Bugout! California Part 118 – Mechanic

Ryan struggled with the tourniquet, holding one end with his good hand and the other in his teeth, pulling it as hard as he could. He couldn’t see the Jeep anymore, but made note of the direction. He was sweating like crazy, the hot sun beating down on him with no mercy. Can I make it back down? He started, using his feet and one hand, the bullet wound in his shoulder now just a dull ache.

Down. Slip a few feet. Grab. Slow down. Slip a little more. He was exhausted when he hit the bottom, looking around for a shady spot to rest. Nothing. He was thirsty, and remembered the water bottle he had in the bottom pocket of his cargo shorts. He pulled it out. Only a third left. He took a small sip and put it away, then got up and walked to the road. There was shade under the hovercraft, which was still propped up. He sat under it for a few minutes, catching his breath as he cooled down slightly, noticing the parts and tools on the sand where the Jeep had been. Can I fix this thing? He turned towards the spot where the transfer case attached. The bad one was already off. Four studs were there. He looked around on the ground. The four nuts were sitting next to him. Can I lift the new one? He got out from under the hovercraft and walked to the pile of parts and tools, picking up the transfer case. It was heavy, but he could lift it with is good arm. He wrestled it over to the Hovercraft, dreading the point where he had to pick it up and fit the splined shaft and the holes for the nuts against the bottom of the engine. Here goes.

He lifted it, his shoulder burning with pain as he made a shove, losing his grip, the heavy transfer case falling onto the ground beside him. He picked it up, rotating the shaft so the splines would align closer with the mounting holes, and then tried again, his shoulder going numb. The part slipped in. He scrunched up so his good shoulder was holding it in place, the sharp angles of the transfer case biting into his skin. The first bolt. Once that’s on, the others will be easy. He reached for it, feeling the transfer case slip down slightly when he moved, grabbing the nut in a panic, twisting it on the closest bolt, getting a few threads engaged, then turning it harder, getting it as tight as he could with his fingers. He was right, the other three were easy. He had them all finger tight, then looked at the pile of tools, seeing the wrench. He couldn’t reach it, so he crawled out from under the craft, into the blaring sun again, picking up the tool, dropping it as it burned his hand, then grabbing it again and tossing it into the shade under the propped-up vehicle. He looked at the tools, picked out a couple more he thought he might need, and tossed them into the shade too, then crawled back underneath. Water. He took out the bottle and had a sip, then put it in the shade next to him. The wrench was cool enough to hold now, so he tightened the four bolts, stopping when the hovercraft started to shift on the angle iron pieces that were propping it up.

Propeller. He glanced around. It was sitting in front of the hovercraft. He could reach it from underneath, and pulled it into the shade, letting it cool for a few minutes. His phone dinged. He pulled it out and looked. It was from Ed.

Posse on the way. Stay put.

Ryan typed a reply. No, hovercraft almost fixed. Not enough water left to wait for horses.

Ed sent a reply. If you leave, will you remember which way they were taken?

Ryan typed Yes and went back to work.

The propeller was cool enough now. He lifted it into place and then remembered that he needed the nuts to fasten it. He started searching, finding them under the front of the hovercraft, realizing that his crawling around almost buried them in the sand. He picked them up, then lifted the propeller again and got all the nuts started, then tightened them down.

“Now, will it start?” he asked himself, sliding out from the shade and looking at the angle irons. He moved one, and the hovercraft shifted, creaking as the frame twisted. Dammit. Slow down. Think. He took another drink of water, eyeing the amount left with worry.

He positioned himself between the angle irons, trying to reach both, his wounded shoulder burning with pain. He could just do it, and started rocking back and forth, working the pieces out slowly, the hovercraft finally falling down onto its skids. “Good thing this is sandy,” he said to himself as he looked at it. “Wonder how much gas I have?”

His phone dinged again. He looked at it. Ed. Big water jug rolled down hill. Was at least half-full. Check. He walked to the edge of the road and looked down. The clear plastic jug was there, caught by some brush, but it wasn’t an easy climb. Loose rocks and sand, then a steeper drop to the river bed about twenty feet below. Not enough to kill him, but enough to hurt him badly. Wait. That chain. He turned, looking for it, seeing it still attached to the back end of the hovercraft. He hobbled over to it and undid the bolt holding it on. Too short. Dammit. I need to get out of here. He tossed the tools into the back of the craft, and noticed another half-full bottle of water on the floor in front of the back seat, but it was only a small bottle. He reached for it, putting it in the cup holder next to the driver’s seat, then climbed in and started the engine. It started easily, settling into a purring idle. Gas. The gauge said half a tank. Ed always left cans along the way. Did he take this road the whole way out? Hopefully. The cans were red. Easy to spot. What if the enemy got them? He shrugged, then engaged the clutch for the bottom propeller, the hovercraft lifting off the ground. He pushed the throttle forward and drove towards home.

***

Ed sent a message to Tyler from his bed. He arrived in a few minutes.

“What’s up?” he asked as he sat down in a chair by the bed.

“Ryan got the hovercraft fixed,” Ed said, his expression showing a mixture of pride and worry.

“What? How?”

“The cretins must have thrown the parts and the tools out of the Jeep to make room,” Ed said. “Or Zac and Bradley were a lot further along when they got snatched than I was thinking.”

“He texted you about this?”

“Yep,” Ed said. “He replied about it when I texted him to stay put.”

Tyler chuckled. “Sounds like Ryan. How are we gonna figure out where to start with the posse?”

“He said he knows which way they went,” Ed said.

“Maybe we should text him now and get the information, just in case.”

“He won’t hear it,” Ed said. “That hovercraft is loud. I usually wear ear plugs now. It was taking too much of a toll.”

“Crap, I don’t like this,” Tyler said.

There was a knock on the door.

“Come on,” Ed said. The door opened, Anna and Garrett walking in.

“We’re just about ready to take off,” Garrett said. “Think a hundred men is enough?”

“You probably won’t catch them,” Ed said. “They have a Jeep and a head start.”

“Jeeps leave tracks,” Garrett said. “Unlike that hovercraft of yours. We’ll at least figure out the general direction. Anything on Ryan?”

“That’s what we were just talking about,” Tyler said. “He got the hovercraft running again. He’s on his way back here.”

“Good,” Garrett said. “Hope he’s not going in the same direction as the enemy. He’ll erase the tracks.”

“He’s not,” Ed said. “I’m sure of it.”

“How?” Garrett asked.

“I just am,” Ed said. “Trust me on this.”

“Okay,” Garrett said.

“He’s gonna run out of gas before he gets here, isn’t he?” Anna asked.

“No, he knows that I stash gas cans along the way,” Ed said. “He’ll find the first of them before he’s down to a quarter of a tank. Hope he was able to get that water jug.”

“That went down the side of the hill, didn’t it?” Tyler asked.

“Yeah,” Ed said. “There was a little in another bottle, on the floor in the back seat. Hopefully it’s still there.”

“All right, I’m leaving,” Garrett said. “Wish me luck.”

“Thanks,” Ed said. “Good luck.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “Wish I was going with you.”

“Better that you don’t,” Garrett said. “They’re liable to hit us here or at Dodge City.”

“I know,” Tyler said. He watched as Anna and Garrett went out hand in hand, then turned back to Ed.

“Those two will marry,” Ed said quietly.

“She’s still married, remember?” Tyler asked.

“That’s over,” Ed said. “I’m happy about this, by the way.”

