Castle Roland

Day of N

by Kyle Aarons

In Progress

Chapter 13

Posted: 25 Feb 16

Day of N

Kyle Aarons

Place   Latitude   Longitude
Prairie Dog State Park Kansas   39.804316   -99.954987
Farmhouse   39.702333   -100.331268
Missile launch site   39.989523   -101.379384
Benkelman Neb.   40.050811   -101.534958

Name  Age   Eye Color   Hair Color  Weapon(s)
Devin 12 Blue Black M4, M9A1, 12 gauge Browning BPS
Hunter 12 Grey Brown M4, M9A1, M-1014 12 gauge
Angus (Gus) 12 Green Red M4, M9A1, 10 gauge Browning BPS, collapsible .22
Gage 11 Blue Sandy M4 w/M203, M9A1, .308 w/scope
Zeki (Zeek) 11 Brown brown .22 w scope, .38 rev., 410 Shotgun (single shot)
Ramsey (Ram) 12 Brown sandy M4, M9A1
Vernon (Vern) 11 Blue blond M4, M9A1, Remington 870 youth 20 gauge shotgun

Hunter continued to keep his eyes fixated on the body leaning out the back window of the huge train engine. Drawing closer, he could see there was some debris on the east side including some big branches from nearby trees, but something just didn't seem right. Finally he stopped and cleared his throat to get everyone else's attention.

The sheriff stopped and looked over while Gage dropped to a knee and pulled the hunting rifle up into a ready position.

The others all continued a few more steps before Angus spoke up, "Hold up, guys; Hunter must have seen something."

While the others looked back Gage scanned the train once again with the scope. "I got nothing. What's wrong Hunter?"

Hunter shook his head, "Zeek, would there be only one person running this train?"

Zeki shrugged, "Not really know U.S. law, but me no think so. At least two, more if it no have ATP, but this new engine, so it must have ATP."

The sheriff noticed everyone except Gage was now looking over at Zeki. Gage still kept the rifle up on his shoulder as he started checking out the thick crop of trees on either side of the collapsed bridge. Satisfied at least someone was keeping watch, he turned back to the small Turkish born boy, "Young'un, I'm all but certain the only one who knows what ATP is, happens to be you, so do you mind filling all of us in a bit more?"

Zeki looked up with a bit of confusion and spoke in a tone that told everyone he thought they should all know what he was talking about. "ATP, kind of a autopilot for train." Seeing nothing but blank looks his face broke out into a silly little grin, showing bucked teeth, as he giggled. "ATP, Automatic Train Protection… It helps do things like keep track train speed warning on different sections, like sharp curves and stopping lights, and gives warning if something go wrong. It also can get update from dispatch on problem and adjust train. It even tell crew how long to stop at speed they go. New ones know about brake leak, engine overheat, and other problem too. You know, all sorts a stuff like that."

Zeki pointed to the engine again, "It is new GE ES44C4, so it have best stuff, me sure. If train stopped then bridge went out, it would show break in car line and kill engine so engineer not move train until problem fix."

Devin looked over, "How come you think the train was stopped when the bridge went out?"

"Whole thing would derail and cars behind break in bridge and train would keep moving making big…" He paused and held up his hands. Putting the fingertips of his right hand into his the palm of his left and pushed his right hand into his left folding his right hand fingers as he did so. "Um… you know, big mess."

The sheriff gave a grunt of understanding, "The rest of the train wouldn't have stopped. If the train had been moving when this happened, there would be a big pile of derailed cars as they smashed into each other and came off the tracks."

Zeki looked up to the sheriff and nodded, "And the engine would have continued till it stop too, so would be more toward us instead of with rest of train."

Gage frowned as he thought it over, "So there should be at least one more person on this train and for some reason it was stopped when the bombs hit. Interesting, but not sure what good either piece of information does us."

Hunter let out a long breath while continuing to look over the scene before him, "Well, we know we need to keep our eyes open for another person. But what I was really thinking about is just how quiet it is. I haven't heard a bird or a cricket… nothing. If it wasn't for the wind, and us, there would be no noise at all!"

"All those storms probably put them in hiding." The sheriff patted Hunter on the shoulder to ease some of the boy's fear. "And now we are into a blast zone which must have caused smaller animals to flee. Once wildlife figures out what areas are safe and what areas aren't, I'm sure some of the natural sounds will return."

