The Ghosts of My Lai
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Publisher: Magothy Publishing
Date of Publication: April 20, 2017
ISBN: 0-9979909-3-5 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0-9979909-2-9 (eBook)
Number of pages: 264
Word Count: 89,700
Cover Artist: Marcy Arnold
Lieutenant Chris Williams and his platoon flee My Laiâthe site of an unfathomable massacre during the Vietnam Warâonly to have their helicopter shot down over unchartered jungle. Disoriented and separated from the outside world, Williams faces the unenviable task of navigating the waylaid band of survivors to safety. But Vietnam has other plansâ¦
Fear begins to trump logic. Specters of the assault call for them during the jungle nights. The escape mission descends in to mutiny as they discover an unknown threat unlike the Viet Cong hunts them from within the primitive environment.
Williams soon realizes that survival is not possible without first confronting the ghosts of My Laiâ¦and the sins of their past.
âSo whatâs the plan now, LT?â Simmons moved his arms in a repetitive semicircle manner like he was making a snow angel in the leaves. âWe just going to sit here and wait for the jungle to take us? Or do you think weâll just die from boredom and exhaustion?â
âQuiet, Simmons,â Garcia said.
âWe keep going.â He didnât want to let them know that they might be stalked by a tiger, which would only cause more panic in the group.
âI guess thereâs only one answer right now,â Donovan said, resting back on his elbows.
âWhatâs that?â Harris asked.
âWeâre screwed.â Donovan could summon a smile even in the direst of situations, thrusting his hips in the air. âWeâre completely and totally screwed. No chance at all.â
âPlease donât say that,â Harrisâs voice cracked.
âDonovan, seriously? Why do you have to go on and say something stupid like that?â Jackson nudged Donovanâs thigh. âYouâre gonna scare the kid.â
ââCause itâs true. Heâs right.â McEvoy smacked the back of his neck, smashing some insect guts into his skin. âLook at us. Nobody wants to say it, but weâre lost. No map. A useless compass. Not much food. Lost. And donât get me started on these bugs.â McEvoy slapped the back of his head again, this time catching the bug and causing it to pop like a balloon. McEvoy gagged as he looked at his palm before wiping it across his thigh.
âThey sure seem to like you,â Simmons said. âMust have some of that sweet boy blood.â
âWhy do you have to start when Iâm worrying over here? And I donât have any sweet boy blood.â
âEnough. No more talk of death,â Williams said, tossing one of the river pebbles he kept in his pocket at McEvoy. âNo more talk of anything. We take a short sleep and get going.â
âIf you say so, boss.â McEvoy squirmed as the rock plunked him on the shoulder.
âWhat I wouldnât give to listen to a little Doors right now. Just fade away with it all.â Donovan looked up at the stars. âSeems appropriate to die while listening to some good music
âHowâs the injury?â Garcia dropped to one knee and went to untie Williamsâs makeshift compression bandage. âIâm not sure how many we of these left. Maybe one.â
âShouldnât I ask how your shoulder is doing?â
âNo need to worry about something small like that,â Garcia responded. âIâm not the one with a rotting leg.â
âSince you put it so gently.â
âYou said it yourself. Might as well be honest. Weâre just a sideshow.â
âTouchÃ©.â Williams knew there was reason to be concerned. He could smell the infection from three feet away: rotting eggs. Based on Garciaâs tempered reaction, it could only be getting worse.
âHey, what about the radio? Weâre on higher ground. Might be worth giving it another shot.â Harris, with his naÃ¯ve youthfulness, held on to a simple hope.
âGo for it. Not like itâs going to hurt,â Williams answered, drifting back to the memories in his mind. Seagulls cawed from around Annapolis harbor, the zip of a fishing line pulled as a fish splashed on the surface. It was only a pipedream.
âIt ainât even turning on,â McEvoy said. He clicked the switch a few times, relying on a miracle that would not happen.
âOh, come on,â Harris whined. He slapped the radio a few timesâthe old magic trick never quite worked out for anyone with experience in electronics.
âRelax, guys. That things as useless as both of you.â Donovan said, drumming his fingers along the ground to the beat of whatever Doors song played in his head.
âWait. Think I got something.â McEvoyâs words called their attention. The radio whined as McEvoy adjusted the knob until a muffled song broke through the static.
âWhatâs that?â Jackson asked, leaning in as if he could listen better.
âI donâtâ¦I donât know.â McEvoy honed in on the signal until a distinct muffled chant emerged. The small troupe stared at each other, a mixture of confusion and disbelief as the unknown words captivated them.
âIt canât be,â Donovan said.
âMaybe some local station?â Harris asked.
The chanting grew more distinct with little melody to the deliberate words.
âA local stationâ¦out here? No damned way.â Williams said, noticing the VC perking his head up with a glaze covering his face. It was as if the chanting signaled the VC to wake.
âThese people have some weird tastes,â Jackson said.
The troupe gathered closer, exchanging glances between each other and the radio. The lights flickered with the strength of the foreign words, the dials shifting back and forth.
âYou recognize any of this?â Williams looked at McEvoy.
âIâ¦no. Itâsâ¦too old. An older dialect.â McEvoy shrugged.
The chanting intensified, the chorus of foreign words almost shouting. The treetops around them rustled as a stiff breeze suddenly rolled across their makeshift camp. Williams looked back at their VC prisoner, who remained silent, transfixed by the radioâs signal.
âThis ainât right. None of this is right.â Harris withdrew from the contraption.
âHold on to yourself,â Donovan said. âNothing we can do.â
Louder. Faster. The radio shuddered with the strength of the signal.
âTurn if off. Turn it off,â Garcia demanded.
The VCâs lips started to move, almost in unison with the chanting, but he did not make a sound.
âIâm trying.â McEvoy twisted the dials, but the radio refused to obey.
Its housing crackled then sparked, causing McEvoyâs arm to snap back. The sharp smell of burnt rubber and metal poured out of the case. Then, with a pop and brilliant flash, the radio went silent, its light fading to black. The VC then dropped his head in concert with the chanting as it came to an abrupt halt.
âJesus,â McEvoy said, blowing on his finger.
âEl Diablo,â Garcia muttered in a voice low enough for only Williams to hear.
About the Author:
A fan of Lewis, Hemingway and Tolkien, author JC Braswell writes in a few different genres including Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi, and Young Adult.
In addition to writing JC is a practicing attorney specializing in estate planning and corporate law, he is the recipient of the American Health Lawyers Association award for his legal writing.
JC makes his home along the Chesapeake Bay with his wife and two children.
You can visit his website at www.jcbraswell.com and check out his podcasts at www.freestateradio.com
Author website: http://www.jcbraswell.com
Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/JCBraswell/e/B00YLOWUP4/