My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Run with me

>> Above Kahuku

The eastern horizon was just turning light as Shauny Nakamura and the others -- 20 of them altogether -- followed the savior who had just released them from cages and from certain death by human sacrifice, performed by cannibals.

"They honor you before they eat you," he'd said. If that doesn't put afterburners in your sandals, nothing will. They followed as the savior jogged away from the trailer that had been converted into a prison, past a stable and a corral where horses stirred, toward a pasture and beyond to where the cover of forest beckoned.

Shauny had quickly partnered with a tall young hapa man who looked like he could run. "The anti-war chap," the group of men who'd visited last night called him. He seemed to sense her resilience, and that she had her wits about her, and fell in beside her. And Shauny had grabbed a young Filipina, no more than 14, by the hand as they swept out of their prison. The girl squeezed Shauny's hand like she'd never let go. And so they were three.

"Let's run!" she said, and they ran with her across the pasture. Now, though they'd been the last to exit the prison, Shauny was leading her new family toward the front of the pack as their savior jogged ahead. She realized she didn't know his name, or that of her new companions.

"Thank you," Shauny called from 10 yards behind the savior. "What's your name?"

"Stephen," he called, not bothering to turn around. "I'm with Amnesty International."

A shot rang out, a heartbeat later Stephen's back exploded in red. He staggered and fell.

Shauny almost puked but stopped to help.

"No," he wheezed, blood coming from his mouth. "Run ... that way ... toward the big tree ... I'm ... going ... now..." And he died.

Another shot rang out.

"Get the horses!" a male voice called from behind.

And so they ran, Shauny and her new friends at the lead. Just another 50 yards to the cover of forest.

Another shot.

"They got the old guy!" someone called.

The Filipina started to look back, and that slowed her step, but Shauny gave her a firm yank. "Just run, sweetie, just run!"

The final 20 yards seemed to take forever but at last they made it to the cover of the forest. Shauny pulled the girl behind a tall Norfolk pine. The young man followed. Another shot, and they were showered with wood chips.

"That was too close," Shauny said. "Let's move." And then, calling to the others, "Spread out!" And they ran further into the forest.

Back in the pasture, Stephen spit out the blood capsule. God, those things taste awful.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be e-mailed at


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