104 - wake
he wind whipped her face something fierce. It bothered her the most, more than the ice and snow. She let out a slight grunt to let her displeasure with mother nature be known, and carried on in the direction she had been heading.
Though the ground was completely covered in snow, there was some sort of path of least resistance that she realized she was following. Whether it was cut by man or just the lay of the land she could not say. Her visor was both filling with fog and being blasted with flakes of snow. Until now, she had resisted turning on the heating element which would rid her of both problems. The small amount of electricity the heater consumed would give off a signal. No matter how small, that was something she had been trying to avoid. Anything to help deter her detection. But now it seemed that she had no choice. Near her left temple, she flipped a switch, and a moment later, her field of vision was once again crystal clear.
There was a clarity in her surroundings that suddenly bothered her. Everything was now exposed, and she felt like that applied to herself as well. Eager to feel like the hunter again rather than the hunted, she produced a small scanner from her vest pocket. Flipping it on, she was aware that this meant she would now be producing even more signal and noise, but it was inevitable, and she would only be using it for a moment anyway.
The scanner sent out its momentary pulses, and each time as the scope returned no results, she shifted her orientation slightly. The blip would appear somewhere, she knew. Finally, she had a hint of him. The signal was slight at first, but she made some adjustments and fine tuned the range. She was confident that she had him now.
Flicking the scanner off, she placed it back within her vest and readied a much more useful tool. Her rifle, always by her side, had by now collected its fair share of snow and ice. She quickly brushed it off, and checked once over to make sure that everything was functional for the time when she would need it.
Her quarry was leading her off the little path now, and the snowfall was deeper here. She moved more carefully now, each step deliberate and with more effort. All things considered, it was a pain in her ass, and for a moment, she let her mind wander slightly, mentally cursing the bastard for making her go through this.
And that's when it happened.
A step that she originally felt was just into a layer of extremely thick snow continued through to what turned out to be a false floor, and soon enough, the ground all around her gave way. In an instant she had realized she had fallen into his trap, but there was no time to lament it now. All the world was a flurry of falling snow, dirt, and darkness. Black and white, she had no hope but to cast her hands out and pray that they latched on to something.
They did, or one did, anyway. Realizing this, she quickly gripped with that one hand and dispatched the other to the same location as reinforcement. As the seconds ticked on, the falling debris settled, and she was able to take a look at her surroundings.
It was a crudely-dug hole, but of a formidable size. With arms outstretched, it would take more than two of her to span its width. With regards to depth, she was already a good four or five meters in, and glancing below, she had no idea how deep it would go, or what might lay in waiting at the bottom.
Her hands were gripping a rock whose edge slightly jutted out from the surrounding soil. It was a sharp edge, and with her two hands supporting all her weight, she could feel the tightness cutting into her gloves.
"Curse the bastard," she muttered aloud this time, as she contemplated what to do next.