Castle Roland

The Runner

by Arthur


Chapter 5

Published: 11 Feb 16

The Runner

Copyright © 2016 by Arthur
All Rights Reserved

The two boys had been on the road now for four days. The horses were still healthy and the trailer served all the purposes that Peter had designed it for.

As he ran beside the lead horse, Runs-Slow kept a sharp watch for a likely place to settle for the coming winter. At first he thought of a small town and then changed his mind. If there was going to be trouble, it would be in the towns. He now kept watch for something far away from any prying eyes.

Late on the sixth day, Runs-Slow thought he could make out what he had been searching for. Runs-Slow gave a signal for Peter to slow the horses and trailer. With care he turned to look both in front and behind them and as far as his young eyes could see.

With nothing stirring in the area, Runs-Slow called for Peter to put the hand break on and rest the horses. Runs-Slow told Peter he had something to look over and would be back in half an hour or so but the boy was to keep a sharp look out for anyone appearing while he was away.

Runs-Slow got into the trailer and changed his clothes. He was now wearing the long white cotton trousers with the long shirt, around his waist he buckled the ammunition belt with his large hunting knife. Leaving his pack behind, Runs-Slow picked up his rifle and with a smile and wave to Peter, took off at a slow trot towards a nearby canyon. Runs-Slow was hoping to find a large enough cave to act as their temporary home for the coming winter.

He needed to watch for a steady water supply as well as somewhere for the horses to feed. There was also the matter of their own safety so the cave would have to be positioned correctly for their own needs and protection.

As he entered the canyon, Runs-Slow eased his pace until he was moving at more of a fast walk than a trot. His eyes were scanning both sides of the canyon as he also watched his front.

Runs-Slow had been moving for the best part of twenty minutes when he thought he saw the place he was looking for. It was a large cave mouth about ten feet above the floor of the canyon. There were a number of large boulders fallen near the front and scattered along the bottom floor of the canyon.

Not far away from the cave, Runs-Slow could make out what looked like a small water course. There were drooping willow trees and a good amount of green grass close to the bank of the stream. It would make an ideal place for the horses to be kept.

Runs-Slow walked to the base of the cave. Kneeling down he carefully inspected the entrance and the ground around it for any wild animal spoor. It would not be a good idea to run into the cave and find something already had it for a home, especially if it was a mountain lion.

Runs-Slow levered a round into his rifle checked his hunting knife was free in its scabbard and slowly crept towards the entrance of the cave. His eyes were everywhere at the same time and his skin told him which way the gentle breeze was coming from. Runs-Slow was in hunting mode.

Slowly he worked his way silently closer to the cave mouth. He could faintly smell wild animals in the air but it seemed old. There were no new spoor around the cave mouth but Runs-slow was not going to ignore his instincts to take things slowly.

Runs-Slow eased up to the dark opening, his breathing was slow and shallow as he brought the rifle up to his shoulder just in case. There was the smell of old animal droppings close to the entrance but Runs-Slow could not see any spoor that was fresh.

He took a quick glance into the cave then ducked back and breathed out. Seconds later he was standing in the entrance, his rifle coursing back and forth as he tried to peer into the deeper darkness at the back of the cave. He was met with only silence and the old and stale smell of long gone animals.

Runs-Slow looked around as he moved slowly deeper into the cave until he was at the rear wall of rock. The floor was soft sand and showed no sign of water on the walls or the floor. It was a dry cave. The stream further down the canyon would have to be their water supply.

Runs-Slow took a final look around and then left to get Peter and the trailer. The trailer would not fit into the cave. They would have to take precautions to protect it from the weather outside the cave.

Peter steered the trailer with a new degree of certainty. His time at the reins had given him confidence in his ability to work the horses and the trailer.

Runs-Slow walked alongside the trailer as he watched Peter handle the team with assurity. When the boys finally got to the base of the cave mouth, Peter pulled the team to a halt and looked up at what was to be their new home for the coming winter. He was not so sure it was a good idea when he saw it for the first time.

Runs-Slow smiled as he saw the look of query on his friends face. There was a lot to do to make it winter proof but he knew what it would take. They had time before it got really cold.

Peter got down from his seat and took another look around. The place did have a nice safe feel about it but the idea of spending long winter nights in a cave would take some getting used to.

Runs-Slow took Peter into the cave and began to tell him what would have to be done to make it liveable. First they would have to construct some sort of barrier over the cave mouth to keep out the frigid winds that would blow. They had the advantage of the high canyon walls for most of their protection, but it would not stop it all.

