You thought it was a pebble that came through the windshield. The tires of the old Chinese jeep have been kicking up pebbles and sand all morning along the mountain road. But all of a sudden your jeeps hired driver slumps over. A trace of blood runs down the edge of his cheek.
Karen, sitting next to you in the back seat screams a latches on to you. You're heart starts pounding and you're not sure whether its terror at the blood or the surprise of unexpected romance. Her startlingly attractive brown eyes are wide open with shock, wisps of long brown hair curled at the sides of a porcelain doll face, and the alternatively soft and hard curves of her body are pressed into you. A soft smile begins to form on your face-- The dream girl who wouldn't give you the time of day for the past month is suddenly in your arms.
CRACK! passenger's side front window is shattered. Sh*t.... Pull yourself together! In a shock you review your situation. A mental montage forms-- in slow motion.
You are high along the Karakoram highway, the highest highway in the world. You left this morning from the Chinese city of Kashgar, where you persuaded Karen an archaelogy grad student you met this summer, to come with you on professional pretexts-- oh, you're such a poser sometimes... what am I doing? You had rented a jeep for a 100 bucks for the day to take you towards out towards the border with Pakistan/ Afghanistan in the hopes of finding a local nomad who apparently had discovered some ancient pottery in the bottom of an old well shaft. You made a find a couple days ago in a local market-- a dusty vase, which you are holding onto now. You had no idea then, you thought it was just pretty, but when you tracked down Karen, who was out here with a grad, her eyes lit up and she persuaded you to track it down. The Vase! You are holding it in your lap. Is this what they're after?
A third crack registers. The already slumped over drivers neck and face explode in a geyser of blood and his body slams against the door in dull thud.
Hysterical, you leap up from the back seat, pushing Karen onto the floor. Your foot slams down on the accelator and in one smooth motion you reach around the drivers body to open the door. The dust kicks up under the tires as the driver's body falls out of the car.
"They're shooting at us!" Karen screams at you. You're suddenly aware out of the periphery of your vision that there is a dark figure with a long-barelled rifle standing on the ridge to your right.
You're body is smeared with dust and blood and as the wheels of the jeep dig into the dusty shoulder of the road, your realize that your destiny and LIFE are firmly in your shaking hands. Which direction should you drive?