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


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


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.


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



Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Gunslinger Series; The killing fields

The drone flew low and slow down the center of the valley; from the sound of the engine and propeller it was a good bet it was a Reaper carrying at least two Hell Fire missiles more likely four. Pulling the thermal blanket tight around his body and pushing down into the snow Jack knew he would find out shortly if they’d picked him up on thermal imagining. High over head its jet engine drowned out by the Reaper propeller noise an Avenger drone scanned a five mile wide swath of the mountain running east to west at twenty thousand feet. Nothing to do now but relax and see if he lived or died; the next five minutes would tell.

Jack Griffin was proud as he stood at attention receiving his corporal bars from his Sheriff. He’d worked damn hard to get them; no politics involved in this promotion, he’d studied and worked his ass off for those stripes. He was a natural at police work; higher than average arrest rates and a couple big busts he’d chased down himself pushing the information he’d picked up to the Detective Division, them allowing him to be in on the final arrests. He confirmed he was a rising star as all the Court hearings came and went without a single stumble on his testimony regardless of the games the Defensive Attorneys played; he was just a star.

Engine and propeller noise fading heading straight west from where Jack lay in the snow; he let out a long and slow sigh of relief. Jumping to his feet thermal blanket still wrapped around him tightly he pulled the head phones over his ears. Using a mental grid pattern Jack searched the sky trying to pick up the jet engine of the Sentinel or maybe an Avenger high over head; both carried munitions that’d ruin his day if they picked him up. Pointing the directional microphone a couple degrees farther west and a little south of his position he picked up the jet engine noise; yep little jet engine. Listening for a minute he determined the high drone was heading due west just like the little drone killing machine hunting him low in the sky of the valley. Jack figured he had twenty minutes before the next pass if he was lucky, he’d have to make some good time through the snow to keep a lead on the ground teams.

Jack reached down activating his over head lights on his patrol car; the car he had his eyes on had crossed the center line and the fog line twice in the last few hundred yards; DUII ran through his head.

Slamming on the breaks the suspected DUII car nose dived towards the pavement surprising Jack with the quick aggressive move; tires smoking drifting slightly to the left the two front doors flew open. Jack stomped his breaks to the floor jerked the wheel to the left putting the passenger side of the car towards the smoking DUII suspects car. Nine millimeter bullets rained into the patrol car; windows blowing out from the impacts sending shards of glass in every direction. Jack jammed the patrol car into reverse spinning the tires into smoking spinning gravel throwing turbines. Placing yards between him and the withering fire Jack felt three stings as he slumped low trying to escape the gun fire. Stomping the breaks and grabbing his secondary gun from its rack Jack smoothly sled out the patrol car door coming up over the hood searching the red dot sight for the shooters. They’d made a huge mistake by pursuing the smoking tired patrol car firing as it slid away from their ambush; they stood in no man’s land fifteen yards from their car. Finding his right eye blind from heavy flowing blood Jack switched shoulders and brought his AR15 7.62 rifle to his left side, sighting down the barrel the red dot lowered to chest level on the killer and Jack pulled the trigger twice in rapid succession, shifting slightly right the red dot hung steady on the seconds chest; Jack watched muzzle flash after muzzle flash coming from the killers heavy auto. Two quick squeezes, second suspect flat down on the pavement; through the one power red dot scope Jack could clearly see the blood pool spreading reaching out combining into one huge red lake glistening in the sun. He slumped by the side of the car; his stings turning into blinding white pain closing his vision down to slits; he could hear sirens in the distance.

Shaking the snow from his thermal blanket Jack sprinted through the snow closing the distance to the sheer cliffs of the mountain; climbing a couple hundred feet nearly straight up he could see shapes in the distance the ground killer teams were closing on him. Finding a small sunken area in the rock face Jack wrapped himself tight in the blanket listening closely for the low drum of the drone engine. Untying his rifle from his pack it was time to slow the pursuers down, he wouldn’t be able to just out run them in the long run, he’d need them to slow down and make them watch for ambushes.

The drone came in low moving slowly no more than a hundred feet over the top of the trees making the shot nearly level and three hundred yards out. Resting the rifle on the bipod legs he followed the drone at high magnification through the scope as it closed the distance flying flat and level. Definitely a Reaper holding four rockets under its wings; not a hard shot but he’d only get maybe two chances if he was quick. Squeezing slowly smoothly he sent the first round hitting the drone far back on the fuselage since the engine was in the back of the vehicle. A second quick follow up shot produced instant smoke and the little drone dropped like a rock exploding into a thousand pieces as it fell through the heavy timber.

Jumping to his feet Jack ran a hundred yards along a long two foot wide expansion ridge in the cliff face diving into another shallow cave face. His firing position exploded into fragments seconds after he began his run; his two rifle shots glowing like beacons in the sky to the high flying second drone. The war heads explosion flash and heat blinded the Avenger drones sensors for a few seconds giving him time to make the life saving run to his next firing position. He’d have to sit still for the time being hiding from the drone before he could risk escape; the killer ground teams were at full run closing the distance to the drone’s war head strike point.

Jack woke in a hospital room tubes running from both arms and covered in bandages. Three bullets had found their mark but none were life threatening. Two weeks and he’d be released to finish healing at home. His first visitor was the Sheriff himself; he spoke in very guarded sentences with Jack asking strange questions about what had happened. Did he know the two men he’d shot; why’d he decide to pull over that particular vehicle; did he take anything from the scene. Jack answered all his questions; he’d never quite been talked to that way, what was the problem; he got no answers to his questions; why was he feeling like he was being investigated?

Pulling the head phones again over his ears Jack searched the skies for the Avenger drones signature engine sound; nothing. Looking at his watch he figured the drone had been in the air a minimum of eleven hours figuring in launch, travel time and time on target; it had to be running out of fuel and would have to return to its launch pad to refuel soon. Pulling his rifle it was time to slow down the hunter killer teams or he’d never escape.

