Paul sits there, serving milk to a little Toddler. The Toddler appears to have deer legs, yet has the upper half of a human, but with fur and a black little nose. And Ears like a deer, pointed down while he feeds him some milk from a bottle. It makes grabby hands, and the man leans down, letting him get fist fulls of his beard. 

"Ouch." He says after a few tugs. But then, he notices dear reader..

"Oh, hey!" He pulls back, the baby doesn't let go, and tears a few beard hairs off in his grip because of it. Ouch. That had to hurt. 

"It's you again! How are ya?"

"..What? You wanna hear another story? Heh heh, boy you folk sure are something. Alrighty then! I suppose." 

He adjusts himself in his chair, holding the baby close to his chest while his big eyes stare up at the man. He looks down to him, then back to the Reader. "Oh this here? He's Alder. He's my Son. I love him to bits. His other Pa's out right now so, here I am holding the Fort. But ya'll ain't interested in that. You wanna hear another story. Well let me take you, many years ago, about fifteen or so, back to my Youth.."

"I couldn't have been older than nineteen at the time. I had just gotten out of the home, Pa gave me his blessing, and I moved out. I had made myself a nice little place I did! A little cabin, complete with a Creek nearby and all the tree's I could need. And there were plenty of critters to live off of. Now mind you, this was long before I had gone to the Inn, or even been a real Lumberjack yet. I was still growing into my body, waking up in the morning bright and determined and going to sleep on the floor, arms sore and sweaty. I wasn't as large as you see me now, and hell I didn't even have a beard! Just a little bit of hair under my chin, and on my jaw line. Living out in the woods was tough, but I managed. My Father gave me a Rifle, some Ammo, and an Axe. As well as the clothes on my back. And that was all I needed, as far as I was concerned. One evening, I was chopping myself some fire wood. I can remember it like it was yesterday.."

He closes his eyes before continuing.

"It was a warm, Wednesday afternoon. The sun was high in the sky, beating down on the back of my neck, not a cloud in the sky. It was in the summer, early summer. The Flowers were opening up and spreading their pedals to pick up the Suns rays. The Trees got their leaves back, and they were bright green with vibrant life. The wood was rough against my hand as I leaned on the tree, a bandage on my left middle finger from accidentally nicking myself. I caught my breath, gulping the hot air and taking a deep, relaxing breather. I could smell the sweet scent of wood and plants, and the creek too had it's own fresh scent to it. Carrying all of these things was the wind, blowing occasionally. It felt so good, I just had to stand there and feel it and think for a minute. I was in my Jeans, my Flannel, my Red Suspenders. Same outfit I wear now, my style. It was the summer I had just decided that for the rest of my life this is what I wanted to do. All my other brothers went off to become Technicians, Engineers, Soldiers, even a Poet. But I? Was the Lumberjack. Like our Father and His Father, he was the one out of the group of Children to pick up the Axe. And I was the next in line. He was still alive at the time. I was thinking about him, actually, looking down at the mark I was leaving in the Tree. I'd get there eventually, but right then I was thinking of Pa. Sweet, Sweet Pa. He was probably the second most caring and kindest person I have ever met.."

He opens his eyes. 

"Then, all of the Sudden, I hears this huge, BANG! An explosion, and it was loud, real loud. I'm talking shake the earth and make a bear mad kind of loud. I covered my ears and jumped, dropping my Axe to the ground. I looked about, looking for the source of the Sound. I saw smoke in the distance, and I just felt it, in my Heart, my young, curious heart, I just had to go and find it! So, I picked up my Axe, holding it in both hands, and started to run off towards the cloud of black, thick smoke, twirling up and heading skywards in the distance.."

He adjusts the baby and himself in the seat, pulling the bottle back and putting him on his shoulder, patting his back. Burping the little fella before continuing.

