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Rolling over and opening my eyes slowly, what greeted me was those beautiful blue eyes that I fell in love with. Waking up more, the next thing I could see clearly was the round face and I realized that what I saw was her smiling at me. She always had this thing about waking up before me, but not wanting to wake me. I smirked back and grabbed her in my arms holding her tightly. Rolling over and pulling her back on to the bed next to me. My original plan was to try to get us to go back to sleep. But between planting kisses on her lips and then some lightly on her neck as I hugged her that was not happening. She laughed and pretended to fight, saying my facial hair was scratchy. In the end she would happily nuzzle up to me. It never worked out that way  – going back to sleep that is, but the alternative was just as good as more sleep. You know until we had to stop and get up. The memory played out the same way it always did right before…



Whenever he was near true sleep, he always would be pulled away just as quickly. Eyes flying open in a panic, bolting up to a standing position and the dominant hand flown to the wooden sword near his foot. Steadying the breathing and searching his surroundings, scanning the all he could see. Finding that they were the same as before he closed his eyes. The coarse grass around him, the remnant of his fire still dead, little smoke still breathed out of the extinguished spot. Floating near him, examining him with concern and yet making not any audible question of worry was the robot. Alexi stared up at the machine and loudly sighed and closed his eyes rolling his shoulders. His head sunk low and in silence he reached up to rest his hand against the cool metal of the orb of gears, parts and tech contained in the ball shape. It softly whistled to his touch, the sound was almost concerned in tone. Moments like this Alexi wondered if his preference for machines over people sometimes caused him to find emotion behind their actions when it was really coding.

“It’s alright Echo. I know you were watching and keeping your eye on me. I guess sleep eludes me one more time. How long did I rest though?” He asked roughly, his voice not fully his yet after his attempt of taking winks back from his exhausted state. The robot, Echo, beeped and whistled a few times in response. The first answer was direct, the second set of sounds more an attempt to instruct Alexi in something.

Really? Only 3 hours? Feels like only a few minutes. Great.” He muttered, taking his hand and bringing it up and running it through his hair, pushing it back and behind his ears. It was always long but this was the most shaggy it had ever been. The once vulpine fur like color of it hadn’t faded drastically in his years. Since childhood it always was shades of red/auburn. Now though had more of a straw color tint to it, likely due to being in the sun as much as he had been recently. He momentarily lamented the joy of the red hair that he didn’t care much for in his youth. Many people would tell him growing up that they loved the red. He always accepted the compliments but would make people respect his personal space. He wasn’t one for letting just anyone play with it in his youth. Now he found himself missing the relaxing feel of someone playing with it; brushing it or braiding it while he laid in their lap. How long had it been since the last time he wondered.

Interrupted by Echo, he looked around then back to the companion.

“No I will not try again, we got to cover ground, stay too long and it’ll go badly. We don’t stay too long remember?” He explained, reaching for his things. It was not his originally, he actually found it in a building near where he found Echo. The violet formal vest fit him snugly. He got a tiny sense of pride wearing it, it was probably the finest thing he owned. If we were talking in a more civilized setting. Personal value should obviously outweigh the value placed by others on your clothing. Truthfully though the vest didn’t actually match the rest of his clothing. But luckily he never was one for trying to impress others with fashion. He wore his faded jeans, canvas sneakers and a black tank top. They were comfortable to him, he knew he probably needed a better wardrobe but that meant dealing with things he didn’t feel important. The torso holster containing his revolver was the next thing he grabbed. He strapped the leather fixture around his chest and adjusting the straps before drawing the weapon twirling it in his hand. Tossing it up, allowing it to spin in the air for a moment before reaching out and catching it again, pointing it ahead of him with an outstretched arm. Aiming down the sights and bringing it back close to him only to open the cylinder and examining it. The one bullet remained in it’s chamber- good. Placing it back in the holster, Alexi reached down next for the escrima sticks and their holsters. Strapping the holsters to his lower legs one at a time. Taking care to ensure his legs weren’t too constricted by the bindings before slipping the sticks into their places and fastening them in place.

