Then she heard a snap behind her, and a hand came around her mouth. She yelped aloud, and in a panic, she rammed her shoulder into her attacker. "Tyber, Tyber, it's me!" came a shout-whisper, and she went stock-still.
"Yeah." He released her, and she twisted around to look at him. He was covered in dirt and green detritus. His eyes were bugged out to all hell.
"Where's the green kid?"
"Hiding. Safe. How'd you get to me? They're everywhere."
"What does it look like I did?" She displayed her mud-caked t-shirt and jeans. "Crawled through the fucking jungle, man."
"Okay, you're gonna have to do that again. We can't stick around here."
And just as he said that, lifting his head to glance around, she heard three zipping cracks. Vince dropped into the forest floor, choking. Dark liquid bubbled up onto what was left of his face and neck. She cussed, grabbing her knife. Oh god, his face. He's got no face.
Quiet footsteps swept through ferns and grass. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Run! Like a G.I Joe, Tyber slithered into the brush, starved of air but lungs too tight to take a breath.
She stopped when she heard a radio buzz and a man's voice. "Found him." Another crack of the rifle and Vince was gone. Suddenly Tyber didn't feel afraid anymore. "Poor, ugly bastard."
Tyber gripped her knife, ready to stand up and gut him there. But she couldn't risk it. Zim was still out there. Cole too.
Underneath the sweeping beam of light, Tyber didn't even twitch, but she was ready. The moment she could feel the tremors of the ground under his boots, she'd rip out his carotid artery and maybe feed him his own windpipe. But that moment never came. His footsteps went east, and she peeked out from under her cover. She got a good look at the man's outfit and build, but beyond his white, clean-shaven chin, she saw none of his face.
It didn't matter; she knew his voice. She'd remember.
Vince was silent now, too dead to make a sound. She dragged herself off several minutes later, gasping like she'd been underwater for too long, and swallowed a few ounces on the way up.
I'll fucking remember, Vince. I'll remember.