By Michael Carter (c) 1994/1996/2012
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Matheson reloaded his Enfield rifle and sighed with relief as the ammunition clicked softly into its chamber. Taking a cautious look round he decided that there was no danger at present, so slid the weapon stealthily back into his belt. The black plastic case of the rifle clinked against the hard, cold metal of his ammunition belt, sending a sharp jolt of noise through the stagnant air.
Beads of sweat dripped from his brow, down the sharp ski-slope of his nose, bringing with it an infernal itch and a god awful smell, until they dropped onto his harsh, cracked lips, when the stinging pain was compromised by the starch and protein take-in. He chewed on an old red straw, with the words ‘When Are We Today?’ printed on its mangled middle, half in his mouth, half out.
He gulped. A long, slow, hard gulp, and the sweat he’d just consumed trickled down his clammy throat. “Three Million B.C.”, gruffed his voice as if on its own. “One-oh-eight degrees.” He glanced down at his previous footprint, having felt something underneath. A Scarab beetle, normally to be found in only the hottest deserts, lay in the mound, its pincers broken and its shelled spine snapped. Matheson grinned.