Watching the two team’s six members each through the high powered scope he noted his targets carefully hoping dropping the right member would slow the others to a crawl. Jack picked the lead member and settled the cross hairs six dots high over his head and two dots left correcting for the slight wind and distance. With a slight increasing squeeze the gun jumped in his arms; switching to the second team running through the snow about two hundred yards to the right of the first team he waited for his second target to run into a small clearing in the woods. Second shot off; pushing the scope back on target after the jarring explosion he saw that his shot had taken the leader in the high chest and the remaining five members had disappeared into the heavy timber for cover. Finding the first team again took two minutes since they’d had more time to get into good hiding positions. Jack found his first victim if you could call him that lying face up between trees covered in blood obviously dead.

The director slammed the report down hard on his desk. “What the hell! Who is this guy; what branch is this guy from? Rangers, Seal team, Delta; who is this guy, he knocks down a Reaper with a rifle and kills two of our people and makes a compete escape!”

“His name is Jack Griffin, a civilian; he was a Deputy Sheriff; he’s the cop that killed the two Diplomats from Russia.” “The ones that had the car full of documents that took the President and her husband out of the White House.” The CIA spook slowly and carefully said emotionless in a flat dry dead voice.

“I want this guy, put our best people on him; he can’t be a God damn Gunslinger; an underpaid County employee working for a third rate Department!” “A fucking Gunslinger; no way he’s got to be someone!”

“We had our best people on him; Grant and Jones were the best we had; apparently he knew who on the teams were in charge. They both fucked up and got killed” Again in the flat dead voice. “Autopsies showed both were killed with a 7.62 standard slug bought off the shelf; minimum 1300 yards, they didn’t even hear the first shot before both were down.” Three second pause “We’re into the second stringers now.”

The two ties stepped into his hospital room three days before he was to be release to home therapy, maybe two months working out at home and he’d be back to at least light duty work.

“We’d like to ask you a few questions if you’re feeling up to it” Black tie number one said.

“Sure who are you?” Jack said as he turned the volume down on the TV attached high on the wall.

Black tie number two stepped up to the bed towering over Jack. “We’d like to keep that to ourselves; now WE ask the questions and you answer them” Lowering his had to Jack’s left shoulder tie number two stuck his finger into the hollow where the 9mm round had taken a large chunk out of Jacks shoulder. Pain flared; he rolled away from the man standing up on the opposite side of the bed facing the two men.

“Let us just say we’re friends of the two people you disposed from their jobs; and now that I think of it the Russia’s aren’t very happy you either, you killed two of their diplomats, I think they might want to talk to you also.” Tie number one growled.

The floor nurse walked into the room on her normal duty rounds to check on her patient. “What’s going on here!” as she realized there was some kind of problem between the men and saw blood oozing from the dressing on Jack’s shoulder. She pressed the alarm button on her hip just as tie number one was stepping towards her. He stopped as they heard running feet coming down the main corridor towards the room.

“We were just leaving” Tie number two barked. “Jack, we’ll be talking again, again real soon.”

Jack’s mouth hung open in total surprise; he’d been sitting like that for twenty minutes as the Union President explained the situation that he would not be returning to his job and more than likely would be indicted on Felony charges from the killing of the two diplomats. Powerful people were pushing the Departments buttons and it appeared they controlled the Courts as well; an indictment was expected within days; he was on house arrest and was not to leave, no matter what.

Fifteen minutes after hearing the rest of the story Jack was packing; his bug out bag already had been packed and had been made for just this kind of event. He never expected to need it, but hard training convinced him long ago to be ever prepared.

One small backpack and his bug out bag was all he needed. His personal rifle the AR 7.62 and his duty weapon had been locked in his gun vault by his best friend while he laid in the hospital recovering. It was strapped to the bug out bag and his duty weapon a Glock 21 in .45 was on his hip.

Pulling slowly out of his garage Jack saw two white vans parked along the street; one pointed north the other south; both had two men in the front seats watching as he slowly pulled out into the street. His driver’s window exploded from the gun shot as other rounds blew out the next window and the rear window blew in as he finished his turn onto the quiet residential street he lived on.

Stomping the gas pedal to the floor the chase was on; apparently he was wanted dead or alive; mostly they wanted him dead.

From the Ramblings



Monday, August 15, 2016

The Gunslinger Series; Siege

The shot came from nowhere; splintering wood just four inches from his face. “Did you see it?” Turning “Did you see where it came from?” “Not a damn thing; either distance or muffled; nothing” “Well I’m not going to give him another chance!” Sliding down and away from the window opening Jacob pulled an inch long splinter from his cheek. “Damn that last one was close; I didn’t hear the shot either. He must be way the hell out there; no silencer is going to tame a big bore rifle, we should have been able to hear the shot.” “That’s a big rifle; rounds are coming right through the walls. That one clear through the two by four window framing and almost took my head off!

Jimmy pulled hard on his sixth beer. “Relax we’ve got lots of beer and he’s out there and it’s gonna be dark in two hours; dark and cold tonight.”

The cabin sat fifty yards from the small lake; timber cleared back twenty five yards on the other three sides to protect it from the forest fires that plagued the area nearly every second year. Copious amounts of rain make brush and grass grow at an accelerated pace at this elevation. One great room with a small bedroom an even smaller bathroom filled out the description of the small building. Two slit side windows on both sides of the main and only door, one small window over the sink and two good sized windows looking straight out towards the lake giving the evening sun free run of the great room at this time of day. Someone was thinking when they put a metal roof protecting the structure from blowing embers.

“Come have a beer; it’s going to be warm shortly. Damn I wish there was power up here; I hate warm beer.” Jimmy said around a stomach empting belch.

“Are you kidding me? We’ve got a bounty hunter dumping molten lead on my ass and all you care about is cold beer?” Jacob said shaking his head; he was damn worried. How’d he end up with a drunk as a partner; one that’s way too quick to use force when a little talking can get them to hand over the money without shooting the place to pieces.

