by Hydrargentium

It was a sweet day, with sun and clouds and fresh air on the hills. Mountain Man strode through the woods, feet like boulders treading without tracks, leaving the forest floor undisturbed.

A handful of berries jiggled in his cupped hand, and every once in a while, he popped a few into his mouth, never breaking his stride. With each mouthful, he chewed, thoughtful, savouring the sweet-tart bounty. His hand never seemed to run out of berries as he walked through the hills, mile after mile, along the Appalachian Trail.

Nearing a small town in Tennessee, his ears perked up at the sound of explosions. Climbing to the top of a nearby cliff, Mountain Man scanned the horizon.

There, silhouetted against the late afternoon sun, a column of smoke wended its way into the sky.