"So there's two guys wearing camouflage. All the Kyrgyz soldiers we'd met were wearing plain tan khakis. And these guys had beards ... the Kyrgyz soldiers hadn't had beards. I waved at them, they waved back, then stood and walked away, and we forgot about it."
Aw, they made friends! Maybe they were leaving to prepare a picnic for Singer and his hiking buddies?
"The guns are in case bears try to steal the picnic basket."
That day, at 6:15 a.m., Singer and his friends heard "a single high-pitched crack." Singer, who'd been hunting since the age of five or six, "immediately registered it was a gunshot," but feigned ignorance.
It was Beth who finally said the obvious.
"That was a gunshot, Singer."
The group could see three people at the base of the rock wall. They ran through the possibilities besides "kidnapping", because the human brain can rationalize just about anything:
"Maybe there's some kind of family emergency back in the U.S. and they need to contact us."
You know it's a shit situation when "Nana threw out her hip" would have been a better outcome.