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- Shayne

—  Name, Title

ONE LIFE ONE CHANCE - PROLOGUE

 

The barrel of his AK-47 assault rifle was pointed straight at my head; the tip was shaking and I wondered whether it was the Russian soldier’s anger that was causing him to tremble or the freezing temperatures brought on by the blizzard raging outside the helicopter. Either way, I thought, this is it. This was the moment my life would get snatched away in the blink of an eye, and it was a silly misunderstanding that would cost me everything. I could see the inside of the barrel inches from my face; I noticed the rifling honed into the steel designed to rotate the bullet and make it more accurate. It was impossible for him to miss this shot, and as I looked at his trigger finger already moving into firing position I had that moment that others have written about, the flashback to times gone past, to family, friends and crazy adventures.

 

Dad saved me from drowning when I was a little kid, the brown fresh water of the river took me under its murky depths but I was brought back to the land of the living and given a second chance. I always thought my military service might have taken me; to die bravely while serving the greatest country on earth would have been a better way to go. The drugs couldn’t get me – the addiction left me lying on the cold cobbled streets of London yet I still survived. Or the mountains I had climbed that had taken the lives of more experienced mountaineers than I, right in front of my eyes, but had allowed me to climb down their steep cliffs shaken but alive. I had escaped death many times before but now my luck seemed to have run out.

 

The last thing I heard was my climbing partner Valentine yell something in Russian; I could have easily shut my eyes and turned my head away but I chose to stand tall with my eyes wide open, to meet what was coming as I have with everything in life. I thought, please don’t let this be it. How did a country kid from the Australian outback end up inside a crashed helicopter on top of the tallest mountain in Russia, facing the barrel of a gun? I noticed the howling wind outside, before the silence. 

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