Backpack rides low. I have more weight than I should. The sand grabs at my feet. Wind hugs along it’s surface. The sand sings a unearthly song. More vibration than sound.
My eyes are keen to the presence of the others. The tourists like ants just keep annoying me.
There should be two more like me out here. There should also be a target. That’s why we are here. The target is important to someone. This place among people screams it. What would I have to do to be done publicly? The money tells you it needs done. But location, that’s the kicker. Messages are sent out this way. It’s always been that way.
I am the only idiot wearing pants. Khakis and long sleeve shirt helps hide laying in sand. But walking I’m a brightly light sign. A backpack doesn’t help. I wish there were less people. It seems uglier with each body that passes. Witnesses really cause problems. No wick escape and witnesses. .. well less witnesses.
A large dune behind me. A flat sand field and distant ridges. Openness is pretty. But nit productive. I have a camp hidden below the ridge. I’ve never been there. I don’t know who will be there. A large envelope with cash. First to target gets its. Second, thanks for coming. .. have a nice day! I’m not looking at second.
The sun feels warm as afternoon burns by. A distant figure is dressed like myself. A ball cap hides an identity. We are even. But I know he’s there. He knows he is ahead of me. I start a slow jog. His path goes right past and back to campsite. Or it should.
Deserts aren’t flat. My boots catch more sand. My ankles and knees protest. Tan sand, now red. Soft sand, coarse now. The extra weight is starting to pull at shoulders. Breathing is quick. Mouth is dry as the air around me. I hate working here. My thought is the gun. It’s dancing a bit. She won’t last in sand gets inside.
The ridge is a couple hundred feet long. Middle leans twenty feet higher than floor, back toward the much higher ridge. It grows quickly. Green plants push through the sand. Some crawl up on the stone. Planted like flags making territory. A twisted tree marks the passage.
I stand still. Breathing way too hard. My ears hear my heart. I can’t hear or see people anymore. The stage is empty. The daylight is unnerving but necessary. The sand won’t enter between the ridges. It’s gives easy passage but brings further sound. Boots on rock, hardly prefect. I tumble small rocks. Ahead a hushed voice.
“He’s almost here!” Voices tell someone else.
I hope it’s the other guy they speak of. I hear movement. It seems distant. Ridge may be bouncing sound. I stop and wait for more. Minutes are hours. I can only stomach a few of them.
A fifty fit spire shows itself. Below it footprints in sand. A small pair of tents. No people! No people!
“You shit” I mouth to myself.
Eyes catch a small flame inside one of tents. My gun find an empty hand. My slink toward the spire. The tent is another fifteen feet. There’s a small box and envelope.
I wait. It kills me to wait. No-one shows.
I give in. Eyes on ridge. Eyes on path on other side. The envelope had my name on it. Big letters read ten feet distant. It’s a trap. Its a fucking trap! I hit the sand. Panic has every sense. The next thing that moves dies!
“It says happy birthday! You fucking idiot!”
A voice calls to me.
A gun lands beside me from above. Surprise parties, only thing worse than tourists.
(Actually part 2 https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/campsite/)