Inspired by a challenge over at Chuck Wendig’s blog. (Can’t win the prize being in Canada so I’m not worried about being late or over the word limit.)
Wendell was a gun guy. His dad, now he was a knife guy. Not that he couldn’t use guns, hell he was a Marine. Marine’s know how to shoot shit. But his dad could use a knife, and he could take care of them. He could take a five dollar chunk of metal from the Dollar Store and turn it into a razor sharp blade. Might not last long but that’s what you get for buying shit from the Dollar Store. A Ka-bar was never far from his father’s hand, usually hanging on his belt and the man would have been happy if all the battles in his life were fought with knives.
Wendell? He had a certain level of competence with a blade and a great appreciation for fine blades. But he was a gun guy. Preferably a long gun but pistols work too. Shotguns are great for intimidation; something about the sound of the pump being worked back and forth and how much damage will spread out from that fat barrel. Back in his city days, he had carried a sawed off shotgun hanging on a sling under a long coat. All he had to do was grab the grip and lift. Nobody was going to pull a piece out of a shoulder holster or from the waist of their pants faster than that. Not a lot of skill required, though. Hell, everybody is an expert with a shotgun.
No, Wendell was all about the rifles. Usually bolt action or even single shot, but he wasn’t opposed to a semi-automatic if the situation depended on it. It was the dedication, the skill and even the science that went into shooting over long distances that appealed to him. What distance was the scope sighted in for? Was the wind blowing and which direction and how fast and how much would that alter the trajectory of his round? He had heard there were small computers attached to scopes along with laser range finders that could figure all this out. Whether or not that meant any sumbitch off the street could pick one up and start shooting one inch circles at a thousand yards he didn’t know. Didn’t care. It took something out of the art of shooting, as far he was concerned. Want to shoot, learn to do it and practice. Don’t go looking for the iPhone app to calculate windage.
He pulled off the road and bumped slowly along the old dirt track. Didn’t want to put a big dust cloud up in the air, make people wonder who was up in the hills. He finally pulled to a stop and slid out of the truck, reaching up to grab the SKS in the gun rack. Wendell couldn’t quite figure it out when there were much better options but some of the younguns lately had been using it for deer hunting and just running around shooting. Probably because it was a semi automatic and gave them a quicker second (and third and fourth) shot when the first one missed. He slung the carbine over his shoulder and headed into the woods. Some idiots from the city thought they could start a meth lab up some hollar without clearing it with the old man. They do say a suckers born everyday. Wendell wasn’t sure if the old man would have given them permission or not but it didn’t really matter since they hadn’t sought it in the first place. And now Wendell was here to make sure there was an accident.
He stepped carefully among the trees, keeping an eye out for snakes. Finally, he slipped the rifle off his shoulder and hunkered down against a trunk, perched on the side of the hill above the small hollar. Wasn’t much than a draw between two trees with a rock strewn path leading into it. Pappaw had had a still back around here somewhere but they’d never drove a vehicle in. Course, it wasn’t like you could do any more damage to that piece of shit car sitting between piles of trash. Fucking white trash, he muttered to himself as he wrapped the sling around his arm and rested his elbows on his knees. Tricky shooting downhill like this, very easy to shoot above the target. He took a breath, let out half then held it, the sights tracking over the windows and door to the trailer. Supposed to be two guys but only one was getting shot today. Middle of deer season, stray shot, nobody would be too interested in some low life meth cooker. And if the buddy left alive didn’t get the message and come see the old man, well then things might get interesting. Wendell briefly wondered if some of the city crews were thinking the old man was getting too old to hold on to everything.
The rifle was held to his shoulder, head up as he kept his focus wide, wanting to see any movement. Never did know what these guys would do. He knew others were always amazed at how long he could patiently sit doing nothing. Wendell didn’t know why he was made different but it was one of the things that made a good hunter. Finally the door open, one of the guys stepping out on the step, stretching and yawning with his arms over his head. Wendell’s lip curled up, he could practically smell the stench from here. The rifle steadied, sights held on the man’s belt buckle. Unbelievably, the man was unzipping his pants, too lazy to even step away from his door to take a piss. His mind clicking through the numbers, Wendell dropped the rifle lower, around the man’s knees. Finger squeezing, the trigger pulled back and the 7.62 cartridge expelled from the barrel at 735 meters a second.
Wendell kept the rifle trained on the target as the rifle rocked back into his shoulder then forward. The sound of the shot echoed around the hollar, mixed with the squawking of birds as they lifted into the air. The target fell to the ground, clutching his throat as his blood poured out the large hole torn through it. His partner ran to the door, almost falling over when he saw his buddy dying on the ground. Wendell sat still, watching. He had no concerns that the twitchy methhead would see him. A few minutes and the man would racing out of the hollar. Even money as to whether he would actually try telling the police. Wendell would leave then, taking the long way home and dropping the rifle down a deep flooded mine shaft. His lip curled in a cruel smile. Wonder if the city boys would still think the old man was losing it?