Cooper; new stuff added 10/03/2018

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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idahobob
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by idahobob » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:34 am

Most excellent! :clap: :clap:

Looking forward to
MOAR!

Bob
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by KYZHunters » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:40 am

Great update. Thanks.
crypto wrote:It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by 223shootersc » Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:19 am

Very good chapters, as always and as always we need MOAR thanks

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by bodyparts » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:48 pm

as always good stuff doc , thank you !!

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by doc66 » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:44 am

Okay nerds, I'm looking for a good English to Klingon translator.


Serious.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by Lurch » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:42 pm


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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by 91Eunozs » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:43 pm

How about Moar story now that you have your translator?!

:crazy:

Hell, write in Klingon...jus write!
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by doc66 » Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:25 pm

I've got a little bit to finish... almost there. The Klingon is a part of another tale.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by doc66 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:59 pm

Whew. This one took a bit to write. But here it is. Finally moved and now the job hunt begins, but between all that, I kept at this little (long) tale.

HARTSVILLE

Hartsville was falling apart. It wasn’t just that the buildings were decaying. They were. There was no one to push people to repair the ones that had been damaged by fire and by the weather, so those that were not quiet sound from Before were now on the verge of collapse and no one cared enough to affect repairs. It wasn’t just that the streets were overgrown with weeds and had trash piled in the gutters and in against the decaying buildings, because all that was happening as well. Stinking piles of refuse, sewage, waste and dead animals lay about in heaps and piles and rotted and stank up the town. There was no one to look around at the mess and organize the people who still lived there into groups of cleanup crews and pick up the trash and dead things and explain to people that they couldn’t just shit wherever they felt like it. They couldn’t just piss and puke outside the doors of their favorite bar or their local shooting gallery. It wasn’t just the number of hole in the wall bars, the heroin walkups—because somehow, the bikers were able to get heroin to the town but not fresh foods—the marijuana cafés and the prostitutes, which were on every corner and the prostitutes hung out of the windows of brothels and taking tricks in the choked and filthy alleys, those were just endemic to the place. All of those things were happening. It was the lack of hope that David saw on the faces of the people who skittered from place to place trying to avoid all of those things. The people who lived in and among all of the waste who would have normally made up the population of caring and steady citizens.

There was noise echoing through the streets to be sure, but not happy noises of people laughing or talking. There was music, but not the music of joy and living; it was dark angry music, throbbing and screaming and banging out tempos to draw attention to the dim interiors of the taverns and the brothels, rather than provide a background to a round of drinks shared by people who would enjoy the day. It was music for people who were set on forgetting and ignoring and sinking in their own hatred and gloom.

David observed the broken windows, the doors hanging on hinges, or absent, and thought about Washington, the little town in the valley below the mountain where he and Leticia live and the differences were astounding. Both towns been ravaged by the collapse of the world as they knew it, both had needed to redefine their future, but where Hartsville had allowed the shadows to overtake, Washington had struggled and won the fight for living. The streets had been cleaned out, the buildings repaired whenever possible, glass had been salvaged and replaced, muck barrels installed and emptied regularly, gutters cleaned and storm drains kept clear. Unlike Hartsville, where the storm drains were chocked full of dirt and trash and the rain simply overflowed the streets and the sidewalks and swamped the alleys and lower floors and basements of the buildings around, leaving a musty stench and haven for insects and molds. David bet that most of the population of Hartsville had either succumbed to some type of viral flu or was going to in the next year. He absently wondered just how many diseases were being carried through the people to the surrounding area. He was going to have to warn everyone in Washington and on the mountain to be careful when they contacted those from this area.

The town needed a cleansing, but it wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

He and Leticia guided their horses around a wagon stopped in the road so that the driver could negotiate a fee with a hooker. The wagon was filled with bails of hay and cords of wood, and the horses pulling the load looked worn and harness sore. This was a common sight here and now, since the art of husbandry had fallen aside Before, everyone was guessing at how to maintain their newly acquired stock. From the look of the driver, however, the stock was doomed to a life of misuse.

Leticia brought her horse up next to David’s mount.

“Shit culo, watch what the fuck you’re doin,” Leticia said as a drunk man walked in front of them through the muck and trash on the street making them rein up. The man either ignored her or did not hear since he simply continued on his way. Other’s however, heard the heavy hood accent and stared at them as the horses continued on. She looked over at David, with disgust clearly showing on her face. “This place is worse than the barrio, you know? Fucking pozo.”

David nodded. “I have no clue where we’re supposed to find this Jason kid either.”

“Josh, cabeza,” corrected Leticia. She shifted in the saddle and sighed. “We got to find the la sede de pandillas. Probably not anywhere near here; esos cabrones no van a estar cerca par.”

“Verdad,” agreed David. “Donde viven los ricos?”

“Good question, ese,” Leticia cast a glance around at the people standing on the street. She nodded her head at a woman who looked less dirty than the others, and dressed more like a normal person, and less like a hooker. She guided the horse over to where the woman was lounging against a post. As Leticia approached several other women detached themselves from the walls and moved over near the first.

“You lookin, girlie?” asked the woman, her eyes roaming up and down Leticia and the horse, gauging her gear and appearance. “I might have something you need.”

“Shit, puta, you ain’t got nothing I want,” sneered Leticia. “Unless you got direction for me.”

“What? You need direction for? You a virgin?” came the snappy reply.

“Perra, please,” Leticia returned. “I’m up from the 415, I got business.”

“Yeah, with who?”

“Damn, chica, you ain’t got to know my shit, you just got to answer my fuckin question.”

The woman looked Leticia up and down again. She took in the serious black boots, the chino pants, the white T shirt, Leticia’s leather vest covering the Latino’s well-formed body, and the bandanna wrapped around her forehead restraining her dark hair as Leticia pushed up her dark sunglasses to stare at the women while she noted the overabundance of firepower strapped to her body and hanging off the horse.

“He don’t look like he’s from the hood,” tried the woman in an attempt to save face in front of her peers, all of whom were starting to laugh behind their hands and whispering.

“Shit, mujer, he’s my fuckin blanco,” informed Leticia in a way that could only carry one meaning which made David blush in spite of his struggle to maintain a straight face.

The woman nodded. “What’ca need?”

“The fuckers in charge around here,” said Leticia. “Where the fuck they stay? They don’t hang in this mierda. No?”

“Up on the hill,” said the woman pointing vaguely down the street. “They took over the big houses a while back and stay up there.”

“Up on the hill,” repeated Leticia. “How the fuck do I get there?”

“I’ll show ‘er” volunteered one of the observers. She was a young girl wearing a stained yellow dress that barely covered her breasts and stopped just short of the imagination below. She had on hiking boots and cheap bracelets adorned her forearms in thick rings that jangled and chimed as she moved.

The woman turned and stared at her. “You got bills to pay.”

“I’ll pay her,” said Leticia without hesitation. The girl smiled almost in a happy way and pushed her hair over one ear as she moved out into the street to the horse. Leticia kicked her foot out of the stirrup and reached down to help the girl up onto the saddle behind her. The girl stepped into the stirrup and her dress rode up around her thighs and hips, exposing herself to the crowd around them. David looked away and Leticia saw his expression and grinned at him. The girl settled in behind Leticia.

Leticia dug around in her vest pocket and came out with a piece of hard candy that they had found behind the counter of a gas station where they had spent the night. She tossed it to the woman whom they had spoken to. The woman caught the lump of sugar and her eyes brightened at the recompense for her time. She shoved the bite into a pocket and turned to shoo the others away from Leticia and David, telling them that they had their keep to earn as she did so.

David and Leticia continued down the street with the whore snuggled up against Leticia

“Smooth, eh, vato?” asked Leticia.

“Yeah,” said David, not quiet in agreement. “What now?”

“Shit, this chica gets us there,” said Leticia, looking over her shoulder at the girl. “Right, polluelo?”

“Sure,” she said, nodding her blonde head.

“How old are you?” asked David.

“Why, you got an age restriction?” she asked, easing her dress up her already exposed thigh. “You NC17?”

Leticia laughed. “He’s got more problems than that,” assured Leticia.

The girl made a face. “Too bad, he kinda cute for an old guy.”

“Old?” protested David.

“Ha, ese,” snorted Leticia. “She’s got your number.”

“Fuck you both,” said David.

“I don’t mind,” said the girl, leaning heavily against Leticia.

David sighed.









They had ridden out of the stench of the downtown and into the more normal looking area of the town. The girl, Heidi—that was the name she supplied them with when asked—told them, told them that this was where the “squares” lived, those people who had managed to survive the hostile takeover of the town by the bikers. The houses were taken care of as best as they could be with gardens in the former yards, chickens roaming about and a few goats and pigs and even a cow or two grazed in the overgrown lawns. But even David could see that there were not enough of the squares to offset the depravation of the downtown. He wondered where the population of the town had gone; if they had left with the collapse of everything else in search of greener pastures, died off due to a super flu from the lack of modern amenities, or if they had been run out when the gang took over or killed? There had been a viral sickness which had swept the area that first winter and the numbers of dead were very high in many places because of the lack of medical treatment to combat the strain. The medical personnel had tried their best to limit the effects of the bug, but many of them had succumbed to the illness themselves from overexposure and their own immune systems breaking down from overwork and exhaustion.

“We need a place to crash for the night,” said David as they rode passed house after empty house.

“You don’t want to crash up at the club house?” wondered Heidi. “They’ve got great parties up there.”

“Not tonight,” said David.

Leticia agreed with him. “We should hole up and scope out the situation.”

“What about me?” asked Heidi. “You gonna pay me?”

“Hell, yeah, chica,” Leticia told her. “How much for two days?”

Heidi tried to read Leticia’s face from where she sat on the back of the horse to gauge her seriousness.

“What the fuck, nina?” asked David. The last thing they needed was to have someone hanging around while they tried to rescue Boone’s friend from the bikers.

Leticia shot him a hard look conveying to him that he needed to shut up. Heidi laughed.

“You’re old man, he don’t want me around to share you,” she decided, misreading the silent struggle they were having. “I’ll take food or ammo or silver coin if you got it. I got to have enough to make my pay.”

“We’ll work something out,” assured Leticia. She pointed to a house which looked somewhat solid, empty, and had a chimney indicating that there was a fireplace in it as well, which meant they would be able to cook their food without having to venture out where they would be easily spotted. “How about there? We can put the horses in the backyard if the fence is good.”

David agreed the place looked serviceable.

After determining the house was indeed empty and the fence in the back yard would hold the horses, they stripped off the saddles and gear from the pack beasts and let them into the yard to graze. There was a kiddie pool in the backyard as well, full of rainwater and leaves, but the horses did not seem to care about the floating bits in the pool. Leticia and David set up camp in the living room where the fireplace was after a quick search of the house. The living area was adjacent to the kitchen, and Leticia searched the cupboards, pulling out the cans in the cupboard, which had been missed in other searches or simply left behind by the former occupants for reasons known only to them. There was a couple jars of honey and jam, pinto beans, canned corn and green beans, even half a bag of rice shoved back behind a few boxes of stale cereal. Leticia set these out on the counter while David built a small fire from the downed limbs gathered in the yard. Heidi had disappeared into the house on her own search of the bedrooms and bathrooms.

“Why did you tell her you’d pay her for two days?” asked David.

“Informacion,” said Leticia. “She knows this place. We don’t. She ser de gran ayuda, trust me, cabeza, I know her type.” David looked unconvinced. Leticia continued. “Besides, this keeps her from corriendo su boca; she’s here, she’s no hablar to anyone, get it?”

“I see you’re point,” relented David. He watched the flames feebly licking at the small twigs he had used as his kindling. He switched to Spanish. “Hey, chica, How old do you think she is?”

“I donno. Dieciseis, diecisiete?”

“What’s she doing hooking?”

“Vato, sometimes it’s all you got, no todo el mundo can be pandallio, you dig?” Leticia shrugged. “You look at me, and go, shit ese, that one, she all chola and duro. Some chica’s they don’t got that in them, you know? Comprende?”

“Si, I guess,” David shook his head.

“What’ca all sayin?” asked Heidi. Both turned to see her standing in the mouth of the hallway leading to the living area. In her hands she held a riot of colorful clothing and she had already thrown a fashionable leather jacket on over the yellow dress. “I know it’s fuckin Spanish and shit.”

“We’re just shooting the shit,” smiled David.

Heidi stared at them for a moment. “You all aren’t like freaks or nothing, right? I mean, you’re safe?”

“Sure, chica,” assured Leticia. “No worries.” She nodded to the clothing. “What’d you find?”

“Girl, I found all kinds of shit,” suddenly Heidi was less concerned with how they might treat her and focused on the clothing. “We don’t get much choice in our shit working like I do, but this stuff is pretty cool. Check it out,” Heidi took it over to the counter and tossed the pile on the surface. She pulled out a dress and held it out for Leticia to see. “This one’s got little flowers and shit on it. And it buttons up the front, so I don’t have to pull it over my head all the time. And this jacket, it’s fucking soft and comfy; who the fuck would leave this shit?”

“Can’t take it all when you bug out,” pointed out Leticia.

“I guess.” Heidi took off the jacket and dropped it on the back of a chair. Without ado, she pulled off the yellow dress and dropped it on the floor, standing naked before them. David blinked at the blonde’s thin body and small breasts while Leticia struggled to not laugh at his expression. Heidi began to pull on another article of the clothing she had on the pile. David looked away as she bent over to step into the shorts.

“I got this green tank too, how does it look?” She pulled on the shirt and posed for them.

“Looks good,” struggled David.

Leticia smiled. “You’re bonito, chica. You figure out what you want to wear to dinner. Me and David’s gonna make some food for us all.”

“Yeah? I’m starved.” She looked at them both. “Is this gonna be a threesome thing? I just want to know, you know, how to get my head in it.”

