Old cabins and unexpected threats

Look at all these cool old cabins in the woods:


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Old cabins in the woods have nothing to do with my story today but I thought the pictures were cool so I guess that's my introduction.


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One day recently,


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I was out in the woods exploring old cabins,


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and as I returned to my campsite,


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something interesting happened:


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On my way down the road,

as I came around that last curve,

I looked down the hill and a little bit to the right where I'd made my campsite for the night,
and I saw that there was a man who I did not know,

sitting on the hood of my car smoking a cigar.


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Approaching my campsite I checked that the ESEE-6 was still affixed to my right hip and the stun gun to my left. I scanned the area. The man was unaccompanied as far as I could see. He wore Kuhl hiking pants, a black Patagonia puff jacket, and a pair of La Sportiva Saber GTX boots. Blue eyes, brown beard, CZ 75 holstered on his belt. We were a solid 20 miles from the nearest town way up a high-clearance 4WD forest service road but he had no hiking pack, no mode of transportation, no other personal effects that I could detect. Just him his pistol and his cigar, sitting on my car like he owned it. I was at once intrigued and on high alert.

I walked up to the intruder until I was about 12 feet away and then I stopped and I said,

Howdy stranger, can I help ya?

And he said,

We know what you did, Brandt.

I paused to ponder on what he might mean by that. Which of the things I did was he talking about? Surely not all of them, right? There's no way in hell he could possibly know about all of them. And besides, everything I'd done was absolutely necessary. I had no choice. One act of rebellion, and they forced me into a life of rebellion. I did what I did because of them. I am who I am because of them.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. How do you know my name? Who are you?

The man stared at me like I'd just pulled a Thin Blue Line flag out of my ass and set it on fire. Gave his cigar a quick flick and dropped an inch of ash on my windshield.

I think you know exactly who I am.

Never seen you before in my life, dude. What are you doing here and who the hell do you think you are sitting on my car and dropping ash on it like that?

I'm here to deliver a message.

You coulda just sent an email instead of coming all the way out here ya know.

We already did that. You deleted it, didn't even open it.

I paused again to ponder. Now things were starting to make sense. If this man represents the people I think he represents, I might be in a little bit of trouble here.

I musta thought it was spam.

Bullshit.

I ain't shitting ya dude. I get a ton of spam.

The man smiled, threw his cigar into the woods, and stood up.

They told me you'd be full of shit.

Who's they?

You know exactly who they are, Brandt. Stop fuckin' with me.

Like I said I ain't fuckin' with ya. What's your name anyway?

My name doesn't matter, what matters is my message.

Well out with it then.

You can either come work for us, or…

The man shrugged.

Or what?

You know. We have our ways.

He was right. I did know. But I also didn't care. If I had cared, I never would have made it as far as I did. It was time to stop playing dumb.

What's in it for me?

Your life.

I know what you people do. You're scum.

At least we're living scum.

Can I maybe have some time to think about it?

Not gonna happen. Right here right now.

Once again I paused to ponder. As always I was ready for whatever but also very well aware of what was at stake. I knew exactly what my decision would be—I'd known it for years, of course—the only real question was can I cover these 12 feet fast enough to keep on living this forced life of rebellion of mine for a little bit longer. I took two test steps forward and in a flash in one stupid fluid motion the man's hand dropped down drew chambered a round and took aim at my chest.

Don't even think about it.

I stopped in my tracks and quickly raised my hands in apology.

Damn you're fast, sorry, just wanted to get a little bit closer so we could shake on it.

Like I said they told me you'd be full of shit. You get any closer you're a dead man.

Fine, sorry dude, my bad.

So what'll it be, Brandt?

For the final time I paused to ponder. He was certainly fast but I knew that I was faster. Only problem was, he had a loaded pistol trained on me from 10 feet away and all I had was a little bit of close combat stuff. Still, it was worth a shot. Fuck it. Liberty or death. Pulling my blade I put in two steps forward before the man who I did not know opened fire upon me.

BANG


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I stood there in the woods unhurt staring at a man who I did not know who'd just fired upon me.

The man who I did not know who'd just fired upon me stood there in the woods staring first at me, then at his pistol.

What the fuck?

I smiled. The man raised his gun again and fired upon me again, twice this time.

BANG BANG

I smiled again, and took two more steps forward.

Did you think I didn't know, that you were coming for me?

The man looked at me with eyes full of confusion and slowly encroaching fear.

What the fuck is going on? Who the fuck are you?

I think you know exactly who I am.

What the hell? They told me you would be…

And then, I could see that the man who I did not know suddenly knew who I was, and I could see that unlike me he actually cared about consequences, and as he raised the gun to his own head I said to him,

That will never work,

and then the man who I did not know who'd just fired upon me thrice, fired upon himself.

BANG

And then, he just stood there in the woods unhurt staring at me, and at his gun, and at the sky above as if waiting for some as yet undiscovered god to drop down like lightning from on high and render judgment upon him for all of the terrible things he'd done in his life.

And in the woods I stood there watching him blade in hand, barely 6 feet away now. Ready for whatever, as always. Ready for a little bit of close combat stuff.

I'm shooting blanks.

Yes indeed you are.

How in hell did you make that happen?

I have my ways. And I know what you did.

What?

I said I know what you did. And I'm here to deliver a message.

The man who I did not know paused to ponder.


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⛰ 🔫 🏕

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10-23-21. Well I sure as hell have no idea what just happened how about you @otherbrandt?



