AJ took in his surroundings with a practiced eye. This clearing, this view were familiar, but he never took his safety for granted. Too many of Anthony's underlings knew where it was, and with so much competition to prove themselves and move up the ranks, an attack on even someone as powerful as he was not out of the realm of possibilities.
The wind bent the grasses, bowing them toward the west. A woodpecker's staccato search for insects vibrated through the air. Leaves whispered to each other. The undergrowth dampened any harshness, making the afternoon in the woods seem peaceful. Assuring himself he was alone, AJ started forward into the clearing, carefully picking his way around bunches of daisies.
A crackle of dead leaves. A sudden report from a breaking branch. AJ flattened himself to the ground. Not alone.