Run With The Brave

Free Run With The Brave

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door flew open and in strode a short, grey-haired man wearing a general’s uniform. The interrogators and guards snapped to attention. The general glanced disdainfully at the blood and gore and ordered the interrogating officer to step outside the room.
    Heated voices soon came from the corridor and, minutes later, the officer returned, features taut and flushed, looked angrily around the room and said, “You are to be transferred immediately to another centre. There you will tell us all we need to know and inform the world how you have attempted to violate our beloved country.” He then stormed out, followed quickly by the three other interrogators. The guards menacingly closed around the prisoners. Ryder shuddered; a further prolonged, painful time lay ahead. How much more could he take?
    Not long after the ordeal in the interrogation room, Ryder and the nine Americans, together with a group of Iranian prisoners, were herded out into the compound. In the bitter November wind, Ryder dug deep to overcome his despair and resist making a break for it; reason told him it would be futile. Eventually, three large canvas-covered army trucks entered the compound and drew up alongside the shivering company. They were then hurriedly manhandled into the back of the middle vehicle already occupied by a number of other emaciated prisoners, including women. Once all tightly packed in and the tailboard bolted, the guards hurriedly dispersed into the front and rear trucks and the three vehicles left the compound, heading east.

PART TWO
    Treacherous Journey

8
    As the convoy of three trucks merged with the bare, rugged terrain in the snow-sprinkled northern foothills of the Zagros Mountains some 100 miles south of Tabriz, Ryder lapsed in and out of awareness but could not wash away his own miserable world of defeat and despair. He tried to squash the negativity but his thoughts left him wondering how all this would finally end. Packed tightly in the middle vehicle, the journey so far for him had been traumatic, travelling over potholed and rutted dirt roads causing extreme discomfort from the continuous jolting and bouncing on the hard metal floor. His personal misery ebbed and flowed as the vehicle weaved its way through wooded valleys and climbed up and down steep inclines of barren mountainsides coupled with the continuous throaty roar of the engines and crashing gears. Muffled English, Hebrew and Farsi conveying the despair of those around him did not help the mental pain and anguish he now suffered, which almost matched that experienced in the filthy Iranian cell and the room at the end of the corridor. The khaki camouflaged vehicles strained slowly up a steep incline, engines grinding at full power over the narrow, dusty road. It was late afternoon and a watery sun had dipped behind the peaks, casting long shadows over the rough and jagged windswept ground. The convoy crested a ridge in the rapidly rising foothills and began its descent into yet another deserted valley of rock, scrub and scanty trees. Patches of pristine snow grew in size the higher they went.
    Suddenly, a thunderous roar blotted out every other sound, then a rumbling from deep within the ground. Seconds later this was followed by a series of short, sharp cracking noises which echoed down the valley and shook the entire mountain and the road cut into its side.
    Earthquake!
    The truck lurched violently and was thrown hard to one side. The ground under gave way, sending the lead truck plunging off the road and down into the valley to the right, engulfed in a torrent of collapsing rubble and dust. Ryder’s middle vehicle rolled; bodies collided with one another and smashed against the metal framework as the vehicle rode down on a river of earth, dust billowing into the rear almost choking everyone within. The vehicle behind immediately followed and all three careered uncontrollably down on top and partly beneath the moving mass of earth and rock,

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