A Few Short Stories (CR Stokes)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by CR Stokes, Oct 5, 2014.

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  1. Here is an introduction to a short story I never got around to finishing. I'm posting this to provide a reference for my writing style.

    The Spyglass

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    There were many thoughts that crossed my mind when I looked back upon my time while exploring the ruins of Belerand but none were so persistent as the thought of pure, uncalculated hatred. There were counted at the time of departure six among us that embarked from the port city of Islis and sailed west across the waters of the Adrianus Sea in search of the fabled and presumed vanished city of Vasper of the now non-existent Dyrmgri Empire.

    Our expedition began as an accidental discovery, or if you believe such things portentous fate, between my companion Selba and I when we encountered a traveling merchant of rare and peculiar wares whom we procured an antique and wholly macabre Desmian spyglass from. The spyglass dated back nearly two hundred years during the time of Emperor Toren’s reign of the now extinct Salarsian Empire and belonged to what we presumed to be a rebel Desmian ship’s captain of some sort, but that is neither here nor there, only a brief footnote as to the importance of this grand and impromptu tell. However, let it also be noted for future reference that my companion Selba is of known Desmian lineage, her people being a fierce and stubborn if somewhat simple society known for their fishing, agriculture, isolation, ancestral and spirit worship who were eventually assimilated into the Salarsian Empire, the forefather of our current society, the Republic of Croantyr. Their people are now somewhat of an eccentricity among the rest of the peoples of Croantyr and are looked upon with apprehension and peculiarity, as they are still highly misunderstood and little known.

    We departed on our voyage at dusk under the supervision of Captain Jacob Henly. Our provisions fully stocked and loaded we set out from the Bay of Draman headed towards our destination, Vasper, located on the other side of the Erial Sea. We were scheduled to arrive some eleven days once our sails had been unfurled. Eleven days were counting on favorable winds and calm seas yet these we were hard pressed to find upon our eighth night of voyaging.

    I was awoken from my slumber at an hour past that of midnight to the sound of our ship being berated by the waves and rain. The ship rocked fiercely two and fro as the sea writhed around the hull of our ship. I hit the floor hard and quickly got my footing, having no light in the cabin I had to feel my way in the darkness. Eventually my hand clasped the handle to my cabin and I turned, again to be greeted by the ship’s hard, wooden floor. Half crawling, I made my way towards the stair and ascended from below deck.

    The deck was in utter chaos. Sails fluttered futile in the wind and ropes dangled down from beams that they should have been attached to. Captain Henly looked the part of seasoned seafarer as lighting ripped the sky behind him in two, silhouetting him against a backdrop of terrorizing cliffs of water. Baris, his first mate, scrambled about the deck trying to keep the rigging from succumbing to the elements entirely, a task I did not envy him yet I found myself making my way towards him none the less in a hope that I could somehow contribute.

    “Get back below deck,” Henly screamed over the roar of the storm. His voice came to me distantly through the pounding rain and howling wind. I stopped my advance towards Baris and regarded the man at the helm curiously. He fought with the wheel and struggled to keep balance against the rocking ship, a dance of determination in which it appeared he was leading with his partner being the unforgiving sea and mother nature herself. Lighting cut through the sky again, thunder booming close by. The ship heaved to one side and I lose my footing, sliding along the entire width of the deck before stopping my momentum with the railing. A loose rope slithered near me like a great sea serpent and I grabbed it with both hands and pulled myself back towards the center of the deck and towards the stairs that would take me back below deck. Baris still fought with the rigging and Henly with the wheel.

    “Back below deck you fool,” Henly screamed over the storm again. This time I obeyed. The wind and rain fought me as I pried the door that would take me back to the darkness below deck open.

