From the short story Archangel
No one was coming for them.
Lola realized that hard truth right about the time she carved the thirty-sixth notch into the metal plating of her left boot. One hundred and twenty-four days passed. 17.7142857143 weeks. She never liked math, but she didn’t need to be a statistician to know a rescue effort would have found them at least twelve weeks ago.
She smoothed her finger over the ding in the metal, a small burr digging into the skin and drawing blood. She watched the bright red bead drip into the sand, soaking it up until nothing remained but a small spot that would bake in the morning sun and blow away with the next swift wind.
“We’ve been here almost eighteen weeks.”
“Yes,” the assassin said.
Not looking up from the edge of her boot, the pilled metal would wear away on its own. Twenty-six days earlier, she dinged it much the same, though she hadn’t cut herself that time. Twenty-six days of walking, and mark number ninety-eight was little more than a thin, dust-encrusted notch. Most of the others weren’t even visible anymore. They were the thinnest of lines detailing unexpected survival, and sometimes she let herself believe she would expire when she could no longer see them.
“Eighteen weeks,” she sighed.
“And your point?”
“No one is coming.” Continue reading