Bugout! California Part 59 – Sunshine Summit

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Sid watched Yvonne driving the Jeep as they raced down southbound on Route 79.

“We’re making good time,” Yvonne said, glancing at Sid.

“No traffic,” Sid said. “Not that there’s usually any traffic out here.”

“I’ve had one eye in the rear-view mirror most of the way, after what you and Sam pulled back in La Quinta.”

“Wonder how far along the other group is?” Sid asked.

“I suspect we’ll be hearing from them soon,” Yvonne said.

“I’m worried about Sam,” Sid said.

“Yeah, I can tell. Wondered when you were gonna bring that up.”

Sid sighed. “He’s in a rage. Never seen him like this. We’ll have to watch him.”

“What do you think he’ll do?”

“Take chances where he shouldn’t,” Sid said. “Kill people for fun. Not care if he gets killed.”

“He’ll probably settle down,” Yvonne said. “That last thing was right after he lost her.”

“Connie,” Sid said, feeling the tears again. “I can’t believe she’s gone.”

“I know, sweetie,” Yvonne said. “We’ve lost others. Remember what happened at the RV Park.”

“I know,” Sid said. “I never really had time to mourn the others. It’s going to hit me eventually.”

Yvonne glanced at him, seeing the tears running down his cheeks. “I think it’s hitting you now.”

“Harry and Nancy,” Sid said. “I loved them both. They probably got tortured.”

“Let’s not think about that,” Yvonne said. “Nothing we can do about it. It’ll just push us to the place Sam is right now.”

“It’s not bad to be pissed at what they did,” Sid said.

“I know, but it is bad to get reckless,” Yvonne said. “It’s bad to let hate consume you.”

Sid was silent for a while, Yvonne glancing at him every so often, not knowing what to say. She hurt, as he did, but the reaction was different. It wasn’t anger. It was fear of loss. Fear of losing humanity and compassion. She knew there’d be more killing. Would it change her and Sid? Would they ever be normal again?

“How’s our gas?” Sid asked, breaking the silence. Yvonne looked at him.

“You okay?”

“I’ll be okay,” he said. “Don’t worry. I’m not going over the edge. I want to kick the invaders out, and I’ll fight hard for that, but I’m not losing myself.”

Yvonne teared up. “That’s what I was thinking about just now. I’m so glad to hear you say that. It’s what I fear most. Even more than the battles.”

“Being consumed by hate?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Don’t get me wrong, I hate the enemy,” Sid said. “I’ll kill as many of them as I can, but I won’t let it destroy me.”

“I understand,” she said. “We do need to gas up. Check around, okay? I see something up ahead.”

“On it,” Sid said, pulling his phone out of his pocket.

“Coming up fast. Wonder if John needs gas too?”

“I’ll call him,” Sid said.

“Find something?”

Sid chuckled. “Sunshine Summit has a small gas station. It’s not a bustling metropolis, that’s for sure.”

“Be nice.”

“I think there’s only one pump, in front of a market,” Sid said.

“Good, then we can grab some food too,” Yvonne said.

Sid called John.

“Hey, Sid, need gas?” John asked. “There’s a place coming up.”

“That’s what I was calling you about,” Sid said. “Yeah, we need gas. There’s a store there too. Maybe we could grab some food.”

“Read my mind,” John said. “See you there.”

“Okay,” Sid said. He ended the call and looked at Yvonne. “You heard.”

“Yeah,” she said. “You want to drive for a while?”

“Sure,” Sid said. “I dozed a little bit back in the hill country.”

Yvonne saw the market. “Perfect, on the right side of the road. Easy in, easy out.” She watched John turn into the driveway, and followed him. They took opposite sides of the single pump.

“Not much to this town,” John said as he pumped his gas. Sid nodded in agreement. Sam sat up in the truck bed.

“Hey, Sam, get much sleep?” Sid asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Worked out pretty well.”

“You want to ride in our Jeep for a while? Get out of the wind?”

“Thanks, Sid, but I think I’ll stay in the bed. Could run into problems. It’d be easier to handle from back there.”

“Suit yourself,” Sid said.

“I’m going into the store,” Yvonne said. “Want to go, Sarah?”

“Sure,” she said. They walked there together.

“How’s Sarah taking this?” Sid asked.

“Hard,” John said. “Yvonne?”

“Same,” Sid said. “How you holding up, Sam?”

“I’ll be okay,” he said quickly, not making eye contact.

“You sure?” John asked.

“I said I’m fine, man,” Sam said. “I know it hasn’t fully hit me yet. Been through this before.”

“You have?” John asked.

“Yeah, but I don’t want to talk about that now. Hear from the others?”

John and Sid glanced at each other. “Nope,” Sid said. “Maybe one of us should call Clem.”

“You want to?” John asked.

“Sure,” Sid said. “After we get back on the road.”

“Here come the girls,” John said, nodding. “Slow pump.”

“Yeah, looks like it’s from the 60s,” Sid said. “Hope the gas is okay.”

“Deadsville around here,” Yvonne said as she walked up with Sarah. “I think the clerk was surprised to see us.”

“There might be enemy activity around here,” Sam said, eyes scanning the area. “This place was a popular spot for off-roaders to fuel up. Been here before.”

“Really?” Sid asked. “I’m sure I’ve driven past here before, but I’ve never stopped.”

“The clerk seemed awfully nervous to me,” Sarah said. “She kept glancing towards the back of the store.” Sam froze, focusing on the storefront.

“Really?” Yvonne asked. “Didn’t notice, but I was in the aisle looking for stuff longer than you were.”

“You guys should have led with that,” Sam said, hand on the M60.

“Well, we’re both done fueling,” John said nervously. “Maybe we ought to get out of here before we find out what she was nervous about.”

“They have video monitors inside the store?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, they had a camera pointed at the pump, and one pointed at that propane tank over there,” Sarah whispered. “Why?”

“I’d rather take them on here than on the road,” Sam said. “Drive over by the side of the store. See the bathroom? Good reason for us to be there.”

“What are you gonna do?” Yvonne asked.

“Check out the situation,” Sam said. “Maybe the girl was nervous because her boyfriend was there or something. If it’s nothing, we’ll be on our way.”

“Okay,” John said. “Don’t get rash.”

“I won’t,” Sam said.

They got into their vehicles and drove to the parking spots on the left side of the store, near the bathrooms. Sam looked around, then got out of the truck bed with the M60 in his hand. He snuck to the back of the building and peeked around.

“Dammit,” Sarah said. “I don’t like this.”

Sam trotted back over, hugging the wall of the store. “There’s a UN Van parked in the back. Nobody’s out there. I’m going to duck into the bathroom. You guys get back on the road. When they come out and try to follow you, I’ll blast them.”

Sid nodded. “You drive for now. I’ll man the rifle.”

“No, I’ll man the rifle,” Yvonne said. “I’m a better shot than you. I’m getting in the back.”

John chuckled. “Sarah, you drive, and I’ll get in the back of the truck with the BAR.”

“Okay,” Sarah said, trembling as she opened the driver’s side door. “Keep your head down.”

“Don’t worry,” John said.

The two vehicles backed out of their parking places and headed slowly to the driveway as Sam ducked into the bathroom. He listened at the door, until he heard the van start behind the building. He looked in the mirror over the sink and smiled at himself, then cracked the door. The van cruised by slowly on the same side of the building. He leapt out the door and opened fire, shooting into the back of the van, which swerved and ran into the gas pump curb. One of the UN Peacekeepers appeared with a hand gun, and Sam fired, hitting him in the chest. Then he ran up to the van and looked inside the passenger door. He heard movement and ducked as a pistol round came at him, breaking out the front windshield. Sam stuck the barrel of the M60 in and pulled the trigger, hosing the back compartment with lead. There was a scream. Sam looked inside, seeing a young Islamist holding his stomach, blood everywhere.

“Don’t shoot!” he cried. Sam smiled and shot him in the head, then checked out the body in the driver’s seat. Half his head and a chunk of his shoulder was gone from the initial shots.

Sam saw Yvonne and Sarah drive back into the lot. He waved to them, then rushed inside the store.

“My God, what happened out there?” yelled a young woman, trembling with fear. She was in her early twenties, Hispanic, with a pretty face.

“Any more UN thugs around here?” Sam asked, eyes darting around.

“No, it was just those two today,” she said.

“What were they doing here?”

She took a deep breath. “They were here to assault me. Again. They aren’t the only ones. There’s two other groups that show up every day or two.”

Sam lowered his weapon and approached the counter. “What’s your name?” he asked softly.

“Izzy,” she said. Her eyes glanced around, her lower lip trembling.

“I’m sorry. They’ve been attacking you for a while, haven’t they?”

“Several times a week,” she said. “Been going on for almost a month.”

“Why do you stay here?”

“They know where my parents live,” she said. “They told me if I didn’t go along, they’d kill them.”

“You know where they’re base is?”

“Warner Springs,” she said. “They’ll probably show up when these two don’t report in.”

“What do you know about the base?”

“Not much,” she said. “Overheard a few things. They used to be in Julian. Then Santa Ysabel. They got chased out of both places.”

Sid walked in, Izzy’s eyes getting wide as he approached.

“We good?” he asked.

“Izzy here says there’s a base in Warner Springs,” Sam said. “She overheard them talking about being pushed out of Julian, and then Santa Ysabel.”

Sid smiled. “Those are the folks we’re gonna fight, aren’t they?”

“Damn good chance,” Sam said.

“What are you guys gonna do?” Izzy asked.

“You need to split,” Sam said. “Before they send a team to look for those dead slugs. Where are your parents?”

“They’re in Warner Springs too,” she said.

“You need to convince them to flee,” Sam said softly. “You know that, right?”

“My dad won’t leave his house,” she said. “It’s all they have left.”

“He doesn’t know what you’ve been going through, does he?” Sam asked.

She looked down, shaking her head no. “I’m so ashamed.”

“This is not your fault,” Sam said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Not one bit.”

Sid looked at her, compassion on his face as he understood. “We should take her with us.”

“No,” Izzy said. “Please.”

“Look, this is your choice, but hear me out, okay?” Sam asked.

She nodded yes, still trembling.

“We’ve got a force who’s going in to protect Julian and wipe these cretins out. After we do that, you’ll be safe again.”

“We hope,” Sid said.

“Yeah, we hope, but the chances are good. You should come with us. We’ll take you to your parent’s house. You convince them to take off for a week or two. This will be over before too long.”

“I don’t know,” she said. “What about this place?”

“You have co-workers?” Sid asked.

“The night person,” she said. “Nobody else that I know of.”

“Call him,” Sid said. “This job isn’t worth it. If the UN thugs come back, they’ll probably kill you.”

“What’s going on in here?” Yvonne asked, walking in. “We need to get the hell out of here.”

“You’re with them?” Izzy asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said.

She thought silently for a moment, then picked up the phone and had a hushed conversation, smiling at the end.

“Well?” Sid asked.

“Jorge is coming, and he’s bringing some of his friends with guns,” she said. “He’s the night guy. Got really pissed when I told him what’s been going on.”

“Pissed is good,” Sam said.

“You coming with us?” Sid asked. “We’ve got to go.”

“No, thanks,” she said. “Jorge’s brother will drive me to my folk’s house.”

“Okay, good luck,” Sam said. “Let’s get out of here.”

Sid nodded, and they met Yvonne by the door.

“Gonna tell me what that was all about?” she asked.

“I’ll tell you in the car. Let’s go.”

Yvonne nodded, letting Sid into the driver’s seat this time. She took the passenger seat. He drove out to the driveway and turned right onto Route 78, John and Sarah following with Sam in the bed.

“Well?” Yvonne asked.

“Those cretins had been using her,” he said. “You know…”

“No,” Yvonne said. “Pigs. No wonder she looked so sad.”

“We learned something important. Warner Springs is where the new base is. Wonder if the others know that?”

“It’s pretty far from Julian,” Yvonne said, looking at her phone.

“Yeah, but it’s an easy drive. I’m gonna try to get Clem.” He pulled out his phone and hit the contact, then punched the speaker button. It rang twice and clicked.

“Sid! How are you guys?” Clem asked.

“We just had some action. In a little burg called Sunshine Summit, where we were gassing up.”

“Sunshine Summit? Not much of a town. Been through there a few times. You say you got into more action?”

“There were some UN thugs having their way with the clerk,” Sid said.

“What happened?”

“Sam happened,” Sid said. “We tricked them into following us, and Sam splattered them with his M60 before they even got off the lot.”

Clem was silent for a moment. “That must have caused a big ruckus. Think anybody noticed?”

“Everybody is keeping indoors around here,” Sid said. “The UN must be throwing their weight around. Oh, and one of the people in the UN van was an Islamist.”

“Dead?”

“All three are dead,” Sid said. “We learned from the girl that there’s a base in Warner Springs.”

“Oh, crap, really? That’s been the main topic of conversation with people in the caravan. Do you know where, exactly?”

“Nope,” Sid said. “We’re on our way there now. Maybe we ought to do a little low-level poking around.”

“Let me chat with some of the others before you get too far into that,” Clem said.

“How far are you from Julian?”

“Almost there, actually,” Clem said. “Ten minutes out.”

“Good, then chat with them and get back to me,” Sid said. “Honey, how long till we get to Warner Springs?”

“Not long,” Yvonne said. “Twenty minutes’ tops.”

“You hear that?” Sid asked.

“Yeah,” Clem said. “I’ll call rather than wait. Get back to you soon.”

“Got it,” Sid said. “Thanks.” He ended the call. “I’m slowing down a little. Hit John’s contact, okay?”

“Will do,” Yvonne said, picking his phone up off the center console. She hit the contact and put the phone on speaker.

“Sid, what’s up?” John asked.

“Just got off the phone with Clem. They’re about ten minutes away from Julian. They didn’t know about the base in Warner Springs.”

John chuckled. “Good. They want us to stake the place out? Look for the location of the base?”

“Probably,” Sid said. “Clem said he’d talk with them right away and get back with me.” His phone beeped.

“That them?” John asked.

“Yeah, let me try to conference them in. Wish Sam was in the cab.”

“I’ll open the back window and he can put his head in.”

“Good, do that. Be right back.” Sid made the connection with Clem. “Hold on, I’m patching you into a call John and I were on.”

“Roger that,” Clem said. Sid completed the connection.

“Okay, hear us, John?”

“Yeah, Sid, and I got John on, and Sarah.”

“I hear you both,” Clem said. “I’ve got James, Hank, Jason, and Ji-Ho on the line with me.”

“Perfect,” Sid said. “You told them what’s up, right?”

“We hear,” Ji-Ho said. “Very good. At least narrow down to city.”

“Should we stick around there and find the location?” John asked.

“No,” James said. “Come here first. We’ll put together a team to reconnoiter.”

“I agree,” Hank said.

“You sure?” Sam asked. “We have to pass right by anyway.”

“None of you have had much sleep,” James said. “We need to plan this out carefully. If you guys go in there and fail, we’ll have a hard time accomplishing our mission. They will either launch an attack before we’re ready, or flee to another spot. We don’t want to lose the advantage you guys just gave us.”

“I’m agreeing with them,” Clem said.

“Me too,” Ji-Ho said. “Come home. Rest and relax a day or two. Then we make up team. Nail them good. Maybe use battle wagon with mini-gun.”

“Sam, you okay with that?” Sid asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “Makes sense.”

“Good, then we’ll talk soon,” James said. “How long till you get to Julian?”

“Honey?” Sid asked.

“Forty-five minutes at most,” she said. “Of course, we do have to run right through the center of Warner Springs and a couple other towns.”

“They see vehicles?” Ji-Ho asked.

“They saw them in the video feed from the pumps,” Sarah said. “Saw that when we were in the store. Not a good picture, though. No way did they get license numbers.”

“Good, then proceed with caution,” James said. “See you soon. We’ll ice up some beer for you.”

“Yep,” Clem said. “We just pulled into town.”

“Talk to you later, then,” Sid said. “Anybody got anything else?”

“I’m good,” Sam said.

“Okay, talk to you guys soon,” Sid said. He ended the call, then looked over at Yvonne. “You look relieved.”

“You don’t know the half of it,” she said.

To be continued…

 

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Bugout! California Part 58 – Coaches

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“Glad we’re riding by ourselves,” Kaitlyn said, glancing at Seth from the driver’s seat.

“I like this better than the trip to the motor homes,” Seth said.

“Why?”

“Because I can look at you more,” he said.

“Oh, brother.”

“We’re getting close to the road already.”

“What is it again?”

“Route 78,” Seth said. “Not sure if you guys went that way or not.”

“I think we did. It goes through Scissors Crossing, right?”

“Yep,” Seth said. “Hope we don’t get followed.

“Me too. I just want a little time to relax. Maybe a little us time.”

“We’ve got another battle coming,” Seth said, “but maybe we’ll get a little break after that. At least we’re having time like this.”

“True. It does help us to get to know each other a little bit.”

“Has so far,” Seth said. “We’ve been together for quite a few hours now.”

“Not counting sleep time,” Kaitlyn said, shooting him a smirk.

“Yeah, I was dead to the world during that.”

“I was awake for a while,” Kaitlyn said. “I watched you sleep.”

“No, really?”

“Really,” she said. “You can tell a lot about a person when you watch them sleep.”

“How? I just laid there with my eyes closed. Hopefully I didn’t snore and drool too much.”

She giggled. “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

“So what do you mean?”

