9 Days Earlier
The sand rose and fell in miniature dunes as far as he could see. Unless he looked straight up into the cloudless sky, it was all sand, sand in two-foot dunes.
He turned, just his head, then his upper body, as far as he could, all the way right, all the way left.
Jarring not to see footprints behind him. As a tracker, no trail was out of his experience.
His pack grew heavier as he listened.
The silence, too, grew heavier.
No wind. Not a flutter.
He brushed his right hand on the rough canvas sleeve on his left forearm. Heard the light scratching noise.
He could hear. There just wasn’t anything to hear.
He turned again, this time his whole body, stepping a few degrees at a time in a circle.
On the horizon.
… more … “No Pursuer in the Desert”
As he scrambled through the underbrush the jagged tear in his leg soaked his boot and, worse, left a clear trail for the monster on his trail.
The same question circled his brain over and over: loop back and get behind the creature, or drive like a madman straight away from it?
His inability to decide stemmed from his unfamiliarity with the beast. Was it sentient, reasoning, a strategic foe, or simply a mad animal looking for a meal?
Pushing through the dense jungle since waking before dawn to the stench of the taloned thing behind him, he fought the mental fog brought on by lack of sleep. The animal had dogged his trail for a week, if his count of the days was right.
Precision wasn’t his strong suit.
… more … “Perpetual Prey”