Mike is a long-time supporter of procrastination and enjoys doing as often as he can.
Rex walked into the house and the room and over to the bed. Jimmy was lying facedown with the smell of blood on him as well as injury. Jimmy woke up and looked at Rex. Jimmy said, “you……. I thought you were dead back in Ohio……. How are you here?” Rex said, “it’s a long and complicated story that we will talk about later. I just wanted you to know you are safe and when you are ready, we will escort you to Atlanta.” Jimmy didn’t say a thing. Rex rolled his eyes and said, “yes, I know…... a talking dog, what’s going on? How is this real?” Jimmy said, “no, it’s just nice to see you……...” Rex said, “my name is Rex, and I’m here to help.”
Jenny sat outside, watching the dogs as they ran around playing. Rosie walked over to her and said, “bark, bark, woof, woof, bark………I’m just kidding, could you imagine.” Jenny replied, “I’m starting to imagine more than I ever would have before.” Jenny fought the urge to pet the big dog. Rosie asked, “so you’re the General’s daughter……. What’s that like?” Jenny said, “that’s hard to say. I grew up living more with my mother than my father. He was there, and when he was, he taught me how to take care of myself, but…... I don’t know he’s just my dad.” Rosie put her head into Jenny’s lap and said, “go ahead; I know you want too.” Jenny put her hand on Rosie’s head and slowly started to pet her.
Twelve watched a large group of deer moving across a cornfield. He could see which of the deer were fake and which were the real deer as they ate the dry corn. There had to be hundreds of deer, and they seemed to be moving their way to the farm. The army had never come up against such a massive movement of deer. If they go after the farm, then the boy and girl would die; if the army takes on the deer, they will die. This wasn’t his job to decide. The deer shifted to the north and away from the farm. Behind them were a trail of destruction and the bodies of dead deer. Twelve snuck away and backtracked, trying to make sure he wasn’t followed.
Twelve found Twenty-Three in the barn with the girl Tina as she stroked his back with enough force; his leg was working up and down. Twelve thought about backing away, but he thought about the deer and had to say something. Twenty-Three got to his feet and tried to act like that wasn’t happening. Twelve said, “OK, whatever I don’t care. There is a wave of deer about a mile north of here. We are in trouble.” Tina got to her feet and said she was going to get her sister. Twenty-Three told her to get all the humans inside so they could talk this out. When she was gone, Twenty-Three told twelve, “tell the army were leaving.”
Another twenty of the small dogs ran into the barn. Rex thought about the sound that must be coming from the inside and laughed. As he laughed, Twelve came up to him and said, “he’s planning on taking the army away before the deer come.” Rex looked to the barn then back to Twelve. He said, “going out in the open would be suicide. The deer are starting to target us now.” Twelve told him how, at one point, they had more than a hundred of their kind, including several mixed breeds. He said, “we tried to take on a pack of deer, maybe forty or so, and that ended up with us losing twenty-nine of us, including Two and Three.” Rex looked to the house filled with people knowing they were all about to die.
Twenty-Three watched as his army moved into the barn. Rex walked over and asked, “is it true……. Are you all leaving?” Twenty-Three turned and said, “yes and no. I’m sending part of the army to follow the deer from a distance tracking their movement and growth while the rest of us do something I thought we would never do……. We’re going to hide.” After a few moments of silence, Twenty-Three said, “I need your help to convince the humans to hide with us. Taking on nearly a thousand deer would be like trying to keep the tide from hitting the shore or stopping the sun from rising. If they stay out, we will, and together we will all die.” Rex thought about his junkyard and how much simpler his life was protecting things people didn’t want anymore.
A few hours later, the first of the deer walked onto the farm. A scout looking for something to kill. It staggered to the left, showing the telltale signs of malnutrition that marked it as a clone. The deer had a lean, hungry look as if it wanted its death to mean something by killing everything in sight. Take as many with it as it could. Two more deer came out of the woods, then sixty more. Soon the farmhouse’s yard was filled with deer. Rex and Twenty-Three watched all this from a safe place in a hayloft. The army was huddled around the other humans to keep them calm. Rosie stayed next to Jenny, and Tac stayed close to Rosie. The scent of deer filled the air blotting out any other. Rex knew this would work against the deer, covering any human or dog scent still around. Rex saw this for what he knew it was. The end game for the things the General called Aliens. They would keep growing this deer army until every human and dog was dead.