    A faint glow crept from the cracks of Selba’s cabin. The bit of lighting provided through the cracks was enough to guide me as I steadied myself against the rocking of the boat with a hand on the ship’s interior walls. Inside, I found Selba sitting on the foot of her bed, hands clenched tightly around the bed frame to keep her from being thrown to the floor. A lantern hung in the center of the room from a hook and was being tossed about wildly from the storm. Dr. Jarys Gurensin lies in Selba’s bed, groaning feebly and complaining of “a gut more tumultuous than that of the sea.” I had invited Gurensin along with us in the regard that he was a naturalist, scientist, and doctor of medicine. It seems that this night Gurensin’s vice of drink had caught up with him as he was unable to get out of the bed.

    “Seasick,” Selba stated flatly as I approached the two.

    “Bad storm,” I replied, nearly biting my tongue as the ship hit a wave that sent it flying momentarily into the air before smacking back down onto the angry sea. I lurched forward onto the bed and Selba helped steady me.

    We sat there in silence except for the moaning of Gurensin for some moments, clinging to the bedframe to keep from being thrown about the cabin. Luckily, every piece of furniture on the ship, as is common ordinance, was bolted to the wood planks that they rested upon. We stayed huddle that way, occasionally drifting off to sleep only to be awoke abruptly by a thunderous clap from the storm or a violent shaking of the ship. The wind and rain could be heard constantly lashing at the deck and hull while the wood around us creaked and groaned on account of being pushed around.

    It was sometime around the next afternoon that the storm finally abated and we were able to venture from below deck. Henly and Baris were on deck, repairing the rigging and sails; the storm was a dark spot on the horizon. The sail’s were badly damaged they and would need to be taken down and stitched. Part of the main mast and been torn off and thrown into the sea at some point but the ship was otherwise worthy enough to continue our journey. Henly, with deep dark circles around his eyes, informed us that it would be half a day before the repairs could be made and at that time we should busy ourselves with reorganizing our provisions below deck that had been thrown about during the storm and getting ourselves some sleep.

    Selba went below deck and made herself busy with the provisions and supper while I stayed above and tried to lend my hand at the repairs. When the sun hung low on the horizon and turned the sea into a pit of fire, Selba emerged and brought us a salted beef stew. We all devoured eagerly and I used my piece of bread to sop up the remaining morsels.

    It had been nearly two days since Henly and Baris had rested so around ten o’clock that night I went above deck to relieve them. They thanked me generously. Henly told me to keep the ship headed eastward, which in his terms meant “follow the trail of Harenzen,” one of the constellations located in the heavens above us. Before heading to his cabin Henly told me to not hesitate should something seem amiss with the ship. I told him I would and that he should get some sleep, noting and thanking him graciously for getting us through the storm.

    It was late into the night when the moon hung midway on the western horizon when I noticed an uneasy feeling creep into my bones. It was completely dreadful, as though some great beast or aberration lurked beneath the waves, trailing our ship and watching with ill intent and great beastly eyes myself. I was tempted to get Henly but the feeling passed within a few moments. I breathed easily again but the though lingered with me. The rest of the night was uneventful and I woke Henly sometime before noon. Selba again made us a meal and afterward I retired to my cabin. Sleep greeted me reluctantly as my mind could not broach the subject of the dreadful feeling I had on my previous watch.
  2. Here is a short with a new twist on the zombie narrative.

    *Mature Themes

    The Waiting Dead

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    "Sid, I told you to take out the garbage yesterday," Marie yelled from the kitchen. Sid and Marie were promised to one another and on July 27th of 2044, only two months away, would become married, a word that Marie was growing to loathe.

    "I'm kinda busy right now babe," Sid hollered from the living room. He was sitting in front of the fifty inch t.v., playing the newest installment of the award winning first person shooter Transcendence.

    Games of this nature were known to cause addiction since the early turn of the century and Sid used the majority of his free time away from the company to spend in front of the fifty incher defending the galaxy from aliens from the nether reaches of space. Sid could not understand why his fiancé never got into games and sometimes wondered if their relationship would actually last. But then he always thought of how much he loved having her around, she was always taking care of him and was tidy, just like his mother used to be.

    "This is bullshit," Marie exasperated in a huff to herself before picking up the trash, exiting the side door and banging it noisily behind her all before she threw the bag forcefully into the garbage can sending it and its contents quickly into the road.

    "That sonovabitch!" Marie screamed under her breath while jumping up and down in a rage. The comment was directed most at Sid but also at whatever powers may be up above pulling strings and seeming to delight in her misfortune ever since the age of twelve.

    A pamphlet had caught her eye after his rage, as well as the neighbors soon who was looking across the road from his yard in perplexion at the figure of an enraged Marie. She looked closer and realized it was about the Hemoglobus Fatalus outbreak of 2028, only this pamphlet had been published by an independent group of researchers a year before warning the American public of the impending doom that had already swept through Thailand.

    The New Plague: Are Nightmares Real? The pamphlet focused on the outbreak of a virus in Thailand's rural areas that had decimated its population, turning them into carnivorous husks that preyed upon living things for sustenance. They still held enough motor function and higher brain power for understanding language and running but their communication skills were shot, they only cared about eating flesh.

    The researcher were right, the Plague had spread throughout the world but luckily those same independent researchers had set up "Safe Houses" where for the right price you could get a shot to make oneself immune to the disease, but that wasn't always the case as some people rejected the serum and in turn lost on average half of their higher brainpower. The government had tried to ban the effort of "Safe Houses" but the reality of the situation was that the government barely had enough military power to protect itself from the millions of flesh hungry masses that had taken over our great United States of America.

    It was a bloody twenty two years before the US Government finally brought things under control and found a remedy, no cure, for the situation. If a person infected with the disease were to be incapicitated and the parts of the brain responsible for aggression and survival were removed then the infected would, in most cases, cease to actively seek out flesh. However, just like any addict, if the means for their usage is placed before them then no amount of willpower will stop them.

    In 2041 the government began to rebuild and used these "cured" infected to do so. They were told to do menial tasks such as construction and cleanup and they did it so well that today, they are still employed by members of society from the self-employed businessman, the city dump, and all the way up to government custodians. Without this infrastructure our society today would have ceased to exist and in fact would have never been able to rebuild.

    Tears welled in Marie's eyes as she looked over the pamphlet. When she was twelve, 2031 Wilmington, NC, the outbreak hit hard, one of the first cities to be abandoned due to the outbreak. Wilmington, one of the five largest ports on the eastern seaboard at the time and home to Marie's family was the third United States city to have reports of Hemoglobus Fatalus and within two months had to be evacuated. Marie left with her mother and sister, her father had been one of the first cases of the plague and Marie watched him for weeks in the hospital bed as he slowly deteriorated from the man she remembered into a wordless, growling being of insatiable rage.

    Marie made her way back inside the house after she had composed her emotions. She found Sid sitting before the t.v. and vividly animated that he had died in the game world. She mused to herself how much he resembled a plague victim while he sat playing his games and a thought popped into her head...

    - - -

    The car hummed quietly as they pulled up to the stoplight.

    “Hard to imagine those things used to be human,” Sid remarked. He was staring somberly out the window to a fenced in construction site.

    “I don’t understand it.” Marie was fiddling impatiently with the driver’s wheel. Sid cast a knowing glance towards his fiancé.

    “When I was with the Army, we used them as on the front lines. After they had their brains amputated we could use them for pretty much anything. Sometimes for construction but mostly in the beginning, on the front line. Send them out to soak up the initial assault and then we’d go in and capture what we could. If not,” the sentence trailed off and there was silence.

    “Without them, we may not be here today. As for their handlers,” Sid looked to the tower where a heavily armored guard watched over the proceedings, “well, they takes a unique sort of individual.” Sid shook his head.

    “Once. Once we knew how to get them to work for us, not attack us and take orders, they had to have handlers. People that could communicate. I never learned. Never wanted to. Something about releasing the right amount of chemicals in their brain to make them docile and responsive to orders. Science and yada,” he trailed off.

    “So cold.” Marie took her foot off the brake and hit the accelerator as the light turned green. Sid nodded in agreement and continued staring at the fenced in enclosure where the “husks” and their handlers worked tirelessly.

    - - -

    It had been two weeks since she had found the pamphlet in the garbage and things were much the same as they were before. Instead of growing furious at Sid, she now asked him kindly to do chores around the house and when they were neglected (they always were) she would do them patiently and silently herself. Her fiancé had even remarked on occasion how clean the house was and what a great wife she would make (usually after they had sex). Marie always agreed.

    - - -

    She had done her research. If things went according to plan she would never be alone again. The government allowed family members to keep the invalid infected and in such a case, Marie would have no problem getting help from the government to pay the medical expenses since she would have him perform a civic duty. The only real problem was making it look like an accident.

    - - -

    Sid came home drunk from a night out with the boys. Marie had waited up for him as always reading a book. Though this time was different. She had made contact with certain shady peoples and things were in arrangement.

    "Heybabah, didja miss 'eee?" Sid was having a hard time standing and even harder time speaking.

    "You know I did sweatie," Marie replied, her voice full of desire. The effect was not lost on Sid and he laughed aloud.

    "Wutsah'eee go upstiarhs," he added trying to be suave, but the alcohol was too much. Marie took him by the hand and led him to the bedroom where she began undressing him.

    "I promish thesh," Sid added between breaths. "Theesh I'll be the best hushband ever."

    "Oh babe, one second, I forgot to turn the oven off," Marie in her panties replied with a pout. "I'll be right back, don't you go anywhere."

    "Yesh m'am," Sid, now naked, gave a salute.

    Downstairs Marie went to the refrigerator and grabbed a beer. She cracked the bottle top off with the side of the counter and reached in a drawer that contained medicine bottles.

    "Nighty, night," she glumly said to herself as she crushed up a sleeping pill and watched it dissolve in the beer. She was halfway up the stairs when she heard footsteps.

    "Sid baby, I told you to stay in the bed," she called as she ascended the stairs.

    "Yesh ma'm, I am," he yelled from the bedroom.

    Damn! They were early.
    "All right babe, I'll be up in a minute." Marie ran back down the stairs and grabbed a jacket from one of the closets downstairs and one of the handguns they kept in the house for safety. She checked to see if the 9mm was loaded and it was.

    "They aren't supposed to be here for another two hours," she said to herself as she put her back to the kitchen door and slid down to the floor.

    "Whoa! Who the fuck are-" Sid began to say but the last few words of his question came out as a gurgling scream. Marie closed her eyes as tears ran down her cheeks. Not like this, it wasn't supposed to be like this! She burst from the door and ran up the stairs screaming "Haftkey" the whole way, the code word agreed upon by her and the ones she now employed.

    "Ello miss," a masked figure stood at the top of the stairs. "I'm Tilen and this ere's Haftkey," his gloved hand pointed toward the form of a man.

    "You aren't supposed to be here for another two hours," Marie stated coldly, fighting back her tears.

    "We was in the neighborhood and thought we'd stop by early," Tilen jested.

    "Fuck you." Marie squeezed the trigger and Tilen's brains decorated the wall behind him. Haftkey growled and charged down the stairs. Marie shot the infected three times in the chest and once in the jaw yet still he came. The clip was empty before Marie turned to flee down the stairs and into the kitchen.

    Haftkey labored behind her yet still gave chase. Marie waited behind the kitchen door with a large filet knife and as quickly as Haftkey entered, he was down on his knees, the filet knife's handle the only piece of the weapon visible from the infected's skull.

    - - -

    One month later Marie sat comfortably in her home. Sid sat across from her, his skin a sickly grey and a large scar on his neck from Haftkey's bite, but other than that the same Sid.

    "Take out the garbage, Sid," Marie stated absently. Sid rose from his chair and took the garbage out. He no longer knew who he was save for Marie's servant. Parts of his brain had been amputated after the "break-in" which left him with few memories and no communication connections.

    Marie was always her daddy's little girl and in the end she got what she wanted. Someone just like her father who would do the "manly" things around the house such as taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn and guarding her. An infected may not be able to do many things but Sid was now the husband she always wanted. Someone who would never leave her side, always listen to her and always be there when she needed him.
    #2 CR Stokes, Oct 5, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2014
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  3. This one, I am hesitant to admit, is based on actual events.

    *Mature Themes

    The Chase

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    Couldn’t Make This Up
    Chris Stokes​

    Looking back, 100 mph may have seen a bit excessive but at the time it felt about right. Well it felt about right until my heart fell down into my stomach and time seemed to stand still when that Pitt County Sheriff’s car passed me head on.

    My foot let off the gas and hovered in the air between the accelerator and brake. They had passed. My rear view mirror showed the cop car hitting their brakes and turning around. I looked down at the speed-o-meter, which read 91 mph, and I knew they weren’t coming back this way to ask me how my day was going.

    Not fast enough. I hit the accelerator and continued on my high-speed voyage. Ahead a mini-van was hitting their brakes and oncoming, in the opposite lane, there was another car. Crash. It was inevitable. I slammed on my brakes for an instant and the sound of squalling rubber on the asphalt could be heard. My hands jerked the wheel to the left but I didn’t remember telling them to. The mini-van was three feet in front of me when I switched lanes. That other car that was coming head on? Well, luckily it had already passed by and I was narrowly able to pass between them without a scratch.

    I allowed myself a moment of joy. I knew these roads and that road on the left? It led to a dead end. I tapped the brakes and cut the wheel hard to the right. When I went back a few days later to look for my belongings, I could see where my tires skidded across the pavement. Such is the way of things when you’re going forty miles an hour when normal people would not have attempted it over ten.

    On either side of the road the summer corn crop was growing steadily and blocked off vision from the road where the mini-van now sat with their flashers on, eagerly waiting to do their civic duty and point the copper my way. Fucking assholes, none of their business.

    It wasn’t until the end of the road. It was one of those unpaved country roads that led on for about three miles into nothing. Well nothing to most people from outside the country. It actually led to the Warehouser roads. And Warehouser usually keeps a gate up and locked at the end of each one of these. Well, this one here was no different. I had to slam on the brakes, which going about sixty on gravel and dirt, caused the tires to lock up and sent me skidding to a halt some four feet away from the reinforced steel gate.

    Fuck. Nowhere to go.

    I looked in my rearview and saw the flashing blue and red lights.

    Shit. Well that’s fine. Many great books have been written in prison. I said this last part to myself and found myself repeating it the next few hours. Now, I am no Hunter S. Thompson but you can’t tell me it isn’t fun pretending your someone all-important like that once in a while. Especially when you know you’re facing numerous charges including two felonies and you’ve done something (at that age) that I felt would ruin my life, as I knew it. Hell, what I would have given to be someone else right then but all I had was that saying repeating over in my head.

    So I jump out. It’s a hot late June afternoon. Somewhere around three o’clock and damn if it isn’t humid out here. I kick off my flip flops (who the hell can run in flip flops?) and hurdle the three-foot tall gate. Before I know it I hit the ground on the other side running and there’s this Warehouser path before me.

    Now, come on, you can’t very well run down a path in the middle of the woods and not expect to get caught. For all I knew they had a key to the gate or some other bullshit. So as soon as I’m on the other side, after I hit the ground running, well the woods started to look very inviting. Problem is I don’t have shoes on, but to be honest it wasn’t until the next day when this was all over that I even thought about that.

