Monday, 29th May 2023 - 15:40:03 pm

"We've got to get out of here," Hao told Kincaid for the third time.

They were in Phouc's hut which was on the edge of the village. When Hao learned where Phouc lived. He suggested she cook for them there. It turned out that Phouc's mother did all the cooking but that didn't matter. They were where Hao wanted them to be. That is where Phouc and Kincaid spent the day. Hao joined them towards sundown. In between her cooking chores, Phouc's mother stayed with friends.

"We've got to get out of here," Hao told Kincaid for the fourth time.

Kincaid looked away from Phouc and frowned. "I know," he said.

Phouc reached up her hands and tried to reshape the expression on his face. Kincaid made her put on a skirt when Hao came. That made her sulk for a few minutes because she hadn't seen the need.

"What time will they come?" Kincaid looked outside at the gathering darkness. "We should have hours. They won't move until it's dark." Phouc put her small mouth to his breast.

"Unless they come from the rubber plantation. Then we only have minutes." Hao had decided not to trust Minh's guarantees for their safety. He could not see a way that Minh could stop the Viet Cong if they came.

"Okay," Kincaid said. "Explain it to her. But make it good. I want her waiting here when I come back."

"Phouc!" Hao called to get her attention. She spoke nothing but Rhade and Vietnamese. He didn't see what Kincaid would want in a woman he couldn't even talk to.

She ignored him.

"Phouc!" he called more sharply.

She looked at him petulantly and made a face.

A good spanking is what she needs, Hao thought. She was definitely not to his taste. More child that woman. "We must leave now," he told her.

Her face screwed up as if to cry. "I will come with you."

"No! You must stay here. Now listen to me!" he said quickly as tears came and her attention strayed. "Our lives depend on how you behave."

That snapped her attention back.

"The Viet Cong are coming to kill us. We must leave now but we will return tomorrow morning. You must say nothing to anyone. You must behave as though we were still here. Will you do that?"

She gave him a pouty nod. Measures to protect themselves from the Viet Cong were everyday realities in her life. They were realities that even she would not ague with.

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