Arkhaven logo

Turning Boys Into Men panel 1

The Chronicles of the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee

Book 1:The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Chapter 4 Part 3: Making Boys Into Men

“But the monster swallowed twelve rounds of buckshot! Our guns can’t kill it.” Mr. Torri said. Apparently, the fact that Hiedi carried two extra magazines for her conceal piece was well known around here. Bohdan recognized the man with an uncomfortable amount of details memorized about his fiance from some of the town hall meetings. He was whiny there too.

“Just because something can eat buckshot at range doesn’t mean it's bulletproof. Were you sleeping during our militia training?” The lumberjack said with an indignant air.

“Mr. Holdfast,” Bohdan called loudly to regain the conversation from any unnecessary tangents since time was precious to save Sally,” We need four commando units with vets from your boys filtered in the crews. Pick one for you to lead. I’m stealing Mr. Halley for my commando, and the rest stay here to keep anything else nasty in the tunnels.” Bohdan said, and didn’t add he was proposing this setup to make sure the shakiest of the lot didn’t get them all killed with ricochets in the tight passages. They were going to have to make due with side arms, conceal carries, and what p50s Mr. Holdfast had brought with him.

“I claim Mayor Blood Junior's Comando!” Sang out Karl’s voice from the back of the crowd. There was the massive bulk of their neighborhood Hulk pushing through the gaggle of construction crew turned makeshift militia. Saint John was right on his tail, and both of them were loaded down with gear from packs on their backs and from boxes in their arms. A second later they put down their burdens, and flipped open the lid of a box. Five shiny fresh P50s were waiting inside. Each was outfitted with tactical flashlights and infrared sights with canted iron sights for all those who weren’t up to date on reddots. Bohdan didn’t have to ask to know they had more on their buggy. Everyone was going in armed for bear, and that was just what the doctor ordered.

Here was another fine reason why they kept the Saint around. He knew how to outfit a gun for the task at hand. Night vision might not work too well so deep underground with no ambient light, but most monsters gave off plenty of heat for thermals to spy on. Adding the canted sights were a must have for when those thermals were impractical, and you had to get that shot off yesterday. Making them iron sights was a spot of genius since they were forming an ad hoc posse where they wouldn’t know if the whole crew was up to date on red dot sights. Everyone knew how iron sights worked, and they needed that practicality over better target acquisition right now. In the deep dark most shooting was guess work anyway thermals or no.

“Gentlemen!” Bohdan said in his best and confident parade ground voice,” We have tools for the task! Be sure to grab yours. Your sidearms are more likely to tickle our quarry than kill it.”

“Don’t underestimate a good tickle! That stuff is deadly Blood Jr,” Mr. Halley called as he grabbed a thermal sight from a duffel bag that Karl opened on the ground. Nervous laughter went up from the crowd. They weren’t ready for jokes yet, but if they hung out with Karl too long they’d make even old Handlebar Mustache himself uncomfortable with their gallows humor. Not that Bohdan thought things were that bad. The demon was running with its prize not looking to fight twenty armed men in tight tunnels the monster couldn’t flank in.

Bohdan smiled, and stepped back as the posse sorted themselves into four man commando crews and armed up. Mr. Holdfast produced thermite grenades of a homebrewed flavor which Blood accepted gratefully when tossed his way. The extra firepower that was not a danger of mass ricochets was well appreciated. Funny, many of the baddies with not so holy daddies turn cryptid were resistant to bullet fire, but none of them have been flame retardant. At least not yet.

“I want to come,” A small voice said in just an audible whisper at Bohdan’s side. To his surprise it belonged to Randall. He was staring saucer sized eyes down the tunnel, and was shaking just a hare. Bohdan could see there was a growing resolve in his spine despite the jitters.

“I’m coming Mr. Blood Jr. I was the one who convinced Sally to check out the hole with me. It’s my fault.” Randall looked up with wild blue eyes that focused through the fear as Bohdan watched. Beyond the guilt was anger. The kid had stabbed the monster in the ear, and lived to tell the tale. He had the guts they were going to need when the Boogaloo really started.