The radio said they’d left three dead and two more badly wounded; for five hundred bucks? Now this; they’d made the big time; bounty was two thousand bucks dead or alive and someone that can shoot hidden up someplace in the hills. Why’d they decide to hit the little bank in Sweet Water Nevada of all places; dried up sage brush and cow shit as far as the eye could see; dusty little town, brick buildings faded in the bright sun. They still had a little money from the last job, enough to get them by until they got to some bigger cities, ones that you could hide out in. Jacob knew they were in deep shit here.

Five forty five am; ante meridiem; jumping to his feet with a start, Jacob dreamed the gunslinger had kicked in the front door and was chasing him through the building. Standing eighteen inches from one of the great room windows in clear view for anyone to shoot through Jacob dove for the floor. Nothing, no splintering glass, no explosion of rifle cartridges; just a plain piece of paper taped to the center of the window from the outside. Starring at the sheet of paper as it fluttered in the light wind of early morning Jacob wondered if it had been there the day before; his mind prayed it had been there, maybe for months on months cause if it hadn’t been there then the gunslinger had walked right up to their window and taped it there in the last couple hours after he’d finally had fallen asleep.

“JIMMY!” “JIMMY…..OH HOLLY SHIT WE’RE DEAD!” Jacob shrieked; a cascade of piss filled, overflowed and rained on the hardwood floor standing tall and round in heavy droplets, pooling in neat little round puddles from a nice layer of wood protecting wax finish. “OH fuck we’re so dead”

Crawling out from the bedroom just showing his head around the door frame. “What’s the problem?” Jimmy said still half asleep.

“What’s the problem? WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?....... this guy’s got some balls is what’s the PROBLEM; he walked right up to the window and posted a freaking note in the center of the window sometime this morning. I was sleeping right under the window and he posts a note right over my head; THAT”S THE PROBLEM!” Jacob screamed.

“What’s it say?”

“It says we’re fucking dead you ass hole, who walks up like they own the place and tapes a note on the window when he knows we just killed three people four days ago. He’s not scared of us not one little bit!”

“No really, can you see what it says?” Jimmy was wide awake now.

“Well he was nice enough to tape it with the writing facing in so it makes it nice and easy to read; it says we have until noon to give up or his going to take us in dead”

“Damn” That’s all Jimmy had to say.

Eleven fifty five pm; post meridiem; “We’ve got five minutes”

“I’ve got all the time in the world; I’m not going out there. You want to walk out there and get shot you go right ahead; I’m staying in here and he can come get me if he can.” Jimmy said with as much swagger as he could find lying on his stomach in the corner.

Twelve oh five pm; post meridiem. With a thump and clatter like something roller over a couple times a bundle hit and rolled up against the cabin wall under the window hosting the note still fluttering in the wind. A light white trail of smoke whiffed up and across the window blowing right to left in the light breeze as the boys lay wondering what had just hit the decking.

“DYNAMITE!” Jacob screamed and ran for the bedroom of the cabin, Jimmy hot on his heels.

WHOMPH the wall blew in blowing shards of glass and framing in deadly spirals. Jacob turned the corner into the bedroom as a second huge explosion rocked the silent day. Jimmy hit the far wall hard standing him up straight, slowly turning back towards the bedroom door blood gushing from his chest another thunder clap smashed him against the wall blowing his head near off his shoulders.

“NO no I give up, I give up!” Jacob screamed to the shadow standing filling the bedroom door as he crabbed his way into the corner.

The shadow raised an arm in the universal watch check motion; “nope, it’s twelve oh seven, times up.”

The thunder clap shook loose a piece of glass from the twisted blown out window; a joint of putty fell from a joint in the wall.

Two thousand bucks for four days work; more reloading to be done.

From the Ramblings



Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Gunslinger; The Series

The train slowly left the station bouncing from left to right along the uneven tracks; the grade of the tracks failing from the lack of maintenance. The railroads and subways hadn’t seen a repair crew in two years after the fall of the Government; cities were left on their own and had zero money for minor repairs, only a complete failure got any attention.

The total collapse of the Federal Government came within months of the contested 2016 election as civil war was touted as the only means of bringing the Federal Government back into the control of the people. Sure they’d spent millions and millions of dollars to arm Federal agencies from the IRS to the Food and Drug Administration during the last Administration but with no one shooting at them they just stood around looking for someone to shoot. After a few months the armed forces made it quite clear they’d protect the citizens from any hostilities from the Feds. The Federal Government was unable to pay wages with the exception of the Military leaving the State governments scrambling to cover costs and keep what use to be federally funded services running. The States tried but lacking funding they too slowly faded away after just a few weeks the employees just went home and didn’t report for work; most just left for home one night and never returned, they had families to take care of just like everyone else.

Leaving the station bouncing and bounding from side to side the train settled into a slow crawl at a mere 10MPH’s bucking as the uneven rails swung the coaches right and left over the tracks. It was an exhausting ride as the pounding grew worst; throwing everyone back and forth; you had to grip with all your might to stay in your seat the ride was that rough.

Ten rows up having entered from the forward automatic door at the last station six men ranging from fifteen to thirty five stood close together staring at each other with tattooed faces, clearly showing their disdain for the other riders among them; their black hoodies covered most of their faces and eyes, but pushed up sleeves in the heat showed arms covered with tattoos displaying scenes of violence and gang affiliation for those who could read them.

Five minutes from the station the leader nodded and all six threw back their hoodies and pulled guns from hidden pockets. Pushing a gun into the face of an elderly woman nodding towards his open bag, she dumped her purse and the robber greedily checked to make sure everything had empted into his black bag. Moving along both sides of the coach the thieves took what they wanted and pistol wiped anyone who gave any resistance. Two seats forward from where I was sitting a dusty raggedy man sat watching not moving as the six brought their violence towards him. Stepping up to the stranger the leader of the thieves opened his black bag and motioned the man to drop his valuables into the bag, giving it hard shake the robber’s impatience showed. The man’s dusty black cowboy hat pulled low over his eyes moved ever so slightly left to right sending the clear message NO. Bellowing “What, you mother fucker!” the thug brought his arm holding the gun up in a high arch to smash the strangers head.

