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Chapter 06

Home Chapter 06

Copyright 2012 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

I relent on destroying Stacy's mobile phone because frankly I wasn't up for the damn fight. Besides I just might slip into her pack later and take it, that is if I can find it in that damn pack of hers. But we have bigger issues right now.

 

From the noise and the smell I know exactly what we're dealing with now. I reach down, stroke Bo's neck and say, "It's fine big boy, we'll take a different route."

 

I look at Stacy and order, "We need to move slowly and quietly down this side trail."

 

She questions, "Ben what the hell is it now."

 

I reiterate, "Stacy, I said we need to be quiet. I will tell you later."

 

We ride for another thirty and Stacy complains…

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

"Ben I really can't ride anymore in my condition. Besides it's starting to get dark."

 

Ben surprises me when he says, "Then we will walk the horses but we need to keep moving."

 

I worry and question, "Do you think the news team is after us?"

 

Ben surprises and worries me even more when he tells me why we have to keep moving…

 

Present – Samantha – At the bunker

 

Yeah I just get my husband all flirted up and the sentry shouts a warning, "There's something moving in the woods." I scramble to my feet, help Frank into his wheelchair and I question, "What is that terrible smell?"

 

The sentry flips on his light and says, "Sorry for the false alarm, it's nothing just some pigs."

 

I shout, "Pigs, those aren't pigs they're feral hogs and are dangerous as hell."

 

We all flip on our lights and begin to fire…

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

I inform Stacy, "We almost ran into a pack of feral hogs."

 

She answers, "Feral hogs? Like wild pigs? Are they dangerous?"

 

I reply, "No, not wild pigs, they are feral hogs and get big as hell - some weigh three or four hundred pounds and have razor sharp tusks. And you never know with them, normally they will run from humans but sometimes, or if they are injured, they have been known to attack and kill people."

 

She questions, "Were they in the zoo too?"

 

I chuckle under my breath and answer, "No they were domestic hogs at one time that escaped and went wild. They are a real problem in Texas and some other southern and south western states. In fact we were damn lucky the night we slept on the ground because they could have snuck up and attacked us."

 

Stacy replies…

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

"Ben I think I feel better and would like to ride."

 

Ben says, "Well that's not going to happen."

 

I respond, "Why the hell not?"

 

He laughs and says, "You're the horse girl tell me."

 

I ignore the girl comment, look at Patches and then Bo and realize why: They are both tired. I'm upset at myself for being so distracted I didn't notice. I answer, "You're right the horses are tired and need a rest. So are we staying here for the night?"

 

Ben states, "No I'm looking for a couple of friendly trees because we're sleeping in the trees tonight."

 

I can't imagine how uncomfortable sleeping in a tree will be so I question, "Because of the wild hogs?"

 

Ben replies, "Hell yes, I figure I'd rather fight one tiger than a whole pack of feral hogs."

 

I worry, "Will the horses be okay?"

 

Ben says, "They should be fine from the hogs. However I will stand watch during the first part of the night so hopefully they can get some sleep."

 

I decide to be helpful and offer, "I will stand watch the second part of the night."

 

I can barely see Ben as he looks at me and answers, "If you do that it would help, but no sleeping. Look there are a couple good trees ahead."

 

We head toward the trees…

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

Yeah these trees are going to be perfect. I stop Bo by one tree and direct Stacy, "You and Patches take that tree."

 

She walks patches to the tree and asks, "I'm hungry would you like me to make some dinner?"

 

I reply, "We're not cooking anything tonight because of the feral hogs. Once we get the horses taken care of there's some jerky we can eat. Now let me get Bo's saddle bags hoisted into the trees, then you can take care of his saddle and groom him while I do the same with Patches saddle bags."

 

I take off Bo's saddle bags and it seems like he heaves a sigh of relief so I apologize, "Sorry Bo, but without Knacker you and Patches are forced to carry more."

 

He nods his head and nickers and I scratch his neck. I pull all the gear we need tonight and then some out of the saddle bags, throw a rope around a branch, tie it to the loops of the saddle bags, hoist them into the trees and tie off the rope high on the tree.

 

Now that I'm done, I head over to Patches…

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

I've been praising Patches, she's been a real workhorse today, not something that she was used to and she's held up well. Ben comes over and says, "Yeah she's been a good horse today."

 

I begin to head towards Bo and Ben nicely reminds me, "Don't forget to take your rifle with you."

 

I reply, "Thanks Ben I'm tired and almost forgot it."

 

He has the saddle bags off Patches and says, "Yeah I could tell, that's why I didn't lay into you."

 

I think to myself 'wow Ben does have a heart and can show compassion'. I get to Bo and I'm surprised because he's breathing deeply and is already asleep, I gently take off his saddle and whisper to Ben, "Will the pigs get the saddles?"