“You were calm, and hardly moved at all, except to snuggle against me tighter. Not much restless time. That’s saying something, given the crapolla we’re going through right now.”

Seth chuckled. “I’ve always been a heavy sleeper, but I’m not always calm. I can get worked up.”

“Did you watch me?”

“Only right at the end, when people started moving around. I’ll never forget how your naked hip and back looked.”

“You didn’t seem to mind my front much, either.”

“Oh, God,” Seth said. “You’re perfect. Exactly my type, from a looks perspective, anyway.”

“I’m too thick.”

Seth chuckled. “You women think we just like skinny girls. I don’t.”

“Are you saying I’m fat?”

Seth laughed. “I’m not answering that one. It’s a no-win question.”

“C’mon, I’m not letting you off that easy.”

“You’re putting me on the spot,” Seth said, “and enjoying it way too much.”

“Well?”

“Oh, please. You aren’t fat. You’re curvy, and you have nice hips and a nice chest. If I saw you in a bar I’d be interested in an instant.”

“In a bar?” she asked.

“See what I mean?” Seth snickered. “You know what I meant.”

“No, please enlighten me,” she said, shooting him a wicked glare.

He sighed. “If I was in a place where you normally look for girls and I saw you there, I would’ve gone after you. Maybe I should have said the supermarket instead of a bar. Or a college class. Or a coffee house.”

She laughed. “This is fun.”

“For you, maybe.”

“Oh, you don’t like talking to me?”

“Is this what the tribe men were talking about?”

“Now that’s not fair,” Kaitlyn said, glancing at him with a smirk on her face.

“You’re teasing me, aren’t you?”

“Kinda, but that’s not the main thing,” she said. “I’m trying to break past the point where you go out of your way to be nice to me.”

“Oh, that’s what you’re doing, huh?” Seth asked. “Maybe I should do the same thing.”

“Maybe you should,” she said, “but you won’t.”

“Why not?”

“You have a romantic thing built up around me,” Kaitlyn said. “You’re in full-on pursuit mode.”

He stared at her in the dark Jeep. She glanced at him too long, hitting a bump in the road too hard.

“Better watch it,” he said.

“Sorry. You agree, though, don’t you?”

He took a deep breath. “Okay, I’m infatuated with you. I’ll admit it. It’s not the same as love, but it’s strong, and I want to pursue it. So yeah, I guess I am in pursuit mode. Deal with it.”

“I got to you a little,” she said. “You’ve got a pretty high threshold. That’s good. We might just work.”

He laughed. “Okay, Doctor…hey, what is your last name, anyway?”

“Roybal,” she said. “I like that. Doctor Roybal at your service.”

“At my service, huh,” Seth said. “Now there’s something that I’m interested in.”

“Don’t be naughty,” she said, shooting him a prim and proper expression. They both laughed.

“Look, there’s the road up ahead. I see people turning onto it. Right turn.”

“Thank God,” Kaitlyn said. “You’re still staring at me.”

“Does it bother you?”

“It does when I can’t pull over,” she said, making the turn onto highway 78. She sped up to about sixty, following the long caravan, as others got onto the road behind her.

“And what would you do if you could pull over?”

“You’re trying to take this conversation in a naughty direction again,” she said.

“No, it was just a question,” he said. “Do you want kids?”

“Didn’t we already talk about this?”

“I didn’t know you as well then,” he said. “That was hours ago.”

She snickered. “Oh, please. You trying to turn the tables on me so quickly?”

“I wouldn’t do anything like that. Trust me.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

“Answer the question,” Seth said.

She grinned at him. “Two can play that game.”

“I’m waiting.”

“Well, then we need to clarify. Are you talking about kids in general, or your kids?”

Seth laughed. “You’re tricky. Let’s start with kids in general.”

“I can take them or leave them. Did a lot of babysitting when I was younger. It was okay, I guess.”

“That doesn’t sound very promising.”

“I only answered the first question.”

“True, you did,” Seth said. “Well?”

She was silent for a long moment.

“Not a good sign if it takes that long to come up with an answer,” Seth said, staring at her again. She glanced at him nervously, then looked back at the road.

“Don’t rush me,” she said.

“If it’s taking that long, there must be nothing there.”

She glanced at him again, eyes glassy. “You don’t know that.”

“Shoot, I’m sorry,” Seth said. “I was just messing with you.”

“I was trying to find the words to answer it,” she said. “Without tipping my hand too much. It’s not easy.”

“You aren’t upset?”

She chuckled. “Hardly. More just scared.”

“Of what?”

“Myself,” she said.

He stared at her again. She glanced away from the road for a moment, eyes still teary, but with a smile on her face.

“You okay?” he asked.

“I’ll probably regret this.” She took a deep breath. “The thought of carrying your child excites me. A lot. I don’t think I should think about it right now. It’s too early to be having the feelings it’s giving me.”

“Oh,” Seth said.

“You aren’t gonna leave me because of that, are you?”

Seth laughed. “Are you serious?”

“Good, so it doesn’t bother you?”

“That’s not it,” Seth said.

“Then what?”

“I’m having the same kind of feelings. If we feel that way together, something’s liable to happen.”

***

Jules and Ted finished showing everybody how to reload the guns in the coach, and work all the systems. It was a long process, and now it was dark outside. Smell of cooking lasagna filled the giant warehouse. People were slowly making their way to the kitchen area.

“What’s this warehouse used for, normally?” Robbie asked, walking with Morgan, Ted, and Sparky.

“Jules told me they built the vehicles here,” Ted said. “Before that, I don’t know. Probably something illegal.”

Morgan chuckled. “This is a whole hidden world, isn’t it?”

“I wouldn’t get too comfortable with it,” Sparky said softly. “It’s good that we’re coming together now, but these folks don’t mess around. You don’t want to stick around after the war is over.”

“Why did you?” Morgan asked.

“Hell, I’ve been in that world for years,” Sparky said. “Too late for me. I’m hoping to go back to running the card club eventually. I liked that. It was fun.”

“That wasn’t a criminal enterprise, was it?” Robbie asked.

Ted snickered.

“Uh oh,” Robbie said. Morgan shot him a glance.

“So, what was that place really?” Morgan said.

“Oh, it was a legit card club, and we treated our customers like gold,” Sparky said, “and our employees, as I’m sure you remember.”

“Yes, I loved working there,” Morgan said. “There was something else, though?”

“Lots of money moved through there,” Sparky said. “Cash money.”

“Money laundering,” Robbie said quietly.

“You got it, kid,” Sparky said. “For the other parts of the business.”

“What are those?” Robbie said.

“If I were you I’d avoid asking questions like that,” Ted said. “Don’t drag yourself into this too deep. Really.”

“You aren’t part of this organization, are you?” Robbie asked.

“No, never have been,” Ted said. “I know these guys from the community.”

“Community?” Morgan asked.

“Special forces, mercenaries, CIA, that sort of thing,” Ted said. “I don’t have any interest in Ivan’s business ventures.”

“And yet you’re here,” Sparky said, grinning.

“You tricked me,” Ted said. Then he sighed. “Okay, I would have joined anyway. No way was I gonna let this martial law garbage go on in my home.”

“Thought so,” Sparky said. “I figured Ji-Ho had already been bending your ear.”

“He had,” Ted said. “I hope he’s careful. He gets a little reckless.”

“Oh, you mean like Jules?” Robbie asked. They got in line for the food. Jules was on the other side of the table dishing out lasagna.

“Hey, you make fun?” Jules asked, smiling at Robbie. “What talk about?”

“He was talking about your ghost ride of the car off the roof,” Ted said. “That was pretty crazy.”

“It work,” Jules said. “Did it not?”

“Hell yeah it worked,” Robbie said, holding out a plate. “That took a lot of guts.”

Jules laughed as he plopped some lasagna onto his plate. “It fun. I’d do again.”

“You got somebody watching this place?” Ted asked. “I can’t believe nobody followed all those Volvos.”

“I have two friends on roof of front building,” Jules said. “You know.”

“Who?” Ted asked.

“Mister One and Mister Two,” Jules said.

Sparky laughed. “Oh yeah, those guys. Where’d you dig them up?”

“Romania,” Jules said. “Ivan know. Go way back. Me too.”

“How’d they get out of that booth in the theater?” Robbie said. “That place had to be crawling with UN thugs after they were done.”

“Trade secret,” Jules said, laughing as he continued to spoon out lasagna.

“I actually feel better that they’re out there,” Ted said.

“What if somebody comes?” Morgan asked.

“We shoot our way out,” Jules said. “Be fun. Trust me.”

“I’ve seen that look in your eye before,” Ted said. “You know something we don’t?”

“No, just wishful thinking,” Jules said. “We know where enemy base is in Valencia. If they come, first we wipe out here. Then we go clean up rest.”

“Hell, you’re hoping that will happen,” Ted said, shaking his head.

“You don’t want to splatter UN thugs?” Jules asked.

“I’d rather just get out of here,” Ted said. “Get this job over with, and go back to our lives.”

“You get wish eventually,” Jules said. “Trust me.”

Everybody had their food, and were sitting around the warehouse in small groups, chatting and eating. The night was wearing on, everybody getting a little tired.

“All, have enough food?” Jules asked.

“Yeah, it was great,” Robbie said.

“Yep,” Stacey said.

“Okay, gather round. Plan who rides with who, also who stays with group, who leaves.”

“Slow down a little, boss,” Sparky said. “How many of you have made up your minds? No pressure, but we should discuss it.”

“Let’s just go one by one,” Tex said. “Or this will go on too long. I’m beat. We need to sleep. Most of us only got a few hours last night.”

“Yeah, he right,” Jules said. “Let’s call tentative. Can change mind before we hit central coast. Okay? Nice to have idea.”

“Okay, I’ll go first,” said a brunette with a hauntingly beautiful face and a thin build. “Alexis. I need to leave. I don’t want to leave, but I’m worried about my sister. She’s severely autistic, and our parents are getting too old to take care of her. They adopted us later in life. I’m sorry; you guys are doing the right thing.”

“We understand,” Sparky said. “No problem at all. Thank you.”

“Thank you for saving me,” she said. “I’ll never forget that.”

“Welcome,” Jules said.

“I’m staying,” Dana said. She glanced at Sparky, and he shot a smile back at her.

“Thanks, Dana,” Sparky said.

“I don’t like men,” said a tall, dark haired beauty with a strong build and a defensive demeanor. “Brooke. I know what Ivan does. He runs hookers, among other things. I want to fight the enemy. If his organization gets the idea that I want to be involved in anything else, you won’t like my reaction.”

Jules chuckled. “You’re a fighter. I like. This have nothing to do with Ivan’s business. You fight with us, then we part company. This good, no?”

“I don’t want any of you men coming on to me,” Brooke said. “I’ve seen the cute little looks between some of you. Not having it. Everybody get me?”

“We get it,” Sparky said. “Welcome aboard.”

“One other thing,” Brooke said. “I want to be with Audrey. Anybody have a problem with that?”

“What does Audrey think?” Sparky asked.

She stood up, a small waif with ginger hair and freckles. “I don’t like violence, but I want to be involved. I have medical training.”

“How much medical training?” Ted asked.

“I was a year into my residency when the world went nuts,” she said. “I’m not licensed yet, but I know a lot. I can patch you guys up in a pinch.”

“You okay bunking with Brooke?” Sparky asked.

Audrey sighed. “Are you gonna look down on us?”

“It’s your business, and your business only,” Sparky said.

“Any of you men mess with Audrey and I’ll gut you like a fish,” Brooke said.

Jules laughed. “See, I like. You gut enemy, we get along fine. Welcome.”

Brooke gave him a long stare, a smile creeping across her face. She nodded, then sat down next to Audrey.

“I have to leave,” said a mousy blonde with a delicate face. “Lily. I just can’t take this. I’m bi-polar, and I have panic attacks. I barely survived captivity. Sorry.”

“You have somebody who can pick you up?” Ted asked.

“My brother,” she said. “He lives in Modesto. I can go live with him.”

“Okay, no problem,” Jules said.

“Thanks for saving us,” Lily said. “If there are other things I could do to help, I would.”

“Understand,” Sparky said softly.

“I know I said I wouldn’t join,” Shelly said. “I changed my mind. Is that okay?”

Jules smiled at her. “That very okay. Glad.”

“I’ll stay. Ashley.” She had a dancer’s body and grace, with a quiet demeanor. She glanced at Jordan. “Can I stay with him? We have a lot in common. We’re becoming friends.”

“I’d like that,” Jordan said.

“What have in common?” Jules asked.

“Theater,” Jordan said. “We’ve both got the bug.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s why you were at the Armstrong,” Robbie said.

“Can I stay, even though I didn’t want to at first? I’m Brianna.” She was a young-looking girl with an innocent face and curly light brown hair.

“You sure you’re up for this?” Sparky asked, eyeing her.

“I think so,” she said.

“You better more than think so, little lady,” Tex said. “This is gonna be dangerous. There’s no shame in leaving.”

“I’ll help her,” Stacey said.

Ted chuckled. “Who’s gonna help you?”

“I do all right,” he said indignantly. “I saved you in the restaurant, remember?”

“Don’t get mad,” Ted said. “I’m just messing with you. You’ll be fine.”

Stacey shot Brianna a nervous glance. He turned red, but smiled at her.

Jules chuckled. ‘Who left?”

“Haley,” said an ice blond with a curvy figure and a lot of self-confidence. “Changed my mind. I’m sticking around. Let’s go take out some creeps.”

“What changed your mind?” Ted asked.

“Jules,” she said. “He convinced me that the strong need to rise up and defend ourselves. Hell, I’ve got nothing to lose anyway. No family. No man. You folks are the only friends I’ve got. I’m in.”

“That good,” Jules said. “Thanks.”

“Thank you for saving us and killing all those thugs,” she said.

“Allison,” said a redhead of medium build. She had a country look to her, innocent but with a touch of mischief. “I changed my mind too. Tex convinced me on the way here.”

“Why didn’t you want to join before?” Sparky asked. “What could this crazy Texan have told you to change your mind?”

She chuckled. “He told me to take my power back,” Allison said. “I was afraid. Now I’m pissed. I’m gonna get me some.”

“That good,” Jules said. “That’s all, no?”

“That’s all,” Sparky said. “How about vehicles?” Who stays in what? How many in each?”

“There’s twenty-four of us,” Ted said. “Evenly that’s three per RV. Not saying we should do it that way, though.”

“I suggest some with four, some with two,” Jules said. “Each have different color stripes. You notice?”

“I did,” Cody said. “Figured there was something to that.”

“Number one is black. I take. Who want to join? Like four.”

“Can I come with you?” Shelly asked.

“I like,” Jules said.

“Me,” Sparky said.

“Can I go with you?” Dana asked.

“No problem,” Sparky said.

“Okay, number two is red,” Jules said. “Who want?”

“I’ll take it, with Morgan and whoever else,” Robbie said.

“Done,” Jules said. “Three is yellow.”

“I’ll take that one, partner,” Tex said. “Why don’t I take Alexis and Lily? I’ll watch out for them.”

“You’ll try to convince them,” Ted said.

“No, I won’t, really,” Tex said. “They both had good reasons not to join. I’ll protect them until we get to the central coast.”

“I good with that,” Jules said. “Four is green.”

“I’ll take that one,” Ted said. “Who wants to go with me?”

“Can I go with you, boss?” Stacey asked.

“Of course, and stop calling me boss. I’m Ted.”

“Okay, Ted,” Stacey said. “Brianna, you want to come with me?”

She nodded yes silently.

“I’ll go in that one,” Haley said. “If you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind,” Ted said. “Love to have you.”

“I decide,” Haley said. “About anything above riding with you, that is.”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Ted said. “Really.”

“Good,” Haley said. She cracked a smile. “I can be kind of a bitch. Fair warning.”

“Noted,” Ted said. He felt his face flush. Stacey grinned at him, then looked at Brianna, who was too nervous to make eye contact with him.

“Five is blue,” Jules said.

“I’ll take that one,” Gil said. He glanced over at Karen, but before she could answer, Tisha jumped in.

“I want to go in that one,” she said, staring at Gil with an intensity that made him shiver.

Karen started to say something, but then stopped herself.

“Well?” Sparky asked, smirk on his face.

Gill nodded yes.

“Fine,” Karen said. “Can I go in yellow, with Tex?”

“Of course, little lady,” Tex said.

“Good,” Karen said, face red. She shot Gil a smug look, but he was focused on Tisha.

“Knew it,” Robbie whispered to Morgan. She cracked a smile, but tried to hide it.

Jules chuckled. Sparky looked at him and laughed. “Interesting dynamic.”

“Go on,” Karen said.

“Okay,” Jules said. “Six is purple.”

“I’ll take it,” Jordan said. “With Ashely, okay?”

Ashely smiled and nodded yes.

“Can we join?” Brooke asked. “Audrey and me?”

“You won’t gut me in my sleep, will you?” Jordan asked.

“If you concentrate on the dancer instead of Audrey, we’ll get along just fine.”

Jordan laughed. “Great, glad to be with you. Like show tunes?”

“I could get used to them, I guess,” Brooke said.

“Okay, two more, then we hit sack,” Jules said. “Number 7 is maroon.”

“I’ll take it,” Cody said. “Allison, want to ride with me?”

“Just us?” Allison asked, looking nervous.

“Gonna turn out that way,” he said. “No pressure.”

“No, it’s okay, I’ll go with you,” she said.

