He woke up with a start, shaking. He knew nightmares should be expected after what he had been through, but this one was horrible, and very realistic, especially the explosion at the end. He picked himself up off the ground. He had to keep moving. Whatever happened, he had to keep moving. Moving where, he did not know, he just knew he had to get as far away as possible.
North, he told himself. I have to go north. Away from the road. North. Keeping the morning sun to his right, he set off through the woods.
He had traveled for less than an hour when he spotted it. The forest slanted downward to the east there, ending in a drop-off. An area right around the cliff was blackened as if with ash or soot. Curious as to the cause of this, he cautiously made his way down the incline.
As he made his way into the blackened area, which was in fact made that way by ash and soot, he stumbled over something on the ground.
He looked down and jumped nearly a foot in the air. What he had just kicked was a body! Suddenly, the man at his feet groaned.
Thank goodness it's not dead, he thought. Dead things were just so...freaky. Glancing around quickly to make sure this wasn't some sort of gross trap the government had set up as soon as they realized he wasn't in their van anymore, he dropped to his knees beside the man.
His years of training and experience kicked in and he started moving automatically, checking the pulse, breathing, and other vital signs of the man to make sure he was alright. He soon found a ginormous bump on the guy's head, probably from some of the debris that been thrown from whatever had - he assumed - exploded.
The man began to stir and slowly open his eyes. Upon seeing the man above him, he quickly sat up, wincing in the pain of the sudden movement. He began slowly scoot backwards, leaving the other man bewildered as he squatted there.
"I...Wha...I...I'm...I'm not...I'm not your enemy, I'm not going to hurt you," the squatting man managed to stutter. The other man snorted at this statement, obviously not believing him. After a short fit of coughing, the man, who had managed to back up until he was leaning against a tree, replied. "If you aren't my enemy then you must be my friend, and most of my friends end up dead, like the guy in that truck," he gestured towards where the majority of the debris were, perched on the edge of the cliff, "and probably Steve with the helicopter who was supposed to pick me up an hour ago," he said cynically, glancing at his watch.
The ex-doctor sighed. "I think at this point I need all the friends I can get, even if they will get me killed."
The man against the tree slipped the object in his right hand into his pocket and then held out his hand.
"Richard," he said.
"Jack," the other man said, moving forward and shaking Richard's hand.