“Probably is,” commented Roger.
“Oh, can the gloomy stuff!” snapped Jimmy. Afterward he admitted that his nerves were pretty well strained. In fact that was the condition of all of them. “You’re almost as bad as Franz,” went on Jimmy.
“Well, I don’t want to be too hopeful,” returned Roger. “But what are you going to do, anyhow?”
“This,” answered his chum. He drew his rifle up close beside him, took off his tin hat, stuck it on the end of his bayonet, and cautiously raised it well above the ground. It received no bullets, as might have been expected.
“Come on, we can run for it!” cried Jimmy.
“What makes you think so?” asked his chum. “Didn’t the lieutenant tell us to lie on our faces?”
“Yes, but that was before the fighting ceased in front of us. Fritz is having all he can attend to on either wing of our advance, and, for the time being we’re not being molested. If the Huns were in any strength directly ahead of us, or to our rear as we are now, that tin helmet would look like a sieve by this time. It’s safe enough to get up and run for it. And we’ve got to hustle if we want to save Iggy.”
“All right, just as you say!” murmured Roger, as he began to rise. It was not without a natural feeling of timidity that he cautiously elevated himself first to his knees and then to his feet. As for Jimmy, he had impulsively stood upright.
“Come on!” he yelled above the din of battle. “Come on!”
He started on a run over the shell-torn ground, with what remained of the barbed wire entanglements here and there.
“I’m coming!” answered Roger.
He expected any moment to receive a bullet, or to be utterly blasted from the earth by some terrible shell explosion. And Jimmy confessed, later, that he felt the same fear. But these fears did not hold back the Khaki Boys from continuing on to the rescue of their comrade—if he was in a condition to be rescued.
“Where’s the place?” cried Roger to his chum, when they had covered several yards in a hasty rush toward the rear.
“Must be somewhere around here,” answered Jimmy, looking about him. That part of No Man’s Land where they then were, seemingly was deserted by all save the dead. If there had been any injured they had been taken well back behind the lines by stretcher bearers.
For a time Roger and Jimmy feared they might be considered deserters, coming toward the rear as they were doing, and away from the fighting, and aside from mere scratches neither of them showing any wounds. Though if they had been hurt that would have been an excuse for making a retreat.
But no one observed the two—there was no one to observe them, in fact. They were some distance from their own trenches, and immediately back of them—toward the German lines—there had been a division in the fighting, so that the battle waged on either wing, as it were.