“Great,” Jules said. “One more. Number eight. Gray.”

“Looks like it’s us,” Justin said. “Katie and me.”

“Good,” Katie said, pulling him closer.

“Okay, all settled. Let’s get set up.”

The group stood, making their ways to the vehicles.

“How about that Tisha?” Morgan whispered to Robbie.

“Seriously,” Robbie said. “She’s gonna have her way with Gil big time.”

“You think he’s okay with that?”

“I think he wants it,” Robbie said.

Jules and Sparky watched as people were climbing into the RVs.

“What you think?” Jules asked.

“I think there’s gonna be fewer of us,” Sparky said, grim look on his face. “And it’s gonna start happening earlier than any of us think.”

“We do better than you think; wait and see,” Jules said.

“Hope so. A little sweet on Shelly, I see,” Sparky said.

“She not convinced yet,” Jules said. “I work, though. She my type.”

Sparky snickered. “Yeah, I’ll bet you will. She did decide to go with you.”

“Dana convinced. All over you.”

Sparky sighed. “Yeah, I know. Not sure if I like it yet or not.”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bugout! California Part 57 – Magic Mountain

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“I’m surprised nobody’s followed us,” Justin said, behind the wheel of a new Volvo. “We’re almost to I-5 already.”

Katie looked at him, then back at the road ahead. “I’m surprised they’re moving us out of SoCal. If things are really settled there, why’d we get hit?”

“I didn’t get the impression that the battle is over,” Justin said. “Just that there’s enough patriots there to finish the job.”

Katie chuckled. “What happened to the cynical cat I used to know?”

Justin glanced at her. “Still inside me, but it’s time to get behind a cause. Having my girlfriend abducted and raped over and over had an impact.”

“Oh,” Katie said softly.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”

“No, I’m glad you did,” Katie said. “My mind is trying to push that experience back. I need to remember all of it. Every second of it. I need to keep the fires burning.”

They rode silently for a while, racing up the final hill of the 405, merging into I-5. They approached the big set of bridges in the Newhall pass.

“These always make me a little nervous,” Katie said.

“They’re tall,” Justin said.

“Not only that,” Katie said, gripping the seat as they went over the tall, thin concrete ribbon.

“The earthquakes,” Justin said, hands sweating around the wheel. “They fell down in the Sylmar quake and the Northridge quake.”

“Yep,” Katie said. “Remember that cop who drove over the southbound one and flew off the end?”

“Yes, I remember,” Justin said. “Sad.”

They both felt relieved as they hit the solid ground again.

“Wonder what kind of motor homes we’re getting?” Katie asked.

“Knowing these guys, they might be total battle-wagons.”

“I hope they’re comfortable, with nice beds and a little privacy,” Katie said.

“Me too,” he said, looking over at her. “Let’s not rush that, though. I know what you’ve been through.”

“Don’t get the idea that I’ll push you away because of that,” Katie said. “What happened to me and what we do together are totally different.”

“I know, but still,” Justin said.

“But still what?”

“I’ll be patient,” Justin said. “I’ll support you and love you. Whatever happens between us is okay. That’s all I’m saying.”

She was silent for a moment.

“You okay?” he asked.

“I’m angry.”

“At me?”

“No,” Katie said. “At these thugs. We were taught that the UN was a benevolent organization. In school.”

“Yeah, I know,” Justin said. “This isn’t the first time they’ve had their way with the population they pretend to be helping. It’s just the first time they’ve pulled this garbage in a first-world country.”

“Why are they doing this?”

“They want us to submit and forget our country,” Justin said. “They want to kill nationalism and patriotism. They think ruling by fear works.” He chuckled.

“That’s funny?”

“Well, the way they are going about it is pretty funny,” Justin said. “They’ve totally misjudged the American character. They forget why we exist.”

“You’re talking about the settlement of the new world? Escape from the European tyrants?”

“Yep,” Justin said. “We all learned about that in school, but it wasn’t real to me until this happened. It was something I’d argue against when I didn’t get it. Now I get it.”

“I hope our society gets back to normal pretty soon,” Katie said.

Justin’s phone buzzed. “Text message. Here, take a look. My code is 3372.” He handed the phone to her.

“Instructions,” she said. “Take I-5 to the 126. Then get on Commerce Center Drive and enter the industrial park there. We’ll be guided to the correct spot from the gate.”

“Cool, that’s not much further. We’re already at Magic Mountain. See it?”

She looked up from the phone and took in the massive amusement park on the left side of I-5. “I was there not too long ago. With Steve and a few other people.” Tears came to her eyes. “Steve. I hope he’s still alive.”

“Me too,” Justin said. “I’m glad they left, though. It was their best chance. Too bad Robbie and Morgan didn’t go with them.”

“If they would’ve, I’d still be in the rape farm,” Katie said.

“Shoot, that’s probably true,” Justin said. “There’s the ramp.” He took it, rolling onto the much smaller Highway 126.

“This road always reminds me of a record my mom used to play all the time when I was little. America. Ventura Highway.

“I remember that song,” Justin said. “My dad had that one too.”

“There’s Commerce Center Drive already,” Katie said.

“Oh, yeah,” Justin said, moving quickly into the right lane and getting off. They followed the road as it curved, and passed several industrial buildings. “Hope those aren’t it.”

“The message said Industrial Park,” Katie said. “That’s it, see? Where those entrance gates are. Take a left on Witherspoon.

“Oh, I see,” Justin said, slowing to make the turn. “Yeah, this is an industrial park all right.”

“There’s Sparky, standing next to his car,” Katie said.

“Yep,” Justin said, pulling to the side. He rolled down the passenger side window. “Which building?”

“It’s the huge building at the end,” Sparky said. “Turn right just before it, on Ave Penn. There’s a gate to the left, just past the big building. You can’t miss it.”

“Great, thanks,” Justin said. “How many people are here?”

“You guys are the third car,” he said. “Just park in the back. The place is still locked up. Jules has the keys.”

“Got it,” Justin said. He drove forward.

“There’s a lot of stuff in here,” Katie said. “Lot of people around too. I’ll bet we wait until nighttime to split.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right,” Justin said.

“You see Dana?”

“Didn’t notice,” Justin said.

“She was in the passenger seat, watching Sparky.”

“Oh,” Justin said. “Think she likes him?”

“No doubt about that.”

Justin chuckled. “This is crazy. Everybody is pairing up. Falling in love. What is it with that?”

“It is crazy, isn’t it,” she said. “Got you to move off the dime. I’ve been working on you for a while.”

“You were?”

She chuckled. “You guys are so clueless sometimes. Steve told you, didn’t he?”

Justin’s face turned red. “Yeah, but I liked you before that.”

“Then why didn’t you go for it? And don’t tell me it was because of Steve.”

Justin smiled at her. “I’m bashful around girls. Plus, you’re so beautiful. I always thought you were a little out of my league.”

“Oh, please,” she said. “I know other girls who were interested in you. Most of them are better looking than I am. There’s your turn. Watch the road.”

He nodded and turned right. The gate was about a block down. Justin turned in and parked next to another Volvo. He shut off the engine and looked at Katie.

“Who?”

“No way,” she said. “You’re mine now. I’m not going to advertise for any of those hussies.”

Justin laughed. “Hussies?”

She giggled. “I know, I’m bad.”

“Here comes Robbie and Gil,” Justin said, watching as they pulled next to them. “Think Gil is gonna move in on Karen?”

“From what I saw, she’s moving in on him.”

“Think so?” Justin asked.

Katie sighed. “Clueless.” She shook her head, smiling at him, then opened her door.

Justin smirked and got out too. “Wonder if we should leave the keys in this?”

“Think we might be towing them?” Katie asked.

“Maybe,” Justin said. “Not everything is towable.”

“Hey, Justin,” Robbie said. “We made it.”

“Hi, guys,” Morgan said.

“Hi,” Katie said.

“That’s a huge building, dude,” Gil said as he got out. He rushed around and opened Karen’s door for her. Justin and Katie shot each other a glance.

“Hope we didn’t lose anybody on the road,” Robbie said.

“I doubt if we did,” Justin said. “We probably would’ve heard about it already.”

“You’re probably right,” Morgan said. The three couples gathered by the back of Robbie’s car, watching the driveway. “Wonder how many cars we had. I was focused on getting out of there.”

“Yeah, that was wild,” Robbie said. “I don’t know how many in total. Four of us drove separate cars off the roof.”

“So, a total of five cars left the roof,” Justin said, twinkle in his eye.

Robbie laughed. Gil snickered.

“I couldn’t believe he did that,” Morgan said. “Driving a car off the roof like that.”

“It was even crazier from where I was,” Robbie said. “That sucker rolled out of the car right before it hit the wall. A split second later and he would’ve gone over the side in it.”

“Yeah, he’s pretty crazy,” Morgan said. “Figured that out the first night.”

“First night?” Karen asked.

“At my job,” Morgan said. She told Karen about the incident at the card club.

“That’s a great story,” Gil said.

“All true,” Morgan said. “I wonder if that’s why they took me to the police station?”

“They took you in because you’re beautiful,” Karen said.

“Yeah, that’s pretty obvious,” Justin said. “Same with Katie. Same with Karen.”

“I wonder how many other places there are like that?” Morgan asked. “I wonder how many others are going through it?”

“A lot, I’m afraid,” Robbie said. “Good reason to be in this fight.”

“I’m surprised some of the girls chose not to get involved,” Gil said.

“I’m not,” Katie said. “Not everybody has the strength to fight like this. Can’t blame them.”

“I wonder if any changed their minds after the fracas at the Volvo dealership?” Karen asked.

“Why did you decide to join, Karen?” Gil asked.

“They killed my father,” she said, eyes tearing up.

“That’s a good reason,” Katie said softly. “I just want revenge for what they did to me.”

“That’s part of it too, of course,” Karen said. “My mind is already starting to block what happened. I’m thankful for that.”

“I won’t let that happen,” Katie said. “I’m remembering it on purpose.”

“Me too,” Morgan said. “I’ll remember it when I’m killing them.”

Justin and Robbie glanced at each other.

“I’d let your memories bury themselves,” Gil said. “It’s self-protection. There’s plenty of reasons for joining the fight that aren’t potentially self-destructive.”

“You didn’t get raped,” Karen spat. Then she covered her mouth with her hand. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Gil said. “What happened to you guys is the main reason I’m joining. I just don’t want this to hurt you long term. My cousin got gang-raped at a party in Lomita years ago. She’s still messed up because of that. It’s tough. You need to heal. It’s not good to keep ripping the scab off. There’s enough reason to fight without doing that to yourselves.”

“He’s right,” Katie said softly.

“Look, here comes Jules,” Robbie said.

Justin snickered. “Jules and five women.”

“Interesting,” Morgan said. “Those are the women who didn’t want to join.”

“All of them?” Robbie asked.

“No, there’s two more,” Morgan said. “Don’t know where they ended up.”

“Who took the under aged girls?” Karen asked.

“Ted,” Robbie said. “He’s like a father. Always looking out for people. Nice to a fault.”

“Here comes Tex and Cody,” Justin said. “With women in the car, of course.”

“There’s the other two who weren’t going to join,” Katie said. “Wonder if they got placed with the most persuasive guys?”

Justin snickered. “You think Jules, Tex, and Cody can sweet-talk them into fighting?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised, frankly,” Morgan said.

“Stacey and Jordan are right behind them,” Robbie said. “With more women.”

“Those women are all joining,” Morgan said. “Tisha is crazy. She was giving the other girls a hard time for not joining.”

“I told her to shut up,” Katie said. “Didn’t go over well. Watch your back around her.”

“Which one are you talking about?” Gil asked.

“Long light brown hair, straight,” Karen said. “Piercing eyes. She’s got too many tattoos and piercings for my taste, but she’s pretty enough. She gets a little emotional, but she can be nice.”

Gil stared at her for a long moment.

“Uh oh,” Robbie whispered.

Karen noticed, face turning red. She took Gil’s arm. “Let’s go wait by the door. It’s in the shade.”

“Holy crap, Gil’s gonna have two women fighting over him,” Justin whispered.

Robbie laughed, shaking his head.

“Tisha hasn’t made any moves on him,” Katie said.

Morgan chuckled. “She hasn’t noticed him looking yet. Is that the kind of girl he usually goes after?”

“Pretty much,” Robbie said. “Karen would be unusual.”

“Hey, everybody, time go inside,” Jules said, walking towards the door of the massive building.

“Guess it’s time,” Robbie said, taking Morgan’s hand.

“Hey, there’s Ted,” Justin said, pointing.

“The young girls aren’t with him anymore,” Morgan said.

“He probably found someplace to leave them for their families to pick up,” Robbie said.

“Hope so,” Katie said.

They met at the door as Jules fumbled with the lock.

“Damn. I tell fix this. I kick some ass.”

“Here, partner, let me try it,” Tex said, moving to the door. Jules nodded and let go of the key. Tex wiggled it and turned, the cylinder moving. “That’s got it. Your key isn’t so hot. That’s probably all it is.”

“Push door open,” Jules said. “We get out of sight.”

“Yeah, somebody might think we’re running a white slavery outfit with all these beautiful women out here,” Tex said.

“Oh, please,” Tisha said. “Like to see somebody try to make a slave out of me.”

They moved into the cool, dark warehouse. Jules hit the lights.

“Holy crap, look at these things,” Justin said. “Eight. And look at all the Jeeps.”

“Betcha we’re towing those,” Gil said.

“These things are expensive,” Robbie said, eyes wide. “These are Prevost. Big diesels. Look at the tag axles.”

“You like, my friend?” Jules asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “This cost somebody a few bucks. We pulling the Jeeps?”

“Yes, all set up. We have to go over systems. Complex. Designed by associate of Ivan’s.”

“Oh, you mean these aren’t just normal RVs?” Justin asked.

Jules chuckled. “You’ll see.”

“Ted, what happened to the girls?” Robbie asked as he walked up.

“I was able to get family members for each of them on the phone,” Ted said.

“Where you drop?” Jules asked.

“Magic Mountain,” Ted said. “We set up a meeting spot.”

“That’s convenient,” Morgan said.

“They didn’t want to leave,” Ted said. “They really wanted to join.”

“Maybe you should let?” Jules said.

“No way, man,” Ted said. “C’mon. We couldn’t do something like that. You know how rough this might turn out to be.”

“Okay,” Jules said. “You right. Like our units?”

Ted walked closer and looked at them. “Son of a bitch, these are Ji-Ho’s design, aren’t they? That crazy dude showed me his a while back.”

“Who’s Ji-Ho?” Robbie asked.

“Crazy Korean millionaire,” Ted said. “Former Korean special forces, then merc.”

South Korean, I hope,” Gil said.

Jules laughed. “Ji-Ho probably gut you for comment like that.”

“Sorry,” Gil said.

“Hey, joke,” Jules said. “Ji-Ho good man. He fight in La Quinta last night. Destroy huge enemy depot and checkpoint. Screw them good.”

“Is he handling Southern California while we go up north?” Justin asked.

“He handle area between San Diego and LA County,” Jules said. “Come, I give tour of coaches. The all same, except exterior.”

“What should we be doing?” one of the women asked. She was a perky beauty with short blonde hair, about five feet tall.

“Ahh, Shelly,” Jules said. “You want look at units, or want relax? Food in office area to right, also coffee maker.”

“You can show me later,” Shelly said. “I’ll check out the kitchen.” She walked towards the door, several of the women following her, the rest walking over to where Jules was.

“She wasn’t going to join,” Katie said.

“She may change mind,” Jules said. “Hope so. I like.”

“You were working on them,” Ted said. “Thought so. How about the others?”

“Time tell, my friend,” Jules said. “How you do, Tex?”

“All but one, and she’s leaning,” Tex said.

“I knew it,” Morgan said under her breath.

Jules shot her a sly grin, and then opened the door on the first motor home. “Come on in.”

Half of the people who were bunched up outside followed Jules in. The rest stayed by the door, watching and listening.

“Each sleep six, eight in pinch,” Jules said. “Inside basic stuff. Bedroom in back with small bathroom. Main bathroom in hall. Kitchen, dinette, couch, two swivel chair, plus front seats swivel too.”

“How much does a rig like this set you back, partner?” Tex asked.

“Basic rig close to eight hundred grand,” Jules said. “Add two million more for upgrades.”

“What?” Stacey asked, eyes wide. Cody and Ted snickered.

“This is gonna be good,” Ted said. “Frigging Ji-Ho.”

“Okay, first of all, this coach is bullet-proof.”

“How bullet proof?” Ted asked.

“Small arms fire up to .50 cal on sides and back. Less on windshield without plate up.”

“Plate?” Robbie asked.

“Yes, in siege mode, plate come in front of windshield. Tell people outside to back away from wheels. I show.”

“We heard you,” Dana said from outside.

“Good,” Jules said. He sat in the driver’s seat and flipped open a panel. Then he pushed a button called Siege Mode. Electric motors whirred into motion.

“What the hell?” Karen said from outside, looking at the metal plates coming down around the wheels.

“Look at that,” Robbie said, watching the metal plate come up in front of the windshield, covering it up. A panel with a small LED screen came up from the dash.

“You gotta be kidding me,” Gil said, looking around. “What’s with the slits in the walls here?”

“Can shoot rifle out there, or slide closed,” Jules said.

“So, you’ve got a motorized pill-box,” Jordan said. “Firing rifles out slits in the side won’t help much. They’ll just bring something up that can punch a hole in this.”

