Story Market Day

Freebirde

Contributing Member
I didn't do that to my kids, I didn't want to put grandkids to be like them, did not work. Sometimes I wondered if there was some cloning going on.
 

Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
And then, when she presents you with Grand babies, you can take them for a day, amp them up on sugary stuff, wind their little excitable selves up and drop them at home, laughing as you leave....well probably not. TOO much sugar could start them on the path to bad health habits.

Still, it could be sweet revenge, no?
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
And then, when she presents you with Grand babies, you can take them for a day, amp them up on sugary stuff, wind their little excitable selves up and drop them at home, laughing as you leave....well probably not. TOO much sugar could start them on the path to bad health habits.

Still, it could be sweet revenge, no?

Chocolate covered espresso beans is one of the best to get them hooked on
 
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Griz3752

Retired, practising Curmudgeon
Chocolate covered espresso beans is one of the best to get them hooked on
Yeah I'm NOT giving those to anyone; I keep them for my long walks! Concentrated Caffeine AND Chocolate! And I don't have to fuss w/ a go-cup. Damn, how do I work some bacon in here!?!?
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
“Zed, you’re crazy but cunning.” Jesse was standing in front of the fourth fallen tree they had dropped that morning.

“I told you it was quiet, at least until the tree hit the ground.” Zed stood next to the trunk holding the end of his secret weapon; a ten foot two person cross cut saw over a hundred years old. The two of them labored away with it to drop four trees selected to look like trail and road maintenance. They were overhanging the road in several places. The trees dropped were ones that were encroaching the road and would be an issue within a year or two anyway. This was the only way Zed could stand to cut them. The crown was bushy enough to make seeing the road up his canyon hard to see if you knew it was there, much less be able to stumble across.

After the logging project was complete, Jesse helped Zed build some emergency kits with items for food, water and emergency shelter. Wool blankets, plain brown tarps, rope, bungee cords plus such standard elements as cans of Sterno, matches, small cooking post, all were part of the kits along with some simple canned and dried food staples such as cans of chili and one pound bags of rice and beans. The first two kits were built into the old school cross country backpacks Zed and Marta had. It wasn’t like they were going to go hike the Pacific Crest Trail anymore.

They were mostly trying to do things to keep themselves busy. Between the tools Zed still had and the stuff Jesse brought, they set up a small workbench in the cabin for them to work on the firearms they did have. Most of Zed’s had been packed away in Cosmoline, which is a gold plated pain in the ass to remove without making a mess. A bucket of kerosene outside and some rags cleaned most of them up, but Zed was thorough when he packed them away. The stuff was in all the nooks and crannies of the actions. Each one had to be broken down, cleaned, lubricated and reassembled. All of this took time.

Jesse went over to check on Doug two more times, but there was still no signs of him. Jesse was really beginning to worry about the boy. He was considering maybe the long drive down to the main camp for answers.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Oh yes, Cosmoline... that stuff you love to hate or hate to love.
Thank you. Looking forward to the groups meeting up.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
CCG<

Two man cross cut saw. Does take wedges to keep the saw from binding and help the tree fall where you want, but dynamite would have been quicker and easier on two old guys, but maybe a little bit louder.

Thanks for the chapter.

Texican....
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
Doug woke up as the sky was lightening to the east. He saw a small container of water on to heat. A kitchen garbage bag was nearby with what looked like some clothes in it. Emilia was still under the covers asleep. He looked around some more. Just outside of the branches of the tree they were sheltering under, he could see Heidi’s outline moving through the branches. She was a little deeper in the pine thicket where she couldn’t be seen from the tree line at all. It took Doug a moment to tell what she was doing. Finally it dawned on him she was doing push-ups. A lot of them, and quickly. She then moved to her back and began doing crunches. In his head Doug was questioning what kind of a person sneaks a workout in during a survival hike where they are fleeing for their life. He sat and watched for a few minutes. She was wearing running shorts and a long sleeve compression shirt, a slightly strange configuration to Doug’s mind. He also noted the skin tight shirt and her bare legs gave him a better picture of her level of physical conditioning. He was embarrassed but not ashamed he spent a few minutes watching her. He also had a snarky comment show up unbidden in his head. ‘She must work out so hard to carry that chip on her shoulder.” After a few minutes of unabashed gawking like a kid watching puppies playing in a pet shop window, he made some noise rustling around to let her know he was getting up.

Heidi came into the makeshift campsite a moment later and poured the water heating into the garbage bag along with the contents of a second water bottle.

“Hey Doug. Just doing some laundry. Most is quick dry stuff Emilia and I can hang on the back of our packs as we move but I would like to stop by the creek to rinse the soap out of them this morning before we hang them. That way we will have some clean stuff to put on this evening for tomorrow.”

