Location: Evening Shade, Arkansas, East side of town on the outskirts
Date: December 17th, 2102
Officer Rick Wilson frowned as he surveyed the homestead, what was left of it that is. "None of them suh, not a one made it captain, their all dead." Trooper Patrick Kirkland hobbled down the porch steps as he made his loud report, for eighty some odd years old the former state trooper, was a spry old man. Wilson nodded and sighed. "Alright, any idea on how many?" Andy Banks spoke up, he was a former sharp county deputy sheriff. "From the tracks there was atleast six of them, they had horses from the scat over by the hitching post, enough for them all to have a ride and two pack mules to carry their gear and plunder." Wilson nodded and puffed on his pipe, a trail of tobacco smoke followed him as he walked over to the bodies. Henry Wallace had been a farmer, he had a apple orchard and a small gang of cattle, he was laid out next to his wife and his two boys.
Wilson straightened to attention and removed his cap. "Moment of silence for the fallen men." The small gang of former police officers, security guards, firemen and army national guardsmen all removed their hats briefly. Wilson replaced his peaked cap on his head nodded to the two men from the town that had come bury the dead. "Mister Housemen, see to it that these people get a proper burial." The older of the two nodded, Wilson turned to his men. "Saddle up!" He thundered as he moved to his horse,quickly heaving himself up into the saddle. His men moved with purpose and were quickly on their own horses in moments. Wilson tapped his heels into his horses flank spurring him on, his six men followed as he lead the way out of the farm. The winter was always the worst, raiders were a pain year round but most stayed away from places likely to have an armed response. But in winter, when food and shelter were scarce all bets were off.
The group slowly made their way put to the old highway, passing the rusted hulks of cars and trucks. Patrick slowly rode up beside him and leaned close. "I didn't see any sign of the girl." Wilson nodded. "I know." Patrick spat as they rode in silence. "Its been atleast four days." Wilson nodded. "First forty-eight hours are critical, we're twenty-four past that." Wilson nodded. "Tracks only went as far as the road, and its rained since then." Wilson nodded and held up a can. Patrick leaned over. "Its a beer can so what?" Wilson turned to his trusted deputy with a sigh. "Mister Wallace didn't drink, those boys of his were eight and ten so they didn't and his wife surely doesn't drink. The only place to still get this brand is in Batesville and if its from where I think it came from we have a lead."
Patrick shook his head and spat another gob of tobacco juice. "Ah yep, the Piggly Wiggly." Wilson nodded. The former supermarket known as Piggly Wiggle's had served as a food and ammo warehouse for the national guard in the closing days of the United States due to the rationing at the time, after the bombs fell it was looted, but in recent times it had become a trade hub since the building was mostly intact. Due to that fact things like beer, which was hard to come by, could only be gotten from there and there was only one man who dealt in alcohol that Wilson knew of.
Things were shaping up to be a hellva week. "So we just gonna bust up in there, grab Hank and make him spill the beans." Wilson relit his pipe taking a few drags. "No, we're gonna go in there talk to Hank like we always have, figure out just who he sold that to and figure out if he has any idea where they are. While we're doing that have the boys buy some stuff, make it look like we're there for anything but chasing down raiders, you know how those hillbillies are." Patrick nodded and slowly fell back to the rest of the men, he filled them in as Wilson put his shades on as the road took them into the sun. Hank Sims was the local beer trader, he made his own brew but he was known to come up with all kinds of alcohol from the traders that passed by, he made a killing as he sold it to one and all. Due to the nature of his business he heard and saw things the lawmen wouldn't ever get wind of on their on, lucky for them he was on their side, most of the time that is. The lawmen where a force to be reckoned with, but being so few in number had its draw backs and the people that lived in the former town of Batesville made it clear how they felt about police officers, of any kind as noted by the groups mismash of uniforms. People liked that there was some form of law, in so much as long as to they didn't deal with them. Of the six towns each had a small squad of Lawmen to deal with the citys day to day issues, Wilson's group was the reaction force. That being said anytime they were seen out and about everybody knew someone was on a short list, and like roaches people had a bad habit of scattering. Well Wilson thought, a group of six men and teenage girl wouldn't be to hard to spot, just a matter of time really.