Tuesday, April 17, 2018

5221



Dispatch: 5221

Me: 5221; Hwy 47, Greenville Rd, North bound.

Dispatch: 5221 Single car accident Hwy 26 approximately 4 to 6 miles west of the tunnel.

Me: 5221 any further information; injuries?

Dispatch: 5221 no information available from caller; said he was stopped by a guy in the highway and asked to call 911 as soon as he found a phone booth. Caller called from Staley’s Junction.

Me: Copy; running code.

Dispatch: 5221 is running code at 18:21 hours.

I’m Mackenzie Clark, 5221, they call me Mac; let me give you some back ground so you know what, where, when and how come. 5221 is my call sign; Swing shift (52) and (21) is me, regardless of what shift I’m working I’m going to be (21). With that high of a number it’s clear to all the jurisdictions that I’m a pretty new guy with the Sheriff’s Department; I just went past 18 months with the Department starting in late September of 1980. All the Departments use the same radio channel regardless if it’s a city or the County, too identify which agency dispatch is calling you have to throw in the 52 so everyone knows this call is going to the Sheriff’s Department. If I was working day shift I’d be 5121 and grave 5321; the big cheese is the Sheriff and when 5100 comes on the air you know it’s the boss. 5101 Captain on day shift, 5102 Lieutenant, 5103 and on up a few numbers are Sergeants; you get the drift.

Washington County, Oregon is a rather large geographical area and the west end towards the Coast Range, is sparsely populated and has only a few small towns, almost villages they are so small. Closest town with any population and a Fire Department with a rescue unit is Banks and it’s manned only by volunteers, there is no staff on duty. When a call comes in the siren on top of the Fire Department building sounds and the volunteers rush to the Fire house, grab equipment and respond when they have enough people to man a truck or trucks.

Dispatch: 5221

Me: 5221, Hwy 26 at Phil Rd, running code. (Siren drowning out the words.)

Dispatch: 5221, Second caller reports injuries, possible fatalities.

Me: Copy, can you roll Banks.

Dispatch: Bank has been notified, waiting for personnel to respond, estimating fifteen minutes to respond and roll.

Me: Copy, I’ll step it up, out running my siren. (“Out running your siren” happens when you
are running so fast that vehicles can’t hear or react to your siren before you’re on them or passing them, you can only hope they see you coming.)

Dispatch: 5221 at 18:26 hours.

It’s been five minutes making good time, punched it up to 90mph, the new Impala is purring, happy at this speed, traffic is light, visibility is clear and the road is dry. Wednesday early evening second week of April is not a busy time of the year on these back roads as you head up and over the Coast range to the beach. Hwy 26 to the coast is a decent road with few patches and wide lanes; west bound cars are few and see the over head lights well before I’m running over them at this speed.

Me: 5221 dispatch.

Dispatch: 5221

Me: Couple minutes to the tunnel and loosing radio contact.

Dispatch: 5221 Copy loosing radio contact; be aware Banks Fire has been unable to fill a team we are rolling Hillsboro Fire rescue estimated time to arrival 45 plus minutes.

Me: Copy, it’s the west end; at the tunnel.

Dispatch: 5221 at………… (Cut off, dead air.)

The interior of the car rattles under the siren as it bounces off the walls of the tunnel; I’ll bet it jumped by 25db, my ears are starting to ring. Clearing the tunnel the road flattens out for about two miles and I still have at least 4 to 6 miles to go; no cars in view as the straight stretch open up in front of me; I kick it up to 100mph.

Sweeping long turns, dropping the car back into the 70’s, these long curves won’t support anything more and I’m getting close to where the caller reported the accident. Second long curve and a short straight stretch I can see a man standing on the right side of the road waving; I pass him going into the curve rolling just over 50mph as I drop the siren reducing speed more. At the far end of the curve I can see three cars parked on the left side of the road just off the pavement; there’s a long wide gravel area to the left of the pavement along this section of road giving a good area to park away from traffic. Light smoke drifting across the road pin points the location of the accident even though I can’t see the vehicle obscured by trees. Slowing I pull into the gravel and make my way towards the smoke stopping the car a good distance from the accident site not wanting to disturb any possible tire tracks etc.

Welcome to my nightmare.

There are a couple things I notice right away as I step from my patrol car; no one is near the crash site, they’re standing up by their vehicles a good 50 yards from the smoking wreak. It’s a small group of three people; I can see a man further up the Highway as the other traffic waver of trouble ahead. The small group gives me a little wave but no one walks towards the accident, I can now see that its one man and two women, they’re just huddling together not moving, looking everywhere except towards the crash. The second thing I see that’s odd is there are a couple ravens or crows eagerly eating at something in the gravel in a couple spots out from the opening. One a distance of maybe ten yards from the crash towards the cars parked along the pavement, the other one my direction; both are at a slight angle, this one towards where I parked my car. I think that’s the correct angle that someone would walk from the parked cars to the crash and then away from the crash towards the far sweeping corner where the man was standing waving warning traffic. One other thing I don’t see that’s strange is there are no tire marks in the gravel, not a single skid mark coming from the pavement to the impact site. Something is making the hair on the back of my neck stand up, giving me a clear warning that I don’t like; I don’t like the feeling at all.

I take a couple pictures with the 35 mm as protocol dictates as I slowly move forward trying to take it all in; I still can’t see the wreaked car it was just slightly inside the tree line; you wouldn’t know it was there from this angle without the smoke drifting from inside the trees. The crow finally takes to wing as I near it, there lays a large pile of puke that trails off towards the direction of the man that had waved at me earlier as I arrived. I was close enough to see the other crow was also eating a pile of puke; my little voice in my head starts to groan.

Winds picking up a little changing from the north east sweeping around to the west pushing the smoke down to a low level; I’m going to have to walk through the smoke to get into the slight hole in the woods that the wreak is someplace down in. As the wind swings I can already smell the heavy carbon smell of hot oil and some other smell I can’t quite make out, something sweet but strangely gagging at the same time, doesn’t smell like anti-freeze it’s something else I can’t quite identify.

The strange smell is still on my mind as I round the last tree blocking my sight lines. I’m about twenty feet out from the tree line still walking in the gravel keeping out where I can see a wide view. I can finally see the wreak but it’s not clear even though it’s now only about 20 yards distance, the smoke is obscuring the crash site swirling around being held in close by the thickness of the trees, one moment clearing then nearly completely obscured. I stop taking two quick pictures recording the crash site and the depression in the woods the car has come to a stop in; I look back up towards the three parked cars and the people standing there before moving into the tree line. I see the smoke has swung all the way around and is now drifting directly towards the cars parked up by the pavement. Something’s strange out of place startling me; the man is bent over one of the women and the other one I can’t locate. I can only see the two people clearly by the side of the middle car, man over the woman his hands at her head, neck; oh she’s puking and he’s pulling her hair away from her face; I stand watching until she finishes, lots of dry heaves. He opens the passenger door and she falls into the seat. I finally see the other female, she’s sitting in the front car with her head down, I can just barely make her out as the smoke swirls.

Barbeque; the oily smoke is covering the sweet smell of what I associate with a barbeque; sweet earthy but off somehow. That little voice in my head is now getting loud, a constant high pitched shriek.

I take the last few steps up to the rear of the car; I can’t make out the type of car other than there’s a Volkswagen emblem on the rear panel. The smoke is thick this close coming from the middle of the wreak swirling and twisting into tight circles making it hard to see even now just five feet from the rear bumper. It’s confusing the shape of the car is all wrong, way too short, the width is correct but the length is all off; then I realize, it’s a Volkswagen beetle maybe a mid 1960’s beetle, the front is pushed back smashed from the impact with the tree the whole car now only about five feet in length from tree to that V.W. emblem on the rear. Engine compartment, passenger area is all combined and pushed together in a tight wad. The roof is ripped from the left posts flipped over inverted so the inside is facing up and is twisted now pointing straight out to the right of the car flat like a flapping wing. The car is sitting at an angle running up the side of the tree from the impact making it seem even shorter.