“I know, I am too, both for them and for us.”

“Yes,” Ed said. “It will cement our peoples together.”

***

Jules looked at his phone as Sparky drove the battle wagon down Ygnacio Valley Road, a smile washing over his face. “Front of roadblock under attack with small force, most held in reserve. Diversion.”

“Where do we turn?” Sparky asked.

“Meadow Lane,” Shelly said. “It’s coming up fast. Follow that around and get on the northbound 680 going the wrong way. They’re about to have a very bad day.”

“This fun,” Jules said.

“Don’t get overconfident,” Sparky said. “This could go a lot of ways.”

“I not,” Jules said. “We need to run this by numbers. They have several Gaz Tigrs. Take them first, before they get off shots.”

“There’s Meadow Lane,” Sparky said, making a left turn. “Another deserted street.”

“Hope we don’t run into any checkpoints,” Dana said. Jules snickered.

“It won’t be good for them if do,” Jules said.

“I can see three battle wagons behind us,” Sparky said, watching his rear-view mirrors. “No, four.”

“Rest be along soon,” Jules said, watching the texts flow on his phone. “Good firefight going on in front of roadblock. They bring in chopper. Our folks shoot down.”

“Now I see six back there,” Sparky said. “That’s all of us.”

“Excellent,” Jules said. “Slow down so they get close. We need united front when we get on road.”

“Will they be able to see us?” Shelly asked.

“If they look, yes,” Jules said. “Right now they worried about what’s to south, not what’s to north.”

“Listen,” Dana said. “Automatic fire.”

“Yeah, there’s a lot of smoke, too,” Shelly said. “Off to the side of the road.”

“Probably the chopper,” Sparky said, taking the final curve before the freeway on-ramp.

“Raise guns right before we go up off-ramp,” Jules said. “I text others with same.”

“Yeah, we need to be ready to fire,” Dana said. “This isn’t just UN folks. I see Islamist hits up there with them. They aren’t hiding the fact they’re together anymore, are they?”

“Yes and no,” Jules said. “They got exposed by Ivan’s TV show.”

“We’re gonna need to be careful where we fire these mini-guns,” Sparky said. “We don’t want to kill our own people on the other side of their position.”

“Yes, use mini-guns for Gaz Tigrs, grenades for UN Vans and the roadblock itself.” Jules said. “I text that. Thanks.”

“There’s the off-ramp,” Sparky said, making the turn and raising the mini-gun and the grenade launcher as the massive coach climbed the ramp.

“I can see them,” Shelly said, looking out the windshield. “Four hundred yards, give or take.

“The Gaz Tigrs see us,” Dana said.

“On it,” Sparky said, opening fire, hitting one and then a second one. Then another coach was next to them, firing at the other two, stopping both of them. Grenades began flying, hitting the UN Vans as the enemy ran for cover, some trying to jump off the elevated freeway.

“That’s too far to jump,” Shelly said, watching them.

“Use front machine guns,” Jules said. She nodded, eye on the reticle, sweeping lead into the mass of panicked UN Peacekeepers and Islamists as more of the battle wagons got up onto the road and joined in.

Jules laughed. “Look! They run.”

“Watch the back,” Dana said, looking at the console that Shelly was using. “More vehicles getting on behind us. Better fire.”

“I’ll hit our folks,” Shelly said. They could hear bullets hitting the armor and the rear of the coach, then explosions and mini-gun fire behind them.

“That’s Tex,” Jules said, smiling. “and Robbie.”

“Maybe we ought to have a few assets placed there to guard our retreat,” Sparky said.

“Look, enemy done,” Jules said. “Our forces rushing forward. Turn around. We take this road. I text others.”

Sparky nodded and made a wide turn, the other coaches following his lead, and soon they were all racing up the freeway.

“Should I keep the guns out?” Sparky asked.

“Yes, do,” Jules said, watching his phone. “Good thing that Islamists are joining with UN. We can see. Another group on way to road, closer to Concord. We blast. More Ivan people on way too.”

“How are we gonna hide when this is over?” Shelly asked.

“We on attack, not retreat,” Jules said. “Ivan have trap set. Follow road. Changes to 242. Then take Highway 4 west. I guide from there.”

“Hope you guys know what you’re doing,” Sparky said. “They’re probably watching us with satellite right now.”

“Nope,” Jules said. “Same people who help Ivan with TV broadcast jam satellite. Planes grounded too. US Airforce help.”

“They’re not on the side of the Feds?” Dana asked.

“No, not,” Jules said. “Feds don’t know yet. They get education.”

“We’re gonna hit a roadblock,” Shelly said. “I can see the Islamists moving around up ahead. Right after the road changes to 242.”

“They probably be gone before we get there, but if not, we blast,” Jules said.

“We’ll find out quick,” Sparky said. “The sign for 242 says two miles.”

“This is scary as hell,” Dana said.

“It be okay,” Jules said.

“Yeah, honey, we’ll do fine,” Sparky said.

Shelly laughed. “Those Islamists are fleeing to the west. Somebody’s chasing them.”

“You see? I say, no?” Jules said.

“Look, they didn’t even get the barricades set up,” Sparky said.

“Stop! Tack strips,” Dana shouted.

“Son of a bitch!” Sparky yelled, slamming on the breaks, tires screeching. The other coaches got the message and stopped too. Jules grabbed one of the M60s. “I go.”

“Me too,” Sparky said.

“No, you stay behind the wheel,” Shelly said. “I’ll go.” She picked up her M-16 and followed Jules out the door. Machinegun fire started up, and they both hit the dirt.

“Dammit,’ Shelly said. “See where it’s coming from?” They heard the motor of the mini gun turning, then the gun fired, sweeping along the edge of the road to screams in Arabic.

“C’mon,” Jules shouted. They ran over to the tack strip, grabbing it and pulling it out of the way of the vehicles, tossing it over the side. Jules looked over the edge, seeing a group of Islamists running in their direction from below, and opened fire with the M60, mowing down the first row and causing the others to flee in a panic.

Coaches started rolling past the spot where the tack strip was.

“Jules, let’s go now!” Shelly cried.

He nodded and they ran back to the coach, getting safely inside.

“Hit it!” Jules said. Sparky hit the gas and they rolled forward, following the last of the coaches through the area.

“No more hits up ahead,” Dana said, “so if there’s more action coming, it’ll just be the UN.”

“Thanks for saving us, Dana,” Jules said. “We are in your debt.”

She nodded, looking scared but happy.

“There’s the turnoff for Highway 4,” Sparky said, following the other coaches on the transition.

“I sent text to watch for strips,” Jules said. “Who in lead?”

“Ted’s rig, I think,” Sparky said. “At least he was the first one to continue on after you pulled the strip out of the way. We should’ve kept that, you know.”

“Too much bother,” Jules said. “Thought about.”

They drove along, everybody watching out either the windshield or a side window. Highway 4 wove its way through residential areas. Jules sent a text with directions for their next location, then walked over to Sparky.

“Get off at Railroad Avenue coming southwest. Follow as turn to Kirker Pass Road. Then take Nortonville Road.”

“What the hell is out there?” Sparky asked.

“Nortonville, and large enemy base,” Jules said. “Action not over yet. Girls, help me reload weapons.”

Sparky gripped the wheel, eyes on the vehicles in front of him, their weapons still out. “Hey Jules, how about the weapons? In or out?”

