Davis kicked the generator hooked up to the trommel in frustration and wiped the rain from his face. If only Justin’s grandpa had upgraded equipment at some point in this century. Maybe then they wouldn’t spend so much time fixing, and more time actually mining. This heap of junk was probably older than Davis’s aunt and uncle.
He stomped toward camp, his boots squishing with each step. He’d woken to the soft drizzle tapping on his canvas tent roof. Hoping for a few days break from the wet wasn’t going to happen. Justin kept saying that the rain was abnormal. Supposedly, most summers in the Interior burned warm, if not hot, reaching into the eighties and nineties. Davis was beginning to think Justin was full of it.
As Davis passed the trail leading out of camp, he slowed and gazed down the dirt path. Justin should have been back. He’d left over an hour ago and hadn’t planned to chitchat. Davis hurried the rest of the way to the cabin and wiped his feet on the plastic rug on the stoop. If Justin didn’t return in fifteen, Davis would head over to see what the holdup was.
All morning, anxiety had crawled like ants along his body. He couldn’t explain it, but he’d learned in the military not to ignore the feeling. Before Justin left, Davis had asked again if he should go. Now he wished he would have insisted.
He searched the room for the toolbox, his tension morphing to aggravation when he couldn’t find it. “Can’t anything here be where it’s supposed to be?”
The tap of the drizzle on the metal roofing was his only answer. Growling low, he marched back out the door. When he kicked an empty milk crate across the yard to release his anger, his foot slipped on the slick ground, sending him sprawling. Cold mud soaked through his pants and covered his face.
He wanted to roar at the world pitted against him, but it wouldn’t do any good. He could either continue to throw a tantrum like a toddler, or he could pull himself together and get back to work. Blowing out a deep breath, he pushed his hands into the squishy mud and got to his knees.
“Okay. You win.” He sat back on his heels and lifted his head to the rain.
Its refreshing cold splashed upon his eyelids and tracked through the beard he’d let grow since arriving. He huffed out the last of his frustration. Maybe Justin was taking so long because he was working things out. Davis didn’t always have to jump to the worst-case scenario. Just because he saw potential treachery around every corner didn’t mean there actually was.
He eased up to his feet. His muscles weighed a thousand pounds as he trudged to his tent to change. All this worry couldn’t be good for him. He hardly slept, got heartburn every time he ate, and headaches pounded almost every day. Maybe he should talk to someone about what had happened. Justin had been in the military and would understand.
Could Davis open up, though?
Confess how his gullibility killed honorable men and left him to live with the guilt?
He swallowed down the burn of regret and pushed the flap to his wall tent open. Heat from the fire he’d lit that morning in the tiny barrel stove warmed his chilled skin. While the living area was small, it worked. He had enough space for a cot with a large tote pushed against the foot for his gear, a one-person table he’d thrown together with scrap wood, a chair, and about four feet of walking room.
He stripped off his coat and draped it over the back of his chair. The toolbox he’d thrown a fit over sat on the table with the four wheeler carburetor he’d been working on the day before. He puffed a laugh and yanked off his wet shirt. Talking needed to be on the top of his list, because he was obviously losing his mind.