194 - sane chain
he sameness of the outback stretched on forever to Allison as she stared out the small bushplane's windscreen. The running stopwatch in the cockpit marked her progress more than the scenery did.
Even when she began to bring her aircraft down, little changed. The shrubs showed a little more detail and got a little bigger. As always, she had a moment of doubt about her landing zone until she spotted the little marker, a rudimentary orange windsock, flapping in the breeze.
Allison aligned her plane with the cleared patch of dirt that served as the runway here. Her brother had cleared it for her, which she appreciated. It was hardly necessary, as there was a great surplus of nothingness where she could set down. But it meant that, on some level, he wanted her to come.
The oversized tires bounced a few times off the dry, compacted soil before the aircraft finally came to a halt. She flipped a few switches and the engine likewise came to a rest. The propeller continued to spin for a moment from inertia before slowing to dormancy.
Silence then filled the cockpit. Allison contemplated just how alone she was out here in the middle of nowhere. She moved around, making some noise to distract herself from the fact. She grabbed her small rucksack and swung the door to the plane open. Hopping down to the ground, she kicked up a small cloud of red dust under her boots.
She began the trek toward her brother's so-called residence. In truth the place was a primitive campsite, and he typically did not reside here. It was more of a storage depot and base of operations for him in between his sojourns.
He knew to meet her here on the first Saturday of each month, and so far, he had managed to keep their scheduled appointments. What he did in the meantime, she could hardly guess.
She held a fear in the back of her mind each time she arrived that she would be greeted by his corpse. Or even worse, that he would eventually fail to appear, leaving his ultimate fate forever unknown.
Allison even feared for her own life on her short visits out here. All of the venomous and monstrous creatures that inhabited this place scared her, but the most fearsome demon of all was this place's total remoteness. If her brother had survived for this long on his own, perhaps he would always be all right.
His campsite was quiet, and for a second Allison feared the worst. She scanned her surroundings, and soon regretted doing so. In the too-close distance, beside a shrub, she caught sight of her brother's bare ass, crouched over mid-defecation.
She quickly averted her eyes. At least he was still alive.
"Sorry, but you caught me a bit by surprise," he explained afterward. Allison wanted to protest on how he could have been oblivious to the sound of her plane, but long ago she had learned to brush off his eccentricities.
They went through the routine of offloading his monthly ration of supplies from her plane's cargo hold. He was never one for smalltalk and she had little to discuss with him, anyway.
After making sure everything had been properly delivered to his base, she began her goodbyes. "Mom and Dad insisted that I remind you that they would like to see you come home," she said for not the first time.
He replied, "I know, I know. I'm just not ready yet." That marked the end of the discussion, as it had each time before.
They hugged for a moment, and Allison headed back to her plane. He did not accompany her, nor did he notice the roar of her engine as it once again propelled her away.