the quiet one
Leon's herb-induced sleep had lead him up into Cambodia, the third night of his latest freedom.
Inside his dream, Leon had wakened from his fitful sleep in his customary state of near panic, well up-river, well into Cambodia.
He was less than comforted when his guardian for the night watch was the Quiet One.
McCrimmon and the others lay on the ground around them, sleeping off their Tuinals. The Quiet One seemed bent on his own issues rather than standing watch. Leon could tell the Quiet One was cranking, cooking up the mixture of smack & meth, injecting himself with the concoction.
Leon, was parched, but waited for the man to lean his head back & crack his neck, the sign the drugs were having the desired effect.
The man's head turned to Leon at a normal speed. Leon found that encouraging given their circumstances.
The Quiet One cocked his head as if asking "What?", but said nothing.
Leon took the cue & mimicked drinking water.
The Quiet One leaned out his full length and delivered a canteen.
Leon manufactured a smile & gave the man a nod of gratitude.
The Quiet One watched Leon take a few eager quaffs, then motioned silently for Leon to take it easy.
Leon took another generous swig before handing the canteen back.
"We're tight water right now." So the Quiet One could speak, albeit softly.
Leon grunted. "River water needs to be boiled up here?" Leon matched the Quiet One's volume.
The Quiet One nodded in the affirmative. "Yep. You about ready to move on?"
Leon's head moved up and down. "Yep, whenever you guys are."
To Leon's surprise, The Quiet One laughed softly. "Okay then."
"You Special Forces?"
The Quiet One lit a cigarette. "Me? No, McCrimmon & the rest, yep." He seemed intent on his weapon now, doing something Leon couldn't see.
Then the Quiet One rose.
Leon had wondered whether to ask his suddenly garrulous companion what he was until he heard the first pop.
McCrimmon's body heaved & quivered, but made no other sound.
Leon was having trouble processing it all.
After McCrimmon, there were six more pops.
One in the pipe, six in the mag. The gun was empty.
Then, in life as in his dreams, Leon Freedman was alone in the jungle with the Quiet One.