Everything hurt. Everything was cold.
One of the guards walked over to Evans. The Guard looked him up and down, then prodded him with his rifle, and then spoke with a thick accent, “Name?”
“Lance Corporal James Evans.”
The Guard checked his paper. He then used the bayonet of his rifle to lead Evans forward. The two walked to the gate, where the two guards talked for a few minutes. Eventually the guard with Evans was handed a shovel. The guard took the shovel in his left hand. He tucked the stock of the rifle under his right arm, so he could still thrust the bayonet or pull the trigger if necessary.
The two walked far. Into the woods. Evans was starting to wonder where he was being taken. It was possible that someone in town needed a garden dug. Hopefully. He had occasionally seen guards take prisoners away and return alone.
The guard brought Evans to a stop in a thick forest. There was a small clearing. The guard threw down the shovel into the center of the clearing, “Dig. There.”
Evans picked up the shovel and started to dig. The guard spat, “No!”
The gestured for Evans to back up. He then moved forward and pointed at a rock, “There. Dig There”
Evans kicked the rock away and started to dig there. He started to formulate a plan. He would wait for the guard to lower his rifle a bit. Then, he would fling a shovelful of dirt at him. Using this distraction, Evans would strike. Then, he guessed, he would steal the uniform and attempt to make his way south. To Liguria.
If only this damned guard would be distracted for one.
Evans struck wood. Huh. Well then. He started to dig to the sides of the plank. To dig it out. The guard still stared at him. Evans cleared all the edges. Evans looked at the guard, who nodded. Evans lifted the plank. It was a cover. The guard then put down his rifle, put Evans in a headlock and whispered to him, suddenly unaccented, “I am your friend. When I let go, do not attack me. We are friends.” The guard then let go and stepped back.
Evans put the plank to the side. He looked back to the hole. There was a rifle, bayonet, ammunition, a uniform, a map, and a compass.
The guard whispered again, “See, I help you. You need to help me now.”
“Excuse me?” Evans edged his hand toward the bayonet.
The guard held his hands up, “My name is Radek. I am not Vledscan. I am from Moravia. My wife and children live in Ethslin. I must go.”
Evans was confused. He didn’t know of Moravia. But, he might as well try and escape with him. He extended his hand to the guard, “Alright Radek, what should we do?”
Radek shook his hand, “Switch uniforms. Get your kit ready. Then, we will bury everything. To look like a grave. I will fire my rifle, spread some blood. It will look like you killed me and escaped. I know an abandoned barn a few kilometers from here we can stay at while they search. I have more supplies there.”
“Alright,” Evans paused, “Why me? Why Now?”
“An offensive is coming. In the North somewhere. The army will be concentrated up there, leaving less people in the countryside here. Less people on the front line in the South,” Radek smiled, “As for you, two reasons. One, you are a high risk prisoner. You were one of the soldiers we were told to watch carefully. Two, you fit the uniform. Now, let us get going. I hope to be in Ethslin in a week.”