There’re two of them,” the first voice yelled. “A white man and a black. They’re on the beach. Spread your
men out. Skiet hom! Shoot to kill.” “Hang on to me,” Jamie whispered. Banda gripped his arm. “Where are
you going?” “We’re getting out of here.”
Jamie brought his compass up to his face. He could barely see it. He turned until the compass was pointing
east. “This way…”
“Wait! We can’t walk. Even if we don’t bump into a guard or a dog, we’re going to set off a land mine.”
“You said there are a hundred yards before the mines start Let’s get away from the beach.”
They started moving toward the desert, slowly and unsteadily, blind men in an unknown land. Jamie paced
off the yards. Whenever they stumbled in the soft sand, they picked themselves up and kept moving. Jamie
stopped to check the compass every few feet. When he estimated they had traveled almost a hundred
yards, he stopped.
‘This should be about where the land mines start. Is there any pattern to the way they’re placed? Anything
you can think of that could help us?”
“Prayer,” Banda answered. “Nobody’s ever gotten past those land mines, Jamie. They’re scattered all over
the field, buried about six inches down. We’re going to have to stay here until the mis lifts and give ourselves
Jamie listened to the cotton-wrapped voices ricocheting around them.
“Kruger! Keep in voice contact___”
Disembodied voices calling to each other in the blinding fog. Jamie’s mind was racing, desperately exploring
every possible avenue of escape. If they stayed where they were, they would be killed the instant the mis
lifted. If they tried moving through the field of mines, they would be blown to bits.
“Have you ever seen the land mines?” Jamie whispered.
“I helped bury some of them.”
“What sets them off?”
“A man’s weight. Anything over eighty pounds will explode them. That way they don’t kill the dogs.”
Jamie took a deep breath. “Banda, I may have a way for us to get out of here. It might not work. Do you
want to gamble with me?”
“What have you got in mind?”
“We’re going to cross the mine fields on our bellies. That way we’ll distribute our weight across the sand.”
“What do you think?”
“I think I was crazy for ever leaving Cape Town.”
“Are you with me?” He could barely make out Banda’s face next to him.
“You don’t leave a man a lot of choice, do you?”
“Come on then.”
Jamie carefully stretched himself out flat on the sand. Banda looked at him a moment, took a deep breath
and joined him. Slowly the two men began crawling across the sand, toward the mine field.
“When you move,” Jamie whispered, “don’t press down with your hands or your legs. Use your whole body.”
There was no reply. Banda was busy concentrating on staying alive.
Novel Book: MASTER OF THE GAME
Copyright © 1982 by Sheldon Literary Trust