Hunter gave a single nod and a sigh to show his agreement, but decided to play it safe. "Ram, hang back with Gage and cover one side of the train while he covers the other, just like Mr. K. showed us to do when approaching a building so we keep everything but the back watched over. If someone is hiding in the woods, they will most likely want to try to surprise us."

Ramsey's shoulders slumped, but he pulled out his M4 without verbal complaint.

Once Hunter was sure they were being guarded, he started moving up the tracks again.

The sheriff turned and looked back at both Gage and Ramsey, "Boys, make sure you keep those rifles pointed slightly away from us. None of us wants a mistake to end up hurting anyone."

Angus turned and looked right into the man's eyes, "Mr. Korbal made us do a couple of hours of what he called small squad maneuvers and tactics every day, so we know what to do. Those two are our snipers and long range cover. I go first since I tend to like the pistol and, if someone tries to jump me, I am the strongest. Devin and Vern go in with shotguns ready for heavy close in firepower and Zeek, who does tend to notice things we don't and is not real great with guns, stays with Hunter who is our squad leader.

"Mr. K. made sure we know never to check out something all together and how to do what he calls fields of fire, so if we end up fighting lots of people we don't waste ammo while still covering the entire area. We went through two whole cases of ammo before he was comfortable we knew the very basics."

"No wonder he didn't look like he healed up much when I finally met him. He has been going non-stop with you all, hasn't he?"

A couple of tears trickled out of Devin's eyes. "We're all pretty sure he didn't think he was going to make it. The way he talked to us, he all but said he knew he wouldn't be there for us, so we needed to get everything he taught us right." Devin broke off as he bit back a couple of sobs.

Gage picked up where Devin left off. "The same thing applied to water purification, keeping camp fires hidden, making sure there was always someone on watch, and even some knife fighting. He also made all of us promise to do stuff like make sure our feet get completely dry a few times a day and to keep an eye on all cuts. He also gave us all tetanus shots, even your grandkids, just in case ours weren't up to date. I think he used up about half of what was in the big med kit we found."

"He cares about all seven of you, no doubt." The sheriff stated softly as he moved up to Devin and used his fingers to wipe the tears off the boy's cheeks. "But I don't want you to worry. For a small town doc, ours is pretty good. Steven is in real good hands and we have generator power at our clinic so she has power to do what needs to be done."

The man then glanced over to Angus, "This time, I take the lead though. No sense in you risking yourself. Besides," he tapped the vest he was wearing, "Steven pointed out the body armor those military boys had would fit me, so I'm better protected than you all are."

"When we get bigger…" Angus grumbled.

"Not too much bigger for you." The sheriff grinned as he moved forward, pistol out. He paused a couple of times to make sure the others were following at a safe distance and checked to verify neither Gage or Ramsey were pointing their weapons at anyone in the advanced group. All in all everything he saw impressed him. The kids were spread out and keeping a careful eye out on the train as well as the woods. Ramsey had moved slightly down the east side of the track and had put himself behind some kind of box with a signal for trains on top of it. This gave him some cover while putting him in a great spot so he could cover the group and spot anything coming out of the crop of trees, the flood swollen stream or off the train itself. Although he couldn't locate Gage, he was certain the boy had done the same on the opposite side of the tracks.

The fact Gage had all but vanished from sight, once again told the sheriff Gage had some kind of odd history. The fact the boy constantly showed such a hard edge made him wonder if there was some abuse of some kind as well. The cop side said ‘probably', but there was little to nothing he could do about it. In some ways, the whole situation angered him. Two weeks ago, he would have opened up an investigation, jumped on the phone and been able to find out just about everything Gage had ever done or where he had lived. Now, he could do none of those things and truth be told, had way more serious problems to deal with.

The idea of child abuse being a very low secondary priority to a law enforcement officer bothered him, almost as bad as knowing even if he got the boy to talk, there was zero he could do about it. The other thing he suddenly found himself thinking about was the fact Norton had a state prison, but it was a ways outside of Norton. This made him wonder if the facility had survived and if so, what had become of all the inmates. He had sent more than one person to the facility and had interviewed a couple others. Because of this, he knew it was a 707-bed facility full of minimum and medium security inmates.

The next question he found himself wondering about was what would have happened if the place had survived? Even if the guards had kept control they couldn't do so for long, and with no support or food, they would be left with a very difficult decision. The easiest would be to open the cells and open the gates. The other would be to kill the inmates, and as soon as that started the inmates would revolt.