Leticia barked out a laugh. “Carino, you don’t worry about that right now.”

“Alright,” agreed Heidi doubtfully. “I’m gonna go raid that closet again, if that’s okay?”

“Sure, you go.”

Heidi gave them one last curious glance and disappeared down the hall. David shot Leticia a desperate look.

“You’ve got to tell her we’re not going to be sleeping with her.”

“What, leva? You don’t think she’s pretty?”

“Maldicion—.”

“Okay, okay, cabeza,” laughed Letica. “I’ll tell her.” She grinned mischievously. “It might be fun, ruco.”

“Leticia.”

She held up her hands in surrender. “I’m teasing you.”

David added more wood to the fire, coaxing the flames up the larger sticks. He found himself speaking in Spanish again. “Como vamos find John?”

“Josh.”

“Yeah.”

Leticia leaned on the counter and played with the clothing Heidi had left there. “Why don’t we let her find him for us?”

“What?”

“Pensar en ello,” coaxed Leticia. “She’s just panocha to them. She can go anywhere, places we can’t even think about going.”

“Yeah? How are you going to explain this whole thing to her?” asked David. “You just going to say, Oye, chica, escucha, tengo esta cosa…?”

“I donno, puede ser.”

Sitting back on the floor, David collected his thoughts on the matter while Leticia banged around the cupboards again to find pots and pans for their meal. She pulled out the sauce pans and came around to the living area to sit down beside David, placing the pots down on the hearth.

“Listen, David, you know I wouldn’t think of this unless there wasn’t another way?” asked Leticia. “I mean, you and I could go in there with some bullshit story about how we’re from the 415 and looking to expand our product line—whatever that might be—but truth is, it would only last for so long. You aren’t a good liar, paisa, your shit shows all over your face. She’ll think it’s fun.”

David could see the logic of her argument; he also knew how serious she was because Leticia never called him by his name, it was always some form of disparaging Spanish which he had come to accept as her own form of endearment. The problem as he could see it was Heidi was an unknown when it came to her loyalty. Obviously, at least to David, Heidi would be loyal only as far as the money went. These days that money was in the form of trade items, food, safety—the list could go on with nontangible items Heidi could dream up which David and Leticia would be unable to come through with. The question was if she did not agree, what would they do with her then? Tie her up and leave her at the house until they had contacted Josh? He did not think he could go that route, and he knew he could not kill her—that was the only other option he could see.

“I don’t know,” admitted David. “I can see so many ways this can go bad.”

“Shit, we knew that coming here.” Leticia stood back up and walked to the counter and began to gather up the food she had found in the cupboards. Loaded up with everything, she carried it all back to the hearth and set it out while David coaxed the fire. “All we can do is ask.”

“Yeah,” agreed David. “That’s all we can do.”

“So how’s this look?” came Heidi’s question from behind them. They turned around and saw her standing once more in the hallway.

She wore an evening dress meant more for a five star restaurant than cans of beans by a hearth. David had to admit, even with the layer of smudge she still had from living in the streets, she looked gorgeous. While they looked, she gave them a playful spin and laughed.

“I’ve never worn anything like this,” said Heidi. “Most of my shit was shit someone gave me for fucking.” She looked down at the dress and then back up at them. “I could get to like this shit. You live like this all the time in the 415?”

Leticia and David looked at each other and wondered just how to answer that one. Leticia took the lead.

“Bonita,” she smiled. “Come sit here.”

Heidi gave them a worried frown and slowly walked over to the chair Leticia had indicated. She sat down on the edge of the seat, looking with apprehension at the two.

“Listen,” said Leticia. “We’re not from the 415, well, he’s not. I grew up there. We’re from a place up in the mountains. We’re looking for a friend.” Heidi kept silent while Leticia paused to choose her words. “The thing is, we can’t just go all pandilla on them; we got to keep a low profile, so we’d like you to see if you can find our friend for us?”

Sitting back in the chair, Heidi crossed her legs and ran her fingers through her hair. “I get it.” She nodded to herself. “Tell me about where you come from.”

“It’s better if you don’t know much.”

“Maybe I don’t want to be here no more?” said Heidi, but she made no move to stand up and walk away. “You got no choice; tell me about where you come from, I don’t go out of here and tell them you’re here. I mean, you got to have a reason why you don’t want to get all up close, right? You got a beef with them and you’re rescuing your friend. I get it. But if you want me to play along, I got terms.”

It only took a moment for a quick and silent confab for David and Leticia to come to an agreement. They were over a barrel, and short of binding up the young woman and tossing her in a closet, they had no choice. They had shown their cards and now the betting was over. It was time to pay up.

“Okay,” said Leticia, trying to keep a vague as she could. “We live on a farm and we work our asses off every day for everything we got. Mi abuelo, he’s got another farm up the mountain from us, and he does the same shit, it’s all taking care of livestock, gardens, and preserving food and all the shit that happens on a farm. Every now and then, we all get together and have a party when things are going good for us. We drink corn beer and eat Mexican barbeque and sing and dance. That’s what we do and where we come from.”

Heidi stared at her like Leticia was withholding the pertinent information. The life Leticia had described was true to the extent that it was a rough break down of their daily life, but it left out so much of who they were and how they lived as well. The prostitute could read between the lines; they had a good life on the mountain, she was able to see that even without the knowledge of the solar array, the water catchment, the diesel truck, the gasified truck and tractor, and all the other little things they still had on the homestead to make life just a little easier. Heidi seemed to be weighing all of what she did not know in her mind and finally nodded. The nod said to Leticia and David, “Fine, if you don’t want to tell me just yet, we can let it slide momentarily.” Instead she said to Leticia;

“Why they got a beef with you?”

“Up on the mountain, we all look out for each other, turiquear, you know? Someone has a problem with something, we help fix it, someone’s sick, we chip in and help take care of their farm and garden and people,” preambled Leticia. “Friends of ours they got into a beef with the bikers here and now we’re here a esquina so they don’t have no trouble.”

Shifting in the chair, Heidi shifted through the information Leticia had given her once more. Again the woman could see through what was not there. “You’re not telling me everything.”

“Probably not,” admitted Leticia.

“Defiantly not.” Leaning forward again, Heidi outlined her demands. “I want out of this place. I don’t want to hook no more, I don’t want to fuck for a living. But I don’t want to fuckin be no farm hand neither. I want you to take me with you. Take me up to the mountain you keep talking about.”

“Everyone earns their keep,” said David, finally finding a voice.

“Yeah?” asked Heidi. “I’ll figure out what I do; but I won’t take care of no cows and shit. No way. You want your friend, I’ll find him. Then you take us both the fuck out of here. That’s my deal.”

“Okay,” said Leticia immediately. David groaned. Leticia gave him a sharp look and rolled her eyes. “There’s nothing to talk about,” she informed him.

“You two married?” asked Heidi.

“Shit—“

Looking unconvinced, Heidi stood and straightened out the dress she was wearing. “Yeah, well, you act like it. How we gonna seal this deal?”

“You don’t trust us?”

“Pretty lady, I don’t trust nobody.”

“Probably a good credo,” muttered David. “How would you suggest we seal the deal?”

Heidi shrugged. “You can’t pay up front, so, I guess a handshake will have to do. I’ll think of something.”

She came over and stuck out her hand. Leticia stood and shook it and David did as well. Heidi held his hand tight and gave him an impish smile. “You sure you don’t want to fool around? You two are cute, it’d make it easy.”

“He’s old fashioned, bebe,” laughed Leticia.

“He’s got the hots for you is all,” decided Heidi, still holding David’s hand and looking him over. “He don’t want to fuck that up.”

Leticia seemed to see David in a new light. He turned red from embarrassment and pulled his hand away from Heidi.

“The fire’s going out,” he muttered.

“Looks to me like it’s burning bright,” noted Heidi. She leaned over and gave Leticia a kiss on the mouth and skipped back down the hall. “Call me when dinner’s ready, we can be all mission impossible then.”

“What the fuck?” asked Leticia, somewhat to David, to what to herself. David was already leaning down and putting more sticks on the fire. “You got the hots for me?”

“I don’t,” said David too quickly.

“What, I’m not good enough for you?”

“Shit. Yes, you are. I mean…” David stared at Leticia for a moment as his powers of communication faltered. “Fuck.”

“Tirarlo a león,” muttered Leticia. “I’m going to check on los caballos.”

As she walked away, David struggled to try and clarify his stuttering statement but knew that anything he said at this point would only exasperate the awkwardness. He watched her move through the furniture and had to admit to himself he liked everything about Leticia. He liked talking to her, hanging out with her, the way she teased him and treated him when they were together. Yes, he told himself, he really liked the way she looked, talked, and walked. It was quite conceivable he had the hots for Leticia. David wondered how this realization was going to affect their friendship.

The door slammed, shutting her away from him and his heart fell. In that moment, David knew that there was more than a possible chance that he might have fallen in love with Leticia.

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by doc66 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:01 pm

They had eaten all they could of the rice and the beans and green beans and corn Leticia found in the kitchen. Leticia had managed to make a crisp of sorts for desert out of the stale cereal and the honey and jam, while David had thrown all the other ingredients together for a quick meal. Heidi had eaten everything put in front of her with the gusto of someone who had not eaten a full meal ever in her life. She commented that if this was the way they always ate on the mountain, she could see why they wanted to keep the place a secret. They washed it all down with some lemonade mix found in a cupboard. The mix had been rock hard from the humidity, but David had managed to scrape enough of it off the chunk to mix with the filtered water from the pool. After, they had outlined a plan of sorts for Heidi to follow in her effort to find Josh. Now, Heidi stood in the living room with her selection of newly found clothing stuffed into a large shoulder bag and wearing the leather jacket. She was once more wearing the yellow dress, and listening to David repeat what Boone had told him Josh looked like.

“He’s kinda chunky,” David told her. “He’s got glasses, and reddish brown hair, lots of teeth. Has a buddy named Boone—.”

Sighing, Heidi finally stopped David in his discourse. “I’ll find him if he’s up there. People know me, I can ask around. Shouldn’t be too many nerds up there named Josh.”

“You be careful,” warned David. “Don’t go getting into trouble or anything.”

“He always this way?” Heidi asked Leticia.

“Yeah, he’s always a mama gallina,” Leticia told her. “You go do your thing, bonita, we’ll be here.”

“One more thing,” said David, holding up a hand to stay Heidi for a moment. He dug into the pocket of his jeans and came out with his little .25 auto pistol. “Take this. It’s not much, but it’ll get you out of a tight spot.”

Heidi stared at him for a long second. “What do you think is gonna to happen? What the fuck are you two into?”

“It’s just in case,” said David. “It’ll make me feel better.”

Shaking her head, she held out her hand for the pistol and David gave her a quick tutorial on how to operate the weapon. Heidi took the diminutive handgun and shoved it into the pocket of the leather jacket. She dropped the shoulder bag down with all of the gear Leticia and David had brought into the house. “I’ll come back with your boy. When I do, we all go to this mystical mountain you keep talking about.”

“That’s the deal.”

Standing in the door for a moment and staring at them as if she could read their minds, Heidi gave them both long hard looks and then disappeared out the door, closing it softly behind her. Both David and Leticia stood for a moment looking at the barrier.

“What do you think?” asked David.

“I think we sit here and wait for her to come back.”

“What if she flips on us?”

“She doesn’t know enough to flip,” said Leticia, turning her back on David. “All she knows is we want some fat kid to come with us.”

David watched Leticia fuss with the gear on the floor. “How will we get back with only two horses?”

Leticia sighed and stopped her shuffling of the gear. “We’ll have to see if we can get another one or two, I doubt we’ll be able to short of robarlos. Probably we’ll have to walk, lead the horses. We can hope that Josh has one of his own. Eso es todo lo que podemos hacer. Don’t worry about it until it happens.”

The tone of her voice made David wince inwardly. There was a tension in the air that had never existed between them before and it worried him. He knew his own realized feelings were making him antsy around the Latino, so perhaps he was just being more sensitive to her slights because of this. They had to get through this particular adventure before he could explore those emotions, he thought, and he hoped his confusion would not put them at risk. If there was any time they—he—needed to be alert, it was now, in the heart of the territory of those they could only consider to be enemies. Pushing his chaotic thoughts and doubts aside, David tried to focus on their reason for making the trip, but he had to try and clear the air.

“Hey,” asked David. “Are we okay?”

Leticia stopped walking away from him and turned back with raised eyebrows. “Why wouldn’t we be?”

“I don’t know—?”

“I know,” she said to him and continued to move back into the house. “I’m going to see if there’s anything I might want around here.”

She disappeared down the hallway and once more David was left with the sensation that he had totally screwed up.









Heidi approached the streets claimed by the bikers as their territory within the city limits; while they claimed the entire town, and some miles around it, this was considered to be off limits to the rest of what remained of the community. This was their backyard. The Backyard had once been the neighborhood of the wealthier of the citizens, but with the collapse of the town’s central government, the subsequent disintegration of the local police force and the sheriff’s department, there had been no one to stand against the influx of the criminal element which had ridden into the town in the months after the fall of everything. Heidi had not been there for this event. She had heard the stories from others who had lived through the sudden and violent transformation of the town. According to those she had spoken to, or who had volunteered their version of the event, there had been a few left in the cities administration who had tried to stem the tide. The former mayor, a few of the council, the police chief and a handful of officers and deputies who lived in the town, they had all tried to rally the people against the motorcycle hoard, but they had been the few standing against the well organized and vicious take over. The death of the mayor, assassination actually, a fierce and bloody gun battle at the police department which left only a handful of officers to slink away, injured and demoralized, had cemented the gangs hold on the town.

