He thought he was alone in the glen.
There was no need for me to go back to the farm. The Russians were on the island, and over the next few days, I hoped to bring the situation to a close.
I bivouacked beneath some deadfall, made myself as comfortable as possible, and ate sparingly of the jerky I’d brought with me. I’d fought Russians once or twice in the past, and I had no doubt they’d poison their food if they thought it would kill me. It wouldn’t, of course, but it would be damned uncomfortable.
The night passed quietly enough, and when I broke my rough camp in the morning, I looked for sign of a trail and found one.
It was slim enough, but it was a trail nonetheless, and so I followed it.
Less than an hour later, I came upon a glen, and a single Russian soldier stood in it, his head titled up slightly toward the eastern sun. His eyes were closed, and the morning’s light glowed in his dark beard. By his feet, stretched out on a gray blanket, was his rifle.
I eased a Colt out of its holster, and the man’s eyes opened. His body tensed as he looked around, realizing suddenly the exposed position he had left himself in. He turned slowly, then fixed his gaze at a spot far off to my right.
“Who’s there?” he demanded, crouched down to pick up his rifle. I watched with satisfaction as he checked his weapon, made sure it was still loaded, and then brought it to his shoulder. “Tell me, or I’ll shoot!”
I brought the Colt up and sighted on the back of his head. As he cocked the rifle, I did the same with the revolver, the noise of my weapon hidden by his own and the fear rising within him.
“Sing out!” he cried. “Sing out and tell me where you are, damn your eyes!”
Neither I nor anyone else answered him.
Then I heard the pixie laugh, and I pulled the trigger.
The Colt and the rifle’s roar were simultaneous.
The rifle flew from his hand as he pitched forward, the Colt’s bullet passing cleanly through his spine. He struck the ground dead and still. Across from me, the pixie appeared, waved, and vanished again.
It was the nature of her kind.
I reloaded and went in search of more to kill, for we do as nature bids us.