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Story at a Campfire by Kyle Shultz

A fire crackles softly in the night. Howls of animals in the distance. Wind slightly breezes through the area.
    “Perfect night for camping,” a rough voice says to himself as he pokes at the fire. The man with the rough voice leans back and takes in the scenery & sound of the nature surrounding him. The sound of crunching leaves approaches the campsite, startling the man with the rough voice.
    “Who’s there?!” the rough voice calls out as he reaches for his gun. The sound of leaves crunches once more, the man points his gun towards the direction the sound originates from. “I’m only going to ask this once more. Who is there?” the man says as he cocks his rifle back, taking a position, ready to fire.
    “WHOA!! WHOA!! I’m not going to harm you!! I’m friendly!!” a voice in the distance trembles as words escape its mouth. “Mind if I warm my bones? I’ve been walking a while and I’m injured.”
    “Sorry, I’m not used to the company but sure, you can rest for a bit. I’ve got some things that can help you.” The man with the rough voice says as he sets his rifle down, “I apologize about the gun. You startled me, plus I’ve heard stories about this area. Was told to be on my toes if I’m out here,” he says as he hands the man a first aid kit and a bottle of whiskey.
    “Oh, whoever told you that is correct. That’s why I’m injured. Ya see I’m no hunter or anything of the sort, just a normal fella out for a stroll, I took a wrong turn down the road up there and ran into something...unpleasant. Name’s Tobias, by the way! Yours?”
    “Jonathan. The name is Jonathan. What attacked you? You look like you were bitten by a wolf or something.” Jonathan sits down across him.
    “Ohhhhh,” Tobias says with a pained chuckle, “You’d think it was a wolf by the looks of it, at least a dog. But this was something else. It had these pointed years, Tufts a fur, a lot like a Lynx, but a muzzle like a German Shepard. It starred me down yipped and barked as I stood there just shocked at what was in front of me. I thought ‘Maybe if I stay still it won’t see me’ but nope. It didn’t help at all. Damn thing barked one time, I ran for the hills and the darn thing caught up to me and just started attacking me.”
    “Holy hell,” Jonathan says with a questionable look on his face, “How’d you escape? I mean, you’re pretty banged up and everything, but you had to have killed it or something.”
    “Oh, that was the easiest part,” Tobias says as he drinks a shot a whiskey, “Oh boy, this certainly helps with the pain, but as this creature was gnawing on me like I was his dinner, because boy I was close to being dinner, I was near a busted tree. The thing had limbs and branches all over the place. I simply took a branch and whacked a good one and off it went.” Tobias puts the first aid kit down and places the whiskey next to it. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to have any food? If it’s no trouble with me to ask.”
    “Food? Oh yeah, I’ve got some cooked rabbit and squirrel in the tent, hold on a second,” Jonathan gets up and heads towards the tent. “It sounds like you were in quite the trouble earlier, sounds like you ought to bring a gun with you, at least a pistol. You never know what’s out there. Animal or not.”
    As Jonathan turns around he sees Tobias with his rifle pointed at him. “Dammit...should’ve seen this coming...” Tobias slowly cocks the rifle back.
    “Now, I’m sorry to do this, but I need more than just some food and a shot of whiskey or two. I’m going to need you to give me all you got, food, money and all,” Tobias speaks with a bit nervousness catching up to him.
    “All right,” Jonathan says, “Let’s just take it easy, have you ever used one of those before?” he says with his hands calmly at his hips.
    “Uhm, no...but I see my Dad and Brother shoot plenty of rodents at the farm a bit when I was younger. Shouldn’t take much! Now I’m serious, and I apologize sir, but just hurry and give me all that’s on your person, I’ll leave you with what’s in your tent.”
    “Right,” Jonathan quickly pulls a revolver out of his back and squeezes the trigger, Tobias wasn’t sure what hit him. Quick and painless. Jonathan places the revolver back into its spot in his belt. Starts to drag Tobias’ body away from the campsite.
    “It’s like I said Tobias, you should at least carry a gun with you. You never know what’s out there.”
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