The re-frozen snow crunched underneath Brian and Zachariah’s feet as they walked along the side of the dirt road.
“I used to come here every Saturday morning.” Zach was saying, “I’d grab a container of worms and head out towards the lake,” He pointed in the direction they were heading. “I always dreamt I would
catch a giant catfish.”
“Did you?” Brian asked.
Zach snorted, “No, don’t think I ever caught anything bigger than ten pounds. But I kept trying!”
Despite being horribly overgrown, the going was easy and soon a long wooden structure could be seen through the trees. They stopped as they rounded the bend and surveyed the area around the cabin. The words ‘Bait Shack’ were painted on the side in fading white paint. No footprints could be seen approaching the building from their vantage point and Zachariah motioned for them to circle around the back of the building. Quietly, staying as low to the ground within the first few feet of the forest, they did so, still observing no signs that anyone had been at the shop at least since the last snow fall. A grey Buick rested, buried underneath a frozen sheet of snow, beside the closed back door of the building, a tool shed beyond it, an upturned wheelbarrow resting against it’s side.
“You ready?” Zachariah asked.
Brian leveled the shotgun and nodded, leading the way toward the door. Standing in front of it, Zachariah moved around him and reached across, hand on the doorknob, looking at Brian, who nodded.
The doorknob turned, but when Zach pulled on the handle, the door was blocked by ice at its base. “Damn,” he whispered. “Let’s try the front.” They crept around the east side of the building, crawling beneath a large plate-glass window. Making it to the front door without incident, they tried again, but this time the door opened inward, and hit a bell hanging from the ceiling. Brian leapt inside, swinging his gun in both directions, followed closely by Zach, who had his own pistol out. Nothing stirred.
Letting a sigh of relief out, they took stock of the store in front of them.
“Holy shit!” Brian said, picking up a nearly full box of Reese’s Pieces. “Kyle’s gonna love us!” A few cans of Spam sat on another shelf, untouched, and those too were taken.
“Here, put them in this,” Zach said, grabbing a white plastic thank you bag from behind the counter.
“There’s beer!” Brian said, opening a glass cooler. “Man, I wish we had brought a cart.”
“We’ll get the wheelbarrow.” They both walked back around to the back of the building and, using the butt of the rifle to chip away at the ice surrounding it.
“Shh!” Zachariah said, standing up and looking into the woods. He heard the noise again, something was moving through the woods nearby. “Come on,” he said as he snuck off toward the sound.
The crawled through the snow and fallen leaves and before Zach had even seen the movement, Brian had pulled the trigger on his shotgun.
“Yeah!” Whooped Brian, breaking into a run through the trees.
Ears still ringing, Zach stood up and watched as Brian knelt down and picked up a wild turkey from the ground.
“We caught some dinner. Let’s get the rest of the stuff and get back.” Brian said, smiling from ear to ear.
Quietly, they made there way back into the shop and continued to raid, grabbing two cases of Bud Light from the cooler. “We should take more,” Brian said, setting the second box in the bottom of the wheelbarrow.
“No, we need the room for the rest of this stuff.” Zachariah threw a pair of small medical kits in, followed by a box of fishing hooks and two spools of twenty-five pound fishing line. “Grab those,” He pointed towards three fishing poles leaning against a wall. Adding a net for good measure, they began to make a pile of things that would not fit. Granola bars, bags of chips and beef jerky all got thrown in with the other food. “One last place to check,” he said as he made his way behind the counter. He knelt down, disappearing from Brian’s view. “Oh hell yeah!” He exclaimed, standing back up, holding a shotgun. He checked it, determined it was loaded and carefully handed it across to Brian. “There’s ammo down here too,” he said kneeling down again. “Ooh,” he added as he pulled the four boxes of shells from the shelves. “Look what I just found!” He pulled a pair of unopened bottles of rum from deep beneath the counter and set them atop it.
“Damn, score!” Brian said. “How are we going to get this all back?”
Zach laughed, “Very carefully,” he said, setting the boxes of ammunition atop everything else in the wheelbarrow and then adding the rum. He then took the new shotgun from Brian. “He’s got to have a strap for it here somewhere,” he said, circling around a row of shelves. “This’ll do.” He said as he picked a black leather belt from a small rack, fastened it to the gun, and slung it over the shoulder. “Ok, do you want the fishing rods or the wheelbarrow?”
Brian looked over everything and settled with the rods, picking the three of them up and stepping
outside. Carefully, Zach balanced the load and followed suit, pushing out into the center of the dirt road. “Now that I’m moving, I’m not going to stop unless I have to.” He said over his shoulder as Brian collected the dead turkey and ran to catch up.
“We did good,” he said, and Zach nodded his agreement. “Yeah we did.”
They managed to make it back to the road without tipping the wheelbarrow, despite the fact that Zach slipped once, forcing Brian to use his hip to steady it.
“This is going to be fun,” Zach said as he began the push up the steep hill his companions had ascended earlier in the day.