Friday, June 1, 2007

One (Continued)

Dinner was a subdued affair. It was a cool evening and everyone was tired from the day on the road, so they huddled around the fire without as much teasing and bickering as usual. Diana sat with her half-Japanese friend Sachi, who had woven Indian feathers into Diana’s thick brown braid.

Amalia thought the feathers looked ridiculous, but Will followed Diana with his eyes, not seeming to notice or care.

As the camp supporters passed food around, the young soldiers filled their plates, mumbling in annoyance that nopales were on the menu again. Only Coyote, the demolition expert, seemed distracted from the matter at hand, head up and alert.

"Would you stop that?" Will asked. "You're making me nervous."

"It's probably nothing." Coyote grabbed a tortilla from a passing plate and scooped some potatoes and cheese into it, but he didn't eat. He looked around again.

Harley was watching him, too. "Guards are posted. Whatever you hear, it's probably just an animal."

"Our food is out of range of bears," Amalia said, "and nothing's spooking the horses."

"That's because it's downwind of them." Coyote got to his feet.

"What is?" Boeing, who had been named by the group for his dubious claim of having once ridden in an airplane, stood up and looked around uneasily.

"I don’t know, but something's not right."


Coyote pointed toward a spot across the lake. "Over there. It's not dangerous, but it's not right."

Pepsi, nicknamed by her friends for her fascination with the sugared drinks of yesteryear, speared a piece of nopal off a common plate. "Quit trying to scare us."

"We'll never get to sleep if you keep that up," Ikea added.

"I bet it’s a trick," said her sister, Tiffany. "Like that time he made ghost noises in the abandoned hacienda."

Coyote sat down. "It'll still be there in the morning, but it's not a danger to us or our animals."

Boeing sat down, too, but Will and Diana exchanged glances. Coyote had only been with their unit a few months but already he had demonstrated some strange abilities. Whether he was gifted with sight or whether his normal senses were simply better than average, they couldn't tell, but they had sheltered for three years on an Apache reservation, and the Indians had taught them to respect such talents. Diana gave a small jerk of her chin. They would investigate later. "If you want some real ghost stories, I know some from the Apache."

"No," Harley said. "After dinner, if some of you want to go off and tell scary stories, that's your business, but we don't do that when we're all together. The real world is scary enough."

"Tell one of your other stories, Diana," Amalia said. "How about the one about the roadrunner?"

"No, I've got a better one." She gave Coyote a sly grin and launched into a fable about a clever coyote. She wasn’t a good storyteller, but what she lacked in ability, she made up for in enthusiasm. When she finished her tale, to Coyote's approval, Sachi told a story of her own. Amalia sat back and exchanged glances with Harley. The awkward moment had passed, but they would double the watches, just in case.


Spidey said...

potatoes and cheese? Tortillas? Nopal? Too many plates passing by.

I am not a big fan of Diner type stories, so please excuse my harshness.

I know that you are a tough lady since you can run 15 miles a day. So keep in mind that I am just shooting off a first impression, holding you to the same standard as if I had just paid $9 and walked into a movie theatre.

I would prefer to see someone jump through the window shooting at Boeing. Possibly someone whose luggage had been damaged and had been holding a grudge for several years.

Kyle said...

The picture B/W editing is a nice touch, you know us neanderthals need more pictures. The character 'Coyote' is evolving nicely.

Alice Audrey said...

The more I read about Coyote, the more interested I become.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Alice: Coyote is a fun Secondary. I wish I knew where he came from!