Book One - Reality Bites
Chapter 10 - Starving Hunters
'Doubling down on stupid is not a particularly good idea' ~ Breitbart
Junior was up by next year’s woodpile, holding the rifle tightly aimed at the three bad guys by the front door. He was waiting to hear his dad say there were five guys out here with him. That was the signal to shoot in front of one of them. Why won’t they just leave? Why are they here? What could they possibly want? None of it made any sense at all. The world had just ended. These guys couldn’t need anything yet. It had only been a couple of hours since the EMP had hit. The sun was shining brightly, making all the colors of the leaves and trees vivid and vibrant. What was taking so long? Then he heard the words he was waiting for. He squeezed the trigger and a loud bang echoed through the woods. A small amount of dirt in front of the three bad guys shot up into the air. All three of them reached for their guns and started shooting at his dad. He aimed and shot each of them twice, making them fall in slow motion. He looked over at his dad; he was on the ground and a woman was lying there moaning not too far away, with a rifle on the ground next to her. Next thing he knew he was running down the hill towards his fallen father, but he just couldn’t seem to get there. He was running and pumping his legs with everything he had, but it just seemed that no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t reach him. He screamed out, “Dad, dad!” There was blood splattered everywhere and running down like little streams. The red color was splashed here and there, overshadowing the whole clearing, shining clear and bright like in a painting. He reached down and touched his dad, then drew his hand back at the cold feeling of his body. Blood was dripping off his hand. The drops were clear and large. He screamed out, “No, oh God, no!”
He jerked and sat up, looking at the clock by the bed. It was 11:30 pm. Sometimes his dreams were of what happened in a very weird, distorted version of the events. They always consisted of him trying to kill the bad guys before they could shoot his dad. It never worked no matter how hard he tried. It didn’t matter what order he killed the bad guys, they still managed to kill his dad before he could shoot them all.
He sighed deeply. The only thing that could have changed the events was if Marion and Gayle had been there with rifles, too. Then it would have been a more even firefight. If Marion would only have listened when his dad had pleaded with her to come with them, he might still be alive today. Marion deserves whatever happens to her in town, he thought, feeling anger and bitterness towards her. Well, Gayle didn’t deserve to have anything bad happen to her, but she had stayed with her mother, so whatever happens is her own fault. He had decided that it would be better for all of them if he didn’t go check on them in town at all. He wasn’t sure he could control himself from doing something he might regret later to Marion. Might regret was the key phrase, he thought with anger. If he saw her now, there was no telling what he might do to her. It is just better for everyone if he kept his distance from them. Who knows, maybe someone will get tired of her big argumentative mouth and take care of the problem for him. That would be poetic justice. Like life was ever fair or filled with justice. He snorted at that thought. He’d known that all his life. His dad used to tell him, “Life is not fair. Anyone who says different is either in la la land or they are just plain outright lying. Life and the word fairness should never be used in the same sentence. It can never be.”
It had been ten days since the world had ended and his dad had died. Feeling clear headed for the first time since it happened, he started thinking about what he should be doing. Realizing what needed to be done, he planned to set out some muskrat traps and get a small trap line going for meat and animal fur to tan. It’s what his dad and he would be doing if he hadn’t died. He was feeling more human right now than at any time since it had happened. The last ten days felt more like being in a waking dream or a robot programmed to go through the motions of getting up and going to bed than anything human. His dad would be very disappointed in him at the way he had been acting since it happened. This was the busiest time of the year. There was hunting and trapping for meat and fur that needed to be done. Looking seriously at his dad’s chair setting there, he vowed he would make his dad proud and use the skills and knowledge he had taught him to survive.
Going to the garage and getting his traps ready to set first thing in the morning was his top priority now. After all, he felt he had already done the hardest thing he possibly ever could by burying his Dad. He stared at the clock for a long while, lost in his thoughts of better times. All of a sudden it dawned on him that the lights were working. They shouldn’t be. An EMP should have taken them out. Now that it came to his attention, he realized that everything was still working in the house. It must be like his dad had said. The house was built into the hill. The hill must have protected the house and garage from the EMP. He shook his head in amazement. Wow, his dad had built one hell of a place. Needing a shower very badly, he got up and went into the bathroom and jumped into the shower. The water really felt good. Afterwards, looking at himself in the mirror, he didn’t recognize his reflection. A stranger stared back at him from the mirror; some kind of a deranged person from a B grade movie. He chuckled a bit at that and thought of the things his dad would have said if he could see him now. That thought sent a shock through him. He had better get his act together and show that he was worthy of the time and knowledge his dad had given him. His stomach growled and he realized he was very hungry. How long had it been since he’d eaten anything? He couldn’t remember the last time food had mattered to him. It must have been before all of this had happened. It’s time to eat a real meal. As he prepared something solid to eat, he made a mental list of what needed to be done before he could set out traps tomorrow.
Junior went into the garage, checking the walls to see if there were anymore hidden surprises his dad had in the walls. So far he had found a few things, but nothing like the hole that his dad had stashed the rifles in. Refilling the ammo pouches and cleaning the rifles made him feel like his Dad would be proud of him. He decided to put one rifle back in the hole for a backup and he would carry the other rifle all the time, just in case he needed it. You just never knew when you might need the semi-automatic SKS. Events had already proved that fact to him.
At first light he gathered up everything needed to go to the lake and start his trap line. His first job was to find the active muskrat huts. It felt good to be out in the crisp autumn air again. The leaves were changing and the brilliant yellow and orange colors brightened his mood a little. The Canadian geese were overhead honking, and looking up, he saw the V high in the sky. They were heading south. For a quick moment he wondered if that was a good idea. Maybe he, too, should be heading south before the winter snows come. Upon reflection and respecting his dad’s survival instincts on picking this location, he decided it would be better to just stay put right here, where everything was located. In fact, he had more than most people did right now. Not only was there a working truck, but power for lights and things. His dad had spent many years getting this place ready for any type of a disaster. He had done an excellent job, too.
He approached the marsh like an old friend. He felt at home here. The smell of fresh mud and the sight of the first muskrat hut caused excitement to build inside of him. The first one was a large round mud and cattail hut. It was built about three feet tall and about four feet around at the base. There was fresh mud and a slide off the top heading into deeper water. There were only twelve traps to set. He took six Number 1 Long Spring Traps and six Number 110 Conibear Traps with him this time.
The leg hold traps were set up with drowning slides and needed two stakes. One stake was necessary near the trap and one stake would be out in the deeper water. He remembered when he was little, his dad tried to explain to him what deeper water meant. He chuckled at the memory, thinking it meant over his head in about five or six feet of water. He smiled, remembering the look on his dad’s face. It was one of those looks dads give their sons when they are thinking, He can’t really be my son.