The stranger stood leaning into the thug pushing him away blocking the swinging pistol from his head in an effortless graceful motion. Lowering both hands he spread his duster wide from his waist exposing large caliber pistols holstered on both hips. He motioned down towards his weapons and waited for the thug to realize he was armed; eyes opening wide the thug tried to bring his gun in but the stranger in a blur pulled both his guns from their holsters pressing one into the thugs upper stomach area; the explosion was huge lifting and blowing the thug against the window breaking it sending shards of glass flying in the sudden wind; viscous chunks of bright red meat with red frothy blood sprayed against the trains walls in a swirling cloud catching in the wind sucking out the window leaving a red streak down the side of the train car.

My eyes wide open expecting to see the stranger's head explode from the blow of the thief went blinding white in the flash from the explosion of the gun; my ears sent waves of agony with enough pain to slam my blind eyes closed. Explosion after explosion white hot blinding even through my closed eyes lids forced my eyes to remain locked closed as round after round found targets in the enclosed compartment of the coach.

Slumped over in my seat rubbing my eyes I forced my left eye open; tears were flowing down my face making my vision blurry, I saw the robber farthest down the car slowly sliding down the car wall into a sitting position leaving a smear of blood down the wall a huge bloody gaping hole in his forehead. The compartment was hazy with blue gray burnt gun powder making breathing the air metallic tasting. The dusty cowboy was standing between the rows of seats slowly reloading his magazines; six explosions, six dead thieves. My ears rang from the gun blasts; pulling softly on my shoulder from the seat behind me an old woman whispered in my left ear “Gunslinger”. The compartment filled with the gagging sweet earthy stench of blown vacated bowels.

In a practiced motion the gunslinger pushed his thigh length duster apart holstering both is magnum pistols; his heavy black belt taking the weight without hesitation. He toed the robber’s black bag with his worn boot opening it wide; pushing it slightly towards the old woman she dug her valuables out of the bag and stuffed them into her purse. Her eyes met his and with a nod she passed the bag to the next victim to retrieve their things. A small boy stepped up to the dusty man and handed him a twenty dollar bill; the man took it into his gnarled hand, looked at it and handed the boy back the money “You keep it son; you’re going to need it”. Staring into his eyes the small boy raised his left hand showing a spent magnum cartridge dropping it into the gunslingers hand still hot from the explosions. Three more people pushed their way to the gunslinger and gave money and four more used cartridges found their way home. Looking around the floor for the last cartridge an old man slowly walked between the seats and opened his hand to the gunslinger giving him the last spent casing to be reloaded again for the future.

The train car was a blood bath the rocking side to side motion of the uneven tracks spread the six thug’s blood to every corner of the car; the doors sliding open broke the damn of congealing blood pooled against them allowing it to pour out on to the tracks below; no one moved as the gunslinger slowly stepped over two bodies and disappeared into the gloom of the station.

Carefully people left the coach stepping high over the rivers of flowing browning blood as it gushed from the train car; no one looked back but the little boy with his fist clamped shut around a worn out casing the gunslinger had slipped him as his mother looked away. Pulling hard on his little arm his mother told him to hurry “I’m going to be just like that man when I grow up mommy; I’ll save you from those bad men too!” said the little boy under his breath knowing his mommy wouldn’t approve.

From the Ramblings



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Toll City, Colorado. (Part two) Running Scared; The Zombie Wars.

Toll City, Colorado (Part two) Running Scared; The Zombie Wars.

We came out of Toll City, Colorado at about 7:30pm after killing hundreds and hundreds maybe thousands of zombies; four buses held every one of the survivors with a few seats empty on each bus; a grand total of 130 adults and five kids ranging from 3 to 5 years old.

Our defensives had been worked and reworked for nearly a year; we had trap after trap set; diversions and dead ends to snare them; they worked exactly as they had been planned trapping and slowing the zombie advance giving the firing teams clear shots as the hoard was forced to slow and maneuver through obstacles we placed in the killing zones. Buildings surrounding our strong hold had been set with incendiary devices; the attacking zombies filled these buildings trying to find clear paths to breach our walls. They were killed in the hundreds as the buildings were set on fire; zombie bodies rained from the upper floors leaving flaming smoking trails in the failing light as they fell in burning masses. Piles seven or eight deep of fallen zombies in long sweeping rows from over lapping automatic rifle fire caught fire from phosphorous grenades; smoke blocked the view of thousands of advancing bobbing heads.

The ocean of zombies never slowed as the growing tide reached to the horizon pushing through the fires and heavy machine gun fire without pausing; it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in my life. The swarm reached to the horizon flowing in pulsating bobbing rivers; swirling, pouring around obstacles creating eddies then clearing weaving picking up speed climbing over the flaming stacks of their own dead mindless of the roar of automatic machine gun fire cutting lines through their ranks. They pushed up against the twenty five foot walls we build and climbing on top of one another using the first as stepping stones to climb higher; stacks of zombies would build up to nearly the top of the walls then collapse onto their selves just to rebuild again. We poured hundreds of gallons of thickened gasoline on the growing zombie piles burning the zombies in huge stacks as they attacked the walls; the growing piles of undead would just move a few feet to the side of the raging fires and build again in teetering stacks; the walls were breached by their sheer numbers. Topping the walls they’d pour down into the lower areas between the twenty five foot walls and the five buildings we had fortified; windows and doors had been sealed tight and reinforced, there was nowhere for them to go after falling off or being pushed off by the sheer numbers climbing over the walls into the pits. We continued to pour gallons of thickened gasoline into and on top of the teetering piles of zombies breaching the walls; the smoke was stifling.

