UnBooks:The Trail

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The novel The Trail is also available in paperback.
To avoid ruining the photo, the man with the shotgun has been cropped out

Howard Whitman sat on his porch, eyeing the dirt footpath menacingly. He didn't know what it was or why it was there, only that it went through his property, and as such, he had a responsibility to his family to shoot those who chose to travel along it. Sometimes he hit them, sometimes not, but they always either ran away or died, and either was satisfactory.

Of course, Howard didn't guard the path all himself. He took turns with his five oldest sons, whose ages were 37, 36, 34, 33, and 33. The Whitmans couldn't tell time, so they would just switch off when the current guard became tired, hungry, or bored.

The path had always been there, as long as any of them could remember, and just about the only thing they knew about it was that it was a wonderful source of food. The hikers' bullet-riddled corpses yielded energy bars, trail mix, fruits, and even fresh, raw meat which, although a bit too salty on its own, was delicious when used in skunk cabbage stew.

Howard was the father of a family of 40, 42 if you count him and his lovely cousin and wife of thirty-eight years, Geraldine. With that many children, it's easy to forget who's who, so instead of calling specific children when it was time to do chores, they just grabbed whoever was around and put them to work sweeping pine needles out of the den.

One day, a five year old named Billy decided that he was going to go on a journey to find out why the path was there. He asked his father, who gave him a grunt of approval. So Billy gathered up a rabbit's foot, a bottle marked "XXX" and his little shotgun and staggered onto the trail (he was rather drunk at the time).

Billy walked for three days, each day getting food from hikers. He slept fitfully on piles of leaves that he gathered, and drank water from a stream near the path, whose waters reflected all the colors of the rainbow. It tasted funny, but it was water, and he was thirsty.

The going was tough. Billy had never spent one night out of his comfy squirrel-skin bed. So it should come as no surprise that he was delighted when he discovered a stone hut on the side of the trail at the end of his third day.

The hut had three stone walls, and chicken wire over the front. The chicken wire had a door in it, as well as a small plastic square with writing on it. Billy couldn't read (his childhood education was about the Confederacy's victory over the Union, and was taught by Negro Jim), so he simply vomited on the sign, fell flat on his face, and slipped into a drunken stupor.

Billy awoke with a pounding headache, and realized that he was no longer in the woods, but in the county jail. He sat up, rubbed his eyes, and asked the sheriff "What'm ah here fer?"

The sheriff replied "Ya shot three hikers, and then et their livers."

"But ah dun hungered!"

"Ain't mah problem. Ya got a name, boy?"

"Billy Whitman."

"You know how much trouble you in, Billy?"


"They gonna lock you up fer a loooong time."

It was then that Billy realized the seriousness of his situation. He looked around wildly for some means of escape, and finally found it--the door was open. He ran out of the cell, kicked the sheriff in the crotch, grabbed his gun, grabbed his own gun, and bolted out of the jail and into the woods.

After about a week of traveling in a random direction, he finally reached his house. He walked in the front door, beaming. His father saw him, and asked him "Well, boy, did yeh find out whut them there trail for?"

Billy puffed out his chest, gave a wide grin, and proudly proclaimed "Nope."

The End

Spork.jpg This page was originally sporked from some report I wrote in class.

This UnBook is lovingly dedicated to the countless thousands of hikers who lost their lives while foolishly trying to hike the Appalachian Trail.