Tick Tick Went the Crocodile

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The world rippled above the heat of the mid-day tarmac, and even the clouds had fled the sky for cooler climes. It was in these dog-days that even the living began to move like the walking dead — slumped, shuffling, and groaning through their duties. If he had been given the choice, this is exactly how Charles would have preferred to be spending his day. Instead, he was running as fast as his booted feet would take him over the tent-spotted fields outside the airport while trying not to drop his rifle.

He wasn’t the only one—another figure cut a swerving path thirty yards ahead of Chuck. He was moving far more deftly than Charles in shorts and an open Hawaiian shirt, and he only carried a small metal pistol which he used to clear people from his path with manic waves. Chuck didn’t expect the other man to stop running, so he saved his breath and didn’t yell. Instead, he focused on trying to plot which turns he could take to best outmaneuver his fleeing quarry; maps of tents and storage containers flashed through his head as he jumped over crates and discarded machinery. A crackle in his ear made him wince.

“Chuck … where are you?!” The voice whistled through the ear piece and died with a spit of static. Chuck pulled the microphone to his mouth and pressed the button on the side.

“He’s trying to get to the fence … Gonna cut him off … .” His words were clipped with his ragged breaths.

As he ran, Chuck pondered the absurdity of it all—the man had stolen a few bottles of narcotics and antibiotics from the med-center, and now he had to be caught. Chuck couldn’t help but think that this place made oblivion seem awful tempting; he could hardly blame the man.

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