She had heard rumors that the Motorcycle Club was run out of their own territory by another rival gang, and also that the MC had always been there, in the shadows, running drugs, illegal weapons, prostitutes, and fencing stolen items; the story depended on who one spoke with, and who was willing to talk at all. But being pretty, and willing, had helped Heidi to piece together what she believed was as close to the truth as anything. The MC consisted of several groups, patched over into one, single loyalty, they had used the gradual collapse of everything to simply gather forces, chart out their rise and take over, then enact that strategy. Heidi had heard all these things from the biker’s point of view, about how the MC had known the fall of the world of the Citizen was going to happen and they had prepared themselves for it. They had done so by taking on new prospects, building relationships with other Associates outside the club and willing to throw in with the MC when the time came. Putting people in place inside the very political and administrative workings of the city had been a big goal, and one they had succeeded in accomplishing to an extent. These had all been part of the gradual buildup of the MC’s eventual take over. When the time was right, they had gathered together and blitzkrieged the town, making it theirs in a matter of days.

The problem was that they had been able to take over the town by force, but that force had not been enough to stem the deterioration of the infrastructure which kept the city services working. When they had wiped out the administration and put their own power in place, those who had been continuing their duties out of a sense of allegiance to the auspices of the government had simply stopped coming to their jobs. The MC had no way of doing some off those jobs or did not take into account those services in their removal of the Man. When those people stopped doing their jobs, it had taken weeks for the town to notice, and by that time it was already too late. Trash built up, water stopped flowing, fires burned out of control, and then the town became a free for all zone for every malcontent in the region. The MC provided some enforcement, but the rule application was dependent on their own social hierarchy and justice often harsh to the point of extreme.

Heidi had come to the town well after the MC’s takeover. Her uncle had “lost” her gambling; her youth had been just the thing to pay off his debt and save his own skin. Her father, dead and gone by this time, had probably thought that his brother—also an alcoholic—would rise to the occasion and take care of his family. His brother had not done so, only continued his decent into booze and debauchery. Her mother, left back at the ranch where her father had worked and drank himself to death, had sent Heidi with the Uncle and another ranch hand to “keep an eye on them” while they tried to trade a few horses for provisions to see them through the harsh times ahead. Instead the ranch hand had ridden off with the horse under him, probably reading the signs in the future of staying on at the ranch and seeing that he was better off stealing the horse and getting out while he still could. In his drunken state, her uncle had managed to not only lose her to the gambler—who sold Heidi to the madam of the house after his own pleasure had been satisfied—but had also given up the location of the ranch. Heidi heard later that the ranch had been raided by the MC for the horses and whatever other livestock existed there. She imagined that her mother and siblings were either dead, destitute, or scattered to the four winds. Since she never saw or heard from them again, she had taken the stance she was better off without them. It was easier for her young mind to accept things in this way than to fight against living in and for the past.

Her uncle was still alive. She saw him occasionally wandering the street in a stupor brought on by drugs and alcohol. She sometimes fantasied about killing the man, but it was hard for a prostitute to get their hands on a weapon; the pimps and madams made sure of that. It was bad business for a whore to kill a John; it was easier to have the John’s beat up and dumped when they mistreated a girl beyond what was acceptable.

This thought made her stick her hand inside the pocket of the jacket and clutch the little automatic David had given her. She entertained the idea of marching back down to the filthy center of the city and finding her uncle, putting all the bullets the pistol held into the man’s head and walking away. But a part of her knew that he was already living a death she could never have forced on him. His life was more miserable than hers by far. She had to put up with some degradation, occasionally a John took it too far, but the madam she worked for had enforcers nearby to stop the worst of the beatings. Heidi hated her life to be sure, but she could have been at the ranch when the MC raided it; she could be dead. She hoped that this little task finding the nerd, Josh, was her ticket out.

The area around the Backyard was a no man’s land of empty houses and overgrown lawns. Heidi strolled through this area at an easy pace and then found herself in and among the patch holders, prospects, and their old ladies and property. The women who were property—and the occasional old lady—gave Heidi the stink eye as she moved among them, but Heidi had been up to the MC turf before and knew if she kept her head down—figuratively speaking—she could get by without a fight. The outer rim of the Backyard was where the merchants and traders came to off load the more valuable of their wares. Tents had been set up to house the goods, wagons, both traditional styles and those made from the hulks of truck and cars, had been parked on the streets and the draft animals tied off to prevent their wandering and lackeys sat in chairs or on the wagons to watch them—and also so that no one would lay claim to the beasts. If a MC decided he wanted an unattended animal, there was little the owner could do to prevent the MC from taking it.

One of the patch holders came up to Heidi, his face flushed under the beard and long hair. He stank of alcohol and marijuana.

“Hey, flatbelly,” he called. “You lookin for a good time?”

Heidi pasted on a smile and shook her head. “I got a date.”

“Oh yeah?” he breathed, filling the air with noxious fumes. “Who you got a date with?”

“Newbie,” she admitted. “But you know, maybe after.”

As soon as she spoke the words “newbie” she knew that she had said the wrong thing. She should have made up a lie and told the man she had a date with a patch holder and picked a name out of the air to put him off. Patch holders would not mess with another PH’s date.

“Fuckin newbie?” spat the man. “Fuck that. You got a date with me. I seen you in town, ain’t I?”

“Sure, baby, you saw me there. I work for Mom Martha.”

“Yeah, Mom Martha. Fuck that shit. You come over here.” He was drunk enough to start unbuckling his belt in the middle of the market.

“I told you, honey, I have a date.”

The patch holder stared at her while other people began to either walk away or formed up to watch. Heidi knew that no one was going to come to her aid, and she was going to have to either give in, or talk the man out of his current course of action. She decided to take the action on her own. Heidi stepped up to the man and pushed her body up against him, pushing him out of the middle of the street as she did so.

“Come on, baby,” she told the intoxicated man. “You don’t want to do that here. Let’s go over there, where we can come to some kind of an agreement.”

There was a spark of anticipation in his eyes as she grabbed his arm and pulled at him. She led him over between a two of the buildings where the grass was tall and there seemed to be no one else around. Pushing the PH against the wall of the building, Heidi worked the buckle on his belt and unzipped his pants. He grabbed roughly at her breasts, his calloused hands scraping at her skin as he groped her. She bit back a curse and her urge to pull away from him.

“What’s your name?” she coaxed, trying to keep his mind occupied so that she did not end up in the dirt with him grunting away on top of her.

“Bluto,” he mumbled.

“Here you go, Bluto, let me give you a little preview,” said Heidi, leaning against him and pushing his pants down his legs moving her chest away from his clutching paws. The patch holder made a grunt of pleasure when she grabbed him.

“That’s it,” he told her. “A preview.”

Heidi kept her body pressed against his to keep him pinned and his mind occupied as she stroked the biker, whispering what the biker probably thought were imaginative phrases while she worked him to climax. She kept at it until the man pushed her away and growled at her that he’d had enough. He turned away as if looking for something and bent over to pull up his pants. Heidi used the opportunity to turn and walk away before the man’s thoughts could catch up with his moment of ecstasy and the alcoholic confusion he seemed to be experiencing. Moving rapidly, she walked among the tents and wagons until the houses from where the biker was emerging was far enough behind her that pursuit was meaningless for the man to attempt. There was a trough for watering animals, and Heidi plunged her hand into the slimy water and rinsed it off while she took stock of her surroundings.

She knew that if she wanted to find the prospect, she was going to have to head to the clubhouse where he was more than likely hanging out and waiting for something to do. Most pledges to the MC were required to be at the beck and call of the full patches, and unless they were doing something as ordered by the MC, they were usually keeping close to the chapter house. The MC had their chapter house inside of a former bank; one with large pillars around the circumference of the building, tall, deep windows, and a faux balcony off the second floor. In truth it reminded Heidi of the pictures she had seen of a Southern plantation house. She was going to have to come up with a better excuse for being there than a date with a prospect.

Not really having a better plan at the moment, Heidi set out in the direction of the clubhouse, keeping to the shadows as best she could to avoid any further risk of contact with the MC. Most of the people around her ignored her. Children ran in groups and shouted and chased one another. Heidi knew that there were only a few actual bikers; most of the people in the Backyard were hanger-on’s looking to curry favor with someone, support members who took care of the horses and the everyday things that the MC themselves did not want to deal with on a daily basis. Because of this, she was able to move relatively unnoticed to the clubhouse. Once close, however, the number of patch holders and prospects increased until she knew she was going to have to start asking around for the four-eyed man named Josh. As she walked closer, a plan formed in her head as to how she was going to find the nerd.

There were three prospects standing near a bunch of targets made from cross sawn sections of logs. They were throwing all manner of sharp objects at the surface of the targets, from knives to hatchets and even an axe. None of them were very successful in getting anything to stick in the wood since actually making axes and knives bury into the wood required more skill than they possessed. Their lack of skill did not dampen the enthusiasm with which they heaved the objects, and the misses generated comments about the throwers manliness while the occasional hit was passed off as luck. Like most of the MC, the men wore pistol belts and had rifles stacked off to one side. They were also drinking from recycled bottles that probably contained either badly brewed beer or the white lightening. When Heidi stepped up to them, they stopped and let their eyes run possessively over her body.

“Hey, trim,” called one. “What brings you up where the big boys play?”

“I’ve got a date,” she said to them.

“Oh yeah? I don’t remember setting up a date.”

“Not with you, not yet,” she teased, all the while looking around for someone who might fit the description she had been given by David. “With Josh.”

“Josh?” repeated the prospect. “Who the fuck is Josh?”

“That’s what I was hoping you could help me with.”

“Shit, baby, I can help you with all kinds of things,” believed another. Heidi thought she recognized the man as one who had been around town and frequented the whore houses. She couldn’t remember much about him, other than he could be pushy. “Lemme show you.”

Heidi skillfully dodged his groping hands. “Bluto sent me as a gift.”

Their attempts at bedding her stopped.

“Fuck,” said one, turning away and walking to the targets to pick up the knives and axes laying on the ground.

“You help me find Josh?” she asked. “He’s got glasses, kinda nerdy—.”

The first speaker waved her off, but the second nodded at the clubhouse. “He’s probably cleaning shit up around by the horses.”

She gave them all a big smile and moved away with, “thanks, baby.”

She was thankful that she was instantly ignored and forgotten by the prospects as she walked away. She could smell the horses before she saw them, and for a moment she was taken back to her days on the ranch and a wave of nostalgia came over her as she remembered better times in her life. Heidi shrugged those off with the thought that if she when she got out of the town, there were already better times ahead. Rounding the corner of the building, Heidi was confronted with the makeshift corral set up by the MC for the horses they claimed as their own. Heidi was also confronted by a horse which—even after she had been away from the ranch for the better part of two years—she recognized. There in the corral, was the stallion her father had bragged was the savior of his ranch, tied to the railing and rolling its eyes, making squealing noises and jerking at the restraints. Even under the dust and poor care, the big Paso Fino was a striking dark gray, and somewhere in its line had been bred with larger the Morgan to gain size. But it was still light footed and sure on the trail, Heidi remembered. A couple of mares which were running the corral, seeming to tease the big stud. A man with longish red-brown hair and glasses was pitchforking manure into a wagon bed. He was stripped to the waist and while he might at one time had been chubby, he now was only chunky, with muscles moving under the thin layer of fat left on his body. He did not see or hear Heidi walk up to him and jumped when she spoke.

“You know why that horse is actin crazy?” she said.

He looked around in confusion and stabbed the pitchfork into the ground to lean on it. When he spoke, Heidi saw the mouthful of teeth and knew that she had found Josh. “It’s a stupid horse?”

“No,” she told him, suddenly angry. “You’ve got a mare goin into heat and he’s horny.”

“Okay.”

“What’re you going to do about it?”

“Nothing. Who are you?”

She crossed her arms and looked over to where the stud was still fighting with everything he had. “He’s gonna hurt himself.”

“Okay. I’ll tell somebody who does horses.”

His flippant attitude made her even angrier. For a moment she almost did not tell him that she was looking for him. “You Josh?”

Josh’s eyes narrowed. “Who’s asking?”

“You got a friend named Boone?”

“What do you want?”

She looked around and saw that no one was nearby. “There’s a couple people askin after you. They say they got a message from your buddy.”

Casting his own glance around the muck filled lawn, Josh grabbed her arm and yanked her over near the wagon where they were out of sight. Heidi shoved her hand into the pocket of her jacket and let her fingers close around the .25. Josh pushed her against the side of the wagon and Heidi let her hand fall out of the pocket, the little pistol gripped tightly.

“What do you know about Boone?” he demanded.

“What the fuck is your problem?” countered Heidi. Josh furtively looked around again.

“You know what’s going on?” When he saw she had no clue what he was talking about, he deflated slightly and stepped away from her. “Those guys, they’ve been gone for almost three weeks now. The MC thinks that something bad happened to them. If you’ve got word from Boone—.”

“I got two people who say they come from Boone and looking for you,” she said. “I don’t know nothin else.” The stallion kicked at the fence and made a harsh grunt. “I know that horse’s gonna hurt himself if you don’t get him separated.”

“Whatever,” dismissed Josh. “Where are they?”

“Take care of that horse,” said Heidi, shoving her hand back into the pocket of the jacket now that she knew Josh would not hurt her. Josh stared at her for an angry moment and then threw his hands up in defeat.

“What am I supposed to do with it?”

“Him,” she said. “His names McShane, and he’s got good blood.”

She pushed past him and walked over to where the horse was still fighting the leads which had him tied to the fence. Heidi began to talk to the horse in low, nonsensical tones, while the wild eyes of the animal rolled until the animal started to focus on her. She kept the animal focused on her, and called out to Josh.

“You get them mares out and tied around the corner, I’ll keep him from goin nuts.”

