area of the forest, which would be a long and treacherous trek for us, as by the time we got to the far eastern part of the forest, the day was around 1640. We checked and made sure that there was no Russian soldiers.
“We unfortunately do not have a map, and I have no idea where the lines could possibly be. So my guess is, we go South and hope for the best.” I said, and Bo-A nodded.
“Any objection to it?” I said, and she didn't have any.
“If we can, we will find food and water, and if we can, we will find a place to stay until we find the battle lines. I honestly have no idea where the fighting is.”
We looked back at the forest, and could not see any troops or sign of the Russians, so we figured we were somewhat in the clear. I could see water and a cabin in the distance, with a couple structures by them.
“Be careful, we do not want to run into unnecessary and lethal danger here. If there is food there, we will scavenge and seize what is edible.” I said, and we walked towards the place.
It took a good 10 minutes to trek the rocky terrain and we finally reached the cabin. The cabin was a tacky excuse of a building, literally a door with a small living quarters, and a few cabinets of food.
“This is legit a poor man's cabin.” Bo-A said, and laughed. I opened the cabinet and there was cans of perishable food, and a map.
“Nice! A map!” I said, and laughed.
The map was a outline of what this person’s routine was. There was a circle around where he seemed to fish, and where the nearest stream was.
“This guy must have ran away not too long ago.” Bo-A said, and sat on the bed. The bed was made of basic mattress, which seemed about 20 years old, and was covered in stains. No smell, amazingly.
“We could stop here for tonight, and hope the Russians don't come this way.” She said.
“Last time you said something of that sort, we ended up being chased through probably 3 kilometers of forest.” I said, and laughed. “We can hold, but we are not going to stay here for anymore than a day.” I said sternly.
She nodded, and laid out the bag. The bag had a bullet hole in it, luckily, it did not damage our goodies, but it did destroy one of the pistols. I evaluated how many bullets we still had for our guns, and she evaluated we had 12 days left of food.
“I have 47 bullets for the Ariska, and 80 bullets for the AK74M. We need to use this carefully.” I said, and then counted I had 5 clips for the pistol that was not damaged.
“We need to not get in any engagements with the Russians, and as far as I know, they are not close to this location.” I said. And I looked at the map. The man who had this map, had mapped out his location and wrote down where there was water, where there was food, and he wrote down many other things.
“So water is just 10 minutes away. So I believe if it is good, we can go refill our water supplies. We are running low as well.” Bo-A said. I agreed with her, and I grabbed our 3 water cans.
The water cans were able to last up to a day at a time, as they were 5 liters worth, and it depended on how fast we drank them as well. So I looked at the map again, and determined the water would be in a little wooded area, not too entirely in the open.
“Look, we do this and we bring one of the guns. Keep the other guns hidden in here, incase the Russians do find this little shack.” I said, and handed her the Ariska.
We quickly headed out into the path that was written down for the map, and we started talking again.
“So what do you think will happen to us, since we are stuck behind lines?” Bo-A said, and looked at me, as the path seemed to get smaller and more rockier.
“Well, I’m believing if we do find the lines, that it may either be too late, or too soon and get captured. I’m honestly hoping we get behind the lines and reside in a village until either the war is over or we have our Northern men reach us. I don't know what will happen, Bo-A.” I said, and sat down.
“I honestly don't, we are more likely dead than reconciling with our forces. Im holding out hope.” I murmured, and then looked at her. “If we are captured by the Russians, the war will be over for sure.” and we reached the creek.
The creek was in a definitely not so open place, as we had trees barely letting in sun, and rocks everywhere. The banks by the creek were soft sanded and spread out with sticks, and so we collected some of the sticks.
“Hand me the matches.” I said, and Bo-A handed them over. “We can clean the water by boiling it, and so we don't have to worry about drinking gross and unclean water.”
So for about 20 minutes, I made a little fire pit, and made a little support thing to hold the water cans above the fire to purify them.
We sat there as the dusk started to hit, and we started to converse again.
“Jong, you know we have a great chance with you leading us back to the lines, right?” Bo-A said.