“Out,” Jules said. “Everybody know. We not care now. On offensive.”

“What’s the target?” Shelly asked.

“Main communications facility,” Jules said. “We shut down, blind whole operation.”

“They’ve got their communications way out here?” Sparky asked.

Jules chuckled. “They think safe. Maybe not so much, no?”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 117 – Foster

Zac, Bradley, and Ryan cruised down the dusty road in their Jeep, the back filled with replacement parts for Ed’s hovercraft.

“Should be just around this bend,” Zac said from behind the wheel.

“Watch the apps,” Ryan said, looking around nervously, M-60 across his lap in the back seat.

“Nobody around,” Bradley said. “I think we chased them away from this area.”

“I don’t,” Ryan said, his brow furrowed, eyes squinting as he scanned the hills on either side. They rounded a big rock outcropping, and there was the hovercraft, stuck on the downside of a berm to the right of the road.

“It’s gonna take all three of us to wrestle that sucker back onto flat ground,” Zac said as he parked.

“We could hook it to the Jeep and pull it up,” Bradley said, climbing out of the passenger seat. Ryan jumped out of the back, Zac getting out of the driver’s seat. They walked to the hovercraft, Zac looking underneath in the morning sun.

“Starting to get hot,” Bradley said.

“Seriously,” Zac said, getting back up. “I think the skids will protect the bottom well enough if we tow it up. Need to move a couple of those rocks, though.”

“On it,” Bradley said, lifting the bowling-ball sized rocks away from the front of the hovercraft, as Zac got behind the wheel of the Jeep.

“I’ll help,” Ryan said.

They worked for a couple minutes.

“Okay, we’re clear,” Bradley said, dusting his hands off against each other. He stood with Ryan and watched Zac back up to the edge of the road. Then Bradley pulled the chain out of the back, attaching an end onto the Jeep’s rear hook as Ryan pulled the other end towards the hovercraft. He got down on his hands and knees and looked underneath. “We need a big bolt or something to attach this.”

“Got something,” Zac said. He rushed from the driver’s seat to the back and opened the floor compartment, pulling out a large bolt with washers and a nut on it.

“That’ll work,” Ryan said, smiling as Zac walked over. He used it to fasten the chain, then rushed back to the driver’s seat.

“Watch for me,” Zac said. He started the engine and moved forward slowly, the Jeep in 2L four-wheel drive. The hovercraft moved when the chain got taut, sliding up the dirt and onto the road.

“Hold it,” Bradley said.

Zac shut down the engine and joined the others.

“We’re gonna have to prop this up,” Ryan said.

Bradley smiled. “That’s what the angle iron is for. We’ll prop it up like a lean-to so we can get to the busted transfer case.”

The three men struggled to get the hovercraft propped up.

“That’s stable enough,” Zac said.

“You guys need me here?” Ryan asked.

“No, not really,” Zac said. “Why?”

“I want to go on that ridge over there and keep watch, just in case. We can’t see those damn UN guys on the apps, remember?”

“Good idea,” Bradley said.

“Yeah, go ahead,” Zac said. “We’ll be done in about twenty minutes, as long as there isn’t something busted that I don’t expect.”

Ryan nodded and trotted down the road, making a left and going up the side of a small ridge. The wind blew his hair around as he reached the top. He looked, squinting again, watching for signs of movement, his M60 next to him. His phone dinged with a text. It was Ed, asking if they got there. Ryan replied yes, and said he was watching from the ridge. Ed replied with a thank you. Ryan went back to watching the area, as the sun rose higher in the sky, scorching the area.

Zac and Bradley had the bottom propeller and the broken transfer case off the hovercraft in about ten minutes, fighting the heat and the sweat which was running into their eyes.

“Damn, this sucks, man,” Bradley said.

“We’ll be done in a few minutes,” Zac said. “Let’s get a drink, though. We’re sweating enough to get dehydrated in a hurry.”

Ryan watched, thinking he was hearing something. What was it? Buckles hitting each other? Rustling? He caught movement out of the corner of his eye. European Commandos. Damn UN. Three coming from the ridge next to the road. Where were they hiding? They were almost to the hovercraft. It was too late to send a text. He leveled his M60, wishing it was a sniper rifle, and squeezed off two rounds, causing Zac and Bradley to whirl around.

“Hold it,” shouted one of the Commandos. They froze, Ryan above trying to get a bead on them, when shots came at him from the other side of the road, one hitting him in the upper arm. He fell beneath the top of the ridge.

“We got that son of bitch,” shouted one of the men in an Italian accent. “Grab them. We take their Jeep.”

The men rushed Zac and Bradley, one frisking as the others covered them.

“Dammit,” Zac said under his breath.

“Shut up,” the commando closest to him said, smacking him in the face with his rifle butt, knocking him out cold.

“Stop, fool,” another commando said. “You want to carry these guys?”

“We’re putting them in their Jeep anyway,” said the man who hit Zac. The men lifted Zac into the back, tossing out the rest of the hovercraft parts and the tools.

“You, get in back,” a commando said to Bradley. He nodded, staying silent, climbing in next to Zac, several guns on them.

“We’ll get them to the van in this,” a man with a German accent said, getting behind the wheel.

“Maybe we should keep this, and follow in it,” another said.

“It might be bugged, idiot,” the German said. “Get in. Now.”

All five commandos squeezed into the Jeep, two of them sitting in the back, guns on Zac and Bradley. The German fired it up and drove forward on the road.

***

Garrett woke up, the sun shining through the window. He threw back the covers, feeling Anna’s matronly body against his side. She stirred, stretching, then rolling towards him, covering one side.

“Good morning,” she said sleepily.

“Yes, it is,” Garrett said, his hand caressing her body as she stretched again. “This is nice.”

“Me?”

“Us together,” Garrett said, finding her mouth and kissing her deeply.

“Our breath,” Anna said, smiling at him.

“Do you really care?”

“No,” she said, coming in for another kiss. “Take me again.”

Garrett moaned, rolling onto her, not taking any time for foreplay. They rushed towards their peak, then came down, lying next to each other on their backs.

“Can we stay here all day?” Garrett asked.

“We’ll have to work up to that. I’m sore. It’s been a while for me.”

“Then maybe we should have breakfast,” Garrett said, getting out of bed. He went to the bathroom for a moment, then came back out and picked his phone off the dresser, looking at the string of text messages. “Dammit.”

“Oh no, what now?” Anna asked, sitting up.

“Zac and Bradley got nabbed while they were trying to fix Ed’s hovercraft. Ryan got wounded, but they didn’t take him. He was up on a ridge. They left him for dead.”

“No,” Anna said. “What’re we going to do?”

“Send in a posse,” Garrett said, getting underwear out of his dresser. “I need to go.”

“Are you going back to the Williams place?” she asked.

Garrett watched her get out of bed and get dressed. She noticed.

“Disappointed?”

“And worried sick,” Garrett said. “Such are the times we live in. We have to take what time we can and hope for more later.”

“Yes, we do,” she said, pulling her top on.

“We have any leads on where they took our warriors?”

“Ryan said they continued on the road where the hovercraft broke down,” Garrett said. He sat on a stool and put his boots on.

“Ryan’s a more experienced warrior than the other two,” Anna said. She walked to him fully dressed. “Ready to go.”

“Good, me too,” Garrett said.

“Somebody already going after Ryan?”

