Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter 16

May 10th – I am so sore I’m tempted to never pick up another gun in my life. I said tempted, not that I wouldn’t. Everything hurts. I guess I can’t blame the gun for that but still.

It was raining this morning so cooking another batch of beans in the ground was out. Heck, a fire outside was out so I had to make a fire on the charcoal grill that was still on the lanai because I hadn’t gotten around to putting it back in the shed where it belonged. I fixed an omelet with some cheese and meat stick chopped up in it. The cheese and meat stick came from some more of those Swiss Colony gift boxes from house #4. The omelet turned out to be not so bad this time; either that or I’m getting used to those powdered eggs.

It was only sprinkling by the time I finished cleaning up after my breakfast so I took the swing blade and cut grass out of where Momma had always planned to have the garden. If I am going to have any kind of garden this fall I have a lot of work to do. I carried the grass to the cows but there was only nine cows this time. Off on the other end of the pasture I saw vultures circling. It didn’t take two years of calculus for me to figure out what had happened; how it happened really didn’t matter so much. But when no one ever came to take care of the carcass I started thinking maybe these cows weren’t being taken care of at all. It made me think that maybe, if I watched for a little longer and saw that no one ever came to check on them I could choose to take care of them myself. I wrote down on my notepad to think about how I could fence the cows up on my forty and give them new pasture. The where was easy. The SW quadrant was the lowest point on the property and it was full of palmettos and scrub along with sparkleberries and blackberries. There was barely a person path through there but I bet cows wouldn’t have any problems; and there would be plenty for them to eat for a season or two so they could fatten back up. The fence though would be a problem. And I needed to be able to have a good enough reason to keep the cows too. They will be a lot of work and I know a girl cow has to have a baby cow before she will give milk. There aren’t any boy cows over in the pasture that I see which means no babies which means no milk … so why would I keep the cows?

After feeding the cows – and I think they aren’t quite as skinny as they used to be – I got out the old plastic visqueen that Daddy salvaged from some building site after it went bankrupt and was abandoned. I laid this down in strips where I wanted the garden and used giant metal “staples” to hold the plastic sheeting in place. I used to help Momma do this every season at our house in Tampa. There she did it to kill the nematodes that tried to ruin the garden every year. Here I was hoping to do that but also hoping to kill all the grass and weeds so it would be easier for me to turn the dirt over the first few times. I’m sure as heck not going to have a rototiller to do it.

Next I worked on inventorying and bringing in a bunch of stuff from the barn. The problem I was having was keeping everything organized as I brought it in. All those fancy gift packages of food from the lonely lady’s house and all of that junk food needed to be put in the summer kitchen which is where I am going to keep the food. But when I started doing that I realized I was going to have to unpackage everything. When I did that I realized my recycling boxes would never hold it all. I unpackaged things any way and used a lot of the plastic containers I had found to organize all the bits and pieces in the cabinets and on the shelves. The trash was making a mess so I found several trash cans out in the barn that I used for my overflow of recycling junk. I put in my notebook that I needed to find a way to use the trash pretty soon or I was going to have to burn it.

All that organizing also made me realize that I had made a mistake bringing all the big cans from the dormer room downstairs. It was just too hard to find room for cans that big. I sure wasn’t going to be able to figure out how to find room for the cans in the cubby hole up in the bonus room. I decided to compromise. I kept or brought down one can of each item and put them in the summer kitchen pantry cabinets, especially the sweeteners. The rest would either stay in the cubby hole or go back to the dormer room and I would try and figure out a way to store it neatly and out of the way. I put that at the top of my list to do tomorrow.

I managed to bring in the last of the edibles from the barn, inventory them, and then put them away before I got frustrated and bored with doing that. I was going to start gathering wood but it started to rain again. Besides I was getting hungry and regretted not planning ahead better.

I was hot, hungry, and getting irritable at how hard it was to make sure I remembered to do everything in the right order. I missed having a microwave where I could just nuke something if I got hungry. I just ate some more granola and some dried strawberries and made myself a glass of milk. That satisfied me but didn’t fill me up but it stopped my stomach from complaining.

It continued to rain so I decided to work on the bonus rooms. They were a horrible mess where I had kind of been throwing things around and then when I shoved all the boxes and furniture to the side to get to the cubby hole I just made it worse. I started by cleaning up bonus room one which was the one where the stairs are. I put a futon I had uncovered in that room, a coffee table in front of it and two end tables on each end. I put lamps on the end tables but they were only for decoration and to get them out of the way. All of the pictures I found I took downstairs; I’ll figure out where to hang them over the next week or so. There was the curio cabinet that Daddy made Momma for their fifth wedding anniversary and I was surprised that none of the glass had broken I carefully moved that to a corner where it is out of the way and put all of Momma’s breakables in there. They don’t have any rhyme or reason to them and there are too many in the cabinet but I figure I can redecorate once I get things more settled.

