January 28, 2015: Evil Rears Its Ugly Head
I killed Marta’s boy, Ricky, yesterday and I’m about an inch away from putting down his little brother, Daniel, like a rabid dog. Those two apples definitely did not fall far from the tree. Most of the members of my family are the only thing stopping me from just taking him out and putting a bullet in his head.
As if we didn’t have enough to deal with already … I mean, it’s the end of the world as we know it. We’re living pretty much like we’re back in the Nineteenth Century. We’ve most likely started a war with a drug lord and our toilet paper supply is running low.
I thought we’d stocked more toilet paper but it seems to be running out long before we anticipated. Maybe someone’s using more than they’re supposed to. I think I’m going to suggest that each person be given their share of what is left. Once they’ve used their share, they can switch to corn cobs or leaves or … barter with those who have a good supply left. I’m pretty sure most of the women will complain about that plan.
Some days it’s the little things that get to you. Other days, it’s the big things ….
I imagine the story of Ricky’s death is a little more intriguing that our toilet paper problem.
Other than the toilet paper shortage, things had gone well for a couple days. The weather was warming up. The sun was out. I met with Pete and we started putting together our plan to reconnoiter any additional gang banger outposts in the area.
Pete’s going to take on pretty much all the scouting. That’s great since he’s so good at it. Someone from our group will accompany him on each of the scouting missions. He even agreed to take along some of our less experienced members to help them learn scouting from a master. I’m pretty good at scouting but Pete’s in a league of his own.
Sorry. I was going to give the details of Ricky’s death.
I was just getting started on evening chores when I heard some strange noises coming from the barn. It sounded like muffled screams but, like the crying baby a few days ago, I just couldn’t place it at first.
We have pretty strict noise discipline here on the farm. As well-hidden as our houses are, noise and odor are the two most likely give-aways if someone is looking for us. There isn’t much we can do about the smell of wood burning to heat our houses, but we can keep noise to a minimum pretty much all the time and lights to a minimum after dark.
With that said, when I first heard the sounds coming from the barn, I figured it was one of our goats. It didn’t sound like a goat, but that was the first thing that popped into my head. It’s a little difficult to keep animals on a strict noise discipline but usually they’re fairly quiet if they have everything they need.
I went to the barn to see what was needed.
What I found made me break my New Year’s resolution.
Ricky was on top of my brother Levi’s older girl, Carrie, in one of the empty stalls. I’ll leave out the details but let’s just say he was in the process of trying to rape her but hadn’t quite gotten there yet.
Ricky probably weighs about 140 lbs. I grabbed him by the belt and yanked him off of Carrie, tossing him out of the stall and across the barn against the doors to the stalls on the other side. Ricky’s brother Daniel shot out of the stall next to the one that Carrie was in like someone had lit him on fire. I reached out to grab him when he ran past me but missed.
Meanwhile, Ricky had recovered and was charging at me with a knife.
Just like his mom. Tree … apple.
As Ricky charged, I stepped to my right and landed a solid blow on the side of his head. He went down hard on the dirt floor of the barn but managed to shake it off and get back up. Probably used to taking shots like that from his mom … and dad, if he was around.
I drew my Glock.
“Don’t …,” I started to tell him not to move.
Ricky charged again – not a quick learner – so I put two quick rounds in his face. After seeing what he was attempting just moments before, I simply did not have the restraint to keep from killing him … or maintaining my New Year’s resolution about not cracking any more skulls.
Not only was his skull cracked, the back side of it was entirely gone. His face was in pretty bad shape too. The 200 grain hollow-points in my 10mm had done the job for which they were intended.
Carrie was still in the stall, crying. Her jacket was off and her shirt was torn. She had a couple bruises on her face and throat but she seemed to be physically OK.
I took off my coat, wrapped it around her shoulders and hugged her close to me.
By that time, most of the rest of the family had come running into the barn. They saw Ricky in a pool of blood. They saw Carrie wrapped in my coat and, I’m sure, they saw the look on my face.
If looks could kill … Daniel would be dead.
I’m sure it didn’t take long for my family members to piece together what had happened. In all likelihood, it was the same thing that happened to the Gunters’ older girl. There was little doubt in my mind that Ricky was a repeat offender.
I was ready to chew nails and spit screws.
“Somebody better find Daniel before I do,” I said and stalked out of the barn.
Several of my family members, I can’t remember who, ran after me and stopped me. Others ran to find Daniel.
By this morning, Daniel had been found – at the Gunters’. We called a family meeting at the Gunters’ place. They were the ones responsible for holding Ricky and Daniel.
I was pretty much ready to wipe Daniel and Jake – I held him accountable for letting the boys out of his sight – off the face of the earth so I held my tongue while the family discussed what to do. Fortunately, Jake didn’t say much either. I think he knew what would happen if he did.
Everyone in the family, it seemed, had an idea of how to deal with Daniel. Joseph, essentially, lobbied for a slap on the wrist since Daniel wasn’t directly involved in the attempted rape.
I bit my tongue hard enough to make it bleed.
My father-in-law suggested a cooling off period.
My brother, Levi, couldn’t even talk he was still so upset.
Terry came up with what I think may be the idea that wins out in the end. I have to admit, there are some aspects of the idea that are very appealing to me. He suggested ostracizing from our group and putting him out on the road.
I finally couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
“While I’d much prefer putting a bullet in the little …,” I began and then reined in my emotions, “While I believe he deserves to die, I’m in support of Terry’s plan.”
“Here’s why,” I continued. “If this punk has any knowledge of other outposts in the area, we can follow him and gain some intelligence. While I’d like to send him out without any winter weather gear, food or water, I think we need to give him enough to make it several miles. Not enough to make it back to Norfolk but enough to make it to a nearby outpost if he knows of one.”
I don’t think anyone had given much thought to the details and implications of the various plans. My initial outburst and then coldly calculating follow-up made them realize the nature of what we were considering. The thought was sobering – turning a kid loose in the dead of winter with no adult support or supervision. Then again, Daniel was an accessory to attempted rape. I have a pretty good idea what he was doing in the stall next door, but I don’t want to think about it too much.
Must … focus. No … more … skull … cracking.
After a few more minutes of discussion and not a few tears from certain members of the party, we put it to a vote. The motion passed with only Joseph and Janelle Gunter dissenting.
I could see where Janelle was coming from. She had … or still has … some kind of emotional attachment to Daniel. Joseph … I just don’t get it. He’s turning into a bleeding heart. We didn’t spend a lot of time together before the crash – especially before he moved back from Wisconsin – but I don’t remember him being like this before. I suppose the crash has affected each of us differently. Perhaps the crash has softened Joseph somehow. If I’m honest with myself, it’s hardened me in ways that probably are not particularly good. I didn’t bat an eye when I killed the six Mexicans at the abandoned house or when I cut off Ricky’s finger … or shot him in the face.
Am I turning into a monster? Is that how the crash affected me? Maybe the events of the last few months have simply peeled away a few of the layers that hid who we truly were before-hand. Maybe as you peel away my layers, I become uglier and uglier. Maybe I’m not so different from the Fernando Hernandez’s and Ricky’s of the world. In my mind I’m only doing what I believe needs to be done. Is it the same in their minds? What separates us?
I’m a pretty terrible philosopher; I know that much.
The upshot of all of this is that Daniel will be ostracized from our group tomorrow morning. He will be sent out with the clothes on his back, his small pack filled with his belongings, two MRE’s, four one-liter bottles of water and nothing else.
If he survives I’m sure he will want vengeance. I know I would.