I realize my feet are getting wet, I look down I’m standing in a pool maybe three inches deep, deep enough its pouring into my boots over the laces; but it doesn’t make any sense it’s split neatly in two parts a distinct line separating one half the pool from the other. Way back in my mind over the deafening screams comes the old saying “Oil and water don’t mix” but this isn’t oil and water as the color returns filling in to my eyes, one side is hot oil, the other cooling glossy fresh blood. I force my eyes away from the pool up and back to the car; I don’t understand shock or how it works but I just hadn’t realized that I’d completely ignored twisted in the smashed wreak there was clearly three people jammed between the engine pushed to the front seats and the whole front of the car jammed into the passenger compartment, apparently my mind had taken it all in.

Time went away; the smoke was choking making it hard to breathe, my mouth was dry from mouth breathing fighting to get enough air, there was a deep roar mixing with a high pitched squeal that was hurting my ears; something was pushing into my head riding just over the top of the din, realizing it was a voice “Deputy” louder, “Deputy; are you all right?” I turned, the sound blasting in my ears dropped I could hear the splash of my boots in the sickening pool; there was a young man standing a few feet from me his eyes on the car, eyes growing big as I watched, he blinked a couple times, he looked me in the eye then his eyes dropped slowly working down the front of my Uniform to my feet and the cooling pool. His face twisted into a knot as he spun around running towards what were now four cars parked at the hard top.

The roar in my head of a few seconds ago ended completely in dead silence; I could hear the gravel under his feet as he ran to his car, door slamming, engine starting, tires spinning gravel as he raced away down the highway.

I taste barf, the space between my teeth and cheeks full. I looked down at my hands and they were covered in barf, closer the front of my uniform is no longer brown but now shades of glistening puke. The smell of oil, barbeque and blown bowels is gagging. I could hear the ticking of the engine cooling behind me, the splash as fluids dripped into the pool. Turning back to the car everything is now over bright, the smoke has cleared, everything over sharp over exposed. One ham sized arm of the driver riding along the door window sill a tattooed forearm resting comfortably, elbow at a 45 degree angle against the stub of the front roof post. Head tilted back bright pink as something sharp had split slicing his head in half from the eyes up, top of head hanging over the seat back connected by thin skin. These people were huge, grossly overweight, obese. A picture of a clown car flashed in my brain; I thought how could these people all fit in the front of this little car; then it hit me the center person a woman judging from the watermelon size bare breast the areola the size of my fist must have been riding in the back jump seat area. She was now sprayed across the tree, upper body flattened by the impact thinned by three quarters her skull pancake thin teeth embedded into the bark, her lower legs pinned under frame, the motor ran up between her large ass cheeks cracked and burnt, light pencil thin smoke twisting raising in her ass crack then drifting off to the right. The screaming voice in my head was back rising to a crescendo. Number three far right was again a woman, she was nearly covered as the front of the car had ridden up and over her leaving only her head showing above the seat, but looking past and out into the trees she’d completely emptied her insides as they were hanging from low branches intestines twisted trailing back into the car. Shades of grey pouring into my vision, deafened by the roar, high pitched shrill screaming.

I was shocked by the coldness of the water as they rinsed the puke from the front of my uniform using a hose and the water from the fire truck tanks; my Sergeant was there standing just out of the splash zone. I rode the first rescue unit to the hospital alone, just me and the EMT sitting on the gurney in the back, we didn’t speak.

A day or so later my Sergeant visited me in the hospital; we talked a little about the crash. He said I’d done a great job my first six pictures of the crash scene had turned out great but the rest of the roll of 30 exposures didn’t come out because the camera lenses was covered in puke and had been saved from the water soaking by taking so many pictures the film had come off the roller and was wrapped tight in the film roll. He said I’d taken 12 to 15 pages of notes in my notebook but they were unreadable being wet, soaked and soiled, only my diagram of the crash site was readable. He told me the local paper had done a short article on the crash making me a hero suffering smoke inhalation trying to save the occupants.

He had paperwork all filled out for me on the transfer out of Patrol Division moving to Corrections special teams at the first of the next month.

I’m starting to think things are going to be okay; I’m looking forward to starting again fresh in a new field not much I’m going to miss from before.

From the Ramblings

t

Friday, March 9, 2018

Sand



The heat was smothering at 115 degrees; it’d be cooler if there was any place to get out of the blistering sun; winds blowing in the 30’s gusting to over 45mph’s.

Flat as a pancake, the sand blowing up to four feet high offs the never ending flat dunes of scorching desert.

Punished to walk; sitting would put you in the blowing sand level were the particles tore at every fiber of clothing, pitting goggles, scopes, every piece of equipment.

Stumbling forward leaning into the winds progress was measured in yards not miles; foot prints disappeared in seconds as the shifting sands blistered polishing stones to a gloss finish in fine glass blown particles.

Vision obscured by height from the desert sand; two feet zero, four feet twenty yards, six feet above the blowing sands fifty yards dependant on the heavy gusts that brought the sands up into swirling clouds blanketing over everyone’s heads. Five lives tied together by light rope flapping in the heavy winds, fibers cutting away with every razor sharp sand particle rubbing abasing against the thin ropes.

Communication between beings defended by screaming winds and pounding heavy particles made even the thought of conversation ear shattering over the cacophony of the blowing winds.

Two hundred and fifty yards from the insertion point the winds split around a wind block; winds blowing left and right leaving a narrow alley of slower moving participles visible by the brightening clouds of lesser blowing sand and backwards dancing dust from the heavy winds made an alley to the base of the towering monolith.

Shouting above the roar Stevens screamed “Can you find the door; where’s the doorway?!”

Digging deep below the swirling stacking sands; dragging huge hands full of dry powdery sandy dust away from the upper recess of the doorway, five beings dug for their very lives as their suits filled with sweat and oxygen supplies fell from the heavy work. The winds sucked the light sand dust from the digging clearing of the doorway in a vacuum caused by the turbulent wind creating a huge whirlwind to form behind the monolith helping clear the door opening.

A small number pad appeared from under the sands; punching in the emergency code the door slid open dumping buckets of sand into the doorway. Jumping down into the open doorway the five shoveled pouring sand away from the door way finally allowing the door to close and lock in its tracks.

“Door closing…….. Sealed” Five bodies hit the flood in exhaustion.

“It’s five o’clock; dinner in thirty minutes, lamb chops in a light gravy with oven roasted asparagus and chilled Resling wine finished with orange marmalade on deck seven” “Would you like to make reservations the computer voice asked?”

“Yes, five for dinner” Master Sergeant Stevens said sliding his helmet over his head dropping it in the flattening spreading sands from the escape hatch.

From the Ramblings.

t

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Micah



He awoke to the smell of mother earth’s rich deep sweet organic musky scent; a scent he knew well over the centuries, it comforted and calmed his mind as he awoke from death. Arms stiff and achy from the unnatural position they’d been placed in crossing his chest fingers interlaced, he slowly brought them up from his chest; crackling popping elbows he wiped the dust from his face. He knew he’d been buried in a well drained plot probably up the beautiful hillside overlooking the small town; the sweet damp organic smell so soothing to his nose told him so, no ammoniac stench of dank wet stagnate earth or hint of old penny metallic scent of desert sands.

From his death row prison cell window he’d seen the little cemetery up the hill; a smaller unfenced plot sat just outside of the enclosed manicured garden; having no headstones he’d deduced that the open plot held the bodies of prisoners who had died during their incarceration or been put to death as he would be in just a few days if the body wasn’t taken by family.

Taking in a deep breath of the sweet earth he relaxed slipping into the silent devils mantra that’d been burned into his memory as a small boy freeing his mind to wander as he waited knowing he’d be freed from his grave in the near future; his lips moved ever so slightly as he chanted the words, a small smile etched his scared face as a dry tear rolled down his cheek.

Deep in the mantra his thoughts flowing freely; he pushed back to the beginning when he was a very small boy lying frightened in his bed as shadows danced across the ceiling and walls; remembering his mothers angry words “Go back to sleep Micah, it’s nothing” he pressed his lips tight fighting his way into sleep, he deafened his ears to the screams, the hacking chopping sounds of his mother’s satanic murder only waking as the demon chanted the devil’s mantra deep into his mind as he was endlessly assaulted earning the devil’s mark. He remembered the pain growing in intensity until he finally screamed out; silence, not a sound in the dark, he lay still paralyzed by fear until the sun broke the horizon of the morning. Calling out to his mother he was answered only by the chilled morning air and a heavy bitter metallic coppery stench that filled the hut gagging him.

