Before leaving the homestead, Alex added his bow and arrows to his armaments. He and Kassie then began their walk by striking out towards the perimeter of the field on the west side. They would have the warming morning sun shining on them. Alex had them alternate their pace every few hundred yards or so. They had traveled roughly a mile in the southerly direction. Alex then had then turn east towards the woods on the opposite perimeter. That was the side of the woods from which they originated when they came out of the fog. Once they reached that edge of the woods, they turned back north in the direction of the homestead.
“Oh good. We’re finally going back home.”
“Yes. This was a nice warm up for today. But, when we go back, we will begin with some weapons training.”
“Not before I have some breakfast. I am starving.”
“Yes, this exercise will work wonders for your appetite.”
“Helllppp”… “Somebody help me.”
Those cries came from within the woods. They were followed by the crackling of branches. Darting out of the woods, with a behemoth following close at his heels was a man in dread panic.
“Oh my God,” cried out Kassie. “It’s Farmer Sal.”
“You know Farmer Sal too? That’s a T-Rex chasing him. Quick, run back to the homestead and get within the circle. I’ll try to help Farmer Sal.”
As Alex said this, he notched an arrow to his bow and let fly an arrow towards the T-Rex’s face. He knew it would probably not hurt, or even phase the brute, but he was hoping either to hit an eye, or to be a nuisance to it.
“Farmer Sal, run towards the homestead. Get within the fence. Stay with Kassie.”
Alex let loose another 2 arrows as he and Farmer Sal effected their escape. They barely got to the homestead ahead of the T-Rex. The Venerable was at the open gate urging them in, and then shutting the gate, completing the circle.
“Wow, that was close.” Said Alex.
“Where is this place? How did I get here? And where did that creature come from?” asked an anguished, out of breath Farmer Sal.
“Where you in a fog?” asked Kassie.
“Yes, it came out of nowhere. I was going to the organic farm to buy some groceries, etc and there it was all over me. Next thing I know, I’m in this woods. And as I’m trying to find my way out, I see this big thing chasing me. Thank heavens that you two came by. I think it was close enough to grab me. But… How did you two get here? I didn’t know you two even knew each other.”
“We didn’t Farmer Sal. This is a strange story. We’ll tell you all about it. In the meantime, this is The Venerable. He is the local elder. We will explain everything to you. Venerable, Farmer Sal taught me everything I know about organic gardening. He will be an invaluable asset. He can stay in my tent, if you are agreeable.”
“Welcome Farmer Sal. Any friend of Alex and Kassie is welcomed here. Well, it’s time for breakfast. Let’s all eat and bring each other up to date.”
After breakfast, Alex set Farmer Sal up in an area of his tent.
“So, you knew Kassie in real life. She’s quite a character, isn’t she?”
“Yes Alex, she’s a very unique individual. She’s a once in a lifetime girl.”
“I believe that. She has smitten me since I first saw her. But, she has put up this wall. She seems to hold me responsible for our being here.”
“I don’t believe that Alex. She is just unhappy that her life has been upset. “So tell me. How do you think I can be of help since I am stuck here?”
“This world is based on bartering. We need things that we cannot easily get on our own. But we, especially you, are good with agriculture and associated fields. The Venerable is on in years and can’t produce as much as he’d like to. We, you and I, can provide the expertise and muscle power to upgrade this homestead into a very sustainable entity and have enough to barter for what we cannot produce ourselves. What do you say Farmer Sal? Are you in?”
“Well, I’m no spring chicken myself. But if you will provide the muscle power where we need it, I will certainly do my part.”
“Great. I have to do a weapons training session with Kassie. Why don’t you settle in. You can also survey the homestead, but don’t go outside the confines of the fencing. We’ve explained how that is our protection. Later on, we’ll get together and try to map out what we could do, and how to go about doing it.