Cole was one of seven guys in his squad, part of the Second Platoon, stationed in something called the Central Highlands. He was nineteen. So was everyone else except for Bradley, eighteen, and Terry, twenty. As infantry, much of their mission involved reconnaissance. When on patrol, their senses focused on telltale signs of VC and NVA. Eyes flitted from ground to nearby bushes to farther ahead and back again. Ears were intent on picking up sounds from higher positions. No one wanted to die before his next birthday.
D-man crept along in the front left field of his vision, his head rotating slowly and keeping watch. Trees overhead provided some shade and kept their paths in dim shadow.
Some twenty feet beyond D-man’s position, two kids burst from the thick jungle. A boy and a girl, seven or maybe eight, tops. The girl wore a floppy T-shirt down to her knees. There was some design on it, but stains and dirt made whatever it was illegible. The boy wore shorts and no shirt. Both were barefoot.
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