“How do you know?” Josh wanted to know. He was still reeling from the information Heidi had told him about Boone, and now she was ordering him around about the horses. “What do you know about horses?”

“I know this horse used to be my dad’s,” she said. “I know I got a deal with the people who told me if I found you, they take me out of here. Now will you get those fuckin mares out of here?”

Josh began to corral the mares and managed to get them caught and removed from the corral. McShane, while still on edge, calmed enough for Heidi to slip a bridle over the animals head. Josh came back from tying the last mare up and ran over to where she was still buckling the bridle on the horse.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

“I’m taking this horse,” she told him.

“Like hell,” he said to her and grabbed her arm. “I don’t need that kind of trouble.”

Heidi managed to slip out of his grasp and her hand went into the pocket of her jacket and came out with the .25. , thumbing back the hammer like David had shown her. She shoved it in the direction of his face, her eyes narrowed and calm. “You’ll fuckin not worry about what I do. If you want to see your friends, you’ll just get your shit and get going cause I’m not sticking around.”

Josh’s eyes travelled from the little pistol to where the horse was standing and seemingly waiting on the girl to finish with the tack. “You’re going to get us both killed.”

“Only if you stand around with your thumb in your ass.”

“Goddamn it,” breathed Josh. He began to gather up his things from where he had them all hanging over one of the fence rails. He pulled on his shirt and the vest that had the rocker of the MC on it but not the logo since he was just a pledge, and wrapped the pistol belt around his waist. He looked to where Heidi was throwing a blanket and saddle over the horse. “Do we have time to get the rest of my shit?”

“Depends; is it on the way?”

“Since I have no clue where we’re going, it’s hard for me to say,” Josh snapped back at her.

Knowing he had a point, Heidi shrugged and relented as she slapped the animals side to get the stud to exhale so she could tighten the chinch. “How much do you have to pack?”

“I never fucking unpacked,” said Josh.

“You got a horse?”

“There are the two I just tied up.”

“Get the one that’s not in heat.”

Josh managed to look at her like she was stupid. Heidi suppressed the urge to yell at him that he was the idiot in the conversation. Instead she finished with the saddle and led the stallion out of the corral and tied him off. She went over to where the mares were and examined them, hoping that the signs would be obvious and not just a personality test like it sometimes seemed to be. From what she remembered on the ranch she was able to pick the mare in heat by the leaking urine and winking vulva. Heidi grabbed the other horse—which turned out wasn’t even a mare at all, but a neutered male, how she missed that she wasn’t sure—and grabbed the leads to the animal and dragged it back to where Josh was standing.

The other three prospects were standing around the corral and seemed to be giving Josh a hard time. When they saw Heidi leading the other horse, they separated from him and were suddenly all smiles.

“Hey, we thought Josh might be done,” said one. “Thought we’d come around and get our share.”

“Ain’t even started,” said Heidi.

“What’s it take to get you started?”

Heidi plastered on a smile and kept leading the horse to where Josh stood. One of the prospects stepped in front of her.

“Hold on there,” he said. “Where you going with that horse?”

“Gonna ride it to his place,” she nodded to where Josh was looking nervous.

The pledge laughed and shifted the wood stocked HK MP5 around on it sling. Heidi had seen the man around the town, and knew that he was proud of his unusual firearm. She remembered him bragging about it at one point. He glanced at Josh. “I don’t think he knows what to do with you.”

“I’ll show him,” she assured the man, moving to step around him.

“I don’t think you’ll go anywhere with that horse—,” he began to say. Heidi knew they could not keep up the subterfuge any longer. She was out of delaying tactics and tired of trying to talk her way out of everything. The men were close to her, they were not expecting anything from her other than possibly a slight struggle in which they would overcome her. The one in front of her was encouraged by the two behind him, one of his fellows was directly behind, urging him on. The other man stood off to one side, close enough to jump in on their action yet still see. Bunched up as they were, the three prospects had no chance when Heidi made her decision.

Heidi did not wait for the pledge in front of her to move on her or say anything else. She pulled the .25 out of her pocket and pressed it up against the man’s chest. At first he had no idea what she was doing, he must have thought that she was simply punching him, or trying to push him away. He laughed as he grabbed her left arm, but his expression turned to fear when he felt the first bullet enter his chest. Heidi had not bothered to decock the .25. The hammer on the little weapon was still back and all she had to do was pull the trigger. She did so, squeezing it three times, the report of the diminutive round was muffled by the contact of the muzzle to the man’s chest. It was so quiet, his friends were still laughing when the bullets were tearing into his lungs and clipping his heart. One round even managed to exit out his back in a small puff of blood. That round hit the prospects standing behind, who looked surprised at the pain he felt when the round tumbled into his arm. The man Heidi shot stood for several seconds with his hand still clutching her bicep before he stumbled back into his cohort and coughed up a lung full of blood. She shot him once more in the face as he stepped away, the round catching him under the eye near his nose. He fell without a word, the third friend watched him drop in surprise.

The prospect who had been hit by the through and through began to swear, looking at the hole in his arm as it began to pour blood. He had not noticed his friend falling directly in front of him, so focused on the wound that it had become his entire universe. He was simply confused at what was happening. Holes did not just appear in ones arm. Heidi did not give them a chance to gather their wits. She stepped up to the biker who had been shot and pressed the .25 against the top of the man’s head as he looked down at the wound. The little pistol barked twice and blood spurted from the head wounds in a quick fountain that followed the man’s collapse to the ground. As she spun she saw that the third man was drawing down on her and she knew she was dead.

Instead there was a rapid barking from behind the man. He seemed to straighten and then fall. Heidi saw Josh standing with a pistol in hand, the barrel smoking as he moved up to make sure that the prospect was down for the count. Heidi was suddenly aware that she was covered in blood spatter, and felt momentarily sick. She fought the urge to vomit and shoved the .25 back into the jacket pocket.

Josh stepped up to her. “What the fuck?”

“We’ve got to get goin.”

“No shit,” he looked her over and took in the blood. “You okay?”

“It’s not mine,” she handed him the reins. “You saddle this one, we don’t have much time.”

Josh laughed nervously. “There’s always shooting up here, no one will notice for a while.”

He took the reins though and began to saddle the horse. Heidi went to the bodies of the men she had shot and stripped them of their weapons. She slung the HK over her shoulder and fought with the magazine pouch on his the man’s leg until it came unbuckled and then managed to slip the pistol belt the mag pouch was attached to off as well by rolling the heavy body off the belt. She buckled the works over her shoulder until she could adjust everything to fit. The man she had shot in the head carried the same kind of pistol as the HK man, so she stripped the magazines and the pistol, shoving the magazines into the coat pocket and the pistol she kept in hand. Josh was finished with the saddle and he came over and began to drag the bodies over to the manure wagon. He stripped the men of the gear Heidi missed.

“We got to go.”

Heidi nodded. “We can’t get your shit.”

“I can get more,” he decided. “There’s nothing I can’t replace.”

They swung up onto the horses and moved the animals out as if nothing had happened. On the way by where the prospects had stacked their rifles, Josh calmly stopped his horse and gathered up the three rifles and the magazine pouches and remounted. Heidi hoped she had not screwed them, but she had seen no other option at that moment. They kept their heads down and moved out of the Backyard as swiftly as they possibly could without drawing attention to themselves.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by doc66 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:03 pm

When they heard the horses at the front of the house, David and Leticia grabbed up their rifles and hurried to the windows, each of them thinking that somehow, they must have been discovered. They relaxed only slightly when they saw it was Heidi with a man they hoped was Josh. The two tied off the horses they were riding and hurried up to the front door. David threw open the door before Heidi could begin to pound on the surface of the portal and the young woman and the man rushed through the opening. David noticed that she was carrying a short rifle and pistol belt now, and he watched in confusion as Heidi ran to where she had put the shoulder bag she had loaded earlier, speaking rapidly as she moved.

“We need to get out of town, now.”

“What’s going on?” demanded David. “Is this Josh? Where did you get the horses?”

The other man introduced himself and reiterated Heidi’s statement. “We need to go.”

When Heidi turned, David and Leticia saw she was spattered with blood that had dried to globs on her dress and jacket, her hands and face.

“What the fuck happened?”

“We ran into a little trouble,” supplied Josh, going to the window and looking out through the dirty panes. “Pretty soon, there’s going to be MC crawling all over this place.”

Heidi dropped the gear she was carrying and stripped off the jacket and then pulled the yellow dress over her head. “I need water.”

Leticia freed a jug of water from their gear and took her over to the counter where she pulled out a bowl from the cupboards and splashed the water into it. Naked, Heidi quickly began to scrub her hands and face. The water turned pink and then red as she rinsed the blood and brain off her skin. Leticia handed Heidi an old dish towel to dry off with.

“What happened?”

“It happened fast,” said Heidi. “They were all up on Josh and I came up with the horse and they came on me and I shot the first one, and then the next one—and then Josh shot the last one. It was crazy and we grabbed the horses and took off.”

David and Leticia looked at Josh for conformation. He shrugged. “Kinda like that.”

“How long do we have?” asked David, moving to gather up he and Leticia’s gear.

“Not as long as we’ll need.”

Leticia moved to help David. “You two get those horses out from in front of the house while we saddle up.”

David paused long enough to look to Josh. “Can you get us out of town?”

“I think so, but we have to go; there might not be telephones, but they can get the word out pretty quick once they need to.”

“Do they know it’s you?”

“No,” decided Josh. “Not yet. We were the only ones up at the clubhouse right then, and we saw next to nobody on our way out. They’ll figure it out, but not before we can get on the road.”

“And they won’t have a clue which way you went?”

“I don’t even know where I’m going,” said Josh.

“We’ll keep it that way for a while,” David informed him.

Leticia and David grabbed up their belongings and pushed through the back door to where their own horses were roaming in the fenced in yard. Josh turned to Heidi who was pulling on jeans and a shirt for riding.

“I’ll get the horses,” he told her and headed for the door. He paused at the door. “I hope you haven’t gotten us all killed.”

“What was I supposed to do?” demanded Heidi. “Let them all fuck me one good time before we hit the road?”

Josh opened his mouth to speak and instead went through the door, letting it swing shut behind him with a hard bang. Heidi threw a curse that the man’s back. She sat down and pulled on her boots, then took the leather jacket over to the bowl of bloody water. The water was too filthy with gore to use to clean off the sleeves and the spatter on the front of it, but she used the towel to get the worst of the mess off the front of it and pulled it on over the t shirt. Gathering up her hair, Heidi looped the long locks into a knot so that it was no longer flowing into her face. Picking up the pistol belt, Heidi studied the rig for a second before she realized that it would take too long to adjust it to her waist. She slung it over her shoulder and settled the rig as well as she could. She then picked up the MP5 for a quick study of the weapon, realizing that she had no clue how to operate the weapon. At that moment, David came into the room.

“We’re ready.”

She looked up at him and nodded. “Can you tell me how to work this?”

David came over to her and took the H&K from her. He studied it for a second and then nodded. “This lever is the safety and the shooting selector. You push it like this and it will shoot. If I were you, I’d just put it on single shot—.”

“—it’s a machinegun?—“

“—It’s a machinegun,” confirmed David. He pulled the magazine out and put it back in. “This lever releases the magazine, this thing here on top charges it—puts a new bullet in the chamber. Pull it back all the way and let it go, don’t hold on to it, just let it go.”

“I only have to do that once, not every time I want to shoot?” asked Heidi.

“When you put a new magazine in, yes, that’s the only time you have to do that,” verified David. He handed the weapon back to Heidi, who repeated all of David’s motions before slinging it over her shoulder. “What happened out there?”

“Things just got bad,” was all she would tell him. She picked up the bag of clothing and walked to the back door. David followed her. Heidi stopped and dug into the pocket of the jacket. She held out the gore encrusted .25 to him. “I didn’t have a chance to clean it.”

David looked at the blood smeared pistol and waved it off. “You hold on to it.”

She shoved the pistol back onto the pocket and they stepped outside where Leticia and Josh were waiting on them. Heidi took a moment to tie the shoulder bag to the back of the saddle of the stallion before mounting. Leticia rode up to her and looked the horse up and down.

“You can handle that loco bastardo?”

“We go back,” assured Heidi, patting the shoulder of the beast.

Leticia appraised Heidi with a new eye and nodded. “Let’s get the fuck out of here, bonita.”

They headed out single file with Josh in the lead, since he knew the town and was still wearing the prospect vest of the MC. They had decided that he was less likely to be questioned wearing that than they would be without it. Heidi followed him on the big stud, and then came Leticia with David riding drag. They were all on edge and nervous as they moved back to the outer ring of the town, the part where the people who were not MC lived and worked. The four of them on horseback got very little attention for the first part of the journey, but after a short ride toward the edge of town, there were several MC mounted horses racing past them and causing a stir in the populace around. Someone shouted at Josh on seeing his rocker.

“What happened?”

Josh looked around at the man and lied smoothly. “I have no clue.”

“They’re in a hurry.”

“Yep,” agreed Josh as another rider came galloping up to Josh. The Full Patch looked the other man over and spat in the street before speaking to Josh.

“Somebody fucking killed two prospects, newbie,” said the man. “You better get up to the fucking clubhouse for orders.”

The man cast a glance over the crowd of people who had gathered to watch and hear the news. “You fuckers better not know anything, we’ll burn this shit town down.”

The people quickly dispersed under the withering stare and threats of the biker.

“Two killed?” asked Josh.

“Fucking shot three of them, but one’s still alive, barely. Probably gonna die. He ain’t woke up yet.”

“So we don’t know who did it?” asked Josh.

“Somebody says they saw a whore in a yellow dress up there with them before they was found,” supplied the patch holder. “We’re looking for her. You see a whore in a yellow dress, you fucking grab her cunt-ass and drag her up to the clubhouse with you.” He looked back at the other three. “Who’re these fucks?”