The Capital murder trial was cancelled when he’d plead guilty to the six horrific murders and waited only two months for the State to seat a twelve person penalty phase jury with four alternates in the case one or more of the jurors couldn’t make it through the horrible evidence that they would be shown. The jury would only deal with the penalty phase of the trial but would have to review all the States evidence. They’d only decide whether he’d be sentenced to life in prison or be put to death.

Called to the stand to testify everyone expected him to plead for his life. Glaring at the jury from the witness box he relived the glory of the slaughter clearly in his low cold voice, you could nearly smell the retching tic of blown bowels of the murder scene as he told his story in minute detail.

The fear was visceral in the Courtroom; his testimony coming to a crescendo he told how he stabbed and cut the victims their breaths coming in short moaning gasps, he sprang to his feet and shook the heavy chains that bound him. People in the galley jumped to their feet fighting each other as they piled up trying to escape through the small exit door; he roared in laughter, his deep dead voice shaking the room freeing fine dust from the overhead lighting. Jumping to his feet red faced the Judge bellowed orders at the bailiffs who couldn’t hear over the shrill screams from the men and women of the jury; armed security guards pulled their weapons pointing first at the laughing madman then at the screaming jury; it was chaos.

Taking his seat in the witness box he roared in laughter as the jury raced from the Court Room; he shook his chains one last time bringing fresh screams from the last jurors racing for the door hands over their ears. The Judge continued screaming orders then threats then orders for minutes until he ran out of breath; silence finally fell over the Court Room with the exception of the low deep rumbling giggles from the damned as tears rolled down his face in glee.

The Court lost three jurors that absolutely refused to return to the Court Room; seating alternates took two days as the Judge threatened them with jail time if they refused.

Seated next to his terrified Attorney the Jury found that if spared death he’d continue to be an unreasonable threat to those that he was incarcerated with or if ever released would pose an undue risk to the community; they voted for his death.

Before delivering the death sentence the Judge was compelled to allow the defendant a chance to address the Court.

Standing at the defense table Micah once a small scared boy now a huge man addressed the Court and the Jury; pulling his jail uniform shirt up he displayed the devil’s mark to gasps from the jury and gallery as his fingers caressed the outline of the mark. Speaking in a low rumble he promised they’d all pay with their lives for the decision they’d made.

His execution date was set and making no appeal the date came quickly, he walked proudly to the hangman’s noose; asked if he had any last words he stood silently slowly looking over the small group of witnesses staring into each of their eyes; nodding his head he spoke directly to each and every one of them; this was not the end, he’d give each a visit in which he’d slowly end their lives in the most grotesque fashion.

Placing the noose around his neck with the knot just to the right side of his neck the floor dropped away; falling five feet the rope made a snapping sound as his weight hit the end, stretching and rebounding he danced like a rag doll, lifeless.

The hangman left him swinging several extra minutes making sure he was very much dead. Anyone who’d been to a hanging before would have known that the slow methodical pace of the hangman and helpers was out of the ordinary as the drop from the platform should have snapped the neck and death nearly instant; they weren’t taking any chances with this one letting him hang as they slowly moved around the platform picking up stray items sneaking looks at each other keeping as far away from the dead man as possible; the body swung slowly on the rope in circles, each circle just a little less in the gloom of the death chamber.

Such a small noise but enough to bring Micah out of his whispering mantra; an intense smile slowly spread on his face, he could clearly hear a shovel digging into the earth; low barely audible he began to laugh freeing fine dust that swirled in the stagnate air sticking to his face with the vibrations of his laughing. What had the demon preached to him? Ahhhh……. Matthews 28:6 “He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said.” That’s what they will find tomorrow morning and so very much more he thought laughing harder.

Timing it perfectly as the guard looked into his cell through the small opening in the door he acted as though he was hiding something in his mouth “What you got?! Don’t you swallow it, you hand it to me NOW!” The guard barked. Micah rose from his hard bunk, palm open he grasped the small object between his thumb and index finger, passing his hand through the door opening he dropped a small perfect diamond into the guards open hand. “What’s this?” the guard Williams said with disbelief. “I have many, hidden if you know what I mean.” Micah whispered to the guard. “Many many more.” He rubbed his stomach turned his back and walked to his bunk. Pulling the single blanket over him he rolled to the wall ignoring the sputtering questions of the guard.

Long hard labor for one man to dig out a grave but Williams was a determined man. Keeping his discovery to himself he waited for the killer to be hanged and managed to beg his way on to the hanging detail. He rode along in the pickup truck to the prisoner’s graveyard and made sure he’d be able to find the grave in the dark when he returned in a few days to collect his treasure from the damned man. The backhoe made quick work of the excavation and Williams waved the local operator off half way into packing the earth tight after the casket was lowered into the hole. He grinned at his ingenuity hoping he wouldn’t get many blisters removing the dirt and loose rocks; he’d hate to have to explain what he’d done to his hands as he waited out the two weeks’ notice he planned to give the prison after he was rich.

Lying in wait, blade finally hit wood; the cheap wood box he was buried in splintered easily under the metal shovel, Micah rolled to his side and pressed up against the side of the casket. Shovel blade pounded between the ill fitting boards of the lid prying the wood apart breaking a small opening into the pitch black casket. Flashlight shining into the casket found only thick swirling dust. Cussing under his breath the shovel pried under the next flimsy board breaking it making the opening bigger. Micah heard the shovel as it was thrown against the open holes side, the flashlight beam danced across the opening as Williams took to his knees to look into the casket. His head dipped into the broken casket the flashlight closely behind, Micah grabbed Williams by the shoulders and pulled him into the rickety wood box pushing him head first arms pinned to his sides to the bottom of the casket as he climbed Williams body using his hands and feet to push him further into the black box as he climbed up and out of the splintered hole broken in the casket lid. William’s legs thrashed and he screamed in hysteria as he fought to back out of the casket begging God to save him. Micah kneeled down reaching back into the cheap casket throwing the flashlight to Williams head so he would have light as he slowly screamed himself to death. Micah shoveled dirt first into the broken caskets lid on thrashing legs then covering the casket drowning out the screams little by little as the hole was filled and the dirt smoothed and manicured at the surface.

Looking down from the cemetery hill at the glistening lights of town Micah had a full night’s work ahead of him; he’d made promises he intended on keeping.

From the Ramblings



t

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Touch



I’m not going to go into a lot of detail; what could I say that you’d believe?

I’ve never liked to be touched; that little brush of the curly hair, the gentle little cupping of the chin or cheeks as we all do when presented with little babies. Those are the things that have set me off from the time I was born. Mother made all kinds of excuses when family or friends would embrace me; screaming was the result with very few exceptions. Those few who didn’t receive the unwelcome cries knew deep in their hearts why I’d endure their touch when all others received screams and fits whether they’d accept the truth or not.

Mother found early on that cute and stylish baby clothing that included little gloves had a huge calming effect on the baby growing into a toddler as her baby discovered the world with busy little hands; without she’d have a screaming terrified toddler on her hands.

She’d ask people not to touch her child as she had the most perfect answers to those who’d ask why the child always wore long sleeves and some sort of gloves over those little hands. She was quick to distance us if any pressure was put on the set answers with further questions.

I’ve stopped seeing people and closed my shop named the Touch after five years; the burden was just too great and people got crazy with the information I’d provide; they’d literally lose their minds; it became dangerous and exhausting work with countless clients wanting to subpoena me into Court. I now only take clients by word of mouth and charge a premium price for my time cutting the number of people I see from hundreds to just a very few a week; a thousand dollars an hour, but it only takes a touch.

Client 17-1477 I’ll call her Joyce; she’s had depression and anxiety for years, unable to sustain any sort of meaningful relationship having three divorces over the last twenty two years; she’s searching for answers to why she can’t trust and get close to anyone in her life. In just a touch; she knows the answer but she’s closed it off and shut those memories away forever, at least that’s what she’s wanted to do; but the questions just won’t stop. Gently I place on finger on her wrist and get the jolt I’ve come to detest; memories explode, a kaleidoscope of imagines flood my mind, a video of her life plays on fast forward as I scrunch my face with the pain. June 8th, 1985 2:34pm Uncle Eddy babysitting the four year old Joyce finds he’s turned on while changing diapers and molests the child; this goes on for three years.

