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The Kid
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Thread: The Kid

  1. #41
    Chapter Three


    Jared walked into the clearing to see everyone gathered together. Their voices were subdued, at least, but emphatic hand gestures showed that several people were upset. Seeing him, the rest turned their attention toward him.

    “Was that really necessary?” Angela asked. “Killing those men in cold blood like that, right here in front of us? In front of the children?”

    “You’re kidding, right?” Jared asked. “What else was there to do?”

    “There’s never any excuse for killing someone, Jared,” William Bottoms supported his wife. “It’s uncivilized. It’s wrong.”

    “You may have noticed that those three intended to harm us,” Jared pointed out. “They apparently don’t subscribe to your views, Bill.”

    “That’s no excuse for us to sink to their level,” Angela snorted.

    “Fine, next time try to reason with them. Pam and I will leave you to it. And I do mean leave. If that’s your attitude, then we’re out of here at the first sign of trouble, make no mistake. I’m not letting her be put in danger like that because the two of you are squeamish.”

    “Now see here. . . .” William Bottoms stepped forward, but jumped backwards as an arrow landed at his feet. Startled, everyone turned outward.

    “They would o’ tol’ ever body where ya’ll are,” the kid said softly from ten feet away. “Ya’ll make too much noise.” The shock of him speaking left the group in silence. A soft and genteel southern drawl, almost soothing despite the situation, seemed to captivate them all for a few seconds.

    “Thank you,” Jared spoke quietly, and Pam nodded her agreement. The kid nodded, but offered nothing else.

    “Who are you, anyway?” Angela demanded haughtily. “And what gives you the right to kill those men like that?”

    The kid looked at her for a moment, then simply turned and stepped into the brush. By the time he’d taken three steps, he was invisible. Jared couldn’t even hear his foot steps.

    “Of all the. . . how rude!” Angela Bottoms snorted.

    “Yeah, funny how that works,” Pam told her, her voice saying what her words didn’t. Jared embraced her, noticing she was still shaking.

    “I’ll take first watch,” Jared spoke easily, “if no one else wants it. We’ll have to set a schedule. We can’t expect our young benefactor to keep showing up to rescue us.”

    There was some mumbling among the men, and they soon had a watch schedule worked out. Some of the women walked to the fire and started to put a small meal together. They were working to make what they’d been given last, but with so many, it went fast.

    “Jared, what are we going to do?” Pam asked softly, her voice trembling. “We’re not safe here, anymore than we were in Memphis. I’m scared.” He hugged her to him tightly.

    “Me too, babe. Me too.”

    He had no answers for her.


    **********


    The evening passed uneventful, other than the on-again, off-again ‘discussion’ about the days events. Jared didn’t bother to get involved with those talks, choosing instead to listen and learn.

    Despite the fact that they were all neighbors, and had been for five years or more for the most part, Jared realized as he listened that he really didn’t know these people all that well. The occasional bar-b-que, HOA meeting, or party was simply no substitute for truly knowing someone well. Some of the attitudes in the group surprised him.

    Eventually he tuned the talk out, reclining gently on the wall of the hut, hugging Pam to him under the blanket they shared. The fire kept the hut fairly warm, but it was always cooler near the wall.

    Since he’d taken the first watch, Jared was done for the evening. He grew sleepy, finally, and stretched out on the cedar boughs that made their bed. A few minutes later Pam joined him, and the two were soon asleep. Whatever the group wanted to talk about, they weren’t interested. Jared had a lot on his mind as he went to sleep that evening.

    The next morning Jared was awake first, which was becoming the norm. Rick Bells, one of the men who had helped haul the three dead bodies away the day before was sitting cross legged at the door of the hut, and the fire was a low but well banked pit of cinders. Bells nodded at Jared, then stretched out to get some sleep himself.

    Jared took the cooking pot and started out to collect fresh snow for drinking water. He was almost unsurprised to find the kid sitting on the same log as the day before. He was busy skinning two rabbits and three squirrels, animals he had obviously killed that morning.

    “Morning,” Jared said softly. The kid looked at him, nodding, then continued with his work. Jared hesitated for a moment, then walked over to sit next to his. . .friend? Protector?

