Moving deeper into the jungle, we came first to an abandoned shack, overgrown with moss and vivid orange fungi that crumbled at a touch into clouds of spores (Don’t breathe them in, Dan whispered in my ear, and What kind of idiot do I look like? I replied), and then, when our glances through thick windowpanes frosted with dust revealed nothing, we moved on.

Deeper still, in a watery green light that reminded me of being deep in the sea, we found a highway overtaken by trees whose roots stood higher than I could reach. (Dan said, I wonder why they planted all this forest? I said, I don’t think we’ll ever know.) A truck, long abandoned, had turned to a lacework of rust on rotted black tires.

Further still we pressed. At nightfall, we saw a flickering light far ahead, and knew for sure we were on the right trail. But we dared not light a fire of our own, because we didn’t want him to know we were coming.

In darkness, we stripped, oiled, and rebuilt our rifles. Soon enough we would overtake him.

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