Trevor looked around in a panic for the big boom as he pulled the coach forward.
“Seth’s fine, honey,” Kaylee said, just before she fired another volley out the gun slit with the M60.
“Look, that Gaz Tigr behind the curtain of flames is looking for a way out,” Trevor said. “I’m gonna shoot it with the mini-gun.”
“Might not want to waste the ammo,” Kaylee shouted. “It’s gonna burn up anyway. The fire is all the way down the highway on this side and growing fast.”
Suddenly there was another big boom, and the Gaz Tigr blew sky high.
“What the hell is that?” Trevor asked. “Look at all that smoke!”
“I smell black powder,” Kaylee said. “Garrett’s men are here.”
There was another boom, and one of the buildings in the compound lost a wall on one side, then a hail of bullets hit the UN Peacekeepers and Islamists trying to escape.
“That’s them, all right,” Trevor said as he scanned through the gun sight. There was another boom, hitting the building a second time, breaking half of it down. Trevor burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Kaylee said.
“That’s a frigging cannon!”
Another big boom went off, the smell of black powder getting more intense.
“Cannon?” Kaylee asked.
“You know, like a Civil War cannon,” Trevor said. “They pulled it in with horses, I suspect.”
“Geez,” Kaylee said. “They still work.”
“And how,” Trevor said. “Makes sense, since they use black powder for everything.”
Kaylee fired the M60 at another group of fleeing enemy fighters, mowing them down. “Seems like we only have to keep them from escaping now.”
“I’m going to move the coach around so we’re facing the action,” Trevor said. “We’ve got a crap load of ammo for those forward and rear guns.”
“Sounds good,” Kaylee said, holding on as Trevor moved the coach. When he had it oriented right, he shut down the engine and set up siege mode again. Kaylee got into the passenger side again and pulled out the tray. “Here comes some now.”
“Nail them,” Trevor said. She fired, taking out the first row of fighters, some of them diving for the trees. Trevor got up and grabbed the M60, then opened the gun slit on the passenger side and sprayed fire at the fleeing men, hitting all of them.
“Nice shooting,” Kaylee said. “Here comes some more.” She fired the forward guns, hitting most of the fighters, and then the cannon fired again, hitting the building that the men were fleeing from, knocking down the wall. Kaylee aimed and fired into it. Somebody else fired several grenades into the ruined building and it exploded.
“Here comes the cavalry,” Trevor shouted, watching them flood in from two sides, guns blazing. Islamists and UN Peacekeepers were in a panic now, trying to leave the area, their only escape route through the flames cut off. Many dropped their weapons and held up their hands, only to be cut down by the horsemen.
“This is another rout,” Trevor said, smiling.
“They’re just killing those men,” Kaylee said.
“Who laid a trap for us and tried to kill the tribal women and children on the trail,” Trevor said. “I have no problem with this at all.”
After several minutes, there was silence.
“What now?” Kaylee asked. “Should we go home?”
“Soon,” Trevor said. “I want to go look around.”
“You’re going outside?” she asked.
“I’ll take the Winchester. You stay here and man the guns, though, okay? Just in case there’s still a working Gaz Tigr lurking around.”
“Okay,” she said. “Don’t get shot.”
“I won’t,” he said, picking up his Winchester and chambering a round. He topped off the gun’s magazine and stuffed a handful of .44 mag ammo into his pocket, then slipped out the door. Garrett and several of his men were huddled around the cannon.
“Where the hell did you get that thing?” Trevor asked as he walked up.
“Long story,” Garrett said. “Got two more protecting our home.”
“That thing did a good job here,” Seth said, walking up to join them. “What now? Should we take off for home?”
“Don’t see why not,” Garrett said. “Heard that we won on the trail too.”
“Yep,” Garrett said. “The older people and children should be arriving back at the Williams place any minute now. You guys probably should take off. We’ll clean up here and join you in a little while.”
“Thanks,” Seth said. “You guys saved us again.”