The local zombie population had taught us well over the previous months how they’d attack; wave after wave had been beaten back in the year working up to the hundreds of thousands of the coming swarm. The zombie army had been tracked moving north for the last six months via short wave radio coming out of South America as they overran one strong hold after another; survivors running for their lives trying to put distance between them and the over whelming hoard moving north like a flood.

Our plan was to kill and delay as many of the zombie swarm as we could; we knew our five building fortress wouldn’t hold against thousands and thousands of zombies on the run for fresh meat; at the last minute we hoped to escape in buses and head due north away from the flood looking for the next sanctuary city or at least another strong hold and again make a stand. We fortified the buses as much as possible; our southern most scouting team ran half the way home on a flaming rim after pushing through a tangle of zombies that surrounded their vehicle a zombie rib pierced and flattening the tire. We decided not to fight the zombies as the security gates opened in the lower level of building five. They filled every square inch of the loading docks within a minute of the gates opening; the screeching sounds of the heavy security electric gates rolling in their tracks brought hundreds of zombies from the streets down into the basement area to our buses surrounding them in a sea of undead. We slowly pushed against the hoard with the buses carefully trying to split the thong without knocking them down and under the buses putting our precious tires at risk. We nearly made it but the zombies were so packed together they started falling as the buses pushed them into tighter groups around the building pillars that held the tracks for the doors at the street exiting through the security gates. The third and forth bus had to climb and run over stacks of zombies as they made their way slowly though the standing grasping hoards; they pushed the tight packed zombies forward then backing up a few feet and getting a short run into the zombie thong they slowly made their way out of the garage pit. Pitching side to side it was a miracle that only bus four had one flat tire as they slowly drove against the growing swarm of zombies blocking the buses to the streets.

We made it just over a mile on one smoking wobbling rim before stopping to change the ruined tire and wheel switching the spare as fast as the crew was able. A line of fast approaching zombies could be seen closing the distance running at top speed as bus four was lowered off the jacks and tools were hurriedly put away. Two fire teams put down a constant spray of suppressing fire towards the fastest of the running zombies; hitting a fast mover the next zombie in line would jump like a hurdler over the fallen zombie just to be hit by the next bullet falling making a staggered pile of dead or injured zombies. Slower zombies had to vault the fallen or go around the stack slowing the running hoard.

They caught the bus before it was able to get to speed; fighting the no climb wire we’d attached to the sides of the bus the zombies couldn’t find a hold and we escaped without a single zombie climbing and clinging onto the bus; we drove fourteen hours through the night into the following day.

Skirting everything but the smallest of towns we quickly discovered that the roads were filled with abandoned cars. We pulled into a County road maintenance yard and found a huge dump truck with a snow plow; the keys clearly marked and hanging in the office; filling the dump truck with gravel we hoped the extra weight would help clear the derelict vehicles from the roads. The use of the unprotected truck was dangerous but without it we’d be stalled at every town we came too; slowing to a near crawl and lowering the plow the truck easily pushed most cars quickly out of the way of the buses, larger vehicles could be moved by pushing against the rear or front twisting and spinning the vehicle around and clearing just enough space for the buses to drive through. We flattened the gravel in the trucks dump box and put two fire teams up in the box giving them a good view from the height of the huge truck. We had made good progress as late afternoon arrived; we’d need to find a secure spot to make camp for the night; all of our vehicles needed fuel. We’d need to find an outlying station with diesel or risk a zombie attack in the next small town.

They came in the night; the first fire team opened up with everything they had at one a.m. and in seconds every fire team was involved. We were lucky that the team heard them before they got to the buses; we evacuated everyone from the buses and those without rifles or weapons stood in the center of the tight circle of the fire teams reloading and clearing jammed rifles. The sound was deafening as the rifle explosions bounced back to us off of the near bus sides; we were forced to abandon the buses by the size of the zombie attack slowly retreating away from the protection of the buses. We left piles of dead zombies; those cut in half by the automatic weapons continued to pursue crawling and dragging themselves along with an arm or leg left still attached after being hit numerous times. As we retreated we had to be cautious of any zombie laying in the dirt that might bite an ankle or leg as we stepped over them; each zombie had to be shot in the head at close range to be safe to walk past. It seemed an eternity but by my watch the fight lasted only fifteen minutes and cleaning up the shot up zombies an additional ten minutes; we’d lost but one team member by getting blocked and caught in one of the buses. It broke out hearts to have to shoot and kill one of our own but it hadn’t been the first time; cleaning the mess from the bus interior was the worst.

As the sun came up we counted seventy three zombies and added five more before we’d cleaned the weapons and reloaded the buses for the second day. We were in need of ammunition and new weapons; we’d need to find another National Guard Armory to resupply before everything got too low; heading up Hwy 13 keeping our distance from any larger towns Craig had an armory that dated by to the mid twenties, our hope being that it hadn’t been broken into and cleaned out already.

Pulling into Craig at two p.m. we found the Armory on Yampa Ave; with bolt cutters we cut the large chain and padlock and pulled all four buses and our snow plow into the fenced in parking lot. Checking the heavy doors the armory was still intact. The building was old, constructed of brick, windows covered in heavy steel fabric, the roof covered with metal roofing; it was the perfect building to overnight in. A sign coming into town said the population was nearly nine thousand but we hadn’t attracted a single zombie and the town appeared to be deserted but multiple buildings had been destroyed in what had to have been a long drawn out fight. It took an hour to get the heavy buildings door open without destroying them in the process; we’d want the use of them overnight if we ended up attracting more zombies. A huge bonus we found the building had a central wood burning stove left over from the original construction before electric or gas took over as normal heating; we’d have heat and hot water a luxury we’d hadn’t had since leaving our strong hold. As we hoped the armory had a nice supply of ammo and a few old weapons that would supplement what we’d been able to get our hands on that still functioned.