    “Why are you doing all this?” he asked softly.

    “Doin’ what?” the teenager asked softly.

    “Everything,” Jared waved. “Protecting us, feeding us, helping us to survive.”

    “Christian thing to do,” he shrugged.

    “I never put much stock in that sort of thing,” Jared admitted. The boy looked up sharply.

    “Reckon I’d start, if I was you,” he said simply. Jared simply nodded.

    “What’s your name, anyway?” Jared asked. “I don’t like calling you ‘kid’.”

    “Good a name as any,” the boy shrugged.

    “You’ve got to have a name you’d rather be known as,” Jared insisted. The boy kept working for moment, then stopped.

    “Zachary,” he said finally. “Zack,” he amended. “That’s my name.”

    “Well, Zack, I’m Jared. Nice to meet you.” He held out his hand, which the boy shook after wiping the blood on his hands off on his camo pants.

    “You people are in a world o’ hurt, Jared. You know that, right?” Zack’s voice was calm and soft, but the tone held a sense of urgency.

    “Yeah, I had noticed that,” Jared smiled grimly. “I figure if not for you, most if not all of us would have died that first night.”

    “Most like,” Zack nodded, intent on finishing his work. “You know ya’ll can’t stay here like this much longer, don’t ya?”

    “That’s crossed my mind as well,” Jared admitted. “I just don’t have an answer. I don’t know where we can go, or what we can do.”

    “Few empty houses around,” Zack noted. “Folks that ain’t comin’ back for one reason or another,” he shrugged. “Some food scattered here and there in them houses that are abandoned.”

    “You think we could find a safe place, and enough food to make it through the winter?”

    “Might,” Zack nodded. “Have to be able to keep others from takin’ if from ya, though,” he added. “No offense, but ya’ll don’t seem like the type for that sort o’ thing.”

    “None taken,” Jared assured him. “We’re not.”

    “Reckon I can scout around, next day or three, see what’s there and what ain’t.”

    “I’d appreciate that very much.”
    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. #42
    Join Date
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    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    8,717
    great thing to wake up to on a Saturday! another chapter!

    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.


  3. #43
    thanks for the chapter, seems Jared has a large learning curve to get over, but at least he is trying

  4. #44
    Maybe I missed it but why are they leaving Memphis? Going home or on the run? Confused a little.


    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

  5. #45
    It's in Chapter One. About the first third of the story, give or take.
    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.

  6. #46
    Found it, Thanks!! Can't wait for
    MOAR!!!???????????


    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

  7. #47
    Thanks for the addition!

  8. #48
    Chapter Four


    Zack was gone before the others woke, and Jared decided not to mention that he had been there. He couldn’t blame Rick Bells for not knowing the kid was there, since he moved like a ghost. As far as he could see, there was nothing to be gained by it, so he presented the meat like he had found it at the edge of the camp.

    “I wonder what he wants from us?” Angela Bottoms just had to snark, even as she ate the food the boy had provided.

    “Nothing,” Jared shrugged. “We don’t have anything. He obviously doesn’t need us, or anyone else, to survive. But we do need him, and he knows it.”

    “Why do we need a killer?” William Bottoms piped in, also while stuffing his face with the food Zack had left for them.

    “You’re eating one of the reasons,” Jared replied calmly. “Could you have provided this meal for us, Will? I couldn’t have. Haven’t got the faintest idea where even to start. I’ve never shot a bow, a gun, never hunted, hell, I don’t even know what plants are safe to eat if they aren’t on a tree.”

    “He’s still a killer. A murderer. He should be held accountable for what he did,” Bottoms sniffed.

    “You’re a jackass, Bottoms,” Rick Bell observed softly. “A clueless one at that. Those three men would have killed us, and done worse for the women. All he did was take out the trash, as far as I’m concerned. And if we were more like him, we would still be in our homes, instead of freezing our asses off out here in the boonies.” He stood abruptly and left the hut. Several others stirred as if to follow.

    “I’m going on wood detail again,” Jared spoke before anyone else could escape. “We need to make sure we’ve got enough for the night. I’m also going to look for water. The snow is almost gone, and may disappear completely if today is warm as yesterday afternoon was.” Others nodded, speaking up to claim chores for themselves as well.

