Rainier Night
rating: +21+x

It was raining hard out by Site 84, a torrential downpour. It always seemed to rain out by Mount Rainier and in the Pacific Northwest, but it was especially bad tonight. The radio had crackled earlier with news of a flood warning in the park, and it just looked like that might be the case.

There were only two Foundation personnel within the Site itself, the usual number. Calling it a Site was a bit of a misnomer, as it was hardly more than a well furnished and modern cabin in the woods. Only contained one anomaly, after all.

"How long does it take for him to show up?"

"You're getting impatient."

"I've been out here, sitting in this shack for three weeks. I was told that he popped in frequently, but I haven't seen him once."

"I've been working this job almost ten years. He shows up when he wants to, on his time. Not yours, not anybody else. He's been out for months sometimes."

"Months? I could be waiting months more?"

"Relax kid, just enjoy it. This is one of the cushiest assignments in the Foundation. Sit back in a nice little cabin, collect a body every so often, and ship it off to another site if it's different. Nothing too difficult."

A flash of light flooded into the cabin. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. The crack of thunder echoed in, interrupting the conversation for a moment. Only a mile away. Probably struck somewhere in the park itself.

"I didn't sit through task force level training for this!"

"I used to be a Site Director, did you know that?"

The older man got up and turned away from the windows looking out into the rain. He walked over to the fireplace and adjusted the flames. He grabbed another log and placed it among the others, waiting for it to catch fire.

"No shit, where?"

"Site-64, down in Portland."

"That's a big one. How'd you wind up here, then?"

"This is my retirement, kid. I got tired of the business of the Director life, and I turned in my two weeks. I had two options - amnestics or a cushy job."

"Didn't want amnestics?"

"I know where amnestics come from. It's not pretty."

A soft alarm began to ring out from the computers on the far wall of the cabin. Both of the men turned to look. Passing between the monitors was a tall, pale figure with a body slung over his back. He was not dressed for the rain but trudged onward.

"There he is."

The two walked over to the monitors and watched the ritual procedure. The hunter threw his dead wife into the fire pit and then poured out a bottle of whiskey. He stopped towards the end and finished the bottle off before tossing a lighter into the fire pit.

The body caught fire, where so many others like it had burned. The stranger watched, as he had done hundreds of times before until he got tired of the flames. A knife was pulled out of his robes, and a mark was made upon the ground. With his task accomplished, the figure left the scene.

"Go and get the corpse."

"In this weather?"

"We need to collect the corpse before it burns completely. I'd get moving if I were you."

The younger man grabbed his raincoat and braced himself for the storm he would face outside. He rushed out into the deluge, running along the muddy path that connected Site 84 to the fire pit. It was a path he had walked before, but only for practice, never for the real.

He made it to the path after a few minutes and grabbed the water bucket. The rain had already filled the bucket to the brim, negating the need to use the well. He tossed the water onto the corpse and climbed down into the pit to pull it out.

His radio crackled, a message coming from his superior. The rain was messing with the signal, however, and he could only hear bits and pieces.

"Hey … in. He's … going … coming …"

"What's that? Can't hear."

"Get … back to site …"

"Yep, as soon as I get the body."

The younger lifted the body onto his shoulders and rose from the fire pit. As he emerged from the ground, the bleeding albino stepped from the tree line. The two froze, staring at each other. The entity opened his mouth and croaked.

"I thought there were people getting her. I don't really care, I'm just here for my knife."

The agent didn't respond. The entity leaned down and picked up the knife he had left on the ground. He turned a little and displayed the weapon to the other man.

"It's a good knife."

The younger man kept his eyes trained on the anomaly as it returned into the woods, and then for five minutes after. Only when he was certain he was safe did he march back through the dark and stormy night.

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