“Are you sure we’re going in the right direction?” Keith had already asked this question three times, but he still wasn’t any more confident than the first time he asked.
“Patience, Keith. I know it doesn’t look like it, but I promise you, the GPS will lead us directly to the spot”, an exhausted Pete replied to his friend.
It had been two weeks exactly since Pete had gathered the group at his home to discuss his plans. Political tensions had only gotten worse since then. They met every day after that gathering data and materials that they wanted to preserve in Pete’s secret lair. Where that was they still had no idea.
The spot they were currently in was a desert area known as “The Oven”. And anybody who had ever spent any time there knew the reason for the name. As did the four friends currently on horseback following the GPS in the 120 degree heat. They were in search of a cave that Pete and Kasib found a week earlier.
Just then Kasib spoke up. “We were just here last week. We’re close. But you’re right, it’s not easy to find, and if I didn’t know that I was heading in the right direction, I would have given up hours ago. Which is kind of the point, don’t you think?”
This only got a shrug from Keith, which was as close to admitting they were right as they were going to get from him. The group continued on, with each leading a pack mule with supplies behind their horses. The group had spent hours studying aerial maps before finally deciding on a general area that they all agreed on. Then last week, Pete and Kasib made the first journey to this spot and marked it on their GPS device.
“Keith, when you see this place, you’ll see exactly why we picked it. It’s perfect for what we need it for”, said Pete.
“I’ll just be glad to see anything with shade. We gingers don’t do so good in the desert. We can’t all be so well tanned as Kasib.”
“Don’t be jealous Keith. Here, put on some more sunscreen. I think we’ve got some more SPF 500 left”, Kasim replied.
“Funny. I’m sure you feel right at home out here. Isn’t this just like the desert you grew up in?”
“Hilarious. I grew up three blocks from you.”
Keith stops and pretends to ponder this for a second. “Oh yeah. Now I remember. Tell your sister I said hey.”
“I told her last time I saw her. She didn’t remember you. Then I said, ‘You know, the pasty guy down the street that always creeped you out?’. Then she remembered. But sure, I’ll tell her you said hi again.”
Pete and Jane just rode ahead and tried not to laugh. The four friends had known each other for years, so giving each other a hard time was nothing new.
That’s why Pete chose these three to help him with his mission. For the past 20 years, he knew if he ever needed anything that he could count on the three people riding behind him. Besides, if he had asked anybody else, they would have just laughed at him and dismissed his crazy idea. As it was, he could tell his friends were skeptical as well. But they went along with him anyway because that’s what friends do.
Keith rode at the back of the pack, but still within earshot of Pete. “You know, you’re really going to owe us one after this. Dragging all this crap through the desert, and for what? You know as we speak, bombs are being dropped on that lunatics’ head. He’s not going to be a threat to the world for much longer.”
“I hope you’re right. And if you are, I’ll owe each of you big time. Keith, you’ll never have to buy another round again. How’s that?”
Keith rode on, wiping sweat from his face just for it to be replaced with more. “Please, don’t talk about beer right now. I’d drink it out of Kasibs’ boot if I had one.”
Just then the group turned the corner and Pete spotted what he was looking for. He jumped off his horse and tied the reins to a nearby shrub.
“Right there. I knew we had to be close. You see that opening guys?”
The rest of the group dismounted their horses, tied them up together and joined their friend.
Keith was the first to speak up. “Man, you guys weren’t lying. I would have just passed this spot up. There’s no way anyone will find this place.”
Kasib, who had scouted out the area with Pete a week earlier, agreed. “Yep. If Pete’s right, and the shit hits the fan, we are the only four people on earth that will be able to find this place. That is if we’re left on this earth.”
Jane shrugged off the last part. “Come on guys. How many times has the world been in this situation before? They’ll take this guy out, either through military action or his own people turning on him. They’re in as much danger as the rest of the world is.”
“Again, I hope I’m wrong. But my dad always said, ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst’. And this guy actually has legitimate allies now. There are major countries that depend on Marwan for their oil and gas supplies. And he knows it.”
Keith started unpacking his mule. “Alright, let’s get this over with. I don’t want to be stuck in the desert if these are going to be my last days on earth.”