Charlie Two Sons squatted away from the fire, the butt of his rifle rested on the ground in front of him, the barrel leaning against his shoulder. The soft breeze worked its way through the jungle and gently caressed the loose strands of his hair. He scanned the darkness beyond the flickering firelight, searching for the slightest movement.
He heard them brush the fence an instant before he saw their small shadows scurry along the edge of the firelight. Suddenly he wished he’d let Billy set up the perimeter fence. He picked up his rifle and crept to the fire where Mike Brackett slept and lightly shook his shoulder. He covered the sergeant’s mouth with his big hand when Brackett awoke with a startle.
“We got company,” whispered Charlie and removed his hand from the sergeant’s mouth.
“Where?” Brackett whispered back.
“Coming through the hole in the fence.”
The sergeant sat up slowly, dragged his rifle into his lap and looked up at Charlie kneeling on one knee next to him. “On the count of three,” Brackett whispered.
He checked the power gauge on his pulse rifle and nodded at Charlie.
Both men lit up the clearing with rifle fire. The rest of the squad, awakened by the sudden violence, joined in the fray, firing blind into the night. The chaos ended as quickly as it had began.
“Nothing like lettin’ us know when we got trouble,” scolded Billy.
“Didn’t have time to give you a personal invitation,” replied Brackett.
Charlie studied the darkness around them. “I don’t think we’ll have any more trouble with them tonight.”
Moving away from the fire, the big Indian resumed his vigil.