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The Kid
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Thread: The Kid

  1. #1

    The Kid

    This is a little something I started a few weeks ago. I still don't know if I'll add to it or not. It can stand on it's own, I think, or it can also be the start of a larger story. Either way, I decided to share it with you guys.

    Happy Holidays!

    Bad


    **********

    They were finished.

    No one wanted to admit it, and certainly no one would say it, for fear of someone agreeing with them, but deep down, they all knew it was so. This was the end.

    They had made a valiant effort, at least that’s what they told themselves. Things had gone to hell in a hurry after the collapse. Thousands had died in the span of minutes when the riot started. Memphis had been a cauldron of boiling anger and resentment, and the realization that the ‘dole’ days were gone had sent many of those dependent on welfare as a way of life into a frenzy of violence and looting.

    The electricity was off after the second day, forcing many to seek alternate ways to survive. Winter was early this year for the first time in two decades. Any other time, the prospect of a white Christmas would have excited everyone. But not when you’re living outdoors, with little other than the clothes on your back, and nothing much to eat.

    The last minute grabbing of food, clothes and other supplies had included too many heirlooms, antiques, and valuables that were no longer that valuable. When you’re hungry, the only thing of real value is food. When you’re cold and wet, warm, dry clothing became worth more than gold. A fire starter that would work without fluid worth more than that collectible Zippo lighter.

    Realizing too late that no one was really working to contain the rioting crowds, the residents of Maple Tree, an upper class property development, were forced to flee just minutes ahead of the descending mobs. Their vehicles were long since abandoned for lack of fuel. They had walked for miles in the cold and snow, covering only eleven miles in three days. The last day with no food, and melted snow for drinking water. The group was pitifully unprepared for what had happened, for the situation they now found themselves in.

    Jared Thomas was trying to keep watch for the group as he shivered in his light jacket. It was stylish, and rather expensive, but did nothing to help fight off sub freezing temperatures, especially once it was water logged with falling snow. As he watched for trouble, others tried vainly to get a fire started with the wet dead fall they found around the stand of trees they had taken shelter in.

    By Thomas’ estimation they had traveled a grand total of seventy miles since leaving Memphis, headed east. That would put them near Jackson, Tennessee, a good sized town along I-40, midway between Memphis and Nashville. He didn’t expect Jackson, which had been crime and violence ridden before the collapse, to be any better than Memphis. Nor did
    he expect any help there, either.

    Their one radio had been on an MP3 player brought along by a teenager, and had long since gone silent, the battery drained by constant use. No one thought to ration how they used it, instead wanting the constant updates they were accustomed to before the collapse. Now, they knew nothing, except cold, and hunger, and desperation.

    They knew from harsh experience that almost every road was occupied with roving gangs, searching for food and victims on which to vent their anger. Their presence had forced the group into the woods where they were now, lost and afraid. They had no way to defend themselves, none of them having owned a gun, or ever imagining a world where they’d need one. Everyone was regretting that decision, now.

    Thomas was startled from his reverie by movement in the snow. He strained to make out the approaching shape, and realized with a start it was a man.

    “Someone’s coming,” he announced. The group stopped whatever they were doing and hurried to where Thomas’ was standing. Gradually the man became more visible, walking toward them with purpose, something across his shoulder. Thomas was shocked to see it was a small deer.

    The ‘man’ turned out to be a teenage boy, Thomas thought. As he arrived, the teen merely dumped the deer on the ground, and looked at the assembled group.

    He was tall, Thomas noted, with what looked like sandy blonde hair peeking out from under a floppy hat combined with toboggan. Piercing blue eyes seemed to pin the group in place. The bulk of his leather coat hid the boy’s build, but his strength was apparent, considering the ease with which he’d carried the deer.

    Thomas looked at the deer, noting how blood had stained the snow covered ground. The deer had been gutted.

    The teen looked at them for less than a minute, eyes sweeping the group, appearing to take in everything about them in the time. Then he was moving again, walking into the trees. Without a word, he began to pull smaller trees in the circle down, and tie the tops together. In less than five minutes he had formed a crude hut of small cedar trees, occasionally hacking limbs off with a small hatchet. These limbs he tossed into the center of the hut.

