Six miles ago the trek didn’t seem so colossal, so epic, so difficult. Jones went back in time as he walked, revisiting only the hardships, the pickles, the trenches – not a single attempt at wandering over a good memory, a birthday, a night of drinks; it was the times that they barely made it, the times that they were just far enough or close enough, the times that they had just enough bullets or lasted long enough, and somehow this time they hadn’t.
According to the map, the next enemy outpost, where Ho and Pipes might be held, was still several miles northwest from his location. The sun was threatening with its departure, but in the hours that he had been walking, he had yet to come across a suitable place for rest. Jones came up an a road going east-west, so he followed it for a while, carefully, hidden in the lengthening shadows of the trees. Up ahead, over the clearing of the trees, there was a hill, and Jones bet he could get behind it before the sun did. A couple hours later, exhausted, he stood atop the hill and noticed a small log cabin, not too far from where he stood, gleaming between the trees and puffing smoke.