A few nights earlier:
Several stories up in the ruined office building near their camp, Jeb watched the sunset, chewing a piece of beef jerky he’d made from a deer he’d hunted down in the summer. First time bow hunting since being back home. The batch was almost halfway done already, and the harsh winter was only hinting at its arrival.
There was not enough food in the city. Again he wondered what the hell they were doing here, killing for cruel greedy men. He’d idly scanned the surroundings through his gunsights earlier, drawing a bead for a while on Vedder. Meaner ‘n a grizz, that one. ‘Boom’, he murmured. With a sniper rifle and a suppressor, perhaps the temptation would have been too strong.
Silent, he watched the slow progression of the horizon into a faded hazy blue, with layer after layer fading away. The pale blue wash flowed toward the city as the fire faded from the sky. A ribbed twist of clouds formed a spear above the ridges far to the south west. Now the same faded blue as the land below, their undersides were brought to violet gold in the last moments of the day. The air was cooling fast and the ruined land below stretched quietly into the oncoming blue infinity.
Suddenly angry, Jeb swallowed the last of his jerky and withdrew from his vantage point silently to begin clambering down through the rebar and rubble. The soft beauty had reminded him of home for a moment, but this place made a mockery of beauty.