Max staggered back from blocking a strike from the livid man’s gun. There was really very little area for her to move. Any more towards the windows and she could get taken out by a sniper; any deeper into the building and there was no hope on getting out unless one of them lost their life. Seizing his gun, they wrestled about for a few moments until at last he kicked her back into a wall.
His lips moved quickly, his mouth widening—indicating his shouts—with spit flying everywhere. My eyes watched Max’s reactions to his shouts. Already she seemed tenser than when he first pointed the gun at her. Her hands were held up towards him, trying to explain and do whatever she could to get him to see her reasoning.
The choice to not carry a weapon in case of this sort of incident was a bad call on Max’s part. Nothing in that building could be easily used to beat him away. Remaining by the door, I watched as he swung and hit her again with his rifle. Faltering in her steps backwards, Max moved to try and get away, only to be hit again. There had to be some reason as to why he had yet to use the rifle for more than a bat.
Taking a step in the direction of the back of the building, Max ducked away from another swing of his rifle. I could tell she was confused as to why he had yet to use his gun properly. As the gun slammed onto her arm it made a horrid noise—luckily no cracking sounds. She was making her way towards the back door. Seeing her start to flee, the man caught Max’s arm and spun her around.
He was heatedly shouting in her face before a blow to the stomach caused her to cough. Dragging her towards the back door, he kicked her out what was left of the window. I sprinted the few steps to get a better view and make sure she was all right. Seeing her struggle to stand—at least she was moving—I exhaled in relief. She was thankfully alive, but definitely worse for wear. The man followed her, eyes wild. Swinging the rifle again he stopped when Max suddenly yelled at him. Something must have caught her eye that put them both in danger.
Leaving him behind, she managed to take cover behind some rubble just as he looked up. I followed his gaze to see a mortar. Shutting my eyes as it crashed down, I opened them to see Max’s head appear over the ruin. She ran to where the man currently lay, writhing in agony.
I watched her speak to him as she pulled items from her bag. A syringe to give him a sedative, bandages and some rubber strips for tourniquet material. No matter what she did, the man continued to panic. Max’s lips moved, in something I couldn’t quite understand. It must have been a language they both knew—something else she picked up over the years. Observing her work, Max looked in the direction of the building; the man’s daughter had finally come out from her hiding place upstairs. The child looked petrified—probably at seeing her father bleeding—but also from all the gunfire and explosions around the city.
Maintaining her composed expression, Max coaxed the little girl to stay nearby. Her lips kept moving and talking to the child, keeping her calm as she was working on the father. After a few moments, the man and girl started talking, tears streaming down the child’s face. Using all of her patience, Max continued to bandage and staunch as much of the blood as she could. The man’s blood was soaking into the sand below him, the dry ground drinking up whatever it could to curb its thirst.
Wiping sweat and blood from her temple, my sister sat back from aiding the man. His breathing had evened out somewhat—his chest was rising and falling at a steady but slower rate than before. The sun beat down on them, making it seem hotter than it was. Twisting open her canteen, Max helped the man sit up and drink some of the water. Offering it to his daughter—who eagerly accepted—Max drank a small amount and returned it to her pack. Her eyes scanned the horizon, mostly looking for a comrade, or maybe even a medic truck. What she hoped to not see was the enemy. More often than not, any prisoners of war were killed within twenty-four hours of their capture. I’m sure that was something Max didn’t want to happen to her.
Keeping the little girl next to her, Max kept on alert for anything that must have sounded out of the ordinary. The girl kept her hand in her father’s—having settled down considerably—as she too sat and listened. My eyes looked to the horizon, seeing a large dust cloud forming.
“Max, on the left!” I said, my voice once again echoing. My hands balled into fists out of frustration. It was not fair for me to have no way of warning her of danger, or of possible help. The little girl tugged on Max’s sleeve, pointing to the left. I could tell Max followed her gesture, seeing the rising cloud too. Sitting up onto her knees, she watched the sand get nearer. Stepping back, I immediately knew I recognized that vehicle. A truck pulled in front of the three.
“Hey kid! Need a lift somewhere?” Max stared at the driver, instantly trying to identify the voice.