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At first it was as if it wasn’t there at all.
Then she heard it again.
Faint, but unmistakable…
It came from the far end of the tunnel.
Amat threw her exhausted lithe body against the cold side of the dark tunnel, silently cocked her M-16 and waited with bated breath, her heart in her mouth. Fighting the honey trap of the encroaching sleep, she strained her tired eyes to spot a movement in the dark.
The voice was closer now… and faintly familiar.
She carefully aimed in the direction of the voice and fired without flinching.
Amat went deaf as the walls of the empty tunnel amplified the ring of the shot. The whispering silence returned as the whistles in her ears died down.
Her shot seemed to have accomplished nothing as she heard the voice again, much louder now.
“AMAT! LISTEN! We need to talk.”
The voice echoed from the walls of the vacuous tunnel.
She felt sick of this endless running.
Amat looked at her nearly empty magazine box and sighed…
“Let them find me...!”
She un-cocked & laid her M-16 by her side, placed the magazine box against the tunnel, deposited her tall 5’11’’ frame on it and slumped back against the cold wall. A trickle of soothing cool water passed her burning throat as she took a sip from her hip flask. Wetting a tissue, she wiped the skin-unfriendly war paint she hated so much from her face. Slowly the anxiety seemed to have vanished with her decision to fight no more. She reached back to her hair, tightly wound in a bun behind her head, undid them and immediately felt immense relief as her thick mane covered the front of her combat shirt and vaguely reminded her of her time home- now a faint memory. Then she sprinkled some water on her face, and not bothering to wipe it rested her head against the wall, cupped her ears with her palms and felt herself falling into a deep dark abyss as the heavy iron shutters of her eyelids clamped down.