Empathy

William Cosby worked in an advertising firm. There was nothing special or of great importance about him; he was just an ageing, racist man. So when he is thrust unexpectedly into the past and finds himself living through the experiences of those whom he hates, he must learn some empathy...or die.

[Warning: contains some racism: the comments within do not represent the author's own views]

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4. Hiding in the Reeds.

The water about him made soft lapping noises and the reeds rustled gently as he inched forward. Something to him seemed somehow familiar; but for the life of him he could not comprehend it.

   Then, as his head poked out through the reeds, he saw a small group of individuals, maybe six or seven strong, walking through some trees. They were carrying AK-47s and had pouches of grenades and ammunition strapped to their chest. Also, Bill realised after a short moment, they were Korean.

   He ducked low, trying to get as low as possible, though simultaneously trying to keep his arm above the murky water. The blood had now started to dry and the flakes of dried blood were a great discomfort. The pain, however, had begun to abate and was not as bad as before, but Bill did not at first know this.

   The Koreans continued past, seemingly unaware of his presence. One said something and the others nodded with agreement, turning in a new direction and wandering off.

   Bill sighed and stood up, knees popping and back cracking. “I’m too old for this shit,” he muttered to himself, stretching.

   “Oh, shit! It’s a gook, get down!” came a voice, clearly American. There followed the rustling of clothes and the adjustment of gear.

   Bill looked in the direction of the voice and saw a squad of American soldiers, carrying M-16s, moving around in the trees; though not as lithe-moving as the Koreans had been.

   “Hey, there!” shouted Bill to the soldiers, almost overcome with relief. “I need help!”

   He saw several of the soldiers exchange bemused glances and hastily raised his arms when they pointed their weapons at him. He stepped forward once and stopped immediately when he saw the soldiers tense up. “Don’t shoot!” he cried, voice breaking with exhaustion.

   One of the men spoke into a radio and there came back a voice that was indiscernible from Bill’s position. The same man spoke and affirmative into the radio and spoke to his men. The voice just barely reached him.

   “Kill the bastard...”

   Instantly, the soldiers opened fire on the thick reeds, but Bill had heard the man speak and had already ducked down and moved swiftly away from the tree-line.

   In this way, it came to pass that not a single round hit him and the soldiers knew not for sure his fate.

   Unbeknownst to them, he had passed out of the small pool to the other side and was now fleeing through the trees.

   He ran heedlessly, constantly glancing back, unaware that the soldiers had already walked away. Thus it came to pass that he tripped over a tree root in the middle of a Korean jungle.

   And woke once more on a cobblestone street...

 

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