    So this ditch is about six feet deep and just as wide and I go running and hurdle right over the damned thing. And what do you know, hit the ground running. I run until I’m out of breath and then run a little farther. Now these are woods, not your community-walking trail so there’s all these briars and undergrowth latching on to me and slowing me down. So low and behold I ain’t got no shoes, why do I need clothes? So I strip down to my underwear, and then I strip them off and continue this sprint through the woods, cock flopping in the wind for God and all to see. Now those briars that were slowing me down, not so much now. AH HA! Well they weren’t slowing me down but the hundreds of lacerations that covered my body made it incredibly hard to move when the adrenaline finally wore off.

    Well there I am, running through the woods with out a goddamned shame nor a dollar to my name and I come to the edge. It’s the same path as before, only it’s took a turn in the woods and I can’t see where I abandoned my vehicle. I stand there at the wood line for about a minute deciding what I should do. If those bastards decide to walk down this and look for me I’m a goner. And of course I decided that they would.

    The water was murky and only about a foot deep. My dangly parts dragged along the bottom. I paddled/crawled along the bottom of the ditch for about three hundred yards until I came to a drainage pipe that crossed beneath the path and led, conveniently, to the other side.

    What is that? Snake?
    I begin to crawl into the pipe; it’s about two feet in diameter and thirty long. Full of mud and something at the other end.

    Can’t be a snake.

    I keep my eyes fixated on the blacking lump near the other end while I inch forward slowly.

    Damn. That’s a snake.

    I stop and stare. Debate whether I should continue on.

    Well if it is… If it is I can get away from it. It won’t attack me.

    So I get within about five feet of the thing and… Stick! Hallelujah!

    I could have shouted for joy except, well, the local authorities were pursuing me.

    Damn. I’m like, Rambo or something. I think as I look at myself, covered in mud nearly from head to toe before continuing my dead paced run towards the direction I perceive as home (as I said before, I “kind of” knew where I was).

    About one thousand feet later after running through a dried up ditch I’m squatting on the tops of my feet and clutching my knees as vomit struggles to escape my diaphragm.

    Ughhh. My head is swimming. Those few shots of Jack Black No. 7 mixed with this heat and humidity is no good. My skin is much too thick for this kind of climate.

    I wipe the vomit from my mouth with the back of my hand and duck walk (this is when you crouch and sort of walk), listening closely for any noise or sign of my pursuers but the only thing I can hear are these dogs barking from the north. And just then images of being ripped savagely apart by a few police dogs assaults every fiber of my imagination and I pause and stare at the ground.

    Nah. That wouldn’t happen they only attack if you try to run. But I was naked. Completely naked.

    Now I go on down this ditch bank, which eventually ends and I got to get out and get on flat land. Now, these woods are littered with undergrowth and briars and the going is tough. Every three feet I probably get about ten new lacerations as I have to jump, crawl, sidestep, basically everything but fly to get through all of this for the next hour or so. And there happens to be this damn plane that keeps flying overhead.

    Those fuckers have a plan and are looking for me. So I had to hide in the underbrush, many times in a prone position nestled between a fascinating and comfortable briar patch and… well another fascinating and comfortable briar patch. But the going wasn’t all bad I s’pose, there were a few animal paths that I could follow for short periods and I eventually got back to another dried up ditch that I hopped in and sort of duck walked down.

    Now this whole time, my ears are peeled back and wrapped to the back of my skull trying to discern any sounds around me.

    Well I guess if you search for something long enough your bound to find it. Or it you. I suppose it was that last one. But I could hear something approaching, seemed about the size of a man judging by the crunch of the underbrush. So I make myself real small like against the edge of the ditch bank and hope it doesn’t come this way. Well that crunching just keeps getting nearer and I keep getting smaller and smaller, trying to shrink away into the side of the ditch bank when twenty yards away out pops this little baby bear and stares straight at me.