“No, Ed forbid a small group going out there again,” Garrett said. “Shouldn’t have sent three guys out there on their own in the first place.”

“Yep,” Anna said. They walked down the stairs and out onto the veranda, the heat of the day ramping up. Garrett motioned to Tommy and he rushed over.

“Yeah, boss?”

“Tommy, I’m taking off. Two of our guys got nabbed. We’re riding out to find them. Keep an eye on things. When does the main group come back from the hunting trip?”

“They got back early this morning,” Tommy said. “They need to sleep a little while longer.”

“They have any luck?”

“Yeah,” Tommy said. “Four deer. That’ll hold us for a little while.”

“Good,” Garrett said. He helped Anna into the truck, then got behind the wheel and took off.

“What if those people who knocked out Tommy come back?” Anna asked.

“They’ll get killed,” Garrett said. “We’re back up to twenty guys at the bunkhouse, and all of them are good fighters.”

Anna nodded as they bounced along, rolling past the town and onto the highway, heading for the Williams place at high speed.

***

Sam was sitting on the couch looking at his phone screen, Mia next to him with a coloring book in her lap and a box of Crayola’s next to her. Erica came in from the back of the coach, noticing Sam’s worried expression.

“Something wrong?” she asked.

“Let’s go in the back and talk for a minute,” he said, glancing down at Mia.

“Mia, we’ll be right back, okay?” Erica said.

“Okay,” she said, not looking up from her coloring. Sam got up and followed her into the back.

“Let’s have it,” Erica said in hushed tones.

“Zac and Bradley got ambushed and captured by the UN,” he said, his face grim. “While they were working on Ed’s hovercraft.”

“Oh no,” Erica said. “What about Ryan? He went with them.”

“Ryan got wounded, but it sounds like he’s okay. He was up on the ridge, watching for them.”

“Then how did they get the drop on our guys?”

“Not sure,” Sam said. “Garrett and a posse are on their way out there.”

“Sam, when are you coming back?” Mia asked from the couch.

“We done?” Sam asked.

“Wait, we need to talk about something else real quick,” she said.

“Sam!” Mia said.

“She’s scared to be by herself,” Sam said. “There’s still some popsicles in the freezer. I can give her one if we need a few minutes.”

“Bribing that little girl, are we?” Erica asked.

Sam chuckled. “Maybe that’s not a good idea. Can we discuss it in front of her?”

“I can talk around it,” Erica said. “C’mon.”

They went back out, Sam getting on the couch next to Mia. She settled against him, smiling. “Look, it’s pretty.”

“That’s beautiful, honey,” Sam said, looking at the page she’d just colored. He glanced up at Erica, who was smiling. “Ready?”

“We need to discuss our family,” she said.

“You’re not, are you?” Sam asked. “We’ve been careful.”

She smiled. “The birth already happened.” She nodded towards Mia.

Sam shot her a blank look. She raised her eyebrows at him, and his expression changed to one of love. “You want her.”

“So do you,” Erica said, her eyes welling with tears. “Let’s not kid ourselves.”

Sam looked down for a moment, then back up at her, his eyes tearing up too. He shook his head yes. “How? Are those systems even in place anymore?”

“It’ll have to be unofficial until we can get it taken care of.”

“There might be somebody,” Sam said. “More distantly related. They might come out of the woodwork someday.”

“Let’s worry about that if and when it comes up,” Erica said. “For right now, she needs somebody. I think that somebody is us.”

“Are you sure? You wanted to have your own when this was over.”

“And we still can,” Erica said. “She could use a brother or sister.”

Sam was quiet for a moment. “What about us? Shouldn’t we make it official?”

“In due time,” Erica said. “I’m not going anywhere. Are you?”

“No,” Sam said. “Not a chance.”

“So, we can call it settled?”

Sam shook his head yes. “When to we break it to her?”

“I want to chat with Anna about it some,” Erica said. “She might have some ideas on how to broach it with her. She was involved in our preschool back when we had an operating reservation.”

“I’m good with that,” Sam said. “That means I can spoil her a little longer.”

“No you can’t,” Erica said with a grin. “We need to adjust our mindset, and fast.”

“What about the battles?”

“Anna and the others will watch her. We need to get her used to them as soon as possible.”

“They’ll be okay with that?” Sam asked.

“Yes,” Erica said.

“I’m hungry,” Mia said.

“Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” Erica asked.

“Yes,” Mia said.

“Say please.”

Mia looked at her for a moment. “My mom used to say that.”

“Because it’s what you’re supposed to do,” Erica said.

“Please?” she asked.

“Yes,” Erica said, getting up. She fixed the sandwich, putting it on a small plate, then taking it to the dinette table. “Over here. You can bring your coloring book if you want to.”

She smiled and got up, knocking the crayon box on the floor. “Uh oh.”

“Don’t worry, sweetie, I’ll pick them up,” Sam said. He watched as she climbed onto the dinette bench and set down her book. Then he picked up the crayons, put them in the box, and set them on the dinette next to her book. Erica put her arm around Sam’s waist, pulling him next to her. Mia looked up at them.

“Are you going to be my new mommy and daddy?” she asked.

Sam and Erica glanced at each other, then back at her.

“Would you like that, honey?” Sam asked.

“Yes,” she said. “If you can sing to me at bedtime. My daddy used to do that.”

Sam struggled to keep from crying. “Of course I will, honey.”

“Okay,” she said.

“Well, that was easy,” Erica whispered. She kissed Sam on the cheek. “Maybe it’s time for us to eat lunch too.”

***

“Tex still behind us?” Robbie asked from behind the wheel of their rig.

“Yep,” Morgan said. “Too far back to see, but I just got a text from Karen a second ago. The rest of the rigs are on the road too, about ten minutes behind us.”

“Not all bunched up, I hope.”

“Can’t tell you that,” Morgan said, eyes scanning forward. “You think we’re gonna escape?”

“I’m worried about it. How can we not be under surveillance at this point? There’s video cameras everywhere, and the enemy knows all about these damn battle wagons now. They might be following us the whole way.”

“We’ve done damage,” Morgan said. “Maybe that’s enough to keep them off the trail for a while.”

“Makes me sick that they’ve left the other hostage locations.”

Morgan sighed. “I know. Haven’t heard that they’ve found bodies at the other locations. Hopefully that’s a good sign.”

Robbie was quiet for a moment, his face serious. He looked over at her. “Did you want to just die? When you were a captive?”

“No,” she said quickly. “Not even once. Not even when they were on me.”

“Why?”

“Because of the chance that I was going to get free,” she said. “My love for you helped me a lot. It was a source of strength. You’re thinking that the remaining hostages would be better off dead?”

“I don’t pretend to understand what it’s like to be raped over and over.”

“Every POW who was tortured has a pretty good idea,” Morgan said. “You don’t hear about them wanting to end it all instead.”

“Sometimes you do,” Robbie said.

Morgan sat silently for a moment. “Okay, you’re right. We had a few who had a really hard time. Dana was one. Brooke too. The worst was Lily.”

“Crap, two of them are dead,” Robbie said.

“Lily killed herself,” Morgan said, “but Brooke didn’t. Brooke went down fighting for her life.”

“She did,” Robbie said.

“Lily probably would’ve killed herself eventually no matter what, you know,” Morgan said. “She’d tried more than once before this war started. She was severely bi-polar. The meds weren’t doing enough for her.”

“She told you that?”

Morgan nodded yes, not looking at him. “Dana has night terrors.”

