Considering that we were at the mercy of the elements, they seemed to be ignoring us. Constant blue, cloudless skies, constant beating sun, not much variation. There was a small breeze now and then, but nothing enough to disturb even a sheet of paper.
Truman jabbered incessantly once we had begun to walk again.
I am a reasonable person. I can make do with constant blather. After all, I’ve worked in retail. The others seemed to be putting up with it well enough; at least outwardly. Of course, bombs always look somewhat tame before they explode. Given a choice between the two, I would choose a bomb. Bombs usually come with a timer that tells you when to start running.
We came to the mirage around noon and found that it was not a mirage, unless they’ve changed mirages from “things that aren’t actually there” to “things that are actually there”.
Sitting before us was a mound of bones, piled neatly together. They were human, judging by the human-like skull balanced at the peak of the pile. Naturally, we assumed them to be Sergio’s. Not because we were all pessimists, but simply because Sergio’s tracks led directly into the pile and did not come out the other side. The van’s tracks, however, continued along both sides of the pile and into the horizon.
We all stood in a line staring at the bones. I was silently paying my respects to the deceased. I can’t say for certain what the others were thinking.
“So, Red,” spoke Truman, shattering the calm, “You’re the scientist. How’d he die?”
Red responded politely with an extended digit.
Wendy bent down to get a closer look. She frowned and leaned in closer. The rest of us, lacking anything else to do, joined her. Crouching down, I could see something glint a little in a hollow between the bones. Before I could investigate without touching the bones, Truman’s hand shot forward straight into it, scattering bones, and jerked out whatever it was.
Startled back by this sudden movement in this morbid situation, we all sat shocked for a second, except Truman.
Truman quietly smiled at our jumpiness as he examined his new prize, a shiny new switchblade.