Wildlife Preserve (The urban hunt)

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As civilization slides into decline, cash strapped municipalities take on a whole new tolerance toward hunting.  The abandonment of large industrial cities across North America has created new wildlife preserves, and a cunning new prey.

What’s he stopping us for? Henry asked.  Both men looked in their side view mirrors at the Michigan Providence Fish & Game Warden’s truck behind them with its lights flashing. They had passed the boundary of  the Wildlife Preserve about two miles back. It was rare that Fish and Game would follow this far outside the preserve, and even rarer still that they would initiate a stop.  Mixed feelings of fear and confusion went through each man’s mind, as they pulled over to the shoulder. They sat quietly as the Warden ran their license plate.  They saw the officer’s truck go into defensive mode, with a flash of violet lights and deploying its gun turrets and releasing its protective drones. The drones would hover and encircle the stopped vehicle, and take up a strategic position, bringing the detainee in their line of fire. Henry and Don had seen this system used in police work on the media netcasts for the last 15 years.  The drone system had cut cop killings down seventy one percent.  The system was a godsend for the police departments all over North America, but they initially wreaked havoc on the civilian population. Until the year 2021, the drones were known for initiating all out carnage.  Men, women, children, and even the family pet. They would not target the police officers due to the special fibers in their uniforms, but anything else was fair game. A sudden move by a nervous suspect, was always fatal.  The population was still wary of them, even though they hadn’t malfunctioned in more than 8 years.

The officer got out casually,  and donned his smokey the bear hat.  He approached slowly, as if he had all the time in the world.  He glanced in the bed of the truck as he passed and walked up to the passenger side of their truck.  He made the roll down gesture to Henry,  Henry thought as he did what the officer requested,  that he hadn’t seen a car with manual crank windows in 35 years. How you all doing today?  The officer said. Henry and Don mumbled a reply.  The Warden continued, “The reason I stopped you guys was to check your tags and hunting licenses, we have been getting a lot of poachers in Old Detroit this year. Looks like you guys got some kills back there.” Don piped up saying, “Yeah, we got three bucks and burnt a tag  on an old female. She looked much younger through the scope, but you know if you study too long, you’ll miss every time”  They could see that the warden was a Sergeant and that his name was Walsh. The officer took their permits and ran a pen-like stylus across the bar-code, The stylus beeped on the first pass on Don’s license, but it took four passes across Henry’s permit to get that accepted beep.  The sergeant seemed to stare off in space for ten or twelve seconds, while he read the information on his contact lens display screen. Okay, everything comes back clear,  I just need to look at your kills and make sure that they’re tagged, and you all can be on your way. Sgt. Walsh announced. 

Don and Henry slowly got out of the truck, being careful not to excite the nearby hovering drones.  As the three moved to rear of the pickup, the drones followed along keeping vigilant eyes on the driver and passenger.  Don untied the tarp and pulled it back revealing the dead bodies of their quarry.  Sgt Walsh let out a whistle, “You said that you burnt a tag on that female, she’s got to be close to sixty, far too old to do anything with that hide, and tough as boot leather!  But you made out good with those big males, one white, one black, And not too many tattoos on eitherIt will make some good leather.  Don said, “Got the black one first,  and the white one came up immediately trying to get the shoes off him, so I shot him too!  Henry shot that Asian buck,  then I shot that old doe as she was running away, like I said, she looked much younger through the scope. When we got out of our blind and went down to field dress them, I saw how old she was.  They looked at the bodies for a minute more, before the Warden said in a satisfied voice, “All right, I thank you for your cooperation and you guys have a nice evening.”  Don covered the four dead humans back up with the tarp, the Sgt. pushed a button on his wrist watch taking his truck out of defensive mode and recalling the drones, as he walked back to his vehicle. Once back on the road, Henry asked Don, ” How come you didn’t tell the game warden that she was your ex-wife Mary and her young stud husband?”  Don drove a little piece before he replied, “ He didn’t ask.”

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