“Who told you that?”

“Sparky,” Morgan said. “You know we’re close.”

“Yes, I know,” Robbie said. “I’m close with Ted.”

“Strange that both of our bosses ended up in this outfit,” Morgan said, shaking her head.

Robbie was quiet again as they drove along, brow furrowed, grinding his teeth.

“You want to ask me more,” Morgan said. “Go ahead.”

“No, we should drop it,” Robbie said. “At least for now. We’re flapping in the breeze. I’d rather keep focused on staying alive.”

“Are you afraid that I’m going to go nutso sometime in the future?”

“I think it’s possible that you’ll have problems,” Robbie said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It doesn’t worry me.”

“Then what?”

“I promise we’ll talk about it later, okay?” Robbie said. “I really don’t want to now.”

Morgan looked over at him. “I’m not going to stop loving you because of what happened to me. Please believe me.”

Robbie looked at her for a long moment, then back at the road. “That was never a question in my mind, honey. Really.”

Both of their phones dinged.

“Uh oh, text from Jules,” Morgan said. “Don’t look at it. I’ll read it to you.”

“Okay,” Robbie said.

“Ivan says roadblock coming up, shortly before Concord. He’s got a team on the way to destroy it, but we need to get off the road, and come around the back side. Get off in Walnut Creek, onto Ygnacio Valley Road and head northeast. Wait for further instructions.”

“Here we go,” Robbie said. “Walnut Creek is only two miles away.”

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 116 – Red Resistance

Ted checked the text message as Stacey set up siege mode. Now they were hearing gunfire along with the explosions.

“Stop!” Ted said. “Let’s get this thing ready to roll.”

“What’s going on?” Haley asked.

“There are some patriots who took Ivan’s message seriously,” Ted said, on his way to the door. “They’re hitting a UN facility right now. There’s Islamists there too. One of you girls use the app while I go unhook us. It’s happening in a private school, a couple miles west of us.”

“Who’s heading there?” Stacey asked as siege mode rolled back.

“Everybody close by,” Ted said as he walked away. He was back inside in a flash. “Ready to go. See the site?”

“Yeah, just under a mile away,” Haley said. “Only about twenty Islamists there. Why are we helping?”

“It’s one of the rescue locations,” Ted said.

“Oh, crap,” Brianna said.

Haley looked closer at her phone. “They’re on Mount Diablo Scenic Boulevard. Take Clubhouse Road to Alameda Diablo. Then go right on Cll Los Callados. It runs right into Mount Diablo. Make a right there, and the school will be on the left.”

Ted got behind the wheel and they drove out of the Country Club, onto the street. Gunfire was ramping up, and more explosions.

“Who else is coming?” Brianna asked.

“Tex and Karen, Jules and Shelly with Sparky and Dana, and Robbie and Morgan,” Ted said.

“We’d better bring more,” Haley said. “I see a line of Islamists heading for the area.”

“Where?” Stacey asked, sitting in front of the gun console.

“Blackhawk Road, heading in from the southeast,” Haley said. “I’m sending a text to Jules, just in case he hasn’t noticed.” She sent the text. Her phone dinged after a moment.

“Well?” Brianna asked.

“They see it. The rest of the rigs are on the way, but some are further away than others.”

“These are tight roads,” Ted said as he drove down Cll Los Callados.

“Maybe I ought to get out the M60s and let one of the women take the console,” Stacey said.

“Yeah, good idea,” Ted said. “Send Haley up here. She’s got experience.”

Stacey nodded and left the passenger seat, Haley taking his spot. “Seeing any enemy vehicles yet?”

“Nope,” Ted said. “We’ll be on site in a couple of minutes.”

***

Sanchez was hunkered down, returning fire at the school, a line of UN Peacekeepers and Islamists shooting at them from the roof of the main building.

“We bit off more than we can chew, dude,” he said. “Wish we brought more dynamite and more ammo.”

A young man with long blonde hair looked at him. “I just sent a message out on 4Chan. We know Ivan watches that. We’ll probably get help.”

“Hope so, Kerry, because otherwise we’ll be dead,” Sanchez said, wiping sweat off his forehead. He put the rifle to his shoulder and fired, hitting an Islamist who was trying to sneak forward. That brought a barrage of fire from the roof, and then there were explosions on the far side of the school.

Kerry smiled. “That’s Johnson. He’s still got some explosives left.”

“Look, the main building is on fire,” Sanchez said. Those creeps on the roof will have to find someplace else. We might not be pinned down for much longer.”

“Well, let’s keep at them,” Kerry said. “Watch the ground-floor of the building. We can see three of the doors.”

“Here they come, dude,” Sanchez said, waiting for a few men to rush out. He and Kerry opened fire with their rifles, Sanchez working the lever furiously on his Marlin, Kerry firing with his Ruger Mini-14. They dropped several men, the others racing back into the building.

“Wonder if there are doors on the other side of the building?” Kerry asked.

“If so, Jones and Curtain will nail their asses,” Sanchez said.

“If they’re still alive,” Kerry said. “Haven’t heard from either for a while. Most of the others are still sending texts.”

Suddenly a large group ran out from behind the building, racing for cover behind cars in the parking lot.

“Dammit,” Sanchez shouted. “Hit those guys.”

“On it,” Kerry said, firing at them, hitting a couple, the survivors returning fire with AK-47s.

“We’re out gunned, man,” Sanchez said, struggling to reload his Marlin. “We should’ve brought more than twenty guys.”

“This isn’t the only battle,” Kerry said. “And twenty is all we had trained well enough.”

The men behind the cars rushed out, Sanchez stopping his reload and firing, hitting two of the six, Kerry hitting three more. The last one got to cover closer to them and opened fire, forcing their heads down.

“I have to reload the Mini-14 in a sec,” Kerry said. “You ready?”

Sanchez stuffed the last couple of rounds into the side gate of his Marlin and aimed. “I’m ready. Only have seven shots, though, so hurry.”

Kerry nodded as he reloaded. “I’m almost out of ammo, man. This magazine and another half magazine and I’m out.”

“Maybe we ought to be looking for an escape, then,” Sanchez said. “There’s one.” He fired, hitting a running Islamist in the side, and then another hail of bullets flew at them, forcing them down.

“This is almost over, man,” Kerry said. “Nice fighting with you.”

“Don’t you dare give up,” Sanchez said. Then there was a shot from behind them, hitting one of the tree trunks nearby.

“Dammit, they’re behind us now,” Kerry said.

“Son of a bitch.” Sanchez turned and fired, hitting two running UN Peacekeepers, but an Islamist fired, hitting him in the shoulder.

“Sanchez!” Kerry cried, firing fast, hitting the Islamist and several others who were rushing forward. Then there was firing from the other side again, one of the bullets splitting Sanchez’s head wide open.

Kerry looked at him in horror, and opened fire, killing a couple more UN Peacekeepers, the fire returned from several spots in front of him. He could see people sneaking forward, going from car to car in the lot, too fast for him to hit. He was almost out of ammo, firing wildly, running out, struggling to reload. Then a large group rose, rushing him like a football defense line. Kerry said his prayers, but then the running men were cut down, some of them nearly in half, as automatic fire flew at them. They broke and ran, and then there was automatic fire from the other side of the building, causing Islamists and UN Peacekeepers to flee right towards Kerry again, only to be hit with more automatic fire. There were light sounding pops, and several grenades went off around the building and the parking lot.