Our new home for the night sat neatly in the center of a half acre lot surrounded by an eight foot heavy wire fence with barbed wire wound along the top. We found everything we needed inside to chain and lock the gate we’d cut opened to access the site; three fire teams sites were chosen and using sandbags built supports for the heavier guns. We were ready for the night with little worry of being overrun again.

As the sun was setting we could clearly smell smoke; wood smoke from a camp fire or a wood burning stove. The wind was coming from the north directly down Yampa Ave south bound; how far up the street we could not tell. With the sun going down it was much too dangerous to go out on foot so we sent out the snow plow with two fire teams to investigate. Moving slowly with the huge flood lights of the snow plow glaring in the fading light they discovered the smoke was coming from the chimney of another brick building two blocks from the armory; the sign said Calvary Baptist Church; worried faces could be seen through the high dirty windows peering out at the bright lights. They were too scared to come out of their brick fortress in the fading light and warned of bands of prowling zombies that came every night assaulting the doors and windows of the church. Our team gave them as many rifles as they could spare with ammunition and promised to return the following morning and hurried back to the armory.

As we were having dinner with smoke pouring out of the chimney heating shower water and warming the building a single zombie walked slowly to the fence his face pressing the wire. He stood staring at the fire team behind their sand bags not twenty feet from him. He was in good shape without many injuries from his turning; his clothes were rumpled dirty but not torn to shreds like so many of them. No one moved an inch; he swiveled his face to the side looking up Yampa Ave the wire pushing his nose against his cheek; shuffling his feet he slid along the wire and slowly walked north towards the Church in the distance.

Twenty minutes later; “We’ve got trouble!” Everyone spilled out of the armory; in the distance you could hear pounding and an occasional zombie screech; that sound froze your blood in their veins. It meant the zombies were close to getting fresh meat and in their excitement they’d scream a high pitched bloody screech that meant fresh meat was close at hand. One zombie after another began to pour from the neighborhoods south of us heading quickly towards the sounds of a feast; the numbers grew into the hundreds as the street and front yards filled with zombies. Our fenced in yard was an island in the river of zombies as they flooded past scraping the wire in their hurry to feed; everyone was frozen in place watching the entire city of Craig sweep past heading for the church. “OH my god!” was enough to stop two zombies as they slid along pressed tightly against the fence by the moving hoard. Zombies behind them unable to continue stopped also; slowly their heads turned as they realized fresh meat was just feet from them. One zombie turned screeching at the top of his lungs; he jumped climbing the fence catching the attention of several zombies ten or so deep in the moving throng; they stopped pushing towards the fencing following the climbing zombie. Our fire team not twenty feet away began shooting zombies as they reached the top of the fencing; some fell back into the crowd as others fell inwards pulling the barbed wire loops down and away from the fence top. Looking over my shoulder towards the corner where the fencing turned ninety degrees and headed behind the building zombies were falling backwards off the fence as others climbed over the fence landing inside the wire as the second fire team poured bullets into the climbing zombies.

“Get inside get inside!” The single person wide door clogged with people trying to get back inside of the armory; zombies poured over the fencing. I watched from forty feet away as the double gate fell under the weight of the zombies giving a clear path to our front door clogged with people. Twenty feet of fencing on both sides of the gate fell pushed down by the weight of hundreds of climbing zombies; rolling springing to their feet the zombies were on our people in seconds.

There was nowhere to go so I ran to the closest bus yelling to those near to me to follow as ran past people pushing to get inside the building. Two zombies ran past me ignoring me jumping on the backs of our people clawing towards the jammed door; I watched as zombies pilled four deep, some walking on top of the screaming crowd, no one followed me; I stood alone at the door swing handle as the hoard smothered and covered our people. I closed the door locking it tight; I pressed my hands against my ears to silence the screech of feeding zombies.

I’m quite alone as I pencil this final report; oceans of zombies surround my sanctuary eight feet wide by forty feet long. Someone has the keys; maybe in a pocket or lying on the ground somewhere, who knows, it doesn’t really matter anymore. I’ve got no water or food; my every movement excites the zombies into a rage and they beat the bus walls for hours trying to get to that last piece of fresh meat.

I’ve finished my report there’s nothing further to add; the sea of zombies must be in the thousands; one window is broken and hands reach looking for a snatch of clothing to pull to their mouths. A crack and a zipper like sound as one roof vent is torn away; rivets pop falling into the bus floor. A zombie head and then shoulders wiggle through the small vent opening; the fit is tight but he’s making it.

I smile as I hold the Glock .45 auto not taking my eyes off the struggling zombie; it’s heavy and mean looking the bore is huge; I’ve got one chance to do this right; the cold metal front sight digging into the top of my mouth, the zombie is almost through, pulling tighter on the slack in the trigger, he drops hitting the bus floor head first, rolling over turning towards me our eyes lock, jumping to his feet h……..

From the Ramblings


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Toll City, Colorado (Part 1 of 2); The Zombie Wars

Toll City, Colorado (Part 1 of 2); The Zombie wars

Twelve twenty seven a.m. March 3rd, 2018

We knew they were coming; we just didn’t know when or how many.  Reports said they were in their thousands maybe tens of thousands; calls came in hourly and some just contradicted others.  One thing we did know was it was going to be ugly.  The last report from the South came in at Ten forty five p.m. via radio from the extreme Southern scouting party.  Radio scratchy from the distance and nearly unreadable due to the extreme volume of automatic weapons fire and explosions told the whole story without understanding every word spoken.  Just one part of one sentence froze my heart “… It’s a fucking sea of them, they …” Then the radio went dead; silence.