Up close, without all the bulky clothing Heidi was normally wearing, Doug was reminded of the hard core women and men climbers that stayed for weeks at a time in his sector of the park. Not an ounce of fat, muscles moving like chords under their skin, but not musclebound like the weightlifters he had seen. He didn’t know why she felt the need to hide her body. With all her appearance of self-confidence, it didn’t make sense to him. He could also see more and more the similarities physically between Heidi and Emilia. In a short few years, Emilia will be shattering young men’s hearts with her looks. Those two living in the park would help cull some of the boy-crazy stuff, but with the girl looking more and more like her mother, there will be trouble.

“Sure, Heidi. Let’s get things packed up and a quick bit of food so we can make it down to the outflow from the ponds and back into the trees before full light.” Doug occupied himself with his own preparations and lowering the ground cloth to pack.

“Emma, quit faking and roll your ass out of bed.” Heidi’s ‘mom tone’ had a healthy dollop of humor in it. “If you don’t, I will drink all the coffee.” That got her moving.



“Better not!” Emilia started flailing and thrashing as she got up. She was mildly surprised Heidi was in workout clothes rather than her ‘street bum’ attire. “When did you become a morning person, mom? Normally it’s me rousting you out of bed before I head to school. What gives?”

“Just trying to get used to my new work hours that is all.” Heidi’s lie came easily to her lips. She didn’t want to tell her awake was better than the nightmares hiding behind her eyelids in her pillow. Exhaustion let her sleep deep enough to let her body get the rest it needed regardless of what the mind said. The problem was, the more she worked out to achieve the exhaustion she needed for sleep, the more in shape she got and the more exercise it took to get to the same level of exhaustion. She sure as hell wasn’t going to air out that ‘problem’ to her new boss. She was in reality only good for three or so hours of sleep in a row. This morning, she had to get up and do something. Standing around doing nothing was too stressful. She had to channel it somehow. She figured push-ups and sit ups were quiet. She just wished she had finished and gotten herself situated better before Doug woke up.
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
Zed and Jesse were sitting around the breakfast table trying to plan what to do to keep themselves busy for the day. Eventually their talk turned to what they heard on the radio yesterday afternoon. Even remembering it sent shivers of memory up Jesse’s spine.

“What the hell is going on, Jesse? Everything is fractured and makes no sense anymore.” Zed fills his coffee cup again.

“I don’t know old friend, but it has been many, many years since I have heard a 9-line MEDIVAC call over the radio. The other bad part is it was in the clear, not encrypted. The military is the only one that really uses that format and it sounded like some serious casualties. We have what sounds like at least one or two TALCE units and some ground maneuver units operating in the area and none of the traffic sounds humanitarian. Instead, it sounds like urban operations of a hostile nature. That’s the other weird part, though. The military uses a ton of encryption all the way down to the individual radios the soldiers use. If they were doing some sort of combat, all I should hear is maybe some bursts of static, not clear text transmission. Hell, even the emergency services like fire, police and EMS are using encryption on their radio traffic. These guys aren’t. To me, this means whatever is going on, its ad-hoc, with multiple units thrown together without cross-compatible encryption systems. Short answer, I don’t know but we need to be very careful. Really early, before dawn, I will swing back over and check Doug’s cabin one more time. If there still isn’t any word, I think I might have to go down to the main camp to check in there and see what’s going on. They aren’t answering their radios either.”

Jesse’s words chilled Zed. He got a bad feeling that things were going to get a whole lot worse. He was worried for Doug, and he was worried for Jesse if he had to go to the main camp. For the first time in he didn’t know when, Zed was kinda relieved that Marta was here to suffer through what might be coming.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
CCG,

Thanks for the two chapters.

Now ow far off is Doug and group from the two oldsters?

Texican....
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
Jesse move down trails half remembered, all the while trying to be quiet and stay out of sight from the main roads. He used many of the side trails years ago to get from place to place. He would go to this pond or a remote weather sensor, or check on a bridge over a gully. The problem was, that was several years ago. He told Zed there would be no problems. He would just buzz down and see what is going on. He didn’t want to unnecessarily worry him. In reality, he was very worried. He was far too old to be playing junior Marine. He wanted to go down and see the situation at the main camp. If things were going batshit, he should have been hearing it on the radio. That was part of the problem. It was quiet.

As he moved along on his motorcycle, he was listening. He did the one thing he rarely ever did. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. This was so he could hear everything else going on around him. He wasn’t traveling faster than he would be on a bicycle so he didn’t feel as bad.

As he came up the trail towards a clearing he would have to cross, something brought him up short. It was either a sound or a smell that did it first. He killed the engine and dismounted. Before he realized it, his carbine was in his hands as he crept forward towards …..something.

The trail would go down into and then climb back out of a small ravine before emerging into a clearing. At the bottom was what set off two of his senses. A jumble of bodies was scattered at the bottom of the ravine. They had been chopped apart and torn apart by scavengers and something else. He could smell the decomp and hear the buzzing of the flies. There were enough pieces for him to identify species. Most bears or antelope don’t wear sneakers or sweaters.

He could also see the slide or drag marks from the top of the ravine. They were either pushed or tossed down like so many bags of trash. With the size and shapes, he figured the number of bodies was probably in the double digits.

All his senses were alert now. He slowly crept up the trail, his eyes everywhere. There were no recent prints of people on this old unused trail. As he got closer to the crest, he began inching ever so slowly. Peering out through a shrub, he could see no one in the clearing. He spent a good half an hour scoping out the clearing. Finally he crept out to investigate further. Blood stains and tire tracks, along with drag marks were most of what he found. The one other thing he found worried him almost as much. He found a pile of disintegrating links from a belt-fed machinegun.
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
The next couple of days were long, boring, brutal and exhausting for Doug, Emilia and Heidi. Doug could only move so fast and so far with his burns still troubling him. They still had to be careful of noise and observation dangers. Several days of sneaking through the woods, with only one of them really knowing where they were going, not knowing if they were being actively hunted, and low on food all took their toll, both physically and mentally. Of the group, Heidi was the best physically, but fraying at the edges some mentally. Doug was still trying to process the emotional toll of the assault, the loss of both his mother and father as well as the attempted murder of himself. Emilia was just plain scared and worn out, never a good combination for a fourteen year old.

As Doug’s energy reserves wore down, Heidi’s long dormant NCO nature and training began to resurface and exert itself. Unfortunately, this plus the lighter physical exertion when compared to her normal workout schedule led to some unfriendly confrontations and words culminating with a blowout between Emilia and Heidi one evening.

“Mom, we have to stop. We have to rest. You keep going like we are ****ing machines! Doug won’t say it, but I will. We can’t keep up with your pace. We have already covered as much as we can today without a serious break! He’s already stumbled twice and I am tripping over my feet. He’s hurt and I’m worn out. A granola bar and a tablespoon of peanut butter might be a snack, but it’s not enough calories for a meal for the day, especially at the pace you are driving us!”

“Look missy! Going slower won’t fill our bellies! Food is in front of us, not with us. If we slow down, we will have to forage for more food, which will make it even slower. Its fall, there aint much to find that easily nor catch! That belt” she pointed at the Emilia’s waist “has more holes in it. Pull your belt tighter to keep your panties from getting in a wad. We are all low on calories, low on patients, low on energy, but sure as hell high on piss and vinegar, attitude, complaining, bitching and moaning!”

“Well, you’re no angel either MOM!” Emilia realized the mistake the moment the words left her mouth but she couldn’t unsay it. She saw Heidi stiffen and her face freeze to stone at her words. “Mom, I’m sorry……I shouldn’t have said that………mom…MOM!”

At Emilia’s words, Heidi froze. It felt like a bottomless pit had just opened up under her. She didn’t say a word. She couldn’t trust her voice. She took off her pack and set it next to Emilia’s. Heidi walked away from the campsite to a small group of boulders forty or fifty feet away. She didn’t look back.
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
Doug had been watching this build the last couple days. He was so focused at putting one foot in front of the other he really didn’t have much energy to spare for it. Besides, this was more a parent/child issue he didn’t want to get in the middle of.

His burns hurt. The skin was raw and weeping where it wasn’t rubbed down to bloody meat by his belt and pack straps. He was trying to suck down as much water as he could to stay hydrated. He was eating his share of the food they had. Hell, he found out that he and Emilia were actually eating more than their fair share. If he and Emilia were getting a tablespoon of peanut butter apiece, Heidi was taking only a teaspoon worth. Heidi was shorting and starving herself to give more calories to them. She was also doing the scouting, carrying the heaviest load of gear and staying up to stand watch.

With the immediate signs of danger no longer visible, Emilia was sliding and reverting back to the fourteen year old teenager she was. Not that she was a bad kid, but she was still a kid, in the woods, under hardship that youth amnesia has blunted the immediacy of. This was some of the teenage angst he missed out on with the divorce. Angelique was always on her best behavior when she came out for the two weeks at a time when she was this age. He really wasn’t equipped with useful experience on this point. He still felt he had to do something.

“Emilia, she’s working her ass off trying to take care of things. Were you right to bring up the question of pace and how fast and far we were going? Yes. Should you have done it the way you did? No. I don’t know what else set her off so bad with what you said, but you need to cut her some slack. She has been giving us half her food at every meal. Why do you think she has been volunteering to do the cooking even after running ahead to find the campsite, gathering the fuel, fetching the water and everything else each evening?” Doug was trying to keep a calm and reasonable tone.

