Daily Prompt: Far From Home   Leave a comment

On my 21st birthday I went camping with three buddies I was on temporary duty with at Incirlik Air Base to the mountains above Ezerum, Turkey. We got off of the train at a quaint station in a town whose name escapes me after all this time. The village was like a fairy tale, with beautiful wooden houses covered in intricate trim.

We were swarmed with young men at the train stop and hired five of them to carry our camping supplies up into the stunning mountains. The charge for service ended being a carton of Marlboro cigarettes and a half gallon of Bacardi rum.  We set up camp two hours hike above the town in a clearing with a stunning view down the valley. Our porters disappeared as quickly as they had appeared on the siding.

That evening as we sat around a large fire we were all in awe of the solitude and beauty of the pristine forest. I relayed my impression of the timelessness that I felt as I sat on a small ledge overlooking the valley throwing stones to the valley floor.  There were thousands and thousands of rocks on the valley floor that I could feel were thrown by others before me.

Later that night from far above us on the mountain three flares of light eerily descended towards us sending chills up our spines as they got closer and closer to our camp. Two scruffy bearded men dressed in sport coats and baggy harem pants walked right into camp as if they owned it. The third man stayed in the shadows but it was clear that he was armed with a rifle or a shotgun.

Mountain

Mountain (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

We offered they guys at the fire a shot of vodka to be hospitable and break the ice. They pointed to the third man and wagged their hands in a way that made clear that we shouldn’t give the third man anything to drink. One man spun his finger by his head in the international sign for crazy.

We naturally came to an impasse because of the language barrier but with a few shots we figured out that they were really concerned with the size of our fire.  As the time passed the third man came in closer to the fire and there was a gigantic scar in the middle of his forehead that looked like a fissure or an aged crack in a boulder. The long gun he carried in his hand looked like an ancient blunderbuss and he had a curved knife in his belt.

We waded though the language barrier and tamped down our fire without giving the crazy man a drink.  However, the other two went through our duffle bags and helped themselves to a couple cartons of cigarettes and three more half gallons of liquor.  Needless to say we were shocked and our spirits were dampened like the fire so we turned in early. When I woke up the next morning I realized that I was far far away from home.

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Posted July 16, 2013 by Balvah in Post a Day

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