    With the hut formed, the boy gathered the branches he had cut, and used one of them to sweep the snow from the inside, taking the wet leaves with it. No one in the group moved to assist him, not knowing what to do, or what he was doing. Once the inside was clear, the teen carefully placed the branches into a small pile in the center.

    Removing a small medicine bottle from one of several pouches on his belt, he removed what looked like a damp wad of cotton and placed in under the branches. He next removed a fire starter, raking shavings from it onto the cotton, and then struck the flint. Sparks flew from it, and the cotton and magnesium flared to life.

    The teen, who had still not spoken a word, worked carefully for several minutes, feeding twigs and cedar and pine needles to the fire as the wood began to catch. The group looked on in silence as the fire grew. The teen looked up at them, and motioned for them to join him in the hut. The group moved as one, beckoned by the warmth of the fire.

    The teen slipped away, and Thomas heard the hatchet again. Minutes later, he could see pine branches being slipped into the walls of the hut, shutting off the cold air still coming in between the trees and their branches. Thomas looked longingly at the fire, wanting nothing more than to be warm, then slipped outside to help. He watched the boy for a minute, learning what he could, then hesitantly picked up one of the branches, and began weaving it into the hut’s wall.

    He finished, and stood back to look at his handiwork.

    The boy examined it for a second, then nodded approvingly before going back to work. For some reason, the teen’s approval was important to Thomas. He hurriedly went back to work. The sooner he was finished, he figured, the sooner he could enjoy that fire.

    Working steadily, he was surprised when they were suddenly finished. The teen pointed to the hut, motioning for Thomas to go inside, which he did, gratefully. He watched as the teen took a knife and began to fashion something out of a set of branches he had set aside. Shaking his head, Thomas went inside, where the others were gathered around the fire, still shivering.

    He was pleasantly surprised to find that the hut was much warmer. The ground was even somewhat drier, with the heat from the fire working to dry not only the inside of the hut, but the clothes on their backs.

    Five minutes later the mysterious teen entered the hut with an armload of cut wood, which he carefully added to the fire. Gradually the fire grew, and the teen left the hut again, returning with the deer, now skinned and run through with a heavy branch that the bark had been stripped from. He carried two other branches in his other hand that formed a Y shape. He motioned for Thomas to help, and handed him one of the Y branches. Thomas took it and stood opposite the teen across the fire. Between the two of them, they managed to hang the deer, using the Y branches to suspend the deer over the fire.

    The boy looked at Thomas, then reached down and slowly turned the deer a quarter turn. He waited five minutes, then turned it again. Thomas nodded his understanding, and stood by the stick. Reaching into a shoulder bag, the teenager produced a butcher’s knife, which he handed to Thomas, still without a word.

    The teen looked at the group, shaking his head in silent resignation. Waving to Thomas, he stepped outside of the hut, and disappeared into the snow, never having spoken a word. Thomas watched him leave, feeling lost once again.

    Then he turned the deer.
    Follow me to http://badkarma00.wordpress.com/ for all my craziness
    So say we all. . . .
    "If you value your lives, be somewhere else." Ambassador Delenn.

  2. #2
    That is either a great start or a good little story on its own.
    Thanks!

  3. #3
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    Cool tale. Works good as stand alone or as a beginning.

  4. #4
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    Thank you Bk!

    The greedy story reader in me wants to scream "Moar!! Moar!!"

    While the part that stands in awe of such talent says, "Wow, this is perfect exactly like it is."
    Visit me on Etsy: ModernMaille

  5. #5
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    Very nice please contunie
    I've got my duck taped now what???
    God Bless
    MawMaw

  6. #6
    Bad very good start, we need you to continue as this looks to have great possibilities, with the kid and/or Thomas

  7. #7
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    Kind of had chills when I read your story. I was talking with a friend of mine last night. She is recently widowed and living by herself in a big house in one of those upscale towns outside of Memphis. She has been pampered all of her life and even though she get's it, she is totally inept. She figures if SHTF, intercity Memphis will be heading down the highway straight to her house.

  8. #8
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    Great short story thank you, and yes it would also be a great beginning to a longer one .

  9. #9
    Thanks for posting this. It's a great little story. If you ever wrote more to surround it, I'd love to read it.

  10. #10
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    MOAR???

    1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer

    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.


  11. #11
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    Very good. I vote for more but appreciate it as it is.

  12. #12
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    Wow! BK I think you have another winner started here.

