We set up camp with rain threatening, as the hanger-on sun mutated a procession of sycamores into corps de ballet silhouettes. I erected the tent primaevally, as every dusk before, Jeff juggled out provisions that had vibrated to the bottom of a surplus bag: gasoline, bullets and The Key. Shirley left the supplies and boat buried under evergreen branches at Daredevil Bend on Red River 100 miles back. On a nearby boulder, her marker; a caricature of Walter Matthau with a dangling cigarette.
We worked fast and reticent. Lantern fuel warmed the canvas basting our shadows against the baize door that spooked off the coyotes. Jeff animated a fire after a number of unpromising attempts; I parceled out the sacred coffee grounds. Thunderbolts splintered the meaningless conversation and we would count the spaces between the lights; Canada feeling a thousand miles away. Our two week plan cynically optimistic, now just wagering to make it to nowhere by sunrise.
By winding up the briar-mangled offshoot we hoped to shake off the pursuit of The Hunter. Its footsteps sizzled beneath the tinfoil drone of crickets indiscernibly in all directions. We held our heads like arrow-injured deer, exhausted. I tore down our quarters, Jeff siphoned up every thing else into the long tote, together we eased our loads into the hull and pushed off. The storm fed current contained much speed and static.