    “I’m going with you,” Pam said firmly, and Jared nodded.

    “I think we’ll just keep the fire going,” William Bottoms said airily.

    “You’ll work like the rest of us, Will,” Jared informed him. “We all have to work at what we can if we’re going to survive. That includes you two. If Angela want’s to mind the fire, she can watch the children, too. They should stay close to the fire, anyway. We don’t want them getting sick.”

    “I thought you didn’t want to be in charge,” Angela sneered.

    “I also don’t want to do your share of keeping us alive,” Jared said flatly. “And I won’t, either. You want to eat, and be warm, you work.” He paused, and then smiled grimly. “We can always put it to a vote, I guess. Wonder how everyone would vote?”

    Neither Bottoms replied, but their flushed faces were evidence of their anger. William stomped angrily out of the hut, while Angela simply sat near the fire and sulked. Jared didn’t push, mostly because he didn’t feel like it. He and Pam left in silence, holding hands.


    **********


    Jared knelt next to a small stream of clear water. There wasn’t much water, to be honest, but it looked clean. He formed a cup with his free hand, and scooped water up to taste it.

    “Don’t drink that,” Zack’s quiet voice startled him. He lost the water, trying to get to his feet and almost toppling into the water. His brain finally recognized the voice.

    “You just scared me out of ten years of my life,” Jared sputtered.

    “That water ain’t fit to drink,” the youngster ignored the complaint. “Farm up yonder, creek runs through it. Be full of all kinds of stuff.”

    “It looks clean,” Jared pointed out.

    “Suit yourself,” Zack shrugged. “Ain’t no time to be havin’ the runs, though. And you drink that water, you’ll have’em.”

    “Oh.”

    “I found a place you folks can hole up,” the boy explained. “I know. . .knew, the people that lived there. They ain’t gonna be usin’ it no more. Ain’t over large, but it’s solid shelter, and got a wood stove. Hand tools, even some clothes might suit ya’ll better’n what you’re wearin’. Interested?”

    “I am,” Jared nodded. Zack motioned for the two of them to follow, and set out through the woods. Jared realized with a start that Zack had a rifle slung over his shoulder. He hadn’t noticed that before.

    “Have you had that rifle all this time?” he asked.

    “Yep.”

    “Why didn’t you shoot those three instead of using a bow and knife?”

    “Noise.”

    “What noise?”

    “Exactly.”

    Confused Jared decided to remain silent. He’d always heard it was better to be thought an idiot that prove it beyond doubt. The trio walked for nearly thirty minutes, by Jared’s watch. He didn’t know how far they had come, but it seemed to be a good ways from where they were.

    Suddenly they were standing on a graveled road. Zack stood still for a minute, his head turning this way and that.

    “What is it?” Jared asked.

    “I’m just listenin’,” Zack sighed. “Easier to do that when it’s quiet.” Chagrined, Jared hushed, but he didn’t miss Pam’s chuckle from his side. He shot her a mock glare, bit remained quiet.

    “Let’s go,” Zack said finally. Crossing the road, they plunged once more into the woods. This time, though, they hadn’t gone far when they hit a small trail. Zack stooped to study it for a second, then removed an arrow from his bow quiver, and nocked it.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Deer come this way a little while ago,” Zack whispered. “You folks need meat.”

    “Why not use the rifle?” Jared asked before he thought. Zack just looked at him in silent resignation until Jared realized how stupid that question was.

    “Sorry,” he muttered, red-faced again. Shaking his head, Zack started out once more. Jared and Pam followed, trying to be as quiet as possible. The woods grew thicker, it seemed, until suddenly, there were no more woods. They were in the edge of a clearing, where a house and barn sat.

    “Thompson’s were in Nashville, vis’tin’, when the trouble hit,” Zack whispered. “Ain’t seen nor heard from’em in. . . .” He stopped suddenly. His bow rose and he loosed an arrow all in one swift motion, almost faster than Jared could follow.

    Across the clearing, a doe deer stood erect, tail quivering for a moment, before she collapsed on the ground, hind legs still kicking. Pam blanched slightly, but recovered quickly. Jared just stared.