The other possibility was just as disturbing. The inmates might have quickly overpowered the guards and then… The sheriff cringed as he thought it over. For in the grand scheme of things, the results would be the same. The inmates would be free and the guards would be overpowered and dead. The downside if the inmates did take over is, they would be armed with guards' weapons and worse yet uniforms.

As this insight hit him he also realized with dead cops, firefighters, and the like no one in uniform could be taken at face value. What had happened to his own flesh and blood proved not all in the military could be trusted, even those who were really in the military, and by now there were certainly hundreds, if not thousands, who were wearing military clothing who weren't and probably never had given service to their country. Also, without a way to check ID, and with many not having any, anyone could say they were whatever they wanted, and unless people knew them, there was no way to verify.

In the blink of an eye, the world had been pushed back to a pre-ID world, and it was unlikely FBI and state computers survived, since most were in state capitols. This meant law enforcement officers like himself no longer had any kind of history on anyone.

This forced him, and others like him, to keep to people he knew for protection, law enforcement, and keeping order even as refugees came. Even worse, once word got out of a refugee camp with power and fresh ground water being available, he was certain come they would. Suddenly, it dawned on him what his son, Hank, was saying about the seven boys, even as young as they were extremely valuable to the town. They had proven they could be trusted and had established themselves in the community. While newcomers would have to be vetted and carefully watched before they could be added to any useful role, the boys with him now had already passed those tests.

Moving the last few yards toward the train, he ducked down to look under it while trying to figure out a way to convince the youngsters with him to go back to town and be a part of not only the organization of the fledgling refugee camp, but as a part of the protection force as well.

Seeing nothing, he started to climb up when his thoughts were shattered by a single gunshot from quite a ways behind him. Even as he started to spin in the direction the shot had come from, the metallic ping of a ricochet bouncing off of metal well above him grabbed his attention. Instincts took over as he dropped to the ground and rolled under the train for cover. As he did so, he saw Ramsey's crouched form pointing up at the engine he was now under.

Behind the sheriff, Angus pointed his pistol up, "We don't want to hurt anyone! Please put the guns away!"

A very deep and raspy voice responded, "We got the high ground kid, give us a few of your packs and the pickup, then you can go."

On the opposite side of the train, Vernon saw movement the others couldn't. He ducked around the nearest tree while shouting really loud, "There's two on the backside!"

Vernon then pulled up the Remington 870 youth shotgun Devin had worked out a trade for. "Drop the guns! I can't let you shoot!"

A split second later one of those up on the train fired, missing both Vernon and the tree he was behind.

Less than a second later another, much louder, shot came from back down the tracks where the first shot had come from. The shot from the powerful rifle flipped the man it hit over the rail on the locomotive. The body slammed into the rock next to the track, only a couple of feet from the sheriff.

A moment later another shot echoed off the silent landscape as Ramsey took aim and fired. His marksmanship was verified by a cry of pain, followed by the clatter of a dropped weapon.

Vernon saw the barrel of a shotgun poke out of the side door of the engine. With tears of fear in his eyes he fired. Had it not been for the buckshot load in the small 20 gauge, he would have missed, but there was just enough of a spread to have a couple pellets hit the weapon knocking it out of the person's grasp. At least one pellet found the flesh of the person who had been holding it as the sudden cursing proved.

The sheriff looked over at the body lying not far from him, knowing the guy was dead. A hole just above the temple showed the accuracy of the shot. The guy's face looked red and lightly blistered and the jacket showed pretty bad scorching. The next thing he noticed was the Woodmaster hunting rifle with scope lying next to the body. Even as he quickly glanced back to check on the boys, he knew Gage had targeted the man because of the rifle and as much as he hated to admit it, he was happy the boy was out there and equally glad the kid's marksmanship was every bit as good as everyone had been telling him it was.

Seeing Angus had rolled under the front of the train while scanning the area with his pistol while Hunter and Zeki moved down the embankment and into the trees for cover also helped calm the sheriff. However, this left Devin out in the open, and the kid showed no sign of finding natural protection.

"Angus!" The sheriff snarled to get the boy's attention. "What in the hell is Devin doing?"

