Erica knew that what she was contemplating was dangerous, that the best course of action would be to simply remain in hiding with the others. Yet she couldn't erase the memory of the man in the jeep from her mind. Not really a man at all; merely a boy, several years older than herself at most. And he had been bleeding.
Beneath her determination to survive lay a core of compassion that had just been touched. He was the enemy. He and the others like him had come to destroy their way of life, had come to destroy them. Yet wasn't he just as much a victim of circumstance as she herself was? He hadn't chosen the time and place of his birth any more than she herself had. Because their countries were enemies, did it follow that Erica had to hate him? If they had met at any other time and place, they may have even become good friends.
Her mind made up, Erica silently slipped away from the others and made her way to the jeep. She saw the body slumped over in the front seat and with a sickening feeling realized that she may well be too late anyway.
At last she was close enough to touch him. His body felt warm. She picked up a limp wrist and felt for a pulse. It was very weak but undoubtedly still there.
Dizzy with relief, she checked to see if he was awake. He wasn't.
Erica wondered what she should do. He was undoubtedly too weak to walk, and she wasn't strong enough to carry him anywhere. Yet they couldn't just stay where they were indefinitely. She decided that the best thing to do would be to return to the others and try to talk them into helping her save him.
She was just about to leave when she heard a low moan. It was so faint that she almost wondered whether it had been only her imagination. Startled, she turned and looked back at the young soldier and saw that his eyes were now open and focused unsteadily on her.
"Did you say something?"
He mumbled some words in a language she didn't understand. The pain in his weak voice touched her heart.
"It's all right." Gently she swept the hair back from his forehead. "Everything's going to be all right. Just try to get some rest."