Chapter 3 – “What the heck was that?!”

“Just follow one of the trails out the back,” Josh instructed once we were outside, “Once you get to a field, set up there and start blowing your turkey call. Meet back here at one for lunch.”

We all dispersed down the trails. I stuck with Tony, and we ended up hunkering down overlooking a bare field. We talked quietly, occasionally doing a turkey call. We didn’t see many turkeys, but we did see a few nice bucks.

“Sweet,” Tony whispered, “What I wouldn’t give for my deer rifle right now.” I nodded, staring at the buck, faintly visible in the moonlight, who was looking right at us. How he knew we were there, I don’t know. Suddenly, several far off shots rang out. The deer, startled, bounded away into the forest.

“Guess someone’s got his,” I murmured. “That wasn’t a shotgun.”

“Guess so. Why’d he shoot so many times, though? That was like, five shots, man. Who the heck shoots five times at a deer?”

“I don’-, whoa!”

More shots were fired, and then stopped. “Must be plinking or something,” I said, looking around at the surrounding hills for a muzzle flash.

“With a deer rifle? I doubt it,” Tony responded. “Weird.”

After the flurry of shots, nothing unique happened for the rest of the morning. The sun rose behind us, and soon enough it was lunchtime. We headed back to the cabin, discouraged at the lack of turkeys around.

When we got back to the cabin, the talk was all of the shots. “Bet it was the police on the bear,” Phil said around a mouthful of sandwich. “Had to be.”

Ryan scoffed. “Police wouldn’t waste that much ammo on one piddly bear.”

During lunch, it started to sprinkle, and then to pour. No one was in a hurry to get back out, so we ended up shooting the breeze in the cabin until dinner time. We ate our lunch leftovers and ate some old apples that the bear had ignored. It satisfied no one. By now the rain had stopped, but it was dark already because of the clouds.

“Well, the heck with this,” Josh declared, “Let’s just go. We can grab dinner somewhere and get back into town around ten.” There was general agreement around, and we piled back into the slightly damp truck (someone had left a window cracked). Tony, Josh, and I crammed into the back seat and Phil and Ryan took the front. Most of us zipped up our guns and threw them in the truck bed, but Ryan brought his with him and held it in his lap.

“What are you doing, Ryan?” Phil asked disgustedly, “You’re taking up space.”

“I paid $950 for this gun, and if you think I’m just going to sling it in the back, you’re nuts.” 

“Freak. A gun’s a tool, not a-”

“Oh, shut the heck up and let’s go,” Tony moaned from the back seat, “Stop acting like a bunch of old ladies.”

We pulled out of Josh’s driveway and headed down the quiet, damp state road. We continued berating Ryan for his paranoia, when suddenly there was a loud thud from the truck bed. The truck bounced on its suspension and tires squealed. Phil hit the brakes and we skidded to a halt. 

“What the heck was that?!” Tony yelled. I twisted my head around to look, but then the back window of the truck suddenly exploded.

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