Jules chuckled. “Watch.” He pushed another button on the console. The sound of an electric motor came out of the back end of the coach, and a sight reticle appeared on the LED screen, the picture changing to a narrower view. Jules used buttons on the back surface of the steering wheel to move the view of the sight camera around.

“What’s that you’re controlling?” Sparky asked.

“Look at roof on back of coach,” Jules said.

Ted laughed as Tex, Sparky, Robbie, Morgan, and Stacey went outside. Jordan walked up to Jules, looking over his shoulder, eyes getting wide.

“That’s not really a mini-gun, is it?”

Jules turned to him and grinned.

“Holy crap,” Gil said, standing next to Robbie and Justin. They looked at the mini-gun swinging around on the rear of the roof. “You know what one of those will do?”

Tex chuckled. “I should’ve guessed.”

They came back inside.

“What else does this thing do?” Robbie asked.

“Forward and rear machine guns,” Ted said. “They have a pretty limited range of motion. They’re designed for shooting at vehicles coming at you from the front or back while this baby is rolling.”

“Yes,” Jules said. Also night vision, motion sensors, enhance communications capability. Battle station.”

“You’ve seen this before, I take it,” Tex asked, walking up to Ted.

“Ji-Ho took me out in his about eight months ago,” Ted said. “We were someplace where we could play with the mini-gun. Cut an old car nearly in half with that thing. They use ammo kinda quick.”

“Much ammo on board,” Jules said. “Also other supplies in storage compartments. Mortars, RPGs, grenades, M60s, M-16s, ammo, mines.”

“Geez,” Tex said. “Why didn’t we use these in SoCal?”

“Not ready in time,” Jules said. “Ji-Ho has his. Prototype.”

“This is pretty amazing,” Justin said. “We could roll up to a checkpoint and splatter it all over the place.”

“That idea, kid,” Jules said. “Stand back, I put back to normal. We go over loading guns and other stuff tomorrow. Now rest, eat, relax. Food in fridge. We cook.”

“We staying in here overnight?” Tex asked.

“Yes,” Jules said. “We safe here.”

“If nobody followed that long line of Volvos,” Sparky said.

To be continued…

 

Check out “The Plan” – it’s the story of how the Bugout War started.

 

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The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 is on the way. Here’s a taste.

DarkRoad

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 is now in editing. Should be out in about a week!

Here’s a short selection:

“Well, we need to get out of this area,” Richardson said. “Look, the street is blocked up ahead.”

“There’s no other way out of here, with these damn one-way streets,” Lita cried.

Machine gun fire erupted from above, hitting a car three spots in front of them.

“Out of the car,” Richardson yelled. He rushed to the back, getting out his M-16, shooting at the rooftop where the fire was coming from.

“Juan Carlos, help Madison get to the sidewalk. Brendan, help be with the guns. Lita and Hannah, go with Juan Carlos and Madison.”

“Look out!” Brendan shouted, pointing at the roof on the other side of the street. He aimed the SMAW and fired, hitting the façade of the old building, the man with a machine gun tumbling down to the sidewalk with a blood-curdling scream.

Lita and Hannah got to the sidewalk next to Madison as Juan Carlos raced to get his M-16 from Richardson. He saw somebody coming out of the corner of his eye.

“Fighters on the ground!” he cried, turning and spraying fire in that direction. Then there was a shotgun blast, and several more rifle shots. Juan Carlos turned to see a group of citizens running in his direction.

“Yes!” Juan Carlos shouted, aiming at the approaching Islamists. He opened fire, cutting down several as more fire came from the roof. Brendon aimed the SMAW again, firing, a grenade blowing out the machine gun nest. Suddenly a hail of gunfire hit the side of the building, right by the edge, taking out more of the Islamists.

“The citizens have had enough!” Brendon shouted as he struggled to reload the SMAW.

“Look out, Brendan,” Juan Carlos said, aiming his M-16 at another roof. He fired, forcing the Islamists to duck behind the façade. Brendan aimed the SMAW and fired, blowing up that part of the roof.

“Yes!” a citizen yelled as debris and bodies fell down the front of the building.

“Nice shot, dude!” Juan Carlos said, covering him as he reloaded.

“I’d better check on the women,” Richardson yelled, running towards the sidewalk. They were down on the ground, Lita seeing him as he ran up.

“Give us some guns, dammit,” Lita said.

Richardson nodded, handing her his M-16.

“Now you don’t have a gun,” she said.

“Wanna bet?” he asked, opening the case he carried. He pulled out the BMG .50 cal and turned back to the street. There were more Islamists gathering on one of the roofs, getting ready to pour fire down on the citizens, who had all but slaughtered the Islamists on the ground. Richardson dropped the tripod on the .50 cal, ripped off the lens caps on the scope, and took aim, firing as fast as he could pull the trigger, the bullets smashing right through the cheap façade the enemy fighters were hiding behind.

Brendan and Juan Carlos focused on another roof, watching for movement.

“Look, there,” Juan Carlos said, pointing. “They’re setting up.”

“On it,” Brendan said, firing the SMAW, the top of the building crumbling as it exploded. The dust settled, Juan Carlos aiming his M-16 at the area when he saw a face pop up. He fired, hitting the man between the eyes, just as Brendan shot another round from the SMAW. The whole top of the building exploded in flames.

“Torched something up there,” Juan Carlos said.

“I’ve only got a few more rounds,” Brendan said.

“Yeah, I’m running out of ammo too,” Juan Carlos said.

More citizens were coming into the area, aiming guns of all types up at the rooftops, waiting for more fighters. Nobody came.

“We knocked them out!” yelled a citizen holding a bolt-action hunting rifle. “I nailed eight of them!”

“You think it’s over?” Brendan asked.

“It’s not,” Richardson said, aiming further down the street with the .50 cal resting on the top of a car. “I can see them in my scope. They’re setting up down there.”

“I’ll go get in range,” Brendan said.

“No, save your ammo,” Richardson said. “I’ve got this.” He fired several times, men screaming. Then the citizens saw where he was aiming and rushed up, sending a hail of lead at the position.

Richardson rushed over to Brendan and Juan Carlos. “Let’s go check on the girls. They aren’t safe where they are.”

“Yeah,” Juan Carlos said. They ran over to the sidewalk. The women were gone.

“Dammit, where’d they go?” Brendan asked.

“They helped a wounded woman into the drug store,” an old man said, his eyes on the roof tops, hands on his Winchester.

“Thanks,” Richardson said. He rushed in the door, Brendan and Juan Carlos following.

“Oh, thank God,” Lita said when she saw them coming.

“Is it over?” Madison asked.

“I don’t know,” Juan Carlos said. “It’s over on this section of the street.”

“This has awakened the citizens,” Richardson said. “There’s nearly a hundred armed civilians out there.”

“Are we bringing this stuff with us?” Hannah asked, face grim. “San Antonio was quiet for a while before we arrived.”

“Coincidence,” Richardson said. “They don’t know we’re here.”

“What now?” Lita asked.

“How’s the person you helped in here?” Richardson asked.

“She’s gonna be okay,” Lita said. “Flesh wound. Her husband came and got her.”

“We’re stuck in the city, aren’t we?” Madison asked.

“We might be,” Richardson said. “And we’re getting low on ammo.”

More automatic gunfire erupted, but it was further down the street, followed by the thunder of hundreds of rifles.

“Hear that?” Brendan asked, grin on his face.

“You think that was the citizens fighting back?” Hannah asked.

“Yeah,” Brendan said.

 

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The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bugout! California Part 56 – Dark Vengeance

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“She’s gone,” Sam said, his body convulsing with sobs as he came out into the waiting room. The early morning sun was shining through the windows.

“Oh no,” Yvonne said, rushing to him, hugging him tight. Sid looked on, crying hard. John looked on helplessly, unable to cry, holding Sarah who was sobbing.

“Why did it have to be her?” Sid wailed.

Nurse Grace came in, eyes tearing up. “I have some papers for you to sign. Where would you like her taken?”

Sam tried to calm himself. “She wanted to be cremated,” he said. “Is there a place nearby?”

“Yes,” she said. “I know the owner. Small town, you know. You want them to do it and hold her for a while? I know what you’re going through right now.”

“Thanks,” Sam said, signing the papers. “Let’s take her there, then. I’ll have to come back at a later date and do the memorial. Give me their number and I’ll call them with a credit card.” He broke down again.

“Understand,” the nurse said, taking the paperwork from him. She wrote out the phone number on a slip of paper and handed it to him.

They sat down on the waiting room couches, the tears fading away, the harsh reality setting in.

“We probably shouldn’t stay here too long,” Sid said. “The enemy will figure out where we are.”

“I know,” Sam said. “We can go any time. What vehicles do we have here?”

“Our truck,” John said.

“And our Jeep,” Yvonne said.

“What happened to the others?” Sam asked.

“They had to fight more on the way back to camp,” Sid said. “Planned to leave at first light. Too easy for the enemy to follow their tracks.”

“I want to get back to them as soon as we can,” Sam said. “I want back into the fight.”

“Shouldn’t you take it easy for a while?” Sarah asked.

“No.”

Yvonne shot a worried look at Sid. He nodded, then his phone rang. “James. I’ll put it on speaker.”

“Hi, Sid,” James said. “Everybody okay?”

“Connie just died,” Sid said.

“Oh no,” he said. “I’m so sorry.”

“Where are you headed?” John asked.

“Hank and Jason contacted their friends and family in Julian. The people there finished the job you guys started and took out the rest of the UN and the Islamists. Turned the place into an armed camp. Then they chased the enemy out of Banner, Wynola, and Santa Ysabel. Cut off one of their most important supply lines.”

“That’s good,” John said.

“Well, yes and no,” James said. “The enemy is getting a force ready to attack them. We’re going there to help.”

“Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” Yvonne said.

“What happens after that?” Sarah asked.

“We don’t know yet,” James said. “The elders want to take back the reservation, of course.”

“You don’t?” Yvonne asked.

“There’s nothing I’d like better, but I don’t want to see us walking into a death trap.”

“Who’s taking over the leadership?” Sid asked.

“Tyler,” James said. “He’s the best choice. He’s the smartest, and he’s got a level head on his shoulders.”

“Glad to hear that,” Sid said. “Had some conversation with him. He’s an old soul.”

“How long are you guys going to stay in La Quinta?” James asked.

“We’re leaving in a few minutes,” Sam said. “Nothing more we can do here, and the enemy is gonna get wise.”

“You’re probably right about that,” James said. “One of the warriors is driving your rig, Sam.”

“Great, thanks for that,” Sam said. He got up and checked out the window, eyes getting wide. “What do we have in the way of guns?”

“Oh, crap, what do you see?” John asked.

“Two UN Vans just cruised by,” he said.

“We’ve got a BAR and an M60. A couple hunting rifles and shotguns, and a few grenades,” Sid said. “They’re stashed in the back of the Jeep.”

“I’ve got two hunting rifles and one M-16 behind the seat in the truck,” John said. “I don’t have much ammo for any of them, and the hunting rifles are bolt action.”

“So we can’t stand and fight,” Sam said. “Let’s sneak out of here.”

“Yeah,” Sid said. “Talk to you later, James. I’ll call you. Take care of yourself.”

“You too,” James said. The call ended, so Sid picked up his phone.

“We moved the vehicles in back of the hospital,” John said. “We can go down the hallway by the snack machines.”

“Let’s go now,” Sam said. “Before we get hit.”

Yvonne rushed over to the emergency room door and pounded on it. Nurse Grace opened it. “Something wrong?”

“We’re leaving now,” she said. “We just saw two UN vans cruise down the street. They might come here looking for us.”

“Dammit,” she said. “Don’t tell me where you’re going. I’ll let everybody know to get ready.”

“Good luck, and thanks for everything,” Yvonne said.

“Watch Sam,” she whispered. “He’s got a lot of rage, and it’s gonna come out.”

“I know,” Yvonne said. She joined the group, already walking towards the back door.

“You warn Nurse Grace?” Sid asked.

“Yeah,” Yvonne said.

“I suggest we have the guns where we can get to them in a hurry,” Sam said.

“Yeah,” John said.

“Where do you want to ride?” Sarah asked.

“There still blankets in the back of the truck?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, but you don’t want to ride back there,” John said.

“Yes, I do, with the M60 or BAR and a shotgun,” Sam said.

“But you were just injured,” Sarah said.

“I’m fine, and I’m the best close shooter we’ve got,” Sam said. “I’m still pretty tired, too, so I can doze off back there. It’s not exactly cold out here.”

“He’s right,” Sid said. “It’s the best choice. I’ll bring over a shotgun and the M60. You’re probably better with the M60 than an old BAR, right?”

“Yeah,” Sam said.

“Let’s take 74 to 371 to 79,” Yvonne said, looking at her phone as she climbed into the passenger side of the Jeep. “Long drive, but it’ll get us there.”

They drove out of the hospital parking lot, the Jeep leading the way.

“Get us to route 111,” Yvonne said, “that’ll get us to 74.”

“Got it,” Sid said.

“You tired?”

“I’m okay,” he said. “Could use some coffee, though. Maybe we ought to stop at a 7-11 on the way.”

“Good idea,” Yvonne said. “I’m worried about Sam.”

“He said he wasn’t injured badly,” Sid said.

“I’m worried about his head, not his ribs,” Yvonne said. “He’s a bundle of seething anger. I hope he doesn’t take risks he shouldn’t.”

“He’ll settle down,” Sid said. “Trust me.”

“I hope so,” Yvonne said. They traveled down the street as the morning traffic started to pick up.

“There’s a 7-11,” Sid said. “Shall we?”

“Yes,” Yvonne said. “The others will get the message.”

Sid pulled in front of the store, John parking next to him.

“Coffee, huh?” John said. “Good idea. You want one, Sam?”

“Nah, I’d rather fall asleep for a while when we get on the road.”

“Oh, shit, look,” Sarah whispered. “There’s a UN creep in there, trying to intimidate the clerk.”

Sam sat up, grinning. Sid shot him a sidelong glance. “What are you gonna do?”

“Make a kill,” he whispered. “Cover me.”

Sam slipped out of the back of the truck and walked slowly to the storefront, trying to look like a tired commuter. He pushed open the door. It buzzed, the UN Peacekeeper turning towards him, then back at the clerk.

“Stupid American, you learn your place,” he said in a thick French accent. “I’m not paying for breakfast. I take what I want.”

“My boss told me I don’t have to give you guys free food,” the young clerk said.

“Call him up,” the UN Peacekeeper said. “Send him down and I’ll kill his ass.”

Two patrons who were back by the coffee area rushed out the door as Sam got into one of the aisles and watched.

“Look, American cowards run at first sign of trouble. Nobody help you, stupid American.”

“Pound sand.” The young clerk was showing anger in his eyes. He was a big Hispanic kid with the look of a football quarterback.

“What?” the UN Peacekeeper shouted, stepping back and reaching for his gun. Sam leapt forward, grabbing the man’s head and twisting it violently. His neck cracked and he went limp, Sam letting him drop to the floor as the clerk watched, wide eyed.

“Good job resisting this jerk,” Sam said. “He have any friends around?”

“He walked over from their headquarters across the street,” the clerk said. “How’d you learn how to do that?”

“Special Forces,” Sam said. “How many of these creeps over there?”

“Used to be about twenty,” the clerk said. “Most of them took off last night and never came back. The night manager told me.”

Sam looked out the window at the offices. “That looks like a real estate office.”

“Used to be,” the clerk said. “What are you gonna do?”

“Kill all of them,” Sam said, walking to the door. He turned before he went out. “You armed?”

“Nope,” he said. “Those cretins disarmed all the locals when they rolled in here last month.”

“I wouldn’t push these guys too hard until you are,” Sam said. “That guy might have killed you.”

“What should I do with the body?”

“You got a dumpster out back?” Sam asked, grinning as he walked out the door. He went to the Jeep. “Give me the grenades and a handgun.”

“What are you gonna do?” Sid asked.

“Kill the UN punks in that headquarters over there,” he said.

“You sure that’s a good idea?” Yvonne asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said.

Sid got out the grenades and handed them carefully to Sam, then gave him a .45 auto from the glovebox. “I’m gonna go cover you with the BAR.”

“Sid, no,” Yvonne said.

“You cover us from here,” Sid said. She nodded yes, fear in her eyes.

Sam and Sid rushed across the street, Sam not even slowing down as he entered the office. He backed out quickly as the first grenade went off. There was screaming inside. Sam tossed a second grenade inside and then fired his pistol several times. Sid came up alongside him and opened up with the BAR, blasting through the front windows as Sam tossed the last grenade. Then there was silence, smoke starting to pour out the broken front windows.

“Our job here is done,” Sam said with a wicked smile.

“You enjoyed that too much,” Sid said, eyeing him.

“Yeah, I did,” he said. “And I’ve only just started. Go get your coffee and let’s blow this burg.”

They rushed back across the street.

***

It was a crisp, clear morning. Trevor and Kaylee were riding together in the Jeep, pulling the off-roader down the long dirt road. There were a multitude of vehicles in front and behind them.

“Hope nobody messed with my uncle’s motor home,” Kaylee said.

“Or mine,” Trevor said. “Although it wouldn’t be anywhere near the loss.”

“When are they gonna tell us where we’re going, I wonder?”

“Probably when we stop to get the motor homes. Want to ride in mine with me?”

“If I’m not needed to drive something else,” she said. “I hope I can.”