“You’re welcome, but don’t sell yourselves short. You softened them up to the point that we didn’t lose any men.”
“The fire helped,” Trevor said.
“How did that happen, anyway?” Garrett asked.
“We got rushed by a large group of fighters,” Trevor said. “Kaylee was at the gun slit with the M60. Hit them point-blank when they were about twenty yards out. One of them had a Molotov Cocktail in his hand. He fell and it lit the dry leaves and pine needles on fire.”
Garrett chuckled. “Nice break. Worked out well for us, this place being abandoned. Nobody’s cleaned up for a while. That’s a bad idea around here.”
“Think it’ll continue to spread?” Seth asked. “Should we try to put it out?”
“I think it’ll stop by the roads, but when we pull out I’ll contact the fire department.”
“Hey, boss, they’re already on their way. Here the sirens?”
Garrett laughed. “Nope, my ears are still ringing from that damn cannon.”
“Let’s go,” Seth said. “I know Kaitlyn will want to meet the members of the tribe that are coming in.”
“Yeah, you guys take off,” Garrett said. “We’ll see you in an hour or two. Keep your eyes open. If you see any enemy fighters near the Williams place, call me.”
“Got it,” Trevor said.
“See you back there, bro,” Seth said.
“Okay,” Trevor said. He went back to the coach.
“Everything okay?” Kaylee asked.
“Yeah, we’re going home, but we need to keep our eyes open, and call Garrett if we run into any bad guys.”
“Good,” Kaylee said.
Trevor got behind the wheel, took the rig out of siege mode, and drove away, the other rigs following him.
Sam and Erica walked the trail. Garrett’s men had already come back, not finding more enemy fighters. The elderly and children were gone, taken back in the vehicles. Sid and Yvonne gave up their Jeep for that purpose, and were walking with the tribe now. Ed continued to patrol behind and then ahead of the group in his hovercraft, watching for threats.
“We’re moving a lot faster now,” Erica said. “I’m getting tired.”
“Yeah, me too, but I feel good,” Sam said. His phone dinged.
“We have cell coverage. That means we’re getting closer to civilization.”
“You going to read it?”
Sam nodded, and fished his phone out of his pocket. “Our folks just defeated the enemy. They’re heading back to the Williams place.”
“Good,” Erica said. Sam laughed.
“Garrett brought an old cannon along. Blew the hell out of the enemy positions with it.”
“You mean like an old-time cannon? Muzzle loader?”
“Yep,” Sam said, shaking his head. “That must have made a cool sound.”
“What a motley crew we are,” Erica said, grinning.
“You got that right,” Sam said. “I love it.”
She smirked at him. “You’re a romantic just like Garrett is, aren’t you?”
“Not quite that much, but there is that side of me, for sure.”
“I like that,” Erica said. “You fight well, too.”
“As do you. I can see how Kaitlyn got so good.
“She was a natural,” Erica said. “I only pointed her in the right direction. She picked things up in a hurry. She’s better than I am now.”
“Only because she’s young,” Sam said. “Trevor’s better than me for the same reason.”
“I’m anxious to meet your friends,” Erica said. “I liked Yvonne and Sid very much.”
“They’re my closest friends,” Sam said. “John and Sarah are close too, though, and Ji-Ho, and Clem.”
“I’m sure I’ll get along well with all of them,” Erica said.
Sam’s phone dinged again. He looked at it, his brow furrowed.
“I don’t like that look,” Erica said.
“Ji-Ho,” Sam said. “He passed out after they got back to the Williams place. They’re having trouble getting him to wake up.”
“Oh no,” Erica said. “Did he get wounded?”
“Doesn’t sound like it,” Sam said. “Dammit, wish we were closer.”
“We’ll be home in a few hours,” Erica said. “Does he have a medical problem?”
“Not that I know of, but he’s no spring chicken.”
“Well, don’t let it drive you nuts,” she said. “Nothing we can do about it now, and he’s not alone.”
Jules was beside himself. He’d been all over the winery looking for Shelly, as had several of his friends. Tex and Karen rushed over to him.