Toll City, Colorado sits nearly in the center of the State of Colorado and somehow became home base to We the survivors nearly one year ago as the spread of the zombie apocalypse came to the U.S. shores.  Unique in the structure of the downtown area made it easy to construct tall walls and heavy defensive positions around a group of five buildings in the center of the city.  The buildings sat in the middle of what from the air looks like the hub of a wheel with spokes being streets running away from the center towards the outlying areas of the city.  We walled in the area around the five buildings and had a readymade fort in mere weeks.  Construction has continued nearly around the clock only stopping to fend off attacks from the local zombie population for nearly the full year.  We think we are ready for the hoards when they come.

Twenty five miles South

“Get in the trucks! Move…..we can’t stop them!” Screaming at the top of his lungs John Michaels barely heard his own words; deafened by gun fire and grenades; high pitched ringing was all that was left of his hearing.  Grabbing men and pulling them backwards as they sprayed automatic gun fire into the charging zombies he and the closest three men jumped into a humvee slamming doors as zombies hit the windows.  “Go go before they get too deep!”  The humvee rocked side to side as hundreds of zombies pushed to get to the fresh meat sealed inside.  Tires spinning climbing over fallen zombies the humvee heaved left and right slowly picking up speed bumping and throwing the screeching mass to the sides.  “Hit the brakes hard; throw them off the hood!” Michaels barked.  Zombies slid off the humvee hood and disappeared under the vehicle; bouncing hard the humvee drove over the bodies, arms grasping at the underside.

“Anyone else make it?” Michaels asked “We’re the only vehicle; they didn’t make it to the jeeps.” Jimmy Owens said staring into the rear view mirror. “Markus; get on the radio and let Toll know we’re heading in as fast as we can go.  Tell them the bad news.”

Standing in ankle deep snow with my back against the cement block wall that surrounded our tiny five building sanctuary, I hoped it would be tall enough at twenty five feet.  Looking down Center Street it was a sea of barbed wire standing four feet tall in rolls from one side of the street to the other.  Steel X’s welded together and lay on their sides stood five feet tall and at least that wide; fifty lay staggered along the Street.  Barbed wire I understood but I questioned the need of the steel barriers.   “Slows them down so we can shoot them easier, doesn’t give them a straight line run towards the walls.”  Matt Wells said in his slow southern drawl.  “Don’t want the fast ones getting here too quickly.”  Wells was an architect in his former life; he’s now the lead in defensive structures.  “I got a couple real good surprises for them in all these other buildings too; surprises they aren’t gonna like.” 

“Ok get ready to stop; you guys get down below the windows; if I get taken keep going.” Michaels ordered and quickly jumped from the humvee slamming the door as he ran from the truck.  Spinning around he opened fire on the zombies clinging to the top of the humvee cutting two in half as he raked the top with full automatic fire.  Walking back to the truck he placed single rounds through foreheads of snapping jawed undead still managing to hold tight.  Pulling on heavy gloves he dragged the undead from the vehicle making a stack in the middle of the road.

“Got one; stand by for the shot” The numbers “four four zero” were clearly visible in the distance on the side of the brick building.  Looking down the streets yardages had been painted on building sides all along Streets leading away from the center defensive zone.  The zombie was stumbling along the right sidewalk dragging a broken shoulder against the building keeping him from falling down.  Placing the cross hairs just at the top of the zombies head, slightly tightening the squeeze on the trigger “Stand by, Shot”; everyone jumped at the huge explosion coming from five stories over head in the firing position; zombie brains splattered the brick wall, body dropping in a tangled heap.  Three heavily armed men slowly twisted their way through the wire and steel barriers towards the fallen zombie.  David Sims pulled his scope back to twelve power to widen the field of view looking for another target as the men drew close to the tangle of rags that was the dead zombie.  Sims watched as they untangled the zombie spreading him out flat on his back.  Pulling a wallet from the rear pocket, one member raised his radio to his mouth “This one’s from Northern New Mexico says the I.D. and the shoes are worn way down; I think he really did come that far; Over.”“Copy; pull the body into a near building and bring in the I.D.”  “Copy” All three men disappeared around the corner pulling the dead zombie behind them.

With a gentle shake, “Chief; John Michaels is coming in from the South scouting party. Only four made it back; we lost six men and two humvee.” Keith Ames said quietly waking James Meek the security chief at just before 3a.m.  “Ok…… get the generators going and a couple three fire teams ready to go; how long before they get here?”  “About ten minutes; he called in his report.  It isn’t good.” Keith said as he left the room.  Getting to his feet James climbed the stairs to the command center located on the seventh floor in the center building surrounded by the other four smaller buildings that made up the safe zone.

With generators running at full speed powering the electric motors pulled the wire apart down the center of Market Street making a narrow lane a vehicle could be driven through.  Headlights could be seen a full mile down Market Street as the surviving team drove towards the safe zone.  As they approached the outer wire switches were thrown and the heavy barbed wire slowly pulled apart opening the narrow drive.  Five zombies appeared stumbling from a door way moving slowly towards the noise of the vehicle engine.  Two fire teams with night scopes fired sending brains flying in a red mist.  Waiting for the wire to open driver Jimmy Owens rolled his window down to get fresh air into the moist aired humvee.  Michaels opened his mouth to tell Jimmy to roll his window up when a fast mover hit the open window and drove his snapping mouth against Jimmy’s face sinking his broken teeth deep into Jimmy’s soft cheek.  Three doors flew open as Michaels and the other two Scout party members jumped from the vehicle guns shouldered and pointed into the interior of the humvee.  A thunderous explosion sounded from the fifty floor fire team and the biting zombies head exploded covering Bruce Durk in zombie blood and brain matter, Durk slowly fell to the Street also hit by the bullet as it passed straight through the zombies head.  Marcus Wright standing three feet away from Michaels on the right side of the humvee swore under his breath.  Michaels raised his hand towards Wright giving him the quiet sign.  Rustling cloth to seat could just be made out as Jimmy Owens made the change to a zombie.   With jaws snapping Jimmy flew across the humvee straight at Michaels standing just three feet from the open door.  Falling backwards Michaels pulled the trigger on his rifle in full auto exploding the humvee door glass taking Jimmy’s head off his shoulders as he flew out of the humvee.  Jimmy landed with a soft thud at Michaels’ feet; looking down at the dead Jimmy Owens, Michaels realized Durk on the far side of the humvee had made the change and had climbed under the humvee sinking his teeth into Marcus’s left ankle biting deep into his leg.  Falling Marcus Wright pulled the trigger on his rifle firing 600 rounds a minute the last few rounds from the thirty round magazine blowing both his feet off.  Michaels standing just out of reach stared into Marcus Wright’s eyes watching the pained scared eyes change filling with dark red blood and rage witnessing the change from human to zombie.  Michaels placed the muzzle of his rifle against Wright’s forehead and pulled the trigger.  Walking alone through the rolls of wire Michaels slowly made his way the 300 yards to the heavily fortified safe zone carefully watched by the fire teams.