    “Ain’t seen nor heard from’em in two weeks, now,” Zack continued as if he’d never stopped. “Ain’t likely they’ll be returnin’, I fear. House is fairly large, and well provisioned. Mister Thompson was a cautious man.”

    Zack walked over to the where the doe lay, and quickly cut her throat, allowing her to bleed out. He set to work field dressing the animal, and Jared forced himself to watch, trying to learn what needed to be done.

    “Few head o’ cattle around the place, but not many,” Zack went on. “Best to save’em for now. Mister Thompson had a good bull, so you can get calves in the spring, you’re lucky. There’s a handful o’ hogs, too. Again, best let’em be until they bear new litters.”

    “But most of it’s crop land. You folks will have to learn to plow and what not, I’m thinkin’. There’s others about you might can share work with. I figure every body’s gonna have to learn to get along, they aim to survive.”

    “Mister Thompson had a right few guns as well, and plenty o’ ammunition. You folks gonna have to learn to protect yourselves. That bunch you ran from, they’re still around. You’re off the beaten path here, but sooner or later they’ll start searchin’ around. Prob’ly not till they’ve run through ever thing they can get easy, mind, but they’re coyotes, make no mistake. Live off other’s leavin’s, and whatever they can take.”

    He finished with the field dressing, and took a rope from his bag, tying it around the doe’s rear legs. He started dragging the animal toward the barn, and Jared quickly lent a hand, with Pam following, careful to avoid where the animal had been dressed.

    With the deer hung in the barn, Zack led them to the house. It was comfortable inside, though still cold. Zack showed them the stove, and then showed Jared how to lay the wood for a fire. Once it was going, Zack took the time to show them around. By the time they had examined the four bedrooms, den, study, and kitchen, the house was warming.

    “Reckon this will keep you for a while,” Zack said, showing them a well stocked pantry. “Thing is, you need to be frugal, count o’ this is all there is til springtime. You eat it all up now, you’ll starve some ‘fore spring.”

    “Zack, this is wonderful,” Pam said softly. “I don’t know what to say, or how to thank you.”

    “Survive,” Zack shrugged. “That’s thanks enough. I got to be goin’ soon,” he added. “Want to lead everyone here now? Or you reckon you can do it later yourself?”

    “Let’s do it now,” Jared decided. “I tried to pick landmarks as we went, but I’m not confident that I can find my way back here, even if I do make it to camp.”

    “Fair ‘nough,” Zack nodded. “Let’s be goin’, then. Be dark ‘fore you know it.”
    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.

  9. #49
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    This gives me the shivers, it's real and true. Thank you BK00.

  10. #50
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    W. Georgia
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    In bad situations there are always Angela's and William's. Wonder how long before they try to take over leadership and/or get themselves or everyone else with them killed. This is another great story from you Bad, can't wait for more. Thank you.

  11. #51
    Join Date
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    Rural Cent. TN.
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    I saw what you did there in Chapter 3. Liked it
    Good stuff keep it up!
    Hope you are all feeling better.

  12. #52
    very good chapter, hope they can keep the bottom feeders out of the stores

  13. #53
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    Aug 2010
    Location
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    Good stuff here, an excellent read! Really appreciate your efforts Bad!
    All that is gold does not glitter....

  14. #54
    Thanks for another great story Bad, you have me hooked.
    Wayne

  15. #55
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by stjwelding View Post
    Thanks for another great story Bad, you have me hooked.
    Wayne
    Me too! And I'm waiting patiently for Moar. (ok, I'm trying to be patient but my F5 key is really getting a workout)
    Visit me on Etsy: ModernMaille

  16. #56
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    Great story! This will be my first try at 'MOAAAR'....did I do it right? lol

    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

  17. #57
    Join Date
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    North Carolina
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    Excellent start of the story, and alot of truth of how it is going to be. Thank you.

  18. #58
    WWWAAAAAAKKKKK!!!!!!!!!

    Was hopin' for MOAR!!!!!!!


    WAB
    Last edited by wab54; 12-14-2012 at 05:48 PM.
    "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

  19. #59
    Join Date
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    Well Zack isn't Billy Todd but then who is?


    Another Good Story BK Glad to see you posting once again.



    "Have you met Trixie Yet?"

  20. #60
    Join Date
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    Thanks for the story!

    MOARRRRRR, Please!!!

    (Did I do that right?)
    ( \ o / )
    / _ \

    Sammy55:
    Following my Lord-
    Where He leads me,
    What He wants of me,
    Who He wants me to be.

  21. #61
    Chapter Five


    As usual, the Bottoms were the problem.

    “I can’t believe you want us to trust that murdering savage.” Jared turned to look at Angela Bottoms, sighing.

    “You know what? Don’t trust him. Stay here. And good luck to you. We’ll leave you the camp utensils, since we won’t need them. Everyone who’s going, gather your things, and let’s go. It’s a good ways, and it’ll be dark sooner than we’d like.”

    “So that’s it? You just abandon us out here?” William Bottoms demanded.

    “No, we’re going somewhere much warmer, and much safer. You’re welcome to come with us despite your poor attitude. You don’t want to, no problem. We’re still going. Choice is yours, and I’m tired of talking about all this.” With that Jared grabbed his bag and Pam’s, and gathered their meager belongings.

    The Bottom’s stood staring for a moment, waiting for someone to beg them to come along. When no one did, they exchanged a glance, and hurriedly began gathering their own things. Zack watched carefully, going through the camp and erasing as much evidence of their presence as he could. He found the duffle he’d brought them, and looked in disgust at the weapons he’d taken from the men he’d killed defending them. Nothing had been taken. He shook his head sadly, wondering if he was wasting his time with this bunch.

    If their attitude didn’t change, they weren’t going to last long, and he couldn’t always be around when they needed protection. He shrugged finally. He would do what he could. The rest was up to them.


    **********


    They were making good time, Jared decided. He checked his watch, noting they had been gone from camp for fifteen minutes. It was further from the camp than it was from where Zack had found them earlier in the day, but not much, perhaps another fifteen minutes, twenty at the most.

    “Can’t we rest? We’ve been at this for hours!” Angela Bottoms complained. Loudly. Zack turn sharply from where he led the group, a scowl on his face.

    “Angela, we’ve been moving for fifteen minutes, that’s all,” Jared whispered. “Now please, be quiet. We can’t make a lot of noise, someone might here.”

    “Are you telling me to shut up?” the woman almost screeched. Zack stopped where he was, and walked slowly down the line to where they stood.

    “I’m leavin’,” he announced abruptly. “Either you stay quiet or I’m gone. I ain’t gonna beg nobody to let me help’em. You want to keep goin’ and me with you, then she shut’s the hell up, or she stays here. Ya’ll decide. Got five minutes.” With that Zack stomped back to the head of the line, then eased forward a bit more, and took a lookout position.

    “I will not be dictated to by a murdering savage teenager!” Angela screamed.

    “All in favor of leaving them, say aye,” Jared said slowly. This wasn’t what he wanted, but they needed Zack. They didn’t need either of the Bottoms.

    “Now you see here. . . .” William Bottoms was drowned out by seven ayes.

    “All opposed?” Jared asked. No one spoke. He looked back at the Bottoms.

    “This is where we part ways, I guess,” he shrugged. “Good luck to you.” He sat down the bag that held their meager camp gear. “This will help you, if you take care of it. Try to stay away from the roads, that might help.” He turned to face the others.

    “Let’s get going. It’s almost dark.”

    “You are not leaving us out here!” Angela screeched again. Jared ignored her, and kept going. He reached Zack, who just looked at him.

    “We’re leaving them. Take us on,” he said simply. Zack nodded, and set off at once, upping the pace a little. The last view that Zack had of the Bottom’s was of them struggling to keep up, screaming for the others to wait.
    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.

  22. #62
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    Too bad, so sad. They had their chance.
    Unfortunately there will always be people (and maybe lots of 'em) like the Bottoms. Upper class Gibsmedats.
    Visit me on Etsy: ModernMaille

  23. #63
    at least one good decision has been made by the group, thanks for the segment

  24. #64
    Great story I just hope that they did't wait to long unload the problem, and that they bring trouble to the group by there close proximity to there new place. They also must pick up the weapons given to them and learn how to use them to defend themselves when necessary.
    Thanks Bad
    Wayne

  25. #65
    Join Date
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    Thank you for moar. To bad the Bottoms are still screaming. Someone just might get hurt over that noise.

