Two other guys followed Jesse around to make one side full of the circle. The rest of the hunting group followed me the other way to complete it.
Another requirement to be in the hunting party was to be silent. If you made one wrong mistake or any kind of sound, then you were doomed to scare away our prey. In the big city, every single tiny noise is echoed and put into full hearing rang of the herd. So even when there’s another group within 50 feet of us, they could jeopardize out hunt, and sometimes did.
It was a dog eat dog world now. No little fairy tales and loves stories of the perfect life that has no problems or gaps in it. It was war, every man for himself, or better yet said, every Clan for itself. If you even tried to live a normal life, someone would end up killing you. If you weren’t willing to live this complicated savage life, then you might as well give yourself to the Stores, that’s what Jesse always said.
With our circle complete, I could see Jesse directly in front of me, and he nodded. I nodded back and then he lifted up his long 22’ shotgun and pointed it straight at a large 10-pointer buck. Jesse and Dad had sometimes gone hunting and Jesse was always the better hunter. Dad had always been impressed with how well Jesse could aim and handle a gun, and Jesse had taken much pride in his words.
The loud sound echoed around the large, broken buildings. As soon as the first bullet was shot, everyone in line of the circle hurried to shoot their guns, before the startled herd got away from us. It was like when in a full parking lot, when one car alarm went off, all the others followed. We tried to get the most out of each of our hunts because our bullets were limited and we didn’t have that much to trade for more.
All Clan’s feared the Stores. They were like the leaders of the human race in the New World. They were our only chance of survival. Without them life would be much, much harder. We had to respect them, but we also feared them. They didn’t only have the ability to give, but to take.
If someone or an entire Clan treated them badly, and they did have the choice to count any behavior as badly, then they could decide between killing you or just not giving you things. And like I said, you’d probably not last for a long time without them.
Another negative thing about the Stores was that they only had one location. If you live in a distant city, then you had to travel a long way, frequently, just to stay alive.
As the noise sub-sided, only a few deer bounded off into the shadows of the surrounding buildings. Jesse smiled at me again and walked forward. Everyone else followed to gather our kill.
“Good job, Rachel, you getting better at your aim. You almost shot down that doe.” Jesse’s strong sure voice built me up every time I heard it.
I smiled back at him as we examined our slaughter. Three bucks and two does. That was enough to get us past two weeks, at least. Grabbing the deer, together we dragged them back to our Territory.
Territories are a piece of ground that your Clan claims. Normally, your Territory range depends on your number in your Clan. If you are a larger Clan, then you can have more claim because you have more people to defend it. If your Clan is smaller, then less land would be more acceptable for you to watch over. Territory is one of the main reasons why Raids happen.
If your Territory is a good spot, then Others are going to try and take over your claim. If you’re a small group with a large piece of land that is overly populated with food, or near the Stores, then large Clans will try to take over it, and your small Clan can’t stop them.
If it’s your Territory, then Others aren’t supposed to come onto it, but of course, no one listens to that. You’re only suppose to hunt on your territory, but in this large city, there aren’t a lot of claimed pieces of land, so most everyone here just leaves their land and comes onto the unclaimed part to hunt.
That’s what we did today. But that won’t last, because people are flocking in by the hundreds and soon this place will be line against line of territories and there is going to be wars when people can’t find enough food on their own ground and will venture onto Others Territory.
That’s always a big problem in cities. Soon or later, people and Clans will leave or just die out and then that land will be back up for grabs for the new comers or added onto the Others that were already here’s land.
When Jesse, Kyle and I had chosen this city to stay in, we all agreed that we should
find a piece of land that was near water and had good strong shelter. Storms didn’t happen often, but when they did, we didn’t want to lose all of our supplies to the wind and rain.
After a few days of walking around and figuring out which pieces of land were up for grabs, the hard way, Jesse found a good amount of ground only a quarter of a mile away for a lake, which could be easily walked.
On the land, there was a somewhat tall building, with a tough roof and sturdy walls, surrounded by a 10-foot tall wire fence. That’s exactly what we were looking for. Within ten days of finding it, we had moved in and made the place as comfortable as it could be, with 12 teenagers living in it and one crazy 11 year old. That was almost 7 months ago.
Now as we were walking back to our Territory, I saw why Jesse had been so glad and desperate to find a place with a fence.
I heard a vicious snarl from around a dumpster, only about 25 feet away from where we stood with our fresh meat. The feral dogs looked hungry and I was terrified. We swung the gate open and rushed in, right before they attacked. Breathing heavily from such a quick rush, Jesse said,
“And that’s why we have a fence.”
I looked over my shoulder to see the full pack of the dogs. There were over 30 of them, and they were as thin as a twig. Their ribs were sticking out so far; I could swear that I could see the blood moving slowly under their skin. Their fur was only in patches, if any, and their eyes were red with anger and starvation. The faces on those poor dogs would have normally made me throw all the food over the fence to them, but like I said before, no one else matters but your Clan. I turned around, hastily, and followed after the rest of the group into the side door of our home.
To be continued...