The deer shifted like a large body of water in waves. A mass of living things so big it was hard to not see them as one big living thing rather than thousands of individual deer. Rex noted that there were fewer of the mechanical deer. He thought that just maybe there was a limited supply of them, and that supply was dwindling to nothing. Like a wave or the tide coming up a beach, the deer turned and receded into the woods. When it was over, Jimmy told Rex about the base and how the deer crashed against the seemingly impenetrable gates running minefields in a suicidal attempt to kill as many as they could. The deer scent lingered along with the scent of death. More than a few of the clone deer died looking like a battle just happened, and they had defended the farm rather than hiding.
Wearing gloves, Jimmy and Jenny butchered the deer giving any meat and more than a few bones to the waiting dogs. Both Jimmy and Jenny knew better than to eat the meat. They buried what was left while the sisters did their best to clean up. No one touched any of the outer damage hoping it would appear to the deer that no one lived on the farm. Rex watched as Rosie sat next to this Jenny girl. It seemed so natural to see this that it made him sure she would stay with the kids. He knew he had to go. They needed more dogs and soon. The war with the deer was building up to something big, and that would most likely be a battle that would either signal a turn for the world or its end. He also knew that as a big dog, Rosie was showing her age, and soon, she wouldn’t be able to keep up. Another soldier left behind; another friend would be gone too soon.
Rex let Twenty-Three tell everyone their plans to get on the move and how they wouldn’t be helping Jimmy and Jenny get all the way to Atlanta. The war needed more dogs. Much to everyone’s surprise, Tac said he would stay with the kids and go all the way to Atlanta. Rosie would stay with the sisters on the farm. She didn’t say why, but Rex knew that she was near the end and just wanted a place that would want an old dog for as long as she had left. Off in the distance, Ari was using a mix of mud and deer blood to paint something on the side of a shed. Arie stood by staring at it. The strange mix of mud and blood was starting to look like something. Occasionally, Ari would stop and glare at his art. The shed was a bright yellow, and with the mud blood mixture, Ari had painted a landscape with the yellow showing through as the rising sun. Arie said, “well, it's ok, just not something worth peeing on.”
Later that night, in the truck Jenny had rebuilt, Jenny, Jimmy, Tac as well as Twelve and Sixty-Two left for Atlanta. The army would stay just long enough so the scouts they sent to track the deer could come back then they would go east looking for more dogs. Julie pulled out a strange-looking mountain bike with a small motor. She said, “I’m coming with you. You’ll need someone that can use a radio as well as a human to smooth over any irregularities in that whole talking dog thing.” She said it as if this wasn’t up for discussion. She said she grew up on a farm and knew how to take care of herself so she wouldn’t be a burden. Rex looked to the house. Julie followed his gaze and said, “they’ll get over it, they always knew I wasn’t going to stay so this shouldn’t be a shock.” Twenty-Three did his best to smile and said, “Welcome to the army.”
Back west in a secret base in Indiana, The General sat leaning back at a desk asleep with his hat pulled over his eyes. Next to him, Buster was behind a smaller desk in a dog bed asleep. This was the first time the General had really slept since he sent his daughter east then lost contact with her. He had just spoken with her over the radio and was told of their plans as well as the deer army. He also heard from a scouting party on how they found and engaged Boone’s army. This was bad news. The war now had multiple fronts with more enemies than they could fight. He didn’t tell them about the other three scouting parties that went silent. In the next room, Dot was lying in a special box the General had made for her and the litter of five puppies. The puppies were a mix of looks from a bright white to the tan of their father, Rex. Dot did her best to ignore the comments that ranged from too cute to ghastly. Her puppies were what the humans would call mutts with a mix of four dog breeds, but to her, they were everything.
- The James John Daniels Stories, Story Seven: Prepare...
Jenny reflects on her childhood and growing up with her General father and Doctor mother as she rushes to save Jimmy's life.
- A Junkyard General, Part Eight: The Fifty Chihuahua ...
Rex and the others meet a mythical pack of feral chihuahuas living in the Appalachian mountains.
The Next story (The Army of Dogs) will be in three parts and the end of the Junkyard Dog General Storyline. Coming Soon.
© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron