The Last Mountain Man-chapter 4

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
chapter four

Submitted: March 27, 2007

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Submitted: March 27, 2007



Chapter IV

He had witnessed the bus swerving off the road and waited until the driver stepped from the vehicle. Hearing the other vehicle, he turned away. It was none of his business and the buck he had shot wasn’t too far off. With the blood trail it was leaving, it couldn’t go much farther.

Topping the knoll just above the incident, he slowly coursed the down side searching for his kill. In a thick underbrush, he saw the antlers before detecting the body. As a hunter, he smiled to himself. He knew it couldn’t go much farther.

As he stepped to the wounded buck, the animal fought for it’s life with it’s last breath. In it’s weakened state, the fight only meant it tried to fight back to it’s feet. The man saved the notched arrow in his bow. Careful of the still deadly antlers, he brought the honed edge of his knife to the deer’s throat, then sliced.

Wrapping a vine built rope around the animal’s rear feet, he tossed the other end over a low branch of a tree. Hauling the animal up he sat back as blood drained from the slashed throat. He then took care of the musk bags just behind the deer’s hind legs. Next the knife slipped in the animal’s lower stomach and cut it’s way through it’s gullet. Reaching inside, he pulled the intestines and stomach free. Nest the spleen and heart. Sitting this organ aside with the liver, he finished his "gutting" job.

The sound of a side arm stopped him. In the mountain echos he doubted his hearing. Was it? He couldn’t be sure. If it was it was probably those militia guys playing war again. He knew about them, had several times witnessed their "war games". In fact he got a kick out of their antics in their ways of battle.

Many times one had passed within feet of him, once inches, and never knew of his existence. A bunch of regular mountain men, they were.

Easing the deer back onto the ground, he then shouldered the one-twenty pound animal onto his shoulders and turned for the cave. He had been needing fresh meat and it would be a couple hours before he could relish in his kill.

Just before topping the knoll, he heard the other vehicle drive away from the wreck. Good, he thought, he wouldn’t have to bother. The road opened below him. Again he witnessed the bus still sitting at the peculiar angle of the right front being in the bar ditch. What was that?

Lowering the deer to the ground, he stayed on his knee as again he scoured the scene below him. Nowhere could he see the six or seven passengers that he had witnessed on the bus. Had the other vehicle been large enough for everyone? Probably so, he thought, thinking of the R.V.’s that came up to the park.

Still something wasn’t right, what was it? Moving to a better view, he saw what looked to be a leg protruding from the bus’s front. Slowly so not to make any sound he moved even farther toward the front of the scene. The leg was attached to the man who had stepped from the bus. Suddenly he moved. A dark stain spread out below the man. With in seconds he stood at the edge of the road.

It had been a pistol shot he had heard. This was the proof. But what, why? He hesitated. He should report this to the rangers. He had been away from people for five years. He had no desire to be with them again. If he should go to the rangers with this they would begin to ask questions of him.

He turned back to the trees. The man was beyond help. Soon enough there would be someone come by and he had a deer to butcher before dark.

Marie bit the hand of the convict that covered her mouth. "Run!" she screamed as she heard the

.9mm recoil. Suddenly, the rear door of the van opened. One by one the frightened girls were roughly manhandled into the van’s rear. Slamming the door shut, the man rounded to the passenger seat. "Let’s get out of here!" he yelled as he sat in the seat.

"Why’d you do that for?" The driver asked as he shoved the vehicle into gear. " ain’t we got problems enough?"

"Hostages," the other answered, "The more hostages we have the better off we’ll be.’

"Damn man if this thing had gone off the way it was supposed to, we wouldn’t need any hostages. If you hadn’t shot that cop....."

"No one knew he was going to be there. I had too, he had you four under his gun. Hell you aught to be glad I was in the bank for a back up."

"Yeah, I guess, but now they know it was bigger than these two guys and maybe a friend or two."

"Can’t be helped. We’ll hold up in that big cave about four miles back in the mountains from the hole for a few days."

"It ain’t a cave. It’s an old abandoned mine. That place is dangerous if you don’t know your way around."

"Won’t have to watch the hostages so close that way, will we? Pull up to the road leading up to the camp. Jesse, you walk up to the camp and tell the guys what’s going on. Tell them we’ll meet them up at the mine by dark. We’ll all have to go play "war games" for a while. We still have to get rid of the van."

