A Day in “Off the Grid”

 

Introduction.

 

Our story begins with John Daggert flat on his back looking up at the stars, out stone cold.

 

John is what you might have referred to as a redneck back in the day and he would have worn that label with pride. But that term came more from hard work under a hot sun than it had to do with his views.

 

He possesses some good survival skills and is a total scrapper in a fight. There is no giving up in him. He is an all-out take care of business here and now type of guy.

 

Unfortunately he likes his drink and women. I guess they have been man’s downfall since the beginning of time. And both seem to steer John directly into the path of trouble. Tonight was no different, as he will soon find himself trying to remember what exactly put him in the position he now finds himself in.

 

We will follow him through the game as he works out not only how to survive, but better his position in the world Off-Grid as well. Daggart will undoubtedly meet some other characters, whom you might run into yourself, and hopefully give you an impression of the Off-Grid World Experience.

 

Chapter One – Wakey Wakey!

 

I was aroused from unconsciousness by a light rain that began to fall. Things still were blurry and I felt like a ton a bricks were weighing me down. I tried to get up when a sharp stabbing pain shot through my left shoulder blade. Reaching back I pulled out what looked like a tranquilizer dart.

Then it all started to come back to me! It had to be that little tart “Candy” who came barging in on my deal with Slayder, one of the Black Marketers in the city that you can go to for trades. She wore that damn ammo belt hung from her shoulder and down around her waist filled with these same red and white feathered darts.

 

What can I say; she was pleasing enough to the eye and had a sharp wit about her. Maybe that should have been my first clue to steer clear. But we seemed to hit it off, chatting it up for a good while. That would have been my second mistake, sticking around the Black Market after a deal never turns out good.

 

Dang nabbit anyway! You just can’t trust anybody, especially women! When will I ever learn? I fell for her sly flirtation, letting loose lips lead her right to where my territory is. I remember her eying my AR and making the remark of “needing more than a dart gun around here.” Now she has mine, and she left me stripped clean of everything. I will definitely have to look her up again for some satisfaction. Bitch!

 

My vision was starting to clear and I think I noticed a movement just off in the tree line about 75 yards from where I lay. It was starting to get dark now and you don’t want to be out after dark with no equalizer. I better pull it together and make for a better posture than lying here like I‘m waiting to be gutted. I’m already lucky I didn’t become wolf steak while I was out cold. Easy pickin’s for any prey in the area while you’re laid out like a buffet all served up. That Bitch!

I saw a stout stick I could use to at least keep some distance between me and whatever was out there. Unfortunately, if it was wolves, or worse yet, hyenas, I would be attacked from all sides, leaving me little chance to escape.

 

As I was beginning to get my bearings back, I could see I was still about 8 clicks from my base camp, which is where I usually am by this time of day, all hunkered down for the night. Fortunately, I have gear stashed about every three miles for just such a predicament, meaning I should only need to go about two more miles to reach my stash pack.

 

Just then I heard a small twig snap! It seems I may already be on something’s dinner menu, and I need to cover some distance to find another weapon and some stashed supplies, before I can make my way back to camp.

 

Now that I think of it, I better make sure that it isn’t Candy trying to shadow me to my digs. Not knowing what’s out there can really give one the creeps. I am in no condition to pick a fight, so evade and stealth are going to have to be my plan for now.

 

Since I seem to be able to walk again, it is time to get on the hustle. I certainly don’t want to be staggering around like a wounded gazelle out here at night. It’s like having a neon sign pointing out dinner for all interested. I must get it together to successfully pull off this little journey, as I am definitely being watched by something or somebody.>

 

Chapter 2 – Who’s Hunting Who?

 

I think my stash spot is just down in the gully ahead, but I have felt the presence of something or someone watching me the whole way. After I reach my stash pack and get armed up again, I must lose those pesky eyes I know are out there, or turn the tables and become the hunter.

 

And just then… A SCREAM shrieked out in unholy agony and just as suddenly as the silence was broken, the woods went dead quiet. What the hell just happened, I thought to myself! Then it dawned on me. I had to have been right. That little tart had rolled me for all I had and then hid off in the distance to watch and see where I went next. Well that greedy little bitch got hers, I guess. While she was hunting me, she forgot to watch her six.

 

In essence, we were both potential targets by whatever beast had decided she was an easier kill than I; I guess the score is settled for now. I will have to remember the general area and direction the scream came from, so I can come back at a later time and scout out the vicinity for my AR and the other gear she helped herself to.

 

I think the best plan of action for now is to let my enemy(ies) enjoy their meal and avoid any confrontation for now.

 

Chapter 3 – Home Sweet Home

 

Finally, I am getting close to my digs. Now, more than ever, I have to be vigilant. Though everything in my camp is safe, I still don’t want others to know where I am coming and going from. One never knows who may lay in wait to ambush you when leaving or returning to camp.

 

I picked a spot that is up in elevation, allowing me to see what is around for a fair distance. The structure is hidden by trees and bushes, and is aided by being hidden in a slight gulley at the top of the hill, so nothing is visible to anyone scanning the ridge line.

 

I remember when I started with pretty meager means for a shelter. Mostly boards and metal panels, even some tarp hung over the roof to keep the rain out. I am pretty proud of what I have built up.

 

My shack is now absent of the tarp I had to use in lieu of not having enough materials to complete the shack. But I came across another set of blueprints on how to expand my shack to a proper structure. I collected the additional material I needed and was able to build a fairly sound little shack. I was also able to expand the perimeter with my new set of blueprints, which enabled me to store my growing collection of supplies outside, as well as a small garden.

I built a rabbit hutch and had to actually go out and trap those first critters to keep, but now they’re breeding like rabbits. So I always have a meal on hand if I don’t feel like hunting. I wonder what it would take to build a chicken coop. Some eggs in the morning sound pretty good right now.

 

“Hey Saber, did ya miss me while I was gone? Bet you want a handful of oats to end your day on a good note, uh? I’m just glad to be home myself. Sometimes I still can’t believe I corralled you in that box canyon. You know, I waited a whole month for you to finally get curious enough to head down that canyon. I’m not sure if you are more trouble to keep than to just let you get stolen.” But as in days of old, in what was once called the ‘West,’ horse stealin’ is a hangin’ offence.

 

For whatever that is worth, everything in this new world we inherited is a killin’ offence. Hell, you don’t even need to break a law or even offend anyone. Killing is just the way of things now a-days. You can be standing on the wrong patch of land at the wrong time, and you’re dead.

 

So stealing a horse is not a big deal to most, I would guess. But once you acquire a horse, it is certain you will kill to keep it. “Now would you look at this, I am standing here talking to a horse.” But somehow, it seems right. “Well Saber, soon I’ll have to begin breaking you in so you can start giving me a ride into the city. You might have saved me from a lot of trouble last night if I had you along. Not many could keep up with you I expect.”

 

As I stewed some rabbit, my mind wandered and contemplated what the world used to be like before we lost all forms of electrical power, which simultaneously lead to anarchy. Soon thereafter, hunger and thirst began to take their toll as most store shelves went bare in 3 to 4 days, and no more deliveries ever came to replenish those empty shelves.

 

I wonder how much good food spoiled from just sitting around the farms and warehouses unable to be delivered around the country. Such a waste of food that could have fed so many, just sat around and spoiled.

 

Good drinkable, safe water actually became hard to find as the electrical pumps went off-line and all water pressure was lost. Thugs saw the potential for a profit and swallowed up most bottled water sources and sold it for the price of your very soul, they say.

 

Many simply just started to drink from any source they found, which came with just as much a tolling price and would eventually cost them their very lives. The gruesome way they went was not pretty at all.

 

I’ll never forget the images in my head as I listened to the stories that have been told of so many dying around them all at once. Many were so overwhelmed by the sight of bodies piled one on top of the other, that they could not even react to the sight.

 

Disease plagued the earth and humanity lost its battle for life. We were now the ones on the endangered species list. Carnivores feasted on the bounty of human flesh. No longer would man roam among the wild animals and not be looked at as a natural prey for them. In fact, we moved to the top of their food choice. I don’t think they ever had it so easy.

 

Unfortunately for them, those of us who now remain are strong not only in our constitution, but loaded for bear. Bring it on! Thankfully the predators have now learned we are a bit tougher to take down then our weak and confused predecessors. So they have become a bit warier of us, but that just means they’re thinking harder on how to kill you.

 

Well the rabbit was good and my bed will find me sleeping fast tonight. Getting a good rest after an awesome meal will get me through yet another day in paradise.

 

Chapter 4 – Fred’s Back

 

I have to get an early start on the day as I want to brew up another batch of shine this week. I better pack a few jars of shine for Slayder so I can get some more supplies.

 

I was lucky enough to find all the parts I needed to build a small still. I worked out a deal with Slayder, the Black Marketer I usually deal with, who holes up in the city. He gives me the corn and barley I need to make up my mash; in return I pass along a few pints of the finished product that I produce. I use freshly sprouted barley, as it produces natural sugars to ferment my mash.

 

I also need to get back to the kill site from last night as soon as possible, before some bungler stumbles onto my stuff to which Candy was so kind to help herself. If I’m lucky, whatever killed Candy is long gone or away for the time being.

 

Well look who decided to pay me another visit! It appears old Fred, a lone wolf I named, has returned. He seems to patrol the ridge line, testing the boundary of how close he can get to my camp. He is always watching me as well; he takes his time pacing one direction and then the other.

 

He is a stud, that’s for sure! And he has attitude and muscle to back it up. One of the biggest wolves I think I have ever seen up close. I figure he must come in at 160 lbs. I love watching him just as much as he likes to keep an eye on me. Unfortunately, when I leave, I’m thinking I better fire a couple of warning shots to remind him he is on my territory and I rule here.

 

I have learned things are not always what they seem. I better watch my six, as I am still not sure what Fred’s game is. He could be a lone wolf who’s just curious or maybe looking for scraps. But he could also be playing decoy, trying to lure me out and away from the safety of camp so an unseen pack can cut me off from a safe retreat. I certainly don’t want to end up like Candy did last night.

 

I may just be generous today or maybe old Fred has grown on me the past few days, but it is time to send him on his way. Taking sight through my scope, I send a couple of shots right into the dirt by Fred’s paws. Sure enough, that old dog took off over the ridge line and probably won’t be stopping for a couple of miles after that little wake up call. Hopefully, he will stay away for now or I might have to escalate things to a more extreme conclusion. I can always get a $250 bounty for a wolf hide, so I hope old Fred doesn’t push his luck.

 

I guess I better get moving and see what this day has to serve up. Around here you can’t plan on much, life just gets thrown at you in full force and you either handle it or you get crushed.

 

Chapter 5 – Candy’s’ Kill Zone

 

Scanning the kill zone area from the tree line, I could see the general area and beyond, trying to make sure it is not still guarded by last night’s victor. I can see my gear spread out all around the kill zone where the snow is stained red with last night’s horrid details. Though it appears Candy was dragged off, she was probably stashed not too far from the kill site by the predator so their kill could not be stolen by other predators or scavengers. I can only hope that is a sign the killer has left the area for now.

 

I suspect Candy had been hiding behind that large Ponderosa Pine, when she was attacked from behind. Probably never even knew what hit her. One neck bite and it was all over. The scream was more of a reaction than of fear, I suspect. Well, she played a dangerous game and came up wanting.

 

At least no one has stumbled upon the site yet. Now if only I can get in and out of here without any trouble I will be a happy camper. Sliding around to the left and working my way over to the tree from the gully behind the site should keep me pretty much hidden and out of sight.

 

I had worked my way over to the gully and was coming up the bank. Then, holy shit! Just as my head started to break over the top of the ridge, a big cat was already in mid leap as she came into my view. I went to raise my rifle and fire, but I was hit square on and both of us went tumbling backward, down into the gully one over the top of the other.

 

When she hit me, my left arm instinctively rose up to block the tiger’s teeth from crushing my face; my other arm was slapped down with the gun under the legs of this giant. I think she was as surprised as I, somersaulting as we tumbled back down into the gully from the sheer force of her attack. She bit deep into my forearm as my right hand reached back for my knife on my hip. As we rolled and fell backward once more, I thrust the knife deep into her belly. In the same seamless motion, as her weight fell on top of me in the tumble and using our momentum, I let the knife continue to rip upward, cutting her whole belly open.

 

She became dead weight as I continued to fall away, ripping gashes into my forearm as it was pulled from her fangs. I came to a rest flat on my back once again as I had found myself just last night. Seems being sprawled out looking up at the sky, has become a far too familiar position to be in lately.

 

Thank God, I carry a med pack with me. Some pain med’s should kick in and keep me in a happy place for now. Not too keen on giving myself stitches, but pretty much you have to be your own doctor in this bright new world. There, that should do it, now to wrap it up for now and I’ll check it later when I get to town. Just your typical day in the neighborhood!

 

Chapter 6 –City of the Lost

 

Coming up to the edge of the forest, a clearing opens up before you. I never get over the view that’s sprawled out before me. From up here on the ridge line overlooking the city, you feel like an explorer breaking through the jungle to find the ruins of a long lost empire. Only I know of the people that once occupied this city and what happened to them.

 

This is the reason they call it the “City of The Lost”. For the cries that shrieked out and filled the streets told only of anguish and pain. A horror that one might have thought would never end, but for Death putting ‘Her’ peaceful silence to all their madness.

 

Even now, most who enter will never be seen again. It’s almost like the city holds contempt for those who dare to test her resolve. The city itself is beautiful indeed! But like a woman, her scorn for mankind now prevails for any who dare accept her temptations. The once mighty buildings now crumble from the roots of the forest. The concrete and rebar skeletons barely show through the forest flesh that now almost completely shrouds the structures in a carpet of green.

 

Wherever water can get in, so can soil and seed. The water freezes and expands, cracking the walls of these giants that once stood so fierce against the worst Mother Nature could throw at them. Without man constantly holding back nature, the city was swallowed up in just a few decades.

 

Trees that once clung to the sides of buildings have fallen across and into other buildings, making natural sky bridges. The tops of these massive logs then become platforms for other vegetation to cling to and sprout from

 

The forest is no longer just at ground level, but at many levels with boundless paths and routes for all life to travel by. Many of the animals that escaped from the zoos have flourished; so, too, some of the more exotic plants have spread on their own, unattended, not only from the zoo exhibits that tried to be so exact in their environments, but also from the many arboretums and greenhouses that used to exist. Birds kept spreading seeds and nature and insects did the rest.

 

I have to say that the insects are worse, but the rodent population is way down due to the absence of man not having their garbage and wasted food around. There is no more free ride for them, as well as the increase in predatory animals and their expanding numbers.

 

Though the sorrows of the city are behind her from a time long ago, she is not the Eden she appears to have become. In fact, the city is probably the most dangerous place to ever venture into.

 

I could try to get my supplies from another Black Marketer in a safer location, but it would cost me even more shine. That means I end up with less and that can never be a good thing. It may not seem like much when you have it, but when you’re downing your last jar, then it really does seem to matter.

 

Hell, look at what I’m going through just so I can start to cook another batch and I haven’t even gotten to the point where I’m headed home. If you can get in and make the deal, you still need to get out! And I mean all the way out. Already I can see just getting in today is turning into a major deal.

 

The ridge I’m on slopes down to my left and drops about 50 feet in elevation to where it meets up with the old highway coming in from the southeast. Buckling and cracking with plant life pushing through to find the sun has pretty much destroyed the old highway. You can definitely see the old imprint she still clings to, as if to remind us of a time when everything came at you fast. Arching around, it enters the city from the east over a low overpass, keeping the highway level as it crosses over a dried up gulch. The structure is about 50 yards long and around eight feet in height. About 50 feet from the west, or city, side of the overpass, two of the four lanes have fallen away, creating a further pinch point on an already very controllable pathway. If it wasn’t for the wreckage sprawled out here and there as you cross the overpass, you would be totally exposed to those who may lie in wait ahead.

 

The overpass is definitely easier to cross after dark, as during the day it makes for a great target point for snipers. And the pinch point is a great obstacle to pass through if someone just wants to fight it out with you so they can lighten your load.

 

There is a crossing to the north that is fairly flat and is easily crossable terrain, but very open and exposed. Crossing during the day could be very hazardous to your health here as well. It seems there are some who take great pleasure in sniping those who would dare take a stroll on a nice day. However, at the overpass, those who are trying to kill you are mostly thieves. Here at the North access point, snipers have found this can be a good place to stake out. Looking for those with bounties on their heads who are also trying to get into or leave the city unnoticed.

 

Snipers certainly don’t mind if they can get a bonus out of the deal by taking you out as well. It kind of depends how long they’ve been waiting, I’ve been told. If it’s been a long wait, they just might give away their position by taking the shot. If the bounty is large enough and they aren’t tired of waiting for their target, then you probably won’t even know you were in their crosshairs. Either, way it’s a crap shoot.

 

It could be a shooting gallery if they are, in fact, tired of waiting for some morning sport. I just don’t fancy being the clay pigeon! Consequently, I like to cross just a bit short of the crossing itself and stay off the main path. The snipers expect well beaten paths to be used, rather than the off-the-beaten-path approach.

 

Chapter 7 – Welcome to Oz

 

Slayder lives deep in the city’s heart. I would have never known of him if I had not found a map that told of his place. Without it, I guess I would not know to this day that he even existed. I presume that is his greatest protection in this jungle city.

 

Unfortunately, even though it is like finding a needle in a haystack, enough customers know of his location and also know there is booty to be had. So you need to make your deal quick and get out.

 

Seeing a forest is one thing, but to see a forest that reaches 30, 40 stories high is out of this world. It is alien from anything you could imagine. The city has become is so beautiful and is filled with wonderment, and yet it is so deadly.

 

The problem is that there is so much to take in, that you will never see danger coming, whether from a predator or a sniper’s bullet. There is so much of it, that you could hide anywhere, if you can get past nature’s natural warning systems. Animals know predators and they alarm other animals to their presence. You are no different in their eyes. You are just another predator that they need to sound the alarm about and let everyone know that you are in the neighborhood, especially when you don’t want to be noticed or found out.

 

But that works both ways. It could save your life if the animals alert you to the fact that you are not alone and someone or something is in the near vicinity.

 

However, a well hidden and patient sniper could have had his position for some time, and has now become part of the environment. Now he, or she, is given the heads up to your arrival by those same alarmists, which could work very badly for you.

 

Until I get a feel for the land, I think I will stay in the lower regions where I can use the shadows to my benefit. Later I will start to go up to the higher levels, as I will need to go up to find Slayder’s hideout.

 

This is a no-man’s land and predators come in all forms. Man or beast, you will have to deal with them, as they will find you if you don’t, in fact, stumble onto them first.

 

Chapter 8 – Water Sports

 

I’ve made it about a half-mile into the city. It takes time to move through this world and stay safe. I have to constantly watch the birds and other wildlife for signs of trouble, always listening to the forest song for any changes or interruptions that could alert me to any coming danger.

 

In front of me lies what used to be a lower part of the city which flooded out after years of root growth cracked and eventually plugged up the sewer lines. Now this water has spread out and become an actual swamp with all the bio-diversity that has sprung up all around its now green banks. As the story goes, at most it is only around four to six feet deep. This is plenty deep to be dragged under by the alligators that now reign over this patch of water.

 

Only God knows what lies in wait within the blackness of those parking garages that have become totally flooded. I think only the worst nightmares could come from anyone foolish enough to venture into those caverns of despair.

 

In order for me to cross this section of the city I will need to keep to the car roofs poking out of the water about 4”. Like hopping stones in a river! Unfortunately, these car roofs have been used for some time to get over and around this obstacle, so they are pretty dented in. Like soup bowls filled with water. You basically have only a rim between your feet and the open water.

I need to be sure of my route, as here I can’t stop and look to see the next rock that I could safely hop to, because here I will only be giving an opportunity to a hungry gator to leap up and grab me by the leg and then use his weight to drag me under. So I don’t want to be hopping along and all of a sudden find a gap between car tops I can’t make.

 

Fortunately, there are cars that went dead where they sat when the power was lost. If I plan my route right, I can cross to the other side of the street, and even make turns down other avenues using car roofs. Beyond the cars are also fallen trees that sit above the water line. They make great bridges.

 

Getting past the swamp, it’s always a good idea to travel a different path each time. First, you never know who’s been watching your movements to this point, which you will most likely be totally unaware of, and second, this is a great opportunity to search for supplies, parts and maps that can reveal many cool things about this world. So, at this point, I like to start heading up through the buildings to see what I might find.

 

Traveling through the many floors and buildings, I figure I have covered another ten blocks. Just in front of me is a tree that long ago fell away from this building and into the one across the street forming a natural sky bridge. This works to my advantage as Slayder’s place is located on the other side of the street from where I got out of the swamp and started my assent.

 

I’m about ten stories up, and I have to say this sucks. You can’t just run across the log as it has ferns growing from it and vines clinging to it. The top is degraded to a thick moss covering and about 4” of soil and decayed wood beneath that. If it tears away with your foot, you could slip over with it and you’re done.

 

I also have to watch for snakes, stinging ants, bee hives and such which could have just as disastrous results. The problem is, I am exposed out here on this log for any sniper to train their cross hairs on. So while I’m trying to cross safely, I am also trying to cross this puppy sometime today!!! A major contradiction, but what isn’t in this place.

 

Conquering that obstacle without receiving a bullet for my efforts, I am able to make my way up to Slayder’s another floor up. He’s not much for talking but he always has what I need. I don’t know where or how he comes to acquire all the goods he has, but I would never dare to ask. I just make the deal and get the heck out of there before some other shady character arrives with foul intentions. I have heard of others getting shot right in the middle of a deal! Don’t know how that could be good for business, but then… Here I am all the same.

 

Chapter 9 – Getting Out Can Be Harder Than Getting In

 

I left Slayder’s through a hole that had been knocked out right into the adjacent building and made my way down a huge crevasse in the outer wall of that building. A huge tree probably crashed down from the building on the opposite side of the street and made contact with this building. As it crashed down to street level, it ripped a great seam in the outer wall, exposing the floors to the open air and providing even more intrusion for the forest to take hold. This apparently happened some time ago, as there were tons of vines to grasp while I made my way down. It looks way worse than it is, but then that is what might prevent another from following.

 

I wanted to get back down to street level as abandoned police cars and ambulances can sometimes be found. They are a bounty for weapons and ammo, as well as medical supplies. Sometimes one arrives too late and they have already been picked clean, but chances are one could get lucky. To my surprise, as I turn the corner I see an abandoned ambulance down the street. It would be great to get some antibiotics and a new dressing for the wound I received earlier this morning. As I approached the ambulance, I had a premonition that too much has gone my way today and something has to give. These types of spots are prime targets for snipers, as they know someone will be around for a look-see, sooner or later.