Just after first light the first wave of zombies came into view at over a mile down one of the spokes; runners in the front followed by fast walkers then the broken zombies and lastly the crawling dragging zombies.  The sound of the charging swarm hit our ears at a half mile; an eruption of gashing teeth, groaning growling guttural sounds; dragging, scraping noise filling in the cacophony.  The advancing mass spread filling four spoke streets to the horizon; the zombie legion had arrived in the hundreds of thousands. 

Waves of zombies filled the streets to as far as the eye could see; the fast runners hit the rolls of barbed wire at full stride tangling spinning into tight wiggling shapes pulling the wire tight until it sang with tension. Walkers climbed over the tangled zombies moving towards the walls with slower zombies stumbling, falling or crawling over the growing piles of zombies caught by the wire.  At one hundred yards we opened fire cutting wide swaths in the advancing mass; a barrage of bullets cut them down, bodies piled into rows as they were cut down in long sweeping fire.  Like a flash flood they flowed over the stacks of bodies and kept coming in a rolling mass of slow moving zombies, each fighting to get past the one in front to them.  Zombies stacked eight deep tangled in wire as we cut them down with withering fire; zombies hit with bullets rolled down the front and back of piles.  Barrels heated to red hot melted twisting useless were thrown down into the gleaming faces burning zombies to the bone as white smoke blew in the breeze as hot metal hit zombie skin.  Making it to the walls zombies stacked against the twenty foot wall pushed from the rear they climbed over each other higher and higher towards the top, buckets of gasoline mixed with thickening agent were poured down over the stacking climbing zombies.  Those that survived the flames moved left and right starting new piles climbing over those on the bottom.

Unable to breach the walls zombies filled the surrounding buildings trying to find a way to reach the fresh meat inside our walls; as the buildings filled with zombies, Matt Well’s surprise was set off; windows blew out under the heat and fire; flaming zombies rained down into the street leaving smoke trails as they fell from windows.  Thick sickening sweet smoke mixed with heavy black carbon smoke choked lungs of the firing teams; tears of black soot poured down our faces.  The heat from the flaming buildings made it impossible to fire down into the mass of zombies; white phosphorus grenades were thrown down into the throng burning zombies into pieces starting clothing on fire spreading the raging fires into the stacks of their dead.

The Southern wall was breached at two p.m.

Zombies piling up climbing on each other’s backs reached the top of the Southern wall; bucket after bucket of flaming gasoline mix failed to stop the advance as one fire would slow the stacking just to stack higher twenty feet away; our people fought until the last man barely made to safety and intense hand to hand combat to close the steel door before being over ran.  A general fall back order was called and all defenders moved into the buildings closing heavy steel doors and windows; Zombies poured over the top of the walls.  Moving up two stories more gasoline mix was poured burning hundreds zombies.  Taking up new firing position we rained automatic fire down on the zombie mass with little effect as thousands more filled the streets pushing towards the safe zone.

Building four overran three p.m.

Building four sitting the most Southern of the five buildings which made up the safe zone fell to the zombie swarm as defenders fought floor to floor slamming heavy steel doors between floors just to see them beat open by sheer weight of zombie bodies being thrown against them.  Again Matt Well’s planning saved lives as the fighting reached the top floor and fire teams roped across to adjoining buildings and ropes cut as zombies tried to follow.

Buildings two and three overran five p.m.

Both buildings two and three fell in much the same manner as building four; overran by sheer weight and numbers and supplies ran short and defenses faltered under the mass of zombie bodies.

Full retreat seven p.m.

The full final retreat was called at seven p.m. and everyone fled locking all doors and windows behind them to slow the zombie advance and ran for the basement of building five.  Building five the center building of the five buildings complex held four buses that had been retrofitted with heavy wire over the windows and no climb wire screening on all sides and top to slow the piling on of zombies on the buses.  Tires and wheel wells were reinforced and covered with heavy wire to protect the delicate rubber tires.  All buses had been filled with supplies as the zombie hoards began the initial attack on the safe zone and were ready to go.  Heavy security garage doors slowly started to inch open at seven thirty p.m. and the garage flooded with hundreds of zombies trying to breach the buses; we didn’t put up any kind of resistance fearing killing zombies in the garage area would trap the buses with their bodies.

Slowly the buses pushed through the thong inching forward a foot at a time; following one after the other so close together the zombies couldn’t force their way between the buses clearing a path through the hoard.  

It was and sounds rather dull after fighting and killing hundreds and hundreds of zombies before we pretty much calmly hurried to the buses and drove away leaving the remaining thousands of zombies in the dust losing very few of our people during the struggle; but thanks goes to the planning and building of formidable defenses and gives us hope we will one day win back the world as we once knew it.

In a line of four buses we headed slowly north hoping to find another sanctuary city we could join before the zombie legion caught up with us again.  Our numbers have slowly dwindled under the zombie scourge but our hopes are high.

See you on the other side.

This is part 1 of 2; please read part 2,  Toll City, Colorado.  Running Scared!
From the Ramblings.