They came back like they left, only slight movements of the nearby undergrowth giving any evidence of their reappearance. Like wraiths just outside the area of my hooch, they moved to where they were already dug in, although it was mostly useless to dig holes in mud that slowly filled back in without anything to reinforce or hold it out of the excavated area. I felt them more than saw them and it gave me a feeling of unaccountable warmth inside my very being. Warmth where I didn’t think I could feel warmth anymore. Fusner slipped across the mist laden outer layer of my strewn out rubber poncho. He pulled the Prick 25 radio slowly from under the cover I’d shoved it for protection from the elements. The mist and rain, Vietnam’s only and nearly ever-present elements anything could be done about. The heat was unremitting and nothing was to be done about that except when gaining altitude in mountainous regions.

“We’re staying, sir,” Fusner whispered, since I had not moved or given any indication I knew they were back and about our small area.

I didn’t reply, wondering once more about the mindset of the men I was among and how nothing in life had prepared me to understand or deal with whatever it might be at any given time. A shiver of fear went through me. It was a shiver because I might live and therefore feared I might die. Knowing you are going to die takes almost all the fear away. The unknown disappears and the process of dying isn’t nearly as fearful of worrying about the prospect of dying. I might live, at least through the night, and that scared me deeply all over again.