    Now, where there is a baby there is bound to be a momma. So I sit real still and stare right back at it. Being naked and all, defenseless, my heart is beating about three times it’s normal rate. Fight or flight has just about kicked in but I sit still and don’t move, all the while watching this (maybe) one hundred pound baby bear.

    Well he decides I must not be much to look at cause he turns away and saunters into the woods. I breathe for the first time and sit there a few moments. I had to do something and there wasn’t no point in giving up. Sometimes when everything seems stacked against you the only way to go is forward.

    So another hour later and a hundred lacerations more, all the while ducking and hiding from this asshole plane, I come to this spot in the underbrush where I got to crawl. Now, crawling was the only way to go, unless I were to go back (and as I said sometimes the only way to go is forward). Well that’s well and fine and all until I actually start crawling and notice, about two feet in the air, apparently hovering (situated on a branch) was this fat snake. Now it wasn’t no copperhead or anything but a snakes a snake and I don’t like any sort of them. Well the only way to go is forward so I creep forward on all fours and somehow manage to stare at this reptile in his eyes the whole way.

    I get to about a foot in front of him and kind of stop and watch. Well, he hasn’t moved so I creep a few more inches up. Still nothing. I turn to the side and do this little hop, shuffle, crawl thing (all the while staring at him) and damn it if I’m not on the other side and he hasn’t moved.

    I let out a little sigh and continue on in the direction (I figure) of home. Now I’ve been in these woods for a good four hours by now and there’s maybe an hour left of daylight. I figure this here snake’s got friends and baby bear’s got himself a family looking out for him and I don’t want to be nowhere near this place when the sun goes down.

    These Warehouser paths finally come in handy (or footly I suppose) as I figure I’m far enough away (and haven’t heard anyone) to use them. Now this is easy. These are dirt roads, not briars and broken down trees, snakes and bears. I hoof it for a while until I hear something, quite like the roar of a truck on down the bend in the path.

    Before I think I’ve jumped back in the woods and I’m crouching behind this tree, out of sight and missing that dirt road just as soon as my bare ass hit the first leaf. The roar of the engine gets louder and the rocks beneath its tires crunch as it gets nearer and eventually passes by.

    I wait a minute and then jump back on the dirt road and hurry along as fast as my pale, wobbly white legs will carry me.

    I veered off of the path that would take me home along the way and ended up way to the left, near Mr. Smith’s pig farms off of 43. Now this isn’t so bad I guess, I know the way home from here but the fact that I’m on someone else’s property, butt ass “neked” is a bit uncomfortable. Not to mention there is, by this time I would presume, a warrant out for my arrest.

    Well I make my way through the woods and come up on old Ephraim’s pig farms and it sounds like someone’s back there. I crouch down and try to get a looksee but I can’t see through the growth and leaves.

    Squeal like a pig, boy! Keeps repeating through my mind at this juncture of the journey and I find myself quickly ready to get out of here. So I walk, not run mind you, down the path that would eventually lead home and it’s dusk. Probably twenty minutes left to dark and by this time I’ve picked up a walking stick (more of a spear really. Seven feet high and twenty pounds of wood ready for the event should I have to fend myself from some savage beast.) And a few reeds to cover my privies.

    Now here comes that roar again. It sounds different. The roar is deeper, slower. This engine is older and a diesel. This one… sounds familiar.

    I continue walking down the dirt road, not bothering to hide in the woods. The truck is behind me and getting near, the steady roar of the diesel familiar. This truck is maybe a hundred feet behind when I decide to turn around (the fear in my belly was growing sharper and starting to spread) hoping it was who I thought it was. Well, it was. Thankfully. I drop the stick and the reeds that covered my privies and walk up to the passenger door.

    “You’re a crazy motherfucker,” the voice is thick and husky, full of southern flavor and belongs to a squat portly fellow in all black with graying beard and hair. His round face huffs and puffs but behind the beard, behind the eyes, the blue eyes are somber and not quite as mad as the tone.
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