I carried down all of the clothes and dumped them in one of the spare bedrooms, the one that would have been mine had things been different. I’ll put the clothes away after I make sure they are worth saving and I need more hangers which means going back to at least one of those abandoned houses some time soon. I put Momma’s notebooks and cookbooks in the summer kitchen on the shelves in there since there is still plenty of room. Daddy’s books and papers I took up to the dormer room. I had just about had my fill of organizing for the day so I decided to do something that I needed to do.

I opened the gun safe up and looked at all the books. The shotgun looked like the simplest to figure out. On the book it said it was a Remington Model 870 Express Deer. I guess that means that it is used for deer hunting. I had seen plenty of deer on the property and I knew eventually I would need to figure out how to get meat on my own so I figured that would be the one to start with. First I followed the directions for checking all of the pieces of the big gun over. Next I cleaned it using the directions in the packet of papers and the directions in the gun cleaning kit that was also in the bottom drawer of the gun safe. I didn’t think it was a good idea to load it in the house so after I crawled into the ammo hole and grabbed a handful shotgun shells I took everything outside.

The directions were easy to understand but I was still a little scared. Before I loaded the gun I picked something to shoot at. There was a dead tree about 30 yards to the north of the house on the other side of the area we used as a campfire ring. I moved just on the other side of the fire ring and I followed all the directions for loading and making sure the safety was in the right position. I pumped it and did everything right, I’m sure of it. Then why do I feel so stupid?!

I aimed, pulled the trigger, and … I felt like one of the cows kicked me in the shoulder. The blast from the gun was so loud and it pushed me backwards. I wasn’t expecting it and just when I thought I had my balance I tripped over the logs around the fire ring and fell backwards. I cracked my head on the ground and my teeth clacked together and I bit my tongue hard enough to make it bleed. The only good thing I can say is that I never dropped the gun and kept the barrel pointed away from me the whole time.

My shoulder is actually bruised; kind of a purple and rose color. I spit blood for nearly thirty minutes until my tongue stopped bleeding all the way. Needless to say I think I started with the wrong gun. But I couldn’t believe it when I saw that I had actually hit the tree … it wasn’t the part of the trunk I was aiming for but I still hit it. When I’m not sore anymore I’ll go down to the rifle; I think you can hunt with rifles too.

The other problem with the shotgun was that it scared Fraidy to pieces; she wouldn’t come to me at all tonight. That was pretty awful but I guess we’ll both just have to deal with it. It isn’t like I want to have to be responsible for the guns, but if I’m going to feed myself I don’t see as I have much choice.


May 11th – I wasn’t really aiming at him, I swear. I mean I don’t think I was, not at first. But he was coming at me, I just wanted himto stop, to go away, to not be able to do what he said he was going to do.

This day … I know I’ve got to calm down but I am so scared. What if the law finds out? Should I try and report this? What if their friends find out and come after me?

The morning didn’t give me a clue as to how this day would go. I got up and Fraidy finally decided I was worth knowing again. I fixed pan biscuits for breakfast but this time with raisins. Right after breakfast I cut grass for the cows from around the house and then picked up some tree trash that had come down in the rain yesterday. I was still sore but not too bad. I went up to the dormer room and tried to decide should I try a rife or one of the hand guns. I settled on a rifle because it said on the paper work that it was a “junior size” model. This was another Remington only this one was a “Rimfire” and had a “bolt action.” I went through the whole routine again of checking over all the parts and cleaning the gun before I felt comfortable enough to take it out of the house.

I put the book in my back pocket and put a box of the .22 bullets in a bag I slung across my shoulders. I decided to go to the hayfield to try and spare Fraidy’s nerves. When I got up there I took my time and made sure that I was doing everything the way I should. The thing held five bullets and it was loud but didn’t have the kick the shotgun did. It was also easier to hold on to. By the fifth bullet I was actually hitting the target … not the center of the target and I wasn’t too far away from it but at least I was hitting it. Or at least that is how I felt at the time.

I could blame my APD but that’s no excuse. I just wasn’t paying attention like I should have been. I was standing there proud that my latest bullets had all hit the target circle that I had drawn on a dead tree when from behind me I heard the high pitched sound of accelerating motorcycles. I turned around just in time to have one of two riders take a swing at me that caught me a glancing blow between the top of my nose and my eyebrow. I’ll thank God every day that I didn’t freeze ‘cause if I had I surely do believe I would have been dog meat.

I don’t know where my thinking was coming from but somehow I just knew that if I got into the trees they couldn’t go as fast and I might have a chance of doubling around and getting back to the house. If I could get in the house I thought I would be safe. I ran and ran in all sorts of directions but every time I tried to take off in a direction I wanted to go one of them would cut me off. They weren’t wearing helmets so I could see that they were laughing at me. The few times I stopped long enough that I was able to read their lips I wish I hadn’t; the nasty stuff they were saying was scarier than the guns they were shooting off.