"I ran for about Ten or twelve minutes, my heart was just a pounding. I was anxious, curious, afraid, but most of all I was worried. Explosions like that don't just happen in the Forest for no reason. I figured someone must have blown something up. I was worried I'd see dead people, hurt folks who needed my help. But when I got there, it was just a big, metal door in the earth. Now hold on, bare with me now. It wasn't just no metal door neither, it was a big, about ten foot by fifteen foot like trap door you see in a cellar. But it was made out of metal, and shined like silver and chrome. Hell it hurt my eyes to look at it for too long cause the light was reflecting off of it so bad. There was nothing else anywhere near it. Nobody, no trucks, nothing. Just a fucking door in the middle of a clearing in the Forest. I approached it, shielding my eyes from that damn reflection. I wondered to myself, 'What the Hell blew up?' And believe me, mister. The Answer was not what I was expecting. Granted I didn't know what I was expecting. By the time I had gotten there the smoke had cleared out. I looked down the hole cause it was open, and into the abyss. It was just, a ladder, and a loooong ways down. I'd say atleast three or four hundred feet before I saw a white, square of light down there. Putting the Axe in one hand I, like a total dumb ass, started down the long, silver ladder.." 

He starts to cradle the infant again as it babbles and pulls on his beard, reaching up and touching his fat little hand on Paul's nose. Squeeze, Squeeze. It giggles and continues to mess with him, looking up with big, cute eyes as the Man continues.

"After climbing down and down for atleast thirty minutes I had finally come down to a bottom. The place was lit up with these dull, white lights. The floor was white, the walls were white, Hell everything was white! It was a science facility of some sort, atleast the front of it was. There was a desk there, with one of them computers. There was a big sign on the wall, over top of a big double door with no handle. Now keep in mind, I had never seen an automatic door before in my life. But I come over to the Desk, and look around. Papers and shit were in disarray. Coffee was spilled, a mouse hung over the edge of the desk on its wire. The computer had a screen that was blue, with all these white texts and shit. Now I can't read so I didn't know what the fuck it was talking about. But then, I see's something far, far worse. There was a pool of blood, under the desk, I didn't notice it till I came around the bend and saw it. It dragged out from under it to some sort of grit, like an air duct. One of them fancy ventilation shafts, ya'll know the one where they can cool the place down with a steady flow of wind? Crazy shit. But I backed the Hell away from it, when down, far far away in those white corridors. I hear screaming, and gun sho- Ouch!"


Paul says as the baby reached up and got another big fistful of Beard hair, giggling. Paul looks down and smiles, kissing his head before continuing on as the baby played with his buttons on his flannel. 

"So, gunshots. I rush over to the door, and it opens up automatically. I couldn't believe my eyes, a door that opened on it's own! Golly, that sure was fancy! Stepping past it slowly, confused and in wonder at the power of technology, I continued down the Hall, the gunshots getting closer and closer. I ran past endless amounts of doors and signs, all these things I couldn't read, I just couldn't. But when I get down there, boy was it a mess. On all sides of the Hallway, there were these guys in Kevlar armor, with these thick helmets and masks. They were slowly firing their way down a Hallway, shooting all these People in Lab Coats. They were running down those pale hallways for their lives, and those guys were just gunning them down, stepping over their bodies like it was nothing. I was so scared, yet, I was so pissed off at the same time. I ran behind them, and Axed the first guy in the back of the fucking neck. He falls to his knees and gurgled, clutching at his throat. I dropped the Axe and let him fall forwards, while the guy on his left turned around and noticed me. I decked him in the face as hard as could with my left, and he stumbled. Man I think I broke my hand on his fancy helmet visor, because I'm certain that loud crack was /not/ his nose. Or maybe it was, cause he goes stumbling back and covering his face. Taking no chances, I tackle his ass into the wall, and pull him down to the ground, wrestling with him. I was still a young man, and I had no idea how strong this guy was. But he was a tough son of a bitch! He hit me in the head with a gloved fist in a mean hay maker, and I was seeing stars. But still, I pressed on, and got him in a chokehold, wrestling with him from behind, wrapping my legs around him. He dropped the gun from reflex and dug at my arm, trying to reach back and claw at my face in his desperation. But I didn't let him. I leaned back as I choked him the fuck out. He slipped unconscious, and I let him go, taking his rifle. Right then must have been when their buddies noticed they were missing. Cause they turned around just in time for me to shoot the guy in the left right in the face, his visor shattering and blood streaking the wall behind him. But his friend got his rifle up in time before I got off two shots in him, hitting his shoulder and the wall behind him. These must have been some good bullets, cause they bit right through the armor, and he screams out, his voice muffled by his mask and helmet."