Angus' eyes suddenly went wide as he realized Devin was totally exposed and not really moving. "Damn-it!" He quickly shucked his pack while moving around to where he had a straight sprint to his friend. "Gage, Ram, give me cover!"

The moment both boys fired, Angus bolted from under the train and quickly covered the distance between the train and Devin. He didn't hold back. He slammed into the near petrified Devin, picking him off the ground just like he would to a quarterback he was rushing on a football field. He then hurled himself and Devin off the tracks and down the embankment.

One of those up on the train fired, but the shot went wide. A moment later bits and pieces of her brain sprayed the side of the locomotive. A moment later she fell back and toppled off the train, landing a few feet away from the other dead body.

Another cry of pain followed as both Hunter and Zeki fired at a crouched figure in the doorway of the locomotive who moved out into the open to get a shot at Angus and Devin.

Angus glared at Devin as the two ended up in fairly deep mud and shook the kid, "What is the first thing Mr. K told us about a firefight? You could have gotten us both killed!"

Tears rolled out of Devin's eyes, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

While Angus gave Devin another hard shake, partially to snap him out of being afraid and partially out of his own anger, the voice of a man came from up on the train, "Stop! Stop! We're putting down our guns! My boy and girl are up here!"

The sheriff took a deep breath and muttered a sting of cuss words, "Gage and Ramsey, keep a close eye out for any tricks but don't fire! There has been more than enough loss of life over the past two weeks."

Gage's voice came from where he was prone. "Give me a second; I am reloading."

The sheriff let out a long breath as he made a mental note to talk to Gage about not telling the world he was not ready for action. At the same time, he had to give the lad some credit. Gage clearly wanted to make sure he was ready to protect the others. As he mulled this over in his brain, his law enforcement side took over. "You up on the train, I want one, and only one, of you to gather all firearms and put them up front. Once done, back away and let us know there are no more guns within your reach. I will then come on and check you all. Just don't make any sudden movements and keep your hands up so we can see them! I've got a couple of very good shots with me."

"We know," the pained voice of a female stated. "There ain't none of us up here left in any condition to continue to fight."

A man appeared holding out his wrapped hands which were shaking like they were attached to a blender. "Don't shoot; the only ones not shot are me and my kids!" He moved forward slowly, and with a limp, collecting weapons as he went.

Hunter cringed as the man came into view. The left side of the guy's face was blistered and most of the hair on the left side of his head was gone. The ear was even worse; it was partially blackened and had a horrible oozing scab covering the rest. The damage didn't stop there. His left hand was also clearly burned and wrapped in strips of dirty cloth.

Every fiber in Hunter wanted to run to the man's aid, but the Christian thing to do and the smart thing to do were two totally different things, at least for the moment. Still, he wanted to do what he could even as he kept a shotgun ready to shoot if necessary. "Sheriff, he's hurt, so he won't be moving very quickly."

"Understood," the sheriff called back. Clearly, not at all happy about being in the most protected spot while the kids with him were basically out in the open. "Guys, all this gunfire must have gotten some attention. It might bring others who are desperate, so keep your eyes peeled!"

Vernon, still breathing hard and hands wrapped so tightly around his shotgun his knuckles were white, spoke with a quivering voice. "People would come toward all this? I'm here and all I want to do is run away!"

This got a burst of laughter out of the wounded woman up on the locomotive. "Yeah, so do I kid, but this world ain't the same. Gunfire now means the possibility of dead and injured who are easy pickings to those who are desperate, just like we all are."

The sheriff found himself in an internal debate with himself. The law enforcement side said one thing while the pragmatist said another. The attitude of the woman also surprised him. Since he had nothing better to do, he decided to open a dialog. "So, you trying to take the gear carried by these boys was out of desperation?"

The woman's pained voice responded. "Actually, me and my partner were against the idea, but our bosses overruled us. Now they are dead, we are shot, and we still have very little good gear and now no weapons."

"Your bosses?" The sheriff demanded to know.

"Yeah… four of us were park rangers."

"You were in Prairie Dog?" Hunter asked with a racing heart.

"Yeah, all of us up here came from there." The woman answered.

"Did you see a guy with a scout trailer?"

"Yeah…" The woman started then stopped as the pieces came together for her. "Shit, you all must be the scouts he was setting up the camp for…"

"We are!" Vernon shouted, "Did my dad show up?"

"Kid, I don't know who you or your dad is, so how in the hell would I know?"

