The door flew open beneath John’s heel as he burst in pointing an H&K MP5 at me. Two of the men from the camp followed behind him each awkwardly trying to enter my small quarters with the long barrel of their rifles preceding them by a good two feet.
“I’m taking you to Michael!” John screamed “I know who you are, Heathen!” he said, using the muzzle of the MP5 to punctuate his statement.
I let out a little sigh and held my hands up in surrender. “Fair enough” I said as I moved closer to John “Let me guess, a little weasel faced rat-fuck called O’Toole had a chat with you?”
“Oh, yes. He had a lot of interesting things to say about you.” John smiled assured now of his victory he lowered the muzzle of the little sub-machine gun. “You and your whore will stand before the Lord’s Justice!”
Outside the door I saw lights turning on and faces appearing in windows. I smiled as I saw the gray hair and prim smile turned now to a rictus approaching the guard silently and painfully slow from behind. Alerted by the commotion and raised voices Sarah must have known where the trouble was most likely to happen.
“Does Michael know?” I asked trying to buy a little time for Sarah to get into position.
“Not yet, but soon Heathen he will have the truth!” The fanatical glee with which he spoke had caused his voice to rise at least two octaves.
I nodded. “And does he know that you let me take weapons?
John’s smile died on his face. “Oh, I don’t think he’ll care much. It’ll just be part of your deception that I bring to light.”
I couldn’t control the laughter that bubbled up out of my throat. John and the guards were confused by my response. They had me dead to rights. Dead being the keyword here. Laughter was kind of an incongruous response. Kind of like telling someone you love them and they respond ‘I have a coffee cup,’ It just didn’t fit. I managed to get myself under control, dabbing theatrically at my eyes.
“What the hell’s so funny, Heathen?!” John asked taking that last half-step forward so we were standing almost nose to nose.
“You a fan of 80’s music there, John?” I smiled, feeling the giggles getting ready to start-up again.
“What? 80’s music? What in the. . . ”
“Yeah. 80’s music.You know, like The Police?” I reached slowly under my shirt grasping Sweet Louise tight “They had that great song. . . what was it called?” I looked out over John’s shoulder. Sarah was close enough now I could see the hammer in her raised hand. “Oh yeah, that’s it. Don’t Stand So Close To Me.”
I plunged Sweet Louise into John’s navel and began pulling upward sawing back and forth at the same time. When I hit the sternum I pulled the knife out and pushed John backward as he spilled his guts out on the floor of my little quarters with a slight gasp. The men John had brought with him were slow on the uptake, not realizing that the growing red puddle of viscous fluid covering the floor was a bad thing for them. As John made contact with the man behind him I drew my Nagant revolver and fired three rounds into the man’s face and throat. From less than a meter away I couldn’t miss and the results were fantastic as the top of his head disappeared with the impact of the hollow points. The spray of blood from his throat was absorbed mostly by John’s collapsing form but still managed to spray a bit onto my face. Covered in blood. Home. I smiled and thumbed the hammer back as I moved my point of aim to the other guard.
The sound of the second guards Mosin-Nagant being fired was deafening inside the tight confines. I blinked furiously trying to clear my eyes from the cloud of smoke issuing from the barrel of the big rifle and shaking my head as if it would clear the ringing in my ears.
Sarah’s hammer was buried in the back of the man’s skull bits of brain had flown out of the wound to land on her face and arm. I tracked the relative position of the barrel and saw a hole in the floor near my right foot. I flexed my toes inside my boot and felt relieved when a hole didn’t magically appear in my Cadillac’s and start gushing blood.
John who hadn’t the decency to die after I had eviscerated him lay on the ground, with a surprised look on his face trying to force himself to move through the shock of blood –and organ–loss. I knelt down beside him and slowly pushed Sweet Louise into his throat.
“You’re not a big dog, John.” I said as I felt the Ka-Bar’s blade hit the vertebrae of his neck. When he stopped flopping around I yanked the knife out of his throat and wiped it on his shirt as I gathered up the MP5. I laughed as I inspected the weapon closely; the safety was still on.
“Should have stayed on the porch.” I clicked off the safety and smiled at Sarah. “Let’s get it on.”
I searched John’s body and came up with one more magazine for the MP5. Some part of my unoccupied brain wondered if Murphy might not have been a disguise Loki wore in modern times.
My plan had been relatively simple. Sarah would leave hammers where the women could get them. The women had only to knock their husband-captors unconscious and –hopefully–find a way to restrain them. Then the happy band would join together, Mosin-Nagant’s in hand and storm Michael’s house. End of. I failed to see how I had complicated things, but there was no point worrying about it now.
I saw a head poke out of a doorway and I fired a burst in that direction not waiting to see the body drop. Sarah had said some of the men that were part of this community weren’t bad, but had gone along with the plan . I didn’t have the time now, or the interest in trying to figure out who was who. I saw a male face and I sent rounds that way.
