10 March, 2013

10 March 2013

Einar guessed at the meaning of the tone even before Bud could react and he was on his feet, leaving the table and crouching at a front window with rifle at the ready, watching.  Far below the vehicle, a tan pickup truck which upon Kilgore’s quick inspection with binoculars looked to have two occupants, appeared tiny amongst the trees at the bottom of the half mile drive, vulnerable, at that distance, to everything from long range rifle fire to the pre-arranged snow and rock slides which could be touched off from the ridge above by anyone knowing the location of the charges… 

Einar did not find any of this particularly reassuring, not even when Bud quickly spelled it all out for him, all these safety measures, and was not in the least placated when the tracker assured him that he recognized the truck, that it belonged to friends.  That was the worst part, the thing that confirmed to him the sure existence of a plot whose details he knew he ought to have previously guessed, willing collusion on the part of the tracker, apparently, in their upcoming capture, and with that knowledge came a fierce determination to see things go another way, to keep them all free.

“Shouldn’t be coming up here unannounced, that’s for doggone sure,” the tracker allowed. “but they don’t mean any harm at all, have no idea you’re here, and aren’t gonna find out, either, if you just slow down and use some sense.  Now.  Remember the time you folks stayed in Sue’s basement, a good while back?”

Einar wavering, unsure.  Maybe the man wasn’t in on it, after all.  Perhaps he’d been fooled, also, kept in the dark as to the details and allowed to believe that he was simply helping his friends, even as he signed their death warrant.  “No basement.  Not going down there.  Trap us down there like rats in a barrel, that’s what they’d do.  Have to get up into the timber.”

“You’re not making any sense, man!  How’re you gonna get up into that timber without leaving tracks a blind fella could follow, in all this new snow?  They’re friends, I’m telling you, and the only thing we got to do is to hide you folks until they leave, and everything’ll be just fine again.  Stop and think about it for a minute, it’ll start to make sense.  You’re just real short on sleep, that’s all.  And food.  And probably a lot of other stuff, too, and you know how strange the world can get to looking at times like that.  Come on, down the stairs.  They won’t be here long, and you folks’ll be safe down there.”

Liz was staring at him, pleading with her eyes, seemed to have bought Kilgore’s line, but Einar did not answer.  Wanted to leave, had his boots on already, having spent the better part of the night in them, and was busily urging Liz into hers, helping her on with her parka and sliding Will down into the protective warmth of its hood.  Had to hurry, had to get something of a head start on these invaders, these would-be captors, for with fresh snow on the ground and a calm, clear day, pursuers would be at a definite advantage.  Almost an unbeatable advantage, if looked at realistically.  Probably the best he could hope for would be to get Liz and the little one up onto the ridge and then do his best to hold off their pursuers long enough to allow his little family to escape.  Deal with the two in the truck, create a diversion, lay, if he was allowed the time and managed not to get himself shot too soon, a false trail or two which might mislead whoever would be coming to back them up and cause enough confusion to give Liz a chance, maybe get away himself and hope to meet them later, but more than likely not. 

Real dim prospects, slight chance of success but sometimes you’ve got to take what’s handed to you, and in almost every case, if backed up to the wall, it was better to go down fighting than to…  Yeah, not sitting there and waiting for their capture to be secured, and with Liz dressed and ready—she’d been quick about it, though appearing very reluctant and inexplicably sad at the same time—he took her by the hand and made his dash for the door.  Only to find it blocked by Bud Kilgore, who could make quite an imposing obstruction of himself, when he chose.

“Hang on, Asmundson.  There’s a carpet of fresh, untouched white all over everything out there.  Where do you think you’re going that they won’t see and follow, if they were the sort to want to be following?  Much as you may dislike it, you folks are here for the present.  Here to stay.  Not going anywhere, not until we either get another storm to cover you, or arrange a trip by vehicle…”

Rifle coming up just a bit, Einar’s grip tightening.  “Out of the way, Kilgore.  Wasting my time.  Have to get up the ridge, make a go of it.”

“You wouldn’t go very far.  For a number of reasons.  Now give me that rifle, Sergeant Asmundson.  You taken this one plenty far enough.”

Truck reaching the halfway point, Einar getting desperate.  They were running out of time.  Glanced around for another way out, but Susan was standing in front of the basement door, right hand resting down perilously close to the .45 that she always wore around the place, and besides, he wanted to leave by way of the porch, take advantage of what little concealment it offered, should someone already be watching from the air.  A trap, all of it, as he had suspected from the beginning, and he cursed his complacency in allowing them to be led into such a bind.  

Might still be a chance, and not wanting to shoot the tracker—sound would give them away—he let the rifle hang on its sling, made a lunge with his knife, handily knocking the big man from his feet and landing astride him, blade darting for his throat and nearly striking home before a sickening blow to the base of his neck halted all immediate ambitions and sent him cascading into a fractured, splintering maelstrom of blackness, world falling away around him...


  1. Please don't take offence but.....

    First I love, love the story but, second, this "A trap, all of it, as he had suspected from the beginning," gets tiring after the first 125 times.

    1. Einar is insane. PTSD in all it's glory. He can't think right. Everything is a potential trap. All 125+ times it was very real to him.
      The good news is that he is not technicaly paranoid because he has been at the top of the FBI most wanted list for several years.

    2. Hi Nancy:

      Yes, it does. But it helps if you embrace the fact that the story is actually about the struggle in Einar’s mind. FOTH is a very talented writer; if this is the story he needs to tell then we have to let him tell it, or go without. The pain comes from the fact that we desperately want to see a breakthrough for E, we need a turnaround. But just like real life, we don’t know how long it is going to take, or if it will ever come at all. It hurts; but that’s what makes it real.

      Mike (Lobo S.)

    3. RF--You made me laugh with that bit about not being technically paranoid. :D That's always a good thing, I guess! Yes, it's been real to him each and every time. He might dispute the use of the term "insane," but would not, I think, disagree that life had shaped him to respond to things differently than others might.

      Mike--Thank you.

  2. Chris, I haven't bee building electronic equipment since 1962, to let so device named after a fruit stop me from communicating ! ! !

    Just got to know its language, (bite, crunch crunch, chew chew, great Apple) !


    1. Philip, looks like you're making it work.

  3. Atta girl Liz! ONE of the two of 'em has got to have some horse sense, and danged if the gal ain't got it. E, you OWE her one...


    1. Bill:

      I’ll bet a fifth of whisky it was Susan feeding him the butt of that 1911.


    2. Well, looks like you two are just going to have to wait a little while to find out who's right!

  4. @Nancy, understood about 125 times... try to remember, as mentioned above.... Einar's ~normal condition~ even PRE-Saga's, is nothing any non combatant is capable of equating to...

    True story, from this person.

    I was a bit behind schedule, in eating... standing in kitchen, at its window. SUDDENLY, I see a Viet CONG, With AK47 running through my yard... Uh NINE YEARS SOBER, NO DRUG use....

    I grabbed the kitchen counter, my finger marks might still be there.... I TOLD MYSELF: This is Oregon, USA, There are no VC Here. I then opened my Eyes again, (I had shut them, ~tighter than TIGHT~ and saw my tall (18" or more) GRASS Waving in the wind... that movement Triggered my very real Hallucination....

    And though I am a Combat Veteran, I can not tell you what another Combat Veteran goes through, 24/7/365... It is Einar's Life....


    1. And that is why I bet you always keep your lawn mowed *very, very short* these days....

      Glad you were able to stop and remind yourself of the facts, in that case, and stay more or less in Oregon!

      Yes, it is Einar's life, and if it gets tiresome to others at times, just try and imagine how tiring it can be, living it...