A ranger was patrolling alone in the car. It had been a quiet night, and not a single soul was out. No hikers getting lost, no campers in need. He hadn’t seen anyone his whole watch. He was sipping his coffee, and watching the night sky over the beautiful forest.
Suddenly, his peace is over. Voices on his radio is screeching, a machine like sound, covering over the human voice. Thinking it is just a bad signal and that his colleagues’ is trying to reach him, he picks up the radio. He waves it around, cursing and hoping they soon will get some better ones to their work place. These things never work as they should.
When he holds it out, the voice manages to pierce through. The voice is weak, the signal flaking, almost a whisper. He listens intently, it’s not his colleague.
“West,” he hears, before it fades away again. He turns it to get a better signal. A series of numbers follows.
Coordinates! That must be it.There must be hunters hunting nearby. They’ve had troubles with that before. He calls it in.
“Hi Jimmy. I picked up something on the radio. Might be hunters. I’ll go check them out. Of west from where I am now.”
He can hear Jimmy thinking at the other end.
“You sure you want to go alone in? I’ll be there in a couple of hours max.”
“Yeah, it’s fine. Probably just Earl and his boys, trying to be smart.”
“Heh, yeah, must be. Crazy Earl. Smart, he’s not.”
“Haha, no. Well, see ya in a bit.”
So he gets out of the car and start walking towards were he thinks it can be. As he moves through the dark forest, he can make out low voices, speaking in a muffled sound, trying to make as little sound as possible. He is getting closer and can see faint lights in the distance. Now, he’s got them. Red handed, finally.
A sudden shot in the dark is heard, and he throws himself on the ground. Shocked, he is too frozen to scream out. Enraged voices are heard, a big commotion is in the works. Too much for small prey? He wonders. Figures it’s best to just stay still, wait for backup.
He signals back to his colleague. No words, just clicking. Code for get more backups. Hours, it seems like, he lies there, the voices dying down, only the wind in the bushes, the howling from the trees is alive in the forest now. And he lies there, perfectly still. Not moving a muscle. This is not crazy Earl. This is something more.
Familiar voices finally breaks through the silence. Moving lights from flashlights and the shouting of his whole team is heard through the forest. He doesn’t get up before seeing Jimmy in the darkness.
“Thank God, Jimmy!” he says, getting too his feet. Jimmy grabs him, holding him tight. Not the reaction for the back up call.
“Jesus, I’m fine. Jimmy, calm down.”
“Calm down?” Holy fu- You don’t know?”
“Don’t know what?” He asks. Jimmy is white as sheet, trembling the ranger notices. He’s never seen him tremble.
“I brought the police. They found a body.”
“Holy, I thought it was you, I just. God, I’m glad to see you.”
“A body? Where?”
“Just over here. They are digging it up now,” Jimmy says. The lone ranger is led back to the clearing were the police and the rangers have set up camp. A police officer is approaching them. She takes off her gloves when she stops in front of them.
“Hey, you the ranger that called it in?”
The ranger look over her shoulder. In a shallow grave they have dug out a body. A white sheet is covering it.
“Gunshot?” he asks, not answering the question. He is too shaken to focus. The police officer nods. She looks at him, and how disheveled he look,s having been on the ground for who know how long.
“And the shooters? Did you find the shooters?” he asks. Now they just look confused.
“What do you mean?”
“The shooters. I heard them, not too long ago.”
She exchanges looks with Jimmy. He looks at me, takes his shoulder.
“Dude. We found no one,” he says. The police officer takes another step towards him.
“This person has been dead for a long time now. There is nothing but a skeleton left.”
The ranger leaves them there. He walks over to where the body, or skeleton is being carried away. He checks his GPS. Right were they are now, is the same coordinates that he heard over the radio not so long ago.
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