Letters from the Desert – 15 Jan, 2433

Dear Serena,

I learned more about those internal affairs Fly alluded to when I first met him. And why the caravan was so happy to have us go along with them. We encountered another group of Furies; these being less friendly than my present company.

They were blocking the road and demanded supplies in exchange for passage. All the supplies. Thought it was funny to offer to let us go with our lives. They didn’t realize the scorpion had swung out wide to flank them when Fly spotted their setup. Ze has the most flippin’ sharp vision I’ve ever encountered. I had to use a scope on the sniper rifle the travelers loaned me. Crazy.

Anyway, Fly goes down to talk to them all nice while I stay back with the civilians. My job is to keep them from panicking and shooting the wrong Furies. So I ease them back up the road a bit and settle down with the scope to watch the show. The rock is sweeping the road for mines while Fly talks. The other team is all human-looking with the palest skin I’d ever seen. I think they were some of the ghost hunters, those vicious assassins that nearly took down the Chinese government in ’62. I thought they’d all been killed but after meeting Fly, I’m thinking there’s a lot about the Furies we weren’t told.

So the Scorpion comes round on their left flank and shoots off volleys of poison grenades. I try to keep my scope on Fly but ze moves so fast that ze is just a blur in the red cloud of toxins. I did catch one of the ghosts on the scope sneak up behind Fly and I gently squeezed the trigger, taking off the luckless’ head. It’s over in seconds; the necks of three other ghosts snapped and two convulsed from poison.

The Furies burned their dead in a bonfire that night. They grieve their dead, even the bad ones. As we watch the flames, Fly comes and sits beside me, mutters something about ‘internal affairs’. I offer zir some of the whiskey I’d bought off the travelers. I think that homebrew was whiskey – too smooth for moonshine. No more words that night, just comfortable companionship. We’re just glad to still be alive.

Stay safe.

Love,

Vitor

copyright 2014, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved