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Date Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 01:47:26am
Author: warren
Subject: Walking In The Woods
In reply to: JayBee and Nell 's message, "Friday Challenge: April 7, 2006" on Friday, April 07, 06:25:45pm

After about fifteen minutes of walking through the trees he arrived at his destination.
His army reconnaissance training had made him miss the target destination by only
sixty metres or so to the east. He felt proud that he never forgot the army training.
Sectionís training was so different. Section trained its people to go and kill. The
army trained them to get out as well. He walked back into the trees and then the sixty
metres to a spot where he could see the roadway through a gap in the trees.
Set the rifle down on the ground. Took his canteen of water from his belt. Put it on
the ground. It was just after dawn. It was still cool. He took off his camouflage
jacket. He knew the warming sun would soon come through the gaps in the bright
foliage that surrounded him.

He started to think about what happened to bring him to this place at this time. How
he was once a sniper in the army. Then a Captain he knew told him drunkenly about
a secret-never-heard-of-covert-spec-ops branch that he had heard of and he had the
number to call. Gave it to him, so he called. And here he was three years later.

The Section trained him to shoot better than ever. Trained him to kill in many more
ways than the army did. Close fighting. Far shots. Bombs. Poisons. Sticks and
stones. He knew now that anything could be used as a weapon to kill another person.
Anything. His favourite and his forte was still the rifle. Any type of rifle. It was what
he was trained for. By the army. By his father before that.

While he was reliving some of his old memories and thoughts, he had also been
moving any sticks and branches from the area where he would lie down with the rifle.
He moved them so that if for any reason he had to move or roll over he would not get
injured or surprised by any unexpected pain. He had also dug three small latrine holes.
One on either side of the cleared area and one behind where his feet would be when
lying down. Even though he had emptied his bowels an hour before it may be a long day.
He may need the canteen of water and maybe some of the mixed nuts he had brought
with him. Army training. Section would have let him starve.

The intel was that the target would be moving between 10am and 3pm by a ground
vehicle, which meant anytime between 8am and whenever. And by any means possible.
Intel is sometimes wrong, not right. Might be a wasted day if the target went by another
means of transport.

He set the rifle in position. He lay down and tested it for aim and sight. He looked
through the scope and could see the road clearly. When a vehicle came down the road
he would see it from about 500 metres away. Then when it got closer he would aim
through the front windscreen to the person in the back seat. When the road got to
about fifty metres from his position it curved in a slow arc to his left. If for any reason
he missed on his first shot, he would take out the driver and then anybody that moved
after that. His mission profile was to call for the other team if that happened. It would
do the rest when it arrived. He was confident in his first shot. First and one and only.

Soon it would be time to lie down with his gun. It was like it would become an
extension of his arm when he was in his ready-to-shoot position. Ready to kill a man.
Kill an enemy. Eliminate the target. Cancel a terrorist. All different words that mean
the same thing. In the army they called it his job. In Section it was his mission. A job.
A mission. Same thing. Eliminate the target.

He could only wait now. He leaned back against a tree to relax his body a bit but
never even thought to rest or close his eyes. Not part of his training. Both the army
and the Section trained him to be aware of everything around him. While in the army
though, he would take books with him to read during the quiet times. He wished he
had one of them again. His favourite was a small book of quotations. His favourite
of those quotations was one by the writer Marcel Proust.
ďA large, still book is a piece of quietness, succulent and nourishing in a noisy world.Ē
Reading the books calmed him down in the army. While waiting on Section missions
he could only watch with slow blinking eyes. Nothing to watch. Nothing to take
away the time. Only the waking of nature at this time of day. The waking of nature
by the noise of the waking animals. The birds were calling to each other with their
high-pitched whistles. He could see about twenty metres away small squirrels
searching for food. He opened his bag of nuts and threw one about four metres
from where he sat.

The squirrels jumped slightly at the noise and moved quickly away. One looked
back to where the sound came from. Looking for any movement. It didnít see
anything so it moved closer to investigate. Its small nose wiggled and its small head
went further up into the air and its small front paws came off the ground. Sniffing at
the air, the squirrel seemed surprised. It was the smell of a nut but not a nut that it
was used to. It moved closer to the nut. Nose wiggling and sniffing. And then it
moved fast. Moved to the nut. Grabbed it with both front paws and looked like a
small furry walking doll as it somehow got on its hind legs and walked away like a
small child with a prize.

The sniper liked this. This would make the next waiting hour seem to go quicker.
Same amount of time, but it would seem quicker. He threw another three nuts.
Three metres. Two metres. One metre.

After a few minutes the squirrel came back. Itís small nose sniffing again. Again it
went slowly to the nut nearest it. Again somehow it managed to grab the nut with
its front paws and walk away like a furry doll. Slight laughter came from the sniperís
mouth. He was enjoying this. He put one of the nuts in his mouth and treated it like
a pebble they used to train with. The test was to find out how long it took before
you sucked the taste away, how long before you bit into the nut to find more flavour,
only to be sucked away and then how long it took to bite into the nut again.

A few minutes later the squirrel came back. It had learned where the food was.
It didnít even move slowly to the nut this time. It moved fast to get to the nuts.
Then it took its time to put one firmly in its mouth, move to the next nut and then
pick it up in the front paws. This time it looked like a furry doll with something in
its mouth. More nuts were needed. For the squirrels, for his entertainment and one
for his mouth.

The squirrel came back. Its nose twitching fast. Sniffing with enthusiasm this time.
It wanted the nuts. It could see the nuts. It could smell the nuts.
It stopped. Sniffed again. Ran away in a hurry.
It wanted the nuts. It could see the nuts. It could smell the nuts.
But it was the overpowering smell of fresh blood that made it run.
A strong smell that brings animals.
Larger nimals that eat smaller ones.

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