“I know why! It’s because she’s a ****ing whacko! She’s afraid to sleep!” This wasn’t said with fury or bluster, but instead, Emilia’s tone was full of sadness and fear. This wasn’t what Doug was expecting. Emilia slumped to the ground sobbing. She buried her head in her arm, face down on her pack.

Doug was standing in the middle of their packs, looking back and forth between Emilia and Heidi.
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
Doug walked over to the rock Heidi was leaning against. He could see a small puddle of wetness on the granite in front of her. He knew she knew he was there. She had raised her head and was looking out towards the horizon, away from him. She was the first to speak.

“What?” Her voice was husky with emotion and control.

“Are you ok?” Doug’s voice was tentative and hesitant.

“I’m fine. You’re the one who is injured.” Short. Curt. Controlled. Still hasn’t turned around to face him.

“Emilia is worried about you. So am I.”

“Don’t be. Teenagers fight with their parents. It’s part of being fourteen.”

“I know you have been shorting your rations for us.”

“You guys need it more than me. You’re injured and need the calories to heal. Without you, I have no idea of where the cabin we are going to is. She needs the calories because she is a growing kid, my kid. If I skip a meal so she can eat, that’s being a parent.” Still short, clipped and still had her back towards him.

“She says your whacko.”

“Gee, a teenager who doesn’t understand their parent. Go figure.”

“She also said you are afraid to sleep.” Doug’s voice was softer and more questioning now.

“Once again, she doesn’t understand. I’m not afraid to sleep, I have a hard time sleeping. There is a difference. When you have bad things happen around you when you are asleep, it gets hard to convince yourself to sleep without being exhausted.”

“Ok, I can buy that one, but it doesn’t explain your visceral reaction to her phrase ‘You’re no angel either’ comment she made.” As Doug said this, he was unprepared for the reaction it invoked in Heidi. She whirled around like a surprised cobra. He could see her eyes were red and pouring out raw hurt emotions, the tracks of tears flowing down her cheeks. He reflexively took a step back as if struck by a physical blow.

Heidi stood there a moment staring up at him, her eyes blurry, the fury at the situation and her loss of control. It took a moment, then she spoke.

“Please……” She whirled back towards the rock and away from him. “I will do my job. I will get you and her there, no matter what. Please let the rest go for another time. This isn’t the place.” Her hands went out and she leaned on the rock. With her head bowed, she repeated. “Please, just give me a few. I will get you there. Whatever it takes.”

Doug slowly walked back over to where Emilia was on the ground. He picked up the water bottle with the rehydration mix Heidi made for him for a drink. This bought him some more time to process the scene he was in the middle of.

“Emilia, give me a hand with the tarp and bedrolls. We need to get set up for bed and some food. It’s only another day or so to the cabin.”

Emilia got up and helped Doug. Both were quiet as they worked. Each noticed the other glancing time to time over at the tiny figure leaned against the rock in the distance.
 
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Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
CCG,

Demons haunt all of us and some more than others. Taking and sharing at times help to see that the demons are not what they seem or so bad. Each can heal if they talk it out with others that truly listen. Heidi has more support than she knows.

Thanks for the three chapters.

Texican....
 

ComCamGuy

Senior Member
Heidi was standing there, the rough stone under her fingers. Her brain was trying to figure out how to explain, and how much to explain. But how do you explain a word that has meant so much in so many ways from the very first breath she took?

Growing up, she was always daddy’s perfect angel. That sort of title has so much power and conviction coming from your only parent. Doubly so when he is a minister. That is one hell of a yardstick to measure up to growing up. Her looks didn’t help. She had embraced the whole package as a child. She was the perfect little angel going through school. She studied hard, learned as much as she could and never felt she did enough. By Junior High and High School, it was worn thin. She still tried as hard as she could at everything. She still tried to live up to her father’s image of her.

All of this got her a reputation as a ‘goody-two-shoes’ and someone to be disliked and resented. She ended up alone and accused of being stuck up and aloof. She finally rebelled against it all. That summer of her senior year she finally snapped. She ran off, becoming the wild child for a while. She fell into a situation the results of which stuck with her ever after and created what she though was a rift with her father for many years.

When she left for the service, ‘angel’ went with her. Sooner or later, something would happen and she was the ‘pretty little angel’ all over again. It was even a nickname and a call sign on the radio, which led to even more and darker connotations once she went to combat. She had heard and been called them all. Guardian Angel and Angel of Death were the two most often used and the two that became more of a gut punch than most others.

All of this was set into motion by her father’s faith and hope for his newborn daughter. Heidi was still struggling with how to live up to her father’s vision. How do you live up to being named ‘Seraphim’?
 
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