Carrie had taken the habit of keeping an eye out for small pebbles that she could use in her wrist rocket. She used up hundreds as she would practice each evening after finding a good camp site and each morning before she left. She also took to fastening it to her fanny pack so it was within quick reach. The fanny pack had an outside zipper pocket that she would slip her extra pebbles in since she kept small stainless steel “beads” in the handle and only practiced with the rocks.
Carrie also found a long straight stick that she was using for a walking stick. It had been gnawed on both ends by a beaver (or two) and was slightly thicker at one end than the other. She had come across a bunch of them her first morning after leaving her new brothers, but most of them were either too long or too short. She found three that were a comfortable length (just slightly longer than she was tall) but two of them were just too thick. She loved her walking stick. It was perfect and sure did come in handy with all the “ups” and “downs” she was walking now that she was in the hills.
It was two days after she left her brothers that Carrie found she had strayed too close to “civilization”. She had been listening to the radio and so knew that despite the NSA and UN’s martial law; the unrest across the country seemed to be escalating to proportions that were beginning to stink of some kind of “behind the scenes” influences that kept stroking the fires, so to speak. Carrie was no dummy and figured out pretty quick that these newest rashes of riots were different than the previous ones.
First of all, churches were being burnt down at night at a rate of 20 or more each night. And it seemed that no denomination was spared. Large Catholic Cathedrals along with the newer ‘mega’ churches were being set on fire just as often as the small town Baptist and Methodists churches.
Also, the government was finding out that people were simply not going to turn over their food resources or their guns. All the major camps that the government had set up for collection of goods and arms were not getting any resources turned.
Carrie was only hearing about the larger cities and towns although there had been some mention of local troubles as she would move through different areas.
It was late afternoon when Carrie heard the first scream. She froze. She hadn’t realized she was by any place that people were around, so she carefully made her way towards where she thought she heard the scream. Carrie found herself coming up on what looked like a small farm. The first thing she saw was a fairly large barn and then a couple shed like buildings, all of which looked in need of some paint.
Staying well within the tree line, Carrie quietly made her way all around the fenced in area until she found a place she could easily squeeze through the barbed wire. She could now hear some yelling going on and see one person sitting out on the tail gate of an old Ford pickup truck.
Carrie looked carefully all around her to memorize the various brush and trees. She then made sure her knife was secure on her arm and also the one she had inside her right hiking boot. Carefully and quietly, she found an older tree with a nice place to hide both her backpack and fanny pack. Taking only her knives and wrist rocket, she made her way to the space in the fence and slipped through. A woman was now crying and every few moments, Carrie could hear her yelling NO!
Before making her way to the Ford, Carrie knew she had to be sure there were no more people outside. It looked to her that the guy was keeping guard and after a few peeks into the windows, Carrie counted only two other guys in the house. They were busy harassing the woman in the kitchen, who was attempting to fix what looked like sandwiches in between the pinches and slaps from the two men. Their threats of ‘punishment’ were very clear even to Carrie. This treatment of the woman fueled Carrie’s anger.
Knowing that surprise was her friend, Carrie slipped up to the far side of the Ford and she readied her wrist rocket so that when she made a soft “pssst” sound and the man turned toward her, she was able to let ‘er rip! ZING! Right into the left eye socket of the man went the small steel ball. Before he even realized he had been hit, Carrie had her knife out and jumped the final few steps to his side and had the knife slid between his ribs and deep into his heart. She was surprised that he didn’t make a sound. Carrie had a half a second of doubt but realized that if that man had been a good guy, he would not have been out there while the other two were inside having their sick kind of fun with the woman.
The man had a handgun and a shotgun that had been sitting on the tail gate with him. Carrie picked up both and checked them, yep they were loaded. She was suddenly very aware of the knowledge she had gathered from her brothers just a few days previously. And VERY thankful. Carrie took a deep breath and steeling herself as she sent a word of prayer up for strength and guidance to do what must be done to protect the woman. Her Gramma’s words echoed through her mind “it’s our responsibility to protect the innocent”.
Quickly but as quiet as possible, Carrie made her way up and on the porch and slipped into the house. She knew by peeking in the window, the front room could not be seen from the kitchen because there seemed to be a small hall way between the two. She made her way towards the hall and could still hear the woman who seemed to be getting angry with all the manhandling she was receiving. But she couldn’t really make out what the woman was saying since the men kept laughing. Easing to the kitchen doorway, Carrie noticed she could see the glass window of the stove and microwave and that they were reflecting almost the whole kitchen. The two men were now sitting at the small kitchen table and one of them had the woman pulled to his lap. Both the men were eating sandwiches but having their mouths full, did not stop them from talking nor did it stop the man whose lap the woman was on, from pinching and groping her. He was sitting farthest from the kitchen door way, on the far side of the table and if Carrie were to step into the room, he would be facing her.
