The trucks stopped before his house. The doors swung open and four people emerged wearing heavy jackets, canvas pants and boots, their faces covered by thick scarfs that rested on their shouleders. Each of them carried automatic rifles.From the rear of the second truck voices drifted, words of reassurance being spoken to calm the those whose sobbing caused The Farmer’s hands to instinctively tighten around his shotgun. One of the nomads approached him, walking to the edge of his stairs.
“That’s close enough,” The Farmer said.
The nomad halted, lowered the rifle then pulled down the face scarf, revealing the hard face of a middle age woman.
“Where’s the Portion,” she said.
“In the shed out back,” The Farmer replied.
The nomad motioned with her head. As The Farmer moved toward the stairs Rufus jumped to his paws, growling as he bared his teeth. The Nomad took aim at the dog.
“Down, boy!” The Farmer shouted.
Rufus sat, still bearing his teeth. The Nomad kept her gun trained on the dog.
“Did you come to kill a dog or did you come to get your Portion,” The Farmer said.
“Meat is meat,” the Nomad said.
The Farmer climbed down the stairs the sauntered around the back of his home to the shed. He heard the trucks rev up as they followed. He unlocked the shed then opened the wide doors as the nomads approached. They brushed by him then into the shed. In moment they returned, their arms fill with his hard earned harvest. Three trips they took before it was all gone.
The Nomad stood before him.
“Not much,” she said. “We here you’re supposed to be the best.”
“Hard season,” The Farmer replied.
The woman spit at his feet. “Where’s your family?”
The Farmer’s eyes met the Nomad’s.
“Like I said, hard season.”
The Nomad smirked. “We left enough. We expect more next year.”
The nomads climbed into their trucks then drove away. Rufus jumped from the porch, barking as he chased them down the road. As they went down the road the canvas on the rear truck opened. A faces appeared, faces filled with fear and desperation. The Farmer looked away. There was nothing he could to for them. Yet. He waited until he was sure the trucks were far away before firing one shot into the air. His family would hear that shot then come out of hiding. He went inside his home to the old ham radio which shared a table with the sewing machine. He cranked the charger until he had enough power then radioed The Elder.
“Yes, Farmer?” The Elder spoke with a voice burdened by wisdom and time.
“We need to meet,” The Farmer said. “Next year may be no better than this year.”
“I’ll gather the others,” The Elder said. “We’ll met at First Oak. You sure you want to do this? We could reach out to the Citizens.”
“They’re no better,” The Farmer said. “We need to handle this ourselves. We’ll meet at First Oak. Tomorrow.”