Chapter 1

December 12, 1944

Name: James Harold Simpson Rank: US Army Corporal Serial Number: 7071043

We were taught in Boot Camp to only give out the above information if we were ever captured. That's all I would say to the Japanese soldiers in Bilibid Prison after being wounded and captured on Corregidor Island north of Manila, Philippines.

There were a few survivors of the Bataan Death March there that were also being processed either to go on the "Hell Ships" bound for Japan or going to the prison camps in Davao, Philippines. There were American Doctors at the prison that were also POWs and I had my leg flesh wound cleaned, treated with salve or grease and bandaged by a POW Doctor. The Japanese Doctor pronounced me as one of the POWs good enough to ship to Davao.

At 0400 hours they woke up their "Chosen Few", fed us some rice and fish and we marched in the dark to Manila's Pier 7 where they loaded us on the ship Oryoku Maru and put us in groups of 20 in the holds. There were 4 holds total and once a day they would lower some fish, rice and water for us to eat. There was no way to sleep as there was not enough room for all of us to lay down. So we let the wounded lay down all night and we did our sleeping in shifts during the voyage. After collecting the bucket from the ship's kitchen, the mess representatives returned to their holds and began doling out rations.

Suddenly, there was the roar of planes and the firing of the antiaircraft guns. We heard the acceleration of plane engines as they went into their dives and then pulled up, followed by the deafening detonations of bombs. Several messmates scrambled down the ladders, buckets in hand, as bullets ricocheted about them. Huddling together, seeking emotional refuge from the terrific explosions and concussions, we were shaken about like a dog shakes a rat. We were covered with rust chips and bomb dust. Between raids, I tended the wounded with what scanty supplies I could find. Some tried to eat the now dirty rice but found they had lost their appetites.

The attacks stopped at sunset. The night was filled with the groans of the wounded and the screams of the crazed. Latrine buckets were soon filled to overflowing, but the guards did not permit them to be brought topside for emptying. Above the holds, the prisoners could hear the sounds of the Officers, seamen and guards being loaded into lifeboats. A cable broke, spilling screaming Japanese into the sea. By the next morning a lot of the Crew were gone. To us in the holds, we believed that the Japanese intentions were to leave us to go down with the ship whenever it finally sank. We could hear the water coming into the ship all night.

That morning the U.S. Navy aircraft returned to finish their task. Their bullets and bombs went unchallenged. Between attacks, a Japanese guard shouted down to us that we were going ashore, wounded first. After the wounded were helped up to the top about fifty healthy prisoners rushed up the ladders, only to be surprised by returning planes. Minutes later, I clambered up our ladder, discarded shoes and clothes, and dove into the water as three planes soared overhead. With the aid of some floating pieces of wood, I floated and swam the half-mile to shore.

I and two others collapsed on a seawall, but only briefly. A Japanese soldier suddenly emerged from the neighboring woods, raised his rifle, and fired at one of my companions. The soldier slumped with blood pouring out of his heart. As the Japanese soldier then took aim at the other soldier I dove back into the water. Safe for the moment, I watched as the enemy soldiers shot at other prisoners swimming for shore. I saw a waterfall nearby and swam towards it trying to stay underwater. I got out of range of the soldiers standing on the beach and went through and behind the waterfall to hide. The water was shooting over a ledge and I got up on it and passed out. I woke up being carried on a litter and carefully opened my eyes. I was being dragged by a large carabao (large horned bovine work animal) accompanied by 4 (maybe 5 or 6?) beautiful Filipina girls! I am a large hillbilly that grew up in the Ozark Mountains and I am 6' 5" tall and weigh about 195 pounds even after my short time in prison. Growing up in those hills made me very athletic and muscular. And none of these beauties were over 5' tall.

I thought I had died and was in "Hillbilly Heaven"!

I was lying on my back on top of some netting strapped to the litter being dragged backwards by the carabao. As the beauties kept circling around checking my naked body over I saw that they were all wearing white T-Shirts that were "see through" while still wet. What beautiful, firm breasts with enormous variation in nipple and areola sizes and shapes were parading around me! I instantly started getting hard. 2 of the girls beside me started giggling and pointing at my "Big John" as the mountain girls back home used to fondly call my tool. They stopped the carabao and all 6 girls kept chattering and giggling. I saw they were all armed with some kind of short sword in wooden scabbards and with knives tucked into the sash wound around their waists. We started moving again on up the mountain trail.

My head was wobbling on the litter so I could see both sides. To the right side there was a lazy river flowing and lots of beautiful tall grass and bushes. I really got homesick for my home up in the Ozark Mountains! We were winding around lots of coconut trees. The girls would take turns going out in the trees. They would kick off their "flip flops" made of hard Abaca plants. This plant is also used to make hard mats for dirt floors and for making Manila hemp rope. They would quickly climb up and cut down coconuts. Once back down on the ground they would chop off the tops and we would drink the cool, fresh coconut water (some call it milk).

