“Are you sure about this?” the one sitting in the passenger seat questioned.
“It’s a sure thing,” his buddy replied, tucking a large hunting knife between the waistband of his jeans and his belt. “You take the tire iron, just in case.”
“In case o’ what? We don’t need the gun?”
“Naw. If we fire that thing, everybody around here’ll hear it and call the police. No, we’re gonna sneak up real nice and polite like, and confront one of these older couples, and ask ‘em to hand over all their money. We’ll show ‘em our knife and all to prove we mean business. That should scare the crap out of them so that they’ll happily give us what they got. Hell, if they’re isolated enough, I can go in and search their trailer to see what else I might be able to sell off for a little extra coin. Then we come back here. Ten, fifteen minutes tops. Easy schmeasy.”
The younger man shook his head. “It still sounds iffy to me, Clarkie. Besides, how do you know these people got money?”
His buddy gave him an exasperated look. “Listen, Bud, anybody who’s got enough dough to buy one of those big, expensive travel trailers is gonna have some spare cash on ‘em for emergencies. We rough ‘em up a little bit, put the fear into ‘em, and they’ll hand over everything they got just to get rid of us.”
Reaching into the small black bag they’d brought along, Clarkie pulled out two ski masks and handed one to his companion. “Here. Put this on. Those people won’t be able to identify us, and they damn sure won’t know what kind of car we’re driving. Plus we can move faster than them. Just remember. When I give the word, that’s when we run back here.”
“And we’re only gonna hit one old couple tonight?”
“Just for starters. After we see how it goes, and how much we get out of ‘em, we might do two the next time.”
“What next time?” Bud queried.
“When I say it’s the next time,” Clarkie snapped. “Now get your mask on and come on!”
They trudged through the brush as they advanced toward the RV park. Night had fallen some time ago, but the park was lit up from the outdoor lanterns the people were using.
Clarkie and Bud knew this park inside and out, which was why they headed for the farthest end. The “sweet spot” as it was referred to by the locals. There was only one way in and out of that corner, and only one trailer could park in there. Being that isolated provided the best privacy, with the nearest neighbor a good fifty or so feet away. With lots of trees and bushes planted around to provide more privacy, the park gave each visitor a sense of space without feeling crowded.
It was a perfect place to pull an innocent little heist without the fear of having others watching. The two young men were hoping the luck of the draw would give them a couple of old farts who wouldn’t be able to defend themselves.
Luck was indeed with them tonight. There weren’t that many people on vacation this time of year. Maybe a dozen at the most. The ones here were either full-time retired, self-employed to where they weren’t tied to an office, or taking an early vacation.
Clarkie spotted their target and pointed them out to Bud. The older, gray-haired couple sitting in lounge chairs around the open firepit were perfect.
“You ready?” he whispered. When his cohort nodded, he pulled out the knife and stepped out from the bushes.
The older couple spotted them immediately and got to their feet. “What do you want?” the guy demanded.
Clarkie held up the knife, twirling it a little to be sure the couple noticed it. “We ain’t gonna hurt you. We just want all your money, then we’ll be on our way.”
Bud hefted the tire iron. “Don’t scream. Don’t yell. Let’s keep this transaction easy. Just hand over your cash.”
“No credit cards and no traveler’s checks,” Clarkie specified. “We don’t want none of that crap.”
“Why don’t you two kids just mosey along?” the old guy suggested in a calmer tone of voice. “Go back to where you came from.”
“Not until we get what we came for,” Clarkie stated.
The old woman held up her hands. “We don’t have any spare cash. Well, maybe forty dollars or so. We intended on going to an ATM to get more tomorrow, but most of what we’ve been buying, we’ve put on our credit cards.”
Clarkie gave her an incredulous look. “Are you trying to tell me you ain’t got a wad of cash on you right now?” He jerked a finger toward the nice motor home sitting behind them. “Or inside that mobile palace of yours?”
“I’m saying it’s best if you and your hoodlum friend leave right now,” the old guy warned.