    If you would, please continue this... It helps bring to the 'front' the wilderness survival possibilities.

  13. #13
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    Excellent on its own! However, I sure would like to read more of this!
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  14. #14
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    Good as stand alone. Let each one fill in those what if details. I liked the simplicity of the action without commentary, but like others, I'll take more if you give it to me.

    Rabbit, your comment about your friend would make a great story of its own too.
    How many miles to Galt's Gulch?

  15. #15
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    Outstanding story BK! Its great as is , but would make a great longer story also. If you write it we will read it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  16. #16
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    I always love your stories! Please write more!!! ;-)
    I didn't really bounce Eeyore. I had a cough, and I happened to be behind Eeyore, and I said "Grrrr-oppp-ptschschschz."

  17. #17
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    Oh come on now Bad your really teasing us when you said maybe no more right?
    "Never let a dog watch your food or the government watch your money."
    – Barry M. Goldwater, Jr

  18. #18
    I'm glad you guys enjoyed this. It was an idea I had, and I'm still sketching it a little hoping to make a full story of it. When I started it I didn't really know if it was something I could make a full story out of, but I've had a few ideas since then that I think will work, so we'll see.

    Thanks for your feedback too. I'll try to have something else on this soon.


    Bad
    Follow me to http://badkarma00.wordpress.com/ for all my craziness
    So say we all. . . .
    "If you value your lives, be somewhere else." Ambassador Delenn.

  19. #19
    Nice story,
    Be nice to see where you go with it!

    Jeepcats3

  20. #20
    Bad it's good to be reading your writing again, you have my vote to continue it's looks like the start of of another great story.
    Wayne

  21. #21
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    Goodie! Another great tale from Bad! Love your writing, this is well done ~ Hope you can expand this, there is a lot yet to tell!
    Thank you!!!
    All that is gold does not glitter....

  22. #22
    Chapter Two


    Jared stirred from his spot beside his girlfriend, realizing that it was cold inside the little hut. He looked hastily at the fire, fearing it had gone out. No, it was still burning, but it was very low.

    He moved carefully, not wanting to disturb Pam. She moved slightly, missing the warmth of him lying next to her. He put his jacket over her, hoping it would help keep her warm, and then moved to the fire. Everyone else was sleeping, including Mitchell Willis, who was supposed to be on fire watch, making sure the fire stayed burning.

    Jared’s nostril’s flared slightly in anger, but then he relaxed. He really couldn’t blame the man. Everyone had been exhausted yesterday, and having full bellies for the first time in what seemed forever had made everyone sleepy. Shaking his head at the thought, he started working on the fire.

    They had to get away from that kind of thinking. Letting that fire go out could mean their death. If their silent savior hadn’t come along when he had, many of them would have frozen to death last night, and the rest would be hungry this morning.

    Thinking about the boy from the day before, Jared wondered what his story was. He hadn’t spoken a word yesterday, despite the time he’d spent here. No one in the group, including Jared himself, had tried to make the stranger speak to them, either from fear, or just plain gratitude.

    Jared hoped the teen would return, if for no other reason than to allow them to show some appreciation for what he’d done for them yesterday.

    The fire started rising finally, flames crawling steadily higher. Jared looked around, locating their one cooking pot. Taking the pan, he stepped outside intending to gather some clean snow to melt for drinking water. As he stepped into the cold, he shivered. He didn’t intend to be out here long, but even stepping out was a shock to the system. It was cold this morning. Much colder than previous mornings, for sure.

    He had taken several steps when he realized that the mysterious teen was sitting on a log ten feet from the crude hut. Jared stopped short, his heart hammering for a second before he realized who it was. The other man was looking directly at him, those piercing blue eyes almost glowing in the dim light of early dawn.

    “Morning,” Jared nodded tentatively. A return nod was all he got, but the boy raised his arm and pointed back toward the hut. Jared followed the gesture, and his eyes came to rest on a bundle beside the entrance to their shelter. He looked back at the visitor, who made a hand motion indicating Jared should take a look. He walked over and opened the duffel.

    Inside he found a half-dozen blankets, a cast iron skillet, several cans of assorted vegetables, ten cups of various sizes, and a still frozen chicken, along with salt, pepper, and a few other spices, and three packages of egg noodles.

    His face a mask of delight and disbelief, he turned to. . . .