Next was to secure the trailer in a place that would give it protection from those same cold winds or possible snow falls. Runs-Slow also mentioned it might be a good idea to look at making some sort of structure for the horses as well but place it down close to the stream so they could also get out of the worst of the coming weather.

The boys set up a temporary camp in the trailer as they had done during their travels. It would give them all the needs they would have while fixing up the cave.

Once the trailer was moved with care into the cover of some of the larger rocks and placed so it was as protected as they could make it, the boys set about planning the work in the cave.

While Peter went inside with his usual pad of paper to make a design, Runs-Slow unhitched the horses and led them down to the stream bank. There was ample grass and under the left hand cliff it was well protected. He would construct a small lean-to for them to get out of any bad weather.

There were ample trees for their use and the Willows would provide everything they would need. He looked around to see that there was plenty of dead fall to be used for fire wood and the stream had a fine shingle bed. The water should be good to drink.

Once the horses were set out on a long neck rope to feed and drink, Runs-Slow went back to see what Peter had come up with. He was surprised at his friend's ideas for their winter home.

The plan called for a frame to be built at the entrance. It would then be covered over with one of the large tarps and backed up with foliage to disguise it from prying eyes. One side would be free to move for access. In the back of the cave they would set out the two halves of the foldaway bed from the trailer and near the front of the cave they would build a fire pit so the smoke would not fill the cave and kill them in their sleep.

Peter told Runs-Slow that it would be an easy matter to unbolt the storage bins that carried their food and cooking items from the trailer and they could be put against one wall where they would do their cooking.

Everything Peter set out sounded like a good idea to Runs-Slow and he told his friend so. Now it was time to make the design come to life. They had all the tools they would need and would make a start first thing in the morning.

The next morning, Runs-Slow took a length of string that Peter had used to measure the cave entrance and went in search of willow branches that would do the trick.

At the thicket that had built up on the edge of the stream, Runs-Slow found plenty of young saplings that would be ideal for their doorway. The saplings were not too big so he used a very sharp machete to cut down as many as he thought they would need. It was up to Peter to work out how they would be fitted together to form the framework.

Far to the south west Carlito had finished repairing Greg's injuries. He had used up a small box of butterfly stitches on the head wound and the others were sporting band aids. The bruising he could do little about but the hot bath had definitely eased them for his new friend.

Greg offered to do the cooking and Carlito was glad for the help, he was not the best in a kitchen so Greg's offer was good for him. During their meal which Greg had cooked on the burner from the trailer, the boys talked about their past lives and what they did. Carlito could not tell the whole truth about the family business so kept to generalities of school and family gatherings.

Greg's life had been so different. He had been raised on a moderate sized farm, had worked with his father and cousins to earn their pocket money. His family life had been one of a loving, but hard working family. His mother had been a school teacher at the local small community school and so Greg had had a good education.

He had been about to become a sophomore at the local high-school but the virus had put an end to that. Along with his last remaining friend, they had left to find safety. They had walked most of the way as neither of them were very good drivers or mechanics and had camped out overnight whenever they found a safe place. If not then they stayed in disused homes along the way.

Greg had lost everything when he was attacked and so he would need to replenish his belongings. The small town of Kanarraville would have to provide for him. It was something they could do together before dark.

Carlito was almost amused when he accompanied Greg around the small town shops to look for clothing. There was an endless round of giggles and rude suggestions at some of the rather quaint old fashioned clothing left in the stores.

It was an hour later before the two boys returned to the house they had marked as their own for the night. The large pile of bags filled with clothing had to be carried by both boys. Seeing some of the toughly made work clothing decided Carlito on also improving his own wardrobe. He was once again thankful to his father for buying strong quality clothing instead of meaningless labels.

Greg had pressured Carlito to take a pair of heavy work boots as well as a few pairs of sneakers. Again it was something Carlito had not thought of doing. The boots would be far better and last longer than light weight sneakers. Even now Carlito was learning things he had not thought of before starting out.

Winter clothing was another thing Carlito had not thought of. He was so used to the heat of LA and the colder climes of the north had just not entered his head. Greg set about fixing that problem for him.

At first, Carlito had laughed at the thick woollen plaid jacket that Greg picked for him. After laughing about how hokey it looked, Carlito relented and tried it on for size. He was immediately surprised at just how warm it was. Greg then looked around for a thicker snow jacket for them both but there were none in the store. He marked that down for a later shopping trip in some other town.