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47 comments
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I hope there's more, you could make it a series

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Yeah I'm definitely agreeing I'd love to read the full story.

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This story is quite finished if you ask me. Although I sure wouldn't mind reading much more of @brandt. This has the quality of a parable. I could read an entire universe of these.

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You are correct, this is intended to be a finished piece. A series would require a lot more planning than I did for this one :)

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Yes! What she said.
I'm guessing bulletproof vest, but how did he get the stranger's gun to shoot blanks... veddy mysterious! I would definitely read more about the exiled man in the cabin.

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Thanks, happy to hear you enjoyed it! This is supposed to be a standalone story. I don't usually do series stuff. But, who knows, maybe I could make something of it :)

!PIZZA

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(Edited)

I meant a series of interlinked standalone stories

Thanks for the pizza!

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weeeeee that was fun!
way to give that guy a vasectomy.
so is it gonna be #cabinlife over the winter?

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#cabinlife it is! Gonna see if I can find one with a roof that's still intact :)

!PIZZA

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Ah Ha! I just knew it. Smart. That's what I'd be thinking. I think I've spent too much time in the woods combined with woods starvation for too long that made me start cabin dreaming. I was looking at the joinery too.

I hope you find the one you're looking for. Sending energy your way that you do.

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Is @otherbrandt invited to share shelter?

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Fuck yeah I am!

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I need pictures.

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Hmm well then I need a camera.

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If you can suffice with a film camera, I have an old 35 mm in mint condition.

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Can I just have the mint instead?

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Hmmm, I think you'd have to mint it yourself, unless you want the "mint on your pillow" thingee.

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Can I just have the pillow instead?

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Oh, that's so cute and sweet. Now you're being irresistible. If you were closer, I'd make you your own special pillow, maybe even embroider it with your user image. That would be cool.

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Hell no he's not.

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I knew you'd say that, but I thought I'd check my assumptions and ask.

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Actually I'm pretty intrigued.

Very interesting and I love your photography.

If you ever want to do laid-based martial arts let me know.

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Thanks! And I could probably use some martial arts training… just in case this intruder dude shows up in real life :)

!PIZZA

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.and it definitely helps writing the combatives as well in you literature...

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Yep that's a fact… you either fall back on personal experience, or you do a shit ton of research to make it sound like you know what you're talking about :D

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I absolutely have to agree and the realism and connection with the readers definitely grows if you have connection with them.

Really can't wait for the forever episodes of your work.

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This is fantastic! I love this story!!

If we all understood just how powerful we are, nothing could hurt us, all weapons would be shooting blanks.

Excellent story. Great photos too. I love old falling down structures in the woods. The energies in them are raw and open. We can time travel there.

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Thank you! Here have some fantastic excellent !PIZZA :)

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(Edited)

PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA!
PIZZA Holders sent $PIZZA tips in this post's comments:
brandt tipped owasco (x1)
brandt tipped ganjafarmer (x1)
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@brandt(8/10) tipped @akumagai (x1)
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brandt tipped corvidae (x1)
Learn more at https://hive.pizza.

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(Edited)

As soon as I read your opening lines now (thinking of that Wednesday walk was going to be photo eye delight only to have my eyes scarred by scarred trees), I hold my breathe (literally I sit up straighter). I can feel the punchline coming. 😂

Love those photos and those cabins, my kind of thing. The blue blue shadows contrasting up against the oranges is stunningly sharp. I like that and the linear qualities. The third one down made me feel like I was looking at a painting, or I could see it as a painting, an oil painting. Not sure why that happened when I looked at that one. The seventh one down is my favourite. It's so good, it has that magic and is very punchy.

Your writing is like candy to me, this post is no different in that regard. What a well-crafted, on point, point delivered by gunpoint. D*** man! Well said. A pleasure to read and love the way you ended it.

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Hey thanks! Glad you liked it, that means a lot! I had a blast writing it too fwiw :)

So I put this photo series through a tone mapping process in GIMP called Mantiuk. I like how it renders the photos and it doesn't take much effort on my part, at least not after I've done the initial touchups. Check it out if ya want.

I can feel the punchline coming

One of these days I'm gonna write something so vanilla plain and unpunchy that everyone will be like, what the fuck happened to brandt? Just you wait… :D

!PIZZA

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I bet you had a blast writing it, haha. If you write vanilla plain and unpunchy, you're going to totally freak me right out. I'll wonder if you had a conversion moment in the woods.

I'll check out Mantiuk, thanks. I'm always up for creative play. Thanks for the pizza! 😁

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Well then maybe Vanilla Plain & Unpunchy should be my Halloween special :)

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You know that by giving warning, you're preparing me ahead of time, therefore negating my shocked response. 😜

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Nah, jump scares work pretty good even if people know they're coming ;)

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LOLOL! You've got to try the "invisibility" technique sometime. I'm on edge now waiting for your next post.

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Is that like the emperor's new clothes? So I could "write" a post with no words and everyone except one stupid little kid would love it?

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Actually, you could write a post with no words, heehee, I'm thinking of photos of all kinds of things with words in them that would tell the story that way.

Forget the stupid little kid that wouldn't love it, there will always be one. 😉

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Very intriguing story.

I am envisioning "Jumper" or some sort of time travelling bandido movie/story.

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Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked it! Time travel, maybe, or perhaps alternate realities… who really knows ;)

!PIZZA

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