“Holy crap,” Kerry said, watching in amazement, reloading what was left of his ammo and joining in, crying out with glee as he watched the enemy cut to ribbons. Then he saw it. A massive bus-like vehicle with a mini-gun mounted at the rear and a grenade launcher mounted near the front. Islamist from another building peppered it with gunfire, all of which bounced off as the mini-gun moved on its turret, sweeping fire on the roof, dropping about half of the Islamists. Then grenades hit the roof from three directions, blowing half the building up. Kerry’s phone dinged. He read the text. It’s Ivan’s folks!

Automatic fire and grenade explosions continued after Kerry shot his last round, and then he heard explosions and automatic fire to the southeast.

“Hey,” somebody yelled, rushing up with a military weapon, gun belt dangling under it. “See anymore?”

“Who are you?” Kerry asked.

“Stacey,” he said, crouching next to him. “You’re out of ammo. What’s that take?”

“It takes .223,” Kerry said.

Stacey pulled a box out of the lower pocket in his cargo pants and slid it to him.

“Wow, thanks,” Kerry said, hurrying to reload. “You with Ivan?”

“Yep,” Stacey said. Ted ran up behind him with his M60.

“He a friendly?” Ted asked.

“Yeah, and I just gave him more ammo,” Stacey said.

“How do you know he’s not an enemy fighter?”

“Look at his gun, man. That’s a mini-14. The enemy is carrying AKs, mostly.”

“Okay,” Ted said, looking at Kerry. “You know about the girls?”

“What girls?” Kerry asked.

“We were gonna hit this place and liberate women the enemy has been holding here as sex slaves,” Stacey said. “You guys beat us to the punch.”

“Son of a bitch,” Kerry said. “We just hit it because we knew it was a UN base. We didn’t expect to see Islamists here.”

“They’re all over the place,” Ted said. “I think Jules and Tex took out the ones coming up here on Blackhawk road.”

“There were more coming?” Kerry asked.

“Yep,” Stacey said. There were more explosions and automatic fire to the south east. “Speak of the devil.”

“I think we killed most of the enemy at the campus,” Ted said. “We’d better go take a look.”

“Want company?” Kerry asked.

“Are you military?” Ted asked.

“Nope,” Kerry said, “but I’m a good shot.”

“Hang out here and cover us, then,” Ted said. He took off in a crouch with Stacey. The sound of choppers approached.

“Crap, look out,” Kerry yelled.

“It’s TV choppers,” Ted yelled back. “Don’t fire on them. Ivan will need the footage.”

There was the sound of approaching vehicles, and then two UN Vans came into view.

“Look out!” Kerry shouted, firing on the lead van. Then a grenade hit them from one of the battle wagons, blowing them both up.

“This isn’t over,” Ted shouted. “C’mon, let’s get into those buildings.”

They rushed forward, going into the closest building to the main building, which was now fully engulfed in fire. Ted kicked the door in and they entered, shooting two UN Peacekeepers who were hiding inside. The building was like a small warehouse, stuffed to the rafters with ammo, rifles, and other weaponry.

“Wow, the mother lode,” Stacey said. “Maybe we ought to give this to the resistance team.”

Ted stuck his head out the door, and motioned to Kerry, who trotted over, his eyes wide as he saw everything. “Does your organization need some firepower?”

“Hell yes,” Kerry said. “I’ll text the others to come over.”

“You ever fired one of these?” Stacey asked.

“Nope,” Kerry said as he sent the text.

“I’ll show you guys after the others get here,” Stacey said. “How many folks did you bring?”

“Twenty total,” Kerry said as he sent the text.

“You guys decided to take this place on with twenty guys?” Stacey asked. “You’re brave.”

“Yeah, that’s biting off a lot,” Ted said. “These guys are well equipped, and the Islamists fight pretty well. You’re gonna have to be more careful in the future.”

“We only had twenty through our training,” Kerry said. Others started to slip into the building, a rag-tag group of late teens and early twenty-somethings, all of them looking tired and scared.

“Crap, we’ve only got seven other survivors?” Kerry asked, eyes tearing up.

“We’re lucky that any of us survived,” said a large man with red hair and a full beard. “These battle wagons got here just in time. You part of that?”

Ted and Stacey nodded. “You’ve got military training?” Ted asked,

“Yeah,” the man said. “I’m Red.”

“Big surprise,” Stacey said, smiling. “You know how to work AK-47s?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll teach the others.” He looked around the room. “Crap, look at the mortars and the RPGs. Mines? What the hell were these folks planning on doing?”

“Fighting you,” Ted said. “Subduing the population.”

Sparky and Jules rushed in the door.

“Whoa, weapons stash,” Jules said. “They were planning something big, no?”

“Who’s he?” Red asked, eyeing him. “He sounds French.”

Sparky chuckled. “Watch that. He’s Belgian. They don’t like being called French.”

Jules chuckled. “No offence taken. You resistance?”

“Damn straight,” Red said, still eyeing him suspiciously.

“Lighten up, Red,” Ted said. “This is Ivan’s second in command for this region.”

“Oh, wow,” Kerry said, smiling. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Jules said. “Where women?”

“They didn’t know they were here,” Ted said. “They just knew this was a UN base.”

“They tried to take this place with twenty guys,” Stacey said.

Jules chuckled. “Men like this win war. Let’s find girls. Rescue.”

“You know there’s a good chance they’re all dead,” Sparky said. “Happened before.”

“Yes, so we hurry. Maybe some wounded but still alive.”

“I leave you to the weapons, then,” Ted said to Red. “Give your guys a crash course on these, and dump the hunting crap.”

“Good advice, thanks,” Red said, shaking his hand. “We’ll be ready to go in a few minutes.”

Jules led the others out of the building, rushing towards the next building that was still standing, Red watching them until they were out of sight.

“We’re gonna win,” Kerry said.

“Not if we can’t do better than we did tonight,” Red said, picking up an AK-47. “We lost twelve out of twenty men. Gather around and listen up. Pay attention.”

His men gathered around him.

***

“Jules, slow down a tad,” Sparky said. “There’s still enemy around.”

“We need to get in, get out,” Jules said. “Look at apps. Two hundred Islamists on way. Robbie and Tex waiting for convoy after smashing first group with me, but I don’t want to take on big group. Get women and get out.”

“Okay, then maybe we should split up,” Stacey said.

“No, stay together,” Jules said. “Two men with M60s and two with M-16s about right. Let’s go.”

They rushed to the first building, Sparky kicking the door in. It was filled with rations and other supplies, but no people.

“Next,” Jules said, and they rushed out the door towards a large one-story building. As they approached, rifle fire came at them.

“Watch out,” Ted shouted as they all dove for cover behind some cement block benches. Ted eyed the windows where the shots came from, and then nodded to Stacey, who lifted his M60. “That’s a frame building, Stacey. Shoot under the windows.”

He nodded, and both opened fire, the bullets cutting through the wood and plasterboard, screams in Arabic coming from inside. Then Sparky and Jules were on their feet, rushing up, firing through the windows at the few Islamists who survived. Jules kicked the door in and all four men rushed inside, looking at the dead enemy fighters.

“Look, a couple were UN,” Stacey said.

“Yep,” Ted said. “What’s behind that door?” He rushed to it and tried the knob. It was locked, and there was blood coming from under the door jamb on the hinge side. He shot a worried glance to Jules, who nodded to go ahead. Ted stood back and shot the lock, then kicked the door in and froze. The floor was littered with beheaded women’s bodies, blood a quarter inch thick on the floor. “Oh God.” Ted backed away, tears filling his eyes.

“Those bastards,” Stacey said, starting to cry as he looked at the carnage.

“Take pictures,” Jules said. “Now. Many. Be men.” He reached inside and turned on the light switch, several banks of fluorescents coming on.

“Some of these girls are no older than fifteen,” Stacey said, shaking his head, taking pictures with his phone as the others joined in.

“Send pictures to Ivan right away,” Jules said. “In case we don’t make it out alive.”

“Think they’ll make it here before we finish?” Stacey asked.

“Yes, might,” Jules said. “We have other battle wagons coming, but they won’t make it in time. I’m telling Tex and Robbie to leave before the large group shows up.”

“There were mines in that building over there,” Ted said. “Maybe we ought to provide our guests with a special welcome.”

“Yes, you go do,” Jules said. “Get help from Red’s guys, then tell them to split. Good idea, no?”

“I love it,” Stacey said. He sent his pictures, then took off with Ted.

“That kid gets better after each battle,” Sparky said as he and Jules finished taking pictures and sending them off.

“Yes, does,” Jules said. “We have top notch team. Let’s back up. Show doorway, then back up and show building. Can’t hide that this was UN facility that way.”

Sparky nodded and they finished up their shots, then took a few more of the dead Islamists lying side by side with UN Peacekeepers, sending them all off to Ivan.

“What now?” Sparky asked.

“Go back to rigs. Take off. I text new spot to regroup. For now, go north on 680 towards Concord.”

Sparky nodded, and they took off, getting to their rig in seconds.

“Take out of siege mode,” Jules said as they rushed in. “We leave now. Sparky, drive while I send messages.”

Sparky got behind the wheel as Shelly continued at the console and Dana held her M60 near the gun slits. They were soon on the road, leaving the area.

“Okay, texts away,” Jules said.

“How about Ted and Stacey?” Shelly asked.

Jules smiled at her. “They just mine all entrances to scene with ordinance we find in their storage shed. They getting on road now. Tex and Robbie leave too. They ahead of us by few miles on 680.”

“There’s the on-ramp,” Shelly said.

“Yep,” Sparky said, taking the ramp and speeding up.

“They killed all the women, didn’t they?” Dana asked softly.

“Yes, did,” Jules said. “We document with photos and send to Ivan. It on news soon. I suggest not watch.”

“It was bad, wasn’t it?” Dana asked, watching the tears stream down Sparky’s cheeks.

“I’m glad you didn’t see it,” he said, turning to her.

Jules’s phone rang. He answered it. “Ivan.”

“Jules,” Ivan said. “Those bastards are gonna regret this. Nice job on the documentation. Especially the shots outside the door, leaving no doubt where this happened.”

“Hope helps,” Jules said.

“How was the resistance there?”

“Green, but possibilities. We gave weapons stash to them. Lots of AK-47, plus mortars and other toys.”

“You told them you were with my organization?”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“Good,” Ivan said. “We’ll meet in Concord. Safe space there. We’ll do the TV show there with your women, if they’re still willing.”

“Understand, boss,” Jules said. “When do pictures come out?”

“Tonight,” he said. “Last show from this location.”

“What about the other rescues?” Jules asked.

“Those facilities have been abandoned,” Ivan said. “I’m sorry.”

“The women?”

“We don’t know yet,” Ivan said. “They probably took them. If they did, we’ll find out where they land. I’ve got moles.”

“Okay, Ivan. Anything else?”

“Yes,” he said. “Good work.”

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 115 – Country Club

Tex and Karen sat next to each other on the couch as Ivan’s appearance ended.

“Gotta love Ivan,” Tex said.

Karen looked at him and smirked. “Ben Dover? Really?”

Tex chuckled, then his phone dinged. He looked at the screen.

“Uh oh,” Karen said.

“No problem. We have a meeting coming up in a couple hours.”

“About the rescue mission, I suspect,” Karen said.

“Yep,” Tex said. “Nervous?”

“Anxious,” she said. “I want to get this over with. Hell, I want to get this war over with.”

“And then what?”

“You need to ask?” she said, smiling at him.

“Oh,” he said. “You want to make a little Tex.”

“Or a little Karen,” she said. “I don’t care which comes first.”

“Planning on more than one, huh? When were we gonna discuss that?”

She smiled at him, then got up. “Hungry?”

“I could eat,” Tex said, getting up.

“Sit,” she said. “Check out the apps. We’re all by ourselves here. Don’t want anybody getting the drop on us.”

“Probably time to look again,” he said. “Haven’t looked at the long range app since before the Ivan show.” He looked while Karen got up and went to the fridge.

“We could really use more food,” she said.

“Crap,” Tex said.

“What?”

“No cretins nearby,” he said. “I was in the mood to kill a few of them.”

“Dammit,” Karen said, shaking her head. “That’s really not funny.”

Tex chuckled. “The closest ones I see are west, on the other side of those mountains.”

“Good,” Karen said, “Not much food that I’m interested in.”

“There was a little restaurant down the street,” Tex said. “We could mosey over there for a little while.”

“I’m game, if you think it’ll be safe. How come there’s no checkpoints nearby?”

“Because we’re on the outskirts,” Tex said.

“Why the RV Park here?”

“You didn’t notice the sign for the Alameda County Fairgrounds?” Tex asked.

“Nope, missed that,” she said. “County Fairs. I used to love them.”

“What? There are fairs in Southern California?”

“Of Course,” Karen said. “There’s a huge one in Pomona. Big deal. Surprised you never heard of it.” She looked in the pantry.

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard of it,” Tex said. “Forgot.”

“Nothing good in the pantry, either,” she said. “Maybe we should go out.”

“Well, they delivered the Jeep, so we have a way,” Tex said. “I want to take guns, though.”

“Of course,” Karen said. “Let’s go.”

Tex stood up, picking up his handgun and slipping it into his waistband. “This ought to do.”

She snickered. “Will this rig be safe?”

“There’s only a few people here, and the person in the office is a friendly, so we’ll be fine,” Tex said.

They left the coach, locking it up, then got into the Jeep and headed for the front gate of the park, which was not much more than a big parking lot with hookups.

“Not very rustic, is it?” Karen asked. Tex chuckled as they got to the gate. The old woman in the office stuck her head out the window.

“You folks taking off?”

“Just to that diner down the street,” Karen said. “Seen any checkpoints around here?”

“Nope, we’re too far on the edge of the hills,” the woman said. “Watch out for the UN, though. They still patrol out here some.”

“They’ve slowed down on that?” Tex asked.

The woman came out to talk. “Call me Denise. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself earlier. I was a little nervous.”

“Okay, Denise. I’m Tex and this is Karen.”

“Good to meet you,” she said. “You know what they’ve done here. People are being forced to move closer to their jobs. Got them packed in like sardines in some of these towns. Disgusting.”

“Why haven’t they shut this RV park down?” Karen asked.

“The enemy has been using the fairgrounds for something,” she said. “They’ve had overflow crowds staying here a couple of times.”

“Maybe you should contact us next time they show up,” Tex said with a twinkle in his eye.

“Oh, I always let Ivan know,” she said. “You folks be careful and keep your eyes open. I’ll watch your rig. Not like there’s a bunch of foliage here to hide the coaches.”

