Wishes were fishes, and I was swimming. Three more people doubled our manpower, even if they could only watch with bows in hand. I made sure never to hand out more than one bow, of course, but none of us had been shot yet, so that was something.
Of course, proving that I wasn’t full of crap by having us double up for a few days so that the new blood could see just what our merry little settlement was like had gone a long way to foster the spirit of cooperation. Nothing like realizing the person walking next to you was the only one who didn’t have a vested interest in gutting you to tweak your attitude.
Two of the newbies still didn’t like that I was in charge, but since all the rest of us backed me, there wasn’t really much they could do. The cabin we completed yesterday probably helped with that too, but I wasn’t exactly around to ask. Instead I was working on beach front property, well out of the range of wagging tongues.
They had a new member too, who swore he was a were-dolphin, and swam like it. He swam a bit too much though, when he should be helping out. Martin seemed to be torn between helping out and watching, but at least he was trying.
It was time to stop anyway, the sun was beginning to set. I could set much better hours now for the most part. It was kind of refreshing. Sal was enjoying it too; Gerald was manning the store. He wasn’t as good in a fight as we were, but he didn’t really need to be; attacking him would be starting a war. He was the pawn to my king, technically, not that he would like that comparison.
Or think I knew how to play chess. For some reason, Gerald still thought I was an idiot about some things, even if the first few days had cured him of much of that.
I worked my way around the town through the forest; no bike meant I had to be careful. Gerald, Don, and Sal were using them now, which meant short of an obvious emergency the rest of us were stuck walking. I was half tempted to revive my car, but Les wanted to try salvaging a few more bikes first. Really, he was welcome to it, and I hoped against hope it would keep him out of trouble.
I was fairly sure I wasn’t seen skirting the town – but I was being followed anyway. I was pretty sure it was the same guy I’d tried to catch following me on and off the last week and change, but as usual I couldn’t get a fix on him. And just as usual, he followed me most of the way home and then veered off. I’d long since given up trying to lay traps for whoever it was; they had avoided every single one.
It was good the guy wasn’t a wolf; if he had been, I’d have been disappeared already. I just wish I knew who it was.
I knew I could catch him… if I wanted to risk more people doing it, and commit more resources.
Still, an issue for another day. I made it home and no one stuck me on accident, so it was a win there.
Speaking of arrows, Natalie had been busy making them since I showed her how. We almost had enough for a siege now, and would by the end of the week. That and we had enough tinder wood shavings to light fires through the winter.
“Any news?” Nat had also started checking the news feeds on the internet more or less every day, using my computer. The newbies knew something was up, but they didn’t know where the power was going just yet, and none of them were in earshot.
“The bill to free us reached the house, they are going to vote on it tonight.”
I didn’t hold out much hope for the American process, but some people had managed to get a bill proposed to make the camp we’d been sent to illegal, and another to declare anyone considered a were human. Despite that step and the country’s history, there wasn’t a lot of support for the bill. At least not from what I’d read.
In a way, it was nice to see the country unite on something. In another way, it was stupid that they were united against the rights of a section of citizens.
Nat shared my pessimism. That was why she was making arrows.
“Well, I’m going to nap. Wake me if something happens.”
Nat nodded but worked her mouth a few times.
“Okay, what? Out with it.”
“Do you really think we can resist if the Wolves come for us?”
That was all? “I think we can resist if the Wardens come for us. Unless they shell us or something, we’ve got a really good chance. All you have to do is wake me up first so I can show you everything.”
She grinned. “Right, because you play your cards close to the vest. Will do, bossman.”
Which meant she’d make me pay later unless I missed my guess. Oh well, it could wait.
The cabin was empty, so I just undressed and put night clothes on; everyone was outside. We all needed time to unwind, but we couldn’t yet. Not until winter. I wondered who was on wood duty; we needed enough for two cabins now, and no one would want to cut firewood in winter.
Hm, I should include fireplaces of some kind in the homes of people I liked. I wonder who had thought of it yet.
Nat burst in, slamming the poor door. “We got trouble.”
“Just come on, outside.”
I jumped up and followed her. Les was right outside, an arrow nocked and his bow trained on a guy that I vaguely recognized. He was a rat.
“You’re a long way from home, guy.”
“Sorry to trespass, but I got some news you’ll probably want to hear.”
“Alright, out with it. And maybe tell us how you found the place while you’re at it.” We wouldn’t be killing him or anything, but it was super awkward to have him here.
The rat took a deep breath and all but bellowed it out in his thin, reedy voice. “The wolves have a new handy-man.”