the smuggler’s bible

White Ratchet

White Ratchet’s convoy limps into the ravine just before dusk. Three crawlers move under their own power, and a fourth is dragged behind with thick cables. They circle the wagons as closely as they can against the steep rock walls, putting the wounded in the middle to keep the wind off.

Out on the flats, lights pin-prick the falling darkness—Antlion fires. White Ratchet spends the night alone, staring at the desert with a rifle in his lap. The breeze carries the scent of creosote down out of the hills. It smells like rain, he thinks.

Just like fresh rain.