She was tired; cold and tired. You could see the weariness in her liquid, deep brown eyes. Weeks of training followed by weeks of surveillance all leading up to tonight -- and she was ready for it to be over. She lay in wait in the cold, dark woods going over the scenario one last time.
When it is dark in the woods, sound seems amplified. Changed. Alien. A squirrel in the brush sounds like a charging Cape Buffalo, not that she'd ever heard a charging Cape Buffalo. "Stop it," she told herself, "you're loosing your focus." She knew the importance of this mission; "The Boss" had made that quite plain. He'd even taken it upon himself to conduct some of his own surveillance earlier in the week. The fool; intel hinted that he'd been spotted. Sure, he'd been a field op once -- but times had changed.
And then it was time. Time to put all that training to use for the grim purpose ahead. It wasn't a job she relished, but orders were orders. It wasn't personal, it was just a job that needed to be done. The sides were clearly defined and the target was on the wrong side. It was that simple. The wait was over. The gleam of the headlight was approaching and she zeroed in. It was time to find out if all the effort and money spent on the computer models and field tests was worth it. They'd set it up and tested the triangulation a week ago and all she should have to do is wait for the target to reach the mark. She forced herself to relax. Breathe in and hold it. And...
She'd missed. Missed by five yards! It wasn't possible. They'd been over this time and time and time again. Time. What was it about... That was it! They'd not taken Daylight Saving Time into consideration when they'd set up the computer models. Of course it worked last week, it was still light out. Now, the darkness must have forced the target to move slower on the path causing her to lead the target too much. The idiots. All their trust in their high tech systems for what? Nothing.
She looked back across the path and the rider was moving away. She had failed and there was nothing she could do about it now; this opportunity had passed. She turned and headed for home, her fauns would be getting restless. She knew that there would be other nights, other opportunities, she just had to wait a little longer.
Temperature at departure = 33° F (1° C)
No deer spotted on the way in this morning. But I know they're out there -- watching...