“You’re gonna leave already?”
“Yea I got a lot of stuff to work on”
“Damn,” Dylan said in a melancholic voice. John stood staring at Dylan for a while waiting for a little more. Dylan looked almost as if he was thinking, and nervously glanced around, refusing to make eye contact with John. John finally turned and began making his way to his car. “You know I was thinking,” Dylan suddenly said “We should hang out more. Ever since high school I felt like we really stuck well together. You’ve been a great friend to me and I guess I have to you too. I just really wish we could hang out more considering we’re pretty much all we have for each other in life right now.”
He was right. John and Dylan had hung out to the end of days. While Dylan was a little bit of an oddball, with his long and black hair that hung down his face, as well as his earbuds and black hoodie he consistently wore, he still was a friend that stuck around John even in the worst of times. They had huge amounts of hobbies in common, especially hunting. When they were just in high school, John and Dylan would go out hunting together by themselves out in the snow. Dylan was not a very social person and John was quite possibly his only friend. John had other friends that were undoubtedly better, but he didn’t want to just leave Dylan in the dust. Now that John was being accused of poor friendship, he had to do something.
“Come to think of it Dylan… You’re right.” Dylan’s face lighted up like a lamp. “I’ve got a hunting trip this weekend with my other good friend Cruz. I think if you came it would be really great.” John offered
“Let’s do it.” Dylan said willingly.
John looked forward maintaining eye contact with the road as he drove. He was focused, but ready for the forest.
“What’s your name?” Cruz asked from the front seat. He was spun around in the front seat, his chest was facing the back and his head hung over the shoulder of the seat bearing his eyes down on Dylan.
“Dylan,” Dylan responded with his head down, staring at his phone on some sort of social media in the back seat of the car.
“What was that?” Cruz asked again.
Dylan didn’t respond, John couldn’t tell if he was ignoring him or couldn’t hear him through the music of his earbuds.
“Hey buddy,” Cruz began roughly tapping his shoulder from the front seat. Dylan looked up confused.
“You heard him. Get back in your seat.” John snapped.
Cruz receded back to his seat slowly from his upright position and sat looking straight forward.
“John, Is this some sort of joke?” Cruz said after a brief moment of silence
“What?” John said. Cruz motioned backwards, referring to Dylan.
“Dude he’s right there, he can hear you.” Dylan looked up for a moment but then continued to look at his phone.
“He can’t hear anything through those earbuds, he’s probably blasting some stupid metal music.”
“Cruz trust me, Dylan knows what he’s doing. He can help us.”
“How is he gonna help. Look at his phone in one hand and shoot at something with the other.” Cruz said sarcastically
“Just go with it. If anything we might get some good experience off this guy,” John maintained eye contact with the road, refusing to look at Cruz. I really hope Dylan keeps his cool around Cruz. John thought.
Dylan was a strange one, but John couldn’t blame him around someone like Cruz. Cruz always wore a snapback and had blonde wavy hair that hung under his hat like an unfinished waterfall. His eyes were deep blue and his face was freckled. Cruz was a good friend, but maybe not very secure as a person.
“We’re here” John said,
“Finally. I’m starting to feel the heat emanating from this guy’s phone in the back.” Cruz said.
John shot him an appealing look, but he was impervious.
The moment the car stopped at the trailhead, Dylan shoved his phone in his pocket with his earbuds still in and jumped out of the car. He was in the back ready to go before us and began walking out to take a seat on a log. John and Cruz followed close behind when they were ready. John pulled out my Model 70 and began loading the gun with .270. Out of his baggage Dylan pulled out a Model 99 and we marveled while he loaded his .140 bullets. Cruz unwillingly pulled out his Beanfield Remington and Dylan smirked.
As they began walking into the forest Dylan said something for the first time in a while.
“How long you been doing this stuff for?” He asked Cruz in a regal tone.
“Pretty much all my life,” Cruz said proudly. John knew that wasn’t true, but he didn’t want to say anything.
“Really?” Dylan smiled and looked back, continuing to set up.
“What?” Cruz said in an accusing tone
“If you’ve been doing this all your life, tell me why you’re using 7mm for that rifle and not 300 remington for hunting big game?”
“We’re not hunting anything big, how stupid can you be. If you think you’re so ‘Mr. Professional’ at this then let’s see who brings back the best game huh?”
