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The truck crossed alone that immense road that passed between hills and fields, while it shuddered at every hole in its path. Even though it was cloudy, it was possible to see some rays of light crossing the evening sky, while some drops hit the vehicle's windshield. César kept his head leaning agaisnt the window, while Santos stared determinedly at the asphalt ahead.

"Back on the road, aren't you, César?" Said Santos with a sigh, in an almost sarcastic tone, trying to break the silence that had settled in the vehicle.

César paid no attention to his mate's speech.


"What?" The corporal quickly responded, taking his concentration off the horizon.

"Never mind."


"The place is at the 213 with which one again?"

"153." César replied, looking at the note in his hand.

"We're close." Santos said at last.

César turned his attention to the landscape. The smell seemed to be stuck in his nostrils and the screams seemed to echo in his mind, and all of it made his empty stomach churn. The corporal took a deep breath, refocusing on the mountains that stretched across the horizon.

"This must be it." Santos said, slowing the vehicle down.

"Yeah. Looks like it." Agreed César, taking his pistol from the glove compartment and a crowbar from beside him.

Santos stopped the vehicle in an empty courtyard, beside the fence that surrounded the compound.

"Here is good." Santos said, getting out of the truck. "Come on César, I don't want to catch this rain."

The men left the vehicle, entering the area and making their way along the narrow paths that ran through the compound, following the large white numbers painted above the doors of each warehouse, until they reached the location noted.

"C-05… C-06… 07… here." César said, pointing to the metal door in front of him.

"Alright. One second, I'll…"

Santos kicked the door once, unsuccessful.

"Fuck. I thought this was easier. César, give it a try, I'll see if there's a window in the back or something."

César tried to use the crowbar to open the door, but was unsuccessful.

"César!" Exlaimed Santos, from the back of the small warehouse. "Come here!"

The corporal walked around the structure until he found his mate, who was crouched down watching a padlock on the floor.

"I think it's easier through here."

César took the crowbar, placed one end in the center of the padlock, and broke the object, allowing the two soldiers to enter the structure.

"Good." Said Santos. "Come on, give me a hand."

The two soldiers grabbed the base of the retractable door, lifting it without much effort. Opening the gate, the men entered the warehouse, finding two wooden crates and a body on the ground on the first floor.

"What the fuck is that?" Asked Santos.

"I'll take a look, go check the boxes." César said, addressing the body, his pistol in hand.

Approaching, César was able to confirm. "Dead." He thought, seeing a cloud of flies fly from the corpse's face, which was completely disfigured. "Someone really didn't like this guy." Turning to Santos, the corporal saw that his mate had found some documents.

"What's up?" Asked César, putting away his pistol.

"I think this is it." Santos replied. "Let's go, I don't this this place is definitive. Help me here."

The two men grabbed the biggest box first, leaving the warehouse and heading back to the truck, below the drizzle that was starting to pick up.

Cesar closed the truck door, settling into his seat, ready to sleep on the return journey, but the cold and the sound of rain derailed his plans.

"Hey, Santos." Said César sleepily. "What's in the boxes?"

"Well, I dunno. I didn't open." Santos replied.

"But didn't you read their papers?"

"Oh yes, but it just said something like 'carpet' and 'lance'. It was actually a table, with codes, prices and everything else."

"Got it… Are you going to pass by the plant?"

"Better, going around has more curves, and you know this truck doesn't like a wet ground."

"Yeah, I remember last time."

Darkness was beginning to take over the road, while the rain made it even more difficult for the driver to see. Santos began to drive the vehicle more slowly, while closing his eyes to avoid an accident.

"You know what I hate the most about this shit?" Asked Santos.


"The lack of streetlights. How does anyone manage to drive at night in this?"

"Matias said at lunch that Costa e Silva was wanting to light up the roads."

"It must be a lie, they said that Castelo would do the same thing."

"Good thing you're the one who's driving, it doesn't matter to me." César said, giving a slight laugh.

"Oh, fuck you, César."

"Hey, Santos?"


"Has this car been behind us for a while?"

Santos looked in the rearview mirror. "I think so. Why?"

"I dunno, but we went through a couple of towns, and we're pretty slow. Why don't they just pass us?"

Santos banged the horn hard. "Hey!" Santos exclaimed, turning his face to the open vehicle window. "Go ahead!"

No response or reaction from the car.

"What the fuck…" Santos honked again, sticking part of his head out of the window. "Hey! Can you hear me? I said…"

A sudden shot hit the rearview mirror, just below the soldier's head.

"Son of a bitch!" Shouted Santos, getting back into the truck and slamming his foot on the gas. "Cesar, fucking help me!"

César pulled his pistol out of the glove compartment and turned back, trying to hit the vehicle through the small window in the back of the truck's cab. The corporal fired three shots, but only one hit the car, in one of the headlights.

"Reliquary?" Asked César.

"Of course it is!" Santos replied.

"Holy shit. Did you bring the rifle?"

"What do you think?"

"Good, you idiot."

Another shot from the car hit the back of the truck.

"I don't have any magazines left, Santos."

"Fuck, we're almost there in Canedo, just scare them a little more."

"Santos, the barracks is miles away, how does Canedo help us?"

"The factory."

The car began to accelerate, trying to get to the side of the truck, while three more shots were fired at the soldiers.

"Cut them off, Santos!"

Santos turned the vehicle, managing to keep the car behind him. César got up again, firing twice more, still not hitting his targets.

"Here!" Exclaimed Santos, making the curve in a street that went around the town. "We're almost there, unload everything on them!"

César fired the last two times at the car, seeing that his last shot hit the windshield, perhaps hitting the passenger, but given the darkness it was impossible to confirm. The only thing the corporal was sure of was that the vehicle was slowing down as the streetlights began to light the way. Seeing the car turn onto a street leading into the city, César sat back down, breathing a sigh of relief.

"Did they go away?" Asked Santos.

"Yes." César replied, panting. "How far?"

"I think it's just ahead."

Santos stopped the truck in front of the gate of the fence that surrounded the lot, honking four times. Quickly a soldier came out of the factory's main door, running in the rain to open the gate.

"How do you know about this place?" Asked César;

"I drove Osório here once."

"I see…"

"So, what do we have here?" Said the sergeant, with the name 'Borges' stamped on his uniform.

"Cargo recovery, sir." Said Santos.

"What about these holes in the truck?"

"Reliquary, sir." Answered César.

"Alright… Which battalion are you from?"

"58th Motorized Infantry, sir." Said Santos.

"Oh, close to high-ranking, isn't it?"

"I think so, sir."

"Well, we have people who can do the analysis here, and we can send you and the whole truck there, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow. We need some time to start the machine and my men here have gone to bed, so in the morning we sort it out. Oh, we don't have any spare beds, will you be okay?"

"Yes sir, we can stay in the truck anyway."

"Well, that's great then. I'll make a report right away. Mateus!" Said the sergeant to a soldier nearby. "Take the boxes downstairs. You two, dismissed." He finished, turning his back to the soldiers and heading for the structure's main stairs.

César and his mate settled into the cab of the truck, laying down their seats.



"When we get back, do you want to change posts?"

"Cleaning? Or guarding?"

"Guarding of course, for God's sake."


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