Over the Ridge

by sagire

This short story is based on the following writing prompt from reddit:

Base a story on the following image.

Dravis stood overlooking the valley, silhouetted by the pink morning sky. The soldiers, huddled close, quietly took in the stunning view as birds sang for a new day. Each man holding on to this last moment of peace.

They had been running for days, separated from all support and communication. Hunted like animals up through these unforgiving mountains. Using the maps they had to try to find their way to Switzerland. Maybe in the neutral state they could find peace and reunite with their countrymen. As Dravis slowly walked back towards the group they knew it couldn’t be good news.

He whispered just loud enough for the nine others to hear. “There looks to be a small camp of Frenchmen waiting near the railroad in the valley. We need to move quickly and strike while they are still waking up – before it gets too bright. There may be up to forty but we can win with the element of surprise”

There were several nods from the group from those who still had the energy. Most still were focused on the sunrise, not wanting to be woken from their fantasy into the cold hard word, back to reality.

Dravis pushed through the pain and pulled the two closest men to their feet. He was the leader whether he liked it or not, these men wouldn’t survive without him pushing them on. If he wanted to get out of here alive he would need to drive the men forward.

“Rise up brothers, load your weapons and eat what’s left of your food. We’ll head down the mountain single file and spread out around the camp to take them by surprise. We’ll be eating a hot meal in no time.”

They band started slowly walking down over the edge, doing their best to keep quiet. Dravis waving them along. Just as he was about to turn to follow the last man he caught sight of Fredrick still sitting with his back against a rock.

Fredrick dreamt of sliding into the forest and trying to make it out on his own. He knew some French, he could ditch his uniform and avoid any nasty fighting. But when his eyes caught the glare of Dravis he knew he couldn’t abandon his duty, his friends deserved to arrive home as much as he did. He slowly stood up and followed his friends over the ridge silently.