The Con of ManMature

“Over there.” Timothy pointed, his voice muffled slightly by the gas mask he wore.
Mackenzie peered through the thick goggles of his own gas mask and attempted to make out the subtle light that glimmered from recently extinguished fires. “I see it. Pass me the binoculars.” he said, his hand outstretched behind him.
Mathew dropped the small pack and reached inside, pulling out a pair of binos and handing them to Mackenzie. “Have fun seeing anything in the dark.” Mathew said.
“Just want to count the fires.” He said, observing the embers through the binos for a short moment before handing them back to Mathew. “There’s about seven. How many people are needed for seven fires?” Mackenzie asked, as he turned to the others.
For a short moment, his mind reacted to the sight of his three friends as though nothing had happened, as though the world was still making some form of sense. That version of him in his mind, that once existed when things were normal, recoiled in fear from the view he beheld of his close friends.
They all wore weathered clothes and gas masks, the majority of it salvaged from stores or persons who had passed on and would no longer need them. Mackenzie, like Tim and Al, wore a military gas mask. He wore a leather biking jacket with reinforced shoulders and elbows, underneath it was a CadPat flack jacket, just like the one Tim and Al wore. He cradled an M14 rifle in the crook of his right arm. Attached to the belt that held up his black nylon pants was a thigh holster that harbored a Tactical Pro II Kimber 1911. On his left hip hung a Kukri.
Timothy stood to Mackenzie’s left. He wore a 3/4 length khaki poplin jacket on top of his flack jacket. The 5.56 ammunition for his M16A2 rifle was located in his pack, but a few magazines rested in makeshift pouches built into a belt that bore the Royal Canadian Regiments eight pointed star as the buckle. The belt held up a pair of black cargo pants, knee pads firmly strapped on just above a pair of combat boots. Holstered to his thigh was a browning 9mm pistol.
Alain was sitting on the slope they stood on. He wore his flack jacket on the outside, on top of a dark cotton hooded jacket, his hood was pulled over his head, covering those parts that weren’t protected by the gas mask he wore. He rested an M249 on his thigh as he sat watching the embers glowing in the distance. His hands were protected by tactical gloves, and he wore a pair of black light weight nylon pants with reinforced knees. They nearly hid the pair of running shoes he had on his feet. A hatchet hung from a jimmy rigged steel ring threaded into his belt on his right hip, and a P225 Sig pistol rested in a holster that had been sown firmly into his flack jacket’s left breast.
Mathew stood out with an out of date, yet still functional cold war era Russian style gasmask wrapped at the neck with a camouflage patterned scarf. He wore an olive drab cotton jacket, blue denim jeans and a pair of worn combat boots. At his hip was holstered a silver Smith and Wesson model 625 revolver. A Remington 870 Police entry gun with a fourteen inch barrel was cradled in his crossed arms as he stood waiting to move, an overcharged pack at his feet. He pondered. “How many people for seven fires.Well, that’s a really tough one, I suppose we could just guess that each fire has at least two people and that there’s at a minimum fourteen people to deal with.”
“From the distance the fires are at I’d say there’s probably more than two per fire.” Al said, breaking his silence. “Maybe five?”
“How many is that?” Mackenzie asked, “Five times seven... I suck at math.”
The other three turned to each other, if they hadn’t been all wearing gas masks you would have been able to watch them all silently mouthing numbers as they calculated, except for Mathew, who quickly responded.
“Thirty five, for christ sakes, multiples of five are supposed to be easy.”
“Hey I was just about to say that.” Tim said, borderline disgruntled.
“Thirty five.” Alain repeated. “That’s a lot, if things go bad we can be in a world of hurt.

The End

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