December 13th, 2033
I lugged the radio up to the ridge line and vented for a full hour. It was only when Alpha Omega One chirped in did I take note of the time and stow my gear and beat a hasty retreat off the ridge. I’d hung around way too long and given the Threak more than enough time to triangulate my position, -but they must not have been listening.
I headed back to the cabin, still keeping a keen eye on the skies and praying I hadn’t screwed up royally. Cutting through the woods I heard Lucky barking wildly and I set down the radio and ran the rest of the way. When I stepped out of the woods and into the clearing I found Rachel sitting at her brother’s graveside, while her older brother, Jessie, stood off to one side, fixated on something in the woods behind the cabin.
My eyes followed his and there was a definitely something, -or somethings, moving around in the bushes. Jessie backed up a bit and helped Rachel to her feet.
From the woods they came, dogs, -feral, hungry rabid dogs.
I raced across the clearing and un-holstered my .357. I was still running when I fired a shot into the air, but it had no effect on the pack.
They continued to stalk the pair.
I drew on the most aggressive of the pack and pulled the trigger. The dog, a large Husky mix dropped instantly, but his demise had no effect on the others. They continued to advance, – either hunger, or distemper ruled them now and it was plain to see they no longer feared anything at all, least of which, a man with a gun.
Rachel, Jessie, I said, I want you to start moving slowly toward the cabin. Slowly, very slowly.
The pair inched back as the pack inched forward, and when it appeared the pack was recoiling to spring its attack, Lucky shot past the kids, – barking wildly and placing himself between them and the snarling brood.
It was enough to momentarily stop the pack’s advance and give the pair a chance to make a break for it.
Run! I yelled, but they didn’t need any encouragement from me. They lit out for the cabin and Lucky turned tail and ran as well.
The pack took after them and I shot the lead dog and continued down the line. I hated to do it, but it had to be done. Three more shots, three more kills and the remaining three peeled off and disappeared into the woods.
I have no doubt they’ll be back.
In the meantime, I have more bodies to bury.