“Traders,” lied Josh. “I’m getting them to the border for Buckie.”

“Well, get your shit done and get up to the clubhouse,” ordered the MC and he tore off down the road.

Josh blew out a sigh as David rode up next to him. “What’s up?”

“They know about her,” said Josh, nodding at Heidi. “But they don’t know much else. Good thing she changed, they’re looking for a chick in a yellow dress.”

“Let’s get out of here,” said Daivd. Josh urged his horse forward.

It was amazing how quickly the streets cleared once the word was out that the MC was searching for a woman in a yellow dress. There were still people out and about, and they all gave the four riders sideways glances as the people hurried to their destinations, but for the most part, Hartsville had become a ghost town. It took them a half an hour to reach the outermost point of the city limits, and unfortunately, there was a small detachment of MC patch holders and prospects lazily guarding the exit road they had chosen. The check point was not apparent right away, the cluster of old cars looked as if they had been sitting in their current position for some time. It was not until the four were nearly on top of the jumble of vehicles that the first patch holder stepped out of the building the group had chosen to fort up in that Josh and the others were even aware of the guards. By then, it was too late to find an alternative route.

“Stay calm,” whispered David to Josh. “You’re a prospect with three traders, remember? They’re looking for a chick in a yellow dress.”

Josh nodded and rode up to the patch holder.

“What the fuck?” asked the patch holder, Boar, was the name on stitched on the chest of his vest.

“Buckie wants me to get these outta town,” explained Josh, leaning on the saddle horn as he reined in the mount.

“Buckie? That fucker. He should know we’re in lock down.”

Josh glanced back at where Leticia, David, and Heidi were sitting on the horses, keeping them from dancing around with sharp tugs on the reins. “Yeah, this was before all that shit.”

“So you’ve heard?”

“Yeah,” said Josh. “I gotta do this and then get to the clubhouse.”

“You got orders then?”

“I do.”

The other three guards with Boar wandered up to them, not really paying attention to what was going on, simply curious as to the riders. After all, there was not a woman in a yellow dress among them.

“Traders,” repeated Boar. He stepped back to look over the other three, his eyes searching for something that might be out of place as he did so, unsure of just what he should do in the present situation. Buckie was an OG, and being so, held a lot of sway. But he too, had his orders. “Where from?”

“The 415,” said Leticia getting into her Chola personality. “We come up here to do see about some shit, you know? Vatos cojida, they got some shit messed up, we come up to fix it. Comprende?”

Boar looked confused for a moment. “I didn’t know we had business with the 415. That’s a long fucking way.”

“No shit?” agreed Leticia. “But then, you know all the negocios around here, ese? You know los entresijos of everything around here? I know I come up here to get shit straight, and now it’s straight, me fui, outta here. Too many blancos.”

“Who are these?” he indicated David and Heidi.

“Shit, mis juguetes,” she laughed. “You know.” Leticia made a thrusting motion with her fist.

The patch holder laughed. “Yeah, sure. You got it good?”

“Hombre, I got it tan bueno.”

He seemed to be fighting with himself and then nodded. “Yeah, oaky. Get ‘em the fuck to the border and get the fuck back here.”

Josh nodded. “Soon as possible.”

The man slapped the horse as Josh lead it past him, the animal danced for a moment and then he was through the tangle of old cars. Leticia was right behind him, and as Heidi started through with the stud, one of the prospects, one Josh had seen around, but did not know very well, called out to Heidi.

“Hey, ain’t that Bobby’s HK?”

Josh heard someone mutter, “Fuck.”

Heidi pretended that she did not hear the man and tried to get past Boar. Her head down, and her hand going to the grip of the MP5 as she urged the horse forward through the obstacles.

“Hold on there,” Boar reached out and grabbed at the reins of the horse, attempting to stop the animal. The stallion, as high strung as it was and already nervous from having all the people standing around, was having none of it. It swung its massive head down at the man’s reaching hand, chomping down on the out stretched appendage. Josh thought he heard bones breaking as Boar suddenly began to shriek and yanked his arm trying to free his hand. The horse pulled back, jerking Boar off his feet and swinging the man in front of him as he continued to yell. Heidi fought with the reins and tried to speak to the horse in calm tones—which surprised Josh, for if it had been him, he would have already been yelling at the beast at the top of his lungs—but her efforts were overridden by the studs anger. Once under the animal’s hooves, the massive horse began to dance on the man, letting the hand go as Boar’s yell changed to a scream.

The other three men ran up to where Heidi was riding out the animals fury, only making the situation worse. One of them pulled a pistol out to shoot the horse as it trampled the patch holder. Heidi screamed at the man to stop, but could do nothing but keep her seat. David solved the situation.

He jumped from his own horse and grounded the reins, Stepping hard on them and hoping that he would not lose the animal. He brought his AR up to his shoulder and sighted the weapon on the back of the men, starting with the prospect with the pistol out. He hammered three or four rounds into the MC pledge and without hesitation, switched to the next closest man to fall under his front sight. Another half dozen rounds landed center mass before the man could turn from the horse and he too, fell to the broken pavement. The third man spun and fumbled his own rifle up shooting at David before he was all the way around, the bullets snapping off the pavement and whining into buildings. Leticia took aim from horseback and dropped the man with a single shot. The entire episode took only seconds and David’s horse had only a chance to back away from the noise to the end of the length of the reins, giving a tug which while it moved his foot out, did not pull the man off his feet. Quickly assessing that there were no more threats, David let the AR drop to end of its sling and grabbed up the reins to the horse, swinging into the saddle almost before his foot was in the stirrup.

Heidi kicked the stud over the smashed body of the patch holder, letting the horse run to escape the smells and noises and confusion. David followed, not looking to see if all the MC were dead.

Leticia was waiting for him on the other side. “You okay?”

David nodded. “Thank you. Let’s get out of here before someone comes to investigate all the shooting.”

Leticia leaned over her saddle and grabbed David by the shirt. She placed a quick kiss on his mouth and then spurred her horse after Heidi, as did David, and Josh fell in behind, but not before he shed the MC rockered vest he wore and left it in the dust and dirt on the far side of the check point. If they were lucky, they would have an hour head start, Josh knew. If not, they were dead before night fall.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added.

Post by doc66 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:03 pm

They had ridden far into the night, until the horses were stumbling and they were nearly falling out of the saddles. Falling asleep on the ground while the tired horses hung their heads and barely moved, they had awaken the next morning with the sun to start running again. Forced to take a circuitous route to be sure and throw the MC off their trail, it had taken them a day or two longer than planned to reach the mountain. The exhausted horses and their equally drained riders rode up to the homestead late one afternoon and had nearly fallen out of the saddles. Cooper, Jessica, and Sanjana stripped the horses of the saddles and gear and released them into the field with the goats and the llama and the other horses. The Stallion had immediately started to assert his dominance over the collection of animals, and Cooper had been forced to separate the animal, nearly getting trampled in the process. Heidi tried to help him, but she was too exhausted to do more than offer advice.

Now, days later, David and Cooper were out in the field, stepping off the requirements for the barn they were going to have to build. The story of their escape had been told and retold, both to those on the homestead and to el Jefe and his people. Leticia had been closed to the members of the homestead since their return and was currently up at El Rancho de Montaña because, she said, she needed to get away for a couple of days. Her presence was missed by all at the homestead, but thankfully with the influz of Josh and Heidi—who while she had told David and Leticia she would not “take care of cows and shit”—had pitched in without complaint. Her knowledge of stock was invaluable to the homestead and the addition to the stallion, McShane, opened up the possibilities of starting a stud service for those on the mountain and in the valley below. El Jefe was already talking about which of his mares he was interested in foaling.

Living space was becoming a problem for the homestead, and Boone and Josh had moved down the road into the trailer el Jefe had set up at the old Barstow place to relieve the pressure of housing. Heidi was living in the small trailer with Leticia. David was relating to Cooper about the tension between he and Leticia, beginning with Heidi’s assertion that David had the “hot’s” for Leticia, his realization that he might “like” Leticia—as he related to Cooper, and the sudden kiss Leticia had given him after the gun fight at the check point. David was complaining to Cooper that Leticia had barely spoken to him since then, and only in curt tones and thinly veiled insults.

Cooper laughed at his friend. “Man, you’ve got to go her.”

“She took off,” said David. “Why is it my job to go get her?”

“How long we known each other?”

David shrugged. “Since we were in junior high.”

“Yeah.” Cooper stopped counting his steps and leaned against the sticks he was carrying to delineate the walls of the barn. “In that time, how many people have you dated—or tried to date?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Dude, Leticia, she loves you, man,” said Cooper. “We can all see it, why can’t you?”

“She’s like ten years younger than me, she doesn’t know what she wants,” growled David, straightening a marker stick.

Cooper stepped away from where he stood and walked over to his friend. “Hey, she’s fucking followed you since she met you. She put up with your chasing her cousin, Theresa; she stood by while you pined over Sanjana—even though Sanjana made it perfectly clear you had no chance; damn, dude, she came down here to live in a fucking trailer to be close to you while you’ve acted all stupid and pretended that she was “just a girl” you hung out with. You think all those fucking Spanish endearments she throws your way are just her way of being your buddy?

“You’re being pretty stupid, man.”

David kicked at the ground and stabbed with the marking stick.

“Do you love her?” asked Cooper.

David laughed. It sounded pained to Cooper’s ears. “Yeah.”

“Then go fucking tell her that,” Cooper encouraged his friend. David stood still. Cooper took the stick from his friend. “Go now, before she had time to realize how stupid she is.”

“Fuck you, man,” said David uncomfortably. Cooper stood and gave David an uncompromising stare. David finally heaved out a sigh. “Okay.”

“Now, man.”

Squaring his shoulders David walked away from Cooper. Cooper watched his friend until he disappeared past the cabin and toward the road. He wanted to follow his friend to keep him encouraged and be there for support, but he knew that David had to do this thing on his own. When David disappeared behind the trees, Cooper went back to stepping off the rough boundaries of the barn, and sinking the surveying sticks into the ground so he could step back and get a rough estimate of the size of the building they were going to have to construct. It was going to come down to an old fashioned barn raising, which meant he was also going to have to thin the goat herd some to provide barbeque for the workers. He made a couple of adjustments to the sticks and looked up as Jessica walked through the field to him.

“Where did David go?” she asked.

“He went to get Leticia,” said Cooper, putting a sweaty arm around his wife.

“It’s about damn time,” she said, leaning against him.

“Yep.” They stood that way for a long moment.



After asking around, David finally was able to track Lelticia down. She was, according to her cousin, “hanging out with los ninos.” He had felt strange asking Theresa about Leticia, but whatever feelings he once had for the woman were drown by his finally admitted emotions for Leticia. David expected to find Leticia schooling the children on how to stab a gringo with a sharpened stick, or something, but instead he was surprised to see her dressed in a red sundress and sitting on a bench fixing a broken toy. He had to stop at the sight of her in a dress; he had never seen her in anything other than her Chola uniform, and he realized in that moment she was beautiful. All of her tattoos, her piercings, her silver bracelets and earrings, it all came together for him in that moment, as he watch her brush her hair out of her face with one hand and hand the toy back to the child. She looked up then, and saw him. For a moment her expression brightened, and then a cloud passed over her face and David could see something switch off.

He hoped he wasn’t too late.

David walked up to where she sat, and Leticia stood to meet him.

“What’s up, cabeza?”

“You look beautiful in that dress,” he told her.

“What, I wasn’t pretty before?”

David refused to be baited. “Yes, you were. You still are. Siempre has sido Hermosa. I’ve just always been an idiot.”

Her eyes narrowed, trying to find his angle. “I tell you that todo el tiempo.”

She looked away to where the children were playing. “What do you want?”

“You.”

“Fuck off, pendejo.” She turned away from him.

“Leticia,” David reached out to stop her. She gave him a dark look as he touched her arm, but he kept his hand on her shoulder. “I love you. I’m pendejo, you’re right. Siempre han sido. Forgive me, por favor. I love you. Te amo, mi nina Hermosa.”

She clenched her jaw and turned back to him. She searched his face and her own expression softened. “Your fucking Spanish is horrible.”

He smiled. “Work on it with me?”

“You fucking—,” she shook her head. He pulled her in close. She let him. “You got a lot of making up to do.”

“I know.”

He lifted her face so she had to look at him. “I love you.”

“Yeah? Took you long enough.”

“Hey—?”

She smiled then, knowing he had suffered enough, for the moment. “I love you, cabeza.”

He kissed her then.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by FranktheTank » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:31 pm

Great addition, Doc. Now we'll give you one day off before you have to post the next one. That is all.....

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by doc66 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:54 pm

FranktheTank wrote:Great addition, Doc. Now we'll give you one day off before you have to post the next one. That is all.....
LOL! Welll, it might be a while longer than that....
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by 91Eunozs » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:36 am

GREAT addition to this tale... Thanks! :clap:
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by Johan » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:53 pm

Thank you Doc!!!
Great addition..
I've been waiting for them to "hook up" ever since they went on that first tripp together...
Now...
Mooaaar!!!


please!
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by 223shootersc » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:42 pm

Doc66, great chapters, as always want MOAR :clap:

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by bodyparts » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:07 pm

thanks doc !! good stuff as always . i had wondered when they were going to get together . ill be looking forward too moar on this story .

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by doc66 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:30 pm

LOL.

It's fun to read all the people who saw Leticia and David together... I actually had her with another character in my "looking to the future" plotting before I wrote this part of the tale. David and Leticia were going to be a Brother/Sister kind of vibe; I guess it wasn't reading that way! Then the conversation between David and Cooper at the end happened in my head during the writing, and here we are. So I guess you all are invested in the characters enough that you know them pretty well!