I knew that I had been awake off and on but somehow I had gotten one hand loose earlier. I remembered when my dad sat me down to have a "man talk" with me about women when he caught me and our neighbor's daughter in the barn.

He said "I saw how you were treating her. Take the time to get to know her. Also breasts are like snowflakes. Every one is unique. And a bit mysterious. Know the right moves for your girl's specific body type, though, and you'll have her melting in your arms."

I immediately put this into practice and soon had the girls crawling all over me. Even the good looking ones that I thought wouldn't give me the time of day. Good news DOES travel like wildfire?

Well these beauties had 12 pointing breasts just like my neighbor's daughter had, so I just reached up and touched the one that was the nearest to me with my free hand. She shrieked but didn't pull away or push me aside.

Another said in English "We will have you in our village soon so just wait until we can all take our turns."

I said "Wow, it's great that you also speak English! Are you all sisters? You look very much alike and the same age. What are your names? My nickname is Blackie."

The girl nearest to me that I had touched said "We were taught English at our village school. And we are not sisters but we are all 18 years old. And until we reach our village and can be properly introduced with a chaperone, just call all of us 'Honey Ko' and one of us will always reply to you!"

I said "Well, Honey Ko, I thought you were all sisters born at the same time. Would that be like triple twins? Double triplets? One sextuplet? Or more like 'sexy-tiplets'? Your parents sure broke the mold when they created you 6 beauties!"

They kept "accidentally" touching and fondling Big John going up the mountain trails while trying to protect me from the sun with fish nets and other cloths. What a beautiful ride that was!

We crossed many trails that looked like well-worn foot paths. The higher we went the cooler the air got. I could see eagles soaring above us that looked similar to our bald eagles back home. As the sun got lower behind us the fog started rising from the valleys below. This was truly spectacular country!

When we reached their mountain village others came out to help the girls. An older woman came out of the large nipa hut which was up on stilts and made of bamboo stalks tied together and shouted at them to stop! I was surprised by her clear English!

She said "Girls! Go get cleaned up and get some of the fish you caught ready for the next meal and to lay out the rest to dry."

She also brought me a long cloth that was like a scarf but larger and showed me how to wrap in it and tie it up. She told some other women to start making me some long pants and shirts.

Eda sat down beside me and said "We will learn more about you before completely releasing you. My name is Maria Leonida Emeldalina and I am in charge here. You may address me as "Eda". What is your name and where are you from originally?"

"I am James Harold Simpson, an American Army soldier and I am from Arkansas, USA and I go by the nickname of Blackie." I told her all about my being captured and escaping from the Hell Ship bound for a prison camp somewhere in the Davao area. I saw no men in their camp, only small boys running around.

As I was curious I asked Eda "Where are the men?"

"They are off being guerrilla fighters against the Japanese. I am in charge until they return. I am also an English teacher at our school. When the Japanese soldiers overran our barangay (town) some of us were able to escape and hide. They slaughtered many of our elderly and small children! They captured most of the younger women and took them away. Those of us that were able to escape made it up here on this bundok (mountain) and we are living using the old ways of our people to hunt and fight. The Japanese soldiers have not been able to find us. Many other barangay residents have joined us and we are using English as our common language since we have so many dialects. I told them that we all needed to learn English for when the American Army helps us win our freedom we will be able to have conversations with the soldiers. The young girls and others helped them to learn quickly.

The girls that found you under the waterfall had gone down to the sea to catch fish for us. They were diving deep into the water and that is why their clothes got so wet. But be gentle with all of the girls and women here! Men are scarce now and many are of the age to marry. The girls ran under the water falls to hide on the long ledge under the waterfall when they heard the planes coming back. They saw the Japanese soldiers come out of the trees and running down to the beach so they stayed there hiding. When you surfaced from the water they waited until they saw you had passed out and then carried you out of there the back way.

Some of our young men have been tracking and watching the soldiers' movements. The soldiers were using many POWs to dig tunnels into the hillsides. They have reported back to us that the soldiers have also been using POWs to carry many boxes and crates they haul from ships to the many caves and are hiding them inside. One saw a wooden crate dropped and when it broke open, gold bars spilled out. The soldiers had a POW go into the cave and get an empty box to load the spilled heavy gold bars in and move the last box into the cave.

When they were finished the soldiers executed the POWs and left them inside the cave and then sealed up the cave with large rocks. They also put some bombs and other explosives around the mouth of the caves creating deadly traps for anyone disturbing the blocked entrances. We have no way to disarm these traps even if we knew how to do this. We are in desperate need for some of that gold to be able to buy guns, ammunition and medical supplies for our fight with the Japanese and just to be able to survive out here!"

I said "I was trained by the Army to disarm bombs and other types of explosives. Maybe we can join together to get some of the gold that's needed?"

Eda listened to me silently, then turned to an older man and told him to take me and check for any sores or wounds and treat them. The old village Doctor led me to his nipa hut and we went up the ladder and he examined my wound. It was healing well, so he put some salve on me and wrapped it up. He said that it would soon heal up. I had noticed many skulls stacked up under his hut when he had led me to the ladder.

