Should've Killed Me First

by Amelia May

Shadows began to lengthen as the afternoon sun dipped toward the horizon. Vin didn't move, he didn't dare. He wasn't sure how long he had remained hidden but the cool breeze that ruffled his hair was a welcomed relief. From his current perch Vin had a perfect view of the group that gathered below.

Taking in everything of the scene below and the action as well as the reaction of each person. His mind looked over every angle, his thoughts shifting from one possibility to the other on what to do. Fighting back the knowledge that they were betrayed by a supposed old friend, trying to make a name for himself. Because of that betrayal they were all gone, he was alone in this fight. His mind was set, no matter what, this fight he would win.

Decision made once he was sure the type of plan the group below would follow, as they split in half going down different paths. Easing carefully back into the under growth of the forest, Vin silently gathered what he could from nature's gifts growing all about, attaching pieces down his collar, his cuffs, button holes, small tears and rips in his jeans and in his green flannel shirt.

Using his knife and digging down in the dirt to the darker moist soil, he smeared that on his face, neck and hands. Knowing he was ready, Vin began his hunt. Heading in the direction the first group went, Vin knew it would be easier taking out the three men before going after the other ones, that had four and had followed the trail that went lower and down toward the river below.

Using all his senses while moving soundlessly through the forest, Vin knew he was close to at least one of them when he smelled the burning tobacco on the air. Slowing his steps, he took in the strength of the scent and the direction the breeze was coming from. Hearing the murmur of a voice saying 'Got to relieve myself' Vin dropped down underneath the low hanging weeping pine, and waited for his chance. Seeing legs walk by, heading to the large redwood, he eased out of his hiding place, creeping up on the one he recognized that had shot Nathan. Aiming and pulling the trigger twice in quick sections both hit their mark in kill shots. Heading back to the group that was waiting on the dead man, Vin got ahead of them and looked for what would be the best position to attack from. Spotting an old tree trunk laying partially in the path, Vin crawled over to it and laid behind it, waiting as he listened to the sound of the two men walking around, waiting for their friend. Finding a small rock, Vin tossed it and hit the small cedar, making it shake with a rattling enough to get the men’s attention.

The large fern leaves coating Vin allowed his face to stay hidden as he watched the two men come closer with slow measured steps. As they listened and searched for what had gotten their attention, Vin slowed his breathing as he felt the anticipation course through his blood. His eyes narrowed as they finally stepped over the line Vin had imagined in his mind, that they had to reach for his attack. In a blink of an eye he came up pulling the trigger at the same time, taking both men down before they could even get a shot off. That’ll teach you, Vin thought, seeing the one on the right had shot JD twice in the chest and had smiled about it.

Shaking his head, Vin focused his mind on what he still had to do. Leaving the pathway and cutting through the forest, he kept his direction going down toward the water. After twenty minutes he saw the other pathway appearing through the trees. Easing up, he slowly listened for any sounds of men, hearing nothing, Vin slowly crept up to the pathway and looked for any signs of recent travel. Seeing an empty water bottle laying off to the side, he picked it up and felt the moist cold of the plastic, showing it had been drank recently, for the sweating on the bottle to still be so evident

Heading back into the cover of the forest but keeping the pathway somewhat in view, Vin made his way parallel with it, listening for the sounds of his prey.

Seeing movement on the path, Vin stopped and dropped down.

"Can’t believe he wants us to go back track the others,” one grumbled.

"Hey, that friend of his said Tanner was up on the higher ground. Maybe we will get lucky and get him caught between us in a cross fire and take him out,” the other said as they passed the hiding Vin.

They were the ones that shot Ezra and Buck. They had laughed as they shot them again and again. The rage that ran through Vin at that moment overtook his cautious self. Coming out of the trees, he opened fire, taking both men down. As he stood there, his breathing coming out harsh as he stared at the two men laying dead in the path, Vin got his emotions under control. Realizing he was standing out in the open, he quickly ducked back into the shadows of the trees. Listening and waiting, he finally decided that the two that were left must still be a ways down the path or at the water already, for not having heard his attack.

Moving as fast as he dared, Vin made his way all the way down to the water's edge. Working his way around, he spotted the the last two standing with a third man - a man he recognized as Chris and Buck’s old friend. His anger growing at the disloyalty shown to his brothers with the betrayal, and seeing no way to get close enough to get clear shots of all three, Vin watched them as he tried to figure out what to do. Looking around one more time, he saw something that he knew would work.

+ + + + + + +

"Man did you see Larbee’s face when he and his men were cut down by you and your boys?” the man Vin recognized laughed.

"Yeah, you were right about where they all would be. Too bad we didn’t get Tanner at the same time, but my boys should be pinning him down about now. You must have had a grudge against Larbee to set him up like that?” the man asked curiously, as his last man joined them at the water’s edge.

Before an answer could be given, an explosion of water and water vines came spraying upwards, along with shots, each one hitting their mark dead center of the heart.

"Hey I’m the referee, you're not suppose to shoot me, Tanner," the man growled.

"You weren’t suppose to help any teams either. But ya told Stevens and all of Team three everything you heard when you was in our office on the reason ‘seeing your old friends.’ Larbee laid his plan and where he wanted each of us out on the map while you was there.”

You can’t prove it and either way Larbee and his team were taken down, so Larbee loses,” he laughed

Wrong. All teams are down and I’m still standing, Larbee wins. You shouldn’t have killed my team without killing me first,” Vin grinned at the paling man as he finally noticed all the men coming out of the trees now aiming there paint guns at him….

The End

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