Thursday, August 28, 2014

NO REGRETS



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This is my Friday Frights for this week. Our theme this month is Backwoods/Inbred Cannibals. Enjoy your trip to the swamps . . .

No Regrets


     Smoke rises from the campfire and mixes with the dampness in the air, creating a suffocating blend of noxious fumes.

     “Damn it Fred! I told you not to put that mossy wood on the fire. Now I can’t breathe!”

     "Like there’s perfect timber around here to burn. Look around, Joe: we’re in the middle of a swamp. This shit grows on everything. Hell, it looks like your beard might be covered with it.”

     Joe does a slow burn, but moves to the up wind side of the fire, trying to avoid the smoke but, at the same time, not wanting to lose the benefits of the heat. As warm as it was during the day, there is a chill in the air tonight. A weird, uncomfortable chill.

     Joe finds some of the better looking twigs and cut logs in the pile sitting behind him and gets a huge bonfire going. “That’s a little more like it,”he says. I know how to make a fire!”

     “Sure, you idiot,” Fred says. “Number one, you’ll waste all of our wood like that, and number two, we’re not supposed to be here. You might as well send some flares up into the sky. Tell the whole world we’re here. That would make the Game Warden’s job a whole lot easier. Maybe you have some hand cuffs on you to complete the deal.”

     “You, wuss! No one knows we’re out here. We have the ‘gators we poached hidden real good. No one will miss a few more of the critters. Don’t forget the money, man. It’s there, and it’s good.”

     Fred snorts back at him. Sometimes he wishes he had picked a better partner for this shit than Joe. However, the one positive with him is that the man’s lips are never loosened. Even when he is drunk as a skunk, there is never a single word uttered about the ‘gator hunts.   

     Once the fire settles down a bit, Herb sets the big Dutch Oven in the red-hot coals and relishes the thought of the catfish stew to come. Good eating! There hasn’t been a day yet that the trot lines haven’t produced for him.

     The two of them sit by the fire in canvas camp chairs with a cold beer in their hands. A prerequisite for doing what they do is to make sure there is always plenty of brewskies and ice to keep them cold. Their air boat has plenty of room for that.

     Both men are pretty well half-looped by the time the stew is ready to eat, and they have barely eaten a couple bites when Joe stiffens up. “What’s that noise? Damn it! I think it’s coming down by where we stashed the gators.”

     Fred hears it too and grabs a hold of his twelve gauge, but he sits back down, obviously just wanting it as a safety net. He has no intention of leaving the fire.

     “What’s wrong with you?!” Joe says. “We can’t let someone take the meat and skins. They belong to us!”

     “Don’t interfere,” Fred says. “What is, is. We can’t see over there. We’re safe here. The light from the campfire will let us know if someone is coming after us.”

     “I’m going down there and protect what’s ours.”

     “No you won’t. It’s the kids, Joe. The killer kids. No one confronts them and lives to talk about it. Stay here. Let them do what they want. Tomorrow, we’ll get the hell out of here. It won’t be safe here any longer.”

     Joe is enraged, the beer buzz not enhancing his judgment any. “You damn coward! How does anyone know who they are if they are never seen?”

     “They leave footprints, little ones, of course, and every so often someone swears they hear their voices, almost as if they’re trapped in the swamp air.”

     “You superstitious bastard!”

     Joe grabs his own shot gun and goes chasing off after the killer kids.

     “Damn,” he mutters. “At least one of us doesn’t listen to old wives’ tales and has a pair.”

     Half-cocked and half-drunk, he is almost to his destination when he realizes he hasn’t bought a flash light. Shit! It's dark. I can't see squat. Oh well, it's too late to turn back. I'll just have to rely on my other senses..

     The closer he gets to the stash, the more noise he hears. And voices . . . voices of children. But that's impossible! Fred was just spinning a tale. He always does that to kill an evening.

     He sneaks through the swamp without so much as breaking a twig. Oh, this is going to be so easy. I see lights up ahead. Stupid kids. They will be easy to chase off.Yes! I don't need a light. Heh, heh. They are showing me where they are.

     I'll just scare them away. Piece of cake. They're just kids. I can do it. Then I'll laugh all the way back to that scaredy-cat Fred. How did I ever team up with that loser?

     But . . . but just before he shoots off a warning shot to scare them away, the hand-held torches show them for what they are: wild looking children with sharp teeth and long fangs; blood dripping from their mouths after feasting on the gator meat; crazed eyes burning into him, wanting to get closer so they can see him better and size up what needs to be done to remove this piece of vermin from their midst; and almost inhuman like features and limbs.  

     What am I looking at? This can't be! These children are some sort of mutant creatures. and they're all staring at me. Damn! I have no choice but to act first!

     He raises his shotgun and prepares to aim, but it’s knocked out of his hands. Turning behind him, he sees Fred.

     “Thank God you’re here, Fred! Look at these creatures. Help me destroy them!”

     Fred shakes his head and says, “I tried to warn you, Joe, but you wouldn’t listen to me, you fool. Now you’ll pay the price.”

     “But, Fred. They’re going to kill us!”

     “Not us, Joe. You.”

     “What?” Joe says, fear in his eyes.

     “My children won’t harm me. I love them and they love me.”

     “Your children?!”

     “Yes, my children. Even though they appear to you to be monsters, I don’t think of them that way at all. I’m sorry, Joe. I must protect them from a cruel world which would toss them into some kind of institution where they would be poked and prodded to find out what makes them tick.”

     Fred aims his shotgun at Joe’s leg and pulls the trigger of his twelve gauge. “You’re not going anywhere, Joe. Sorry.”

     He picks up Joe’s shot gun as he squirms about on the ground in agony.

     “C’mon, my children, he shouts. “Fresh meat. Watch out for the buckshot in that leg.”

     Six crazed looking children converge on Joe. It is a food-fest in the swamp. Fred’s partner in crime is eaten alive, fighting a losing battle, but he refuses to go out without a fight.

     And then . . . and then there is no more fight.

     Once their meal is over, Fred’s children wander back into the swamp, well away from the most readily traveled waterways. As much as he wants to hug them, Fred knows it can not be. Yes, there is a bond of love present between them, but they prefer to live as they do. As their father, he knows what is best for them. Their way of life toughens them up for what might come. They must not become soft. He had no idea their mother had inbred genes when they married, but it doesn't really matter. A father's love is special.

     Fred walks back to camp and sits down in his canvas chair. He puts some fresh stew on his plate. Tears mix in with the thick broth.

     He misses his children already . . .



Blaze McRob

2 comments:

  1. Now THAT's how you make a cup of "Joe" ;)

    ~Chad Lutzke

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chad! You are certainly correct.

      Blaze

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