Managing to pry himself from his thoughts, Miller noticed that the clearing was covered for the most part, with short green foliage. He cocked his head to the side momentarily as he stared at an anomaly that caught his eye. At one corner of the clearing, the dark brown earth had been heaped into mounds. The size of each mound seemed to maintain a uniformity of length and width.
Miller frowned once more as he stared at the piles of dirt.
Some of the mounds were now covered with moss and other foliage, while others appeared to simply be freshly turned earth. An eerie foreboding washed over him, though he tried to ignore it.
Turning slowly in a circle, Miller searched for something familiar. A sense of urgency rushed him as he quickly realized he had no idea where here was. Out of instinct, he took stock of himself again, a trait he had picked up on the street. On more than one occasion he had been robbed while he slept. Though he was nowhere near a city street today, he couldn't help but do it. Glancing down at his chest, he noticed that a small envelope had been pinned to his jacket. He tore the envelope from his chest and read the words written across its surface. Then he read them again. In complete and utter shock, he read them again.
You are already dead
Miller blanched with a renewed and immediate fear. His eyes darted from the envelope to the surrounding trees and he watched them for any sign of movement. Welling from within, his adrenaline began to enliven his senses. He forced himself to peel the envelope open. His hands worked slowly as he slid the folded letter out and began to read:
You have five minutes to find the buried rifle.
I am a fair person and I think that everyone deserves a fair fight.
Your advantage is that you will have a chance to fight back.
I told you that you were a dead man.
Can you feel my cross hairs boring into the back of your skull?
Feeling a rush of paranoia, Miller bent into a squat. He reread the small note while listening to the playful murmur of the forest. His ears strained to detect anything out of the ordinary, but there was nothing. To the west of the clearing, Miller saw the incline of a mountain. He couldn't tell just how far away it was, but he couldn't help but wonder if the blond man was up there, watching him from the trees. He self-consciously scratched the back of his head.