Nate began to move again as the man stood stock still. Despite the oppressive heat, a cold chill ran through his body and he shivered. Nate was moving quickly now, the distance between them closing, less than half a kilometre now. Suddenly, the man turned and stepped back inside re-emerging seconds later with his backpack. The man crouched down in front of the Station and Nate was certain he had placed something down on the ground. Just as suddenly, he was up again, on his feet and walking away from the Station, making his way out across the plain. Nate could see clearly that there was a rifle slung across his shoulder.
Covering the last stretch, Nate watches the man as he walks, his departing back. As he draws closer, Nate glances across at the spot where the man placed something. He can’t see it, not yet, but he is sure that he wasn’t mistaken. The man left something for him, a message of some kind or a warning perhaps.
At last, he gets close enough and recognises it immediately. Nate smiled; it is an apple – not what he had been expecting. Bending, he grabs at it and pushes through the doorway and into the cool of the Station. Letting his backpack drop to the ground, he stretches and groans. It felt good to get out of the searing sun and he is tempted to sit and rest for a while. But he can’t – he has to follow the stranger.