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In Februrary 1945, 1,000 Japanese troops retreated into the swamps of Ramree Island. Most were never seen again. Inspired by actual events during WW2, this is the fictional account of one soldier's struggle to survive the deadliest crocodile attack ever recorded!
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SUNSET ON RAMREE
A novelette, 15,000 words.
Written by Robert Appleton.
An excerpt from Chapter 1 - PRELUDE
It is 16:45 and the British forces have outflanked us. Word spreads throughout our battalion that there is no escape. The mangrove swamp – a thick, stifling, fetid place of only damp reprieve – suddenly provides our only protection. And it is here, in the coming hours, that from the jaws of our defeat, Nature will try to snatch us for herself. There are a hundred unseen ways for a man to die. We can never give in, and time must therefore be the grind of the blade, that by our own hand we draw death – an honourable death. What end waits for me, I wonder? My name is Shigeatsu Nakadai. I do not want this sunset to be my last.
An excerpt from Chapter 5 - FUGUE
Though you wouldn’t know it to look at them, crocodiles are among the quickest animals on the planet. There’s a split-second between an impala bending to drink and a crocodile leaping up with a sideways swipe, clamping its jaws around its prey, and starting the dreaded submergence. Once those jaws are locked, the hold is iron-clad; it’s almost impossible to pry them open.
On land, though only for short sprints, they can move extremely fast. In water, they are kings. Their muscular tails propel them upward with shocking speed toward their prey. It’s not hard to see why they’re feared even more than sharks in many Indo-Pacific regions. And as Ramree Island lies in the Bay of Bengal, we are in the heart of their domain.
It starts with one or two attacks. A quick cry of pain, a splash, limbs thrashing to escape, and if the water is too shallow for the crocodile to pull its man down for drowning, it will roll him over and over on the surface. There is nothing more terrifying than hearing that sequence – the staggered scream, the tail lashing the surface, the loud spurts of water being thrown aside. There might as well be a hundred crocodiles for the sheer panic that ensues on the bank ahead of us. As the men trample vegetation while fleeing the water’s edge, their flesh is torn on the sharp bracken. The smell of blood is in the air. On top of that, we have wounded soldiers among us, casualties of both British bullets and the previous crocodile attack. If these reptiles are attracted by open wounds, every last one ought to be headed this way.
What’s worse, they like to feed at night...
Don't miss SUNSET ON RAMREE, the action-packed war story by Robert Appleton.