Ancient History

Ancient History by CW Hawes

Book: Ancient History by CW Hawes Read Free Book Online
Authors: CW Hawes
Ancient History

    Night comes on quickly in the pine forests of the north woods. The shadows were lengthening and the time was only late afternoon.
    “Don’t you think we’d better pitch the tent?”
    “Sure, Garth. That’s a good idea.”
    We’d been following the old logging road for miles and we were miles from anything even remotely resembling civilization.
    “This looks like a good spot.” Garth pointed to a place a few feet off the dirt road.
    “It’ll do.”
    The spot was at the base of two pines. The pine boughs began about twenty feet up. Plenty of room for the tent.
    We set down our backpacks. Tomorrow we’d reach the abandoned logging camp. The trek in and out was the hardest part. Lugging all the crap we were carrying.
    “I’m getting too old for this.”
    Garth looked up from the tent he was beginning to assemble. “You’re the one who suggested the trip.”
    “I know. I know. Doesn’t negate that I’m getting too old to go traipsing in the woods.”
    The backpacking and hiking was my idea. I thought getting away for a few days with my younger brother would be good for us. Give us a chance to repair the past damage we’d done to our relationship. Perhaps even let bygones be bygones and start over. Perhaps.
    “Here. Let me help you,” I said and together we set up the little dome tent and the rain fly.
    When done with the tent, I collected an armload of dead pine branches and made a fire.
    “You sure that’s safe, Ron? The fire index is high.”
    “We’re here. We won’t let it get out of hand.”
    “That’s just like you. Always thumbing your nose at authority.”
    I almost said, “And that’s just like you, never thinking for yourself.” But I didn’t. This was a reconciliation trip. I tossed a twig on the fire instead.
    The only silence was that which was between us. The forest was alive with the sounds of birds and bugs. Unfortunately I’m not very good with what critter makes what noise. The one I clearly recognized was the buzz of the mosquitoes.
    “We better get out the mosquito repellent before we don’t have a drop of blood left.” I started searching through my pack.
    “Here, Ron. Use mine.”
    “Thanks.” I applied the spray, handed the bottle back, and then returned to my pack to find a couple MREs. Those I did find. “You want the Sweet and Sour Rice and Chicken or the Pasta with Garden Vegetables in Tomato Sauce?”
    “I’ll take the chicken. You don’t eat much meat, do you?”
    “No. I’m a vegetarian.”
    “Yeah, that’s right. I remember reading on your blog you’d stopped eating meat.”
    “You read my blog?” I handed him the MRE.
    “I do. Not religiously, but I check it out.” There was a pause and then, “About Amy—”
    “Amy’s ancient history, Garth.”
    In the dusky light, the dancing flames lit his face and cast shadows at the same time. We looked at each other for an eternity before he said, “Okay, Ron, she’s ancient history.”
    The flames crackled, the darkness fell, an owl hooted, and we ate our food in silence. When finished, Garth put the empty packets in the trash bag.
    “What’s the logging camp like?” he asked.
    “Been a long time since I was there. Probably pretty run down. Even more so than when I was there before. Just a few frame buildings. Nothing fancy. It was a place for the men to eat, sleep, and shower. There was a telephone. Don’t know if it works anymore.”
    Coyotes began calling. “That has to be the eeriest sound ever,” I said.
    “Yeah, it is pretty spooky.”
    “I’m going to hit the hay.”
    “Okay, Ron. I’ll put the fire out.”
    I hauled my pack into the tent, unrolled my sleeping bag, made sure my 357 magnum was close at hand, and went to sleep. Sometime during the night, rain moved in. The main reason I quit camping was it always seemed to rain and there’s nothing worse than camping in the rain.  
    In the morning, we ate MREs for breakfast, put on our ponchos and boots, took down

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