It began to rain heavily. Jackson could hear the dense impact of the hard rain moments before he felt it upon his muddy face. The water was freezing and heavy, and it filled the air with a suffocating abundance. Wicked trees did little to shade Jackson from the weather's cruel sting; instead it mocked his unfortunate circumstance. Unlike the clean, welcoming showers of water from a departed world, the rain felt painfully dense with a polluted presence and tasted of what Jackson imagined rust must be like. It was certainly less than pleasant.
The rain made it nearly impossible to see further than Jackson's initial reach, the water falling from the sky like a thick blanket. He wanted to be out of this damned forest. Jackson began to move swiftly through the stinging rain, gripping the doe with difficulty. Despite the mud caked ground, he could fell the terrain convert from dirt and roots to tall blades of rough grass. The trees became fewer in number and density, and as their presence diminished Jackson felt more at ease. He had finally left the dreaded place.
It was less intense now, although the rain still burned as it poured down his face and into his eyes. He could see that he was standing before the brink of a familiar field, his destination barely visible amidst the overabundance of shoulder high grass. It was a small bunker composed of bleak grey concrete, with spots of dark green moss and stains from years of chemical corrosion.
As Jackson made his way to the bunker he felt an unwelcoming sensation at the base of his neck. It was cold like the touch of a dead man come back to life, and was all too familiar to Jackson. A pistol. He could now hear the ragged breathing of a close stranger beneath the storm's fierce howling. His face paled and his blood ran cold.
"State your business and pray I don't shoot you where you stand."
Despite the threatening words, a sudden wave of relief washed over Jackson, as the rough voice was that of a familiar friend.
"It's me, Jason, now put that thing away before you hurt yourself." As he spoke, he turned to face the young man. His hair was a light brown, similar to that of a chestnut, and his face was slim and narrow. He didn't seem to mind Jackson's comment.
"Jack, you've been out in them woods for too long," he remarked with a smirk, "C'mon, lets get out of this damn monsoon."
The fire hissed like a serpent while it consumed the humble collection of weeds and frail sticks. Jackson stared blindly into the engrossing flame and watched as it played hide and seek across the small fire pit. Tongues of red and gold danced with each other, became one, and separated in a fashion of sorts that confused the eye. It seemed as if one could reach out and cradle the fire in the palm of their hand. The coals popped and crackled, as if they were speaking to one another of a time long forgotten. Though bound to the earth, the small flame seemed to possess a freedom that no one could ever hope to gain, ignorant of its boundaries.
Jackson continued to watch the show as his eyes fluttered open and closed, and finally let his exhaustion overtake him.