“Hellion, it looks like you killed something.” Patriot comments, it makes me look at him, before my eyes drop to my form. Light colored skinny jeans and white cami have blood stains from my most recent hunt. After taking out the whitetail, I was just about to butcher the deer, as brutal as that sounds. It’s a messy process; looking back at Patriot, I answer him.
“I did.” I roll my eyes and scale the steps seeing Forger, I raise an eyebrow at that. “What are you doing out here? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this group together.” As I glance over the group I see Patriot, Forger, Rubble, and two men I don’t know. My eyes automatically narrow as I look down at the chest, staring at the cut of a bulky large bald man. The Road Captain patch makes me inhale, thinking of Gears. The name Tiny sits beneath the patch and I want to crack a joke about that one. I look to the chest of the slightly familiar male, and my heart stutters.
“Hellion, we have some news for ya.” Rubble speaks calmly, my eyes dart to his and I glare; oh, is that so?
“Where the fuck is Bear? What happened?” Rubble rubs at the back of his neck, forcing me to turn my eyes back to the man’s chest. The president’s patch sits proudly on the broad chest, the name tag Cobra sitting below. Bear’s son, I’ve heard a lot about him and Bear’s old woman, Susan.
“He’s buried.” Forger steps in for Rubble, making me look at him as I walk up onto the porch. I drop the ax I had been using to chop wood; I rest against the banister.
“When?” I scan the group and cross my arms over my chest; I now understand why he hasn’t been answering my calls now.
“Three weeks ago.” Patriot answers, stepping up to lean against the railing. My blood runs cold, I turn to stare at Rubble.
“Three weeks ago; the night Gears got caught and pinned down? The same fucking night I had to come and pull your ass out? And what you two assholes are now just telling me Bear kicked the bucket.” Shovel and Patriot came here over two weeks ago; they never said a damn thing.
“Hellion, we had to keep quiet about it all. Some shit was getting leaked, we just wanted to keep a lid on it all. As far as most are concerned Bear stepped down from the chair and gave it to Cobra here.” Rubble sighs, rubbing his face, and that just angers me more.
“So you thought I was slipping secrets out? Real fucking cool Rubble. Why the fuck are y’all here? I didn’t get an email.” Cobra speaks up, making me turn my attention to him.
“I needed to meet the one who handled identities and relocations.” I raise an eyebrow at him; I wait for him to continue. “I need to know the process you go through to create identities.” I give a fake chuckle before I sober quickly and answer him.
“Simple you send me a packet detailing how they were found; I pick them up at a drop location. And I do my job, sending you the details that matter. After that they’re moved, given the support systems they need, and emergency contacts.” He nods slowly, stuffing his hands in his front pocket, showing off the gun he has strapped to his side.
“Ok, how do you come up with the identities? What are your support systems and emergency contacts?” I shake my head in answer.
“That doesn’t concern the club, I’ve made networks that work for survivors. I’ve made networks of emergency contacts, that if needed survivors can fall to. When I create a new identity; their old one dies. The more known, the more risk these survivors have. I don’t take that risk.”
“Why do you think it doesn’t concern the club?” Cobra challenges me.
“Easy, because if I tell you my process; I’d have to kill you. I owe too much to Bear to put his son in the ground.” I shrug with ease. I don’t take helping survivors light, this is my job, this is something I’m passionate about, point blank.
“She’s not joking either.” I dart my eyes over to Patriot, raising an eyebrow. Before the conversation can pick up again, Forger steps in.
“Darling, do you mind if this old man goes inside and plants his ass? It’s a long ride with a shit hip.” I nod and step to the door to unlock it; I’m not all that enthused with the fact I’m about to have strangers in my home.
“Fine, I got more shit to do. You snoop around and I don’t care who you are, you’ll be eating lead.” I sneer snagging the ax; I’m pissed. Walking down the steps I’m stopped by a large warm hand on my arm making me turn and look at Cobra arching a brow. “What?”
“I think we have more to talk about.” I adjust my grip on the ax’s handle and look up at him.
“That’s what you think. I have work to do, so unless you’re alright with losing some fingers, I suggest you remove your hand.” For a moment, we just stare at each other, then his hand slowly releases me, an easy lopsided grin covers his features.
“I’m sure we can have a conversation later.” Not bothering to respond, I step away, ignoring any feelings this man gave me. I’ve lived alone for ten years; I don’t need anyone. I head for the wood/butcher shed, I get back to work. The deer still needs to be quartered; my mind wanders to what happened to Bear. I can’t believe the man is dead; he saved me all those years ago.
