The Jungle


Agent 47 disliked the jungle. It was hot, humid, dangerous, and tiny bugs flew nonstop in front of his eyes. Bald, blue-eyed, and built like a bouncer, 47 did his best not to thrash his way through the sticky, prickly undergrowth between him and his target. He’d had to infiltrate the pacific island on the far side via the sea, then trek his way through twenty miles of untamed jungle to reach the compound on the opposite side. Landing anywhere near the compound would have set off alarms. The jungle was less guarded, because what sort of idiot would hike through the heavy foliage under the watchful eyes of predators that lurked in the branches?

Agent 47 started to think he was, indeed, an idiot, as another tiny gnat tried to drink from his eyeball. He was much better suited to urban environments. He knew, however, the jungle was the best entry point, and so he trekked on, stopping occasionally for a sip of water from his soft canteen and to reacquire his bearings. Orienteering had becoming much easier with the invention of satellite GPS.

Cypress, tree ferns, bamboos, palms, and a variety of island pines interwove a canopy that blocked the sun and created a humid, damp environment beneath. Native birds chipped and sang, and leaves rustled as animals skittered between branches. Dressed in dark green and black camouflage, including a boonie hat, Agent 47 sweated as he maneuvered past a fallen cypress tree. He tried to leave as little evidence of his traversal as possible, avoiding the use of a machete to make a path.

He reached the edge of the compound shortly before nightfall, as he’d planned. He scaled a palm that arched over the moss grown adobe fence and surveyed the area through a spotting scope. A manicured garden with a gazebo and a few unlit outbuildings separated him from the white adobe mansion that sat on an outcropping of rock over the sea. He spotted a handful of armed guards roaming the garden and positioned at the mansion. He tapped the radio at his ear. “I’m at the compound.”

Diana Burnwood’s voice spoke crisply in reply. “Excellent, 47. Our information indicates that the target enjoys a game of billiards before repairing to a late meal in the dining room. It is also known that, on occasion, he shall take a dip in his indoor pool when the weather is hot. I shall leave it to you, 47. Contact me upon completion of the mission. Good luck.”

A brown tree snake slithered past Agent 47 on the fence. A startled frog leapt into a man-made pond below. Agent 47 silenced the radio and stowed his scope. Darkness settled around him, along with the oppressive, cloying heat. He batted once more at the gnats before jumping down into the garden.

He may dislike the jungle, but it was less deadly than what lay ahead.