Greg's whole demeanour had changed for the better since the hot bath, a good rest and a mountain of new clothes. Carlito would often look at Greg and smile as he saw the improvement of his new friend. He himself now felt better for the company and a chance to restart his new life.

The rest of the day was spent trying on clothes and looking for space in the Humvee to pack it all in. When the two boys were finally satisfied, they went back indoors and began to ready supper. Tomorrow morning they would leave early and be on their way for new pastures.

Carlito spent the last hour of daylight checking the Humvee and making sure it was filled to the brim with gas. The oil was checked and the radiator water topped off to make sure it was ready for the next leg of their endless journey to find safety.

The boys each selected their own bed for the night. While Carlito would have liked to try for one bed, he felt it was far too soon for anything so personal. If it was meant to be then it would happen in its own time. Carlito sighed as he realized he could not control everything, as much as he wanted to.

The morning dawned overcast and the two boys looked up at the thickening cloud cover. There was definite feeling of rain in the air and what appeared to be a building wind. Carlito called for Greg to hurry to the Humvee as he himself gave the trailer one last look over.

Their next travel would be to bypass Cedar City and drive on northward on highway 15 until they got to the edge of Fishlake national park about half way between Beaver and Holden. Carlito had marked off the turnoff onto highway 70 which would take them through to Colorado.

It would be a long drive and most of the towns along the way would be small and hopefully peaceful if anyone was still alive in them. Carlito looked at the approximate mileage and tried to work out where they should think of stopping for the night. He did not think they would get all the way into Colorado in one journey.

The mileage from the closest City to the next town on the Colorado border was a little under three hundred and fifty miles. He was not sure if they would make that distance in one run.

Carlito thought it would again be a trip of six or more hours. With Greg not being a confident driver, he felt he was going to be the only one behind the wheel of the beast. He would need to take a break at least twice for that distance just as he had when leaving California.

Carlito saw that Greg was still holding fast to the riot gun, with a gesture to the dash board on the passenger side, Carlito said, "You can place it in there, it'll be close at hand if and when you need it."

Greg smiled and fitted the heavy shot gun into the bracket. With his hands now free he looked around the rest of the large Humvee as he settled back into the seat. Unlike Carlito he did not need a cushion to be able to watch out the front windscreen.

With everything settled in place, Carlito started up the Humvee and turned out onto the road that would take them north and then east once they found highway 70 to Colorado.

Midday found the two boys not far from the Beaver. They were not far from the turn-off onto I70. They had stopped for a quick meal and a rest. Carlito was still feeling the power of the beast vehicle, his light frame did not make it any easier to drive the big Humvee.

As he sat on the edge of the road eating, Carlito watched Greg walk to the edge where the tarmac met the surrounding grass verge. Carlito watched as Greg stooped low and felt around the grass roots, then the boy would look upward towards the grey clouds above them.

Confusion covered Carlito's face as he watched his new friend's antics. Finally with a grunt, Carlito called out to Greg, "What are you doing?"

"Winters nearly here, we should be looking for a place to ride it out. I don't know what the winters are like in this state but, if we don't get prepared we could be in for a hard time. If they have snow falls we don't want to be outside without protection. If they don't have snow then the storms will kill us if we aren't ready for them."

"How do you know all this?"

"I'm a farm boy remember? Knowing about the weather patterns is part of being a farmer."

"Look Greg, I'm a city boy from LA. We get a bit of rain but it's not really cold in winter. What should we do then, you know more than I do?"

"Let's get the map out and see what's ahead then we'll know what we can do."

Carlito went back to the Humvee and got his folder of maps. Taking out the map of Utah, he began to trace their trip so far. Soon they would meet I70. He turned to Greg and pointed to the roadway.

"If we keep going until we get onto I70, we can then find a small town to stay in. There are a lot of them along that highway."

"Do you think that's wise? I mean if anyone is going to need protection from the winter, it's the towns they will go to. We should really find somewhere way off the beaten track."

"Like what?"

"Let me have another look at that map."

Carlito passed the map to Greg and waited while his new friend looked it over. After a little time, Greg looked up at Carlito.

"If you can drive non-stop to here," Greg placed his finger on a turn-off just past the town of Green River at a place called Crescent Junction that was marked as highway 191. "we can turn off here and go through to the Arches National Park just before Moab. There is sure to be some type of winter cabin in a big park like that and Moab is close enough we can go there and find stores to get us through the winter."

