“We wanted to show you we don’t need weapons to take care of those things,” Martin said. “We can stop them without endangering ourselves.”

Mike shook his head. “Don’t you think it might be harder to hold one of those things than me?”

“No, Dad,” Kyle said. “We’ve got your arms pinned and you can’t reach us with your teeth or feet.”

“Yeah, go ahead, Scouter Mike,” Ricky said. “Try to get us!”

Mike waited for a few moments before he suddenly lunged toward Ricky. He managed a step before Martin, Todd and Kyle braced their feet to stop him. No matter how hard he pulled, he couldn’t get any closer to Ricky.

Mike tried to quickly reverse direction and go after Todd but was stopped by the other three Scouts. Once again he only managed a step or two before they stopped him. He tried for several minutes, pulling and jerking against the ropes. At best he moved a few feet with the Scouts moving with him.

“Okay, guys. I’m convinced. You can stop a single person. But, as you’ve seen, they usually travel in groups. What are you going to do if that comes up?”

“We thought about that too,” Todd said. “The long rope means we can make a barrier and still stay far enough back to avoid them. If there are several of the creatures, we can use the ropes to pull them together into a tighter group. Once they are together, we can wrap them up the same way we did you.”

Mike thought about that. It could work. “Fair enough, Todd. But what are you going to do with them? You can’t get close enough to tie off the ropes to keep them tied together.”

“I suppose we could pull them toward a cliff or something,” Todd said.

“We cut their heads off,” Kyle said quietly. “From what I’ve seen, they can’t survive without heads. Even smashing them in would work.”

The boy’s matter-of-fact speech sent a chill down Mike’s spine. Mike had to take a moment to collect himself before he spoke. “Cut off their heads? You would really do that?”

Kyle shrugged. “What else is there to do? Do you think we can save these things?”

“I don’t know, Kyle. They were people once. I’m sure of that.”

“Except, people need their guts to live,” Kyle said. “You’ve seen some that have no stomachs, hearts or anything and they are still walking around. Could you save one of them?”

“No,” Mike said. “But you are all forgetting something. I said no axes or knives.”

“Fine, Scouter Mike,” Martin said. “But we can still smash their skulls with chunks of wood or bats or whatever we have.”

“That might work,” Mike said. “I suppose. If Steve is right, Connall did die from banging his head against the side of the van. But are you sure that’s something you want to do?”

“We can always run away if something goes wrong,” Ricky said. “They don’t seem to move very fast.”

“I think you fellas might be on to something,” Mike said. “I would still want you geared up with gloves and the rest to minimize any risk.”

“We can do that,” Martin said.

“We’ve got to be ready to do something,” Kyle said.

“I suppose that’s true, but I don’t want you guys going out looking for trouble!”

“We won’t, Dad,” said Kyle. “But we do need to be ready in case something happens. We talked about it and you are right. Some of the Scouts could act stupid and get hurt if we gave them axes and knives. They can get hurt without them too. We just want to make sure we have some way to deal with these creatures ourselves.”

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