 

Ben says, "Not with one of us standing watch they won't."

 

I lightly groom Bo and decide I'll let him sleep and check his hoofs in the morning.

 

Ben's all done with Patches and has already taken off her saddle. I look up at the tree (I don't relish the thought of trying to sleep and hold on all night long) and say, "Well, I'd better get climbing."

 

Ben says, "You're a bit early. Stand watch while I make your bed."

 

I start to question, "Bed? How are you going to…"

 

Ben shushes me, "Stacy, I'm too tired to explain everything right now. Just stand watch and don't watch me."

 

Ben climbs up the tree…

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

We were moving slow as hell today and I didn't make it nearly as far away as I wanted from the news crew and the feral hogs. It's my own damn fault for taking too much gear. I chuckle and remember how many times Jack lambasted me for doing exactly the same. You would think by now I would have learned! Tomorrow I will dump some gear and offload some into our packs to take it easier on the horses.

 

I climb into the tree with the gear I need and stretch the tarp over a couple V shaped branches and tie it off well. Then I lie in the tarp for a couple minutes until I hear Stacy screech, "Ben are you snoring?"

 

I shake my head and decide I'm damn tired too! I haven't had a good night's sleep since I don't remember when because every time I close my eyes, the dreams come back.

 

I reply, "I was just testing your bed, I will be right down." And I reluctantly climb down the tree.

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

Testing my bed hell! He was sleeping because I could hear him snore. He climbs down the tree. I get ready to let him have it then I notice just how tired he is and decide to have mercy on him. I kiss him on the cheek which must surprise him because he jumps away and complains, "What the hell was that for?"

 

I reply, "Because I felt like it."

 

He hands me a packet and says, "This is all the food you get for tonight. It's jerky so if you drink water with it, it will expand in your stomach and make you feel fuller."

 

I surprise him again with another kiss on his cheek, then head up into the tree.

 

I see the tarp which Ben's turned into a hammock and carefully lie in it. It's more comfortable than some beds I've been in. Ben's a genius when it comes to figuring things out and I need to figure out some way to thank him.

 

I lie on my back, look up at the sky, see a shooting star and make a wish…

 

Present – Samantha – At the bunker

 

I'm angry at myself! I should have remembered about the feral hogs and we should have found a safer place to sleep. We were lucky because this pack took off when we started shooting them. Emanuel comes over and asks, "So those hogs are really dangerous?"

 

I reply, "That's right and probably even more so now because I bet we wounded some of them."

 

He states, "Then we need a safer place to sleep tonight."

 

I look at the destroyed news van and the still smoldering bunker and say, "Well the only place I can think of is the trees. But how are we going to get Frank into the trees?"

 

Frank says, "Don't worry I will be fine on the ground."

I loudly complain, "Like hell you will my husband." Then I come up with an idea which I don't like and say, "The only thing that makes sense is if Frank and I stand watch tonight while the team sleeps."

 

Frank embarrasses me, "Yes that does make sense and Sam we will really be standing watch, not fooling around."

 

The guys laugh, I blush and say, "Keep it up my husband and you will be standing watch with your right hand for a very long time…"

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

The horses are breathing heavily and Stacy's finally snoring so I have this little part of the world all to myself. I purposely didn't make anything comfortable for myself because I knew I would fall asleep.

 

I hear some firing in the distance from the direction of the bunker and figure the hogs headed away from us for the night, my guess is the news crew made some food which attracted the hogs to their location.

 

I take another bite of jerky, roll it around in my mouth and enjoy the flavor. This is some damn fine homemade elk jerky and reminds me of home. Yeah dad was a real SOB, but man he could make some good jerky - of course he doled it out like a tyrant. It was our 'survival ration' in case 'the world went to hell.' After he died, I found about fifty pounds of jerky and ate so much I got sick. Then a couple days later I discovered the other problem about eating too much jerky when I was plugged up.

 

I once again ask myself the dreaded question that continually bothers me, 'Am I becoming more like my dad as I grow older?' I softly walk the perimeter, continue to ponder this question and analyze my actions lately and I sure as hell don't like my analysis…

 

I check my Luminox, it's 0300 and I'm too tired to stay awake, I climb up the tree, wake Stacy and ask, "You think you can stand watch."

 

She seems alert when she says, "Sure Ben I will do whatever you want."

 

I answer, "Wake me at O-six-hundred."

 

I tumble into the makeshift hammock and immediately fall into a fitful sleep…

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

Ben sounded half dead when he woke me. I couldn't believe how well I slept because this time I think I was too tired to have the nightmares about the fat fucking Guy! No that's not it, I knew Ben was below me on the ground keeping me safe so I could sleep.

 

I decide I will give him a special surprise when he wakes up…

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

I wake up, yawn and what the hell is that smell! Oh no!

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