“I didn’t want to get up this morning,” Trevor said. “I just wanted to lay there with you all day.”

“You mean you wanted to lay next to me naked all day,” she quipped.

“Okay, so you found me out.”

“Thanks for being so patient with me,” Kaylee said. “About going further.”

“It’ll happen when we’re both ready.”

“I know, but still,” she said.

Trevor chuckled. “You think I’m going someplace?”

“Not sure what you mean.”

He glanced at her, then looked quickly back at the road. “You’re just teasing me.”

“Teasing you?” she asked.

“You know I’m in love with you,” Trevor said. “I’m not going anywhere unless you force me away. You gonna force me away?”

“Oh, God no,” she said. “I’m in love with you too.”

“You sure?”

“Of course I’m sure, silly,” she said. “You’ll get me pretty soon. I promise.”

“Don’t promise,” Trevor said. “Like I said, it’ll happen. Naturally, when we’re both in that place. Trust me.”

“It’ll be nice to have someplace to stay,” she said.

“My motor home?” Trevor asked. “It’s not much.”

“I think it’s nice,” she said softly.

“I heard Megan go into Angel’s tent last night.”

Kaylee cracked up. “I saw Megan and Kaitlyn taking down their tents last night after Seth and Angel went to bed. Knew what was coming.”

“Wonder if either of them will last.”

“Who knows,” Kaylee said. “I know we’ll last.”

“How?”

“Duh,” she said. “We’ve known each other for years. We know what we’re getting.”

“Do you miss Matt?”

Kaylee was quiet for a moment.

“Uh oh,” Trevor said nervously.

“No, don’t get the wrong idea,” she said. “I was just thinking back on that. It seems a lot different when you’re out of it.”

“Meaning what?”

“I was worried about being able to hold onto him. I always had the feeling that he was interested in other women. I never felt secure.”

Trevor was silent, looking ahead.

“You know something about that, don’t you?” she asked.

“I don’t think we should talk about it,” Trevor said. “It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“I was right,” she said softly.

“I won’t ever do that to you,” Trevor said.

“I know you won’t,” she said. “I love you in a way I never got close to feeling with Matt. I feel it coming from you too.”

“Really?” Trevor asked.

“Yes, really,” she said, looking at him. “Geez.”

“What?”

“I wish we could pull over right now,” she said. “I’m so bad.”

Trevor glanced at her red face, then looked back at the road.

“We must be getting close. The group is slowing down ahead,” Trevor said.

“Thank God,” Kaylee said. “Hope we’re not driving too much further after this.”

“Me too. Look, we’re here.”

“I’m surprised we didn’t recognize the area,” Kaylee said.

“We’re coming from a different direction, and this all looks a lot alike,” Trevor said. “Wonder how we’ll handle this? I can tow the Jeep behind the motor home, but not the off-roader.”

“My uncle has probably been working that out already.”

“Hope so,” Trevor said. “There’s a lot of tribe people who are riding in the back of pickup trucks. I’ll bet they’ll be glad to get into vehicles like these instead. Maybe we won’t be towing anything behind the motor homes.”

They followed the slow-moving line around the big curved road, skirting by the small hill, and then the two motor homes came into view.

“Good, they look fine,” Kaylee said.

“We’d better check them out for booby traps,” Trevor said. “Remember what happened to One Eye.”

“You think the enemy knew where these were?”

“Hope not, but it’s possible.”

They drove close to Trevor’s Motor Home and parked, getting out to meet Ji-Ho, who was unlocking his rig.

“You sure nobody booby-trapped your rig?” Trevor asked.

“I sure,” Ji-Ho said. “Sensors. They alert with smallest movement. No buzz. We fine.” He opened the door of his coach and climbed inside. They heard the big diesel start up, black smoke flowing out of the rear exhaust pipe for a moment.

“See, it’s fine,” Kaylee said.

“Guess I should go fire mine up.”

“I’ll check with uncle about the towing situation.”

“I left the keys in his Jeep,” Trevor said.

Kaylee nodded and climbed into Ji-Ho’s rig.

Trevor gave his motor home a quick once over, then unlocked the door and went inside. It was already heating up. He fired up the engine and the generator, then turned on the air conditioner.

“Hey, dude,” Angel said, walking to the coach door with Megan. Seth and Kaitlyn followed.

“Hey,” Trevor said, coming outside. “Nice trip?”

“I liked it,” Megan said, pulling Angel closer.

Kaylee rushed over. “My uncle said to let tribal members drive our Jeep. He’s doing the same. I think he just called Tyler over. He’s the new leader.”

“Really?” Seth said. “He’s a good choice, from what I’ve seen so far.”

“He is,” Kaitlyn said. “They say where we’re going yet?”

“Julian,” Kaylee said. “We’re gonna go help them. The two cops that came from there said the enemy is about to attack.”

“We’re going into another battle already?” Megan asked.

“Yep,” Kaylee said. “Sorry.”

Tyler walked over with some warriors and some women. “Is this one of the Jeeps that needs a driver?”

“Yep,” Kaylee said. “Key’s in it. The other one is over there.”

“I want to grab my guns,” Trevor said, going to the back.

“Yeah, do that,” Tyler said.

“Congrats, man,” Seth said.

“Yeah, Congrats,” Angel said.

Tyler smiled. “Thanks. I’m scared to death.”

“You’ll be fine,” Trevor said, guns in his hands. “It’s all yours. Enjoy.”

“Think there’s guns in Ji-Ho’s Jeep?” Tyler asked.

“Yes, but don’t worry,” Ji-Ho said as he walked over. “I leave for now. Got plenty of firepower on rig.”

“Yeah, I heard about that thing,” Tyler said. “Wow.”

“Maybe I should take lead,” Ji-Ho said.

“Or be in the back,” Seth said.

“Either,” Ji-Ho said, looking at Tyler. “You choose.”

“Front,” Tyler said. “If you don’t mind.”

Ji-Ho nodded.

Hank and Jason walked over with Clem.

“I can’t thank you guys enough for helping our town,” Hank said. “Really.”

“You help us, we help you,” Ji-Ho said. “Maybe lay low there for while.”

“If we can win the battle, it’s a perfect place,” Jason said.

“When we leaving?” Seth asked.

“As soon as you guys are ready,” Tyler said. “You know the others are going to meet us there, right?”

“I talk to Sam,” Ji-Ho said.

“Me too,” Clem said, grim look on his face. “Poor Sam. Poor Connie.”

Ji-Ho nodded silently, fighting back tears.

“This has been costly, that’s for sure,” Tyler said. “Let’s get out of here.”

Everybody went to their vehicles.

“You want me to drive?” Kaylee asked Trevor, after he shut the entry door.

“I can drive for a while,” Trevor said.

“Okay,” she said, getting into the passenger seat.

“Let’s blow this joint,” Trevor said, taking off the parking brake. They rolled away, behind Ji-Ho’s massive rig, the rest of the group following in a long line.

To be continued…

 

Check out “The Plan” – it’s the story of how the Bugout War started.

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bugout! California Part 55 – Volvos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gil pulled the ’78 Ford into the empty service stall at the car dealership. Ted hit the button to lower the door, and everybody piled out.

“What about the weapons?” Robbie asked.

“Let’s get them out,” Sparky said. “Just in case somebody figures out where we are.”

“I’ll open the trunk,” Gil said, taking the keys out of his pocket. “Miss my key fob.”

“That car was comfortable, though,” Sparky said. “C’mon, let’s go talk to Jules.”

They carried the guns into the office area with them, setting them down in a cubicle on the back wall, then walking down the hallway to the office. Jules, Ted, Tex, and Jordan were sitting in there sipping coffee.

“Hey, want some java?” Tex asked.

“Hell yeah,” Gil said.

Justin and Robbie nodded yes too. “I’ll help you,” Robbie said.

They disappeared down the hall.

“Grab chairs from next cubicle, and have seat,” Jules said, smiling. “We talk.”

Gil nodded, looking nervous.

“I remember you,” Ted said. “You were at the restaurant.”

“Robbie’s boss, right?”

“Yep,” Ted said.

“How’d you get into this?”

“Ex-special forces,” Ted said. “I knew most of these reprobates from past battles.”

“Be nice, partner,” Tex said, coming back into the office with the coffees. Robbie followed with more coffees. Justin brought in the extra chairs. They all sat down.

Problem on road?” Jules asked.

“We had to leave the UN Van in the garage,” Sparky said.

“Why?” Ted asked.

“The checkpoint at PCH and Vermont was on fire,” Sparky said. “I didn’t want some of our own firing at us.”

Jules chuckled. “I see that. Good. Welcome, Gil. I hear you know how to shoot.”

“Yeah,” Gil said. “What will we be doing?”

“We go up north, wipe out checkpoints like here. Take Bay Area out of martial law, then target Sacramento. Much work to do. Dangerous. You game?”

“Yeah, I’m game,” Gil said. “We have to take back California.”

“Good, I like to hear,” Jules said.

“Tell him about the organization,” Sparky said. “We need to make sure he’s okay with what he’s signing up for.”

“Yes,” Jules said, looking Gil in the eye. “You tell, Tex. My English not as good.”

“Sure, partner,” Tex said. “Here’s the deal, kid. You’ll become part of the crew. Loyalty is a must. If you ever betray us, you’ll be killed.”

Gil’s eyes got wide, and he glanced at Justin and Robbie.

“Look, Gil,” Robbie said. “We’ve joined an organization that was built out of the Russian mob. These guys are tough. They’re also unforgiving. I’m okay with it. Make sure you are.”

“So if I quit you’re going to hunt me down?” Gil asked.

“No, no, that’s not what we’re saying,” Tex said. “If you talk, we’ll hunt you down. If you go to the UN or the US authorities and rat us out, you’ll be hunted down and killed.”

“Oh,” Gil said. “I can live with that. I won’t sell you guys out. No way.”

“Good, that’s what want to hear,” Jules said.

“How many of the women are joining up?” Sparky asked.

“More than expected,” Ted said. Over half. The under-aged girls all want to join, but we’ve got to deal with the parents on that one.”

“Under-aged girls?” Gil asked, face horrified.

“Yeah, man,” Justin said. “Sick bastards in the UN were raping them too.”

“Oh, God,” Gil said. “What about Karen?”

“Ahh, nice redhead,” Jules said. “She join. You know?”

“A little bit,” Gil said. “She’s my boss’s daughter.” He choked up, tears coming.

“You worked for her dad, partner?” Tex asked. “She told us what happened to him. Didn’t mention you though.”

“She doesn’t know I’m alive,” Gil said. “I’m not planning on making moves on her. She might not even recognize me. I was just one of the hired help.”

“Understand,” Tex said.

“What about the women that don’t want to join?” Sparky asked.

“We’re going to leave them on the Central Coast with enough green to live for a couple months,” Ted said. “They can do what they want after that.”

“Why not just let them go here?” Gil asked.

“The UN thugs know where they live,” Tex said. “They’re lives ain’t worth a plug nickel here.”

“Oh,” Gil said. “Makes sense. What about Morgan and Katie?”

“They’re both gonna join,” Robbie said.

“And what about Steve and Coleen?” he asked.

“We don’t know what happened to them,” Robbie said. “Can’t raise them on the phone.”

“Dammit,” Gil said. “They’re probably dead.”

“Let’s not think that way,” Justin said. “We don’t know. If they got there, they might be okay. Steve can be tough and resourceful.”

“True,” Gil said.

Cody walked in, and eyed Gil. “Hey, man, how’s it going?”

“Cody,” Gil said, shaking his hand. “I’m good. How are you?”

“Great,” Cody said.

“You two know each other?” Tex asked.

“I saw some of Gil’s handiwork,” Cody said. “He wasted a couple of gang-bangers in front of Robbie’s condo with that 30-30 of his. Good to have you with us, man.”

“Thanks,” Gil said.

“So what are we gonna do next?” Cody asked.

“Finish working the underage girls problem,” Ted said. “Then get outta dodge. Does Ivan have those vehicles lined up for us?”

“Yes, we pick up in storage yard, in Santa Clarita Valley,” Jules said. “Spend one night there, then off. Straight up I-5.”

“Vehicles?” Robbie asked.

“Motor Homes,” Tex said. “We’re gonna live on the road, partner.”

Robbie chuckled. “Just like my parents.”

“You tell them cover story?” Jules asked.

“Yes, right after I signed up,” Robbie said. “Called them.”

“Cover story?” Gil asked.

“Yeah, I’m going into the service,” Robbie said.

“If you have family, make up cover story and call,” Jules said. “You’ll disappear. They need story if UN thugs investigate. Don’t mention Ivan.”

“I already called my folks with a story,” Justin said. “Felt weird to lie to them.”

“It for both yours good,” Jules said.

“I know,” Justin said.

“Okay, I’ll see if I can reach mine,” Gil said. “They’re on the road, making for San Diego County.”

“That tough trip,” Jules said, eyes showing worry.

“I know,” Gil said. “I’m worried. I’ll call them after this meeting.”

“We just about done,” Jules said. “We leave tonight if we can handle underage girl situation.”

“What if we can’t solve it?” Ted asked.

“Then I leave them with dealership manager, and he finish,” Jules said.

“You’d leave them with Harry?” Ted asked. “Sure that’s a good idea?”

“He know I kill if he does bad thing,” Jules said. “Rather deal with it before we leave.”

“Then let’s get back on it,” Tex said, glancing at Ted. They got up and left the room.

“I want to go see Morgan,” Robbie said.

“Yeah, let’s go in the other room for a while,” Justin said.

“I’ll call my folks and then join you. Where?”

“Third door on the right,” Justin said.

“Okay,” Gil said.

“Motor homes, huh,” Justin whispered to Robbie as they walked. “I’m ready for a road trip.”

“We might have to fight on the way,” Robbie said. “Motor homes can be vulnerable.”

“True, but we’re heavily armed,” Justin said. “It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be, man.”

Robbie chuckled. “You’re even more gung-ho than I am. Didn’t expect that.”

“What they did to Katie really pissed me off,” Justin said. “You’ve been able to kill some of these creeps since you found out. I haven’t yet.”

Robbie snickered. “Okay, I guess that makes a certain amount of sense.

“Robbie!” Morgan said, rushing to him as he came in the door. Katie rushed over to Justin. Both couples embraced.

“Is Gil here?” Morgan asked, her arms around Robbie’s waist.

“Yep,” Robbie said. “He’ll be along in a minute. He’s calling his parents with a cover story.”

“Oh, yeah,” Morgan said. “Nobody likes to lie to their parents.”

“No choice,” Robbie said. “It’s for their own good.”

“I know,” Morgan said. “But still.”

“Any word on Steve?” Katie asked.

“I’ve got to call him again,” Robbie said. “You could call him too, you know. You have his number, right?”

“I have his number, but I don’t have my cellphone.”

“Here, use mine,” Robbie said, tossing it to her.

Gil walked into the room, eyeing the women and girls, who eyed him right back. Karen’s eyes perked up, but she didn’t say anything.

“Any luck?” Robbie asked.

Gil shot him a grim look. “No, couldn’t raise them.”

“Don’t give up hope,” Morgan said. “Good to see you again.”

“Likewise,” Gil said. “So sorry about what happened. You too, Katie.”

Katie nodded to him, phone to her ear.

“Who’s she calling?” Gil whispered.

“She’s trying to raise Steve and Coleen,” Robbie said.

Karen got up and made her way to Gil. “Hey. You worked for my dad, didn’t you?”

“I did,” Gil said, looking at her beautiful face and red hair. “So sorry about him. I really liked him a lot.”

She tried to choke back tears, but was having a hard time. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

“I’m sorry,” Gil said, standing there, not sure what to do. She hugged him as she sobbed, then backed up. “Sorry. I don’t know anybody here.”

“You know me a little,” Gil said.

“I never gave you the time of day,” she said. “I noticed you looking.”

“It’s okay,” Gil said. “I was an employee.”

“You quit, didn’t you?” she asked.

“Yeah, before this nonsense started up,” Gil said. “I got forced back under martial law.”

“Why did you leave?” she asked.

“Let’s not talk about it,” Gil said. “Your dad and I mended fences, and he treated me like gold after I came back. That’s all that matters.”

“Okay,” she said. “Sorry to pry.”

“No problem,” he said, sitting down on the floor.

“Can I sit with you?” she asked.

“Yes, of course,” Gil said. “You joined up, didn’t you?”

“Damn straight,” Karen said. “I want revenge. So do a lot of the others. You know Morgan and Katie, don’t you?”

Gil shook his head yes. “Robbie, Justin, Steve, and I go way back.”

“Who’s Steve?”

“Katie’s brother,” Gil said. “She’s trying to call him. Steve and his girlfriend took off right before Morgan got picked up. We were all living in the same condo.”

“Oh,” Karen said. “I hope they’re okay.”

“Me too,” Gil said. “You got family?”

“My mom, but she’s in Texas,” Karen said. “With her second husband. He doesn’t like me.”

“Oh, sorry,” Gil said.

“How about you?”

“I’m worried sick about my parents. They took off for San Diego County after the attack on the Torrance civic center. I haven’t been able to raise them.”

“Oh no,” Karen said. “I hope they’re okay.”

“Me too.”

Katie handed the phone back to Robbie. “Nothing,” she said. “Tried several times.”

“They might be out of cell range up there,” Robbie said.

“I hope that’s all it is,” she said.

“What’s happening next?” Morgan asked.

Robbie chuckled. “We’re picking up motor homes in Santa Clarita Valley and taking them up north.”

“You’re joking,” Morgan said.

“No,” Robbie said. “I think it’s kinda cool.”

“Yeah, if the enemy doesn’t make swiss cheese out of them,” Justin quipped.

“We’ll be okay, or we won’t,” Robbie said.

“Comforting,” Karen said.

Suddenly there was gunfire outside. Everybody in the room froze. Tex ran in. “Get your guns out! Now!”

“We’ve been found,” Robbie said, rushing into the hallway. He grabbed the M60, Gil right behind him getting his 30-30, Justin, Morgan, Gil, Katie, and Karen right on their heels. The rest of the women got up and ran out of the room, picking up M-16s and shotguns.

“I get to kill some of these creeps earlier than expected,” Dana said, picking up an M-16 and checking the magazine.

“They teach you guys how to use these?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah, this morning, while you were off picking up Gil,” Morgan shouted as they ran towards the front of the building.

Jules rushed over. “Hey, Robbie, Tex, Sparky, on roof. RPGs there. We blast vehicles, then load up and split. Got?”

“I’m with you partner,” Tex said, running towards the stairs with his BAR. Cody and Jordan ran over too, with Ted.

“Some of you guys stay on the ground floor and protect the women,” Sparky yelled as he ran up the stairs with Tex and Robbie.

The people downstairs were returning fire now, M60 machine guns and M-16 rifles spewing lead into the UN positions surrounding the building on Sepulveda and Washington Boulevard.

The roof of the building was a parking lot with rows of new Volvos parked. Jules rushed over to a steel box next to the façade wall and unlocked it, handing out several RPGs.

“We blow cover, shoot thugs, then we take off in Volvos. Many Volvos. Hit 405 and meet again in Santa Clarita. Understanding?”

“Yeah, Jules, we got it,” Tex said, picking up an RPG. He pointed it towards the van in the center and fired, the van leaping into the air, Islamists and UN Peacekeepers running for cover as the people downstairs opened up with automatic fire. Robbie picked up an RPG and hit another of the vehicles, Sparky doing the same. Tex brought up his BAR and wailed away at the fleeing enemy fighters.

“They too stupid to live,” Jules yelled, laughing hard as he fired an RPG into a vehicle trying to do a K-turn. It was hit broadside and rolled into a large group of enemy fighters.

“Look at that,” Sparky said, pointing to a police vehicle with a battering ram on the front. It was speeding towards the front of the dealership.

“Stop that,” Jules yelled.

Tex picked up his RPG and fired, but missed. “It’s moving too fast. I can’t hit it from here. Better go downstairs.”

“No, stand back,” Jules said, getting into one of the Volvos, just above the front where the battering ram was headed. He backed up, then floored the vehicle, rolling out of the driver’s seat as the car broke through the façade and fell down the front of the building. It landed on the battering ram vehicle just as it was punching through the wall. Both vehicles burst into flames.

Sparky laughed. “You crazy son of a bitch.”

“Hey, it work,” Jules shouted, laughing with glee. “Come, drive down ramp. Take weapons. We leave before more come.” He called Ted.

“Was that you, you crazy old devil?” Ted asked.

“Yeah. Round up girls. Get them into vehicles. Take Volvos in lot. Keys in. Meet in Santa Clarita.”

“What about the under aged girls?”

“Take for now. No choice. Go. We taking vehicles off roof. Meet by gate. Be ready to shoot way out.”

They all got into vehicles and started them, rolling down the ramp one after another as the gunfire stopped.

“Morgan!” Robbie called as he got onto the back lot. She saw him and ran over, getting into the car with her M-16. Gil and Karen joined them, Justin and Katie getting into their own car and following. The rest of the group were in cars now, flying out the driveway and onto the street littered with bodies and broken vehicles.

“Go down to Sepulveda and make a right, then another right,” Morgan said. “There’s a ramp to the northbound 405 right there.”

“Got it,” Robbie said, flying onto the street. Some gunfire erupted. Gil pointed his rifle out the window and fired, hitting the man shooting at them, then cocking his 30-30 and hitting another who was next to him.

“Nice shooting,” Robbie shouted.

“There were only two of them,” Gil said as they careened onto Culver Boulevard and raced up the on-ramp, Justin and Katie following, then Dana and three of the under-aged girls. Sparky, Tex, Jules, Ted, Jordan, and the rest followed them in more new Volvos.

“Think we’ll get stopped?” Karen asked, breath coming fast, finger still on the trigger of her M-16.

“It’s gonna be hard for them to do it,” Robbie said.

“They might have put up a roadblock,” Morgan said.

“Then we’ll blow through it,” Robbie said. “I tossed one of the RPGs in the back. See it, Gil?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Maybe I’m sick, but that was kinda fun.”

“Well get used to it,” Robbie said. “You should have been with us at the Torrance City Hall attack. Holy crap.”

The line of Volvos flew down the freeway, weaving in and out of the mid-day traffic.

“What’s going to happen to those girls?” Karen asked.

“We’ll have to deal with that in Santa Clarita, I guess.” Robbie said.

“They all wanted to join,” Morgan said. “Maybe they get their wish.”

“God, I hope not,” Karen said. “They’re so young.”

“None of us are ready for this,” Morgan said. “We do what we have to do.”

“We lose anybody?” Gil asked.

“Not that I saw,” Karen said. “At least downstairs. Lose anybody on the roof?”

“Nope,” Robbie said. “I couldn’t believe when Jules ran that car off the roof. He’s got balls.”

“He’s also got to replace some inventory,” Gil said. Everybody in the car cracked up. Karen looked over at him. “I’m glad I’m here.”

“Me too,” Gil said.

“Look, there’s Sparky,” Morgan said, pointing at the car next to them. Dana was driving, Sparky in the passenger seat holding an M60. “I think Dana likes him.”

“Yeah, I picked that up too,” Karen said. “She flirts a lot with Tex too, though.”

Robbie laughed. “Everybody flirts with Tex.”

“There’s Jules,” Gil said. “He has a huge grin on his face.”

“Who’s with him?” Robbie asked.

“About five women,” Morgan said. “No wonder he’s grinning.”

“Some of the older ones didn’t want to join up,” Karen said. “Wonder how they’re taking this?”

“Good question,” Robbie said. “We’ll see. Jules isn’t going to kidnap them.”

“You trust him now, don’t you?” Morgan asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “I’d trust him with my life. I’ve seen enough of his actions now. He’s a rogue with a good heart. Sparky and Tex too.”

“Ted is scary,” Karen said.

Robbie laughed. “I know him better than any of those guys.”

“I know, he was your boss,” Karen said. “His eyes are so intense.”

“He’s okay,” Robbie said. “He didn’t want to join up at first. Sparky kinda tricked him into it.”

“He doesn’t mind it now,” Morgan said. “I can tell that. He’s loving this.”

“I think he’s scared of himself,” Gil said. “Noticed that in the meeting. Wonder if he gets too crazy in battle?”

“We’ll see,” Robbie said. The traffic thinned out when they started the climb into the Sepulveda Pass. Morgan studied Robbie’s face as he drove, his eyes darting from the road to the rearview mirror and back again every minute.

“See anybody back there?” she asked.

“Nope, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

“We won’t be out of the woods until this whole thing is over,” Karen said.

To be continued…

 

Check out “The Plan” – it’s the story of how the Bugout War started.

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bugout! California Part 54 – The Tent

IMG_1563

Sparky was driving a UN Van, Robbie in the passenger seat, Justin in the back.

“Hate this part of town,” Sparky said. “Freeway access sucks. What’s that street name again?”

“Oak,” Robbie said. “We could’ve taken the 405 to the Harbor Freeway.”

“Maybe we should have,” Sparky said. “Jules said there might still be a checkpoint at PCH and Vermont. Didn’t want to risk it.”

“We’re getting close now, at least,” Justin said. “Just make a left on Lomita and a right on Narbonne.”

“Wish we knew for sure about that checkpoint,” Robbie said. “Be easier to get home that way.”

“I know, kid, but we’ve got plenty of time.”

“I haven’t seen any checkpoints since we got off the freeway,” Justin said.

“Yeah, they’ve pulled back big time,” Robbie said.

“That’s why Ivan is calling us up to the bay area. We have enough people on the ground now to insure that they don’t come back.”

“But there’s still a checkpoint at Vermont?” Robbie asked.

“It’s going to get hit tonight if it’s still there,” Sparky said.

“We’ve got plenty of weapons in the back,” Robbie said. “Maybe we ought to wait until the attack and join in.”

Sparky chuckled. “No, Ivan needs us up north. We don’t want to be killed here.”

“There’s Lomita,” Robbie said. Sparky pulled into the left-turn lane and waited for the light.

“How is it safe for Gil to hang out at his grandparent’s house?” Justin asked. “Wouldn’t they have looked there?”

“It’s been a rental for years,” Robbie said. “You know Gil’s family. They have property all over South Bay.”

“Yeah, the enemy tends to look for residents, not owners,” Sparky said.

“Okay, that make sense,” Robbie said.

The light changed and they made the left onto Narbonne.

“Haven’t been around here for a while,” Sparky said. “You can’t have horses here anymore, can you?”

“Nope, unless you got grandfathered in,” Justin said. “Most of the people that did are dead or in nursing homes by now, I imagine.”

“You have horses, Sparky?” Robbie asked.

“Oh, hell no,” he said. “My sister had one when we were kids. At first the stable she was using was in Lomita. It got moved up to PV.”

“Turn left when you get to PCH,” Justin said. “I think Oak is only a block down. Turn right.”

“Got it,” Sparky said. “How are your women holding up?”

“Katie’s gone from shell-shocked to really pissed overnight,” Justin said. “I’m worried about her.”

“Morgan was quiet this morning,” Robbie said. “Quiet but defiant.”

“There’s PCH,” Sparky said, making the left.

“Hey, look at all that smoke down the street!” Justin said.

“I’ll bet that used to be the checkpoint,” Robbie said.

Sparky got a nervous expression on his face. “Dammit, wish we weren’t in this UN Van.”

“Yeah, what if the guys that took out the checkpoint see us?” Robbie asked.

“Gil have a car?” Sparky asked.

Robbie nodded yes. “Yeah, kind of a beater, but it runs pretty good.”

“If we can stash this out of sight, we ought to take it,” Sparky said. He turned right on Oak street. “Okay, how far down?”

“Gil said to veer left after the mobile home park,” Robbie said. “It’s the first house down the little street.”

“Got it,” Sparky said. “You told him what we were coming in, right?”

“Yeah,” Robbie said, pulling out his phone. He hit Gil’s contact and put it to his ear.

“Robbie, you guys almost here?”

“Yeah, Gil, we’re on Oak street right now. Is there a place where we can put this van that’s out of sight?”

“The garage,” Gil said. “Might have to move a few things. Why?”

“The checkpoint down PCH got hit, from the look of it. We don’t want our guys to attack us because we’re in this van.”

“Oh, so you want me to drive, then?”

“Yeah, man. That work?”

“Sure, no problema,” Gil said. “I’ll get out in the garage and get it ready. See you in a few.”

Robbie ended the call. “He’s getting the garage ready for us to pull in.”

“Perfect,” Sparky said. “I’ve seen a few people checking us out.”

“There’s the street,” Justin said. “See it?”

“Yep,” Sparky said, making the left.

The house was right at the front end of a small tract of custom homes, covered in redwood-stained wood with a nice front yard behind a picket fence. The garage was against the block wall of the mobile home park. Gil was in the garage moving paint cans and boxes over. He waved them inside.

“This will work,” Sparky said as he pulled in slowly.

“Man, am I glad to see you guys,” Gil said as Robbie and Justin piled out of the passenger side. Sparky came out of the driver’s side and walked over.

“This is Sparky,” Robbie said.

“Nice to meet you,” Sparky said, shaking hands.

“Likewise,” Gil said. “Thanks for this.”

“Nice house,” Justin said.

“Yeah, it’s pretty rustic for So Cal,” Gil said. “I tried to talk my folks into letting me live here, but it draws a pretty good rent. More than I can afford.”

“Looks like you’re doing a renovation,” Sparky said. “Let’s close the garage door before somebody takes notice of the van.”

“Good idea,” Gil said. They got out and he clicked the remote he was carrying. The door came down and they went into the house. “We were between renters when things went nuts. Then our contractor fled the area, so here it sat.”

“Wow, this is rustic,” Justin said. “All those beams. Very nice.”

“Yeah, nice fireplace too,” Sparky said. “You got some things to take?”

“My 30-30 rifle and some clothes. I’ve got some food in the fridge. Want me to throw it into the ice chest? It’ll fit in my trunk.”

“Don’t worry about the food, we’re outta here soon anyway,” Sparky said. “Where does that side garage door come out? We need to move weapons out of the van.”

“In the back yard,” Gil said. “I’ll show you.”

They went to the back of the house and out the door into the private backyard.

“Not large, but it’s got good fences and shrubs,” Sparky said, looking around. “This would make a decent safe house.”

“Think so?” Gil asked.

“Yeah, it’s secluded, but you can still see anybody who comes down that driveway.”

They went into the garage and picked up the weapons.

“There’s a small rug we could roll these into,” Gil said. “What the hell is this?” He pointed to a large weapon.

“That’s an M60 machine gun,” Robbie said. “Those are a blast to shoot.”

“No pun intended,” Justin said. All of them chuckled.

“Yeah, the rug is probably a good idea,” Sparky said. “Want to back your car up in front of the garage?”

“Sure,” Gil said. “We can get away with opening the garage door again, right? For a moment, at least?”

“Yeah, it would look better if we’re carrying out a rug,” Justin said.

Sparky nodded in agreement as they went back into the house. Gil went out the front and backed his ancient Ford sedan into the driveway. Then he rushed into the house and wrapped his 30-30 in a big bath towel. “Ready?”

“Yeah, let’s go,” Sparky said. They went out, Gil locking the front door.

“Where’s your car?” Justin asked.

“Left it at work,” he said. “This was my grandpa’s car. We had it stored here for a while.”

“What year is that?” Sparky asked.

“It’s a ’78,” Gil said. “Don’t worry, it runs great.”

“Okay,” Sparky said.

Gil opened the garage door and the trunk. They loaded up, then Gil shut the garage door and got into the driver’s seat. “Ready to go?”

“Yeah,” Robbie said.

“Which way?”

“Let’s avoid that checkpoint,” Sparky said. “Head back to the 405.”

“Yeah, get on at Crenshaw,” Justin said. “No checkpoints along there.”

Gil drove them away.

***

It was nearly two-thirty in the morning when the team arrived back at the big camp. The tribal elders were there to meet them, wide awake even at that hour.

James ran up to the elders. Tyler, Ryan, Zac, and the others followed, all of them in tears.

“Go ahead and be with them,” Seth said to Kaitlyn. “I’m going to stay back and let your people have some time.”

“Yeah, me too,” Angel said. “Go ahead, Megan.”

They both nodded and ran over to the group.

“Maybe we ought to go sit on the ridge and watch for a while, so the warriors up there can join too,” Seth said.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” Trevor said. “Let’s do that.”

“I’ll go too,” Kaylee said.

They walked down the road towards the ridge and climbed up.

“Who’s that?” one of the three warriors asked.

“Seth, Angel, Kaylee, and Trevor,” Trevor said.

“What do you want?”

“We’re here to relieve you so you can go be with your people,” Seth said.

“Oh,” the warrior said. “Should we?”

The others nodded, and they started down the ridge.

“Thanks, man,” the warrior said.

Seth nodded, then sat down, M60 next to him.

“We put the mines in a perfect spot,” Angel said. “There’s no way to get around them.”

“Yeah,” Trevor said. “Where’s your uncle, sweetie?”

Kaylee smiled. “He wanted to be available when the elders started talking about next steps. I’m glad he’s there.”

“Yeah, me too,” Trevor said. “How’re you feeling?”

“Tired and scared, but good. Happy to have won.”

“That’s how I feel,” Angel said.

“You and Megan got to talk a lot on the drive to and from,” Kaylee said.

“Yeah,” Angel said.

“You think you’ll get along?”

“She’s the most interesting woman I’ve ever met,” Angel said, eyes welling with tears.

“Crap, you’re already in love with her, aren’t you?” Kaylee asked softly.

“Pretty much,” Angel said. “We’ll see where it goes. She’s definitely a strong-willed woman.”

“So’s Kaitlyn, but I like it that way,” Seth said. “I don’t know how this is going to go, but I’m hopeful…and excited.”

“How do they feel about you guys?” Trevor asked.

“That’s impossible to answer,” Angel said. “I don’t know her well enough yet.”

“She’s pretty interested,” Kaylee said. “She was asking the right questions about you.

“You talked to her?” Angel asked.

“When we had to make a pause for the cause,” Kaylee said. She looked at Trevor. “No jokes.”

Trevor, Seth, and Angel snickered.

“Crap, I should have known better,” she said, her face breaking into a smile.

“So, do women talk often when they’re squatting in the bushes?” Trevor quipped.

“I said no jokes,” Kaylee said as the men laughed. “Oh, never mind.”

“I’m just teasing you, honey,” Trevor said.

“You’ll pay,” she said, shooting him a wicked smile.

“Uh oh,” Angel said. “So what about Kaitlyn? Am I the only one who has to get embarrassed?”

“I didn’t embarrass you, I just said she asked about you.”

“Well what did you say?”