He set the first leg hold trap at the right side of the slide where the muskrats would climb out. He staked it in water that was about three feet deep. The drowning swivel was an ingenious invention. It only allowed the trap to go down to the deeper water. Once the first set was finished, he started to feel a whole lot better and more like his old self. As he walked in front of the hut, he hit a deep trench, almost falling into the water. Stopping, he realized he found the entrance run to the hut. Using the hip boots, he felt in the mud and traced the trench right up to the underwater entrance. Grabbing one of the Number 110 Conibear Traps and stakes, he set the trap on the run quickly and quietly. Once the trap set was completed, he walked off looking for the next hut. He found a huge feed bed. In the cattails, he set two leg hold traps, one trap for each trail leading up to the feed bed would do the trick. He remembered his dad had him watch Buckshot’s Water Trapping DVD before he would let Junior put out some traps of his own when he was young. It was so he would understand what he was doing and not just copying his dad. Looking the sets over, a feeling of confidence overcame him. They were pretty near perfect.
Before long, he finished setting the rest of his traps. He looked around and decided it was clear; the marsh had plenty more huts to set. But it wasn’t wise to be away from the house too long. He would just keep moving these traps every fourth day, just taking the cream of the crop of muskrats. Seeing a Mallard duck swim by, he considered shooting him but changed his mind. No sense telling the world where he was with the noise of a bullet. The whole idea of using traps and snares was to be silent but effective.
He was averaging about four muskrats a day. He would gather up the guts, tail and feet and set them out about three hundred yards from the house to bring the predators in close. His dad had always harped on the myth of the hug a predator crowd that believed nature was somehow perfect without mankind interfering with it. They didn’t understand that Mother Nature wasn’t a kind old woman that loved animals and trees. Mother Nature was a very hard and unkind mistress. Mother Nature’s way of dealing with overpopulation of animals was to use disease and starvation to skim down the herds to manageable proportions for each area. The animals suffered horrible deaths. Mankind, by harvesting each fall the meat and fur of animals, makes healthier herds possible. This way there was enough food to go around for all of them and they would be healthier.
Mankind was much kinder and more humane than Mother Nature could ever be. Nature actually thrived from mankind’s involvement in managing the harvest of furs. Anyone who studied ecology knew that fact, too. His dad had no tolerance for fools who refuted this fact. Every time he thought about being a modern day Mountain Man, an image of a coyote mountain man style hat came to mind. This was the year he was going to catch the coyote that would be volunteering for his new hat. The plan was to tan and sew it by hand.
The day started with waking up before daybreak and going out to check his muskrat traps. He would change the location of the traps that were not producing much fur to a new area with more active signs. Going home and bringing the day’s catch, always being careful to watch for intruders, could be a bit challenging at times. It was easy to forget that it wasn’t safe outside. He would skin the day’s catch and put the guts and unused parts out for the predators in the bait pile, then eat and go to bed. It became a routine for him and kept him busy doing something productive.
After the chores were done, it would be time to check the garage for intruders. There was a nice hiding-hole built into the brush where he could watch the road safely and no one would notice if anyone was there. “Work the plan,” his dad had said. That meant waiting for at least six months before venturing out to the town to see what was left. It had now been three weeks since the world ended and his dad died. Those two events would always be side by side in his mind together. So, he had five months and one week to wait out before going anywhere. He checked the radio for a signal every afternoon. At night, he watched DVD movies or the movies they had made as a family and remembered what life used to be about.
He had plenty of food, water and warmth. He only burned a small fire at night in the woodstove and let it go out as he slept. With only one wall exposed to the elements, it was a brilliant plan on his dad’s part for holding the heat inside. He was enjoying going out now in the fall while he still could, because once the snow started, he wouldn’t be leaving the camp. It was much too dangerous to leave a snow trail right to his door.
In the morning, when he was checking his traps, he heard the sound of two people come to him long before there was any sight of them. City people always sounded like a freight train going through the woods. Sitting down at the side of a muskrat hut, he watched and listened for them. Cattails were all around him and whoever they were, they wouldn’t notice him sitting there. The two people stopped about fifty yards away. They could be seen clearly and their loud argument could be heard for a long distance. What morons, he thought.
“You said you knew how to hunt and we would have no trouble surviving in the woods,” the first one complained. “That’s why we came here. I’m starving! We only had one rabbit to eat in three days. I’m losing weight like mad. We can’t go on like this much longer.”
“Well, if you wouldn’t have missed that deer yesterday we would be eating real well right now,” said the other.
“Well, you missed that deer last week, so you have no room to talk.”
“I’m starving. What the hell are we going to eat when winter comes? Tree bark?”
“We’ll have to give this hunt up and go back to my dad’s house” said the first one. “Maybe they got some emergency supplies from the government or something. I agree we can’t live like this much longer. There’s no food out here.”
“I’ll tell you what, if we don’t get a deer in two days, we’ll head home, okay?”
The second one said, “Let’s hunt around this lake here and maybe we can get lucky.” They took off through the trees.
Junior kept his eye on them. There were still a few traps to check before heading home. He finished up as quickly and quietly as possible so those two men wouldn’t see or hear him. As he threw the four muskrats for the day in his pack, he was careful leaving the marsh not to toss any mud or leave tracks that others could see that would lead them back to the house. Arriving home and hurrying inside, he kept to his routine. As he was skinning the muskrats, he was thinking about what those two men had said. They were stupid fools. They were surrounded by food. They were so blind to everything around them. They were in hunter mode. They could have cooked up the cattail roots and caught a few muskrats to eat. Did they even look around the area and see what was available to eat? No, they did not. They were stuck in the mighty hunter mode. He figured they had to be acting like backpack survivalists. That’s the only idea that made sense. His dad had warned him about those kinds of people and their mentality. Their way of thinking was to fill up their backpacks with mostly useless equipment and head to the woods with no food and magically they would be able to hunt enough to survive. Like walking out in the woods is like going to nature’s supermarket. Like anyone can just walk out in the woods and the deer or whatever will just appear right in front of them for them to shoot and eat. Nothing to it. Nothing at all. Anyone can do this. They are the mighty hunters. Don’t they realize how many times they’ve gone out hunting and not returned with any game to eat? Or went a whole deer season and not been able to bring one deer home? How would they eat in the meantime? They had no cabin. He bet they were living in a tent, too. Yup, they were morons.
Well, hopefully they would be gone in a couple of weeks anyway, one way or another. He was really hoping they would leave in the next two days, like they suggested. Snow was coming soon. They wouldn’t survive out there when the snow started to fall. He took his skinned muskrats and put them on stretchers, thankful there would be plenty of fur to tan this winter. He needed to get out and collect three buckets of acorns to use to tan the hides with. He’d boil them down for tannic acid. That should keep him busy this winter and keep him from going stir crazy when he was housebound.
