The next prompt response. Not sure if the rabbit hole is hopeless, but definitely not a happy place.
She made her way out of the coffee shop and towards her checkpoint without really being aware of the world around her, which could have gotten her killed. If her sergeant had seen her, she would have found herself flat on her ass and a reprimand on her record. She turned the corner into a side alley and made her way to a dumpster in the dark back corner. Quickly, two fast pounds, three slow. The dumpster swung aside, and a man with an automatic rifle stepped out.
She came to attention and barked, “Private Melody Sharp reporting to base from assignment.”
“Produce your id!” the soldier commanded as his gun barrel came to point at her.
Melody slowly lifted up her hair and showed him the small tattoo of a boar’s head on the back of her neck right under the hairline. The guard glanced at it then stepped aside. “ENTER!” As she walked passed him, he whispered, “Well done, Sharp,” and winked.
Her nose twitched, but she did not smile. As the dumpster closed to cover the opening, all light was gone. She pulled a flashlight from her pack and used its beam to light her path down the slight slope in front of her. As she went, it became lighter until she could put the flashlight away. At the bottom was what use to be a basement to the old hotel above. Melody opened a curtain of canvass to reveal military headquarters circa the Korean War. Something out of MASH, the soldiers often joked. Without the still, sadly.
As she entered the people in the room looked up. There was a brief pause, and they all started applauding and cheering. Melody stopped, frozen. After a moment she decided to yet again come to attention and salute, covering her eyes with the palm of her hand than sharply moving it out and to her side.
One man in old khakis and worn boots stepped forward. Melody stood straighter. “Well done, Private, well done. That was the biggest takedown we have ever accomplished. When the rest of the troop arrives, we will debrief.”
“I am the first back, sir?”
“Sir, I need to debrief now. You need to be aware of something.” Melody came out of attention long enough to flip the card from her pocket.
He glanced at it, then at her. “In my office.” Melody followed him to the far corner that had been curtained off. Inside, Melody succinctly reported her encounter.
“And you have no idea who he was?”
She shook her head. “No, sir, but I don’t think he’s an ally. I think he’s trouble.”
“Well that depends on your prospective,” a voice from behind her said. Melody whirled, and her general looked up. The man from the cafe was standing there. This time Melody was ready. As she whirled, she pulled a pistol from behind her coat. Within a heartbeat the tip was at the man’s temple.