The first skirmish started around noon.
It was pretty much perfect, it was hot and the Japs were resting still puzzled by the smoke that was continuously fed from a distance.
It was more like a cat and mouse game, which of us was; the mouse or cat, was blurred.
Some of the Japanese oblivious of the danger they were in, wandered off to look for wild fowl and some to relieve themselves.
One of the natives played bait; two Japs followed after him only to find death. He got hacked to death when the natives came out of the side dugouts.
It was brutal and violent. I asked Intoy to ask one of them to get the weapons and ammo, since we were using bolos and knives and bamboo spears, while I was the only one with a rifle and a pistol.
They all took turns as bait; well prey and bait.
They assigned two guys to collect the weapons and two guys to collect the ammo.
I didn’t see it up close until it was time for Intoy’s turn as bait, we played as prey. It was harrowing to see them Japs come after you, I think I killed two, with my rifle.
This time their numbers were swelling the jig was up so to speak, I think they realized where we were after a squad failed to report. And the sound of my rifle kind of gave our location away.
It was at that moment amidst all the smoke that I saw this eerie white apparition coming out from the Japs I was told it was their soul.
The natives were sucking up the souls of the dying Japs, looking on Intoy he was doing the same. I was shocked and awed.
Since we could not stay in one place anymore and wait for the Japs to come out like turkeys.
We had to move to another location that was similar in layout; while the smoke was still billowing.
One of our team members was still fanning the flame. So it gave us cover and managed to kill another squad, I used the bayonet this time. And this time, I did not give our location away.
They fought ferociously like wild beasts. I swear I saw one of them changed into a large dog, well, two now that I think of it. They played prey and predator again.
It was like hunting the hunter for them. Because of the necessity of time in our encounters they could not consume the souls of the recently dead Japs anymore.
We were outnumbered; there were only ten of us and maybe a hundred Japs out there looking for us.
We did this tactic all afternoon; sometimes we paused when they had time to consume the dying Japs souls. I didn’t really know what it was that they were sucking in, and I just presumed they were souls of which I turned out to be right.
We kept moving up the mountain, I think we had ten skirmishes with the Japs that afternoon.
And finally, we ran beyond their hunting grounds this time we could not ambush – the cat and mouse tactics against the Japs would not work now. The hunting grounds was created for animals, and it worked with humans as well.
Beyond the native’s hunting grounds, is a whole new ball game, because they were not familiar with the terrain, or it was more like they have no traps. There were no prepared holes or hiding spots to lay an ambush.
They could not go back to the hunting grounds and risk the dugouts to be discovered which was why they or we kept on moving.
We already had about twenty rifles and it was getting heavy to carry. I asked them if we could stop getting more rifles and ammo since it was not practical anymore.
It was dark, and the bulk of the Japs were coming for us. We could hear the rustles of the vegetation from the distance; we also could not hide behind the smoke cover.
However, darkness was and is a friend for these natives; little did I know that these were the descendants of some of those who were responsible for the massacre of the American troops four decades ago.
And their ancestors did not get killed when our troops came back for a mopping up operation.
I don’t know how many we have killed. I could only estimate fifty because we had five small skirmishes each with a squad of about ten to fifteen men, plus we managed to kill ten initially, before we started to move.
Yeah, now that I think about it, it was just five not ten. Each of the five skirmishes were two parts.
We weren’t able to kill all of the squad members during those skirmishes; they were spread out so thin at that time.
By dusk the forest with all its thick canopy and vegetation was already dark. It was at this point that their families kept weapons – swords hidden for decades, the long swords that their families used against the Americans.
They called it a pinute but the ones that I usually see now were shorter ones, these were long about a full arm’s length.
Anyway, they were talking in their language and I could not understand shit but Intoy discussed the plan with me, apparently.
“Johnson, you need to come with me together with these two guys. Okay.”
“That sounds like a plan so what do we do actually.”
“Very easy we go straight, down, just follow me close, the other three will take on the resistance on our sides”
“Well that is easy for you to say, you guys are super humans. “
“That is why you are coming with me.”
“Wait, we don’t know where the real bulk of the Japs are; all we know or presume to know is that they are somewhere down there. This is suicide, or a crazy breakthrough attempt.”
“I don’t think running away from them is an option, who knows they might already have surrounded us.”
Indeed, we were already surrounded, in fact I think it was a battalion size that was after us. I wonder why they sent a lot for ten people; it didn’t make sense at that time.
After the war I was told that they thought we were a large American and Filipino Troops, so much for my being low profile and hiding any American presence in the area.
So, we went head on, I stumbled and rolled from the top of the mountain trying to evade those bullets. Occasionally I get to stab some of the Japs down and run like hell down the mountain.
I don’t know if it was a miracle or we were invincible, I could not even use my gun and shoot. They could not even see us coming down and neither could I; the guys on our sides kept throwing dead Japs to throw the Japs aim away.
I swear at that time those guys could see in the dark, and boy I was right.