I was heading for the range as quickly as I could while trying to make sure I wasn’t walking into an ambush. John didn’t strike me as the kind of guy that would have a back-up plan when there was obviously no way he could fail. I smiled and thought of Paige’s hurried words that woke me. Leave it to a woman to mess up a man’s good plan.
In the shelters around me I saw part of the plan was coming off without a hitch. It looked like something out of a B horror movie; in houses where the lights had been turned on I could see female silhouettes that appeared to be chopping wood. I gave it a mental shrug, kill them or incapacitate them, either way worked for me.
Everywhere were screams in the night. Some of them started out clearly sounding male and rose in pitch until they were indistinguishable from female cries. There was no time to investigate. Shoot and scoot was the name of the game and luckily to this point I hadn’t needed to do a lot of the former.
The men of the camp weren’t slow in responding to the sounds of trouble, but without communication their response was worse than useless. I cleared the corner of a shelter and saw two men carrying the lengthy Mosin-Nagant one-handed not ready for the trouble they were hurrying blindly to confront.
“Brother Stephen, what’s going on out here? What’s the problem?!” said one of the pair, dropping the muzzle of his rifle so that it pointed at the ground.
“Problem is you’re a bunch of assholes.” I raised the MP5 and pulled the trigger. It was hard to say which of us was more surprised at the resounding click that issued from the gun, but I didn’t hesitate in drawing my .357 and firing a round into each of their faces. I stopped long enough to pull the bolts out of their rifles. I figured it was a risk I had to take to avoid the possibility of being shot in the back.
I ejected the magazine from the MP5 and saw brass at the top . I flipped the gun over and tried to pull the bolt back but it felt as though it was almost welded shut. I dropped the MP5 and took a second to reload my revolvers.
In the weak light were a number of forms moving toward the range, but I couldn’t tell the women from the men. Surprise was still on my side though which meant no one who had reached the crates where the rifles were stored had begun shooting.
I crouched as low as I could manage and quickstepped to the crates. Several men were busy handing out rifles to everyone nearby. I was close enough now for one of the men to recognize me. He made almost as if to offer a friendly wave and opened his mouth to speak. I put on the best burst of speed I could manage and thrust the .357 into his mouth and fired.
Both guns out now I began firing at those targets closest to me. This time though the men did not hesitate in their response as some dropped to one knee and brought their rifles to bear. None of them realized that they were flanked by their women who had been given rifles as well.
The sound of the big Russian rifles firing almost as one was like being at ground zero of a fireworks display. The men were cut down like grass falling to a scythe, most of their weapons hadn’t even been loaded. Truly, I was a gifted teacher.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and swung around preparing to unload the remaining rounds in both revolvers into the target. I stopped when I saw the long blonde hair peeking out from a hastily made bun and handed Paige a rifle.
“Everyone into the trenches!” I yelled singling out two women standing still near the rifle crates “Start moving the ammunition over into the first trench. The rest of you grab a rifle.” I hastily reloaded my revolvers and tucked them into my belt, noticing the night suddenly felt very chill. I hadn’t remembered to put on a shirt and half of my torso was covered in drying blood.
People were poring out of the shelters now and the flood lights from Michael’s house were blazing out enough light that I had lovely silhouette targets charging my position. I raised the Mosin I had set aside for myself and began firing as I moved back toward the trench.
Even with the light from Michael’s house I couldn’t easily make out men from women. I took aim at the taller forms and let out my breath and pulled the trigger. I emptied the Mosin and handed it to Paige who exchanged it for a freshly loaded one and began reloading for me. When I took aim over the top of the berm this time there were fewer targets visible as those running for the trenches realized they were being fired upon and had fallen to the ground.
I had to take the chance. Every time I saw movement I fired– male or female I could not tell. I let the bullet decide. The women in the trenches with me had made their own decisions and were firing with wild abandon toward the camp. Even if they weren’t aiming they were doing a fantastic job of keeping the opposition pinned down.
I handed Paige the rifle and reached for the other one trying to keep my eyes on the field in front of me. Paige didn’t hand me the rifle but was desperately trying to tell me something. I could barely hear her words above the ringing of my ears, but I came to understand as she kept pointing at Michael’s house.
Lights had come on inside the house and I could see movement there as well. I nodded my understanding to Paige and motioned for her to hand me the loaded rifle.
Men stood around outside of Michael’s house looking out at the range and trying to decide what to do. I could see the forms and the motion but they were far enough away I couldn’t make out much else. I laid down atop the berm and took aim, slowly squeezing the trigger at the still forms in the distance. The rifle barked once and jumped, but the figure I had aimed at hadn’t moved. I cycled the bolt and repeated the process. This time I saw a splash as my round kicked up dirt at the limit of the floodlight’s reach. I made an adjustment and took another shot, but still the man remained unharmed.
I handed Paige the rifle and took the reload from her. I knew my hearing was screwed up so I tried to speak and hoped I wasn’t yelling out my intentions for everyone to hear.
“I have to go get him! I’m going to the house to get Michael!” Paige nodded and surprised me as she leaned forward and gave me a brief hug. I checked the rifle to make sure the bayonet was firmly affixed and crawled out over the berm.