Chapter 21

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Sarah glanced down at the trail camera in her hand, then back up to the salesman behind the counter. They had left the city early that morning to make the long drive back up north. Jason was still sleeping in the car and she didn’t have the heart to wake him when she pulled into the sporting goods store. Sarah left the car running and walked quickly inside, following the signs directly to the back to find the hunting section. She wanted to load up on game cameras and then pick up a few camping supplies they hadn’t brought along.

“So all you have to do is hang this on a tree and it will do the rest, right? Do you know how good it is at taking pictures at night,” Sarah inquired.

Sarah thought the clerk looked like the type to spend a lot of time hunting, a heavyset middle aged man with a wind burned face and a thick black beard spotted with grey, he looked to her like a real life mountain man that had been dragged kicking and screaming into civilization and forced to work in an alien world of fluorescent lights and pre-packaged food. She decided instantly she would trust any advice he gave her. He took the package from her with a calloused hand and flipped it over to show her the example pictures on the back. “Yep, this one’s probably the best one you can buy for that. It has better night vision than some of the more expensive cameras and not enough bells and whistles to confuse you. If you want to make sure you get a good shot of whatever it is your looking for, I’d say get some bait and leave it about ten feet in front of the camera. With some food down the animals won’t pay any attention to the camera, plus it don’t make any noise when it’s snapping pictures. Just make sure you check it every week and put new batteries in it every month. The best thing to do is leave the camera alone and only go there to download the pictures every few days. It’ll take a day or two for your scent to go away depending on if it rains or not. If they smell ya they may not come around and you wasted your money.”

Satisfied, Sarah took the camera back and pointed to the couple left on the shelves. “I think I can manage that. Are these all you have or are there any in the back? I’d like to buy as many as possible,” Sarah told the clerk.

            “Sorry that’s all we have, you want me to order you some more? They’d probably come in in a day or two,” he asked.

            “No thanks, I’m in a hurry to get out there and start anyways. I’m sure this will be enough.” Sarah handed her credit card over and waited for him to ring it through. The plan was to go into the woods off the main trails, and try to set up camp in as remote a location as they could find. Then put the cameras in a large circle around the camp with some piles of meat around them. With any luck, they could be out in the woods and getting things ready before dark.

            “You know, it’s kind of early to start scouting for deer. Hunting season ain’t for months and by then they may not even be using the same trails. The big bucks tend to wander during the rut.” The clerk said as he bagged the rest of the cameras.

            “Oh, I’m not doing this for hunting, just doing some research on whatever else I can find out there,” she said casually.

            The big man shrugged his shoulders and handed her a receipt to sign. “Well good luck with whatever you’re doing,” he said

            She signed her slip and glanced at her phone as he tied off the tops of the bags, stuffing her copy of the receipt inside. They didn’t have much longer until they got to the trailhead and it was only about eight in the morning, and they still needed to get some more food for camp. They had only packed up a weeks worth of food and she didn’t want Jason to have an excuse to make her leave any earlier than she wanted. She wasn’t planning on coming out of the woods until she got her picture.

“Hey, do you have any freeze dried food here? Maybe some iodine tablets too,” she asked.

“Yeah, a few isles down, do you want me to keep your bags here while you check,” he offered.

“Yes, thank you, I won’t be long,” she said, eager to get back on the road.

She walked down a few isles and was happy to see they had a lot of choices for meals. She quickly picked out about a week and a half worth of freeze dried meals, stopping long enough to grab an empty cart to throw everything into. Scanning down the shelves further she found the iodine tablets and a small set of aluminum cookware. She grabbed two packets of the tablets and a set of the cookware, then threw in a pack of waterproof matches in case their lighters died or got lost.

They had been camping a lot before, so they had most of what they would need, but she knew from experience that it never hurt to be sure. She brought the rest of the supplies to the counter and handed her card over once more. Signing her second credit card slip of the day, she threw all the bags into her cart and made her way out of the store. Just before leaving she looked over at the stack of local newspapers and considered picking one up, but both her hands were full and she walked past them instead. Probably nothing good in there anyways, Sarah thought.

She had never been more wrong in her entire life.

The Last of the Twenty: The Setting of the BoardWhere stories live. Discover now