“Hey, Billy Ray did you see the lights in the sky last night?” Jimmy Lee asked.
“Yep. Most likely swamp gas or some such,” I said looking up at my younger cousin. As usual the boy was a
mess. Most of the time he reminded me of the “pig pen” character from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. If
we’d ever had snow here in the bayou I just knew he’d build a gray snowman.
“Ned says he heard noise like an engine. Maybe were airplanes,” Jimmy Lee said.
I shook my head; the boy still seemed to think the stories about the way the world was before the last war, were
the way it was now. Guess the kid needed something to believe in. And there really weren’t no harm in hoping
things might eventually return to normal. “Naw, been no airplanes around here for a while now,” I finally said.
Unfortunately, hope was all it was.
“Maybe it was one of them unidentified flying objects?”
“Now Jimmy Lee, you know better than that. UFOs was nothing more than secret government projects designed
to keep people talking bout them and not prying into other secret government projects. Since there be no more
government; there be no more secret government projects and no more UFOs.”
“Well, it weren’t no swamp gas. Ned says he heard engine noises and I believe him.”
“And Ned’s the one who took you snipe hunting as well,” I said with a grin. “Guess that makes him all
trustworthy and what not now don’t it.”
Jimmy Lee’s face turned red and he turned to walk away. I’ll never understand why that boy continued to listen
to Ned after that. Granted, taking youngsters on the infamous snipe hunt is a tradition that has been around for
longer than any of us can remember. Since the changes that took place since the last war we do have to plan
them a bit more carefully.
No one rightly knows what truly caused the changes; some say it was use of nukes in the atmosphere that shut
down all the tech stuff and caused the mutations. Whatever it was, the cities were no place to be anymore,
particularly at night. Them so-called civilized folks had become nothing more than feral dogs; scavenging and
hunting in packs.
Ned decided to do this particular hunt on a night of the full moon; a night when the wild ‘uns are usually out. And
he thought it would be funny to plan the hunt near town. I think he was hoping for one of them mutants to
wander into the area in order to scare Jimmy Lee. I doubt he was planning on Jimmy Lee having to fight his way
through a small horde of them to get back that night.
“Jimmy Lee, you want a chance to get even with Ned?” I held out a burlap sack, just like ones we used on a
“Ned ain’t stupid enough to fall for a snipe hunt,” Jimmy Lee said.
“I reckon not, but he might be fool enough to fall for an alien hunt.”
That made Jimmy Lee smile and he glanced up at the sky. “Yeah, I think he might just be fool enough for that.”