Client 17-1656 I’ve been summed by the local police and asked to interview an arrestee. With just a touch; a flash of dashingly white light strikes my brain as I place a partial index finger on the back of the arrestee’s hand, my ears ring from the concussion of the point blank explosion of the .357 revolver pointed at the chest of the victim; I feel my hair blow back from the blast screaming through my mind.

Placing my ungloved hand on the back of the restaurant chair to pull it out from the table I get a wash of residual memories of those who’ve come and gone; they wash my mind in sparkling short glimpses of lives lived and memories remembers and those squashed, silences by fear and guilt.

I’ve began working for high level security companies searching for the best candidates to hire. With just a touch……..

From the Ramblings



t

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Number 57



The patrol car turned right at the corner of 288th street in front of Dek cutting him off just as he stepped off the curb; he dug in his heel making a hard left behind the cruiser crossed the wide Street on the “Walk” signal away from the cops as they now crept down 288th; he didn’t speed up or slow down, keeping cool.

He’d been slowly shuffling his way along for six blocks heading due south straight away from his kill. He didn’t notice the slowly moving squad car coming up McDermott until they were right on his ass; “ah fuck” slipped from his lips as he saw them over his left shoulder. They’d been pacing him almost half the last block cruising along at two miles per hour looking at him and all the other brothers dragging their broken asses down the filthy run down Street; he did his best to blend in “I’m just another nigga walkin down the street” he murmured under his breath. The Street was busy on Friday night; worn out hookers leaned against store fronts in their dirty tight short skirts “Want ta fuck” just wasn’t a turn on when they were charging a hundred bucks a fuck looking like thin skinned bags of bad drugs and deadly disease.

He wasn’t worried much about the patrol car; he’d stuffed the dead guy under a stack of pallets and cardboard. They wouldn’t find the body until at least Monday when the garbage got picked up; what he was worried about is that he was covered in blood. The piece of shit put up quite the fight even though Dek had a gun and the dick didn’t have a damn thing to defend himself with. Dek jammed the gun under the guys nose and pulled the trigger; huge flash, bang that still had his ears ringing, blinded by the flash Dek couldn’t see a damn thing with his eyes full of sparkling lights; the damn dead man took off like a rabbit; what he did get was sprayed by arterial blood like a rain bird sprinkler from the man’s face. Five explosions later from the short barreled .357 revolver the piece of shit was down and bleeding out under the garbage that piled up as he skidded to a dead stop.

Derek Priestley Williams born August 27th 1973; one of the hottest days of the decade brought one more miserable mouth to feed into a family of eight kids and one run down drugged out mother living in a two room apartment that just got posted for razing in two short months. Thelma pushing 325 pounds was one pissed off junky; hotter than hell and another mouth to feed, she was thinking of killing the dick that pumped her up; the additional money the baby would bring her on welfare never covered what it took to feed them; this one would be raised by the street just like all the others.

Derek was run through school just like all inner city kids; no child left behind, nope they all got pushed from one grade up to the next regardless of achievements. Graduating early like all his friends; some called it dropping out but to his group it was graduating early. Derek’s only chance for a job was with the local drug trade. Starting out as a lookout then promoted to low level dealer, finally making it to small infraction enforcer Derek was getting into the money; he’d even paid a few bucks towards some of his mother’s overdue account at the grocers.

Derek made the leap to full enforcer after stepping in front of a bullet meant for the drug boss fired from a passing car; he’d never looked back since.

Waiting across the street until a group of four wandered away from the building entrance Dek stepped out from the shadows and hurried into the apartment building. Running up the three floors of stairs he banged on the door of 312 to be let in.

Door opening a crack then wide “Well looks like you got into the wet work Dek” JT said stepping out of Dek’s way.

“Yeah I’m gonna ask for a raise for this one; my clothes are ruined.” Dek said with a little bravado in his voice.

“Fat chance” JT slammed the door “That guy paid two hundred and that’s what you get. Getting a blood shower is part of the job.”

Dek showing his middle finger kicking the bathroom door closed. “What a fucking douse.” Dek yelled through the door looking in the mirror.

Two minutes in the shower JT was banging on the door yelling “Mac D is on the phone for you fucker get out here!”

“You fix that problem; you get my paperwork?” Mac D growled in Dek’s ear.

“Yeah yeah I fixed it; ummmm… there was no paperwork, ahhh… nothing.” Dek said, eyes closed, skinny body wrapped tight in a dirty towel.

“You sayin nothin, not a thing, no nothin huh?” Mac D’s voice began to rise. “No money, product nothin, that’s what you tellin me Dek?”

“Fucking guy was clean; maybe someone had already jacked him?” Dek said weakly.

“Where he at?” Mac D clearly livid breaking code talk; his voice ice cold and deadly. Mac D repeated every word Dek said to him; snapping his head to the right two of his Lieutenant’s busted out the door heading to the spot Dek had given.

“You fucking lied to him man, you’re dead fucking dead!” JT yelled into Dek’s face.

I gotta go; “He was covered in blood, he shit himself, it was everywhere. I forgot; he was covered in shit!” Dek screamed throwing on clothes as fast as he could. “I’ll beat them there and clean this mess up.”

Sliding around the corner breathing hard, real hard from running the mile and some to the alleyway Dek only hoped he’d gotten there first. Not seeing anyone he crept down slowing keeping far into the shadows; pulling cardboard and then pallets off the body he pushed his hand into the man’s front pocket.

“You lookin for this Dek; the paperwork Mac D told you to get?” Sammy Tower asked and spit in Dek’s face.

Taking a hard side kick to the face Dek rolled up against the grimy ally wall; jamming the 9mm barrel past Dek’s teeth Sammy pulled the trigger; muffled blast, both men looked for prying eyes.

Derek Priestley Williams became Chicago’s 57th homicide of 2016; his murder didn’t even make the evening news or mentioned in the news papers.

From the Ramblings



t

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Night things



I have to admit I was in total disbelief; who would believe me.

My house sits on the top of a little hill, no more than five hundred feet from the top to the bottom. It looks down into the lower neighborhoods then out across the city into the distance; it’s kind of a fish bowl effect from my large windows. I sit on a little out crop of the hill, so my house juts out sitting separately from my neighbors and has an unobstructed view of the lower areas since there aren’t many big trees.

Built in the fifties I have huge pane glass windows in the front room that are six by ten feet across; two of them fill nearly every inch of the room which sits on top of large pilings standing twenty feet high from the sloping ground to the bottom of the house. Looking out from the windows the city spreads out into the distance, it’s quite beautiful on a clear night. I have a telescope that I bought after retiring a few years ago; yes sometimes I use it to spy on the lower neighbors. I don’t look for sexual things, I’m not that screwed up but I do like to see families sitting down to the table and having dinner together and parents helping children with home work in the mid evenings.

I seem to be developing some kind of insomnia; I sleep a couple hours and then wake up, not being able to sleep I sit in the dark of the living room waiting for sleep to call me back to bed. I fill the hours looking down into the city; it’s easy to see the flashing lights of police cars or ambulances doing their jobs. Pushing the magnification to the highest levels I can zoom in on any flashing lights no matter how far out into the city they appear looking at the action as though I’m standing just feet away; that’s a powerful telescope!

Last night I was up at the usual 2am looking at the city in the distance. As I brought the telescope to my eye I caught something move between me and a house a couple hundred feet down the hill from my window; wasn’t anything huge just something stepped between a night light in the sleeping house and my field of vision. I lowered the telescope from the distance, backing the power way up and looked down towards the sleeping house below me. What I saw chilled my soul; moving between the houses was some kind of creature, tall maybe six or seven feet, slender, long legs, long arms; it was moving slowly in the shadows keeping in the darkest places; hard to see. I turned the power higher and the small field of view made it extremely hard to track the thing as it moved slowly then jumping from one building to another quickly covering thirty or forty feet in a flash; there will be no sleep tonight as I try to explain what I’ve seen.

Two weeks; I’m getting better at tracking the strange beings, yes there seems to be a number of them; backing off of the power of the telescope helps when they move quickly between buildings. I haven’t seen anything that they are doing that gives me the feeling of danger; they just prowl through the lower buildings looking in windows and jumping from one house to another always moving in a slow wave staying pretty much in a line as they slink along the houses keeping in a constant line moving through the neighborhood.

Things are different; I’m starting to see small night things now; they must be breeding. They now accompany the larger “adults” as they patrol the neighborhoods. I’ve blacked out my house; no night lights or power on lights from anything electrical now totally dark.

My big windows have lower small windows that pivot from the upper third opening outward letting in fresh air with mosquito mesh to keep the bugs out; as the temperatures of July heats up I’ve been opening them nearly every night. Last night as I watched the night things move across the buildings below my house a small animal maybe a raccoon jumped from the bushes and ran across an open yard; I heard a extremely high pitched squeal almost above my hearing as an adult night thing reacted and pounced from the side of a house onto the frightened animal; within seconds the backyard was full of night creatures feeding on the little animal; things are getting serious, they are clearly hunting. I wonder how I hadn’t recognized the hunting behavior, since the way they move along through the houses it’s clear they must be hunting or did I just see the first time that they caught something in my field of view? I think the latter………..

I’m now up at sunset and sleep only during the day light hours keeping the night things in my view as much as possible. I start seeing them around one thirty in the morning long after the sun has set and the city is sleeping. They always come from the West, sometimes lower along the hill, maybe at the two hundred foot level and sometimes higher up just below my windows, but always from the same direction; they must have a nest hidden out that way.

I’ve seen five more instances of feeding on small animals over the last few days; it’s clear to me I was just missing the feeding with buildings between me and the night things. Lost dog and cat signs are up everywhere.

This can’t stay a secret much longer their numbers have doubled in the last few weeks with the smaller night things gaining the size of the adults.

Standing in the center of one of my huge windows leaning against the glass looking down tracking the night things at 3:30am through ten power binoculars my home phone rang lighting the area behind me with its digital display face. I saw at least five night creatures turn towards my back lighted silhouette in the window. Dropping like a stone below the lower windows I pushed my back against the small pony wall under the windows hopping to be out of sight. I knew my upper shoulder had to be above the lower windows edge, the pony wall is only about sixteen inches tall. Lying there listening for the night creatures I realized I’d dropped right in front of one of the small open windows my shoulder only protected by bug screen in the little window.

I could hear faint scratching along the windows and siding of the house as the night creatures crawled along gripping the house. One of the things sled down from above the big window claws making a high pitched screeching sound like fingernails on a black board; catching its slow decent on the open window its weight pushed the small window down closing it with a click. I could hear claws working to get under the edge of the window trying to open it just inches from my head. With my back against the pony wall I lay looking back into my front room; mirrored in the black TV tube I could see the night things softly glowing green eyes searching my front room for what they’d seen in my windows.

I lay perfectly still holding my breath under the window pushed tight against the short wall for what seemed like hours. Nearly falling asleep I heard one last night creatures nails scrape along the window pane just over my head as it left no more than an hour before sun up; I’d survived my first close encounter. I know my house will be under close observation from here on out.

I’ve decided to take a few days off watching the night things; I had just come out of the back of the house with all the lights off as usual. Slowly coming down the hallway I was just about to step out into the front room when I thought I’d better look before entering just to make sure and stay safe. Carefully peeking over a stand up wood and paper room divider near the back of the room a few feet from the hallway, I slowly peered out the windows into the distance trying to see any movement beyond the dark windows. Seeing nothing I was about to step out when in the lower corner of the left window I just by chance recognized the very faint green glow of two eyes watching my front room; freezing in place I watched for minutes until my feet ached and slowly slid back and away from the front room escaping into the back of the house. Grabbing my Glock I stood with my back against the bedroom wall listening and waiting for the attack to come.

Finally sliding to the floor after a good two hours waiting; I can’t feel my feet any longer, numb; it’s going to be a long night, I’m a prisoner in my own house.

I’m pissed; a prisoner in my own home during the night, but free to roam during the day. I bought a 930 Mossberg semi-auto 12ga shotgun today; two boxes of OO buck to fill out the order. Came with a nice short eighteen and a half inch barrel; guy at the counter said it’d throw a wide pattern with that short barrel; I said perfect.

Moving into my front room checking all the corners for eyes it took a full hour to get behind the telescope; they should be coming out any time now. I moved the telescope to the far left hand side of the windows tight in the corner aiming back across the windows looking as far right in the windows as I could, I wanted to see if I could tell where they were coming from or at least narrow it down some.

I saw the first ones come into the wavering view at 2am the harsh angle looking through the window glass making it hard to focus at the high power setting. Moving the telescope to the maximum edge of the glass I could just make out a line of the night things coming from an old warehouse way down across town in the industrial area. Most of these building were scheduled for demolishing in the next few years as they’d stood falling apart over most of the last decade.

Slowly backing the power down on the telescope as the night things spread out across the city in a steady flow I saw a small group break off from the others as they reached the bottom of my hill. It was clear where they were going as they bound from one house to another making a straight line up the hill towards my house. I quickly left the corner with the telescope and low crawled keeping out of sight of the windows to the safety of the hallway. Peeking carefully over the room divider two night things hung down from the top of one window looking for any movement inside. I heard a screech and both jumped across the window to the left out of my sight; I quickly moved into the bedroom and slowly pulled the shades apart far enough to see outside towards my nearest neighbor’s house. The side of the house was covered with five or six night creatures all pushing and pulling fighting one another around a bedroom window, I could see broken glass shinning in the moon light. They pulled Jim from his bedroom window tearing him to pieces before my eyes; the night creatures pounded their sharp clawed upper arms into his chest and legs driving them through him into the ground. I puked down the wall under the window; one night thing flew to my window as the curtains moved ever so slightly closing.

I wasn’t the only one that had been watching them; Jim’s death saved my life this night.

I hid under the covers clutching my new shotgun to my chest all night planning my attack for the next day. As the sun came up I brought my field glasses up looking at the side of Jim’s house. The window was broken out into a thousand pieces laying in a wide pattern spraying out from the side of the house showing the force it had been ripped from the building. Under the window the grass was torn and trampled but I couldn’t see any sign of blood; they cleaned up every spot and must have carried him off with them.

It was time to get to work; Home Depot, Sears and the nearest gas station selling diesel. My truck bed was stocked full of what I was going to need to bring the war to the creatures in just a few hours. Checking Google earth against where the telescope was pointed it came down to just a few buildings the night things had come out from. I’d narrow it down shortly as I head into town.

I know you’ve been asking yourself one question as I’ve told this story; why didn’t I notify the Authorities and get some help? Well I had a run in the local cops a couple years ago and was labeled a nut, yep a 12-34 a 51-50, a mental. Don’t question it; lots of people putting in a weird complaint are thought of as just plain crazy and they shut the case without thought, I wasn’t going through that again.

Pulling into the deserted industrial area I immediately saw the building I’d been watching through the telescope since it was the only one in the area that had a cupola, three actually making figuring out which building easy. My extra large bolt cutters made simple work of the cheap lock on the double swung gate; I relocked it with the new Sears lock in the hopes of slowing the response time.

The sun was just starting to peek out from the low morning clouds as I parked in front of the old warehouse; my truck hidden in the industrial park by other dilapidated builds ready for the wrecking ball.

Cement then brick changing into corrugated steel and grimy windows nearly six stories tall and a overhang of maybe two feet at the roof line; fifty feet deep and over a hundred feet long, big building.

Empty for decades the corrugated steel was full of rust, the cement and bricks pock marked; so why the huge lock on the front man door? I tried my over sized bolt cutters bought from Sears this morning and they didn’t even put a mark in the damn lock hasp; I’ve got to find a better way into this building. Swinging along the side of the building there must be a back door; delivery entrance with loading docks have the same looking huge locks on them, I’ll never get in this way. Around the back a small single rear door, the door has a small feeble looking rusty lock; scratching my head in wonderment I barely had to squeeze on the bolt cutters and the lock falls to the ground in pieces, amazing.

Running back to the truck I slowly and as quietly as possible pulled the pickup around to the open door; now the hard part, I’ve got to go in and make sure I’m in the right building and if I am, there must be a hundred night things waiting for me inside.

Glock on my hip and shotgun at the ready I step into the gloom of what use to be a small Office; it dawns on me I’m not sure I can hit anything with the shotgun, I’ve never really shot one before, sure I’ve tried one before out on a range throwing clay pigeons of which I hit maybe two out of a full box of shells, I’ll have to hope the guy was right about the spread of the pattern as I move further into the shadowy dark.

The Office area is just a twenty by twelve foot box setting in the center of the large building; coming to the open door leading out into the warehouse it would appear I’m in the right place. The acidic smell hits me like a hammer as I put a hand over my nose and mouth. Feces covers the cement floor in long straight lines running from the far distance past the open door and disappearing into the gloom towards the other end of the building. There is no machinery or boxes just a totally empty huge building with rows of night things shit in perfect rows several inches deep as far as the eye can see; I may puke.

Still a couple feet from the door I listen for any noise; straining to hear anything a large turd hits the cement a foot into the warehouse from the open door splashing a foot high in the gloomy light. I jumped like I was shot had I not had my hand tightly over my nose and mouth I would have screamed; the only thing saving me from the noise I made had to have been the echo of the splash bouncing off the walls of the echoing interior of the large open space; a long line of pee danced along one row of feces in the near distance; I was in the right building for sure.

Backing out of the Office I realized had I been able to break the lock on the front door I would have stepped into the building back lit and in full view of the night things at roost in the top of the building. I walked to the pickup trying to come up with a plan that would work; I’ve got twenty five gallons of diesel, a Glock and a shotgun. The short plan was to pour the diesel all over the building and set the damn thing on fire; good plan but the building is huge and the rafters where the night things are roosting high off the floor. If I can pour all the diesel without getting torn to ribbons the fire will burn so slowly they will just fly out the top and find another building to nest in.

“You’re one brave man mister” Scared me so bad I fell down. “Those fuckers will tear you to pieces” The old hobo looking man said holding his torn and faded hat in both hands not three feet away.

“What the fuck” I said gasping for air. “You scared the hell out of me!”

“Yup, figured I would; gotta be quiet around those fuckers.” He said quietly bringing his finger over his lips as he looking up at the high windows. “I been watching them for a good few weeks now; strange fuckers they are; they see you they come right for yah; that’s not to smart just walking in on em’ you know.”

“I know I’m trying to kill them; they killed my neighbor.” I said under my breath.

“Well, they sleep all day don’t make much noise; but you’d better watch out towards night, that’s when they’ll get you.” The old man said in a tired tiny voice. “I see your plan there; that diesel or gas? Gotta get high up where they sleep or forget about it.”

“It’s diesel; you got a plan or are we just going to stand here and talk?” I said getting plain pissed off now that it was becoming clear I wasn’t going to have a heart attack.

“Yup; let me help you get unloaded and I’ll tell you about it.” He said grabbing a five gallon can of diesel out of the bed of my truck. “Not gonna happen until tomorrow morning though; I’d put some dirt on that shiny new lock you put on the gate or someone will start snooping around.”

The old guy was sharper than a tack; he’d been watching them oh right, up close and he knew what he was talking about.

Sitting and having a couple beers at his make shift home two building down from the night things building he’d been living here for the last two years. Lost his small home not being able to afford the taxes on his meager veteran’s retirement he’d been an EOD tech for just over fifteen years in his youth.

“I figure after they all fly out hunting tonight you can finish any leftover with that fancy shotgun; then it’s gonna be a climb up to the rafters in all that shit to set out buckets of diesel we can pour on them when they come home to roost tomorrow.” He said finishing off a sixth can of Bud.

“And how are we going to pour buckets of diesel on them from way up there?” I asked not believing what I was hearing; I might have even rolled my eyes.

His tone turned hard as he looked me in the eye. “You ever hear of tipping a bucket from over a door onto someone with a rope to pull it over with? Well my little home here came with a few thousand feet of small diameter rope ready to use and the building over there is full of small to large buckets.”

“Ummmmm… you have my full attention; sorry” I felt like a fool; an old fool at that.

The last night thing flew out the cupola at just after one am; holding my breath with the shotgun pointing up towards where I hoped any left over’s would come from I switched on the flash light; everything stayed quiet.

“Good now hurry up there and run this rope over something so I can start pulling buckets of diesel up to you; place them in those very top rafters and run rope down the lower rafters over along the wall to the Office area. Last thing we’ll do is tie them to the handles of the buckets.” The old man was back living in his twenties barking orders under his breath and pulling with all he had on those ropes.

The stench was gagging; climbing the ladders to the top of the building was the easy part, the night things crapped further out from the walls and the ladders were clean but dusty. We found areas they mostly roosted in and placed extra buckets in those areas; the cupola got over lapping buckets and those ropes would be pulled first to keep them from getting out there.

I was just finishing tying off the last couple buckets when I heard scratching sounds along the East side of the building; they were coming home. As they climbed the outside of the building I climbed down the inside; they came into the cupola as I carefully rounded the door frame into the little Office area turning off my flash light. Standing panting into my shirt sleeve they poured into the top of the building making a huge racket; falling feces hit the floor sending pools of piss flying into the air, the stench rose in seconds.

Whispering in my ear “Now just stand still and we’ll see if they notice anything; if they do it’s been good knowing you”

Slowly over the next thirty minutes the scratching from climbing night things and fighting over perching space lowered and then settled into near total quiet broken only by shit hitting the floor with raining piss in showers.

We had decided to wait to light the fire until the sun was well up in the sky; his ignition system so simple and easy, a flare ground into powder layered over a single piece of notebook paper with a long string of striker paper pulled by a rope from below would ignite the flare material and burning through the paper would send a cascade of burning flare into the buckets and on down to the floor lighting everything it passed. We triple duplicated them leaving no chance of the diesel not lighting.

The ropes had been carefully pulled through the top of the Office and lined up from the first three igniter ropes to all the bucket ropes; we were ready the sun was slowly coming up.

Climbing ladders all night and after standing waiting for the attack at my home the night before my feet were in agony; I slowly moved through the gloom and sat down on a lone desk pushed into the far corner of the Office to get off my feet. I’d just pulled my feet off the floor when the desk collapsed in a roar; jumping to my feet I ran to the open door into the warehouse; night things were already coming down the side of the walls heading for the crash; slamming the Officer door I grabbed towards the igniter ropes.

“NO don’t; you have to pull them just right” the old man screamed at me. “Get your shotgun he yelled in my face”

I grabbed my shotgun from against the wall next to the only door out as the warehouse door blew open with three night things trying to come through the door at once; the first OO buck round cleared the door way as the igniter ropes were pulled. Cascades of sparks rained down from the rafters; then sheets of flaming diesel as the old man slowly pulled one bucket rope after another moving down the long line of hanging ropes through the ceiling of the Office.

Firing one round after another as the night things fought to get into the Office kept them out and off of us; the open space beyond the door stacked up with bodies. The last rope he pulled was just in front of the exit door leading out of the building; pulling this one rained diesel onto the top of the Office ceiling. Pulling hard on the rope I could hear flaming diesel rain down on the rotting ceiling over my head; one last shot through the warehouse door and we jumped out the exit door slamming it behind us; the Office burst into flames.

We ran for cover in his make shift home; standing at the door we watched as the entire building burst into flames. Flames were coming out every little hole in the corrugated steel; the wind was pushing the flames back inside making the fire roar with extra air. My ears hurt from the high pitched screaming of the night things as the building buckled and sank into its self.

“I gotta get out of here before the cops show up” The old man said and disappeared into the gloomy building he’d called home and was gone.

I had other things to do; getting my truck I pulled around to the front of the burning warehouse far away from the flames. Standing next to my truck with my back to the main gate I waited until two fire trucks pulled up at the gate and started working on the lock and chain. I raised my shotgun and fired two rounds into the flaming building; worked like a charm, the firemen jumped back into their trucks and got the hell away from me leaving the area completely.

Ten minutes later a swat vehicle showed up at the gate yelling for me to drop the guns; I laid my shotgun on the pavement amongst the weeds and debris, pulled my Glock from its holster never looking over my shoulder towards them and stepped a number of steps backwards away from the guns and laid on the pavement with my hands behind my head. Took them another ten minutes to get the lock and chain off the gate the whole time screaming that if I moved they’d shoot me; Oh I wasn’t going to move I was just letting the building burn to the ground.

