Author – Shoeless Guy
As they began their descent from the hill Gary glanced back at the flagpole, the dangling boots swung in the breeze. Marty got well ahead of the others and as he approached camp he spotted a pair of black socked feet resting on top of the kit bags. “You fallen asleep Will?” he said. He walked nearer and realised the feet where tied together. Then he went down.
Gary said to the others “Where has Marty gone?”
“He was ahead of us” said Baz.
They halted their approach to camp and waited, Gary commanded Ross to move forward slowly to the right and Sean to the left. Ross could see the camp ahead, he spotted Will tied up on the ground and Marty being held by two of the sergeants with Nick talking to him.
“Where are my boots?” said Nick, Marty didn’t reply. “Tie him up and take his boots”
Sean saw Marty’s wrists being tied and thrown to the ground then his boots removed. He was so fixated watching Marty’s boot confiscation that he didn’t notice two Sergeants creep up from behind. They pushed him to the ground, Amrit wrapped his hand over Seans mouth as Ian tied his hands behind his back. They marched Sean towards the others. Sean tried to free himself from his binds but knew his fate, he saw Will and Marty bound on the floor, he knew he would shortly be losing his boots and joining them.
Ross watched and said “shit” as watched a tied up Sean placed on the ground and getting his boots removed. He turned to get up and his foot was grabbed, Kev had sneaked up on him, his grip on Ross’ boot was strong. He had no choice but to get out his army knife and rip the laces on his boot. His brown socked foot fell out of the boot and he ran off to warn his remaining team mates.
Nick demanded to know where their boots where, the tied up Corporals where not answering. Kev returned holding up a boot in his hand. Nick tried on the capture guys boots, they where all too small. He knew he couldn’t return to the main cadet camp without his boots or the flag.
Ross returned to Gary and Baz, they captured Will while we got the flag, Marty was ambushed walking back to camp and they grabbed Sean, they’re all tied up. I nearly got captured too but escaped unfortunately I lost a boot as he looked down at his socked foot. “This is getting out of hand” said Gary “We are supposed to capture the flag, not each other”.
“What we going to do with the prisoners” said Mike.
“We are going to wait until their mates attempt to rescue them” said Nick.
Gary knew he had to sacrifice himself to save the others. He walked into camp hands in air “Let my men go and you can have your boots and the flag” he said to Nick
“Where are the others” said Nick.
“Watching and waiting”
“Let my men go” Gary said again
Nick looked down at his now rather dirty socks then across to Gary’s booted feet. “Not until you give me your boots” he said.
“No deal” said Gary
“Take off your boots and your men can go”
Gary sat on the ground unlaced and removed his boots then threw them over to Nick. The Corporals where untied. Gary sat in his grey boot socks watching Nick putting on his boots. “God Damn it” said Nick “Is nobody else a size 11” he shouted as he threw Gary’s boots on top of the other confiscated footwear. The newly released corporals went to retrieve their boots but where stopped by the sergeants. “You’ll get your boots once we have ours” said Nick who told Gary to beckon his two remaining men to the camp. A few minutes later Baz and Ross walked into camp. Nick demanded they take their boots off or boot with Ross. They looked at their leader, Gary said “Just give them your boots” with a look of defeat on his face. They sat on the ground and removed them and threw their boots to Nick. The Corporals all stood together in their uniforms and socked feet. “Where are our boots and the flag” said Nick.
“Your boots are tied to the flag pole at the top of the hill” said Gary.
“How can we trust you” said Nick
“We’ll take you to them” said Gary “And you also have our boots as ransom”
Nick told Amrit to place all the Corporals boots in a sleeping bag and hide them in the trees. “Just in case they try and double cross us” he said.
“Before you hide our boots” said Gary “I want your men to take off their remaining boots and place them in another sleeping bag so we can hide them til we return, then we’re all shoeless and equal as we climb the hill, if not the flag remains hidden and no team wins”
Reluctantly Nick agreed to Gary’s demand and ordered his men to remove the boots off their right feet. Baz got a sleeping bag and one by one the sergeants placed their boots inside. They looked down at their feet, each had a clean right socked foot and a dirty left socked foot. Amrit disappeared in one direction and Baz in the other, after a few minutes they both returned empty handed.
Now all 12 cadets where in their army uniforms and stood in socks. “Where is the flag?” said Nick.
“The flag is in Will’s boots which we mistakenly left up with your boots” said Gary
The climb to the top was slow wearing just socks. They eventually reached the flagpole.
“What game are you playing Gary” said Nick as he looked up at the empty flagpole.
“They where definitely there” said Gary “I’m not playing any game, after all you have hidden our boots. We are on open land, any member of the public could of seen them and stole them”
“Great” said Nick “Thanks to you guys my boots have been stolen”
“Game over for both teams” said Gary. “The flag was in Will’s stolen boots, we’re all going to be gunged as neither team captured the flag”
As they sat a dogwalker appeared Nick looked at him and asked “Have you seen anyone carrying lots of boots”
The dog walker laughed as he looked at the 12 uniformed cadets sat in their socks and said “What sort of army do we have when our soldiers have their boots stolen” as his dog sniffed Nick’s socked feet.
The walk downhill was just as hard without boots, they arrived back at the Blue team’s camp. All the kit bags where missing. “Go get the sleeping bags with the boots in” said Gary to Amrit and Baz. They reappeared empty handed. “They’ve gone too” said Amrit. “Somebody has been watching us and taken everything” said Nick.
All 12 cadets walked back to the main camp, marching in their socked feet, no boots or kit bags. It had been decided that only the two team leaders would be gunged. Their men had suffered enough at their lack of leadership. The flag had not been in Will’s boots but in Gary’s jacket all the time, where it remained. He saw the disappointment on the 17 year old Nicks face, his last Cadet camp, no glory of winning. He’d had his revenge on Nick, without his boots all day. He was now prepared to share the humiliation in camp as joint loser.
Gary the Corporal and Nick the Sergeant where paraded through camp in uniform, no boots, their socks dirty and worn. They where tied to a tree and gunged with water, mud and the gunk from paint balls.
As they stood there tied to the tree, being covered in crap, Gary thought to himself, Who had been watching them? Who had their kit? Where where their boots? A lot of unanswered questions ran through his mind.
With no kit bags or boots, the rest of their stay in camp was going to be uncomfortable.