Prince of Afghanistan
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Black parachutes fall from the sky: young soldiers - and a dog - on a rescue mission in a remote part of Afghanistan.
But the mission ends in chaos, and Mark and Prince embark on a perilous journey through enemy territory. They depend on each other to survive.
A dramatic and powerful story of war and the bond between a young soldier and a dog, from the acclaimed author of 'Into That Forest'.
the large main building is in ruins. Only a part of the roof remains at the back. The litter of artillery shell casings and bullets on the ground are signs that there must have been a fierce battle for it. Everything is rusting or crumbling as if the battle happened years or even decades ago. I gaze down the hill at the distant specks working in the poppy fields. From up where I am I can see the whole valley. The ‘fort’ must have been an observation post. I make my way through the ruins to the
screams at him, but Prince can’t hear and pauses a couple of metres from the both of us, his forehead crinkled in a deep frown. Tell that damn dog to go! He’s deaf. Good, then he won’t hear himself die. With that Ghulum points the gun at Prince and, before I can react, he fires. There’s the sound of a shot, followed immediately by a sharp metallic ping. Prince doesn’t react but there’s a gentle sigh from Ghulum. He stares at his own blood staining the image of the cute child on his chest and
fellow realised that I was on the other side of the box listening to him pissing. The village looked small from a distance but it has about forty dwellings. As I check out each house I catch the familiar smells of sweets, spices and human waste. It grows cold, and once the moon completely disappears only the faint glow reflected into the sky above the mountain range helps me see. A couple of times I trip over objects lying in the darkness or slip on shale. Each time I freeze, expecting that I’ve
plucked out a book bound in red leather from a whole set of identically coloured volumes. It was 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea. He sat down and started to read. This became our nightly ritual. He expected me to listen to him read until the wall clock chimed nine o’clock, when he’d slap the book shut. I’d say goodnight and leave the room knowing he’d be starting on a bottle of whisky, lost in his own thoughts and dreams. Over the next two years he read me the novels that made up Jules Verne’s
warm, moist tongue feels beautiful. 13 There seems to be no difference between dreaming and reality, life and death. The world is darkness and in it I hear scraping noises, echoing footsteps, the soft voice of a woman, a puffing sound and distant men whispering – are they whispering about me? Light comes and I see I am in a bed and my arm and chest have tubes attached to machines. I’m confused and then slowly realise I am in a bed in the army hospital. Now I remember – Prince and I were saved.