    Nothing. The teen was gone again. Jared looked around frantically, but the boy was nowhere to be seen. Shaking his head in wonder, Jared moved quickly to fill the pot with snow, then picked up the duffle and carried it and the pot back inside. He pulled the blankets from the duffel, and immediately put one over Pam’s slight frame. He moved quietly and carefully through the hut, covering all the women and children in the small group with the blankets.

    With that done, he looked into the duffle again, and saw that he had missed a few things in his quick perusal from earlier. There was a small stock pot, lacking a lid, along with a ladle, and four bowls. A half dozen spoons and two forks where inside the pot. And in the bottom was a small hand axe and a fire starter.

    Jared breathed finally, unaware he’d been holding his breath. Retrieving his jacket, he took the axe and stepped back outside. Donning a pair of gloves he’d found under the axe, he set out to cut more wood. Wondering all the time about their mysterious benefactor.


    **********


    “We have to talk,” Jared announced to the group as they all enjoyed the chicken noodle soup. Six women, one of them a teenager, Five men, two girls and three boys. Plus him.

    I don’t want to be in charge, he told himself. But someone needed to point out the problems, and no one else was stepping up.

    “We have to get some organization, here,” he said firmly. “Gerald, you fell asleep on fire watch. In all fairness, we were all exhausted, and had eaten for the first time in two days, but it can’t happen again. Not for any of us. If we all go fast asleep, we’re in danger.”

    “As tired as we were last night, we would have just stayed asleep and froze to death if the fire went out. Honestly, if not for the kid, I think most of us would be dead already.”

    “Is this something the kids really need to hear?” Angela Bottoms asked, just short of being snide.

    “If they want to live, yes,” Jared replied bluntly. “The world is changed, Ange. There’s no help coming, there’s no cavalry riding to the rescue. None of us was even remotely prepared for anything like this. Thanks to the kid, we get another chance. We can’t waste it, and we can’t afford stupid mistakes. And we certainly can’t sugar coat things.”

    “We have to learn how to live in this new world, and it’s going to be hard. We don’t know much about surviving like this, so we have to be careful. An injury that a month ago meant a trip to the ER might mean death today. The kids have to know that, so that they know to be more careful.”

    “On top of that, we remember how we all came to be here in the woods.” Everyone nodded at that, fear present on several faces. “There’s more like them out there, you can bet on it. I don’t have to tell any of you what could happen if we’re caught by a bunch like that.” He could tell from their eyes, especially the women, that he didn’t have to tell them.

    “We have to establish a watch. Around the clock. That means at least one person, at all times, doing nothing but checking the fire and the surrounding area. We need a toilet area, and we need to collect leaves to use as toilet paper. We need to start looking for berries and other edibles. There’s a lot to do. And on top of everything else, we need to stay well. Getting sick could be a death sentence.”

    “Who put you in charge, exactly?” Danny Taylor asked. He wasn’t exactly challenging, but it was clear he didn’t like even ‘suggestions’ about what to do, let alone being flat out told what to do.

    “I don’t want to be in charge,” Jared shrugged. “I’m just pointing out the obvious. I willing to follow anyone who can get the job done, and keep us fed, and alive. You want the job?”

    Taylor rocked back slightly, surprised by the answer. After a minute he
    shook his head.

    “No. And I don’t disagree with what you’ve said, to be honest,” he admitted.

    “Anyone else willing to step up?” Jared asked, looking at each adult in turn. No one spoke.

    “In that case, I say we have a session like this each morning to discuss problems, possible solutions, and work that needs to be done. For today, I suggest firewood, any edible berries or roots, and work to make the hut more comfortable. Anything else? Or any objections?” Again, nothing.

    “Well, let’s get to work, then. I’ll work on firewood. Someone want to help?” Two men and all three boys raised a hand.

    “Good deal. What about foraging?” Slowly but surely everyone took an assignment, and the group split up to accomplish their tasks. It felt good to be doing something other than waiting for the next disaster.

    For the first time in many days, most of the group felt as if they had at least some control over their life back.


    **********


    It was late in the day when it happened, and caught everyone off guard.

    As the day had progressed, everyone started feeling a little better. The children were playing in the snow that remained, and their play led to laughter. No one thought to stop them, of quiet their squeals of laughter. In fact, most of the adults were careless with their own voices, often shouting across the small clearing at each other.

