He was sick. Something vague, but growing. He had nearly always been sick. Not as a baby, but by three he had real trouble breathing. Oxygen tents and concerned people. The lung difficulty stayed with him as an adult, until he stopped eating certain foods. Innocent breads and cakes delivered the allergy. Poor breathing eventually gave way to other diseases, other injuries, but he didn’t mind so much. Everyone was hurt around him, a constantly changing hospital or sometimes a morgue was there, just outside his door. Illness and death were part of his lifestyle away from home.
It was 5:00 in the morning. He was just waking in the partly destroyed trading post. He could imagine the Englishman behind the counter, barking at the tribesmen. The driver and vehicle were both asleep. He looked at the dead fire. He felt safe. No one would kill you this early. The coldness of the earth and the growing light of the horizon would not allow it. Certainly, someone would shoot you in the mid-morning or better, the afternoon, but just before the sun rose was forbidden.
It was as if the thin light of the horizon had an informal understanding with those who chose to arise early and admire the new day. Doom was suspended for a bit to allow the feeling of peace and hope that only the glow of dawn could give.
He shook himself like a dog or horse and walked through a hole in the broken building. A short distance away was a ridge that offered a view. He sat and leaned against a stricken acacia tree and took a swig of water from his canteen. This was his breakfast and within a few minutes he would awaken the driver. The savannah was infinite in all directions. An ocean of thorny trees, dry grass, and ravines. The road to the border entered his mind, a good two days away, and he wondered about the journey. Roads and borders were a few lines of coincidence and luck cutting his body.
The dawn, the driver, the road, and the border were so much better than what was in the past. Instead of clocks and fake smiles, he marked his time with check points and signed papers from commanders and other killers who wore suits.
Everything was uprooted and he loved it so, for very odd and personal reasons.