He gathered up all the guts and parts and went outside. The coyotes and raccoons had been getting into the bait pile. There was evidence of this as he tossed the new guts into the pile. Good, he thought. A few days after those yahoos leave, it will be time to set out some snares for the coyotes and raccoons. On the way back to the house, he kept thinking of those two guys. Why do people think they can head off into the woods and survive? They have no skills and no experience. He shook his head. He was so glad his dad had taught him how to survive out in the woods from as far back as he could remember. Even with all of his experience, he wouldn’t be foolish enough to just head out in the woods and survive with just a backpack. It took planning, equipment and a whole lot of experience. He shook his head again. The sooner the backpack survivalists leave, the better it would be for him. He figured that as soon as the snow started falling there would not be many of those kinds left around in the woods. Well, at least not alive, anyway.
The next day he was very cautious as he headed out to check his traps, walking a little bit, then stopping to listen and make sure it was clear. Getting into the cattails as quickly as he could was his first priority. They would hide him from sight. Slowly, he would step in the water, making sure not to make a splashing noise. Today he was armed with a Ruger Mark 11. It was his .22 pistol. He walked around very slowly so as not to cause ripples in the water and give his position away to anyone that might be around. He wanted to keep as low of a profile as he could. He needed to move some of the traps to better locations, but was worried about the two guys from yesterday. He decided to wait until tomorrow to move them. He had gotten only three muskrats today. Carefully, he made his way out of the cattails onto dry land.
He stepped out and heard a voice say, “Freeze.” Junior reached his hand slowly down to get the Ruger and the voice said, “Don’t try it kid. I will shoot you.” The two yahoos from yesterday walked out of the brush towards him. They both had rifles with scopes mounted on them.
“We saw you leaving this area yesterday from across the lake,” said the other one. “We waited this morning to see if you would come back today. What are you doing? Duck hunting?”
“No,” said Junior. He looked them over and saw how unkempt they were and how unhealthy they looked. He hoped they wouldn’t notice that he had on clean clothes and that he didn’t smell like they did. He hoped the hip boots and his old Army field jacket covered up this very obvious fact. If they were the least bit observant, it would be as clear as day to them. They seemed as oblivious to this as they had been to the fact of food around them yesterday. Junior asked them curiously, “What do you want?”
“We want to know what you are doing here on our lake,” said the first one.
Junior’s eyebrows lifted in surprise at that answer. He said, “Your lake? The last time I heard, the State of Wisconsin owned this lake.” Junior was starting to dislike these two arrogant yahoos. “You guys from the city?”
The second one said, “Yes, but we come up here hunting every year. So this is our lake now.”
“So, what are you doing?” Junior pressed. “Are you trying to rob me? What is it you want?”
“Nope, we aren’t robbing you. We’re not criminals. We’re just telling you to stay away from our lake from now on. We own it now, not the State of Wisconsin.”
Junior was disgusted with them at this point. “Fine, whatever. I will be on my way, then.”
He took a step and the second one said, “Wait a minute. What do you have in that pack?”
“None of your business,” replied Junior. “Unless you’re lying to me about being criminals and intend to rob me.”
“If what you have in that pack has to do with this lake,” said the first man, “then we aren’t robbing you, seeing that we own it now. So it is very much our business to know what’s in that pack.”
Junior said, “Fine, lower your rifles and I’ll show you.” They cradled their rifles in their arms. Junior took the pack off and pulled three muskrats out of the pack.
“Rats. You’re eating rats. You must be starving, too.”
Junior wanted to scream at them that they weren’t rats. Morons. Instead he said, “I’ll give you each one so we all have something to eat. It’s better than nothing.”
“Rats. Well, why not?” said the second man. “I’m starving and the thought of eating a rat is better than the nothing we’ve been eating. In fact, I never thought I would say this, but they aren’t looking all that bad at the moment. It must be the hunger talking.”
The first one said, “Wait a minute. How did you catch these rats? I don’t see any bullet holes and we didn’t hear any shots.”
“I caught them in rat traps. My dad has a dozen of them.” Thinking real fast on his feet, Junior added, “My dad should be watching you two right now.” Both of them looked around real quick in all directions.
“You’re bluffing,” said the first one. “We don’t see anyone but you.”
Junior smiled at them. “That’s the plan.” It was as if the Grace of God had shined down on him at that very moment. They had all heard a very loud cracking behind them in the woods.
“Okay. We don’t want any trouble,” said the second one, “and if you don’t mind, we would like to have a rat to eat like you offered. Is that okay? We’re starving.”
The other one agreed. “Yeah, please, we don’t want any trouble, okay? One of them rats to eat will be right down neighborly of you. We meant no real harm to you and your dad.” Junior looked at them and then tossed each one of them a muskrat. He put the other one back in his pack. Both men thanked him.
Junior started walking away, then stopped and turned around. He’d been thinking as fast as he could about what he could do to scare them away. They were holding on to the muskrats as if they had never seen food before. They looked up at him. “For your own safety,” Junior said, “don’t try to follow me. My dad is a real security conscious type of guy, know what I mean? He’s retired from the military and set traps all over the place around here. For your own safety, don’t try to follow us. I don’t even know where he set up all the traps.” He turned around and continued down the trail at a normal speed, making sure not to show any concern.
Both men again said, “Thanks for the rats. We appreciate it.” He didn’t acknowledge them at all and kept on walking. As soon as he knew they couldn’t see him or hear him anymore, he took off at a fast trot. It would be hard to run all out when he was wearing hip boots, but he wanted to put as much distance as he could between them and him before he stopped. He wasn’t taking a chance of tripping with these hip boots on. That was all he needed right now.
After he had run past the second hill, he stopped and got off the trail to keep watch to make sure they hadn’t tried to follow him home. He found a comfortable spot, sat down and waited for two hours. He decided that tomorrow night after dark he would return and pull all of his traps until these two yahoos left the area. He was thinking about the two men and how lucky he’d been with this situation. Tomorrow he had better scout around and find where these two were camped and keep a watch on their activities until they left the area. The house was just a mile down the trail. It wouldn’t be too hard for them to find it if they were determined to do so. Yup, the house was too close for comfort with these two clowns trampling around the woods. It would be better to just pull all the traps tomorrow night and seal the house up tight and wait them out. He wouldn’t be able to keep up the story that his dad was around if they watched the house.
He got home, sealed everything up tight, and pulled all the shutters down on the windows. That way no one would see any lights or anything. They’d walk right by the place and not notice anything. He grabbed some brush and swept out all the tracks from the trail and outside the house. He scattered leaves all over. It looked natural and untouched. Yup, these two would walk right on by and not notice anything at all.
