The fly crawled around the lantern. It’s furry, thin legs sticking to the thick plastic, marching with the slow cadence of the light’s hum. A dark shadow bloomed on the tent’s walls, chasing the fly’s short path.

Stephen lay silently on his mat, watching the insect move around. It had almost become a nightly activity with an occasional moth or mosquito joining the quiet march.

He took a peak at his watch and met it with a loud sigh. Not even eight yet. Another long night to look forward to. The fifth in a row in this rolling wilderness.

He couldn’t deny that he was starting to doubt the plan. Jill had begun to fear that they were discovered back in the city. Too many shadows and apprehensive stares were finding them. Then best thing to do was split. It was the best chance of survival.

That was Jill. Always thinking about the end. Stephen tried to convince her otherwise; they were so close to the goal. Two more days and they could have sacked him. But she was firm. They would meet again after the heat cooled. Give it a week, she said. Just a week.

And so he took the first flight to Washington and drove out to the Pasayten wilderness. The first day he spent analyzing supplies and packing up. Soon he was deep into the forest, finding his favorite spot. Stephen took laying low seriously. No contact with anyone and leaving no variables to chance. He controlled everything, even down to drinking water.

Stephen kicked off his light and began to settle in. It may be lonely, but at least it was peaceful.

A pattern of footwork began to become prominent through the night air. Stephen froze, listening closely to the sound. Likely it was just group of backpackers that had made their way off the trail. There was no chance he could be traced here.

Silence followed as the unknown visitor paused just outside the tent.

“Can I help you?” Stephen called out, unsure of what the visitor might want.

The visitor gave no reply but what Stephen couldn’t mistake was the click of the safety sliding out of position. His chest tightened as he flung himself towards his bag and pulled out his gun.

He had barely just flattened himself on the floor as a barrel of bullets began pummeling thought the tent’s walls.


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