  26. #66
    BK;
    Great new story. You have a real talent. Looking forward to more intriguing chapters. Keep Them Coming!
    Thanks, WT

  27. #67
    Really enjoy the story!
    Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

    Jeepcats3

  28. #68
    Bad, Merry Christmas and a Blessed new year.
    Wayne

  29. #69
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    South East South Dakota
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    Oh man another one of BadKarma's excellent works!!!


    Cat

  30. #70
    Chapter Six


    Zack stayed for one night, then was gone the next morning. No one saw him leave, and he didn’t tell them he was leaving. It was a shock to the system, to be without him, but the remaining members of the little party were determined to survive. There were still children to worry over, and work to do.

    The house was well stocked, as was the farm. No one really knew what to do in many cases, but several bookshelves lined one room of the house, and many of those books contained the information they needed. One and all began studying.

    With winter well and truly setting in, there wasn’t much to be done outside. Feeding the stock, such as it was, getting in wood, and water, as well as other small but important chores.

    The men began to congregate in the barn on the warmer days, looking over the equipment, and going through the stores. The women organized the house, inventorying the contents so they would know what they had, and more importantly what they didn’t.

    As the weeks wore on, Zack was noticeably absent. He didn’t visit, they found no ‘presents’ left for them. True, they didn’t need them, but finding them would let them know he was okay.

    Occasionally someone would mention the Bottoms, but it was rarer and rarer with each passing week. It was uncomfortable knowing that two of their group had been left to fend for themselves, but the truth was, no one really missed them.

    The winter was somewhat harsh, with deep snows and driving winds on occassion. A few times the temperature dropped so far that everyone huddled in the living room, bundled up under quilts and blankets, near the stove.

    But they survived. And used the time to study, to learn, and to plan. All had received a rude awakening, and realized that if they wanted to live, they would have to support themselves. No one was going to do it for them.

    As spring approached, the group began making preparations for planting a large garden. They had no real know how on a large farm operation, and didn’t think they could manage it anyway. It had been decided they would lay out as large a garden as possible, approximately one acre per person, since most of the materials they had access to suggested it.

    The women were studying the canning equipment and reading the books they had found on food storage, especially long term storage. They had survived this winter on someone else’s work. Next winter’s survival was all on them.

    They were in their second day of planting when the men showed up. Jared saw them first, and hustled the women inside. There were two shotguns in the house, and he sent two men in to man them. He and two others walked to the front of the house, scared, but determined.

    As he watched the approaching men, one of them waved. With a start Jared realized who it was.

    “Zack!” he called, and the teen answered.

    “You expectin’ somebody else?”

    Everyone ran to meet him, and his friends.


    ***********


    Friends turned into family for the most part. Zack’s father, a tall rangy looking fellow with broad shoulders and red beard, chuckled as he watched these people mob his son.

    “I’m Joshua Taylor,” he rumbled in a deep baritone. “Zack told us he had found a bunch o’ greenhorns and set’em up here, but, well. . . .” he shrugged, indicating he hadn’t expected to find them still living.

    “Well, he did,” Jared smiled. “And saved our bacon. Several times, in fact.” There were three other men and two women in the group. “Would you all like to come up and rest?”

    “Sounds fine,” Joshua nodded. “We came over to give you folks a hand gettin’ started.”

    “What?” Jared asked.

    “Ain’t easy gettin’ a farm up and runnin’,” Joshua shrugged. “And that’s if you know what you’re doin’. No offense, but Zack here made it pretty plain you folks didn’t have much of an idea what you’re about.”

    “Well, we didn’t,” Jared shrugged. “We’ve been studying all winter long. In fact we were just about to try and plant our garden.”

    “Seems we timed it just right then,” Joshua nodded, smiling. “We’ll help ya’ll get started. Little extry muscle ain’t never a bad thing, come’s plantin’ and harvestin’ time.”

    “How you folks make the winter?” Zack asked.