He skinned the muskrat and put it up on the stretcher. He was getting tired of eating fried muskrat anyway. He had smoked up a lot, too, and stored the smoked pieces in airtight containers. They would be a good source of meat throughout the winter for snacks, soups and stews. Thinking of food made him hungry. He decided to make an early dinner and save some to eat later tonight. His appetite was back. After he ate and cleaned up, it was dark. He decided to go get the traps and not wait until the next night. It would be better to get this over with.
He’d seal the house up and that would be that. He started to think about the two morons and their rifles. One man had a .300 Weatherby Magnum Rifle with a Leupold Mark 4 Extended Range Tactical M1 Rifle Scope. Their accuracy had been proven in the field. Their rugged and absolute waterproof integrity was unquestionable. They were everything a tactical shooter, long-range shooter, target shooter, or hunter could ask for. Just the riflescope, mounts, sling and ammo he spent well over $4000.00. The other man had a Ruger M77 Hawkeye Bolt Action Rifle 7164. What a fool the one who bought the Weatherby was. He could have bought a Remington SPS Tactical 308 Black Hogue Stock with V-II Leopold for under $1,500.00 and saved almost $3,000.00. He could have spent that money on food. Those two would be well supplied right now. But the fantasy of a backpack survivalist has nothing to do with reality. Their mentality is it is better to say ‘I can hunt and fish to survive instead of getting properly prepared to really survive.’ Living in a tent come January with no food … that rifle is going to look pretty useless. As Duncan Long said in his book, Survival Rifles, “A good garden and traps will feed you better than a wealth of hunting rifles.” Unfortunately for many people, the truth of that statement had to be learned the hard way with deadly consequences. Junior thought the Remington was a much better outfit for around $1500.00 with sling, scope mounts and ammo.
He went outside and stopped to listen and sniff the air. If they were upwind of him, he would smell them long before they got close. Those two were pretty ripe. He made his way as slowly and quietly as the heavy frost would let him. Each step he took was followed by a crunch. He certainly hoped those two wouldn’t be around and cause any more trouble. He still shook his head at them telling him they owned the lake. What arrogance and nerve they had. He neared the lake. It took him over an hour to get there. He went at a snail’s pace. There was their fire across the lake. Well, that explained why he ran into them twice in a row. He approached the cattails. Walking in the swamp was hard enough in the daylight, and doing it by the light of the moon was even more challenging. He had to keep feeling his way with his foot before he could take a step forward. There were some deep holes around here, and if he wasn’t careful, he could fall into one by accident. He went to take a step and a muskrat dove in the water right in front of him, scaring the crap out of him. He stood there for a few minutes waiting to get his heartbeat and breathing down to a normal level from the adrenaline running through his body. He found all his traps; only one had a muskrat in it. Well, the most important thing right now was to get the traps and get home, not worry about how much he caught. He tried to stay calm and keep an eye on the two men at the campfire. He kept telling himself to remain calm, get done, and go home.
He was just making his way out of the cattails when the wind shifted and he could faintly hear the two men talking. He couldn’t understand what they were saying. He gave them a glance then started for home. The voices must be coming with the wind across the lake. Those two had no sense at all. If I was intent on harming them they’d be very easy targets. He shook his head and continued on. He was bone tired and the night air seemed so very cold to him. He made it to the house and waited a few minutes, listening to see if anything was amiss here. Everything seemed to be fine. He went inside, sealed up tight, and heated up what was left from dinner. He kept yawning. He decided to finish everything else tomorrow. He was too tired right now to deal with anything else. He made his way into his bedroom, grabbed an extra blanket and threw it on the bed. He was just too tired to make a fire tonight. He climbed in and closed his eyes.
The two men sat by the fire trying to keep warm. It was very cold out tonight and the wind really chilled a body to the bone. They could feel the dampness coming off the lake. They got into their sleeping bags to get warmer. Neither man felt very good. They had eaten the rat the kid had given them, but they were still hungry. They hadn’t seen a deer or rabbit in days. If they didn’t get something to eat in the next couple of days, they’d have to head back to the city and see if there was any government help with food. They didn’t know what else to do. They had always hunted and they didn’t know what else to do to get meat. Never once did it cross their minds to get some traps or snares. Each time they went out hunting, they burned up more calories they couldn’t replace. They were starving.
Glen sat in his sleeping bag, trying to warm up and stop the shivers. Carl was shivering, too. Glen, the shorter of the two, said to Carl, “That rat sure tasted good, didn’t it?”
“It tasted better than I thought a rat ever could,” said Carl.
“I wonder if that kid will be coming back to the lake tomorrow?” wondered Glen. “Maybe we can get another one of those rats from him. Hell, we’ll take them all from the kid, because this is our lake now.” He laughed and Carl joined in, too.
“Yeah, we’ll take all he’s got because this is our lake. We’ll let him do all the work and we’ll eat everything he has. I wish I knew when he was coming back. I’m still hungry.” Carl tried to burrow deeper in his sleeping bag.
“Yeah, me too.”
They both thought for a while, then Carl said, “We should go around the lake in the morning and hide. Then when he tries to leave with the rats, we’ll take them from him again. What do you say to that? Is that a good plan or what?”
Glen thought a moment. “We’ll follow him back to where he’s from and take that over, too. It will get us some shelter and heat. Maybe there’s some food there. That’s a better idea, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, that’s a much better idea. I like that one the best. We’ll just follow him to his place, and then if that kid’s father shows up, we’ll just have to kill him so we can take it over. We have to so we can survive. We’ll make that kid keep providing us with food, too. What do you think about that?”
“That’s a very good plan.” Glen grinned at Carl in the firelight. “We better get some sleep so we can be up before the sun and get into position before that kid shows up.”
Junior woke up and it was dark. But with the house sealed up tight it was always dark in here; the steel plates bolted down over the windows and door effectively blocked all light in and out. He looked at the clock. It said 10:00 am. Wow, had he overslept. He went into the kitchen, got his traps, and skinned and gutted the single muskrat. He took the guts and unused parts out to the bait pile. He covered the bait pile with leaves. He had the strangest feeling he was being watched. He quickly made his way back inside. He dropped the steel plate into place over the doors and windows. He grabbed the bolts, and using a socket wrench, he tightened them down into the solid wood frame. Now he needed to stay sealed in for two weeks or so just to be sure the two guys were gone before he emerged outside again. He really didn’t keep track of the days, but glancing at the clock would tell him what day it was. Each day he grew more and more restless.