Returning to his standing position he began looking around again. Echo had remained in a state of surveillance and silence which gave Alexi a bit of a sense of security. Ever since finding the little guy they developed a bond. If the machine was calm and felt all was well – then things usually were. Except when they weren’t. But that wasn’t too often. He then grabbed his duster, throwing it on and adjusting it over his outfit. The duster was another borrowed article of clothing he’d acquired. He had taken it off one of the desert rangers he came across in his travels. Regrettably the Ranger wouldn’t need it, he was sadly strewn to a tree with a knife through the neck. Thankfully no blood stained the coat. That would have given it not only carry a weight he didn’t need but a reputation he may be into the business of killing. Which he wasn’t. The coat was one of those long, medium weighted dusters. You know the ones everyone thinks about when they think of those horse riding, silly hat wearing men. The back of the coat under the collar had a zipper which contained a hood. Something which Alexi enjoyed having, allowed him the joy of hiding under it when he traveled. If people didn’t see too much of his face it allowed less interaction when he did come across other people.

Satisfied with how it sat on him, the man turned back to the tree he was previously resting against. He grabbed the satchel backpack and tossed it over a shoulder to rest at his side. Then played with the strap as well before opening it and checking. “Alright. Five bullets for the revolver, check. First aid kit, solar power charger for the phone, good. A small bag of money,” Hopefully it’d be enough where ever he went next. “and of course the bottle of scotch- good all there. Well mostly there. Scotch is half full, should look into refilling this before long, can’t run out of it like I did the rum.” He noted to himself as he resealed the pack and looked to the swords at his feet. The wooden one- a deep cherry red, his primarily choice if he had to fight and then the sheathed one. Not wooden but an actual sword- the weapon that signified a warrior willing to end life. Except this weapon could do no such thing. For it had no edges. The parts of the blade where sharpness and finely sharpened metal should be- instead was dulled. Inability to cut down another man, instead only capable of being hit senseless if struck with. Alexi had never actually drawn upon it for he had no wish to use it.

He grabbed his swords next. Placing the sheathed blade on his back and the wooded one he held in hand and resting it on his shoulder. Turning to Echo who still remained patiently for their friend.
“You ready to get goin?” Alexi asked reaching into his pocket. Grabbing the earbuds placing them in his ears, and then turning the phone on to pick a song. Smirking as it started up and replacing the phone in his jeans before trudging off followed in tow by the Robot. Echo could pick up the music emanating from the headphones and was swaying in the air to the beat gleefully whistling in tune to the song.

As they disappeared into the mist of the early morning that coated the woods, the remains of the campsite was disturbed. There was crunching of grass underfoot and the shuffling of clothing moving against the morning breeze. Stopping short of the now long dead fire, Alexi’s pursuer knelt down. Touching the kindling and felt warmth determining how long it had been out. Lifting it’s hand and smelling it, detecting what was burned and how much of the scent was simply ash and carbon. They opened their coat and took from inside of it’s confines what looked like a gun, but it was not one for bullets. No this one had another purpose, one of detection not harm.

The figure scanned the area, breathing in the surroundings silently. Their face timeless but obscured due to the hood they wore. Looking left to right before moving forward, crushing the carbon remains of the fire underfoot releasing embers into the air. They raised their arm outstretched toward the sky, aiming a device in their hand and pulled on it’s trigger. A plume of smoke came out around the barrel accompanied not by a bang, but a pop, into the air shot an emerald flare. Soaring high and arcing in the wind, as it faded from sight. The figure walked onward- in the opposite direction the flare fell. They knew that Alexi always traveled downwind to avoid being followed by wildlife made it simple to track him.

The flare caught Echo’s attention. Whirling around and making a loud alarmed series of beeps. The first few unheard by Alexi due to the music of his headphones. Finally some of the noise go through causing him to spin on his heel and saw the Emerald streaking through the sky, fear gripping his heart. Impossible he thought.

Echo, let’s go! Hurry!” He exclaimed and broke into a sprint with his companion hovering quickly behind him. How could he have been tracked so quickly? How did this happen, he was careful. No matter, all he had to do now- was survive and lose the Tracker, whoever- or whatever- they were.

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