Carlito looked at the map as he followed Greg's finger along the roadway. After looking at the mileage he thought they could make it in about three hours if he concentrated and did not stop. It would give them a little daylight to find a place for the winter.

Greg paused for a little then turned to Carlito.

"I hate to say this but going by some of the names on the map, this park might be just one big desert. Look at this."

Greg pointed to some of the highlighted names. Carlito read the names and shuddered at the sound of them. Devils Garden, Fiery Furnace, and at the other end of the park was the Tower of Babel. None of the names inspired confidence in Carlito.

"Is there somewhere else that might be better for us?"

Greg turned back to the map; not knowing the real weather patterns for Utah made it more difficult to make a decision on somewhere safe.

"There's a turn-off onto 313 just outside the Ashes, it leads to Canyonlands National Park. We could look there?"

"That's a lot of driving around. Why don't we make it to Green River and then look at it again. I'm sure winter is not going to hit us today. We have time to look everything over carefully first."

"Yeah, OK that sounds good. Let's do that and then we can spend some time really planning."

The two boys got back into the Humvee and were soon on their way towards the turn-off onto I70. It took another three hours to reach Green River. Not wanting to go right into the town, the boys detoured until they found a quiet lay-by that looked as though no one had been there in some time.

Carlito was now tired and badly needed a good rest before the ventured further. They would spend the night camped in the lay-by and then make a decision on their next day's travel in the morning when they both felt rested.

While Carlito refilled the Humvee gas tank, Greg began to fix a meal for them both on the propane cooker in the trailer. Around them were only the sounds of the wilds, the usual noise of vehicle traffic was long gone and the stillness gave them a sense of peace as they readied their nights camp.

The morning dawned cold and crisp. Both boys had a desire to stay wrapped up in their warm sleeping bag for just a little longer, but the needs of nature would not wait.

After fixing the usual morning problem, Greg set about making a hot breakfast while Carlito checked over their transport and got out all his maps. They had to make a decision on their next movements.

When they had finished eating, Carlito laid out the overall map of the US. After pin pointing their present location he changed over to the maps of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

With a fresh hot coffee in their hands, the boys began to pour over the three maps. All three states were a possibility but they were looking for somewhere off the beaten track where they would be less likely to run into others that might cause trouble for them.

It was Greg that came up with the best idea.

"We need to get some pamphlets on the parks so we can have a look at what they are like. Frankly the maps tell us nothing but where to go."

"Yes I agree, but where will we find them?"

"Let's go into Green River and look for them. With all the tourists that used to go through here, there must be some place that has them."

"OK, that's a plan then. Let's pack up and go look."

Carlito got to his feet and began to gather up the few things they had left out. Greg had already packed most of the camp up while he was cooking breakfast. Ten minutes later and Carlito turned the Humvee back towards Green River. Both boys kept their fire arms close as they entered the town.

It took some time before they saw a store front that had been remade into an information bureau. The boys stopped and looked at the front window. It was still in one piece so had not been broken into. It was a good sign that no one was interested in this end of town.

Carlito signalled Greg to stay alert as he slipped into his body armour, he still did not trust that there were so few people around.

Carlito hefted an M16 before he nodded for Greg to leave the vehicle. Keeping a close eye on the surrounding buildings, Carlito escorted Greg to the door of the store. It took little effort to break the glass in the door to gain entry. Once Greg was inside and looking around for the pamphlets, Carlito stayed just outside to keep watch.

Greg took only minutes before he returned with an arm load of pamphlets. He had decided to take as many as he could carry so they had as much information as they could gather. What they didn't use now might come in handy at some other time.

The two boys returned to the Humvee and left the town as quickly as they could, they wanted to be as far from any centre's of population as they could get. Carlito turned the Humvee back towards the lay-by they had used as a camp site. They would make another stop there while they worked out their next step.

Once back at the lay-by, the boys took out all their maps and pamphlets. It was time to make a solid decision on their future.

After some long discussion, the boys had cut it down to three possibilities. Go for the apparent desolation of the local Utah parks in the hope of finding a safe place or head north towards Wyoming and the cold winter of the Grand Tetons. Or turn further east and go into Colorado and find a park where they would be better situated for the winter.

It was another hour before they finally made a decision, it was to be eastward into Colorado and hope they found a place before the winter struck. They wanted to find a good park where the possibility of good hunting and safe living conditions were a better probability.

With the decision finally made, the two boys jumped back into the Humvee and turned eastward. They would follow highway 70 on through Colorado until they narrowed down a place they thought would do them for the winter.

