Kamikaze by Yasuo Kuwahara, Gordon T. Ailred

By Yasuo Kuwahara, Gordon T. Ailred

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One special fear possessed me. I was a year, even two years, younger than most of the boys who entered military service. Would I be able to keep up with them? How would I withstand the rigorous routine, the punishment I had heard so much about? In a state of half-sleep I tossed and squirmed for a while. Then I slipped back to reality. Some planes had just passed ove-head and were purring off into the night. Sitting beside me. softlv stroking my forehead, was my mother. I extended my hand and felt the warmth of her own.

And peered about furtively. Had the hancho heard the noise from their rooms? No, not through two doors, and they would be sound asleep by now. I glanced through the gloom at my companions, just their vague outlines. Squatting on the bench, back to back, they had managed to doze. For a moment I battled with myself. If I alone were to use the shower, the hot water might last for a long time. If all three of us used the showers But, after a moment I whispered, "Oka! Yamamoto! " Oka blurted. " In an instant the two were next to me, rubbing their arms and stomachs, hunching over, treading up and down.

We we^e like broken old men. 'Terrible! " our hancho shouted. "Sinre you don't know how to walk, we shall try running. " Something cracked and the rear rnan blundered forward, crashing into the man ahead. Slowly, achingly, our column moved out, like a row of waddling ducks. 43 As we hobbled down the airstrip The Pig circled leisurety about on his bicycle, alternately screeching, cursing, cackling and cracking jokes, wielding a length of bamboo about an inch and a half in diameter. After we had double-timed for about half a mile, several of the men began to slow.

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