I now sit in jail waiting for my trial for arson; they don’t have a clue why I burned the warehouse down and I’d end up in the funny farm if I tried to explain it. I have no idea if we got all the night things or not; I think we did. The old man is a genius without him I would have failed; I think he got away clean and I’m not about to tell anyone I had any help, now you keep my story to yourself and don’t let anyone else know what I’ve told you; it’ll be our little secret.



From the Ramblings

T

Authors note: A decade or more ago I read a story which mine mirrors to a certain extent; I can’t find the old story or know who the writer was. I think my story is unique enough not to be plagiarism so much since I can only remember the first part of the old story. If you know the story I’m talking about please leave me a note so I can read it again and make right if it’s just too damn close to the same story line.



t

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Gunslinger Series; The Sweeper



The lone man shivered in the wind as he waited on the low mountain peak surrounded by towering jagged mountains reaching twelve to fifteen thousand feet; his 4X4 pickup parked at the side of the clearing its nose just showing from the thick timber; pulling his collar up higher he checked his watch again.



Four O’clock in the afternoon, the helicopter was two hours late; not really late but at the far end of the window of time they’d given him. The wind was starting to pick up; it’d be dark in an hour.

He heard the chopper before seeing it; loud really digging the air, coming in fast as the rotor beats shook the air around him. Just clearing the near timber at top speed the chopper dropped just inches above the low grass and spotty brush; risky and radical flying at this altitude. Nose coming up high the rotor blades chopping the air sending curtains of snow flying as it compressed the air at full power; standing on its tail dropping speed the roar was deafening. Hovering no more than a foot off the ground a man jumped down from the open door of the black hawk pulling a heavy backpack from its restraining straps; reaching back inside the hovering chopper the man dressed in full camo pulled a large gun case to the open door; opening the case he withdrew a huge black military type sniper rifle; closing the case and pushing it back into the chopper he stepped slightly away from the bird and waved to the pilot; the chopper shot straight up into the sky hard banked and raced towards the near trees clearing them with no more than two feet.

Shouldering the heavy pack, rifle at port arms the man walked to the startled man standing in the small clearing; he was covered in snow, bits of dirt grass and rocks clung to his clothing; it had been a minute and a half of shock and awe, now standing in front of him in full battle gear with two very large automatic pistols hanging from each hip, every inch of camo uniform held some type of gear in pockets or strapped tight to chest arm or leg, a digital eye piece covered one eye attached to his helmet, a small antenna from the right side reached four inches above all else. Unsnapping the hard plastic lightly ballistic face shield and pushing it to one side he introduced himself “Jameson; Delta retired.” He didn’t offer to shake the man’s hand.

The hired gunslinger had arrived.

Fourteen murders in the last six weeks; seven of those being the small town’s Law Enforcement Officers, Mayor and City Manager; they needed help fast. The town of High Forks, Alaska hadn’t had a murder in twenty years and the usual crime consisted of DUII’s and an occasional fight at the one and only bar in town. Everyone was scared to death; it fell to the town’s water commissioner Jim Parker to call for help everyone else was dead. The Sheriff’s Department and the State Police declined to intervene since the total financial collapse had taken all their funding; hire an outside agency he was told, there are lots of them available now.

On and off the phone for two days, waiting for call backs no one was interested in High Forks, Alaska; two different agencies told Jim Parker to call Reaper International they did hard jobs and had highly skilled people available for a price, a high price.

The phone of Reaper was answered on the second ring; placed immediately on hold Jim Parker rolled his eyes into his head, same treatment he got from everyone he’d called. A deep voice came on the line after two minutes holding “What’s your problem, don’t leave anything out.” Was all that was said; forty minutes Parker talked into what could have been a dead line except for the very occasional “go on” from the deep voice. “Five hundred thousand, you have that kind of money?” Stammering Jim Parker said they did since they’d finally got a payment from the new diamond mine just outside of town two weeks ago. “We’ll be in contact and have boots on the ground in three days.” The phone went dead in his hand.

Yesterday in a brief and crisp call on his home phone at nine pm at night Jim Parker had been told when and where to meet Reaper’s people; the call lasted thirteen seconds. “Oh okay.” Parker said into a dead line; he never thought how they’d got his home phone.

“You’re it; just one; we’ve got fourteen dead. They must have thirty guys on they’re payroll.” Jim Parker said in disbelief as the wind gusted hard making him take a step backward. The sun had left the sky and the temperature dropped by five degrees, colder with the wind chill.

“You have the paperwork?” Jameson asked ignoring the scared man.

“Ummm Um yes; right here.” Pulling the ten sheets of paper out of a heavy envelope Parker handed it to Jameson. “The Attorney the city uses wrote it up just like we we’re instructed, word for word.” Jameson signed the last page sliding half the papers back into the envelope handing it back, the other half went into a breast pocket.

“Badge?” Jameson asked.

“Oh yes” Jim Parker handing Jameson the badge and swore him in as the new chief of Police for the City of High Forks, Alaska.

“My truck is over there; we can make the ten miles into town in about thirty minutes. I have a place for…..” Jameson cut him off.

“I’m sure they’ll have a welcoming committee waiting for us; you take the truck I’ll make sure they see that I’m not with you; you should make it back without a problem. We’ll be in touch in a few days.” Jameson said. Turning away he slowly walked towards the far timber away from the truck keeping to the center of the clearing in plain view. During the pop up to clear the timber before landing the pilot saw two men hiding in his DHMD helmet display two hundred yards east of the meeting point; signaling to Jameson they were well informed and waiting for him.

Entering the timber Jameson reached down twisting the knob on his radio; switching to roam he pushed the ear buds deeper into his ears. The radio roamed the frequencies going immediately to any signal it picked up. “No, only one; he’s heavily armed and went into the trees towards the south. The idiot from town is heading back alone, over.” Another voice “Are you sure he’s going south; what the hell’s he doing?” Smiling Jameson switched the radio off and removed the ear pieces; he’d sweep south three hundred yards turn east, then another three or four hundred yards turning north, towards trouble.

DBI mining was a front for an organized crime group out of Florida; head quartered on the outskirts of Miami. The city of High Forks had made a huge mistake demanding their tax money and threatening to take DBI to Court to get it; the final straw was telling them they would be closed down in thirty days unless the tax payment came in. Nearly every person on flight 1066 from the lower forty eight was a gunman hired by DBI; arriving just seven weeks ago they’d been busy clearing up the company’s problems. They figured the city would call for help and they’d make ready to clean that problem up too; the tax payment was a little attempt to keep the mine in the clear during the dirty work.

One hour in the foot deep snow and Jameson made the final turn heading due north; he expected to walk into an ambush within the hour. He took a seat on a stump, had dinner in the dark and studied the map to DBI’s mine and compound.

Pulling the thermal imaging goggles down over his eyes the forest turned a bright green in the moon light. Switching to IR (infrared red) he looked for heat signals coming from ambush sites. Coming over a slight raise along the hill side he picked up two faint red imagines in his goggles; high and to the right tucked up and under a rock over hang with thick brush hanging down from the rocks above he could now clearly see two men carefully hidden amongst the boulders. From their position they could monitor the slim valley as the trees thinned out prior to another raise in the little valley floor. Jameson slid up under a thick brushy area; sitting his rifle on its bipod legs he pulled the heavy pack off his back. Loosening several straps released a shortened version of a standard laws rocket. He pulled and extended the tube popping up the sights on the Laws upper curve and turning on its circuits. The sight pulsed green; moving up sixty yards he leveled the rocket for its fifteen second flight. Aiming above and behind the two men figuring the weakest point in the rock over hang he slowly squeezed the trigger; surprised by the launch, the rocket flew straight and true hitting deep behind the men in the rock over hanging face; not a loud explosion but enough that the fragile rock collapsed covering the two men in tons of falling rock; the mini war had started.

Returning to his pack and rifle Jameson quickly threw on his heavy pack and ran across the shallow narrow valley to the far side about a hundred and fifty yards to the left of the ambush point and maybe fifty yards beyond it. Finding a hollowed out area between trees he laid out five magazines and a half dozen forty millimeter mortar shells; he was ready for what he expected to be the coming battle.