As I seal the meat into bags I label them, then stick it in the freezer with the rest of my venison. Not feeling the urge to head inside just yet, I got back to chopping wood. I grip the ax, I lift it and swing, letting it fall to split the wood. A chunk of wood is lodged on the end of the ax; lifting it up, I let the ax drop once again, splitting the wood with ease. I grab another log to split and set it on the stump, once again letting the ax drop slamming into the wood.
My anger continues to drive me as I drive the ax into a new piece of wood, splintering it with ease. It’s easy to get lost in splitting wood, then stacking it inside of the shed. Sweat rolls down my face as I lift my arms once more, dropping the ax angrily. I finally take my hands off of the handle, needing to step away before my arms fall off. I heave a sigh and shake my head, I use my shirt to wipe the sweat from my face; I even attempt to miss the blood stains. The ax needs to be put up; I carry it inside of the shed and lock the shed after everything is put up and shut off.
There isn’t any point to not finish up with my tasks for the day; I should bring the animals in and finish taking care of them. Going down the list, I do waters and throw hay for the horses in their stalls. I throw hay to the cattle; I feed the pigs and chickens. My emotions swirl around me; grieving for a loss I didn’t know to grieve for. I whistle for Majesty and Trojan. The only horses I have; it’s getting close to take Trojan back, his use here is just about finished. I’m very thankful his owner let me borrow their pulling horse.
With both horses in their stall; I close them up for the night and call the cattle in. After feeding, I pause, looking out over the pasture; tomorrow I need to drag the pastures. I’ll check the calendar to see what else is in store for me. I need to make extra for dinner tonight; I head for the garden. The thought makes me grimace; I still hate the fact that I have strangers in my home. I hate the fact that they are on my land; nothing I can do now. The hand woven basket I use to collect the ripe veggies rest at the entrance to the greenhouse. I grab it on the way in and hunt for ripe veggies for dinner.
I opt to let some grow longer; as I leave the greenhouse, I make the quick decision to check my wood supply in the storm cellar. I’m sure I have enough wood stock piled up. At this point I’m just wasting time; preventing the inevitable. I grunt and pull the old creaky doors open, descending into the darkness. Light spills in from the door; I find the light and flick it on. My hopes of wasting more time are dashed as I see the stockpile; it’s stacked halfway up the wall. I sigh; I don’t need to come and stack more.
The wood I cut still needs time to dry out. Figures; I climbed out and shut the life off before pulling the doors shut. I heave a sigh, it was worth a shot, I grab the basket of goods. I stew in my emotions as I climb the steps; why are the ones most important to me falling? I can’t help but think this is all connected to me; what meeting did Bear and Gears attend, Rubble was there. Maybe it’s time I get my own questions answered. The room’s conversation stutters as I enter. Cobra stands in front of the fireplace; entranced by the urns that rest on the mantle.
I shake my head, seeing them, it’s a shame both lives were lost too soon. “Hellion, what’s for grub? I don’t know what it is about your cooking, but it’s the best.” My attention is turned towards Patriot, making me roll my eyes.
“Try not shoveling garbage down your gullet, then.” I walk into the kitchen, setting the basket of fresh fruits and veggies on the counter.
“I don’t got time to make fresh food.” I roll my eyes at that.
“That’s your excuse, Patriot. You have all the time in the world if you’d stay away from that Chica you keep chasing.” I hear a groan from him as I turn on the sink, washing my arms, getting rid of the remaining dirt.
“I can’t help it! She’s smoking hot.” Patriot walks up to me, jumping on the counter.
“She’s bat shit crazy. You get those confused a lot.” I look at him for a second. “Get your ass off my counter; I make food there.” He chuckles, rolling his eyes, not moving. I raise an eyebrow at him, opening the drawer besides me and pulling out a blade to continue cleaning the ingredients. Patriot finally jumps down as I reach for the produce.
“How long till dinner; I’m hungry?” I roll my eyes at him, continuing to work; I don’t like these people in my house.
“Keep it up and I’m going to make you catch a rabbit for dinner.”
“Oh yeah, hunting will break my heart!” I look at him with a sarcastic smile.
“With a set of throwing blades.” His expression sours completely; making me chuckle and shake my head; he hates throwing blades.
“That ain’t cool, get me excited to hunt to only dash it with those damn things.” He kisses his teeth, earning another eye roll.
“Patriot, sit down before she poisons all of us.” Rubble gives a slight chuckle, calling Patriot over to the living room.
“I’m getting bored here, she has nothing to do here.” He grumbles, making me roll my eyes. He complains a lot when he’s stuck inside.
“It’s called working all the time. I don’t need to entertain myself with that mind numbing box you have going all the damn time.”