Speaking of bite, the toddler has once again interrupted the story by chewing on the Man's hand. He looks down and grins, "Man you're just a feisty little thing, ain't ya?" The baby squints and pulls back, laughing with a big, toothless grin and reaching his tubby hand up at the Man's face. Tucking his lips over his teeth, he pretends to bite the infants hand "Nom Nom Nom!" The baby squeals excitedly, pulling it back. Paul continues..

"Anyways, he gets a shot off at me as he's leaning back from the pain, and I too feel the most intense pain I'd ever felt in my left hip. His bullet found it's merry ass way into me, and man did that son of a gun hurt. I jump and pop off three more shots at the guy, watching him go down with the three wounds in his chest. Man, that Hip wasn't feeling good. Touching it and looking at my bloody finger tips, I decided, 'Daddy didn't raise no bitch.' and kept going. The Rifle in hand, I had no idea how to really use it other than, 'Pull the trigger to shoot shit' so I worked with it as I made my way down the hallway. I had forgotten to grab my axe like a dumbass, and had to go back and get her. Figuring I better, I also took some more of them clips of ammo of the guys before I moved along. Now this is where shit gets real. I entered a large, work room looking place, all them little cubical and computers and stuff where them fella's worked and lived. I started to make my way down the isle when, on the other side of the room, I saw five more of the guys pop out a door way, and start shooting at me. Man did everyone here hate my guts? I mean granted I did just kill four of their friends but they deserved it! They were killing them science guys. Ducking down behind a cubical, it's really shitty cover. The fake plaster or wood these things were made of just starts to splinter and shard, exploding when ever a bullet just touches the fucking Stuff. The guys split up, I hear the crackle of a radio say 'Split up!' as they start looking for me. I crawled my way through the aisles, moving through and in between the small spaces. This place was huge. But I see one, he's going down the row, looking for me, gun pointed towards an empty cubical. TATATATA! I blew him away, firing atleast seven shots. He screams and falls over, clutching his right side and rolling on the ground. The other guys over hear the encounter, and I stand up, firing at the first one I saw. Bullets were just a flying! Left and right, over my head, to me and from me. There was shit everywhere! A computer got hit and explodes into plastic and sparks and glass, and I take down another one. He cried out and rolled to the floor, then was still. One guy gets a shot off in me, hitting me in the back, right below the shoulder blade. I'm real glad it didn't puncture a lung or something, cause I just fell on my ass and crawled up under a desk. Damn. Shot twice. What a day.." 

He takes a break and sips from a cup of water that's on hand. The baby coo's and reaches up for it, but Paul lifts it up saying, "You know ya'll can't have that! You're too little." Kiss Kiss on the infants head before he continues. 

"Uh, where was I? Oh yea yea, shot twice. I huffed and puffed. Turns out I was wrong about the whole lung thing. It sucked. I coughed up some of my own blood, when a couple of black covered legs come standing next to me. And believe me, I unloaded, I took that dick heads legs right out from under him, his right fore leg coming right off at the knee. While the other leg was just shredded up in my haze of bullets. The guy comes smacking against the floor, convulsing and screaming, clutching at his nub. I did him the favor of putting a bullet through his face, rather than leave him like that. Nobody deserves that shit. Well, except for me, I guess. Once again, shot twice. I crawl out and over to his body, and look around the bend. One his buddies came running around the corner, and I opened up on him too. Fuck em. They lost their chance to be buddies when they started gunning down all them other people. All my bullets miss as he dives back around the corner, behind a cubical. I slide my feet below me, and get into a crouched position. Damn was I hurting. Bleeding, too. I mean, obviously ofcourse I was bleeding. It's a fucking rifle round, and I ain't no fucking God. But, I was in a bad position. Three dead, one in front of me, one unaccounted for. I start forwards, and take my Axe in my right hand, and the Rifle in my left. Duel wielding. Now, ya'll might ask yourself, 'What's Paul doing?' And the Answer was, I had no idea. But it worked! He came back around the corner, and I popped a few shots at him, his left hand was blown off, while the other three went into the wall behind him. His gun dropped to the ground and he falls over, screaming bloody mary and clutching at it's wrist. The hand was fucked up, I honestly felt bad. All deformed and all of it's fingers gone, just a thumb. He bled and scrambled, so I sunk my Axe into his neck when I got close enough to him. I didn't feel any remorse at this point, I had convinced myself that I was retribution, I was Revenge. I was in the right. I stood up and peeked over the edge of the cubical he was behind, and the Guy saw me. POW POW said his gun, sailing over my head. I returned fire, and he crouched. I bomb rushed him, running around the corner. He must not have seen this coming at all, cause his eyes were wide with surprise before I but beat my rifle over his head. It must have hurt, cause he dropped his gun and covered his hands over his head. I unloaded the rest of that clip into him, his body slamming against and rolling over the Computer stuff as his armor was shredded and torn the Hell up. I was covered in blood, my own and of these guys. I had to reload. How? I ain't never held a gun like this before in my life."