They almost had me when I ran across the utility easement but I ran really close to the edge of the sinkhole and the bike closet to me skidded in. I didn’t stop to see what happened, I just kept running. Since the trees didn’t slow them down I was hoping the palmettos would. I left the trees and headed up a path between two large and tightly packed patches of palmettos. The path zigged and zagged and I kept running. There was a short straight away and I just knew I was going to be caught. Right after the dirt bike accelerated I guess it hit one of the palmetto roots that run across the surface of the ground; some of them are bigger around than my thigh. The front wheel hit one and it went end over end once and then came down hard. The guy landed and didn’t move. I found I was blocked in so would have to go back around the guy to get away.

I snuck by thinking he was playing opossum but his eyes were wide open and the handle bars of his motor bike was lying right across his throat. There was blood coming from the guy’s nose and mouth. I was pretty sure he was dead at that point but I wasn’t taking any chances. I took the gun that was lying beside him. I didn’t want him shooting at me anymore. I ran back into the trees and stopped to listen, trying to hear where the other guy was. I was halfway back across the utility easement when I heard the other guy screaming, “You *****, you killed him!!!” My heart nearly came out of my chest; it literally felt like someone had hit me with a hammer and my left arm felt tingly like I’d touched an electric fence.

The guy now chasing me hadn’t been running all over forty acres trying to get away. And he was fast. I ran as fast as I had the energy left to do and fell on my knees where I had dropped the rifle on the outskirts of the hayfield. I wasn’t thinking, only reacting. I tried to load the rifle but I kept dropping the bullets and I couldn’t remember exactly what to do with the bolt thingy.

I swear I didn’t mean to. It really was an accident. I just wanted him to stop. I heard this loud growl and turned around to see this big guy with crazy eyes running at me and he was pointing a gun at me. I don’t remember picking the other guy’s gun back up. I really don’t. It was just there in my hand. I pulled the trigger and the guy stopped and his face changed from scary to surprised. I honestly just wanted him to stop. I know he was screaming at me but I couldn’t hear him and I refused to read his lips. There was a poof in the sand beside me and I realized he had pulled his trigger so I pulled the one in my hand once, twice, a bunch of times … I don’t know how many … until the little thing jumped out that said the gun was out of bullets.

He was on the ground and he wasn’t moving. I don’t know how long I sat there. It must have been a long time because suddenly the sun wasn’t high in the sky anymore and the shadows were longer.

I still wasn’t thinking right. I can look back at it now and I know I wasn’t thinking right. I don’t know if I’m thinking right right now. I remember thinking that these guys were just like the other guy that was laying the loblollies. That thought kept running through my head over and over. Then it hit me, those two guys were just like the guy in the loblollies and the same thing would happen to them if I didn’t take care of them.

I got the wheelbarrow and moved the bodies just like I moved that guy Rand. I took them deep into the same twenty acres where the other guy was but passed what remained of him and dumped the two bodies into the old septic tank where the RV used to park. I don’t know where that idea came from, it was just there. I’d be doing one thing one place and then I’d look around and be doing something different in another place, like a DVD that had skips in it. I remember dumping the bodies but I don’t remember walking home. I remember looking in the barn and seeing the two motor bikes in there but I don’t remember putting them in there. When I completely woke to myself I was planting oak saplings that I must have cut down with the hatchet that was lying on the ground at my feet.

I looked to my left and saw that I had “planted” five of them already. The saplings were taller than I was even cut off like they were. I had shoved the sharp end into the ground so far that it would stand up on its own. I had also run twine from a big tree on one side of the driveway to the house to a tree on the opposite side. The “planted” trees leaned against this twine.

I was confused. I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m pretty sure that I was trying to hide the entrance to the drive way up to the house. I may have been crazy when I thought it up but it isn’t really a bad idea and I’m going to finish it tomorrow. The house is really hard to spot from our road but camouflaging the drive way that leads back to the house will make it even harder to see. I don’t need to get a car through there so it’s no big deal.

It was dark when I came to myself, probably because part of me realized it was too dark to work and that I needed to go inside. I locked the barn after putting the hatchet away where it belonged. I was standing on the porch when it hit me. I puked until nothing but bile would come up. Even then I couldn’t stop. I wound up belly down on the porch trying to catch my breath. Fraidy came up to me and gave me a nudge like she knew something was wrong but didn’t know what to do for me. That helped me to get up on my knees. I crawled to the door, got inside and was finally able to stand up with the help of the entry way table.

I rolled the door down and then stumbled to the kitchen looking for something to drink. The first couple of sips of water didn’t want to stay down but the next few did. I came up to the dormer room and switched on the solar lights but when they proved too bright for my mood I turned them back off and turned on the solar lamp and just decided to write it all out, like bleeding off poison. But now the lamp is going out. I still can’t sleep. Maybe if I just lay dow ….

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