I crawled toward where I thought the cliff wall was in the darkness. The rain was unpitying and the drums were driving me insane, as the sound was magnified, bouncing back off of the cliff face. All of a sudden, I was out of the rain and the jungle floor turned into a packed and mostly dry mat under me. I’d reached the wall, to discover that the cliff face was worn away at its base. The rain could not reach me directly. I scurried up one way and then back the other. The seemingly beaten path, no doubt invisible from anywhere, unless you were a few feet away, was not mined. It was another indicator that, so far, the only casualties suffered in the Night Moon Plan had been from our own fire. So far. The patrol still out there on the other side of the river plagued me. Three fire teams and a squad leader. Ten men, or more. Were they still making their way upriver thinking the company had remained on the move or were they hunkered down as well? And then there were the drums. I’d seen drums used in old cowboy films. Some Indian tribes used them against the settlers and cavalry. The drums had meant almost nothing in the movies. But the reality of having the vibrations reach right inside of my very core was something else again. I didn’t shudder at the thought, but I wanted to. My hands were not shaking either, but maybe that was a function of my movement to get away from it all. There was no getting away from anything, however. Fusner, Stevens, Zippo, and Nguyen all wedged in against me at the bottom of the wall so closely that we were all touching.

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