The woman just happened to look at the stove and noticed something not quite right. There was a reflection in the glass into the hall way. She looked up at the microwave and saw a small face and a shotgun.
The man she was sitting on groped her breast hard and she squealed and tried to slap his hand away.
“I like my women feisty but not too feisty.” The man said as he pinched her. The woman glanced again at the reflection and saw the face slowly nod.
Since she only had experience with the shotgun, Carrie carefully tucked the handgun in the back of her pants after making sure the safety was on. She knew she would only get one good shot off so taking a deep cleansing breath she raised the shotgun as she stepped around the door.
As she came around the door, the woman squealed again and managed to jerk herself out of the man’s lap just as his head caught a round from the shot gun. The second man didn’t really get a chance to register what was happening before his head also met a round from the shotgun.
The woman had scooted across the floor so she was well out of range and Carrie walked over and held her hand out to help her up. “Hi I’m Carrie and I got the one outside also, so unless there is another bad guy hiding somewhere, they are all dead.”
“Thank YOU!” the woman gushed out and then she ran out of the room into the hall way. Carrie followed her as she went to the long string hanging from the trap door to the attic. Fascinated, she watched as the woman pulled the door down and pulled out the steps until they hit the floor.
“Matthew, Morgan! It’s ok, you can come down now, Mommy’s ok.” After a few moments and more words of encouragement, Carrie saw two small faces appear in the opening of the attic. Twin boys, no more than 8 years old, showed signs of intense relief as they saw their mom at the bottom of the ladder. They were down that ladder and in their mom’s arms before Carrie could even blink.
The woman hugged her boys tightly and then turned back to Carrie, “My name is Gloria and these are my boys, Matthew and Morgan and I want to thank you so much for saving our lives.”
Carrie blushed as she said “Ma’am, I did what any good person would do. And I had some help from the Man up there” as she pointed upwards “if He hadn’t helped me, I’m sure things would not have turned out so good.” Carrie hesitated a moment and then added “why don’t you take your boys back into one of the bedrooms and I’ll …..clean up.”
“No” Gloria said, which surprised Carrie “we live in a new world and my boys are going to have to see just how ugly the old world was so that they will make our new world a better place.” She then turned to her boys and knelt down to their level “I love you boys more than life itself and if there was any way that things were even just a bit different, I would spare both of you this……situation. Our lives have changed. And even though it was not by our choice, we are going to have to live in this new world we find ourselves. So boys, despite your young age, you are about grow up a whole lot in a very little amount of time. There are some dead men in our home, they were very bad and Miss Carrie here helped to protect us by killing them. So together, we are going to clean our home and make it ours again. And then we are going to do all we can to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
The two small boys straighten their shoulders and dried off their faces with their hands, it was clear that they no longer would be small little boys.
Carrie spent four days with Gloria and the boys. She helped them bury the bodies way out in the middle of the woods and clean up the house. She also gave both the shotgun and the handgun to Gloria and with some of the ammo they found in the truck; Gloria and the boys learned how to shoot both. They had removed everything of value out of the truck, which wasn’t much. There was the ammo and some tools. Carrie found some drugs in the pill form, stashed up under the seat but they ended up flushing those. They also drained most of the gas out and Carrie stayed with the boys while Gloria drove it far from her home and walked back. If Carrie knew how to drive, she could have driven Gloria’s truck and followed but neither wanted to keep the truck around and felt it would take too long for Carrie to learn.
Carrie did try to call Jane but only got her answering machine, so she left a brief message with Gloria’s number on it along with plenty of doggie slobbering sounds for Beautiful and Duke.
The rest of Carrie’s trip was spent well away from any people and she learned many new edibles. While there were times that she didn’t have any meat for her meals, she had gotten into the ancient habit of gathering any edibles she saw as she traveled so she was well fed.
It was three weeks later that Carrie was walking up a small dirt driveway that made a couple twists and turns and found a well worn house with an old woman dozing as she sat in a rocking chair on the porch.
Carrie was so scared, she just stood there close to steps as she waited for the woman to wake up. It wasn’t a long wait.
“Carrie? Dear sweet Carrie? Is that you?”
Carrie ran up the stairs towards her Gramma with open arms! She was HOME!