“Did you try to call her again, partner? She’s no longer on the grounds, from what I can see.”
“I try. Went to voicemail. She ignore.”
“She’ll cool down,” Karen said. “If this upset her as much as it did, she has feelings for you.”
“I blow it,” Jules said. “I let charade go on too long.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself,” Tex said. “Your heart was in the right place. She’ll figure that out.”
“I hope,” Jules said.
“We’re going back,” Karen said.
“Thanks for helping,” Jules said. “I look more. Maybe she hide. I be back later.”
“Okay, partner,” Tex said. “Don’t worry, she’s fine, I’m sure.”
The couple walked away. When they were out of sight, Jules let himself go, crying out loud, walking and calling her name. Look in the places she could hide again. He headed towards the boundary of the property, where there was a line of trees, a few outbuildings, and a barn. He went into the first building, looking around for the second time, his heart sinking when he saw she wasn’t there.
“Maybe next one,” he said, moving out into the next building. It was empty too, but there were footprints in the dirty floor. Small feet. That her. He looked frantically around the outside of the building, then rushed to the next one, his heart hammering in his chest, calling her name again, breaking into sobs. The barn door creaked open, blonde hair swaying as Shelly looked outside, her eyes red from crying.
“I’m over here, Jules,” she said. He rushed to her.
“I so sorry,” Jules said.
“Shut up,” she said, moving into his arms, holding him tight as they both cried.
“I blow it bad. I know. Please forgive me.”
She moved back and looked into his eyes. “Don’t ever do that to me again. That’s a must, if this is going to work.”
“I promise,” he said. She hugged him again, then looked up at him, and kissed him hard. The passion exploded between them, the kiss going on for minutes as they held each other tight. They finally broke the kiss and stared at each other.
“You were crying,” she said. “I’m really getting to you, aren’t I?”
“I love you,” Jules said. “So much.”
She looked at him as he waited for her to react, getting a soft smile on her face. “I know. I’m in love with you too, in case you couldn’t tell.”
He kissed her again, his hands on her back, her returning it with passion.
“I want you right now,” Shelly said, pulling him inside the barn. “Up there.” He followed her up the ladder to the hay loft, Shelly pushing him down onto his back, pulling her shirt over her head, watching his reaction. “Get undressed, silly.”
He moaned and stripped out of his clothes, watching as she got naked before him, and then she was down with him, kissing him again as their hands roamed over each other.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “You made me fall for you. That was that last thing I thought I wanted.”
“I want you from first,” Jules said. “First for beauty, then because this.” He petted her head. “You soul mate.”
“I think you might be right,” she said. “I can’t believe I’m saying that. She moved on top of him, caressing his body with herself, kissing him again as he caressed her back.
“Oh, God,” he said, moaning as she moved on him, pausing to take him, then feeling the bliss, the love washing over him in a way he’d never experienced.
“Jules,” Shelly said as she moved, biting her lower lip. “I’m yours now.”
They exploded into passion together, coming down, lying next to each other on their sides, not wanting to lose eye contact. Jules brushed the blonde hair out of her eyes, both still breathing fast.
“Now I don’t want fight anymore,” Jules said. “I just want to disappear with you and make babies.”
“All in good time,” she said. “I know you. We have a war to win. Then we get each other.”
“You are brave woman,” Jules said. “We do. We fight and win. Then we live.”
“We can live until then, too, you know,” Shelly said. “Like we are now.”
Somebody called Jules’s name from outside.
“Tex,” Jules said. He slipped his clothes on quickly and stuck his head out the opening of the hayloft. “I find her. She fine!”
“Oh, great,” Tex said. “I was worried. Couldn’t just sit and wait.”
“I’m sorry, Shelly,” Karen cried out. “Please forgive me.”
“I forgive you,” Shelly cried out. “In fact, I thank you. Now go make Tex happy. I’m not done in here with Jules yet.”
Tex chuckled, looking down at Karen, whose face was turning three shades of red.