“Yeah, I’m just uncertain if we would make it.” I said, and pulled out a small bag of tuna.
“You know, you are a great man, Hu. You probably will, I know you are more likely to lead us back, ya know?” And she smiled at me.
“I’m aware. I just don't know, it's really scary to think about. I’m really inexperienced to do this.” and I took a bite from the can of tuna. The tuna did taste awful, but it had to do until some other time.
“Tell me a story from your childhood.” she then said.
“Um, there's not a lot I can think about.” I said, and laughed. She got up right by me, and laughed too.
“There is, you know there is.” She said, and gave me a light hit on the arm.
“Okay, okay.” I said, “So I think I was probably seven or eight. We were in our village outside of Kaesong, and so I had a crush on this really cute girl. Her name was more modern than most, I think her name was Haneul, or something along those lines. She was like the heavens, a really nice and sweet girl.” I said, and laughed.
“Describe her.” Bo-A said.
“She was lighter than me, dark hair, hazel eyes, and a pretty smile. She was witty, and smart. So at school, we were at recess, after learning a few problems of math, and she came up to me with two of her friends. She then sits with me, and shoos her friends off. We sat there under this tree outside of the school house, and so she was like ‘Do you have any sort of crush on me.’ and of course, I was frozen up.” I paused and laughed.
“What did you do?” Bo-A said.
“Well, I got up, and said ‘Maybe.’ and she got up too, and said ‘You do, don't you?’ and she laughed at me. Well, so I asked her if she liked me back.” I said.
“She didn't like you back?” Bo-A said.
“Nope. she laughed at me and walked away, which left me upset for a couple of weeks. So younger me, I decided I wanted to give her payback.”
I laughed, and pulled one of the water cans off of the pole I had made.
“What did you do?” She asked.
“Well, I said that she was really a gay person, and so started a bunch of rumors, and at the end of the week, she heard about them. So she slapped me. And I got in major trouble with my parents.” I said.
“Jeez. Children.” She said, and laughed.
“I know, I was such a awful child after my mother died.” I said, and grabbed another can, as we had gotten done purifying them.
“When did your mom die?” She asked.
“One year old. I had no idea why she died, and dad would never explain to me what happened. I just know, that I hadn't been a good kid until I was thirteen, when I got into a fight in the schoolyard that left me without a tooth. I cleaned up my act, and got into honors my last year of secondary school.” I said, and we continued to walk.
“Well, you definitely have grown up.” she said, and smiled at me.
“For sure, and I was always smart I just didn't care for school until then.” I said, and smiled back.
We walked the rest of the way holding hands, as the sky got darker. We finally reached the shack and we made our way inside.
“We definitely have water for the next couple days.” I said, and laid down the cans on the little counter, and shut the door.
“We will have to move tomorrow, and find another shelter within the day.” I said, and grabbed a pistol, and placed it by the mattress. Bo-A got on the mattress, and took off her shirt, which revealed a tank top, to which I gave a funny look.
“It's hot, deal with it.” She said, and giggled.
“Yeah if it was hot, you wouldn't be so close to me.” I said, and we both laughed.
“Yeah, but you know, I can deal with being hot because I’m with you.” she said, and put a hand on my face, which had gotten really hairy from being in the woods.
“You are getting a hairy face.” She said, and kept stroking my hair.
“You can stop if you are complaining about it.” I said, and she laughed.
“No, I think it fits you well.” She said, and smiled.
My beard was a week old, and I was actually liking it, but it was now just filling the rest of the outline, which has always been a thing for me.
“So, anything else you’d like to point out about me?” I said.
“Eh, your breath smells nice for not being able to brush your teeth.” she said, and smirked.
“Haha, you’re so funny.” I said, and tried to face away from her.
“No, don't turn away from me, love.” She said, and held on to me.
“Oh alright.” I said, and she smiled at me.
We stayed up a few hours just talking and every now and then dozing off, but I finally fell asleep around midnight.
For the rest of the month of being in the wilderness, we finally got out the mountain range and were able to find a small village. The village had been near a battle earlier but had recovered.