He takes a deep breath as the baby reaches into his pockets and digs around for stuff, finding a little Dandelion. Paul stops him from eating it, and continues. 

"So. After laying waste to seven guys, what do I decide to do? I searched their bodies, listened to their radios for a while, and found out that this place was gonna blow in twelve minutes. Twelve, fucking, minutes. There was no way I was limping my way out of that place! How was I gonna limp out of there in twelve minutes. When there, my eyes saw the best thing they ever did see. It was a red box on the wall, with a white cross. Hell yea! Medical stuff. But it was locked, who the fuck locks a public med kit? A swing from my Axe busted that shit right off, and it slammed against the ground. It was a mess inside that thing, and I didn't understand a majority of instructions on the door, since they were written. But one thing was a picture. It was a guy putting a syringe in his wrist, right into the vein. And there was only one syringe in that thing, this little old thing with a metal tube, and a small glass viewing thing. It was filled with grey, murky liquid. With the assumption in mind that since it was in a med kit, it was good. So, I followed the instructions, and stuck it in. Whoa. It was a strange feeling. My, vision blurred for a moment, then all was well. I couldn't feel a thing! My injuries felt as though they weren't there at all! I felt great, actually. I took another one, and then another. But, I was still in a place that was about to go off, so. Believe me, I hauled some ass outta there. There was a few guys in the Hallway, and our paths crossed. And I realized, I still had a fucking empty gun! Fiddling with it, eventually the clip came out when I pressed the button, falling out and slapping against the floor. Chips of the wall were flying off as the guys shot at me while I reloaded, shoving a clip back up into the slot, and pulling back a small, almost lever thing. I was loaded.."

He lets the reader take all that in, while he tends to the baby, chewing on his Flannel shirt. "Come on, Alder you know you ain't supposed to chew stuff, mister! You silly little boy" He grins and nuzzles against the child, then remembers. "oh uh, yea. Story.."

"I ran down the hall alittle bit and kicked open a door, bursting in and entering for cover, just in time to miss a huge amount of bullets that blew through the walls and bounced down the halls. A few lights must have been busted, cause the Hall got real dark. I came back around the corner, and was face to face with a guy who was rushing me. I unloaded on him, and he unloaded back. I hit him more than he hit me, but my right thigh was hit, and a spot right below my right nipple. That was a nasty pain right there. He fell over though, taking more of my rounds in the chest than I did, dead. I hit the fucking deck, and gasped, covering the hole in my body. Great. Four times. Four fucking times, shot. I won't bore you with details, but point is that one of them bitches threw a grenade, and believe me, all of the five of us ran the fuck out of there, popping shots at one another as we went. I was hurting again. Those two new injuries were aching like a son of a bitch. I think that this medicine kills the pain of your most recent injuries, but any more after that aren't pain killed. Oh fuck did it hurt. Damn. You ever been shot close to the nipple? That one was the fucking worse. I took out one of the grey syringes again, for future reference, lets just call them Grey's. I took the Grey and shoved it into my wrist, filling myself with that murky, pain relieving substance. Oh.. sweet relief. I felt like a new man! And believe me, I used this feeling to get the fuck out of there. I rose from that ladder, three minutes before the bomb was to go off. It blew later, but by then? I was gone. Far Far away, believe me. I had ran back to a town nearby, and the Doctors said it was a miracle that I was alive. You know what I say back? I tell them, 'It ain't no thing. Just the power of Modern Medicine!' and laughed. But, I got all patched up, and returned home after two weeks.."

He looks down to the sleeping baby, and smiles, standing up and heading for the stairs. 

"Well.. I better put this here fella to bed. Hey, maybe next time, I'll tell ya'll about my first time I encountered the Tars, hm? But, thanks for listening, I know I ain't the best story teller. Heh, good night, ya'll!"

And with that? The Lumberjack heads to bed, carrying and cradling the child in his arms... 

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