And here it is: The Tempest Illusion 1996
The Tempest Illusion
By F T Moore
“Because some Truths can only be told through fiction”
Along the Southwestern Border of Guatemala:
A Shadowy Time in the Past
The assassin lay motionless in the thick, wet foliage, teasing the edge of the eighty-foot cliff, his eyes hanging over the treacherous drop. Dripping with unattended sweat, his eyebrows yielded and his eyes blurred. He wiped them with his camouflage shirt sleeve, slowly, carefully, not wanting to reveal his position with body movement. Waiting. He waited, while every breath pumped heated air into his already-simmering lungs, building to a near-suffocation. Panting, he struggled to circulate air. His breath resonated, a bong in his teetering mind, drowning out the piercing shrieks of jungle macaws. He feared exposure from his breathing huff or his warrior scent. His muscles ached from the tension of keeping still. After four days in this bug-infested furnace, the dampness had irritated the old injury in his right knee. Pain, alternating between a dull throb and a crippling stab, sliced from his shinbone to his thigh. He judged himself able to complete his task, but he knew he must finish today, before the knee swelled.
He worked at risk now. Stupidly. He regretted his agreement to come out alone, with no one to cover his back while he focused on the job. Momentarily, his mind strayed to admonish himself for accepting the terms they had offered. With the training of a professional, he suppressed his thought. Motionless work required motionless mind. Longer and longer, he waited, like a jungle cat, stalking his prey.
From the low morning position of the sun, he knew he had less than an hour before the cargo plane passed by on its scheduled humanitarian supply run. Today’s plane would be his last chance. Today, he would do his job and get out. Fighting against the pain, he concentrated on removing his mind from his senses, ignoring the sweltering heat and tickling ants climbing his neck. Summoning the discipline of his training, he waited and waited again.
At last he saw shadows in the tent entrance. When the balding head and the heavy frame of his target appeared, he squinted through the powerful, wide angle scope of his surgically precise Remington M40A1. Locking the site onto the shaded flap in front of the tent, he steadied his arm, his body, and his mind, and the rifle steadied with him. Rhythmically, he settled his breathing into a natural pattern. Slowly, in timed cycle with his patterned breath, he squeezed the sensitive trigger.
The target’s head exploded, splattering bones and brains. As the commander crumpled, the assassin scrambled to his feet, plunging away from the cliff through dense brush. The adrenaline of tribal war pushed him forward, forcing his strained body and throbbing leg to race along the pre-arranged path to his meeting place. Flipping the top of his hand-held radio, he entered the key code which would signal his rescuers. Limping, he made his way to the agreed-upon coordinates. Focusing, he directed his mind to the task of escape, allowing his thoughts no leeway to consider alternatives. Entertaining only the thought of his ultimate goal, he plowed unwaveringly forward. Stepping into the clearing at the pre-determined spot, he released a helium balloon. In response, the cargo plane, marked prominently with the logo of humanitarian aid and supplies for the peaceful citizens, extended a rope with a hook. Catching the balloon and the assassin in one swoop, the rope raised the assassin, dangling and twisting, into its cargo bay.
As he neared safety, the pressure of the last four days lifted. The mental block he had raised to protect his sanity dissolved. With its dissolution, his resistance fell. The pain in his knee kaleidoscoped knife-sharp agony through his body. His mind whirled with the concentrated stream of unanswered puzzles. The last words he heard before losing consciousness were the words of the pilot, sending the extraction radio code.
He was safe, in the hands of the homeland, with his good ole’ friends.
The California mountains, north of Malibu
1996: A Time unlike Today