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by FranktheTank » Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:34 pm

doc66 wrote:LOL.

It's fun to read all the people who saw Leticia and David together... I actually had her with another character in my "looking to the future" plotting before I wrote this part of the tale. David and Leticia were going to be a Brother/Sister kind of vibe; I guess it wasn't reading that way! Then the conversation between David and Cooper at the end happened in my head during the writing, and here we are. So I guess you all are invested in the characters enough that you know them pretty well!

Thanks for reading.

You know Doc, If you would've wrote moar instead of commenting on a comment then we would've been well on our way to moar.......just saying.... :wink:

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by doc66 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:14 pm

So this isn't an action adventure post, but as one of my favorite writers, W.P. Kinsella once said, "Stories are not about events, but the people events happen to."

CHANGING DIRECTION


There was the smell of fall in the air. It wasn’t the kind of fall he was used to, having grown up in the Midwest. Sure there were trees that changed colors, but it was a different kind of color, there was still a lot of green in the forests because of the conifer trees, the pines, the firs, the cedar, but the Aspen and sycamore were brilliant in their yellow, and gold, but it was just different. He supposed it was the maple that made the difference since there was not a lot of red in the hues around him. The smell of the wood was drier than the moist air of his childhood home; there was a dust in the air which he never really noticed where he grew up. It was amazing what a college dropout could retain. He could even remember the family and genus of a lot of plants and animals if he concentrated for a few moments. Boone had to laugh at himself as he walked through the wood and identified the trees and the plants, mentally named birds by their song, and picked out ferns and bushes by the shape of their leaves.

He was playing hooky from working around the homestead. It wasn’t that he was shirking from his duties. Today he had awoken and decided that he just was not into working. The collective had agreed that sick days and personal days could be taken around the farm, now that there were basically eight people working for the farm. But all had agreed that it could not be every week with something; a couple times a month they could get away with. So instead of walking up to the house with Josh, when the other man had made the little trailer move from side to side when he woke, Boone had simply told Josh today was a personal day for him and rolled back over with the sleeping bag up around his ears.

When Josh had left, Boone had woken and made breakfast out of a can of corned beef hash he had been saving by cracking three eggs over the top of the hash and making biscuits in the Dutch oven. They had traded too much in exchange for a jar of instant coffee and had been hoarding the jar for occasions. Boone felt that this was an occasion and made a cup, being sure to make a mark beside his name written on the label of the jar to signify he had made a cup of coffee. They were pretty even in the number of cups they had drank, mostly because they both had a cup on Sunday morning, the day that no one really worked around the homestead except to do basic care on the animals. Boone sat down at the picnic table ate all the hash and the eggs, had more biscuits that he should have and enjoyed the coffee as the sun rose over the trees and reflected off the leaves and filled the air with the smell of the pine sap and the dry fragrance of the aspens. After cleaning up the dishes, Boone grabbed his stupidly short shotgun—an old Winchester M97 takedown that someone had taken down to the pistol grip and the magazine lug—and his 1911, filled his pockets with bird shot and biscuits smeared with goat cheese and honey and set out to see if he could shoot one or four of the annoying black squirrels that ran from limb to limb. He never really got a good shot off at them and only hit about half or more of what he shot at due to the range, but it kept him in practice with the stupid shotgun which he loved to use despite its limitations.

He was trying a new place to walk and hunt, moving in a direction toward the homestead, since he thought if he made it up there he would put in at least part of a day, and stepped into a field of high grass with a small house in the middle of the grasses, and a view not quite as nice as the one up off of Cooper’s deck, but a great place none the less. Boone stopped for a moment, at first concerned that he had stumbled in a wrong direction and had ended up in the yard of a neighbor. For a moment, he wondered if he had somehow wandered to the other side of the mountain, as he did not recognize the house at all. Then he was stopped out of the fear that if he had stumbled somewhere he did not know the people, he might be taken for a trespasser and dealt with as the person saw fit.

Those thoughts were dismissed and Boone realized he was still below the homestead, and above the trailer at the Barstow place, as the road traveled up the mountain. He recognized several of the peeks in the distance, and could tell that where he was standing would be facing the valley below. He had never known there was a house set back in the woods. Approaching the house, he studied the structure as he walked, looking for possible signs of life and seeing only dark windows and nothing which would indicated it was inhabited. He was not sure which side of the house he was looking at. The house looked to be a story and a half, with a window at the top floor. Below the window there was a small patio off the wrought iron security door, and a weathered iron table was set with and chairs. There was also a free standing fireplace with a grill built at the edge of the patio. He could see a small LP gas tank in the overgrown yard, which looked like a grounded submarine, the bump covering the gas inlet and outlet reminded him of a conning tower from an old war movie sub. Boulders and thrusts of rock were situated around the yard, jutting and looming from the tall grass like islands in a golden sea. The rocks had obviously been there since before the house, and the owners had simply worked around the obstacles rather than try and remove them. A large one acted as a corner of the patio near the house.

An overgrown driveway led from the direction of the road to end under a carport which held a zero turn mower and a couple of bicycles were chained to the poles. Boone felt a surge of excitement on seeing those; if the tires were in decent shape and they could patch the tubes enough to hold air, those would be a boon to the homestead for riding up to El Rancho de Montanya and to the neighbor’s houses on the mountain. It would mean they would not have to saddle a horse every time they want to go somewhere, and they would not have to walk if they did not want to saddle a horse. They had one—David’s old tour bicycle—but that was the only one. One or two more bikes would be nice, if all three could be gotten rolling—Boone had already paid for his day off.

As he walked across the flagstone patio to the carport, Boone tried the windows—all covered on the inside by venetian blinds so he could not see inside the house—and the door to see if there were any unlocked. He found all secured and the patio was covered in grit and twigs, and where the concrete between the stone had cracked, there were tufts of grass, indicating to him that the place had not been occupied in some time. These days, items like that would have been kept up off the ground if for nothing else the easy tinder they made for fire starting.

He walked over to the carport and checked out the bikes. Once he was under the car port, he found other items of interest; a 25 pound bottle of propane, possibly full, an old gas can, the contents might be good and might not, the gas in the tank of the mower, the battery seemed in good condition, and perhaps salvageable, and the bikes seemed to be in good shape, with the tires off the ground and slightly inflated, which meant they might hold air. He scavenged a tire pump from a pile of junk laying alongside the car port. Giving it an experimental pump, it hissed air out of the correct end of the hose and not around the shaft of the handle. Boone grinned to himself. It was more than he could have hoped for. The bikes themselves were of various origins; one was a mountain bike in fairly good condition with a lightweight frame and water bottle holders, another was a three speed road bike with a small rack over the back fender and the third was an out an out antique made of heavy tubing, thick tires, and a basket on the front as well as a rack on the back.

Putting the pump with the bikes, he wondered if the key to the lock might be somewhere inside the house. Maybe next to the kitchen door? He wondered to himself if things would be that easy and also how an entire house could be overlooked by everyone on the mountain as he had never heard anyone speak of the place. Boone lay the shotgun on his shoulder and studied the house. He pondered if the other side of the house might have a window to crawl in. When he walked around the corner of the house the view opened up and Boone realized he had been standing at the back of the house.

The front also had a patio, but the patio was covered the entire front of the house. It was delineated around the edge by concrete flower boxes which were now overgrown and rioting with wild flowers in the last bloom of fall. Boulders and rock thrusts also littered the area in front of the house and helped to serve as wall around the patio, the stones adding to the rustic feel of the house. The center of the patio had a fire pit set in a stone circle and around the fire pit, several wrought iron chairs were beginning to show signs of age and rust. Boone imagined sitting on the patio with a low fire crackling, the smell of pine and cedar burning, looking out over a sunset on the peaks across the valley and drinking a good bottle of wine from nice crystal. He laughed at his conjured image, and supposed that no matter how far away from his family he had run, they were still with him in many ways. Shaking off the thought, he kept around the house and was amazed by the floor to peak windows at the front of the house. While he could not see into the house, again stymied by the blinds, he was happy to note that the house had a sliding glass door on to the patio. Boone had spent some time with nefarious people, and knew how to pop a sliding door.

He set the shotgun on the edge of the fire pit and went up to the glass door. A quick inspection told him that he could get into the house with a little effort. Boone slid back the screen and with a grunt man handled the sliding door up and back enough to work the lock off. He then slid the door open and backed away, even though it was evident there was no one in the house and had not been for some time, he retrieved the stubby shotgun before he stepped through the blinds.

The house had the closed up smell of his grandmother’s home. Musty, slightly stale air rushed to exit out the opening he had created. In the dim lighting he could see furniture which had been covered with sheets, a free standing fireplace with an inverted cone chimney from which hung chain like grating to keep sparks from snapping out onto the floor. Boone searched for and found the controls for the blinds and after a moment of playing with the lines mounted on the wall, managed to open the blinds and let the light shine into the space.

The house had high ceilings with beams running the open space between the peak and the great room. A long counter separated the great room from the kitchen. On one side of the great room were two doors, on the other, two doors. To his left, a wrought iron staircase went up to a small loft situated over the kitchen that overlooked the room below. Boone decided to check out the two doors on the left first.

He held the shotgun in one hand and pushed the door open with the other. These windows were covered by blinds as well, but Boone could see that the room contained two sets bunk beds for sleeping four people. The bunk beds were cleverly designed to maximize the limited space of the room with dresser drawers built into the bottom of the beds and the head and foot boards had shelves for books, or whatever else might be needed for the summer visit to the house. There was a closet with some clothing hanging in it, but most of the clothing was for children. Along the bottom of the closet was a littering of shoes in various conditions. The shelf in the closet held blankets for the cooler nights. He pulled out a couple of the drawers and saw that the few items in the drawers were also kid sized for various ages. There wasn’t enough clothing for a permanent residence, and Boone assumed that the place was a summer or vacation home.

He moved out of the children’s bed room and went to the second door. On opening it, he saw that it was a narrow walk in closet which had been piled with boxes, plastic tubs, and a closet rod hung coats, and other assorted outerwear. About this was a shelf which had more boxes, and bags. Boone sifted through the boxes, reading labels, which he doubted were correct if past experience were to hold true, and then backed out and closed the door. He turned up the stairs since he was right there.

The small loft had a low ceiling, which explained the half story look from the outside. Under the window the space contained a queen sized mattress on a low platform which also had shallow drawers along its length. There were night stands on either side of the bed and Boone investigated those with detached curiosity. He was surprised to find a stainless steel revolver shoved in a leather holster in one drawer. Boone pulled the weapon out and inspected it. The cylinder was empty, and it had the horrible, thin, target grips on it but it was in good shape. He placed it on the bed and rummaged around the drawer for a moment before he found the box of ammunition for the weapon. He opened the box and saw that all twenty rounds of the hollow points were still in the box. The home owner must have bought the revolver—a S&W M67—and the ammo and tossed them both in the drawer after purchasing them. Boone put the ammo with the weapon and further explored the small loft. Small cubby holes were situated behind cabinet doors and in side were blankets and clothing—adult sized—man and woman’s and he found the same in the drawers under the bed. He went to the opening over the great room where there were accordion doors folded against the wall which would pull out to offer some privacy to those in the loft. The view out of the loft and over the great room past the beams and through the wall of windows to the view of the valley below. It was nearly as nice as the view from the Cooper homestead.

Picking up the revolver and ammo, Boone wandered back downstairs and set the shotgun, the revolver and ammo on the counter top and went into the first of the other rooms. It was a bathroom with a full linen closet of soap, towels, and toilet paper rolls. Boone picked up one of the toilet paper rolls and held it against his cheek. He had not used real toilet paper in over a year. Soap they could make or trade for, but toilet paper was like a magical element, something out of the distant past which people spoke of as if in legend, and was harder and harder to believe had actually existed. Toilet paper was a better find than the pistol and the bicycles. He reverently put the roll back in the closet. Almost as rare were the two tubes of toothpaste. Once again, Boone wondered why no one had found this house.

The second door was a pantry, laundry room and mechanical room. There were so many things shoved into the room, it was nearly impossible to get a good indication of what was there. He saw a couple tool boxes, cleaning supplies, the stacked washer and dryer—worthless now—the air return box for the central air and heat exchange, shelves with canned food, not much of these, and coats and boots and shoes.

Leaving the room Boone investigated the kitchen. He opened cabinets and drawers and found that there were cans of food and boxes of dried foods and meal mixes. Not a whole lot of anything, but enough to get through an impromptu weekend with the family, he imagined. He even found a couple jars of caviar and a bottle of champagne along with a small liquor bars worth of partial bottles of whiskey, vodka, and rum. Pulling one of the square bottles off the shelf, Boone took the top off and inhaled the aroma of the whiskey. He missed whiskey. He missed his motorcycle, he missed being a biker bum and smoking pot and meeting easy chicks in bars, and most of all he missed just riding back country roads for the hell of it. He had never been a great person, Boone knew that, he had been—and probably still was in a lot of ways—a great asshole to those around him.

It was no surprise Boone had started out the end of the world on a sour note. Barely surviving a shootout between rival MCs who had gotten into the gun battle over drug territory, Boone had gone on to kill two men who had tried to ambush him in a drug deal gone bad when he had tried to sell the drugs he had found at the site of the gun fight for enough money to get out of town. The men had tried to ambush him and luckily, Boone had come out on top of the situation. The police did not know he had killed them men, and then it no longer mattered to anyone. Truth be told, Boone was lucky he had lived beyond the first few weeks of societies collapse since his idea of preparing was to get on his motorcycle and ride until he ran out of gas or money. Most of the reason had lived was because of Josh, who had his shit figured out when Boone had met him and forced his way into the man’s life. Josh had been a hobby prepper which had turned in their favor.

He laughed at himself and capped the whiskey. It was amazing the memories which could be brought about by an aroma one thought one might never enjoy again. Placing the bottle back in the cupboard, Boone turned on one of the burners on the stove and was surprised to smell gas. He turned it off and smiled to himself. He and Josh were moving in. No more living in a cramped trailer. With the fireplace, and the kitchen and everything else in the house, they could be set. They could work with Cooper and el Jefe, they could start their own garden, get goats and a cow, put up a fence around the car port for the livestock and their horses. Boone sat down on one of the bar stools at the counter and dug the biscuits he had prepared out of his pocket. He ate barely tasting the tart cheese and sweet honey on the biscuits and stared out the big windows at the valley below. The sky was so very blue and the colors of the trees across the side of the mountain and in the valley were in a riot of contrast to the back drop of the sky. Soon it would be winter and up here in the mountains they might get snow, it would be cold for sure. He wondered if the fireplace would heat the house, or if it would have to be supplemented somehow. He would be glad to out of the trailer by that time, so would Josh. Perhaps Heidi would want to move in with them. She had to be tired of living in that trailer on the homestead as well.

Boone had a thing for Heidi; he had known her in Hartsville and she had remembered him as well. Josh was not a fan of hers, but they got along well enough that Boone did not think it would be a problem for his friend. Whistling to himself, Boone went to the key hook by the back door and studied the keys hanging there. He opened the back door and tried a couple house keys in the lock. They both fit and turned the lock. Another set of keys had the words Master written on them and Boone deduced these were for the lock chaining the bikes together. He pocketed these. Boone picked up his shotgun remembered seeing a book bag in the cluttered mechanical room. He got the bag and put the revolver and ammo into it, and then went to the kids room and began shoving the pack full of clothing for Cooper and Jessica’s child. He knew most of it was going to be too big, but it would not be long before the child would be able to wear some of the clothing. Boone added a pair of children’s shoes to the pack, and since it was as full as it could get, zipped the pack closed. The clothing would be a peace offering to Cooper and Jessica when he would spring the news about the house on them. He slung the pack over his shoulder and hurried out of the house.

Boone forgot the idea of spending the rest of the day wandering the woods. He trotted down the overgrown driveway and followed it to the road. He found the reason why the house had been forgotten; the drive was long and narrow, hiding the house from the view of the road, and the entrance itself was so overgrown, Boone had to push through the tangle of weeds and grass to even reach the gate blocking the drive. The undergrowth had hidden the gate from the view of the road and even though they walked by it daily, unless one knew it was there, it was nearly invisible to the casual observer. Cooper had probably forgotten about the house’s existence after the first few months of survival because he had a house of his own to worry about. Once to the road, Boone hurried to the homestead. He arrived in time to find Sanjana and Jessica setting out a midday meal. They saw Boone and waved him up to the house. When Boone arrived on the deck where the food was set, Jessica took the opportunity to tease him while he scanned the fixings for lunch. Since fall was setting in, there was an abundance of fresh vegetables for them to choose from. Cabbage had been made into fresh slaw with mayonnaise made from their eggs, hard boiled eggs had been packed in with pickled beets, leftover squash had been made into soup, and the corn on the cob from the night before was roasted with herbed butter. A loaf of fresh bread sat on the table as did the last of the apple pie. Jessica pushed Boone’s hand away as he tried to grab one of the ears of corn.

“I thought you were taking the day off,” she said to him. “Did you miss us?”

Boone shrugged. “I missed having you cook for me.”

“Asshole,” returned Jessica. “You don’t get to eat until everyone else has their share.”

He shrugged and pulled off the backpack. “I’ll bet I can change your mind.”

“I doubt it.”

Boone laughed. “When is Cooper getting back in?”

“I about to call them all in,” she told him.

“Cool,” acknowledged Boone and managed to snag one of the ears of corn. Sanjana smacked him on the shoulder and Jessica gave him a brusque look, but went to the triangle and rang the bell the prescribed series of three which meant that food was ready. They had a code set up for the ringing triangle, a certain number in a series meant different things. There weren’t many combinations, to keep things simple, but the two everyone seemed to remember the easiest were the call for food, and the call for danger. It took several minutes, but those in the field wandered in, their faces and hands washed in the basin set near the mud room door, and their boots off so they would not track dirt into the house. Josh saw Boone and frowned.

“I thought you were taking the day off?” he said as he sat on the bench at that table.

“I did.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I need to talk to Cooper real quick though,” said Boone.

“About what?”

“I’ll tell you in a second,” he told his friend as he saw Cooper walking through the house. Boone got up and walked an intercept course until he was standing in front of Cooper, munching on the ear of corn.

“You got a minute?” he asked.

Cooper looked at the ear of corn in Boone’s hand and sighed. “Can we talk out at the table?”

David and Leticia came into the house and Boone fell silent as they walked by, speaking in Spanish to each other and laughing. The two saw Cooper and Boone together and David stopped for a second beside the two men.

“Everything okay?” he asked.

“Yeah,” said Boone and Cooper nodded.

David gave them an apprehensive look before finally deciding that things were copasetic between the two and slapped them both on the shoulder before catching up with Leticia.

“What is going on?” asked Cooper, leaning against the back of the couch with a sigh.

“So what are the rules for moving into places?” asked Boone.

“What do you mean?” Cooper wanted to know.

“Like if I wanted to move into a house that’s not being used, what’s the procedure?” Boone took up a position leaning on the counter separating the kitchen from the great room. Boone could see a trend in the way homes were built on the mountain with great rooms and lofts and big windows. “Do I need to go up and down the road and tell people or can I just move in and say it’s mine?”

Cooper looked puzzled. He slide down to sit on the arm of the couch and cocked his head. “I don’t know of any place that’s in good enough shape to move into. And the Barstow place is about torn down from everyone scavenging windows and doors and stuff from it. The whole issue has never come up. When new people end up here at the mountain, they seem to end up here. Where is this place?”

“It’s that house between here and the Barstow place,” informed Boone, assuming that Cooper would know the house. “Is that empty for some reason?”

Confused, Cooper looked as if Boone had spoken in code and he was having a hard time deciphering the words. Suddenly, his face cleared and he snapped his fingers. “The fucking summer house.”

“I guess, yeah.”

“Shit, I forgot all about that place. It sits back in off a long ass driveway?”

“It does,” confirmed Boone. “One bedroom with a loft place.”

“As far as I know, it’s free game,” said Cooper. “I think even el Jefe forgot about that one. The people who own, or maybe owned, the house hardly ever came up to the house. They had kids, I remember, but I think they bought it off an older couple. They’d come up on a weekend every so often, but not enough to even get to know them. How’d you stumble across it?”

“I was out walking in the woods.”

“Is the place in good shape?” wondered Cooper. “I can’t really remember what it looked like, I’ve only been there twice, maybe three times.”

Boone laughed coarsely. “Kind of like this place. Great room, loft, maybe a touch smaller. It seems to be in good shape, it was well closed off, all the windows were shut, the doors were secured and seemed to seal well. I didn’t notice any water damage, but I wasn’t really looking for that.”

“We’ll have to go down and check it out,” offered Cooper. “It can’t be worse than sleeping in a trailer.”

“That was my thought,” agreed Boone. “When can you come look?”

Cooper thought about it for a moment. He looked at the work he had to do for the rest of the day and then shrugged. “If you come help with a couple things, we can look at it this evening.”

“If it gets me out of the trailer,” said Boone, “I’m in.” At that moment Heidi came through the back door. She was wearing what she liked to wear, one piece dresses and biking shorts, boots, and her Springfield XD slung around her narrow hips like a gunfighter. She had become the livestock handler around the homestead, taking care of the horses and the llama, the goats and now there had been the addition of a milk cow and pigs. Heidi was also taking her stallion around for stud service and bring in quite a bit of goods on trade. That was how they had acquired the pigs and the cow. She saw Boone and gave him the smile she reserved just for him. Boone grinned back.

“Hey, cowgirl,” he said to her as if Cooper was not in the room.

“Hey, yourself, slacker,” she returned. “I thought you were sick.”

“Just needed a morning to clear my head.”

She sidled up to him and leaned against the counter as well, letting her body touch Boones. “You should have let me know, we could have played hooky together.”

“Next time I will,” promised Boone.

Heidi gave Boone a light elbow and then stood away from the counter, her hair magically flipping as she straightened. She smiled again at Boone and then turned to Cooper. Her smile for him was not nearly as bright.

“Hey, Cooper,” she said as she sashayed out on to the deck where the food was being served. Both men watched her until she was at the picnic table and chatting with everyone there. Cooper sighed and looked back at Boone.

“Would that be the reason to get into the house?”

Chuckling, Boone gave a half shrug. “Maybe one of the reasons. I’m going to invite Josh as well.”

Studying Boone, Cooper tried to guess why the rough biker and the bespectacled man who obviously knew his way around the ways of the homestead were friends. Boone was a biker, not just the kind to ride around with other look-alikes on a Sunday afternoon, but a dyed in the wool nearly 1%’er. Cooper had paid attention to the younger man and the things he spoke about when he talked about the past, the words he used and the situations Boone had laughingly referred to were not the tales of a bar hopping weekender. Cooper suspected that Boone had been a genuine law breaker, possibly a killer, before the world had stopped. He was cagey about some of his life, and Josh had admitted that the two had met because Boone had been buying up ammo and survival gear and not known what he was doing. Josh had also told Cooper in confidence that when the two had first started travelling together, Boone had been in possession of a large brick of marijuana and had cash to spend on their survival. Cooper made sure to keep an eye on Boone; he was not sure where the man stood on things. Cooper wanted to trust him, and indeed, Boone had never given him a reason to not trust him. In fact, the man had shown a sense of justice and empathy most hardcore criminals lacked, but still in all, Cooper could not simply let go around the former biker.

Boone gave Cooper a sideway look. “What? We’re not gay.”

The comment made Cooper laugh. “I know, I was lost in thought for a second. Let’s eat, and then we’ll get the jobs done and look at that place.”

“Yeah, sounds good,” Boone walked beside Cooper. “Hey, I found some kids clothes, I brought some with me, you know, for your kid.”

“Oh, wow,” said Cooper, expressing his gratitude. “We can use them; but don’t you want to save some?”

Boone gave Cooper a puzzled look of his own and then rolled his eyes, understanding that Cooper was talking about Boone and Heidi. “We’re just fucking right now. No plans that way.”

“You know that’s how they happen, right? Fucking?”

“I do,” laughed Boone “But I have protection for now.”

“Until it breaks,” muttered Cooper.

“Experience talking there?”

Smiling, Cooper waved Boone ahead of him onto the patio.
Last edited by doc66 on Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by doc66 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:15 pm

Boone and Cooper were inside the house, looking around at things that Boone had not thought about checking when he had taken his first tour of the vacation home. Cooper showed him where the water had been turned off to the pipes in the house, which was a good thing; it meant that there would be no water damage from broken pipes which had frozen over the last two winters since the house had last been occupied. The roof was a concern, but after seeing the condition of the shingles, Cooper ceased worrying. There was no water marks on the ceilings in any of the rooms and the windows did not have swelling or warped frames which would indicate leaks. After investigating the mechanical room, Cooper had told Boone if they could somehow find a solar panel or two, he felt he could connect the blower for the heater and perhaps even the pump for the well to give them heat during the worst of the winter—if there was enough propane in the big tank out back—and even get the well pump working for at least indoor cold water, which meant that like the homestead, they could use the indoor toilet as long as the septic tank was good.

Encouraged by this, Boone was ready to move his few belongings into the house that evening. He pulled down a bottle of whiskey, maybe the last bottle of Jack Daniels on the mountain, even the valley, and found two glasses in a cupboard. He poured a couple fingers into the glasses and capped the bottle. Picking them up, he went to where Cooper was perusing a small book shelf. Cooper looked up when Boone’s shadow fell over him. Boone held out the glass.

“Oh, damn. Don’t mind if I do,” said Cooper, taking the glass and standing. He motioned to the book shelf. “Pleasure reading. Westerns, some Sci Fi, and romance novels, with a few classics for appearance sake.”

“There’s more upstairs in the loft,” mentioned Boone, clinking his glass against Coopers in salute. The two men sipped the drink of another time and both closed their eyes to savor the taste and the moment.

“Shit, I forgot how good that was,” Cooper breathed.

“I didn’t,” said Boone.

Cooper gave Boone a frown.

“What?” asked Boone.

“You’re a strange one,” said Cooper, going over to one of the sheet covered chairs and sitting down without removing the cover. He sipped the drink while Boone came over and joined him, taking a place on the couch.

“How’s that?”

“You always have the comment ready that you know might piss off whoever you’re talking to.”

Shrugging, Boone said nothing, as if to prove Cooper wrong. Cooper laughed lightly and gazed out the window to where the sun was turning the valley gold and red and casting long shadows outside the house.

“So tell me, Boone,” said Cooper. “How much of a bad ass are you?”

“What the fuck kind of a question is that?” Boone gave Cooper a sour look and his face became guarded and his green eyes clouded and sparked.

Cooper held up a hand to stay the man’s anger. “This is really the first time we’ve had to sit down and talk; other than when I was trying to decide if I should have killed you with the others. I took you at your word then, and so far, you haven’t given me a reason to doubt that you’re up here to stay and be a part of our community. But even so,” here Cooper gave Boone a hard look over the rim of the whiskey glass, “there are times I have to wonder if I can trust you.”

Studying Cooper, Boone sipped his whiskey and seemed to chew on the liquid while he thought over his response. Cooper returned the gaze, trying to read the other man’s thoughts through the hooded eyes and the flat expression on his face. Finally Boone relaxed a little and slid down in his seat, throwing an arm over the back of the couch.

“Dude, you can only trust me as much as you want to,” decided Boone. “As for my bad assery, well, shit, I’m not the guy who shot four people in the face.”