Watching six red wavering shadows sneaking through the thick timber was like watching ghosts; moving slowly and carefully they fanned out five to eight meters between the team members. To Jameson it was like watching a training film from basic training; it was clear these men had not worked together before; they didn’t keep in line and had to stop for a straggler to catch up with the line of men working towards the falling rock they’d heard. Unable to make contact via radio they knew they were walking into an ambush but had to keep moving carefully taking cover every few feet.

Jameson saw three men making a common mistake coming together in the dark, too tightly packed together making an easy target; he dropped a forty millimeter mortar round into the short tube under his sniper rifle and aimed to the center of the closing group; as they approached each other in the dark he pulled the trigger. POOMFF…… the mortar shell left the tube making a short arched path to impact. Exploding sending all three flying in the air Jameson found two other men lined up in his sights as the mortar lit the surrounding area in its flash detonation. Walking the heavy rounds from his rifle across the two silhouetted men they were clearly mortally hit. Waiting patiently Jameson found the last surviving man low crawling towards the safety of the boulders; glowing bright red in his sights he squeezed the shot off.

Keeping track Jameson quietly said “Twenty two” knowing the number left might be higher; he was enjoying himself; it would get tougher as the next day or two went along.

Moving to an over look of the DBI compound Jameson wrapped himself tight in his sleeping bag and thermal blanket; they’d have to step on him to find him leaving no thermal image in the night.

Waking Jameson slowly and quietly unwrapping from his cocoon he found a team of three fifty yards to his right slowly moving through the thick brush. Jameson let them move away; he opened three breakfast meals and stuffed himself; it would be a long day.

Pulling an Iphone from a breast pocket he waited as it silently powered up; “Twenty two; at the compound” he text and powered down the phone. For the second time since waking up he checked every component of his rifle, magazines, pack and pockets making sure everything was where it needed to be; he was ready.

Moving to the area in the woods the DBI team had just walked along he found they were using existing trails; dropping his heavy pack Jameson laid out a path of personnel mines they’d trip if they returned on the same path; he figured in twenty minutes they’d be running back taking the same trail; big mistake.

Sliding down the steep hill into the compound he noted very few people moving around the area; they must have nearly everyone out looking for him leaving the compound totally under staffed. Moving silently he made his way to the opening of the diamond mine; he could hear machinery running deep in the mine but not a single person around the opening and elevator shaft. Stepping into the mine shaft Jameson placed explosives along the top of the elevator spool and against all the electrical equipment; making his way outside he stuffed a large chunk of C4 under the huge generator that ran all the power for the complex. Standing and turning he stepped into the chest of a worker heading to check the elevator controls; Jameson downed the man shutting his scream off with a single swipe of his gloved hand against his windpipe; dragging the man to a hiding spot he covered him in a tarp. Moving to his left he found another target ripe for explosives; the C4 stuck tight to the bottom of a five hundred gallon tank of unleaded gasoline that supplied power to the equipment; the little antenna stuck out of the C4 waiting the signal to send the electrical charge to set it off just like all the explosive charges Jameson had left around the compound and mine shaft.

A string of explosions went off high above the compound; five in total in quick succession. Jameson knew it was the personnel charges along the trail he’d laid. Setting them in a line, he wired them so if the team returned along the same trail from the direction they had been moving they’d walk into the trap; as the leader of the group set off the last mine in line all the mines along the back trail would go off exploding along the trail killing anyone following the leader. “Seventeen”

Running at top speed Jameson moved away from the explosives he’d hidden setting up two firing lanes; one running down the length of the compound, number two covering sixty yards of open area to his left. People flew out of the buildings as the explosives went off on top of the hill to the east; twisting spinning on fine threads he tightened an eighteen inch silencer to his large bore rifle barrel extending the length by nearly a third. Sighting he knocked down any armed workers starting in the far distance and working forward; man after man was dropped never knowing that others had been shot behind him. To his left two hired gun men stormed out of a small building, rifles at the ready; Jameson took both with head shots dropping them in place. Moving he ran past a long Quonset hut throwing grenades through the windows as he ran. Turning up a brush filled gully he slowly and quietly made his way to a small clearing; looking down four hired guns were standing next to the unleaded gasoline tank. Jameson pushed the clicker; the explosions rocked the compound sending concrete and bricks flying in every direction; smoke poured into the sky.

Jameson found a hidden spot under heavy brush overlooking the remains of the compound; smoke boiled up from nearly every building and the mine shaft entrance. People moved in quick runs expecting killing shots to rain down on them from any direction. Pulling out his thermal blanket and using his sleeping bag as a pillow he laid down for a nap; it was going to be hours before his next targets arrived.

Waking from the beat of rotor blades Jameson could see the helicopter swing around and land on the far side of the compound hidden behind one of the buildings that remained standing. From his perch on the hillside he looked directly down on the main office area; spreading his sniper blanket in front of him he covered the loose dirt protecting the ground from the muzzle blasts keeping the dust from flying up showing his hide. It was a short wait; no one expected an attacker to stick around after leveling a compete compound; Jameson laid out the tools of his trade.

Coming from around the far side of the main office building was a group of eleven people; the most important leading the group with lesser members trailing in the classic example of who’s who in a entourage of important people. From three hundred and fifty yards looking through the high powered scope Jameson could read their lips; body language and arm waving showed the level of anger the top bosses were displaying to the lesser managers. Hired guns surrounded the group trying to look dangerous but failing in every sense of the word.

Jameson lowered the cross hairs placing them on the crime bosses right temple; waiting for just the right moment the boss and his number one lieutenant lined up perfectly; sending the round down field at thirty seven hundred feet per second the heavy bullet hit the crime boss just behind his sunglasses splitting the right bow exiting the left side of his head the bullet continued the two feet hitting the lieutenant in the right temple exploding his head like a ripe melon. Both men dropped in a heap at the others feet in mid sentence. Sending two quick forty millimeter mortar rounds from the lower tube on his rifle Jameson dropped them both left and right of the group knocking down at least seven into the dirt. Bringing the scope to his eye he followed escaping hired guns putting one round on each as they tried to escape the killing field. “Five” Jameson whispered to himself.

Moving farther up on the hill side Jameson found a bushy area overlooking any number of routes from the heavy timber leading back to the compound area. He didn’t have to wait long as five armed hired guns moved quickly down an established trail heading back to the diamond mine. Silencer still in place Jameson rested the heavy rifle on its bipod legs following the last gun man in the line with the scope cross hairs steady on the man’s head; man after man dropped quietly in his tracks as the silenced rounds found their mark. “Zero" Jameson wondered. He preferred to leave at least one or two to report back that all the others had been killed; it sent the message clearer than just no one ever returning. He’d have to hope he’d missed finding at least one.

Moving south along the steepening hill side Jameson found the spot he was looking for; calculating the shots would be in the neighborhood of fifteen hundred yards he studied the winds between him and the sitting helicopter on the distant pad. Using his shot calculator Jameson came up with the numbers. Digging into the heavy back pack he found the incendiary rounds for the rifle; pushing them into the magazine he made a personal bet on how many rounds it would take to get the job done. “Three” was his bet.

Scope on full power he held high and three clicks to the left adjusting for the wind between him and the chopper. He could see the emblem on the side of the chopper “DBI Mining” in nice bold letters.

Sending the first round he studied the vapor trail as it flew towards the sitting chopper; hitting just three feet forward of his aim spot the incendiary round exploded the rear window sending sparks flying in every direction. Following up with a second round before the winds changed Jameson made a very slight adjustment and sent the second round.

The two second flight time the bullet pierced the thin skin and disintegrated inside the left fuel tank; the helicopter exploded in a flash of flames; seconds later the whoosh of the explosion reached Jameson. Pulling the Iphone from his breast pocket he sent the text “Pickup; ready” Thirty seconds later came the reply with time and coordinates.

Checking his map Jameson had some hard hiking to do to make the pickup point in time.

High Forks, Alaska got their town back; six days of funerals followed a time to rebuild their community; the crime organization that caused so much pain was taken over by a rival gang after killing most of its members. DBI mining closed for good; High Forks bought the mining rights for pennies on the dollar setting up a steady income for the city and good jobs for its people. Jim Parker ran for Mayor and was elected in a landslide that November.

Jameson code named “Sweeper” caught his pickup and disappeared into the night heading for his next assignment.

From the Ramblings

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