Marion was standing by the living room window keeping watch while Gayle gathered up the things they had decided to take with them. She packed their items in the backpacks they were taking to George’s place. He must still be mad at her, because he and Junior hadn’t come back for them. She sighed deeply, feeling like such a fool for staying here. She was really sorry for the things she’d said. He was right about the situation. Everyday it had gotten worse and worse. There was so much violence; stealing and true down right evil going on that it had shaken her belief in humanity. They had gathered all the available food and supplies together as a community and put them in one place. She and several others tried to keep everything together and ration foods and goods out as needed. They were trying to have some sort of order until the government could get things running again and help them out. It had been going pretty well at first, then people started breaking into the storehouse and stealing food and things. If that had been the only problem, she wouldn’t be leaving now.
People who were sick started dying. At first they didn’t think much of it, because people get sick everyday and some do die, after all. Then her best friend, Katie, came down with pneumonia and died. Katie had been fine with just a little cough and Dr. Anderson gave her some antibiotics to clear it up. Katie was fine for a few days, then she started to get worse and Dr. Anderson gave her an IV with antibiotics in it twice a day. Katie was getting better and improving. The fever disappeared, she just had a small cough and had said she was feeling much better. Then yesterday morning, she went to check on Katie and she was dead. She went to Dr. Anderson’s office to tell him and heard Dr. Anderson and the Mayor arguing. Dr. Anderson had discovered that the Mayor was injecting the sick with a lethal dose of something as soon as he could get them alone. The Mayor didn’t want Dr. Anderson wasting the medicine on what he called second hand citizens. The sheriff had arrested the Mayor and took him to jail. It was a nightmare.
Then this morning, when she was on the way to the storehouse to do her shift watching and handing out necessary supplies, there was a shootout. It seemed her neighbors and friends had enough and they stormed the jail to kill the Mayor. The talk had been all over town about what the Mayor had done. When it was all over, twenty three people were dead, including the Mayor, the sheriff and the two deputies, and she didn’t even know how many were wounded and hurt. Some people had stormed the storehouse, too, and taken most of the supplies they had gathered there. The thieves had killed Dr. Anderson, Stuart the pharmacist, three other people who’d been there to get supplies, and Henry, who had been on shift. She came home and talked to Gayle about the situation. They decided it was time to get out of Dodge before anything else bad happened. It had been hard for Gayle not to say, ‘I told you so.’ Gayle had been saying daily that they should get out of town and go to George’s place before people got out of hand. Marion just hadn’t been able to believe people could act like this. She sighed again deeply and tears welled up in her eyes. George and Gayle were right; the world they had known was gone and people had gone insane, completely and truly insane.
Gayle handed her a backpack. She looked around at everything, wondering when or if she would ever see her house again. She picked up the double barrel shotgun and walked to the door with Gayle right behind her. She turned and looked at her house from the road as tears rolled down her face. Gayle grabbed her arm, gave it a squeeze, and said, “The first step of a journey into the unknown is always the hardest.” Marion smiled at Gayle, remembering the day Gayle got that quote from a fortune cookie. Gayle was always using that quote. It had become a joke between them. She nodded at Gayle, then turned around and started walking down the road.
Junior felt he should be out there trapping and snaring the predators. He was pacing around the living room. He was going crazy being cooped up. He needed the hides he would trap so he could tan more at a time. He really wanted to make that coyote hat this year, too. He kept thinking about those two clowns saying they owned the lake. It was just him, so he couldn’t take a chance of opening up and going outside. What if they broke in while he was gone? It was a chance he couldn’t take. He paced some more. They’d be gone soon. They’d run out of food and go back to the city, where they belonged. He just needed to be a bit more patient. A lot was at stake. Correction, everything was at stake here, including his life. He had to remember that. After a week of pacing around and bemoaning the fact he couldn’t go outside, he was thinking of taking a chance and doing it anyway. He was going to go insane if he stayed inside any longer. He started pacing again. It had now been one month since the world had changed. He felt very alone and needed to have a conversation with someone, anyone. He’d never been on his own this long before. He was starting to dislike his own company. He chuckled at that thought. A psychologist would have a field day with him. He paced some more.
Little did Junior know that the two survivalists had followed his footprints in the frost right back to his door. Those footprints had stuck out like a neon sign that said ‘follow me home.’ They’d started watching the place. They shot a deer the afternoon after he’d given them the muskrats, so they had food to settle in and wait until he came out. They thought they were quite clever finding his footprints to follow. They had been waiting for him or his dad to come outside so they could take over the house. They couldn’t figure out how to get in. They’d tried a few times, but everything was shut down tight. They hadn’t tried real hard yet. The two men were trying to be quiet so they could surprise them. They’d have to come out eventually. It was getting real cold out, too. Well, it was just a matter of time.
Junior was pacing again and had just decided to go reheat the coffee when there was pounding on the door. The noise startled Junior, and he jumped a few feet into the air. He quickly went to the door, thinking it must be the two hunters. His dad had put in a cool spy camera so he could see who was at the door. Marion was standing there, carrying a double barrel 12-gauge shotgun and Gayle was carrying an old Marlin bolt-action eight shot .22. He unbolted the door and used the pulleys to raise the steel plate up. He invited them in. As soon as they crossed the threshold, he practically pulled them the rest of the way to get them out of his way so he could reseal the door up behind them.
When he had the door secured, he turned around to face them. Only Gayle was standing there looking at him. It hit him then that they didn’t know about his dad.
Marion walked back into the living room. “Where’s George? Is he outside trapping or something?” Junior gave Marion an angry glare. Gayle sat down on the couch. Marion just looked at Junior. As he tried to move past her, Marion reached out and grabbed his arm, and looked him straight in the eyes. “Tell me where George is. I have to apologize to him right now. I was so wrong.”
Junior looked at her, tears welling up remembering that if she and Gayle would have come with their guns, maybe his dad wouldn’t be dead right now.
Marion stepped back from his look. “Don’t tell me he is still mad at me. Did he say he never wanted to see me again?” she asked. “Is that why you’re acting strange and angry?”
Junior shook his head no. The tears started to roll down his face. Marion looked at him, then over at Gayle, and then back at him. Junior wiped his eyes with his hands and said resentfully, “It would be a little hard to apologize to him now. He’s dead. He died as soon as we got home. Three bad guys were waiting here to rob us. We could have handled them, but they had a woman hidden in the woods. She stepped out and surprised my dad. That’s what got him killed. No, I correct that statement. My dad died because you didn’t come with us and bring your guns. If you would have come with us when he asked you, none of this would have happened.” He turned from her and walked away before he did or said something that he would possibly regret later. He went to his room and slammed the door.