Cooper felt a flash of anger and fought it down. After all, he had done that very thing. The reason was not at issue and Cooper knew that Boone had brought it up to get a reaction out of him. Cooper still regretted that the day had come to that moment, but it was something that he and el Jefe had deemed necessary.

“I get the feeling you might have had your own share of shooting people in the face,” Cooper told Boone. “And probably for not quite as noble a reason.”

“Noble?” laughed Boone. “I suppose we justify what we do in our own way. I’m just glad I wasn’t one of those kneeling on the ground when you did it.” Boone leaned toward Cooper and looked him in the eyes with a smile that was not friendly, nor was it threatening. Cooper had the feeling that it just was. “But when I shoot people in the face, they’re standing up.”

The moment drew out between them.

Cooper finally nodded. “Fair enough.”

Suddenly laughing, Boone leaned back and drained the glass. “Dude, you really got to lighten up. You want to know about me? I’ll tell you; I’m a college dropout and a end of the world survivor. You don’t have to worry about me, I like it here. I did from the moment I rode up here with the MC and saw what kind of set up you had. That’s why I tried to talk them into leaving, I knew it was too good a place to fuck up.”

Standing, Boone took Coopers glass and went back into the kitchen and poured two more fingers for each of them. He brought the glasses back and handed off Coopers.

“You want to know if I’ve killed people, if I ran drugs, if I was a part of a motorcycle club and all that shit? Is that what you want to know?” Boone sat down and smiled at Cooper. “Yeah.”

Cooper waited. He wasn’t sure what to say to Boone. Boone did not seem to notice that Cooper was at a loss for words.

“Listen, man, I was a fucking gangster. Not like Leticia and her kin, I was a fucking drug running, partying mother fucker.” Swirling the whiskey in the glass Boone gave Cooper a frank look. “I was sitting in a motorcycle shop and working on my bike when a rival club walked in and told the dudes I was with that they had lost their territory. There was a shootout and the only reason I am here today to talk to you is because I forgot to take the thumb safety off the 1911 I had and they seemed to forget about me in all the shooting. I took the drugs in the garage, got on my bike and high tailed it out of there. I blew off a guy’s head with that shotgun over there and killed his buddy when they tried to ambush me and steal my drugs. I fucking stole their money and left their bodies to rot. As far as I know, the cops are still looking for me, if there’s even a cop left in that town who gives a shit.”

Boone looked off into the distance where the sun was setting. “I’m not proud of what I’ve done, man, but I admit to it. I’ve not been a great person, but I’ve always been a standup guy within the auspices of the situation. You want to know if I’ll fucking sneak up to your house and cut your throat and rape your woman? Fuck no, I like all of you. You’ve taken a chance on me and let me be a part of this thing you’ve got going here.

“I’m staying, Cooper,” said Boone. “You can trust me as much or as little as you want. It doesn’t matter to me. I am who I am. What I ask from you is that no matter what you want to think about me, don’t let it color how you treat Josh. He’s for real, and he doesn’t deserve to be treated like shit just because of who I am.”

“Do I treat him like shit?” asked Cooper in astonishment, the sudden vehemence with which Boone had asked for Josh to measured for his own merits taking Cooper off guard since it was so apart from the Boone’s confession.

“You do.”

“I’ll make an effort to stop.”

“Thanks.” Boone sighed. “What now?”

“I don’t know,” admitted Cooper. “I mean, three years ago if you had said I was going to be drinking whiskey with a felon—“

“—that requires a conviction, and you’re no angel any more—“

“—point taken,” agreed Cooper. “But regardless, I still have those old conceptions.”

“You think you’re better than me because you came into this a regular old citizen,” defined Boone. “I came from a regular family, I get what you’re saying. They didn’t get me either. But let me tell you something, when all this is over, you really think it will matter how we came in—or how we go out?” Boone waved a hand at the house and everything around them. “What we do right now, with all this, that’s where our worth will be judged. That other world you keep wanting to pigeonhole me in, it doesn’t exist anymore.”

“So you want a clean slate from me?”

“Dude,” laughed Boone. “I got my clean slate. I don’t need you to tell me I’m okay. You’re the one with the baggage you keep dragging around to everything you do.”

Cooper was confused and felt the anger rising up again. “Then why did you tell me all that shit?”

“So you know I don’t care if you know,” said Boone simply. “I’m good with me. I just hope you can be cool with me on your own level.”

“You think that by me knowing all that, I’ll suddenly be good with you?”

“I think that knowing all that will make you stop wondering about who I am.” Boone shrugged. He looked out at the color of the sky and the dark valley below. “It’s getting late, your old lady is going to be worried.” He grinned mischievously. “She might think we got into a fight and I beat the shit out of you or killed you. Either way she’s not going to be happy I got you drunk.”

“I’m not drunk,” said Cooper and then realized that he was feeling tipsy.

“Corn beer just doesn’t get it like good Tennessee, does it?” Boone stood and took Cooper’s empty glass. “We good? Or do you need to think on it?”

“Let me think on it,” said Cooper honestly.

“A straight answer is better than a lie.”

Cooper stood and took a second to find his balance. “You moving in tomorrow?”

“Tonight, if I can get Josh moving.”

“What about Heidi?”

Boone smiled confidently. “She’ll be moving in on her own in a few days is my guess.”

Shaking his head, Cooper put the glass down on the coffee table and picked up his rifle. “See you tomorrow?”

“Might be late, if we don’t get our shit up here tonight.”

With a nod, Cooper left the house and headed back to the homestead.

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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/2

Post by doc66 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:16 pm

Heidi sat on the couch wearing the robe she had found in one of the cubby holes in the loft. Josh was sitting in a chair, reading a novel found on the bookshelf that had captured his attention and Boone was stacking another piece of wood on the fire in the freestanding fireplace. The temperature had dropped seemingly overnight and when they had awoken, there was frost on the ground. While the day would probably heat up enough to make the fire unnecessary, they had agreed that a small blaze would be pleasant as they spent the morning laying around. It was Sunday, and that meant that no one would do much other than make sure animals were fed and watered. When people worked as hard as they did through the week, a day of rest was something everyone needed. The vacation house was shaping up nicely as a place for the three of them to live. Cooper had donated an old solar panel he had in a shed for them to have enough power to charge a small battery bank so that they could power the well pump, run a few strings of LED lights and even charge an iPod for music. The POM had come to them from a tinker—not Tinker Bob—who was willing to trade against the future harvest of several ounces of marijuana Boone was growing in the green house they had built out of parts scavenged from around the mountain community. The fact was, everyone on the mountain was looking forward to the harvest. The medicinal properties of the plants were something needed in the largely holistic society they had become. Boone hoped that he could keep the green house warm enough with his clay pot heaters for his experimental plants, ones he claimed were genetically designed for the colder climes. So far they were going well.

They had also been gifted five chickens and a rooster from Cooper, a couple of goats from el Jefe, and the stallion and horses rode to the mountain by the three of them were now residing under the carport. Boone and Josh and Heidi had built a small corral for the horses, with plans to enlarge the fencing as they could find materials to do so. For the moment, large tarps has been strapped to the sides of the carport as wind blocks for the animals and the chickens were getting the hang of the chicken tractor they dragged from place to place. They had to picket the goats and put them in the corral each evening, but it was worth the milk and cheese to have them.

Since it was too late in the year for a garden, the three were going to have to rely on the homestead and the ranch along with the kindness of their neighbors to get through the winter, but Boone and Josh had already been working at breaking ground for their own garden for the next year. The stallions stud service was going a long way toward helping offset the need to buy and trade for all their goods. Heidi had just returned from an expedition down in the valley where she had made several deals to stud the horse with animals there.

Boone leaned away from the blaze in the saucer shaped fireplace and judged the conflagration to be enough for the morning. He padded over to the couch where Heidi was sitting and eased down next her, picking up his cup of hot chocolate. The tub of mix was one of the things that had been in the cupboard and they had decided that morning to go ahead and have a cup each to stave off the morning chill. There was a basket of corn muffins on the coffee table along with black raspberry preserves and hard boiled eggs cooling in a shallow bowl.

“How are the animals?” asked Heidi.

“Fine and fed,” Boone told her as he leaned back and sipped the hot drink. It wasn’t as rich as it could have been, but it was better than water. There was no goats milk to splash into it, everything from the last two days had been made in to cheese and the curd laden towels were handing in the shower over buckets to capture the whey dripping off the clumps of forming cheese. Once that was finished, Heidi wanted to try and make ricotta out of the whey. If it worked, they planned on having a pizza night and drinking the six pack of Budweiser they had found in the storage closet. Boone had to say he was looking forward to eating pizza, even if it was going to be not quite the kind he was used to.

“We’re going to need salt,” said Josh, looking up from the book he was reading.

“Okay,” returned Boone. “We’ll have to see if a tinker has some next time one comes through.”

“I mean a shit ton of it,” qualified Josh, putting his finger in the book to mark the page he was on. “I was just reading about them salting meat, and I’m sure that no one on the mountain has any left in any quantity.”

“We can air dry it,” mentioned Heidi.

“Some of it, but I don’t think that we can maintain the temperature enough around here for it to work well enough. There’s no good caves that I know of where it would work.”

“Wine cellars?” she suggested.

It was one of the reasons Boone was fascinated with her; she always had a suggestion for making a problem workable. In Hartsville, she had been useful for only one task, according to the hierarchy there, here on the mountain, her contributions were becoming invaluable. It turned out that she was well read for her age and full of experience with livestock that was in short supply unless one consulted el Jefe or one of his family. He gave her a big smile to show he thought she had the right idea. She smiled back and looked content and happy.

“Who has a wine cellar?” wondered Josh.

“Cooper has one,” she told them. “A small one. I’ll bet that a couple other people do up here. After all, this is on the edge of wine country.”

“Can we convince them to turn them into a dry hanging place for meats?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “But we need to do it before we slaughter here in a month or so.”

“I wonder if anyone else had thought of it?” said Josh.

“This afternoon, we’re going up to el Rancho,” mentioned Boone. “El Jefe’s going to be throwing a little party and we can talk to everyone then.”

“Where would we get the salt if not from a tinker?” put in Josh.

Heidi slipped off the couch and went to a cluttered table she was using as a desk. On the desk she had many things; a calendar with the list of daily chores and projected projects which needed to be done by specified dates, lists of the items they had in the house; food that was on hand, carefully checked off when it was used, food they were going to need, what they had traded for, when the trades were going to be made, what they owed and what was owed them; all kinds of reference books—Boone laughed at those when she had started gathering them up until she pointed out there was no internet to look up “how to” things any longer. She pulled out a book and a map of the state and brought it over to the couch, spreading the map out on the coffee table.

“Desalination plants and salt mines,” she told them. “Those are here, and here. They probably have tons of it sitting around in piles. We can make the trip, but it’s going to take almost two weeks of solid travel, there and back.”

“You’re talking horses,” said Boone, looking at the distance. “We can use the gasified truck and pull a trailer. Cut down on time and we can haul a bigger load back.”

“I forgot about that,” admitted Heidi. “So a week, maybe? Five days?”

“Depends, but yeah.”

“Those places are on the coast, in the city,” cautioned Josh. “Are we sure we want to risk going in there? There’s got to be a better way.”

Heidi sat back and shook her head. “Short of makin our own evaporator, spending who the hell knows how many days feedin it and gathering the salt, not that I’ve come up with. Besides, we might never get enough salt for what we want in the time we got.”

They pondered the problem.

“So Leticia will have to go,” said Boone. “She knows people in the 415.”

“Anybody from el Rancho could go,” corrected Josh. “All of them up there are related to someone around there.”

“Yeah, but I trust Leticia,” Heidi said. She and Leticia were close in age and had become good friends in the time Heidi had been living up at the Homestead.

“So that means David goes too,” Boone put in.

“We can’t all go,” pointed out Josh. “We have stock here, now.”

“You want to stay?” asked Boone. He grinned at his friend. “Tired of travelling?”

Josh gave Boone a sour look until he realized that Boone was teasing him, mostly. “Yeah, well, the last time I went anywhere with you, I had to be rescued by a girl. So, I’m good with staying here.”

Heidi made a muscle man pose.

“Not just any fucking girl.” She dropped her arms. “El Jefe should send a couple of people too. Maybe a couple neighbors can come along. We’re gonna need the manpower to shovel the salt into the trailer, and we’re gonna to need the guns to keep from gettin hijacked along the way.”

“Eight people?”

“At least.”

“Well, I say we come up with a plan and a route of travel, and when we go up to el Rancho this afternoon, we present all this,” decided Josh.

“Let’s say we leave in a week,” added Heidi. “We get everyone to make a list of things they want us to look for. I’ll bet there’s all kinds of stupid shit people might want.”

“If we have to trade, what do we trade?” asked Josh.

Boone hadn’t thought of that. It was his thought that they would just ride down and take the salt, shovel it into the trailer and leave.

“We’ll have to come up with trade goods,” agreed Heidi.

“I’ll be muscle,” said Boone. “That’s all on you.”

Heidi smiled at him. “Of course.”

“What does that mean?” he wondered, a little offended by her tone.

“We all do what we’re good at,” she answered him, making Josh laugh.

“I think I’ll go get some more firewood.”

“Aww, don’t leave,” kidded Heidi. “You know we love you.”

“I know you’re mean,” Boone told her, instead of getting off the couch he reached for a hardboiled egg and a muffin.

“Like I said; we all do what we’re good at.”

Putting aside the reference book and the map, they all reached for the breakfast on the coffee table as the fire crackled and popped and outside the sun peeked through the gray sky, lighting up the valley floor below.
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Re: Cooper; new stuff added 9/12

Post by 91Eunozs » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:08 am

:clap:

Great setup for the next adventure...thanks!
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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