There were a number of large parks in Colorado, some of which they had both heard of. One of them would have what they were looking for.

The road was still bare of any other drivers as the two boys headed towards Colorado on highway 70. It was their intent to stop at a smaller park in the hope there would be less desire for others to use it. The number of large well known parks were more likely to be used by any survivors, assuming they had thought as the two boys had and decided to get out of the towns and cities.

Carlito and Greg had decided on the White River National Forrest Park. It was nestled amongst larger parks but they hoped it was not used as much as the others. The two boys were working on the assumption that most people were creatures of habit and would look to the better known and larger of the other parks.

The area they had decided to look at was just off I70 and to the north Aspen and Breckenridge but not so close it would be easy for others to find them during the winter months.

Their ideal place would be one of the many Ranger huts within the park or so they hoped. If not they would have to look for a cabin set well off the main tracks for their hideaway.

Carlito steered the heavy Humvee through the streets and back roads of Grand Junction. They did not want to waste time in the towns and so drove on through without stopping. Once well outside Grand Junction, Carlito looked for a stopping place. It was almost midday and they needed a rest, especially Carlito. The drive through the town had taken a bit of extra muscle as he turned and twisted the large Humvee through some of the narrower streets and lanes.

After eating a few hastily made sandwiches that Greg put together, the two boys looked over the map and looked again at the mountains that were now very prominent on the horizon. They also took note of the faint dusting of white on the very tops of the highest ranges.

Winter was closer than they thought and they had to make fast decisions so they would be well set before the first heavy snows descended on them. With a final look over the maps and pamphlets, the two boys returned to the Humvee and headed to the turn off for White River.

As they drove further and further into Colorado, they saw the landscape change from the semi barren sand stone parks of Utah into the beginnings of thick Forrests and plentiful water from lakes and rivers. It was mid afternoon when the two boys pulled into the open entrance to White River Park.

Before them was the usual Rangers office and information bureau. It was here that Greg said to look for trail maps and information on any possible cabins within the park. Carlito once again kitted up with his armour to first patrol the area for their safety.

Once he was sure there would be no surprises for the two of them, he signalled Greg to enter the office and look for the information.

Even at that time of day, they could both feel the chill in the air. As yet there was no heavy looking clouds on the horizon but both knew that things could change swiftly if they did not take notice of everything around them.

Greg returned with what he hoped was the information they would need to find a home for the winter. After directing Carlito to a turn off into the heart of the park, Greg began to look for a safe little rest area where they could camp for the night. They would then have time to work out where a possible safe house may be situated.

The two boys had by now worked out a good system of setting up camp. It almost seemed like they were meant to meet as Carlito had the equipment but not the knowledge, but Greg had the knowledge but not the equipment.

The camp was soon set up and the land about them checked for snakes or any other unwanted guests. The site was small, just enough for a single family in size. It had a picnic table and a concrete BBQ pit that was wood fired.

The boys set up their trailer close to the table and began to get everything ready for the night. A hot meal was the first thing on the list and Carlito set about removing his body armour now they were sure they were safe.

While they ate their first hot meal of the day, Greg set about going through the stack of pamphlets to find a more permanent home for winter.

It was just getting dim as dusk moved in on the two boys. They were sitting at the table reading the pamphlets and listening to the first of the night sounds.

Carlito got up and fetched the Coleman lamp. With the lamp fired up and throwing its harsh glare around the small site, the two boys found they had finally cut down the number of possible cabins to three. They would look at all three tomorrow as there were both pro's and con's to all of them.

The morning once again was cold and the bight of winter was so much closer... they had work to do and not much time to do it in.

After breakfast, the two boys set out after breaking camp. The first possible winter home was only a mile down the trail and it took little time for the boys to pull up outside the large modern looking house.

It was built in the fashion of a ranch style. It was large and looked to be well maintained. After forcing the front door, the boys looked through it but decided it was far too big for their needs. They would be spending most of their time trying to keep it warm. It was discounted and they prepared to move to the next one which was on the far side of the park.

The second house was a large artificial log cabin style. The boys did not even go inside as it again would take too much work to keep it warm. They were now left with the only other choice.

Carlito took the Humvee and trailer back towards the centre of the park before turning off onto another smaller trail. The Humvee scraped the growing bushes at the side of the trail as they slowly moved forwards.

It took nearly half an hour before they made it to what appeared to be a clear space that may have been a natural clearing. There was no sign of any interference from man's hand.

