He was panting like a dog as he ran in the vengeful heat. The sun slammed down on him and the thick underbrush snagged his pants as he bounded forward. Tim had woke up in a strange cot in the middle of nowhere. The tent he woke in was stocked with water and food and littered with discarded wrappers and empty bottles from some long forgotten tenant. As he stepped out of the tent into the jungle he had seen he was alone, and started calling out.
A gunshot had fired, and that is when he began running. He was not sure why, but he was an easy target for whoever had placed him in the tent. He somehow new he had to get away, well, it seemed like common sense. So he grabbed a few bottles of water and a little food and then he ran.
After 15 minutes of running he stopped and surveyed the area. He was in a thick jungle, there were animal sounds everywhere. He knew from the sun position he was running either due east or due west, but would know shortly when he figured out if the sun was rising or setting. The cover was thick, some areas of the forest so thick it appeared dark, but the heat and humidity were oppressive and it was obvious he was still in the tropics.
He thought and tried to remember, he was in Cayman, and the night before, there were drinks, and laughter, and he could barely remember the evening going by, he just woke up and was in the tent. His thoughts were jumbled, and confused/
Another shot fired, it seemed farther behind him, but he needed to add more distance, and start doing things right. He walked carefully through the brush and was careful not to catch or bend the leaves. He was methodical and kept moving towards the rising sun. He knew now he was going east. Twice he doubled back upon his steps and changed paths, twice he was sure he left no trail, but wanted to be even more sure.
He became more relaxed, and passed several thickets and noted their locations. When he found one thick enough he doubled back and worked his way in, then watched and waited. The sun slowly moved up to the late morning sky, and Tim felt a little more at ease, perhaps even safe. The jungle was alive with sounds and he looked up and watched birds fight in the trees over who knows what.
With a shriek the birds scattered and Tim heard footsteps in the woods. He strained to hear more but could not. Peering through the trees he saw movement, khaki and green contrasted with the rest of the backdrop and he watched as the shape moved slowly, looking at the ground, then sliding forward, panther like. It was a woman, maybe 25, a long rifle hanging from her back she paid close attention to the ground as she moved forward, then she smiled and looked right, then left. Her red hair was long and flowing, she walked easily, the ground seemed to respond to her as she wandered through the ferns and thick vines.
“I can smell you,” she yelled. “You sure drank enough last night, I know you are close, c’mon out.”
Tim quietly smelled himself, and there was a light stench of alcohol, but no one could smell that well.
“C’mon Tim,” she said, “It was a good night wasn’t it. I told you that you might get lucky today, lets go back to the tent and have some fun.” She flung her head back and swung her hair. Any other time it would have been an open invitation, but Tim was wary.
Tim could not remember her or the night before, he strained and still the night was just a blur.
“Tim, where are you Tim,” she cooed. “We can have another drink. You told me all about your life in the service. It’s me, Stephanie, you remember.”
Tim was so unsure, he sat patiently and thought of standing and seeing what would happen or waiting and seeing if she really could smell him. He watched her, looking around, then saw her run forward.
It was a ruse. She could not smell him, she was baiting him. Why? Why would she be baiting him. He waited, patiently, and suddenly the sounds of the jungle were back. It was almost noisy compared to a few minutes ago. He stayed, waiting watching. The birds fought above him, he smiled to himself, took a water bottle out of his pocket and broke open the seal. He was glad he could know it had not been opened before, but still he took a tentative taste, nothing. He took only a few sips and reached into his pocket and grabbed a granola bar. He ripped open the package and took a bite.
“Sound is your enemy,” he heard the female voice say behind him. He turned and saw the barrel pointing at him. There was a flash of light, then darkness.
The club was full of men as Stephanie wandered through. Her bright green dress sparkled in the flashing lights. As she walked to the bar, her red hair shining in the white light, a man walked up to her.
“Hey,” he said, “Can I buy you a drink?”
“Let me buy you one,” Stephanie said as she felt the vial in her necklace and walked to the bar with her next prey.