Two days to departure and I watched Graham like a hawk. There was something that I couldn’t place. Yes, by now it’s well established to the point of tedium that he was decidedly freaky. But there was a fresh aura of mischief about him now.
That silent placid gaze in which nothing could be read but everything was mocked. The thin cruel smile that was unsettlingly familiar yet unplaceable.
I even decided to try a trick. He was reading something a few yards away. I fetched a loaded Colt from the arsenal.
Removing my shoes I slowly crept behind him. I was absolutely certain that the ambient noise of the jungle masked any stray noise that escaped my stride. I’d taken the safety off yards and yards away. I’d already cocked.
I stood a mere ten feet behind him. I aimed directly at his head and allowed my finger to tease the trigger.
Fluidly, he turned his head so that I was able to see that smile in profile. “And what’s the point of that?”
I was momentarily lost. “Just testing your situational awareness.”
Hoyt laughed in a hollow amused sort of way. “There are more situations to be aware of than you can possibly imagine.
I believed him.
“Graham,” I said. “What happened back at the lodge.”
“Well, you know already. I dreamed about a jaguar and had a stimulant induced seizure. Because of Sam’s picture. Right?”
“Yes…but…” Something kept me from prodding further. Like an invisible sucking drain that drew away all will to know.
Hoyt just regarded me with the same cold amusement.
“Nevermind.” I said departing and he returned to his reading.
There was a blankness in my mind. There had been something strange about his terse sentences. Each word, each phrase, its order, its cadence took root somewhere deep in the spine and suggested vistas and chains beyond all reckoning. I wasn’t the only one that felt this way.
I didn’t mind accidentally killing him during that test. That’s what I found the oddest. It was like he was a nonperson. It wasn’t even hatred or disgust or any such thing. There was something in me that wanted to join oblivion with oblivion. Of course I couldn’t because oblivion had become flesh.
‘I guess I’ll just let zero unfold.’ I said as I drew an ankh in the dirt.
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