SEALs of Honor:ChaseBy: Dale Mayer
SEALs of Honor, Book 10
Chase Buchanan pulled the scarf higher up his nose in a vague effort to keep the sand out of his face. Since they hit the Middle East he knew he’d eaten at least ten pounds of dust. His eyes were so dry, they just wanted to cry so they’d be moist again.
He’d been here before, but this time it seemed the dust was way worse. Then there’d been a drought for the last several weeks just to exacerbate the problem. The heavy winds made it all that much more miserable.
With a look over at Swede and Brett, two of his unit out searching with him, Chase continued in the same direction as before. Evan and Markus stood behind keeping watch. Two boys were missing. They were regulars around the base and should have been there doing odd jobs for some of the men as they always did. Hell, they’d learned to speak very good English because of it. But rumors had risen of the boys having gotten into trouble. Some men were searching in the camp, he and his friends chose to look around outside. The boys didn’t live on the base but came and went at all hours. Anything could have happened. Soldiers walked the perimeter around the camp. So far they’d seen nothing. But if the boys were in trouble, he wanted to make sure they had a fighting chance.
Then again this could to be a trap. There were unfriendlies everywhere.
He knew that as well as anyone. His unit had completed a mission and were shipping out in the morning. In the meantime they’d spent a couple of days debriefing, and in their spare time they’d enjoyed kicking around a soccer ball with a group of kids. They were great kids in a tough situation.
Of course these two were part of that group.
He had a few hours free, and if he could help find the boys, then he was all for it.
More wind blasted into his face. They walked out another twenty feet. The soldiers had said there’d been no sign of anyone for the last hour. Could the boys be hiding out here? If so, why? At twelve and ten the kids had seen so much in their young lives.
Then he had too.
Different landscapes, same shit.
He spun at the barely audible cry.
And caught a whisper of movement out of the corner of his eye. Small fingers almost the color of the sand rippled at the crest of a small dirt mound barely large enough to hide behind. With a sharp hand motion toward the others, Chase picked up the pace and ran closer.
Sure enough it was Amrit, the youngest and bubbliest of the brothers.
“Take it easy, little guy.” Wincing at the sight of the kid’s face, Chase quickly checked him over. It looked like he’d been beaten to a pulp. “Who did this to you?”
Amrit’s lips moved but no sound came out. Chase unhooked his water bottle and gently poured water into Amrit’s mouth.
Brett continued to search to the left. Swede kept right. He soon let out a low cry and ran toward a second small dusty body on the ground.
“It’s Paprit,” Swede called back. “He’s in bad shape.”
Thank God they’d found both boys. Chase heard the words with relief. What the hell happened? Who would hurt them like this? It appeared Amrit’s one arm might be broken and possibly a couple of ribs. Chase wasn’t sure about the ankle. Every time he tried to check it Amrit cried out. Hopefully only a bad sprain. He gave the boy some more water then looked around. His gaze landed on four men carrying two stretchers racing toward the injured boys. At least the base had a great medical hospital. The boys would get the help they needed.
Had the boys made it this far on their own? Or had they been dumped to crawl the rest of the way?
It wasn’t until four hours later that he was allowed to see them to ask. Thankfully, Amrit was awake. His brother was not.
“Amrit, what happened to you?” Chase asked, sitting down on the side of the bed too large for such a small boy.
Amrit’s eyes filled with tears. “The soldiers came to the village,” he whispered. “They took my father. And beat him up.” He fell silent then added in a broken voice. “They shot him. My mother tried to hide me but they beat her too.”
Chase’s heart hardened at the story. One that was not uncommon for this area. It seemed like no matter what they did, nor how much, there were always assholes picking on the innocent.