It has often been documented that one’s life passes before one in a near death situation, and then a bright light appears. But what about experiences that are not quite that close to death, but are pretty scary anyhow? We all have them. Here are some of mine.
My husband’s position as the group geophysicist for a large international mining group in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) often took him to remote and isolated regions. The ongoing war with communist-trained terrorists who crossed our borders, and raped, tortured and murdered the innocent had caused the company to implement a policy disallowing women and children from traveling with their husbands to out-of-the-way areas. We all know rules are made to be broken, and when David invited me to accompany him to Sengwa coal field, I conned a friend into taking care of our children for a few days.
Most of the company Land Rovers were landmine-protected—reinforced with thick steel plate underneath, but David chose to use the fancy Land Rover with the leather bucket seats and softer suspension—the one that wasn’t mine-protected. He wanted me to be more comfortable. I wasn’t. I sat as lightly as I could—if it’s possible to sit lightly—the entire journey of over 100 miles of dirt road.
Needless to say, I was more than a little relieved when we arrived at the Sengwa mine compound in one piece. The relief was short-lived. A military unit had commandeered the complex, and were digging trenches and laying sandbags. We were told they were expecting to be mortared that night. Turning around and going home on those roads at night was not an option.
My respect for soldiers everywhere grew exponentially. I was issued with a military rifle, and as I took a couple of practice shots, I thought, ‘Is this really happening? Am I going to have to spend the night in those trenches with mortars being fired at us tonight? What happens if they score a direct hit on the trench?’
As it turned out, the attack didn’t come. We spent a restless night inside the building listening to the radio communications, but come morning the danger had passed. The only incident reported was that the local chief had been killed by a land mine overnight, but thankfully, the villagers had not been attacked.
I was thrilled when our Land Rover wouldn’t start and we had to take one of the mine-protected vehicles for the return journey, which was uneventful until we rounded a bend and almost ran into a herd of elephants. The elephants in that area were known to be aggressive, and had picked up a few vehicles and thrown them around and trampled them. We moved way back, and waited for them to head off into the bush.
Back at home on a later date, I was riding my horse, Calypso, alone in a remote corner of a sizeable cattle ranch. I stopped to let him drink at a water trough, and as I glanced up into the thick brush facing me, I caught movement. The shadowy silhouette of someone lifting something to their shoulders, like they were aiming a rifle—at me. Terrorists were known to pass through our area, but they didn’t generally attack anyone there because the country’s borders were too far away for a quick retreat. I forced myself to act calm, although my heart hammered as I turned Calypso around and walked away. Knowing that someone is aiming a rifle at your back is terrifying, and it took all my will-power not to spur Calypso into a gallop. To this day I often wonder who it was in those bushes, and if I really was in danger.
I think we all find ourselves in a perilous situation at least once in our lives, and each and every one of us has a story to tell. The awesome thing about people is that everyone’s story is totally different, and I love hearing them. Maybe you could tell us yours in the comments section.
Editor’s Note: Comments are always appreciated. We like to know what interests our readers. You don’t have to be a member of the blog or even a writer, and you don’t need a website.
Trish Jackson believes that her real life adventures growing up in Africa sparked a love for adventure, and being a romantic at heart, she writes romantic suspense. Her latest novel, Virgo’s Vice is set to be released before the end of 2015. http://www.trishjackson.com