The sheriff rolled his eyes, "Did any other adults show up at the campsite?"

A man's voice responded to the question. "Two, but they both left shortly after the bombs fell. One of them was hurt pretty bad, but they grabbed what they could out of the flipped over trailer and the green Land Rover and got in the old pickup that pulled the trailer. They took off with a bunch of others who were badly hurt. They said they were going to go to Oberlin since we didn't see a bomb cloud from that direction and there is a hospital there.

"Matter of fact, the guy in the Land Rover found a few others who could drive and did a quick search for working vehicles. Almost everyone who survived and couldn't walk or see went in the six vehicles that we could get running, but there was way too many of us to fit, so the rest of us walking wounded took off on foot. We figured we'd be dead from radiation by now, but guess it didn't get to us as bad as I thought cause other than being cold and most of our burns not healing real well, we aren't really even sick."

"Only two of them left?" Hunter managed to get out, "But you just said there were three…"

The burned man who was collecting the guns answered, "Sorry kid, but the guy who showed up with the trailer was killed when it flipped over in the blast and crushed him. The exact same thing happened to my wife when our RV rolled."

Hearing their scout master had been killed was a big blow to all the kids, but knowing at least two of their parents had walked away softened the blow. With trembling hands, Vernon spoke up again. "The guy with the Land Rover, was he the one hurt?"

"No," the woman answered, "he was one of the real lucky ones. I didn't even see a burn on him. We must have been right at the edge of the heat wave or something, cause anyone who was behind something was protected, but most of them ended up with whatever they were behind on top of them."

Hunter shivered at the quick description of what had happened but wanted, needed, to find out more. "And Devin's dad… Um, the guy who came in the brand new Ram truck, you say he was hurt?"

"Uh huh," the unseen man stated with some clear regret in his voice, "the guy who pulled up in a big bright red Dodge Ram was alive but hurt. His arm was mangled real bad and he got some burns just like most of us. From the way it looked, I'd say the explosion slammed the door of the truck on his forearm and damned near took it off. I helped tie a tourniquet on it, so we were able to stop the bleeding, but it was pretty bad and he kept saying he could only see shadows, so he may have been one of those who looked up as the bomb hit. Lots of people inside the park were blinded or partially blinded."

While Vernon let out a giant sigh of relief from where he was crouched, Devin burst out in tears.

A few seconds later, the badly burned man appeared at the edge of the railing at the front of the engine making sure to keep his hands where they could be seen. "All the guns and knives are up here."

The sheriff glanced over to Devin who was being tightly held by Angus and instantly decided to let the others help him while Angus dealt with the distraught boy. "Hunter, Gage, Ramsey, keep your eyes open. I'm going up to make sure. Angus, just keep doing what you are doing and keep Devin out of the line of fire.

"You up on the train, back away and keep your hands open and in plain sight. Any quick moves will force me to shoot, and I don't want any more killing."

The woman responded as the burned man backed away from the small assortment of weapons. "No one's going to try anything."

The sheriff glanced back one last time to make sure the kids were all out of the line of fire if things went badly. With a quick prayer, he rolled out from under the train and quickly made his way up the ladder. The moment he peeked his head up over the deck of the locomotive he calmed a great deal as his eyes picked up several things all within moments.

The first thing he took in was where everyone was at and how each of them held up hands to show they were empty, even the two kids inside the train compartment. This allowed him to climb up the rest of the way with a great deal less fear and urgency.

The next thing he noted were the looks of fear in the five sets of eyes looking at him. Four sets actually as one of the kids' head moved to look his direction, but a cloth covered the eyes. It was no big surprise the second kid's eyes, who could see, stayed fixated on his gun. This was common, but the three adults didn't really focus on it. Instead they were all looking at the badge, which was only partially visible under the jacket he was wearing. It was pretty obvious none of the three were taking the badge at face value.

His observations continued as he quickly scanned the surroundings. There was a small pile of firearms and knives up at the front of the train; it included a few pocketknives, a trio of pistols, a 30-30 rifle, a .22 rifle, a 7mm rifle, and a 12-gauge shotgun. While the guns were there, any extra ammo was not. This was somewhat troubling, but he quickly decided not to push the issue. The three adults had complied with his original instructions and all three were injured from the bomb blast almost two weeks ago. In addition, two of them had new gunshot wounds.

