On The Way
It was while crossing a small brook somewhere in East Africa that it hit me. "Life is short." myself said loudly. I lost my footing and the entire planet leaped from beneath my feet. There was a light rain falling not far away. The sun was low and the rays wriggled in the shape of a rainbow. I could see individual drops suspended in that moment that I found myself in mid air before falling to the ground.
The earth was muddy and I managed to miss the few rocks beside the brook. There is no trauma center for a thousand clicks in any direction. No place you would want to have a head injury treated.
I do not notice the look of concern on any one's face. I see nothing in their expressions that is not hard and more filled with purpose than a hungry dog. Their eyes are inhuman. Their senses are so keen they have the grace of predators. Which, they are. I am a tool to them, not a man.
Thank God I did not cry out on the way down. Just a splash and not much of that. Not a word. Get up and move. I'm not hurt. Not bad anyway. Keep moving.
There is nothing like the adrenalin rush of falling in to a cold stream to wake you up. Nothing like the misery of walking fifteen clicks in soaked cloths. My boots rubbed my feet nearly raw in the next five menus.I had hoped to last longer than this. I had hoped to not be the short rope, the weak one. I had hoped to be stronger this time.
They need me or I would not be here. I have skills that will come in to play later. If things get too rough I am expendable. They promise and promise, but I know this for fact. It would not be the first time the trained code monkey would fail to make the primary target. If things get bad I'm not the thing that will save their lives. How can I not let this get to me? How can I not let this fact manipulate my every decision?
We march on. Pain, thirst, short breath, pounding heart all be damned. We march.
We will make the compound by nightfall. We will be done and on our way home by dawn. We will have what we need. Or, we will all be dead.