The cabin was older although still sound. The roof looked to be in good order although again a little old. In the front of the house was an old fashioned hand pump for water and there were no wires for electricity.

The logs that the cabin was constructed with looked to be real forest cut tree trunks. The chinking was done with white clay and also looked in good condition.

The cabin looked to be only two or three rooms and they would be small. Greg looked around and smiled, for some reason he felt as though he had just come home as he looked at the old cabin. The chimney was tall and built at the centre of the back wall. It was made of concrete and river stones and had that aged, well used look about it.

The front of the cabin had two medium sized windows, one each side of the door. They both had thick wooden shutters fitted over them. There was a narrow veranda that run along the full frontage.

Greg went to the front door and saw the heavy padlock on it. As he thought about going to get something to force it open, he paused and smiled back at Carlito as he bent down and looked under the old door mat.

A second later and Greg stood back up with a key in his hand. Inserting it in the padlock, he soon had the front door open and they both went into the dark front room of the cabin.

As they had guessed, the cabin was divided into only two rooms. The front room was apparently used both as a living space and kitchen. The large stone fire place had two strange iron fittings attached to each side of the hearth.

Greg pointed upwards and Carlito saw him pointing to two light bulbs hanging on cords from the ceiling.

"They must have some sort of power, I didn't see any solar panels so they must have a generator somewhere. We can look out the back when we are finished inside."

Carlito just nodded as he looked around. On one side of the fire place was a small kitchen area. There appeared to be a small three ring cooker, a wash tub for dishes and a wall pantry stocked with dried herbs, sauces and tinned food.

At the centre of the room were two old fashioned rocking chairs and a small square table that would seat only three or four people. Around the walls were photographs and small paintings of forest scenes.

The two boys moved through to the second room. It was obviously the bed room and had one corner made into a tiny bathroom space with a small shower stall and hand basin with a shaving mirror fixed to the wall.

To one side of the double bed was a narrow wooden door that would lead to the back yard. Greg led them towards the door and drew the bolt to open it then stepped through and out into the back space. There was another narrow veranda running the length of the cabin and to one side a small shed with a lean-to filled with cut wood for the fire.

From the side of the shed ran two wires that led into the side of the cabin; they had their generator shed. Greg turned to Carlito, "Well, what do you think?"

"I think it's the best of the three and small enough to be easily kept warm but, what about the bed? There's only one so we would have to share."

"That's OK with me as long as it's Ok with you. We could be here for some time until the winter passes and we can move on. I guess we will just have to trust each other."

"That works for me. Let's get some of our stuff inside. I think we should put the Humvee and trailer out back and cover them with the tarps. They will be close enough for emergencies but out of the direct winter weather."

"Sounds good to me. I'll go and check the generator and see if I can get it started. I wonder what they did for fuel and how much they've got."

Carlito turned to go back inside so he could look through the tall wall cabinets and kitchen stores. He would top them up with what was in the trailer and then go to help Greg. The cabin had a nice homely feel about it as he stepped back inside to begin his work.

Ten minutes passed before Carlito heard the sound of the generator as it began to work and the first glimmer of light came from one of the bulbs in the ceiling. As it was still full day light, Carlito looked for the switch and turned the light off. He then heard a humming coming from under the kitchen cupboard.

Following the sound he finally found a small refrigerator hidden in one of the cupboards. It was not a large one and he could see that it was probably only used for small goods like milk, butter or cheese. He began to wonder where they kept their meat and other larger goods.

Carlito's thoughts were broken by the return of Greg from the back. When he mentioned the small refrigerator and his thoughts about a larger one somewhere, Greg set about hunting for it.

It took some time before Greg finally worked out where the extra large storage was. They had both been walking over it all afternoon. In the centre of the kitchen floor was a well made hatch, it led down into a deep cellar. Both boys were surprised at what they found in there and smiled as the first smoky odour of preserved meat hit them. Now they were set for the winter. It left only for them to move their personal clothes and a few extras into the cabin and they had their new home for a while.

Far to the north the two brothers were looking out at the falling snow. Winter was nearly a month early and they had made their new home just in time. They would be going nowhere for some time to come.

Clarry looked at his little brother and could only smile as he watched Liam standing guard at the front window. His small sawn off shotgun grasped firmly in his hands. Clarry shook his head and turned back to cooking dinner, he didn't have the heart to tell Liam to stand down and that there was little to fear for now. Liam wanted to be grown up and took his duty seriously.


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