“I told her you were a serial killer,” Kaylee said. Trevor laughed out loud, then covered his mouth.

“Hope they didn’t hear that down there.”

“Don’t worry, Trevor, we’re far enough away,” Seth said. “Let’s just make sure that we keep serious enough to watch, though, okay?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Trevor said. “Sorry.”

Kaylee looked at Angel. “Don’t tell her about this conversation, okay?”

“Okay,” Angel said.

“I told her you were hard working, loyal to a fault, responsible, and funny, but easily hurt by women,” Kaylee said. “See, that’s not so bad.”

“Easily hurt by women?” Angel asked.

“Melissa,” Kaylee said softly. “Remember how long it took you to get over her.”

“Oh,” Angel said. “Yeah, that one tore me up. I can see myself falling that hard for Megan. Hope it goes better.”

“Melissa wasn’t a nice person,” Seth said. “I was so pissed at her.”

“Let’s not talk about that, okay?” Angel asked.

“Okay,” Seth said. “Sorry.”

Trevor scanned the area. “Looks pretty quiet out there. We have an advantage, you know. They don’t know where we are, so they might drive into sight with their headlights on.”

“Until it gets light, at least,” Seth said.

“What about Kaitlyn?” Angel asked, looking away from the road for a moment.

Kaylee laughed softly.

“What’s so funny?” Seth asked.

“You better watch out,” she said.

“Why?”

“You’d better not tell her about this. Ever. Deal?”

“Should we pinky-swear?” Seth showed a nervous smile, and she rolled her eyes.

“When she talked about you her eyes teared up,” Kaylee said. “That’s a lot of emotion. She’s probably going to be a roller-coaster ride. Might turn out to be a little clingy. Probably a little jealous too.”

Seth smiled. “She told me that.”

“You get along well with her?”

“So far,” Seth said, “but let’s be real. Time will tell. We’ve only just met.”

“Probably won’t take long. Trevor and I are in a new relationship, and I have a pretty good idea where that’s going,” Kaylee said. “We haven’t even…you know.”

“Wow, this is an open conversation,” Trevor said, looking embarrassed.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she said. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Trevor said.

“Hey, Kaylee. Trevor,” Ji-Ho said from the road below them.

“Wonder how much of that he heard,” Trevor whispered.

Kaylee grinned at him. “He practically shoved you into my arms, so who cares,” she whispered. “Yeah, Uncle. What’s up?”

“Come down,” he said. “All. Get rest. We leave in morning.”

“What about the ridge?” Seth asked.

“They have team that slept during day,” Ji-Ho said. “They ten yards behind me.”

“Yeah,” said the warrior who they relieved earlier. “We got this. Go get some shut eye. You guys have done a lot.”

“Okay, thanks,” Seth said.

“How are they taking it?” Kaylee asked Ji-Ho.

“Sad, but lose less than expected,” Ji-Ho said. “They were prepared for all to be dead. This gift to them.”

“But One Eye was such an important person to them,” Angel said.

“They not think like Western or Asian man,” Ji-Ho said. “He honored and missed. Not tragedy in same way as we think.”

“Where we going?” Seth asked as they walked back to camp.

“Not say. Nobody know. If surprise attack, nobody talk. Discuss on road out.”

Trevor chuckled. “There’s a certain wisdom in that.”

“Barona tribe have good culture. I like. I respect.”

They could just make out the house, on the road to the left, and the collection of tents in front of them. It was dark. The fire that was going earlier had been put out, but you could still smell the remainder.

“We won’t get a full night’s sleep, will we?” Kaylee asked.

“Nope,” Ji-Ho said. “Suck up. You young.”

“How did the girls take it?” Angel asked. “The meeting? The memorial?”

“Tears, but proud,” Ji-Ho said. “Good strong women. You treat well. Be men.”

“See you in the morning,” Kaylee said, dragging Trevor into their tent. Seth looked around, hoping to see Kaitlyn, Angel standing next to him.

“Looks like we won’t see them until tomorrow,” Angel said. “It’s okay. Better chance to sleep.”

“You have a point there.” Seth smirked.

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Angel said.

“Neither did I. Good night.”

Seth unzipped his tent and got inside, using his cellphone flashlight to close the door and unzip the sleeping bag. It was too hot to climb in the bag, so he just opened it, spread it on the floor, and got undressed. Suddenly his whole body ached, and sleepiness hit him, in the forehead and then washing all over his body. He laid back, looking at the roof of the dome tent as it fluttered peacefully in the wind. He could hear hushed talking and footsteps here and there, receding into the back of his brain as he drifted off.

“Seth?” a voice whispered.

His eyes jerked open, heart beating. “In here.”

He heard the zipper moving on the door, and then smelled her, an intoxicating mixture of sweat and something else. She came inside, knee bumping his leg as she entered and zipped the tent door closed.

“I’m naked,” Seth whispered. “I’ll put something back on.”

“It’s pitch black in here,” she whispered. He heard her clothes coming off, and then the warm soft flesh of her back was next to him. “We can’t do anything, but we can lay together, okay? Sleep?”

“Oh God,” he said as she moved tighter against him. “Yes, it’s fine.”

“You didn’t come looking for me,” she whispered.

“I wanted to,” he said. “Angel did too. We thought we should let you grieve.”

“Megan’s with Angel,” she whispered.

“Then he’s as happy as I am,” Seth whispered to her. “Can I kiss you? Just once?”

She moaned and turned towards him, the feeling of her shooting through him like a lighting bolt. Their lips touched, a gentle kiss, becoming more passionate. She broke it and looked at him in the darkness.

“Feels like I’d better turn back around,” she whispered.

“Probably a good idea,” he said, moaning as she turned on her side and  spooned into him. “Good night, honey.”

“Good night,” she said, pulling his arm over her waist. They were asleep in a few seconds.

Morning came too fast, light coming through the red nylon, the sound of people floating over the huge group of tents. Seth woke, forgetting for a moment what the warm softness was next to him, opening his eyes to take in the curve of her hips and waist.

“I feel that,” she whispered, turning towards him. He feasted his eyes on her.

“Take a picture, why don’t you,” she said softly, eyes on his. “You want me pretty badly.”

Seth chuckled. “You don’t know the half of it.”

“Well, that gives you something to look forward to someday,” she said with a coy expression, picking up her shirt and pulling it on. She worked on her pants as Seth got dressed.

“Hurry up,” she said. “We need to break down this tent.”

Seth put on his shoes. “We need to break down your tent too, I suspect.”

She giggled. “I did that last night, silly.”

To be continued…

 

Check out “The Plan” – it’s the story of how the Bugout War started.

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bugout! California Part 53 – Life Support

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Trevor sent out the text to everybody, warning them to take cover for a possible attack from the back of their position. Then he hit Ji-Ho’s contact and put the phone to his ear.

“Trevor, got text,” Ji-Ho.

“Turn those mortars around,” Trevor said.

“Already working that,” Ji-Ho said. “Sent James and Tyler down to make sure all of first group dead.”

“Smart, we don’t need those guys firing at us. Talk to you soon. I’ll let you know if the enemy comes this way.”

“What about camp?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Kenny and Bradley just texted the elders,” Trevor said.

“Who Kenny and Bradley?”

“Two of the Barona warriors. Good guys.”

“Okay, we talk soon. Watch self. Protect Kaylee.”

“Always,” he said, hanging up.

“My uncle is moving the mortars?”

“Yep, he was already working on it when I got him on the line.”

They scrambled up the ridge and went over to the other side, the rest of the group doing the same thing.

“How do we know the men in those first set of vehicles are dead?” Kaylee asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” Kenny said. “I just saw James and Tyler down there checking.”

“What if they don’t come that way?” Kaylee asked. “What if they double back and come this way again?”

“Then we scramble for cover, and hope the old man with the RPG can take out the Gaz Tigr before it can hit us,” Trevor said.

“Comforting thought,” Bradley said.

“See anything?” Kaylee asked,

“No,” Trevor said. “This is starting to worry me.”

Suddenly there was a pop and a whistle, a mortar round flying over their heads and blowing up near the ruined vehicles below them.

“Crap!” Kenny shouted. “See where that came from?”

There was a pop near them, and then a bright flash from the willie pete.’

“Ji-Ho is a genius,” Trevor shouted. “See them? Fire!”

Everybody on the ridge opened up, firing at the mortar team first. They ran off in a panic, and then Ji-Ho dropped another mortar round. It blew up in the midst of the vehicles.

“Bullseye!” Trevor shouted. “Hit them again!”

Ji-Ho’s laughter could be heard above the gunfire as he dropped in another willie pete round, the target area exploding in flames. Several men were on fire, running in a panic.

“Whoa!” Kenny shouted. “That’s no fun.”

Bradley fired his AK-47, killing the running men as the others continued to spew lead.

“I think they’re all dead,” Bradley shouted.

“Look, there goes James and Tyler again,” Kenny said, pointing as they ran towards the flames. A gunshot rang out, forcing both of them to the dirt.

“Let them have it, but don’t hit our guys!” Trevor shouted, pointing his M60 at the enemy.

James threw something towards the hulk of one vehicle and it blew up, setting off the gasoline. Another burning man tried to flee, falling in the dirt.

“Geez,” Kaylee said, watching him burn, rolling in agony until Kenny shot him.

“Hopefully that was it,” Trevor said.

“Seriously,” Bradley said.

The group came off the ridge slowly, looking around, guns at the ready. They met near the vehicles.

“We got problem,” Ji-Ho said. “We kill these guys. More come. Follow tracks to camp.”

“I know, I was thinking the same thing,” Seth said. “What do we do?”

“Need to talk,” Ji-Ho said. “In meantime, we use mines.”

“Claymore mines?” Trevor asked. “I thought we had to be nearby to use those.”

“No, vehicle mines,” Ji-Ho said. “Had few. Brought. Good thing.”

“Think we can hear those all the way back at camp?” Clem asked. “If not they’ll just give us a false sense of security.”

“That is a problem,” Kenny said. “Sound doesn’t travel all that well through this terrain.”

“Better than nothing,” Ji-Ho said.

“Wait a minute, let’s use our heads here,” Trevor said. “I say we use the mines, but not at the fork. We put them much closer to camp. Close enough that we’ll hear them go off.”

“That good idea,” Ji-Ho said.

“What about tracks?” Seth asked. “Maybe we should go down this road a ways and then crank back over to the original road.”

“Well, we know there’s a way,” Angel said. “The enemy used it.”

“Yep,” Clem said. “Won’t buy us much, but it may be worth it.”

“We aren’t staying at camp long anyway, are we?” Kaylee asked.

“Where would we go?” Megan asked.

“Yeah, the reservation has been destroyed.” Kaitlyn said.

“Not all of it,” James said. “But it’s probably not safe to go there now.”

“We need to think about,” Ji-Ho said. “Talk to elders. Talk to Sam too.”

“Okay, then I say we head back to camp right now,” Trevor said.

“I agree,” James said.

Others nodded, some saying yes.

“Okay, let’s go, but keep your eyes open all the time,” Tyler said.

***

John sat on a waiting room couch, Sarah asleep against him. Sid and Yvonne were both wide awake.

“It’s been too long,” Yvonne said softly. “Way too long.”

“Don’t get too frightened yet, sweetie,” Sid said.

“Wonder what’s going on with the others?” John asked. “Wonder if they took out those enemy fighters we saw?”

“Hope so,” Sid said. “I think three AM is too late to call.”

“Yeah, it’s not like we can offer any help from here,” Yvonne said.

“Hell, John here probably saved our whole group,” Sid said.

The door opened from the emergency room, the nurse coming out. Her expression was grim.

“Oh no,” Yvonne said, her hand going to her mouth. “She’s gone, isn’t she?” She started to sob.

“Connie’s still alive, but she’s on life support,” the nurse said.

“Is she going to come out of it?” John asked. Sarah woke up, looking at the nurse, and then John.

“What happened?” she asked.

“Connie’s on life support, honey,” John said gently.

“Oh God,” she said, starting to cry.

“What happens now?” Sid asked, fighting back tears.

“We wait until her husband wakes up,” she said. “He’ll have to give the okay to stop life support, if that’s what he decides.”

“There’s no hope?” Sarah asked.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse said. “She’s brain dead.”

“Oh no,” Sid said, breaking down into sobs next to Yvonne, reaching for her.

The emergency room door opened again. A small mousy girl looked out. “Nurse Grace, you’d better get in here. The husband just woke up.”

“He lucid?”

“I don’t know,” the young woman said.

“Okay, coming,” Nurse Grace said. She looked at the others. “I’m so sorry.”

She disappeared through the door.

“What’s Sam gonna do?” Sid asked, rocking on the couch, sobs still coming.

Yvonne stopped crying, but had a numb expression. “I need some air.” She got up and walked to the door, Sid getting up and following her.

“John, what are we gonna do?” Sarah asked. “This is just going to kill him.”

“He’s stronger than you think,” John said.

***

Robbie and Morgan were on the floor, leaned up against the wall next to Justin and Katie.

“Those were good tacos,” Robbie said. “Never been to this place before.”

“You’ve never been to Tito’s?” Morgan asked. “It’s the bomb. One of my old boyfriends loved to go there.”

“Well, he had good taste in more ways than one, then, I guess,” Robbie said.

“Not really,” she said. “He dumped me, and not in a nice way. I was so devastated at the time. Now that seems like nothing to me.” Her eyes teared up.

“I’m so sorry,” Robbie said, pulling her close. Katie watched, starting to cry too. Justin shot Robbie a helpless glance.

“Hey, Robbie, got minute?” Jules asked from down the hall.

“Just a sec,” he said.

“No, go ahead,” Morgan said. “I’m gonna get like this for a while. It’s okay.”

“All right,” Robbie said. He got up and went down the hall. Jules ushered him into the office. Tex, Sparky, and Ted were in there.

“Take seat, kid,” Jules said.

Robbie nodded and sat in the empty chair.

“How’s Morgan?” Sparky asked.

“She’s an emotional wreck,” Robbie said. “I’m worried about her.”

“She’s strong, but you’ll need to give her time,” Sparky said. “You’ll need patience. This is gonna make your relationship difficult for a while, if you get my drift.”

“I know,” Robbie said. “I’ll support her. I really love her.”

“I know, I can tell,” Sparky said.

“You say you have other friends,” Jules said.

“Yeah, Gil and Steve, but only Gil is around. Steve’s the one who left. He went to Mountain High.”

“Oh, yes, forgot, much sorry,” Jules said. “How about Gil? You think he interested?”

“I can call him,” Robbie said.

“Do now,” Jules said.

“Sure.” Robbie pulled out his phone and hit Gil’s contact. It rang several times, and then Gil picked up.

“Robbie, where are you? Thank God, I’ve been scared to death that they killed you.”

“Hi, Gil,” Robbie said. “I’m at a safe house. Where are you? What’s been going on?”

“I’ve been hiding out at my grandparent’s house in Lomita,” he said.

“What happened to your job?”

“Two UN thugs showed up. Killed my boss. I was in the yard out back at the time, and hid when I heard the gunshot.”

“Oh crap. They see you?” Robbie asked.

“No. I waited till they split. My buddy was inside. They left him in charge. He said they took the boss’s daughter with them.”

“What about your parents?”

“When all the ruckus at Torrance City Hall happened, they headed down south. I’m hoping they made it into San Diego County. We’ve got family there.”

“Why didn’t you go?” Robbie asked.

“I’m dangerous to be around. They know where I worked,” Gil said. “They’re already looking for me, because I know they took the girl.”

Robbie laughed. “Think that matters? They’ve been doing this all the time. They took Morgan too.”

“Do they still have her?” Gil asked.

“No, I was able to get her out, with a lot of help.”

“What kind of help?” Gil asked. “A social worker or something? The City? I’d like to get the daughter out. I owe my boss that much. He treated me so well towards the end.”

“What was this girl’s name?” Robbie asked.

“Karen,” Gil said.

“She a lanky redhead?”

“Yeah,” Gil said. “How did you know that?”

“You want to talk to her?”

“No, she barely knows I’m alive,” Gil said. “Where are you? What’s going on?”

“I was involved in that ruckus you were talking about.”

“What!”

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Morgan and Katie were being held in the Torrance Police station. They were being used as comfort women.”

“Katie too? What do you mean comfort women?” he asked, then was silent for a moment. “Oh. Geez. They were raping them. Karen was with them?”

“Yeah, there were a bunch of girls in there,” Robbie said.

“Hey, kid, what you think? Jules asked. “Want to put on speaker?”

Robbie nodded. “Gil, I’m working for Ivan the Butcher now. We’ve got a pitch for you. I’m putting this on speaker.”

“What the hell?” Gil said, half of the words coming over the speaker phone.

“You hear us?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah, I hear you,” Gil said. “What the hell is going on?”

Jules chuckled. “Hi Gil. This is Jules. Lieutenant in the army of Ivan the Butcher. Nice to meet.”

“I guess,” Gil said. “Robbie, how did you get in with these guys?”

“Morgan jotted down her boss’s phone number before she left with the UN thugs,” Robbie said. “After I killed the UN guy they left with me, I found the number and called.”

“That was me. Name’s Sparky. Nice to meet you.”

“Oh, you’re the guy who runs the poker club,” Gil said. “Morgan said good things about you.”

“Glad to hear that. We got Tex and Ted in here too.”

“Nice to meet you, partner. I’m Tex.”

“You probably remember me. Ted. I ran the restaurant that Robbie worked in.”