 

I’m scoping out the area when all the sudden…SPLAT! My cross hairs go black as I feel a warm, moist addition to my upper face and right cheek. Then the chattering amusement of around 30 chimps erupts, to be heard for at least 4 city blocks in all directions. “I’m certainly glad you’re all amused,” I thought to myself as I quickly wipe my forehead and face off with my sleeve. As I spin to put my back against the fallen log I was using for cover and drop down to my ass well behind the log, a shot rings out. A fraction of a second later the top of the log splinters off in an explosion which rained wooden shrapnel down on me from above.

 

That was way too close for comfort. Those damn monkeys! Not only do I have to quite literally deal with their shit, now I have to deal with this crap from lord knows where. Someone is out there somewhere with a bead right on my position, thanks to these self-amused chimps! They gave me away and now I can’t make it to the ambulance.

 

Fortunately, this isn’t my first rodeo. I took off my pack and fished out a round cardboard cut-out I had made, some twine and a nail. I grabbed a stick from the forest floor and made a cut in the end of the stick with my knife. Then I stuck the cut-out in the cut at the end of the stick and nailed the middle of the stick to the log with a rock. I tied the twine to the opposite end of the stick so that the whole thing was parallel with the log and let out the twine as I crawled to the opposite end of the log.

 

I knew the shooter had me pinned down and I had no idea where they were bunkered down. I certainly wasn’t going to stick my head up to take a peek. There were ferns growing out of the decaying log at the end I had crawled to. I used them to slowly look through so as to hide my position, while at the same time I pulled on the twine raising the round cut-out like my head coming up over the log to take a peek.

 

Sure enough…BANG! The cardboard disintegrated, but I saw the muzzle flash when they took their shot so now I know where I need to shoot. I just need them to poke their little muzzle out again so I know they’re back at that spot scoping. I’m sure by now they must be wondering if they hit me on that last shot or if their eyes deceived them as what it was they actually shot. Patience is a virtue they always say, but it’s the anticipation that kills you. And sure enough I could see them scanning the log with the muzzle of the riffle… and BANG! I bagged me a sniper. You never know who the gunfire might attract, so I now needed to move fast. I quickly moved to the ambulance and was able to acquire some antibiotics, some ointment and bandages, as well as some pain meds. Awesome haul, indeed!

 

I then turned my attention to the unwelcome shooter; I needed to get up there and see what I had bagged. By the sound of it, a 50 Caliber at the least, I would say. Sure enough, when I got up to her position, she was face down on her 50 Cal. It came with two extra clips and some rations for the long wait, I guess. Not bad at all, I would say.

 

What is it with women these days? Seems they have it out for me recently. I don’t think I like this trend! Well, even if the women are turning on me, at least I have my shine!

 

I’ll stash the 50 Cal. for when I want to stake out a sniper position for myself. Then I think I better find my way home again before I stir up another hornets’ nest.

 

It was getting dark again before I reached the city edge, so I’ll cross at the overpass using the darkness and the scattered wreckage as cover. I still need to be careful, as at night bounty hunters watch the overpass while the thieves are usually hunkered down at their camps. These day’s bounty hunters have quick trigger fingers. Most simply match up the wanted poster to the dead corpse. If it’s a match then they get paid. If not, then they get paid, so it all works out for them either way. Though the bounties usually pay far more than the pickin’s they can get from robbing a dead corpse.

 

Having survived another trip to the city, it sure feels good to be back out in the country again. You’re not so hemmed in, wondering if every ledge, log, crevice, bush or whatever has a bullet or beast with your name on it.

 

True enough, the same can happen out here in the open spaces of the countryside, but more than likely you will see it coming if it’s a predator. If it’s a sniper, then you never really have much of a chance, no matter where you are.

 

It will be good to get back to Saber and some rabbit stew. Tomorrow I can begin a new batch of mash and get started on brewing another run of shine! Times will be good then! Guess I better make it back before I start counting my jars as it were. Next time maybe it would just be easier to go to the market, but where’s the fun in that?

 

Plus, I got a hankering to try out my new 50 Cal. Be nice to be on the other side of a sniper’s scope for once!

 

Well, tomorrow’s another day and only fate knows what it will bring, but the order for the day is always to survive Off the Grid!