“That sounds like good advice,” Karen shouted. “Have fun. We’ll talk later.”
The couple left. Shelly stood and walked to Jules, then spun for him, letting him take in her gorgeous body. “You like what you see? It’s for you. Only you.”
“Oh, yes,” Jules said, moving towards her.
“Get those clothes back off right now,” she said.
He practically tore them off and then they were with each other again, with more passion than before, eventually falling asleep in each other’s arms.
Trevor and Kaylee were watching Ji-Ho, his chest rising and falling slowly, breath laboring. Seth and Angel were there too, with Kaitlyn and Megan, the others outside the coach.
“What’s wrong with him?” Kaylee asked, tears running down her cheeks. She looked at Ji-Ho, then back at Trevor. “He’s been out for too long.
Ji-Ho’s eyes fluttered open.
“He’s waking,” Trevor said.
“Uncle, can you hear me?” Kaylee asked.
“Yes,” he croaked softly. “Sorry.”
“You’re scaring the crap out of us,” Trevor said.
“I talk Kaylee alone, please?”
“Of course,” Trevor said, eyes full of worry. “I’ll be right outside, honey.”
Kaylee nodded as he left the coach with the others.
“We’re alone, uncle,” Kaylee said, getting closer to him.
“I have cancer,” he whispered to her. “Treatment stopped, not working. Maybe six months left, but I go downhill faster now.”
“Oh no,” Kaylee said, crying. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You need be strong for war,” he said. “I do best can with time left. I’ll recover fast, but this happen more often as time go on.”
“Maybe we can find you better treatment,” Kaylee said, petting his forehead. “I don’t want you to leave me.”
“Already try,” Ji-Ho said. “Got wife set up safely. You last person I protect, set up.”
“What else is wrong?” Kaylee asked. “There’s something else. I can see it.”
“Parents,” Ji-Ho said, tears coming from his eyes. “Brother. Killed by UN thugs before escape. I so sorry.”
“Oh, my God,” Kaylee cried, sobbing now. Ji-Ho took her hand.
“I’m sorry I not tell before. Had to get you away, in thick of it. Had to get you bonded, protected by somebody when I gone.”
“Trevor,” she whispered. “You knew all along that he was the one.”
“No, I hoped. I know Matt not right one.”
“You didn’t do anything to help with his demise, did you?” Kaylee asked, looking him in the eyes.
“No, no, I not,” Ji-Ho said. “I swear. What happened is what I expect, though. I thought it you instead of blonde girl who get hurt. Glad it not you. Trevor is a good man. You marry, have children, live happy life.”
“That’s what we’re planning,” she said. “I’m in love with him. Deeply.”
“I can see,” Ji-Ho said, half a smile on his face now. He was becoming more awake.
“You should have told me about my parents,” Kaylee said, “but I understand.”
“Sorry,” he said. “Glass water, please. I’m almost back.”
She got up and filled a glass, taking it to him as he sat up. He took a drink. “Thank. I be okay. Maybe sleep for while. We won battle. Things look up.”
“Yes, we won,” Kaylee said. “I’ll leave you alone, but I’m going to check on you in a little while, okay?”
“Okay,” Ji-Ho said, lying back down, setting the glass on the table by the couch. “Keep eyes open, protect man. I know he protect you.”
“You sound like you’re saying goodbye. Don’t do that.”
“I not, but never know,” Ji-ho said.
Kaylee got up and left the coach, rushing into Trevor’s arms.
“Crap, he didn’t die, did he?” Trevor asked as she sobbed.
“No, but he just told me that my parents were killed,” she said, looking at him through tears.
“When they were trying to escape,” she said.
“I’m so sorry, honey,” Trevor said, pulling her close, hugging her as she started crying again.
“There’s more,” she said. “Uncle has cancer. He’s got only six months left at best.”
“No,” Trevor said, feeling himself starting to cry. “Not him.”
“You’ve gotten attached to him,” she said.
“He’s family to me,” Trevor said.
To be continued…
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!
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 2017