Thirty minutes later the van pulled into a park tended area. "Sarge" stepped out of the van and went to the edge of what seemed to be a bluff. Looking over the rim, he then turned his head, "Alright, everyone out of the van.

The two convicts walked over to him. "Listen man, we’ve been thinking. We don’t want any part of this. Just give us the money you owe us and we’ll take the van and leave for parts unknown."

Turning away from the two, "Sarge nodded his head, "Might be a better idea if you two were to take the van. That would take some of the blame off us if you were caught." He turned back around, "But if you were caught,,,, the .9mm coughed two more times. "We would have no alibi." he finished to the two bodies lying at his feet.

He nodded to Jude, "help me get these two in the van. Come on man, let’s get it over with!"

Jude looked at the other. "What’s the matter with you? Are you kill crazy or what?"

The .9mm leveled between his eyes. "I may be, you want to see? If not help me with these two and let’s get out of here."

Backing down, Jude raised his hands palms out, "sure man, sure, I’m just not used to all the killing is all."

"Well, get used to it and help me.’ The "Sarge" turned to the women. Pointing to Marie and Shawna, "you two, come over here and help us."

Shawna felt helpless, she felt like she needed to do something to aid the girls. They were, after all, in her charge. She had been secretly eyeing the bluff’s edge. If she could make over the edge, she could go for help. As "Sarge" ordered her and the other woman to help, anxiety swept her body. She had to do it. With no more thought. She ran to the edge and jumped.

Frantically, her hands reached out for something to grab as her body plummeted over the bluff’s steep edge. Unexpectedly a root wrapped around her fingers. As her weight came down on her arm, she felt as if came out of socket, but her weight swung her to the bluff’s face. Her other hand desperately joined the other. Her feet sought for a hold. Her toes dug into the face. She gasped as weight was removed from her arms.

Overhead she could hear them. "Man, what was she thinking. There ain’t no way anyone could survive that fall." From the rim of her vision, she could see the two peer over the bluff’s edge.’

"Can you see her anywhere?" The one they called "Sarge was asking.

"No man, the bluff cuts back. I can’t even see the bottom from here."

"Dumb bitch. Come on Jude, let’s get this over with."

Afraid to move, she could hear them struggle with the weight of the two dead men. She heard the van cough to life. The engine rived. There came a sudden crash as the van went through the wooden barricade that kept the public a safe distance from the hole..

Again, she heard speaking. "I wonder how deep that hole is? Again "Sarge."

The other answered, "No one knows man,. It’s some kind of volcanic fissure or something. There’s been cave explorers go down as far as a hundred feet and didn’t see any bottom. See, you couldn’t even hear the van hit bottom."

"Well, come on, let’s go. Ladies, after you"

Still, Shawna waited long after any noise of humans disappeared before she tried to move. Looking up, she could tell that way was useless. She had to go down. Slowly, her feet sought different holds in the bluff’s face. Her hands worked down the root’s surface.

The mountains held very little sunlight. The watch on her wrist showed three-thirty and already the young woman was working in deep shadows. She figured she had come fifty or sixty feet down and still hadn’t reached the bottom. Her arms ached from the weight of her body. Her toes cramped from their grip on the bluff’s face. She was in the dark by now. Even if she could see over her shoulder, she wasn’t able to see the bluff’s bottom.

Suddenly her heels hit an outcropping. She stood on a rock face. Though darkness had claimed her descent, she could fell the emptiness behind her. She had not yet reached the bottom but at least had found a place she could sit and rest. Positioning herself in a fetal position, she wrapped her arms around her legs.

Feeling hopeless, she silently cried in desperation. She would have to wait for daylight to finish her descent.

Creatures of the night began their rounds in finding food. Several times she thought she heard something large a little to her right making it’s way down the surface of the bluff. Had the wind shifted, she would have found out the sound was a large puma searching for food.

The cat was long past it’s prime. No longer could it chase down the fleet footed deer. No longer did it have the strength to pull down a mountain goat. It’s life now consisted of dead carrion or a infant of the animal kingdom.

Earlier in the day it had caught the spoor of fresh kill. Though the hated man smell covered the remains of the deer, the cat was famished, keeping a wary eye out for the man and his long stick, the animal devoured the remains of the deer, but it wasn’t enough. In her famished state, her hunt must continue.






















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