(Continued from Party Interruptus)
The trail dipped into a slight decline and, out of sight of the car, he led them angling away from the road, toward, by Chelsea’s reckoning, the party house. But they didn’t appear to be heading there directly; he kept checking a map on his phone and adjusting direction. The girls came up short, startled by the rusty remains of an old gas line junction. The pipes, out of use for decades stood as leaning sentries to tell that this wasn’t always untraveled woods. He knew they were there and stopped. Then paced a few feet due north. He stopped again and bent, clearing the leaves and branches from a small patch of ground. He reached toward Chelsea who, without a word, handed him the digging tool.
“What are…?” Gennie whispered.
“Shhhh…” Chelsea shushed her quickly.
He dug a small divot and angled the shovel into the dirt. With a quick pry he lifted a thin flat section of ground exposing a void beneath. Without prompting Chelsea dropped to a knee and caught the edge of a thick sliver of plywood concealed under a few inches of soil, leaves and branches. Her heart whirred when she spied the long plastic box settled in a wooden vault about a foot below ground. She lit her cell phone light and carefully kept it below the surface.
“Here”, he said, kneeling beside her and reaching into the hole.
Most of the gun caches she had seen when she was living with her crew in Virginia years before were smaller-built to accommodate hand guns and ammo away from the house. The way her lover had explained it then, in the years before “Prepping” became a thing, they scattered hidden guns about the farm in case “shit really goes sideways.” Maybe there were some of those small boxes out here too. But not this one. This one was built for bigger things. “Weapons won’t be a problem”, she remembered him saying.
When he popped the plastic top she was able to see long guns stacked carefully. He picked out a hunting rifle very similar to the 30.06 her dad used to have. He pulled the clip, replaced it and slipped the bolt. He took two spare clips. She, without waiting to be invited, grabbed the AR-15 that was beside it and familiarly pulled the clip and slipped the bolt. Locked and loaded.
She held it comfortably across her thighs and his idea of shouldering one and carrying the other was instantly updated. He stayed frosty at each revelation simply because he wouldn’t allow himself to be surprised. He was able to accept this new Chelsea-this new aspect of Chelsea-completely and on it’s face because it had always been there. Thinking with his dick, he had missed something. It was his gap, not hers.
There was a shotgun and a few others still in the ground. They both looked at Geneva. “No way. I don’t know who you guys are, but I’ve never held a gun in my life.” He and Chelsea were in constant motion now, furtively grabbing clips, binoculars-which Gennie would carry-then closing the vault, pausing to kick dirt and leaves back over it.
While Chelsea’s heart raced with excitement, Geneva’s pounded with a fear that would paralyze her if she let it. She squatted low and waited while he hurriedly pecked out a text message. Then, not thinking just watching, she moved when they did, in crouches that really seemed melodramatic and right out of the movies. They headed toward the house.