Half way down the ten mile driveway, Falcon's latest mission haunted him. He knew he killed innocent people, a lot of innocent people and their deaths will be blamed on somebody else, just to stir up trouble so they could put somebody in their pocket in power. It was cold-blooded and ruthless and he had been a part of it for a long time now.
This wasn't his first mission they turned into something else after the fact, but it might be his last. He had forty-five days of leave, forty-five of days of solitude in the desert, forty-four days to figure through some things and make a decision. He glanced into the back and the case of Irish whiskey, suddenly wondering if it will be enough to keep the haunting memories and growing guilt at bay for forty-five days.
Falcon sat on his front porch steps and watched the edge ever closer to the horizon. It was day two and he was on his third bottle, newly opened and he took the virgin sip. The telephone rang inside the house and Falcon was slow to raise, thinking of letting it go to the machine.
On his feet by the fifth ring, he remembered he had turned it off before leaving and had not turned it back on. Several short steps later Falcon picked up the hand unit and pushed the 'Talk' button.
"Good evening, General. How are you on this glorious evening?"
"We don't have time for chit-chat, Major. Take a drive to White Sands."
"I'm on leave, Stoker. Just started.
"Your leave's been canceled."
A moment of silence. "What's going on?"
"Don't know. Prescott says he wants you there ASAP."
"You'll pick them up on base. See Prescott's secretary, Corporal Roberts."
"It'll take me few hours to get there."
"Then you'd better hang up and get going. I want this dealt with quickly and quietly. Understand?"
"But you don't know what the problem is, General?"
"Don't be a wise-ass, Major. If Prescott's having a problem that he needs you for, we both know it could hurt the Army. Now get movin'."
Christopher relaxed into the bucket seat, turned on the CD player and raised the volume for the long drive back. He set his mind on wander and turned onto the on-ramp. It was late and he knew the interstate would be empty. He checked the sideview mirror as he neared the freeway, glanced over his shoulder, then pushed further down on the accelerator as he came off the on-ramp. The road unfurled in front of him. He pulled the cooler across the seat next to him and removed a can of beer, then pushed the cooler away. He swallowed several chugs, then let his thoughts return to the past two days and night. Oh, the night.
He switched off the CD and fumbled with the tuning until a rock station came in clear. He turned it up. He was falling in love with Michelle. At least he thought he was. But he still felt like an ass. She was married. And he wasn't even sure how she felt. He may just be an escape to her. Then there was Sandra. Damn. He opened another beer. Sandra lived twenty miles north of Lordsburg, Michelle in Las Cruces, with her husband, and Bambi in Truth or Consequences. He simply couldn't afford all of the driving anymore. He was going to have to find a local girl in Silver City. Maybe he could talk Bambi into moving in? He turned onto highway One-Eighty going north.
Sixty miles later Christopher turned off the radio as he pulled over onto the shoulder and stopped the car. He shut the engine off but left the parking lights on while he stepped out to recycle the last three beers into the ditch.
As he approached the lip of the deep ditch he noticed the noises on the other side were strange. It wasn't the usual symphony of crickets, it sounded like an animal was moving through the tall grass and dense shrubbery. It caused his skin to tingle.
The size of the ditch, four feet deep and eight feet across, gave him a sense of security. As he stood there fertilizing, Christopher tried to figure out what was making the noises. It sounded - for no sane reason - that whatever was in there, was discussing him. He started to tingle with fear. He tried to push it out of his mind, while pushing harder on his bladder. "This is stupid. Getting scared by a rabbit." He finished a moment later and zipped his pants. The noises stopped. The tingling returned. "Stay calm, Chris. No reason to panic," he muttered as he turned towards the car.
He walked stiffly, stifling the urge to run. A branch broke to his right, on the far side of the ditch. He stopped and strained his eyes, trying to discern movement in the crescent moonlight. Seeing nothing, he continued walking, a few more steps to the car and safety. His eyes searched the far side of the ditch as he walked, his head starting to pound with the effort. A step later he turned to check his progress and walked into his car. "Fuck! Ouch! Shit!" He put his foot on the bumper and rubbed his shin. He let out a sigh of relief on having reached the car and listened for the noises; just crickets.
When he put his foot down, the other noises started again. The discussion of the stranger seemed to have turned into a heated argument. He felt the hair on his body stand on end and was thankful he just finished relieving himself. He put his hand on the door handle and the noises stopped again. Before opening the door, he looked around once more. His ears hummed with blank input. With the click of the door, the ditch exploded into life. Something large and quick had come out of the brush. In the added light thrown from the interior of the car, Christopher saw three human figures with luminous blue, snake-eyes moving inhumanly fast for him.