An Incidental Reckoning

An Incidental Reckoning by Greg Walker Read Free Book Online

Book: An Incidental Reckoning by Greg Walker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Greg Walker
knives and forks and some water poured from a jug, they sat down to eat. He heard one bike kick over, and then the second, and then the bikers passed by. Will turned around and waved as they passed. Jon looked up, expecting the finger, but they waved in return. Such a bizarre experience. Maybe he'd try to analyze it later, probably even laugh about it when he told Erin. But for now he felt only relief when they reached the highway and rode off in a deafening bray. He listened to the sound of their departure fade with each second until gone, the camp left in peace.
    "Thank goodness for that."
    "Yeah," Will replied, and Jon felt some satisfaction at the relief echoed on his friend's face. His own desire to run bothered him more than he could admit.
    "Do some more fishing today?"
    "Sure. Why not? Place has been something of a disappointment. Not just because of them, but nothing to do around here but fish. I say we go somewhere else next time."
    They packed up their gear and left to find a stream, the mood much lighter now that the population of Ravensburg had shrunk back down to two.

Chapter 5

    The weather had taken a turn. A thick blanket of clouds rolled across the sky, and without the sun to warm them, the air grew too cool for the t-shirts they wore while following the course of the stream. They had each hooked a few trout, but this time released them. The run in with the bikers still colored Jon's mood. The more he considered it, the more their behavior seemed calculated. It seemed personal. But he knew he had never seen them before, couldn't imagine beyond messing with them for fun what motive lay behind their behavior. Some people were just like that, he knew only too well.
    He thought again about leaving, and not just to somewhere else but going home. They had paid for another night, but Jon was willing to lose some money for peace of mind, a bargain really. With all of Will's talk about cowardice, and coming too close to having it proved one way or another, he wanted to return and lose himself in his life where things like this didn't happen; the events of most days predictable and nothing more required except to get up, go to work, talk with Erin a little bit at dinner, read or watch TV, maybe make love and then go to sleep. He'd had enough excitement, and wanted to escape before they met a tribe of backwoods hunters with plans to make him squeal like a pig.
    Driving back to the campsite, the interior of his car smelling strongly of fish and sweat, he said to Will, "What would you say to calling it a camping trip and heading back tonight?"
    "I'd say you were reading my mind. I didn't want to mention it in case you thought I was afraid...but since they're gone, I guess it doesn't matter now."
    "Oh, get off it, Will." He said it more sharply than intended, but the whole machismo thing had worn thin.
    "I know maybe it isn't so important to you," Will said quietly, "but I want to believe that I'm still a man, and if I have to prove that, I will. If only for me. I held my ground and I think I was willing to fight if it came to that, so I'm okay for now."
    "You did fine. And I think you would again, if necessary. We were kids. You need to let it go."
    Will looked out the window for a little while, and then said, "I know you're right. I'm sorry for making such a big deal out of this. Hey, next year you pick the campground. I don't trust myself to decide again, at least for a while."
    Jon laughed. "Yeah, you sure did good. Maybe Promised Land again?" They had camped last year at this park located in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania. Two lakes for fishing right beyond the campsite, and plenty of scenic hikes a short drive away.
    "Sounds good to me. The name is fitting after this debacle."
    "I'll be sure to bring some extra Pop-Tarts next time."
    Jon turned into the campground, and neither of them saw the bikers until they had gotten out

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