“Whatever dude I’m just trying to give suggestions.” Dylan looked away ignoring a response
“Great, this guy thinks giving a straight up insult is a suggestion. Go fuck yourself.” Cruz said
“I literally asked a question. How is that an insult?” Dylan returned to the argument
“Guys, shut up. You’re being so loud you’re scaring everything in this forest.” John snapped at them both.
“Wow, that’s a lot coming from a little guy like you… huh, John? Where were you when this social retard was talking about some stupid shit about 7mm bullets.” While Cruz mocked Dylan, John was becoming angry. Dylan didn’t hear Cruz’s remark through his music, but began walking in the opposite direction. John became furious, but held it in.
“Let’s just go get some game and forget about this whole thing.”
John followed Dylan in his direction and Cruz hesitated.
“Let’s go.” John demanded.
Cruz sighed and reluctantly followed behind.
They walked through the forest and the sun began to shine down brighly on them. Sun rays began shining through the redwood leaves and left spots of shade and spots of sun marked across the ground. Pine needles layered the ground; they stuck into John’s shoes and stang his feet as he walked. Dylan shaded the sun with his hand from his face like a vampire melting in the light.
“Wait! everyone quiet!” Dylan whispered.
Everyone ducked under and awaited a command.
“What is it?” Cruz said.
Dylan slumped onto the ground slowly and laid his rifle on a conveniently angled log in front of him. He angled upwards towards the sky, drew in his breath and adjusted his scope. Just as Dylan pushed his finger on the trigger, Cruz stumbled across a jagged log branch and fell onto his side, creating a huge thumping noise that seemed to echo through the forest. Dylan took the shot and the sound echoed, following close suit of Cruz’s pathetic descent.
“You’re fucking kidding me!” Dylan shouted “of all the goddamn times you have to fall down you ruin my shot here and now” Dylan got up and walked past Cruz pushing him out of the way
“It wasn’t my fault, okay?” Cruz spun around “I was moving so I could make less noise,and this log was in the way.”
“Ok, yea, a log was in the way.” Dylan mocked Cruz and turned around to face him “Great excuse you fucking clumsy piece of shit!”
“Don’t be such a retard about it. It was just some squirrel anyways you egghead!” Cruz walked towards Dylan and gave him a shove. Dylan retaliated and shoved Cruz away
“Stop this. What the fuck are you two doing?” John sprang up in a fury. “First of all, stop being so offended about a stupid squirrel, Dylan. Secondly, Cruz stop being such a raging asshole to Dylan. It’s not even funny anymore. I just wanted to come out here and have a good fucking hunt you two and stop being a hermit. But you two are ruining this with your stupid arguments!” John stood his ground “You know what? Im done. I’m tired, and I’m going home with or without you guys.” John proceeded to walk in the opposite direction.
There was a long pause. “This is all your fault.” Dylan said directed at Cruz.
“My fault? My fault?!” Cruz complained “you’re the one who attacked me first!”
“Oh, no! I asked you a question! This is life threatening!” Dylan mocked him.
“You indirectly threw an insult at me, so you started it!” Cruz was being serious now.
John continued walking away blocking out the situation.
“Oh I’m so cool with my professional hunting skills I can shoot squirrel out of a tree!” he continued.
“And now we’re mocking each other like kindergarteners.” Dylan said hypocritically.
“You just mocked me, you braindead idiot!” Cruz yelled.
“You know what? I’m done playing your games.” Dylan picked up his gun with one hand and hooked it under his elbow, accidently pointing it at Cruz. Cruz taking it as a threat picked up his gun and fired in Dylan’s direction. Cruz stepping back, almost as if he misfired and accidentally shot, looked up and saw Dylan fall face first onto the ground. John looked back and yelled,
“What the fuck did you do?!”
John pursued Cruz back to the trailhead, grabbed him by the collar, and pinned him against a tree.
“I-, I don’t… It was an accident”
“What did you do?!” John took a moment to look back. But Cruz pushed John out of the way and before John could react, cruz was sprinting full speed in the other direction into the forest.
John glanced back towards Dylan and took action.
He ran to Dylan and flipped him on his side trying to cover up the bleed wound. Dylan was either unconscious or dead, but John still was convinced to hold onto his life.
“HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!” John began yelling almost a mile into the forest
John’s eyes began to tear up and he broke down at the trailhead.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have just abandoned you. I’m sorry for what I brought you into, I’m so sorry.” John thought.
“I should’ve stood up for you during those times you were being put down…”
John looked up and saw people coming from up the hill in urgency of his call. He put his head down and prayed...
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