Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Greg Keyes Read Free Book Online

Book: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Greg Keyes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Greg Keyes
not,” Malakai said. “I’m camping here.”
    “Why? Do you think they’ll come back?” He looked around, as if the thought disturbed him. “We can be back at camp in half an hour, and be back here before the sun rises to pick up the trail.”
    “I’m camping here,” Malakai repeated. “I don’t know this place, these woods. I need to become acquainted with them. And I may hear something useful. If there are hundreds of apes out here, they will surely make some noise. An orangutan call can travel a great distance, I’ve heard.”
    “We have listening posts all over,” Corbin said. “I’m not under orders to sleep out here, and we didn’t bring any camping gear.”
    “I don’t require company,” Malakai said, “or gear, although a blanket would be nice.”
    Corbin hesitated.
    “I’m not staying with you,” he said.
    “That’s fine,” Malakai replied. He stepped away from the man, and searched around a bit, looking for a suitable site.
    “I’ll be up there,” he said finally, pointing to a bit of high ground with a sheltered eastern side. With that, he began to climb.
    * * *
    He was gathering twigs to start a fire when he heard the Humvee arrive below, then leave. A few moments later he heard footsteps and looked down to see Clancy climbing the slope. She was carrying something in a bundle.
    “They had some rain ponchos in the back,” she said. “We can use them as blankets.”
    He nodded and continued gathering wood for the fire. Though he was determined not to show it, he was irritated. He had been looking forward to being alone with the night and his thoughts.
    When he didn’t say anything, Clancy began helping gather wood. When they had cleared a space around the little pile, he produced his lighter to start it, she coughed up a humorless chuckle.
    “Pretty sure this is illegal,” she said.
    “No doubt,” he replied. He watched as the little flame fed on the smallest twigs and moved out to the larger. Then he sat on a bare spot, and stared into the fire.
    Clancy sat directly across from him, but she wasn’t looking at him.
    “You think I’m an idiot,” she said, after a moment.
    He sighed.
    “I think you’re naïve,” he said.
    “I am that, obviously,” she said. “But I’d rather…” Suddenly she stopped.
    “Rather what?” he asked, regretting it the instant he spoke. He wanted her to
talking, not continue.
    She watched the fire for a moment.
    “I knew the chimp was dead when I saw its eyes,” she said, finally.
    “Sure,” Malakai replied. “It’s easy to see when the life is gone.”
    “It just seems to me,” she said, pausing, “your eyes are just like his.”
    He poked a stick into the fire and watched the sparks weave upward.
    “That’s quite poetic,” he told her.
    “How did you get to be like that?” she asked. “What happened to you?”
    “I was born,” he said.
    “I know there’s been a lot of war where you come from—”
    “Look, miss,” he said. “I’m here to do a particular job. I intend to do that, and nothing more. I am not an ethnographic subject for you to study. If you stayed here so that you could interview me, then you’ve made an error.”
    “I just thought—”
    “Think something else,” he said.
    The fire was going pretty well now. He started arrangingthe poncho. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Clancy spread hers and lie down. He lay on his back, staring up at the night. The clouds that had covered the heavens for much of the day were gone, and the stars were staring back at him. He remembered lying like this on Mount Virunga, with his uncle—so very long ago, it seemed. The constellations were different here, and Mount Tamalpais was hardly a mountain at all, so the feeling of familiarity was… surprising.
    “I didn’t,” Clancy said, her brittle voice breaking the stillness. “Didn’t come up here to interview you. I stayed to keep an eye on you. You know something the others don’t, and you haven’t

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