Every logical thought in Bohdan’s head said no. The President didn’t know the kid’s family. He might slow them down in the tunnels, but then again by the looks of the fellows loading up there were plenty of gents who might slow them down. Not all of the posse were in prime shape for spelunking.

Bohdan liked the fire in the kid’s eyes, and the boy’s desire to take responsibility. Was it his fault the girl got snatched? No. In the end the adults were to blame for not making this section of the tunnel system more secure, but the victims shouldn’t have played in strange holes either.

Looking at the kid now Bohdan was sure the boy had flirting on the mind when he’d led Sally away from the tour group. That meant a monster had snatched his crush, and all he could do was damage an ear. Events like this made a male of any age feel weak, and like they had something to prove.

Bohdan made a decision then he knew he was going to have trouble explaining to his father when they got out of this rat hole. They were in the business of raising warriors for the coming chaos that the inevitable collapse of the imperial United States would bring. Sidelining the kid now would ensure he lived, but meant he would be always reliving this moment in his head dreaming of doing more.

Regrets like that slowed you down, turned you into a wuss, or in rare cases made you stronger. If he took Randall with them, and he helped save his crush now that would make a warrior with confidence. Hopefully Randall’s mother wouldn’t kill Blood for what he was about to do, but as Caesar said as he crossed the Rubicon the dye was cast.

Bohdan flipped out his laser that he always kept in his pockets ever since he’d fried that creepy Sasquatch’s eyeball when the freak chased them into the country club, and studied the oversized gadget. The President tested it to confirm what he already knew. She was working perfectly, and fully charged. More importantly, it would be very difficult for Randall to shoot anyone in the back with the industrial strength laser, but he could still blind the beast which was always useful. Anything that could operate this far underground always had sensitive eyes if they had any.

“You stay with us. You do what I say when I say. You keep your mouth shut till you see something. If you have an idea whisper it to Karl who will let me know if its worth my time,” Bohdan stopped talking and looked deep into Randall’s eyes for a moment feeling the boy shy away for a second before holding his ground,” This is our mess, but you will be part of cleaning up your part in it. Take this, be careful, that bad boy could light paper on fire or fry your retinas at a hundred yards. Whatever we run into, I want you to burn out its eyes. Blind it then grab Sally, and get her to the center of the crew right in the middle of everybody. She’ll be your responsibility, and your honor to present her safe and sound to her father and mother. But you listen to everything I say to the letter, or I’ll have Karl knock you out and carry you like a sack of potatoes like King Kong on a shopping spree you read me Kid?”

Randall nodded with a slow steady determination. As Bohdan spoke in harsh tones he could see Randall’s spine stiffening, and a cool confidence coming over him. Yeah, this kid was coming. Stabbing a freakin hyena dogman in the ear before you were thirteen? And he was determined to jump once more into the breach he was almost ripped apart in. When he was a little older Randall was Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee material, and this President meant to poach him before all the other clubs, sports, and militia crews tried to snatch him for their neck of the New Venice.

“Go to Karl and tell him what I said. He’ll understand,” Bohdan handed the boy his laser and watched him go for a moment. The younger Blood was taking a risk, but with a fair reward if things played out properly.

“You okay with this babe?” Bohdan asked Hiedi without turning in her direction. He’d felt her creep up behind him waiting for her turn to sneak a word in before her man was whisked away to fates either glorious or bloody. If not both.

“Yes and no. Either way you better bring him back in one piece Bohdan Blood,” Hiedi said in a shaky voice full of emotion. Bohdan could hear the tears bubbling to the surface. Turning he saw them ruining her mascara, or what was left of it after today's excitement.

“I’ll do you one better gorgeous,” Bohdan said while bringing her in for one last hug before the plunge, “I’ll bring him back a man.”

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

Click the image below to go to the Grizzly blog so you can be updated on future projects, and support the Grizzly Clan so we can keep the stories flowing.

Turning Boys Into Men panel 6
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
List icon
Comment icon
Prev icon
Next icon
Fullscreen icon