He knew he’d have to face them. Not like he had much of a choice in the matter unless he wanted to throw them outside and tell them to get lost. Even as mad at Marion as he was, it wouldn’t be right to do that to her, and he especially couldn’t do that to Gayle; if Marion left, Gayle would go with her. That much was pretty well guaranteed. But, that didn’t mean he had to be nice to Marion, and he wouldn’t be. There would never be any forgiveness for what she caused to happen to his dad. The best he could come up with in regard to Marion was to pretend she wasn’t even there. If he started yelling at her and got really angry, he didn’t know if he could prevent himself from hurting her, and he wasn’t going to cross that line and start hurting women. He walked into the living room and saw the bolts lying on the floor where he’d put them after letting them in. He had secured the door but hadn’t sealed it up tight. He grabbed the socket wrench and starting tightening the bolts down. Marion was crying and Gayle had her arms around her mother on the couch, talking quietly to her.
After Junior walked away, Marion had just stood there in shock at the words he’d said and the angry way he’d delivered them to her. George was dead. He’d been dead for over a month now. That couldn’t be right. She looked at Gayle to see if she’d heard the same thing she had.
Gayle got up and came over to her, giving her a hug. “I’m sorry, Mom, I know you really liked George.”
Really liked, she thought. No, she had fallen in love with him almost from the first moment she had seen him. He couldn’t be gone. Gayle led her over to the couch and sat her down. Gayle handed her a tissue and she realized tears were running down her face. She wiped her face, but the tears wouldn’t stop falling. She sat there and thought about the all things they had shared together and said to each other. There was no way in hell George was gone. No, not again. After losing her husband, she had made sure not to get too close to anyone, because it was just too painful when they were gone. George had slipped right through all her defenses as if they weren’t even there. He made her feel like a teenager again. They just clicked in every way. No way could he be gone. Deep sobs escaped, shaking her whole body. Gayle rocked her and held her tight.
Gayle looked up from embracing her mother when Junior came into the living room and moved past them as if they weren’t there. His grief was deep, too. It was etched all over his face. He looked a lot older and sadder than he had the last time she’d seen him. He blamed his dad’s death on her mother. Oh my God, she thought, he must have buried his father by himself. She didn’t know what to do. She had liked George. She thought he had been gallant in his efforts to get her mother to change her mind. What should she do? What should she say? She made up her mind to just play it by ear. After all, what else could she do? Later that night, Gayle got her mother calmed down enough to go lay down on George’s bed.
Hopefully, she’d be able to rest for a while. She went into the kitchen to see what was there to make. She started dinner and put more coffee on. She grabbed a cup for her and one for Junior and knocked on his bedroom door with her foot as softly as she could. He told her to go away and leave him alone. “Okay,” she said, “I just brought you a cup of coffee and I’m making some dinner. It’ll be ready in about fifteen minutes.”
She set the coffee cup on the floor and was turning to leave when Junior opened the door. He looked both ways and saw she was alone, then reached down and grabbed the coffee cup off the floor, taking a sip. “Sorry, I thought you were your mother and I don’t want to talk to her,” he said.
“I can understand needing to be alone at a time like this. I was the same way after my father died. I didn’t like talking to anyone. I just wanted to be alone and remember all the things we did together. I felt no one could possibly understand how much I missed him and how my heart felt like a big empty hole without him around.” She reached out and touched his arm. “I’m sorry you lost your father. I liked him. I thought he was quite gallant. But, I know how it feels, and I’m here if you need to talk about it. I just wanted to let you know that. You don’t have to be alone anymore. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through, doing all of this on your own with no one to talk to or help you. I’m here if you need me. I’ll leave you alone now and stop bothering you.”
She stepped back to leave and Junior reached out and pulled her into a hug. He hugged her real tight. They stood in the hall for a long time. Junior finally released her and said with a ragged breath, “You have no idea how good that felt. I always thought I was a loner and enjoyed being by myself. I’ve come to realize it’s not that I’m a loner. It’s that I didn’t want to be around the people that were in my life before, except my dad. Thank you. That meant a lot to me. It has been real hard getting used to being without my dad.”
She smiled at him. “You’re welcome, anytime. You need to talk or a hug, just let me know. I’m available. It’s not like I’m going to be going anywhere.” He smiled at that statement. She looked at him seriously and asked, “Do you feel like living dangerously?”
He looked at her for a moment. “What did you have in mind?”
She smiled. “Are you hungry? I’m cooking. Dinner will be done probably right now. I’d better go check on it.” As she walked away, she heard him chuckle just a little bit. It was a start. It was a small step, but a very important one.
The next morning while Gayle and Junior were eating breakfast, Marion walked into the kitchen and said in a very raspy voice, “Junior, I need to see George. Please take me to see him.” Junior looked over at her; she looked terrible. It kind of reminded him of what he’d seen when he looked into the bathroom mirror when he had finally woken up after his intense grief and taken a shower. He nodded his head yes. They got up and prepared to go outside to the gravesite. Gayle put her arm around her mother as they walked down the trail. Junior noticed how Marion kept stumbling and seemed unsteady on her feet. He didn’t notice it was the tears in her eyes that made it hard to see where she was going.
When they reached the tree, Marion saw the marker and let out a sob. She held her hand up to her mouth as if to hold in any noise she might make. She slowly walked up to the grave, sat down, and placed her hand on the dirt. She hung her head, crying. Junior didn’t know quite what to do. Gayle sat down next to her mother and put an arm around her shoulder, hugging her. Marion didn’t even seem to notice. They stayed like that for a while, then Marion said in a low whisper, “Leave me here for awhile. I want to be alone with the man I loved.”
“No mother. I will not leave you here alone.”
“Go. Just go and leave me alone with George.” Gayle looked to Junior as if to say, what should I do?
Junior walked up by the marker, looked at Marion down on the ground and said, “Gayle, let’s go.”
“No. I’ll stay here with you, Mom. I won’t leave you alone here.”
Marion reached out and grabbed Gayle in a tight hug. “I need to be alone with George for awhile. I ... I have to talk to him. I don’t want you here. I need to be alone with him. Go to the house. I’ll be all right.” Gayle got up reluctantly and turned to Junior. She didn’t want to leave her mother here by herself. Junior reached out, took her arm and led her down the trail. Gayle kept looking back at her mother. She seemed so small and alone next to that big grave.
“She’ll be all right,” Junior said. “It just hasn’t sunk in yet. I was the same way. I used to come and spend hours sitting next to the tree, just to be close to him.” Gayle stopped, reached out and put her arm around him and hugged him. He hugged her back. They stayed there for quite some time. Then they heard Marion start to talk to George. They stepped apart and hurried down the trail. Neither one of them wanted to hear what she had to say. It was a private conversation not meant for anyone to hear but George.
Gayle finally asked the question that had been on her mind since they got back to the house. “How long should we let her stay out there?”
“If she isn’t back by the time it starts to get dark we will go get her, okay?” Junior said.
Gayle, feeling reassured, said, “Okay. But should we leave her out there that long?”
“Yes, she’ll come back when she’s done. Don’t worry too much about it.”
Gayle said, “This has hit her real hard, you know. She was sort of like this when my dad died, but not this bad. At least I don’t remember her being hit as hard as she is now, but I was lost in my own grief at the time, too, and maybe I just don’t remember it right. We’ve gotten closer since then. I’m worried about her.”
“I don’t know the right thing to do,” Junior said. “I’ve never lost anyone close before. I guess she’ll grieve as much as she needs to. It’s hit her harder than I thought it could. She said she loved him. I didn’t know that before. But I think my dad loved her, too.” Gayle felt a little better since Junior wasn’t so hostile towards her mother right now. She decided a change of subject was in order before they both ended up crying.
She looked around. “When is the last time you cleaned this place up? The dust must be a half inch thick.” Junior looked around as if just now noticing how dusty and messy the place was. He was a bit shocked that he’d let the place get so dirty. He didn’t know what to say in answer to Gayle’s question. She realized this and said, “I’ll tell you what. We’ll split the chores up and have this place spic and span in no time.” Junior looked relieved and agreed. They both got up and got to work on the house.
When Marion got done talking to George, she was emotionally spent. She just sat there for a while, convincing herself to go to the house. She was so very tired and her heart hurt. It hurt to breathe. She slowly got up and stood there, looking around at George’s most favorite spot in the world. She touched the grave marker, gave it a kiss, and slowly made her way down the trail towards the house. She knew Gayle was worried about her, but she had important things to say to George, things that were none of those two kids’ business, things that were just for George to hear and no one else. Things she had to say to him. Personal things she needed to express to her lover. She felt so bad that the last time they’d been together they had argued. Time to head back to the cabin.
She was almost at the fork in the trail when a man jumped out and grabbed her. “You are my ticket to get inside that place,” he said. “Walk real careful-like or I will shoot you. Do you understand me?” She nodded yes, thinking how bad this man smelled. “Good. Just keep walking and go up to the door and tell them to let you in. Then we’ll go into the place real nice and friendly-like. You got that now?”
“Yes, I got that.” He pushed her in the back with the rifle he was holding. She started walking, thinking at light speed on how to warn the kids that something was wrong. Then and idea formed in her mind.
There was a man off to the side in the trees on the right, and the guy behind her hung back. Maybe she could get inside before they reached her. Well, she would try, anyway. She walked right up to the steel plate that covered the whole doorway, because the outside door was already left open for her, and she stepped as close as she could, almost hugging it and said, “Susie, tell your father to unlock the door and let me in.”
Junior was speaking when they both heard Marion outside. He and Gayle shared a puzzled look. Then it dawned on Gayle that something was wrong.
She said very quietly, “Junior, something’s not right.”
“Yeah, let’s look outside and see what’s going on,” Junior said. He looked out with the spy camera and saw the two yahoos that had told him they owned the lake. One was back on the side, and the other one was a little way behind Marion. Junior thought real fast.
“Shit, two guys are out there with my mother and they both have rifles.” Gayle looked worried.
Junior said, “I saw that. Now listen to me very carefully. Tell her that your dad can’t get the door open just yet or something.”
“Okay, Mom,” called Gayle. “I’ll tell Dad. He’ll be here in just a minute.”
Junior whispered, “I’m going to stand right by the door; you pull on the rope to raise the door up, and I’ll yank your mother in here. As soon as I do this, let go of the rope and the three hundred fifty pound steel door will slam down closed. We’ll put the bolts in it and secure it so they can’t get in. Now, while I’m getting everything ready, tell your mother that your dad can’t find the socket wrench. I’ll signal you when I’m ready to grab your mother. Okay?”
Gayle nodded. “Mom? Dad can’t remember where he set down the socket wrench. It’ll just be a few minutes until we find it. Okay?”
Marion said, “Okay. Just hurry; it’s cold out here.”
Junior had an idea and motioned to Gayle to come closer. She leaned in close to him. “You raise the door halfway up and we’ll pretend it’s stuck. When the door is half up, call out to your mom to bend down because the door is stuck. After you see me yank your mother in, just let go of the rope. Okay?”
Gayle looked at him strangely. Junior just motioned for her to do it. Gayle raised the door up halfway and said, “Mom, Dad can’t get the door all the way open, so you’re going to have to bend down to get in. Okay?”
“Okay, I’m bending down now,” Marion called. As soon as Marion bent down in the doorway, Junior reached out, grabbed her and yanked her inside. Gayle let go of the rope. It happened as fast as a blink of an eye.
Marion went sailing across the floor and Junior was trying to get the bolts lined up to tighten them. There was a loud pounding on the door that made all three of them jump. Junior looked at the spy camera; both men were standing right in front of the door.
“Hey buddy,” one of them said, “you got any more spare food for us? How about you give us one of those women?”
In his nervousness and anger at the two men, Junior couldn’t get everything lined up straight. In frustration he said to Gayle, “Push the button down and I’ll talk to them. Marion, help me get these threaded through so I can tighten them up.” The two women scrambled around, doing what he said. Gayle pushed the button down and Junior said, “Get the hell out of here or this woman here will shoot your dumb asses.”
Gayle grabbed the shotgun and racked a shell in the chamber. “That will be a cold day in hell before either one of us goes with you,” Gayle said. “I’ll shoot your asses before you even get close to the door.”
Junior finally got the bolt lined up right, reached for the socket wrench to tighten it, and then moved to the next one.
One of the guys outside said, “That isn’t very nice. We come up here all friendly-like, and you treat us like this. Hey, we can make a deal. You can let us inside and we’ll help you defend this place. What do you say about that offer? We’re good shots, you know.”
Junior started to crank the bolts down tight and the other man outside, hearing the noise, said, “I take it you don’t want us to come in, huh?” They both backed up a little way and shot at the door. A bullet ricocheted off the door and hit the one on the right in the stomach. The man bent over and fell to the ground.
The other bent over his friend. “What happened? Are you okay?” He then turned to the door. “Why in the hell did you shoot him?”
Marion rolled her eyes and yelled out, “You moron. You shot him. The bullet ricocheted off the steel.”
The man just stood still and silent for a few moments. “It never would have happened if you would have opened up the door. This is your fault,” he said through the door. “Now, I’m going to kill each and every one of you.” He backed up further and started shooting the door again. He was acting like a mad man. His face was screwed up into a grimace and his teeth were tight against his mouth. His neck was sticking out and bulging, the veins stuck out clearly. Another one of the bullets ricocheted off the door, hit his injured friend in the head and killed him instantly. In his rage, he never even noticed. He reloaded and emptied the gun into the double fourth inch plate steel again. The ringing inside the house was very loud. The man backed away from the door, turned and left.
Junior wasted no time in getting the rest of the bolts down tight. He let out a relieved sigh when the door was secured once again. He turned to the two shocked women and said, “I met those two yahoos last week. We were lucky this time.” He told them everything that had happened. He then thought for a few moments. “I don’t know how he found this place. Maybe they followed you two here.” There was silence. There wasn’t anything to say to that statement. There was no way to know for sure.
Marion glanced at the spy screen. “Look at what that crazy fool is doing.” She pointed to the screen. The man was marching back up to the door with his arms full of wood and brush. All three of them looked at each other. Marion gestured up to the loft area. “There’s a shooting port up there. It’s twelve inches by eight inches. Your dad used to shoot deer from it. You’re going to have to kill that crazy man out there. He isn’t going to stop. Did you see his eyes? You better do it now before he sets this place on fire. You have no choice. He’s acting insane. He’ll kill all of us if you don’t stop him now.”
Junior looked at Marion. “I don’t know if I can just shoot him.”
“You have no choice now,” Marion said. “He’s crazy and won’t stop unless you stop him. Do you understand that?”
Junior grabbed the Remington 870 that was loaded with three inch magnum triple ought buckshot. He climbed up to the loft and slid the panel back as quietly as he could. He could just barely see out, but he could see the rage-filled man coming with another armful of wood and brush. The opportunity to take the shot quickly passed.
The man banged on the door. “This is your last chance. Open the door or I’m going to burn you out and kill you all.” The man marched back out to the woods again. Junior couldn’t shoot him in the back.
A few minutes later, the man came back into view with his arms full of sticks and brush. Junior aimed at the center of the man’s chest and yelled out, “Stop right there and drop the brush. Turn around and leave or I will shoot you.” The man ignored him and kept walking to the door. Junior pulled the trigger. The barrel was outside and it wasn’t as loud as Junior had thought it would be. The pellets tore through the sticks and brush right into the center of the man’s chest. He arched back a bit, then fell to the side and lay on the ground. This was not like a Hollywood movie where you shoot someone and they fly back ten feet and fall over dead. They use pulleys and a harness to make it appear like that in a movie for a special effect. This was real life.
Junior waited to make sure he wasn’t getting up again. He could hear moaning. He climbed down from the loft. He walked over and put the shotgun away. He grabbed his .22 pistol that was in a holster on a belt and strapped it on his waist and leg. He pulled the tabs tight.
“What are you doing?” Marion asked. Junior ignored her and got the socket wrench and opened the door. He went outside, shot the moaning man in the head, and dragged the body over to the area he had used before to burn bodies. He walked over and shot the other man in the head just to be sure he was really dead. He holstered his .22, grabbed one leg and one arm, and started dragging the body over to the first. He then got two old tires from the garage and threw them on top. He gathered up brush, wood, and sticks and covered the bodies up.
He walked back into the house. He looked around and the two women were just looking at him. “What did you do?” Marion asked.
Junior looked at her and said clearly and expressionlessly, “I dragged the bodies over to the burn pile. We have to burn them. You have to keep the fire burning hot. It’s best not to leave it too long or the smell gets really bad.”
Marion looked shocked. “What do you mean, burn the bodies? What are you talking about?”
Junior explained. “You have to burn the bodies. You don’t want them rotting, stinking bodies around the place spreading disease. They could contaminate the ground water. So, you burn the bodies to keep the place clean.” He looked at them. “You two are going to help me, right?” Both women backed away from him, shaking their heads no. He shrugged his shoulders, turned around, and hooked the door open. He went outside to start the fire.
As he tended the fire, he was cold inside. Survival of the fittest lowered these bodies to two-legged predators that needed cleaning up. They were no longer people, just predators. They were pests that had to be taken care of. He looked around and thought with a worried expression how the area was starting to look like a battlefield. Burned areas, bullet holes in trees, and now the door was looking a bit worn, too. He sighed. We need spring to get here so the fresh new grass can grow and hide all of this.
One man had a .300 Weatherby Magnum Rifle with a Leupold Mark 4 Extended Range Tactical M1 Rifle Scope Price $2049.00
Factory-tuned, fully adjustable trigger*
Hand-laminated, raised comb, Monte Carlo composite stock with matte gel coat finish and spiderweb accents
Button-rifled, heavy contour, free-floated stainless steel barrel with target crown (.705 muzzle diameter)
CNC-machined 6061 T-6 aluminum bedding plate
Pachmayr® Decelerator® pad
* Sear engagement factory set at .008 to .014, with let-off weight set at approximately 3.5 pounds. Additional sear engagements must be performed by a Weatherby Service Center or qualified gunsmith.
The Scope on the Weatherby.
Leupold Mark 4 Extended Range Tactical M1 Rifle Scope 30mm Tube 8.5-25x 50mm Side Focus First Focal TMR Reticle Matte Our Price: $1,899.99
It's no surprise that a Leupold® Mark 4® Long Range/Tactical riflescope was chosen as the primary day optic for the US Army's M-24 rifle system.
Just the rifle scope, mounts, sling and ammo he spent well over $4000.00.
The Scope on the Ruger M77 Hawkeye Bolt Action Rifle.
What a fool the one that bought the Weatherby was. He could have bought a Remington SPS Tactical 308 Black Hogue Stock with V-II Leopold for under a $1500.00 and saved almost $3000.00. He could have then spent it on food. Those two would be sitting well supplied right now. But the fantasy of backpack survivalist’s has nothing to do with reality. Their mentality is it is better to say I can hunt and fish to survive instead of getting properly prepared to really survive. Living in a tent come January with no food that rifle is going to look pretty useless. As Duncan Long said in his book, “Survival Rifles”, “A good garden and traps will feed you better then a wealth of hunting rifles." Unfortunately for many people the truth of that statement had to be learned the hard way with deadly consequences and way too late to make amendments to one’s thinking and supplies.
Junior thought this was a much better outfit for around $1500.00 with sling, scope mounts and ammo.
Remington SPS Tactical 308 Black Hogue Stock 20" Heavy Barrel Price $638.99
Model 700 Special Purpose Synthetic Tactical
Model 700 SPS tactical rifle with Hogue overmold soft touch stock, dualpoint piller bedding for solid foundation to bed action. All black oxideblasted finish with 20" heavy contour tactical style barrel.
The Scope for the Remington Model 700 SPS tactical rifle.
Leupold 66310 - Boone & Crockett - Matte - 1" - 4.5-14x50mm Price $739.95
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