Helping hand

“Up! Wake up Little Brother! Up!” The annoyingly familiar voice jars me awake. I open my eyes to slits and look around before moving anything else. It's pitch dark and my fire is still mostly cherry red embers and everything else is undisturbed. The sound of rustling feathers gets my attention and I spot large ragged raven staring at me from the shadows behind the fire pit with one blue eye. Not the least bit afraid of me it chortles encouragingly as I prop myself up. With a flip of it's tail it hops to the edge of the pillar before giving me a series of clicks while looking down. When I don't move the Raven turns back and caws urgently before again looking out and down.
“This better be good.” I mutter grumpily while crawling over to see what the damned bird wanted. “Couldn't let me sleep another two hours, could you.” I whisper to the raven who gives me a haughty glare then jabs his beak towards the darkened ruins. I was about to smack the bird off but instead studied the darkness and immediately spotted a campfire burning in the ruins. That alone isn't a surprise, many travel this area. It is unusual and unwise to make such a bright fire in such a poorly defensible position. I turn to look at the Raven. “So, some idiot wants to face Darwin. What about it.”
I wasn't expecting anything in response so it was a surprise when the damn bird spit out an actual word. “Help.” Having spoken the raven takes off, vanishing into the night while I try and pick my jaw up. It is not normal to speak with animals without herbal assistance, and I didn't take any yesterday and I know I'm not tripping that high. Yet, that is, but first I have to humor a strange raven. With that thought I collect my rifle and set it up, making sure the light from my fire can't affect my sight.
The campsite jumps into focus through the scope and I patiently pan the area, finding four people sleeping in a huddle beside the fire. No packs, blankets, no real gear of any kind, just four scrawny people and a fire. Once sure of that I pan out a bit and start carefully scoping the area around the camp.
Sure enough, a brief flicker of reflected light on the top of the one story ruin behind the camp catches my eye and I stop scanning. Crouched on the edge of the roof are three figures, right over the camp. Raiders, judging by their clothes and gear. Two figures are holding what looks to be a weighted net between them, watching the third man who is keenly looking to the rubble on the opposite side of camp. I pan over to see three more figures moving towards a larger chunk of concrete just outside of the light. I can't see any other movement so I pan the scope back to the three raiders on the building.
“Time to test this puppy out.” I mutter to myself as I take aim on the spotter's head and adjust the scope for range and wind. Then I slow my breathing and focus on his left eye and squeeze the trigger. The noise is loud in my ears but probably unnoticeable by the raiders below. The fact that the spotters head just splattered however is instantly noted and the remaining two jump and line themselves up like eager little targets. My second round punches through them both and I am sure killed at least the first one. “.....It worked?”
I immediately start looking for the other three but only spot one of them as he desperately scrambles away. So I pan back to the roof and confirm all three bodies are still there, dead. I really like this rifle. I pan down to see the camp undisturbed and the campers still fast asleep. “You gonna owe me Brother Crow.” I say softly as I start scanning for any signs of the survivors. In the distance a Raven laughs back at me. I spent another hour watching with no sign of raiders before I fell asleep with my eye to the scope.
I woke up that way just as the sun started climbing above the ruins. A few blinks and my vision cleared enough to see the campsite had been abandoned while I slept. The dead raiders still resting where I had left them. I sit up and stretch out my back as I yawn. Then it's a morning blunt, breakfast, and then see if the dead had any valuables.

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