I’m cold. I’m crawling through the dark, flat on my belly, elbows and legs working. But I’m cold. So cold. The ground is hard, icy, cruel. The chill presses through my clothes and skin, right to the core of me. And the fear does, too.
I start to shake. A little at first. Then plenty, so that every bone in my body rattles. Surely rattling bones make a sound. Like pebbles in a pocket. No, louder. Like hand grenades jiggling in their crates in the back of a truck. The sound will give me away.
I hear footfalls, soft and stealthy. A patrol. They don’t want others to hear as they approach. But I hear. My ears are sharp, practised in the art of listening.
I press myself into the shadows. Even the dark of night has shadows. Perfect for hiding. I merge into the darkness and wrap my fingers more firmly around the handle of my knife. I force my rattling bones to be still.
Feet and legs pass by. Two pairs. They’re so close to my face I could lick the heels as they go.
I wait until there is nothing but silence.