1

His regular rhythm was returning. Although he clear wasn't the first one up as indicated by the feint footsteps above, he had beaten the dawn. He propped himself out of the cot and peered out of the window of the cabin to confirm what his senses had already told him. They had anchored. The sky was a feint blue that still receded into the darkness of the night just a few degrees from the horizon. And while he knew the sun would not appear over the mountain face for at least another few hours, for him the day had begun.

For so he thought until a shooting pain wrestled his leg as he tried to stand up. For a moment, a brief moment before, in that state between dream and reality, he had forgotten the events of the past day. He had forgotten that he had been shot. His body was happy to remind him. He looked down his bandaged leg. With a bit of focus he could bend his knee and raise his leg. There was a minimal amount of pain. It was the surprise that got him the first time.

Still he figured it was best to change his dressings as often as possible as their current locality precluded him from extensive medical care and it was always better to be safe than sorry. As he sat at the edge of his bed and brushed the translucent curtains away to allow more of the pre-sun light to fill the room so he could see what exactly he was doing. He took the bandage roll off of the nightstand beside him and pulled out two feet of it. He carefully undid the bandage from the day before, making a point not keep the gauge in place as the bounds loosened. He revealed the wound to the soft azure ambience of the morning light; not much change from the day before.

He doused left hand in isopropyl and rubbed it into his right. Then he again put some into the base of his palm and pressed it into the wound. To him, it stung no more than an extra minty toothpaste. He slowly counted down in his head from fifteen, with his lips silently mouthing the words.

"… ten… nine… eight… seven…" His ghost words filled the silent cabin.

"I could've done that for you, you know," Marta said lying in the bed opposite, with her hands placed underneath her pillow, half-watching, half-sleeping.

"Didn't mean to wake you," Aaron replied.

"You didn't," Marta replied with a meek smile.

"You don't sleep much do you?" Aaron asked as he placed clean gauss down on the wound.

"It's hard to sleep," Marta replied.

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Aaron concurred.

"Why do I find that hard to believe?" Marta said still staring at him from the comfort of her pillow.

"I'm not the superhuman you believe me to be." Aaron said as he wrapped the bandage around his leg.

"A little bit tighter," Marta said raising her head from the pillow just a bit.

"Tighter?" Aaron asked.

He quickly undid the bandage and re-wrapped it tighter. "Like that?"

"Yeah." Marta confirmed.

"It's a little numb." Aaron remarked.

"That's normal; just give it a few minutes for the blood to circulate." Marta reassured him as she sat up revealing her legs, grabbing his attention but only for a brief moment.

"I've never been shot before." Aaron said gently rubbing the gauss and flattening the surface of the bandage.

"Really?" Marta let out with a genuine sense of shock.

"Why is that surprising?" Aaron asked.

He pushed himself off of the bed, putting most of his weight on his good leg. Slowly, he started to pace back and forth, warming up his damaged leg, deliberately maintaining a pace in which his weight was never long on his weaker side. Marta jumped to her feet and quickly rushed to support him. His hand intercepted hers as she reached out to him.

"Don't push yourself too hard." Marta said watching his facial expression intently.

"How long before my leg is fully healed?" Aaron asked.

Marta looked down at the bandages. His thighs seemed to be fully functional despite the hole in it. She put her hand on his forehead, he was sweating a bit, but his temperature wasn't too high; he didn't appear to have a fever. She then checked his pulse, it quickened just as she touched his neck with her index and middle finger. A feint smile slipped from her face.

"In and out, no fever means no broken bones…" Marta said. "For you, two weeks, give or take. You should be as good as new."

"Good." Aaron replied with a cheeky smile.

After breakfast at the fishermen's table, who seem to have grown fond of the foreign curiosities on his boat, they disembarked onto the docks of the many islands that dotted the surrounding landscape. Marta had noticed the sparse population of the area and delighted in the idea of an island getaway. Aaron was less enthusiastic about the prospect. They made their way down the wooden docks, her; taking in the sights of the locals and breathing deep breaths of relief as the immediate danger of their pursuers seemed to have abated, he; surveying each of the vessels docked, looking for a suitable one, perhaps as a getaway option.

But even in his heightened state of paranoia, the gentle caress of the sun and the tropical sea air had dulled even the worst of his fears, for they seemed neither to be close or coming.

"Are we lost now?" Marta asked as she peered into the local shops they passed.

Aaron smiled as he led the way. He thought about what he would tell her, he thought about telling her his plans for the next couple of days, about purchasing a boat and doubling back, he thought about what Byer and his DoD buddies' next move would be, he thought about all these things in tandem with Marta in mind.

Of course he had his answer. "Yeah, we're lost."