    “Thanks to you, we made it fine,” Jared smiled at their young benefactor. “If not for you, we’d have not lasted the week out.”

    “I just helped a little,” the boy, no, the young man, Jared corrected himself, shrugged.

    “No, you helped an incredible amount, and saved us all.” Jared looked at Joshua. “He saved all our lives, Mister Taylor. Every one.” The big man looked at his son with eyes shining with approval.

    “He’s a good boy,” the man nodded, grinning slightly. Zack swelled with pride.


    **********


    The Taylor contingent stayed five days. In that time a wealth of information was passed along, and everyone was given a very abbreviated firearms program. They were also taught to make their own bows, and arrows, with the admonishment to use them instead of the guns, whenever possible.

    At the end of that time, as the group prepared to return home, Joshua pulled Jared aside.

    “I’m pleased the boy was able to be of help to you. From now on, I reckon you bunch can take care of yourselves. We’ll check in, time to time, but there’s others to help. Take care, and be safe.”

    “How many others?” Jared asked.

    “Few here’n about,” Joshua shrugged. “Some ain’t made it as well as ya’ll have. Some did better. Some didn’t make it at all. We sent out all we could to try and find people, get’em taken care of. But only so many like Zack,” the man added with pride.

    “You sent him out to look for people like us?” Jared asked incredulously.

    “Sure,” Joshua nodded, looking puzzled.

    “Aren’t people his age a little young to have to do that?” Jared asked. Joshua chuckled lightly.

    “You tell me, Mister Thomas,” he replied. “Was Zack able, or not?” Jared’s face flushed as he realized how stupid he’d just looked.

    “Yeah, he was,” he chuckled. “Sorry, sometimes I still think like before.”

    “Ain’t no harm in it, long as ya don’t stay there,” Joshua smiled. “And yeah, we sent out all we could, all different directions. Ya’ll ain’t the only one’s Zack seen to, neither.”

    “Who are you people?” Jared blurted, and Joshua laughed.

    “We’re just folk, helpin’ where and as we can. Been farmers and woodsmen all our lives. Lord says we ‘sposed to help our fellow man, so we aim to do just that. Speakin’ o’ which, we need to be movin’, I reckon. Got more folk to see to.”

    Jared watched them go, thinking on what Joshua had said. He walked slowly back into the house, playing the conversation over again in his mind. Everyone else was still outside, so he sat down on the couch in the living room. For the first time, he noticed a Bible setting on the small coffee table. He looked at it for a long time, then reached slowly over, and picked it up.

    He studied the leather binding, the gold lettering, the signs of use, and care. This bible had been read plenty, he decided. Slowly he turned it back to the front.

    And opened it.


    Finis. Hope you enjoyed this. Just a short story I had in my mind for a while.

    Happy New Year all.
    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.

  31. #71
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    8,717
    Thank you Bad... excellent story, and I love the way you ended it! Happy New Year to you and yours!

    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.


  32. #72
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    1,273
    Very good story. Hope you have more stories in mind for us.

    Thanks

  33. #73
    thanks for the story and the lesson, good work as usual

  34. #74
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    South East South Dakota
    Posts
    284
    Excellent story Bad. Your writting is very smooth, seamless. Flows really well.


    Cat

  35. #75
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    The Last Frontier
    Posts
    1,572
    Thank you, thank you! A lovely ending as well! Very hopeful!
    Hope 2013 is a terrific year for you ~ I surely appreciate you sharing your talent with us here! Bless you~
    Susan
    All that is gold does not glitter....

  36. #76
    Thanks for the great short story. You are truly a gifted writer.
    Wayne

  37. #77
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Eastern Nebraska maybe somewhere near a Cornfeild
    Posts
    192
    BK Thank you so much for this new Tale.


    So whats Next ?

    We need MOAR
    "Have you met Trixie Yet?"

  38. #78
    That was a fine story. Hope to see more like it.


    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

  39. #79
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    the pacific north west
    Posts
    4,134
    Thank you for a sobering wake up call. Every one of us knows...or is...one ofyour characters. Your good story demands we figure out which one we are. Pac.

  40. #80
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    W. Georgia
    Posts
    5,659
    Thank you Bad for another excellent story and a lot to consider.

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