All we had wanted to do was get to Bill’s. Do some planning, train a little, break into a couple different “teams”, as well as organize how we would make this long trip on foot. Actually, we had to finalize the route as well. The quickest and easiest would be up I-25 for 145 miles to Hwy 60 and then west for another 180 miles. Easy right?
But, we had more at Bill’s than we had even dreamed about…none of it good.
We walked all night, and that wasn’t easy considering the kids. Well, some of the adults weren’t really ready for it either. It was tough. And we were so unreal unorganized I was amazed that we even made it at all. After a several hour rest starting right before sunrise we made it close to Bill’s right about mid-day. Many were tired. I wasn’t really too tired, just stressed.
A couple of us met up and I told Jared how to travel the last leg of the route to Bill’s. He had volunteered to go ahead of us and scope it out. Actually he had been scouting out in front our group the whole time. He wasn’t walking point, he was further out than that. That gave me a huge measure of relief and confidence.
He called me off to the side just as we were going to make the last two-mile portion of the trip. He said there was big trouble at Bill’s cabin. After he told me about it I was sick to my stomach, but it wasn’t anything new in this world or really much of a surprise. We quickly, maybe too quickly, decided on a plan of action. We would take Matt and Jim with us and clear the area first. Then Jared would come back and get everyone else while Jim, Matt, and I secured the cabin and cleaned up the mess.
Even though Jared had explained it all I wasn’t really prepared to deal with it as we glassed the little box canyon that held Bill’s cabin. I saw Bill and his wife tied to the poles. The poles were originally put up for the intention to hang deer from while the lucky hunter field dressed or butchered their kill. They had never been used for that purpose. I had only ever seen them used to hang Linda’s party decorations when folks gathered at the cabins on the weekends or holidays. Today my cousin and his wife hung from them. I was pissed.
I could tell Bill was still alive, his wife I didn’t think so. The men were already stinking drunk and rowdy. I confirmed from Jared’s count that there were five of them. While I was getting a feel for their movements one of them went over and peed on Bill’s legs. While he was doing that two more walked over to his wife and just beat on her with decent sized pieces of firewood. Bill struggled and yelled something at them. His wife never moved. I am sure she was already dead judging by the looks of her body and head.
The cabin area never looked worse. There was garbage strew everywhere along with clothes and pieces of furniture from the cabin. The place was a total wreck. I couldn’t even being to judge how long they must have been there living that nightmare. My best guess was maybe two or three days, possibly longer.
Bill was thrashing around but really couldn’t do much. First off he is in his 70’s. And add to that that his feet barely touched the ground. But somehow he managed to kick one of the guys. Before I could react the guy pulled out his knife and cut both of Bill’s legs deep. Bill never screamed.
Jared was to be the first one to shoot once he was in position. Then Matt, Jim and I would open fire. Each of us had a primary target assigned to us and a secondary. We would shoot the first target, then shoot the second target regardless of whether the second target had already been shot or not, and then shoot the primary target again. Preferably as he lay on the ground bleeding out. Jared thought that this would give every target three chances of not just getting shot, but killed.
I heard Jared shoot, I shot, I heard the others. We all shot three times at each target. I know Jared didn’t have to, but he did. The three of us held our positions scanning the area for any unseen threats while Jared verified that each bad guy was dead. Jared went down there, never touched one of them, just put a bullet in each one’s head.
Bill was dead by the time we got down there. Mercifully, his wife had been dead for a while. Unspeakable things had been done to both. We buried them. Jared head back to get the group while the three of us kicked it into gear to clean up the mess. We rotated a person on security to watch over us, we didn’t want any surprises.
We were exhausted by the time the group came into view. They honestly looked like refugees as they walked into the cabin area. Well, I guess we actually were refugees. And our journey had barely begun. Twelve miles down…313 miles to escape home walking to a place of safety. This is going to be a long couple of months. We aren’t ready for it, I know not everyone is going to make it. This isn’t going to be good.
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