After the Apocalypse
Chapter 32: A-Hunting We Will Go

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

"He just shot them? In cold blood?"

"I know, crazy, right? I'm telling you Mark, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I'd never have believed it."

"No kidding".

"Anyhow, I think he might have over-reacted a little; maybe he's just holding on a little too tight. Maybe there's something bugging him. I mean, he goes twenty years without killing so much as a mosquito, then bang, two guys are dead".

"Actually, it was more like bang, bang," interrupted Steve as he came out to the car. "I thought that was going to be our secret."

"Well, with Mark joining us this time, I figured he needed to know what we were up against."

"Fair enough," said Steve, bristling slightly, "just be sure you mention the part where they were getting ready to torture you to see if you had any friends or supplies they might want."

For his part, Mark Hunt was pretty stunned by this revelation. Lou was right, it was beyond strange. Steve was normally a very calm person, almost a pacifist; for him to have killed two men was pretty crazy. Of course, if he'd really thought they might have hurt Lou, it made sense. He decided that he'd keep a close eye on Steve though. If he showed signs of getting out of hand on this trip, Mark would have to talk with Ron or Jeff about it and see if they could put the Big Man back on the right track.

They were joined at last by Brian Mann and the four of them, two in each car, headed out of camp and back into Lapeer. While Mark and Brian were excited about the prospects of a trip to town, Lou and Steve were a little more apprehensive. They hadn't told anyone about the other looters and the two were worried that the others might have taken the best things by now. They'd tried to go back right away, but there were too many things to do in camp and not enough hands to do them.

This time, they'd managed to bring along a few things to help with the trip. They had four shotguns and four vests, although the rest of the campers didn't know about the vests. Steve and Lou had hidden them in the car on the way back and hadn't mentioned them to anyone else, figuring it might cause a panic if they started asking for the vests every time they went to town. They also had a pump that Doug and Jeff had rigged up, Jeff's homemade Geiger counter, and an old water heater that Joe Hall had converted into a 40 gallon gasoline tank.

Their shopping list was a little more extensive this time too, as two weeks worth of camping had alerted them to the need for some additional items. Much of what appeared on their list would have to be found in the sporting goods and clothing sections, but there were also requests for assorted toiletries and diapers. Having families at camp was both a blessing and a curse; it helped make things seem more normal and had a calming influence on the kids, but it came with the burden of having many more mouths to feed.

The other big items on their list were things to generate electricity. They definitely needed a generator, maybe two. If nothing else, they could use them to drive battery chargers, another of the items on their list. They had considered grabbing some solar cells from Radio Shack or the hardware store, but the gloom had not lifted from the area at all, despite a fairly steady wind from the west. That wind fueled several of the other items on their list, including 2 x 8's and electrical motors. Doug and Jeff had carved their own impellers before and they were going to try it again.

They stopped at the front and hooked a utility trailer to the back of Lou's truck. They needed the extra space, since they were hoping to gather at least a month's worth of stuff this time. The two vehicles finally left camp at about 7:00 am, just as the sun illuminated the world in the eerie gray glow that passed for dawn in the aftermath of the explosions.

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