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