I asked him "Whose skulls are those? Why are they kept there?"

He said "The old people believed that your enemy's heads contained most of their soul matter. Separating the head from the body cut the souls into many parts. Keeping them under your house kept the souls from getting back together and going on to another life. Some of the young male Philipinos had reverted back to the old ways of being head hunters. They hunt the Japanese soldiers and cut off their heads.

After they have gathered and stacked them under the huts to dry, they take them down to the Japanese soldier camps and put them on posts or just throw them into their fire pits. The Japanese are very scared of these skulls! It is working very well as a way to put the fear of the unknown into the soldiers and to keep them awake at nights."

The more I listened to everyone a plan started forming in my head. I wanted to go find the gold treasures before others found out about them! As far as I knew we were very far from any US Army bases and maybe none on the Davao area of the large Mindanao Island. It would be a very long time (if ever) that I will be able to rejoin my Army Platoon.

But first we will need to capture some Japanese soldiers that are going out on patrols so we will have weapons to start fighting the remaining Japanese troops. I will ask the girls to lure the soldiers into a trap and I will use the young men that were trained as guerrilla fighters to help me fight and kill the soldiers.

I thought about the booby traps around the hidden gold tunnels and inside the pits that had been dug at the ends of the tunnels and I knew that my Army Bomb Disposal special training at the USN Bureau of Naval Weapons School would finally be put to use. I didn't have much time for that when we landed on Corregidor Island before I was wounded and captured. I knew that this would all work with a lot of training and team effort.

All I had to do was convince Eda and the other elders that this was the best way to win the war with the Japanese. We would all just have to hope the Japanese would evacuate soon and we got the gold before relief came to their bundok barangay village and others started hearing about the buried gold!

After taking a bath, eating a meal and getting a good night's sleep I will be ready to put my Phase One into action!

The old village Doctor (just call me Doc he said) told me after our meal that I would be sleeping in his nipa hut.

Eda said "We need to make sure your wound heals properly as there a lot of infections and germs you might catch."

But seeing the disappointed looks and sad smiles on the faces of the 6 girls going by Honey Ko and on the other girls walking around the village, I knew that there was more to this than my physical health! Watching Doc pull up the ladder after we entered his nipa hut, I knew that I was right.

Doc started gathering up his roosters and getting them in cages. I picked one up and laid it on my forearm and open hand and started stroking it. Doc said "You know about cocks?" I said "We raise them and fight them back home. I have many winners there!" Doc said "Well, you are really going to fit in here just fine!"

I laid down on a bamboo mat and tried to fall asleep. But the roosters were still crowing even if it was after a brilliant sunset. I heard Doc chuckling and he rolled over towards me and said:

"Can't fall asleep? Are the cocks too loud for you?

I said "No, it's just so peaceful and so quiet up here on your mountain."

He said "Some nights it isn't always this quiet. Especially when the men come home on leave."

I said "After the last few days I've had I think I will sleep very sound!"

I rolled over and fell asleep. I hope I didn't snore! But just before dawn the roosters were at it again very loud! I got up, found the ladder and opened the floor door to put the ladder down. I started climbing down to go find some bushes that I needed to visit badly when I felt several soft and warm hands on my legs. I shouted out loudly "Halt!!!"

Again I heard that familiar giggling and I knew who was with me in the dark.

One Honey Ko said "We know where you are going and we will stand guard over you while you take care of your business."

I knew this was not going to go very well as Big John was urgently telling me to empty my full bladder!

I said "Just point me towards the nearest bushes and let me go alone."

One of the Honey Kos said "Follow your divining rod and let loose!"

Once again I heard lots of giggles and laughter. I walked into a bush and glad it had no thorns, aimed and let it fly. I shook Big John off and turned around to see several fire torches coming towards us. I recognized Eda and Doc and they had several other women with them. Their torches showed very brightly that I had left my skirt (sarong?) in Doc's nipa hut and all of me was swinging and hanging out in full glory. Doc quickly threw me my skirt and I got it wrapped around me and this made the giggles and laughter to start dying down.

Eda said "Well, the girls didn't lie to us when they said that you were circumcised. It's plain to see from clear over here!" Again lots of forms of agreement to her comment from the other women.

Doc said "Next time either let it fly out of a window like I do or open the floor's trap door just a little and go from there."

I said "I didn't want to hit your roosters or anyone walking below us."

Doc said "The only ones that might walk below us during the night are the ghosts and lost souls of the Japanese soldiers that used to belong to the skulls stacked up there. Let's go back up and get a little more sleep."

I said "Now the roosters are very loud again. What's wrong with them? Can't they see it' s still dark?" Eda said "They are like that all day and all night. They are exercising their bragging voices to use at the next Sabong! (cock fight) Derby."

I said "Well, if they were on our place in the Ozarks Mountains in America, they would be in tonight's big pot making themselves our chicken and dumplings nightly meal!"

We all said a lot of "Good Nights" to each other and tried to go back to sleep. Not happening though!

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