    Jared’s girlfriend Pam was gathering more leaves for their makeshift latrine and her gathering had taken her to the edge of their small clearing. One minute she was almost alone along the edge of the woods, the next she was facing a very large man she had never seen before. Even without the sneer of lust on his face, she would have ran from him on sight.

    Her scream alerted everyone in the group, and all stopped what they were doing to look in her direction, to see her running for the hut and the relative safety of the group. The man she had seen burst from the trees followed by two more equally unsavory looking men, all three following close on her heels.

    Jared reacted before anyone else, probably because it was Pam that was in trouble. The hatchet was in his hand, and he gripped it tighter as he started to run toward her.

    Just as the nearest man reached for the fleeing Pam, an arrow appeared in his chest, burying itself almost up to the fletching. The stricken man’s friends stopped short, surprised. They had expected no resistance from this group. This proved costly as another arrow flew, striking a second man in the stomach.

    The third man lost his hesitation at that, and wheeled to flee. Jared watched in stunned amazement as the kid erupted from the brush, pursuing the fleeing bandit. The man managed to reach the edge of the clearing before the teen jumped across his back. Jared didn’t see the knife the teen used to slash the man’s chest open from the area around the man’s heart all the way across to the right side of his neck. The would be attacker was dying before he hit the ground.

    Without a lost move, the teen turned his attention to the man shot in the stomach. Running to where the gut shot thug was struggling to sit up, the kid drew his razor sharp knife across the man’s throat without hesitation. One of the women, Jared didn’t know who although he knew it wasn’t Pam’s voice, screamed at the sight, and everyone grabbed children to shield them from the scene.

    Paying the people in the group no attention, the kid began to strip the men of their gear, piling it together. After that he looked at Jared and waved him forward, indicating he needed assistance. Jared and two others stepped forward, and the kid indicated for Jared to take the feet of the man who’s throat he had cut.

    Thirty minutes later all three dead men were piled a safe distance from the camp and covered with brush and what few rocks were nearby. The kid pointed the way back to the hut, motioning for the three men to move. He remained behind, making sure no one was following.

    Jared walked back to camp slowly, his mind working furiously.

    Their young benefactor had saved them yet again. And he still hadn’t
    spoken a word.
    Follow me to http://badkarma00.wordpress.com/ for all my craziness
    So say we all. . . .
    "If you value your lives, be somewhere else." Ambassador Delenn.

  23. #23
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    Excellent!

    1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer

    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.


  24. #24
    more good stuff, thanks

  25. #25
    This is great. There are too few stories out there that start with the totally clueless. A great challenge for a writer.

  26. #26
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    Thanks. This kept me at the edge of my seat. Great story.

  27. #27

    ty

    Thank you BK.

  28. #28
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    I second the excellent motion. Thanks Bad.

  29. #29
    Thanks, Bad. Good stuff.
    "Southern Gentlemen are not always Gentlemen by nature. They are 'Exposed' to proper behavior and manners early in life, and are smart enough to remember, and to refine them, through a constant practice".

    My good friend, Shelby Foote

  30. #30
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  31. #31
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    Oh yeah, I already know I'm goona love this story.

    Sully
    Got Jesus? It's hell without Him.

    * When the People become scared of the government it's called Tyranny. When the government becomes scared of the people it's called LIBERTY!!*
    Thomas Jefferson

  32. #32
    Join Date
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    Good one Bad.
    I wonder if the KID would come back the second or 3rd time if the group hadn't started helping themselves.

    They got a lot to learn don't they?

  33. #33
    This is definitely something I'd like to see continue, BK.

  34. #34
    Bad defitntley a keeper I think every one will agree. Thanks and please keep writing.
    Wayne

  35. #35
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    Excellent!... This one is gonna be good... Please feed us moar.

  36. #36
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    Excellent story! Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing with us.

  37. #37
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    Hey VW, good to see you here. And thanks for the idea of bar coding my pantry.

  38. #38
    Thanks for the addition. Looking forward to the next.

  39. #39
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    BKOO,
    Thank you. We need a jolt of reality, this story has endless possibilities.

  40. #40
    Great story!! I hope it continues. It has started out to be a "good 'un"!!!



    WAB
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."---- Robert A. Heinlein

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