“Or what? What ‘cha gonna do to us, Gramps?” Clarkie made a couple of jabbing motions with the knife. “You think you’re faster than I am? You think you two old farts can outmaneuver us? Huh?”
“Last warning, pup,” the old man announced.
Bud gave a bark of laughter. “Pup! Hahaha! Ya hear that? Grandpa thinks—”
He stared in shocked disbelief, mouth hanging open, as the two old people began to shrink. Literally shrink, down to the ground. But they didn’t melt. Well, they did. Sort of. They began to change, like an invisible hand was reshaping them into…
He was struck squarely in the groin. The impact made him drop the tire iron and reach for the impact site. As he cried out in pain, he was rammed again. This time in the belly. Hard.
The animal jerked its head upward, catching him under the jaw with its giant curved horns. Bud heard his teeth clash, and more, brighter pain flashed through him. He fell to the ground, landing on his knees as he fought for breath. From the corner of his eye, he saw Clarkie similarly injured. In front of him, an identical creature kept its head lowered, ready to attack again.
Lifting his face, Bud stared in disbelief at the animal now smiling down at him.
“You were told to leave. Disobey, and you’ll be punished. Are you ready to leave now?” the animal questioned in the old man’s voice.
A talking sheep, Bud’s numbed brain noted.
“You can go f—” He didn’t get the chance to finish before the animal lowered its head and butted him squarely in the face.
“Those are rams,” the deputy clarified.
“Yeah! That’s what they did! They rammed us!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” the officer replied and shut the door.
Ashton watched as the second man was lifted into the back of the ambulance. Shannon came up beside him and slid an arm around her husband’s waist.
They turned around as the deputy approached. “Yes?” Ashton inquired.
“Are you sure you and your wife are okay? I can have EMS check you out before they leave,” the officer suggested.
“No, thank you. We’re all right. A bit shook up, but otherwise we’re fine.”
The deputy shook his head. “Sorry you had to go through that. Wild pigs, eh? I’ve heard of them attacking people in the past, but I wasn’t aware of any in this vicinity. I’ll put out a notice that there must be a herd of them roaming around in this area.” The man snorted. “I don’t know what those two kids are on, but the older one insists it was sheep who attacked them, not pigs.” The man’s smile grew wider. “And he claims it was you two who turned into those sheep.”
Ashton chuckled. “Those must be some good drugs they’re on.”
Both men laughed at the remark.
Shannon tugged on her husband’s shirt sleeve. “Can I go inside the camper where it’s warmer?”
Ashton turned to the deputy, who nodded.
“We’re done here,” the officer told them.
“Are you going to need us to come in and give a report or something?”
“If you don’t mind, before you leave town.”
“How’s about tomorrow morning?”
“That’ll be perfect.”
“What’s going to happen to those two young men?” Ashton inquired, indicating the medical vehicle pulling away.
“Well, considering they threatened you, and they both were armed, Judge Silsby isn’t going to go easy on them. Both of those young men already have a nice little history with law enforcement.” The deputy nodded again. “You have a good rest of the night.”
“Same to you, Deputy,” Ashton called out to the departing figure. When he was certain the man was gone, he went to join his wife inside the camper.
“Is he gone?” she asked when he came through the door.
She sighed. “It’s a shame those two boys had to be taught a lesson.”
Ashton chuckled. “Maybe next time they’ll think twice about attacking older people again.”
Shannon smiled, a twinkle in her dark brown eyes. “Isn’t that the truth? Even if they think about it, they’ll wonder if those people are Aries like us, and can shift into their other selves.”
He patted her on the shoulder and kissed her cheek. “Come on. Let’s call it a night. After that little skirmish, I’m beat.”
“It’s because we’re not used to that much excitement in one night,” his wife commented as she followed him into the rear bedroom. “I told you, we need to start exercising to some of those online videos.”
“Let’s talk about it in the morning!” her husband declared.
“That’s what you always say!” she retorted, only to be answered with more laughter. Grinning, Shannon said no more about it for the rest of the night, but she’d definitely bring it up again come morning.
After all, that was what wives were supposed to do, right?