by Miles Rost
The bright wintry white ground of rural Idaho was not a place for any normal man to be traveling in the middle of the night. This was forbidden lands, a hunting ground for animals and man alike. If you were one of the hunted, you were likely running scared. If you were a hunter, you were patient in your tracking.
Rick Manetti was not supposed to be one of the hunted. He was trying to find his way to a house so he could call for a tow truck. Instead, he ended up at the wrong place, in the wrong part of Idaho, at the worst possible time.
He slowly sneaked through the woods, trying to keep as silent as possible while trying to put distance between himself and his pursuers. He looked at the moon in the sky, and heard a wolf cry in the distance. He knew that he could follow the moon’s path towards the freeway, but he was likely many miles from it. He would likely die before reaching it. He looked behind him, and kept sneaking. He heard a similar wolf-like call, but one that was more like a whistle. He knew that his stalkers were not too far away from him.
He stepped over a large log. As he tried to swing his leg over, he stumbled and fell forward. The noise he made wasn’t massive, but it was enough to hear the sound of rustling a distance away. He looked up, and he knew they were near. He looked to both sides, and behind him. Seeing distant lamps, he scrambled up onto his feet and took off running the way he was originally going.
With a couple of barks from a dog behind him, the chase was now on.
Rick ran as quick as he could, looking for anything that could remove his scent or help him in slowing down the pursuers. He went through the trees quickly, and before too long, he found himself looking at a wide expanse of white. A clearing, a field, or even a lake; whatever it was, Rick was going to run through it.
He ran as fast as his heart could stand, and he felt like he was putting distance between his pursuers. He kept going as far as he could, until he had to slow down. By this time, he cleared about 3/4 of the gigantic clearing. He looked behind him and didn’t see lights.
“I pray that I lost them,” he said to himself, aloud.
Just then he heard the unmistakable click-clack of a bullet being loaded into a shotgun. Off to his left the sound came, and as he looked, he saw two men and a woman with weapons in hand.
“Who the hell are you?” the larger of the two men demanded, focusing keen eyes on his target.
“I’m a motorist, I’ve been chased by these crazy guys for going on 3 hours now. Are you one of them?”
“We’re not. Again, who the hell are you?”
Rick gave him his social security number
“Follow us. We’ll get you away from the crazy weed barons.”
“Wait…why should I follow you?”
“We’re the Lunatic Fringe. We’re the resistance. And they are trying to kill each one of us too. You’re not the only potential victim of these joyriding murder fetishists.”
Rick was relieved. His thoughts turned from escape to punishment. And he was going to make sure they got it.