“Oh, yeah, I know you,” Gil said. “What’s this all about?”

“You want kill UN thugs?” Jules asked.

There was silence on the line for a moment. “What do you want me to do?”

“Join up and go on missions with us,” Robbie said.

“We don’t have a better way to go, do we?” Gil asked.

“Not that I can see, man,” Robbie said.

“Okay, I’m in,” Gil said. “What now?”

“We come pick up,” Jules said. “Let’s work out detail.”

To be continued…

 

Check out “The Plan” – it’s the story of how the Bugout War started.

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2016

Bugout! California Part 52 – The Fork

IMG_1839(2)

Tex drove the UN Van down Washington Boulevard. “Hey, Jules, which way?”

“Go under freeway and turn left into auto dealership. Drive into service bay area in back.”

“Okay,” he said. “Isn’t Tito’s Tacos right by there?”

Jules chuckled. “Yes, is. Maybe get some tonight. I call.”

Sparky watched out the front window, looking for people on the street, hoping they wouldn’t take note of the UN Van.

“Nervous, partner?” Tex asked.

“Hell yeah,” he said. “This area is dense as hell. What happened to the checkpoints?”

“Like Jules said, we just cut the head off the snake. They enemy is running around, not knowing what the hell to do.”

“That won’t last long,” Sparky said under his breath.

“Maybe that coup in Washington will take the wind out of their sails,” Tex said.

“Or maybe they’ll get more desperate,” Sparky said softly. “How long are we staying here?”

“Don’t know,” Tex said. “Jules might know.”

“Know what?” Jules asked, slipping his phone back in his pocket.

“How long we’re staying here,” Tex said.

“Not long, we move up north soon,” Jules said. “Notice no check point. Enemy hunker down. We have on run.”

“So is this a good time for us to split?” Tex asked. “Shouldn’t we stick around and finish the job?”

“Plenty here to take care,” Jules said. “West LA and Valley crew both grow large. People themselves coming out more and more. Look at South Bay. Last night people come and attack checkpoints while we battle in Torrance.”

“There’s the freeway,” Sparky said.

“I see it, partner,” Tex said, driving under it, then turning into the car dealership’s driveway.

“Pull into open bay,” Jules said. “Ted’s van there next to it.”

Tex nodded and turned into it, pulling up far enough for the door to clear. He saw Ted walk over to a button and push it. The door rolled down behind them. Tex shut down the engine.

“Thank God,” Morgan said. “I was afraid we’d get nailed on the way.”

“Me too,” Katie said.

Sparky got out of the passenger door and opened the big sliding door on the side. “Welcome, ladies.”

Everybody got out of the van.

“Follow me,” Jules said, getting out of the driver’s seat. He led the group through a door into the office section of the dealership. “Stay away from front window.”

“Yeah, seriously,” Tex said. They could hear women’s voices as they walked.

“This place is bigger than I expected,” Robbie said, looking around, holding Morgan’s hand. “Who owns this?”

“I do, kid,” Jules said. “I don’t run day to day, but I own.”

“Nice,” Tex said. “How’d you get into this business?”

“Used cars to smuggle dope,” he said, grinning. “Now no need. Just sell cars to yuppies in West La. Make plenty money. Retirement plan.”

“I should’ve guessed,” Sparky said, shaking his head.

Ted peeked his head out the door of a room, motioning them over. “Hey, guys, any problems?”

“Nope,” Tex said. “Easy trip down here.”

“You get the new recruit?” Cody asked.

“Yep,” Robbie said. “Justin.” He nodded towards him.

“Nice to meet you,” Ted said. “I’m Ted. I’ve seen you at the restaurant before.”

“Meeting Robbie,” Justin said. “What happens now?”

“I think we do enough for one day,” Jules said. “Relax. I call for tacos.”

“Tito’s isn’t open this late,” Sparky said.

“They open for us tonight,” Jules said. “I just talk to manager. He knows, he keep people over. Need few guys to carry.”

“No problem,” Tex said. “Love me some tacos.”

“Hell yes,” Stacey said.

“I’ll go too,” Sparky said.

“Okay, you go. Money already taken care of. Get plenty chips and salsa.”

“Got it, Boss,” Tex said. He went down the hallway towards the door with Stacey and Sparky.

“What are you going to do with us?” one of the women asked.

“Let’s talk about that,” Jules said, sitting down in the big room, on a chair facing them. Robbie and Justin leaned against the wall next to their women to listen. Jordan and Ted leaned against the wall next to them, Ted shooting Robbie a nod.

“We have bad guys on run,” Jules said. “We not done, but tide turned.”

“Thank God for that,” one of the women said.

“Here problem,” Jules said. “It not over, and they lash out as we defeat. They know who you are. They’ll go to your residence. Your families are in danger.”

“We know that,” Dana said. “So what do we do?”

“I think it’s gonna depend,” Ted said.

“Depend on what?” Dana asked.

“Well, first of all, it depends on your age. If you’re under eighteen, raise your hands.”

Four hands went up.

“How old?” Jules asked.

“We’re fifteen,” one of them said, nodding towards the girl next to her.

“Sixteen,” said another.

“Seventeen,” said the last of them.

“We need to get you back with your parents,” Ted said. “That probably means we need to collect your parents and take them up north with us for a while. Your families will need to disappear into the woodwork until this mess is over.”

“Yes, we talk after meeting,” Jules said. “Try make contact with families.”

“What about the rest of us?” Dana asked.

“We give choice,” Jules said. “Let go or join us.”

The girls murmured amongst themselves. One of them, a tall redhead with a model’s look, raised her hand.

“Yes?” Jules asked.

“I’m Karen,” she said. “Thanks so much for what you did for us. I don’t know if anybody has said that yet.”

“You welcome,” Jules said. “Much credit go to Robbie and Morgan.”

“We know,” Dana said. “Thank you both.”

“We didn’t do anything special,” Morgan said. “I was just trying to survive.”

“No, you do lot,” Jules said, “but back to subject.”

“I’ve already decided to join you guys, if you’ll have me,” Dana said.

“You don’t want to know what it will be like?” Jordan asked. “It’s going to get rough.”

“Don’t care,” Dana said. “I’d either be dead or a sex slave if not for you guys. You have my respect and my loyalty.”

“What would we be doing?” Karen asked.

“We join Ivan in Bay Area,” Jules said. “Get groundswell started like we did here. Attack checkpoints. Kill UN thugs and Islamists. Blow up headquarters. Spy.”

“You all need to understand how dangerous this is going to be,” Ted said. “Chances are good that some of you will be killed. Maybe a lot of you.”

“The alternative is releasing us into an area that is still at least partially controlled by the enemy,” Dana said, “and we’re probably already being hunted. I’m not so sure going that route is any safer than joining you.”

“You might be right about that,” Jordan said.

“I’ll stay with you guys until I personally kill twenty-three UN thugs,” Dana said.

“Twenty-three?” Jordan asked.

Dana teared up, but her expression was one of determination and hatred. “One for every time I was raped.” Karen touched her shoulder, and then hugged her.

“I’ll join too,” she said. “I didn’t keep count, but it was a similar number. I’ll have a hard time getting over that. If I don’t get some of my own back, it’ll be worse.”

There were some murmurs of agreement, but some of the women just looked shell-shocked.

“What if we want to join?” asked one of the fifteen-year-olds.

“Must talk with parents. Maybe recruit them too,” Jules said. “Not our decision, not minor’s decision.”

“My parents won’t have much choice, I’ll bet,” the seventeen-year-old said.

“I suggest that all of you take some time to think about this,” Morgan said. “Ivan is on our side at this point, but you’ll be entering a dark world.”

“She’s right,” Ted said. “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, but I won’t candy coat this. You’ll be working with ex-members of the Russian mob and worse. You’ll have to watch yourselves, and you’ll no doubt be subject to the rules of that type of organization.”

“Rules?” Katie asked.

“He right, you need understand,” Jules said. “We no play games. You violate trust, you change sides, you talk to enemy, we kill you.”

Dana chuckled. “Yeah, I get it. Don’t care. You guys have me.”

“You okay with this?” Katie asked Morgan.

“I’m with my man,” Morgan said. “He’s decided to join up, and I agree.”

“Don’t decide tonight,” Justin said. “I’m going to join, but if you don’t want to I’ll make sure you get taken to a safe place to ride this out.”

“You’ve decided?” she asked.

“Yes,” Justin said. “We have to take back our nation. We’ve both seen what life under these thugs would be like. You worse than me, Katie. I’d rather be dead than let these monsters rule over us.”

“You might get your wish,” Jordan said. “That being said, I agree with Justin. I just met these guys yesterday, and I’m going to pledge my life to them. This can’t stand. Our liberty means something. Our children’s and grandchildren’s liberty means something. If I must give up my life for this, it’s no different than all the men who gave their lives in the Civil War. The duty has fallen to our generation. How can we deny it?”

“My God, man, you’re gonna make me cry with that stuff,” Ted said.

Jules chuckled. “Maybe Ivan make you spokesperson. But okay, we talk again tomorrow. Eat. Relax. Feel safe. Think.”

Morgan hugged Robbie. “Thanks for saving me.”

“You’re my life,” Robbie said. “Do you think I could leave you in that place?”

She just looked at him, then hugged him tighter. “I love you so.”

“And I love you, honey,” Robbie said. “Always.”

Sparky, Tex, and Stacey came in with several big bags, the smell of spicy beef and salsa filling the room.

“Tito’s!” Tex said. “Let’s put it on that big table over there.”

“Yes, do,” Jules said. “I call Ivan. Eat up. See you in while.” He got up and went down the hall into another office.

***

Trevor stopped when he got to the fork and got out of the car, Kaylee following. He studied the road to camp as the other vehicles stopped. Some people started to get out of their vehicles.

“NO!” Trevor shouted. “Don’t get out. We don’t need a whole lot of footprints around here. Let me look. We’ll probably have to drag the area at the beginning of this fork back to camp to get rid of the tracks. Then we need to make sure we leave good tracks in the other direction, and find an ambush spot. Got it?”

“Yeah,” Ji-Ho shouted. “He right. Sit tight for minute.”

Trevor and Kaylee grabbed their phones and turned on the flashlights, then took a careful look at the road.

“It’s hard here,” Kaylee said.

“Yeah, it is,” Trevor said. “There’s a little bit of track there, by the shoulder. I can fix that and walk back over on the hard pack.”

“We need to make sure some of the vehicles hit the soft shoulder in the new direction,” Kaylee said, looking at it.

“Get back in the Jeep and send a text about that while I brush these tracks,” Trevor said.

She nodded and got back behind the wheel of the Jeep. Trevor pulled out a bush and used it like a broom, brushing over the tracks that had strayed outside the hard-packed road, then jumped to the hard pack and got back into the Jeep’s passenger seat.

“All set?” he asked.

“Yeah, sent the text to my uncle, and he forwarded it to the rest of the group.”

“Perfect,” Trevor said. “Let’s go find a good place to nail these jerks.”

Kaylee drove forward, the long caravan following.

“Hope this road is good enough to tow over,” she said.

“Just had the same thought. Maybe we ought to be taking some of the off-roaders off the hitches anyway. The two-seaters at least. One person driving, the other with an M60. That could cause the enemy a lot of trouble.”

“I’d rather find a ridge with some cover,” Kaylee said.

“You might get your wish. Look up ahead. About four hundred yards. You can see a ridge climbing.”

“You’ve got good night vision,” Kaylee said. “That might work. Looks like a good-sized ridge with a full view of the area.”

They drove for another few minutes, the ridge rising to their left. After a few hundred yards, they could see the back side.

“Look at that!” Trevor said. “Perfect. I’ll text your uncle and spread the word to park behind this.”

“Okay,” Kaylee said. “I’ll pull in right past that little mound and check it out.”

“Go slow. I’ll unhitch the off roader if we need to.”

“Okay, sweetie,” she said. When she cleared the mound she turned left, the loose dirt of the ground making the Jeep lurch. “Should we stop?”

“No, just slow down a little,” Trevor said as he finished the text. “There, it’s sent. Pull way up there. We’ll need plenty of room for all our vehicles.”

“Okay,” Kaylee said, glancing at him for a second. “Scared?”

“Not as scared as I was before the first battle,” Trevor said. They got out and rushed to the tailgate to grab their weapons as the other vehicles rolled up.

“Gonna get us some more, eh?” Angel said, rushing over with Megan by his side. They both had their guns.

“Who want to help with mortars?” Ji-Ho asked.

“I will,” Trevor said.

“No, you too good with rifle. Somebody else.”

“I got you covered,” James said. “Won’t be needing my crossbow this time.”

“Good,” Ji-Ho said.

“We’ll help too,” Tyler said, walking up with Zac and Ryan.

“That good enough,” Ji-Ho said. “Let’s set up good welcome.”

“We’ll spot for you,” Seth said. “Keep your phone handy.”

“Good,” Ji-Ho said. He led the others to where the mortars and rounds were. They picked them up and headed towards the low part of the ridge. The rest of the force went up onto the higher part of the ridge, carrying their long guns.

“Good thing we got tipped off,” Kaitlyn said to Seth as they climbed the hill.

“Seriously,” he said. “Could have been really bad. The hardest part of this is going to be keeping them from escaping.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah, honey,” he said. “Shoot, sorry.”

“I told you I like that,” she said softly.

Clem walked over to Ji-Ho. “You got any more of those RPGs?”

“Yes, in Jeep Unlimited there,” he said. “You want?”

“Well, I can fire those from the road. I don’t think I want to be climbing up the side of no mountains.”

“That good, we could use. Light them up while we sight in these mortars.”

“Wish we could take a practice shot or two,” James said.

“They’d just turn around if we did that,” Tyler said.

“I know,” James said. “At least if we screw up from here we won’t hit our own folks. This made me nervous last time.”

“I good with these,” Ji-Ho said as he stopped on a flat spot near the top of the ridge. “This nice place.”

They started to set up.

Trevor and Kaylee laid down on the ridge, surrounded by Barona warriors, watching quietly.

“They’re coming with their lights off, I suspect,” Trevor said. He saw Seth and Kaitlyn about sixty yards to the right of them. Angel and Megan were past them, another twenty yards away. “There’s our friends.”

“Those girls are sticking to Seth and Angel like glue,” Kaylee said. One of the young warriors snickered.

“What?” she asked.

“Those guys are in more danger from them than the enemy.”

“Shut up, man,” another one said. “That’s not nice.”

“I notice you aren’t with one of them.”

“I think they’re lovely,” Kaylee said.

“They are that,” the first warrior said. “I’m Bradley.”

“Kaylee, and this is Trevor.”

“I’m Kenny,” the other warrior said. “Good to meet you guys.”

“Likewise,” Trevor said, smiling at them as he loaded his Winchester.

“You’re gonna use that old lever gun?” Kenny asked.

“For backup,” he said. “I’ve got one of the M60s for my main gun, but it’s harder to load.”

“Harder than the tubular magazine on one of those relics?” Bradley asked.

“You can top these up,” Trevor said.

“You know, that’s a good point,” Bradley said.

“Hey, think that’s them?” Kaylee asked, squinting through the darkness.

“Yeah, that’s them,” Trevor said, getting out his phone. He broadcast a text.

“I see four Jeeps and two of those Humvee-looking things,” Bradley said. “Those have good armor?”

“Better than a civilian Jeep,” Trevor said. “A mortar round will splatter it. So will an RPG.”

“Who’s manning those RPGs?” Kenny asked. “Maybe we should’ve brought them up here.”

“Some old guy that Ji-Ho was with,” Bradley said. “He’s down on the road.”

“Hope he doesn’t get shot,” Trevor said.

“I hope none of us get shot,” Kaylee said.

“Look, they’re stopping at the fork in the road,” Trevor said.

“One of them has a flashlight,” Kaylee whispered, watching it shine around both sides of the fork.

“Oh, God, I hope they come this way,” Trevor said. “Maybe we should’ve gotten to camp and set up there.”

“Dammit,” Kaylee said. “Look. Two of the Jeeps and one of those military things are going towards camp.”

“Son of a bitch,” Trevor said. “We got anybody armed back at camp?”

“Yeah, we never leave the elders unprotected,” Bradley said. “Texting them right now. I’ll tell them to put out Claymore mines and be ready to fight.”

Suddenly there was a pop, and a mortar round fell behind the vehicles coming towards the ridge, making a bright flash that lit the whole area. Everybody on the ridge opened up, the vehicles driving around in a panic.

Trevor laughed. “Ji-Ho saw what happened at the fork. Let’s see if those other vehicles keep going.”

The Gaz Tigr fired its top-mounted machine gun, sending rock chips over the snipers, causing them to move back for a second.

Another mortar round popped, flying over the vehicles, blowing up behind them as they continued looking for cover.

“Dammit, they’re hard to hit when they can move that fast,” Trevor said.

Then there was a big explosion, the Gaz Tigr blowing up with a loud rumble.

“It’s the old guy with the RPG!” Bradley shouted. “Yes!”

One of the Jeeps was stopped by machinegun fire, it’s tires flattened. Several men piled out, hit by rifle shots before they got more than a few yards. The other Jeep took fire through the windows, killing the driver.

“Those other vehicles didn’t come back,” Trevor said.

“We’d better watch out,” Kaylee said. “They might be able to turn right past those rocks up there and get behind us.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Trevor said. He pulled out his phone and texted frantically as the others turned around, looking behind them.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

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