This led directly into his next observation. All of them had burns, some of them still quite bad; the man who had collected the weapons was in the worst shape. The left man's face was burnt and the ear blackened. There was a crusty glob over where part of the ear had been, and it looked sickly fresh. In addition to the obvious facial damage, he could see where there were some remnants of singed cloth stuck to somewhat healed burns on the neck and they disappeared under the shirt the man was wearing.

The guy also had bandaged hands. Even as dirty as the bandages looked, there were spots where the sheriff could see some fresh oozing from the skin underneath. In all his years as a combat veteran and a law enforcement officer, it was one of the nastiest sights he had ever seen. He was amazed the guy was able to function at all.

The woman wore a park ranger jacket but was otherwise dressed in civilian clothing. The hair on the back of her head was gone and the exposed skin looked rough. A couple of spots had the oozing wounds like the badly burnt man, but there were only a couple of spots and it looked like the lady had done her best to keep them clean. Her biggest problem was the gunshot wound in the shoulder.

He gave her a single nod, "Go ahead and put a hand over the bullet wound. I don't want you to lose any more blood. I'll get you some help as soon as I am sure the kids are safe."

Before the woman could so much as move her hand over the wound, the sheriff turned to the last adult. The guy was a massive burly young man in his early twenties. Like the woman, he was wearing a park ranger jacket, but he also wore a uniform underneath, as big as the guy was and the way it fit told the sheriff the uniform was almost certainly his.

The guy was probably in the best shape of all the adults, other than the half dozen pellets from a shotgun shell or two in his right hand. A cloth went under his right ear and over his right eye. The area around the eye looked red and blistered in a rather odd triangular shape. It was clear the guy had taken time to drain the blisters recently, but it also appeared they kept filling back up.

The other problem was the man's left hand only had three fingers. The pinky and ring finger were gone. The other two showed some burn scars but looked to be healed while the thumb looked fine.

While clearly the most dangerous threat out of the three adults, he also looked the most fearful. Everything about the huge man's posture told the sheriff, the young man was scared and while he didn't totally believe the badge he was seeing, he was deferring to it at the moment. This allowed the sheriff to glance into the cab of the train where a boy and a girl sat on the floor surrounded by a pile of Campbell's Chunky Soup cans.

This also allowed the sheriff to get his first close look at the ‘body' draped out the window. A bit of a smirk crossed his features as he saw it was actually a dummy. The shirt was stuffed with other cloth and the head was nothing more than a black stocking hat with a baseball hat stapled onto it while the hands were stuffed gloves stapled onto the shirt. A couple of wires held it in place. "Damn, it sure looked real from out on the tracks."

The woman spoke up after hearing the comment, "We kind of hoped it would keep people away, or at the very least make them think there was no one up here so we could get off the first shots if needed."

"It darned near worked."

As the sheriff moved into the cab area, he kicked a couple more soup cans out of the way and scanned the kids more closely. The girl didn't look good at all, even as words were exchanged. What was left of the long brownish hair was all in the back of her head. The face was bright red and her eyes were covered with a cloth. The clothing she wore was way too big for her slender frame and she had no shoes, only socks.

The boy, who had his arm protectively around his younger sister, looked pretty decent. A hint of a burn could be seen on the upper part of his hand but it went up under the Jeff Gordon racing jacket that was a good two sizes too big for him, so the full extent could not be seen. Next to the boy a kid-sized hiking backpack was leaned against the wall. The boy's brown eyes locked onto the sheriff's for a brief moment before he glanced back over to his sister and protectively pulled her tighter into his side.

The non-verbal communication was clear to the sheriff. The girl was under the boy's protection and to do anything to separate them would cause problems.

The sheriff pointed at the pack, "Any weapons in there son?"

The boy glanced back up with a hint of anger in his eyes, "I'm not your son."

The sheriff stared at the boy until the lad looked away, "I asked you a question."

The boy's lower lip quivered as he spoke, "I have a fishing knife in the bottom with my collapsible pole and tackle box."

The sheriff held up his hand as the kid started to reach for the backpack. "Relax, you leave it in the bottom of your pack and we'll be good. It's yours and you may very well need it."

The sheriff once again eyed the mound of cans then shrugged it off as he called out, "Hunter, Gage, we are secure up here, but there are five people who could use some help. Ramsey, keep your eyes open till everyone is up on the train then join us."

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