“True that,” Tex said. “See you later, Denise.”

She nodded, going back into the office as Tex drove the Jeep out the gate.

“She’s nice,” Karen said.

“Yep, and she’s on our side,” Tex said. “Wonder what they’re using the fairgrounds for?”

“We aren’t going to check it out, are we?”

Tex smiled. “No, little lady, let’s just get a quick bite and then get back to the rig. We’ve got a meeting coming up, remember?”

“Look,” Karen said, brow furrowed. She pointed to a UN Van, making a left turn onto an eastbound road a couple blocks down.

“Well, lookie there,” Tex said. “Too bad we don’t have more time.”

“Stop it, that scares me.”

“Sorry,” Tex said as he turned left into the parking lot of the diner. “Looks like a greasy spoon.”

“Look, we can get food to go here,” she said, pointing to the sign on the wall as Tex parked.

“You want to take it back to the rig?”

“Yeah, I feel completely exposed,” Karen said.

“Then we’ll get it to go.” Tex got out and opened Karen’s door for her, and they rushed into the diner.

“You folks gonna eat here or take out?” the young man behind the register asked. “We’ve got plenty of room. All this craziness ruined our trade.”

“I’ll bet,” Tex said. “I think we’ll take out.”

“Okay,” he said. “What’ll you have? We’ve got everything except the pork dishes.”

“Figures,” Karen said. The young man laughed nervously.

“What happened? The Islamists didn’t like it?” Tex asked.

“Last big meeting, over at the fairgrounds,” the man said in hushed tones. “They contracted with us. Made us get rid of all pork products and disinfect the whole damn kitchen.”

“You don’t sound too happy about that, friend,” Tex said.

The man’s eyes showed fear. “Sorry, sir.”

“He thinks we’re with them,” Karen said.

“You’re not?” he asked, looking uncertain.

Tex grinned. “No, we’re just here for a short layover. We’d rather not run into any of those folks. We don’t like them much.”

“Neither do I,” the young man whispered.

“Do anything about it?” Tex asked.

His eyes got wide. “How could I do anything about it?”

“Never mind,” Karen said. “Let’s just get our food and get out of here.”

The young man nodded, took their orders, and then rushed back to chat with the cook.

“This sucks,” Tex said. “I could use some bacon.”

“Quiet,” Karen said, her eyes darting around nervously.

“Anybody who shows up here is gonna have a bad meeting with Mr. Colt.”

“Tex…”

“Your order will be up in a few minutes,” the young man said, coming back out to the register. “Want to pay for it now?”

“Sure,” Tex said, walking to the register. He pulled out his wallet and waited to hear how much.

“It’s sixteen dollars and eighty-nine cents,” the man said, eyes getting wide as Tex counted out cash. “We’re not allowed to take cash. Only credit cards.”

“What?” Tex asked. “This is legal tender.”

“Not since martial law,” the young man said.

“Forget it honey,” Karen said. “We’ve got to go.”

“These bastards want to track us every second,” Tex said.

“That’s the general idea,” the man behind the counter said. Then the cook came out and whispered in his ear.

“Here it comes,” Tex whispered.

“Here what comes?” Karen asked.

“They’re going to let us pay cash, as long as they get a premium. Must have some slack in the stock.”

“Hey, dude, we can get in trouble for this,” the cook said, eyeing him. He was a large man with a beard, having the look of a biker.

“Hey, no problem, friend, as long as it’s in reason.”

The young man behind the counter looked nervous as hell.

“Well, partner, what’s it gonna be?” Tex asked.

“How about thirty bucks?” he asked, waiting for a tongue lashing.

Tex chuckled. “Is the food any good?”

The cook smiled. “I’ll make sure it’s great.”

“Hell, I’m down, then,” Tex said, handing him the thirty bucks. “Oh, and here’s a tip.” He passed him another thirty.

“You don’t have to…”

“Nonsense,” Tex said. “I get the feeling that you don’t like the enemy. I don’t like them either.”

“The enemy?” the cook asked.

“The UN and the Islamists are the enemy,” Tex said. “If you don’t realize that, there’s no hope for us.”

“Yeah, that’s what that guy on TV said a little while ago,” the young man said.

The cook laughed. “Ivan the Butcher and Ben Dover. Please. They just took credit for a terror attack.”

Tex snickered. “How long till the food’s up?”

“Just a few minutes,” the cook said, rushing back into the kitchen.

Tex walked towards the window and gazed out, looking over at Karen as she joined him.

“You should be careful what you say,” Karen whispered.

“I didn’t tell them anything they can use,” Tex said. “Wanted to gauge how they reacted to the TV show.”

“The cook didn’t believe it.”

“Yep,” Tex said. “They believed the media spin. We probably should be watching it. We need to know what they’re feeding to the folks around here.”

“Look, another UN van,” Karen said, nodding at it as it passed by. “Should we be worried?”

“Denise said they were still patrolling,” Tex said. “Wish I didn’t have to refrain from taking them out.”

“Don’t screw up our mission,” Karen said, looking him in the eye. “You’ll get to kill plenty of these folks during that.”

“Yep,” Tex said. “Maybe we ought to move away from the window. Might look a little suspicious.”

Karen nodded and they went to the benches in the waiting area, sitting down. The young man at the counter smiled at them.

“Where are you from?” he asked, trying to be friendly.

“I’m from Texas. My lady is from Southern California originally.”

“Heard some wild things about Texas,” he said. “What do you think of Governor Nelson declaring Texas a Republic?”

“I think he had no choice,” Tex said.

“I’ll bet you’re glad to be away from there,” the young man said.

“On the contrary, I’d be there if I could. I was away from home when they shut down the Texas border, and it’s in a bad neighborhood.”

“Bad neighborhood?”

“You’ve heard about the warfare in New Mexico and Colorado, haven’t you?”

“Oh, that,” the young man said. “We used to get a lot of news about that, but now they never talk about it on the news. Not since martial law kicked in a hundred percent.”

“Doesn’t that tell you something?” Tex asked.

“Honey, let’s not talk politics, okay?” Karen asked.

“Sorry, sweetie,” he said.

“It’s up,” the cook said from the back, sliding the white Styrofoam boxes forward on the pass-through between the kitchen and the counter area.

“Surprised they still let you use those around here,” Tex quipped as he walked to the counter.

“We’ve only got a few left, then we switch to paper,” the young man said as he fetched them and brought them to the counter. “Eventually people will have to bring their own containers.”

Tex laughed. “What about people who are traveling?”

“Who gets to travel anymore?” the young man said. He put a wad of napkins into a bag and put both containers on top of them.

“See you folks later,” the cook said. “Terry, lock the front after they leave. We’re closing early.”

Tex shot a glance at Karen. They picked up their food and left, getting into the Jeep.

“We need to split,” Tex said. “Somebody’s coming.”

“I know,” she said. Tex fired up the Jeep and they roared out of the parking lot, racing down the street. The office was closed up as they flew through the gate past it, a note on the window saying to leave as soon as possible.

“Dammit,” Tex said.

They pulled up next to the rig and rushed to the door, Tex getting behind the wheel in near panic.

“What about the Jeep?” Karen asked, getting into the passenger side.

“I don’t think we have time to hitch up, and we might need to fire out the back. Get that weapons console out. I’m gonna go pull the power cable.”

He rushed out, yanking the cable quickly, and disconnecting the water. The big diesel was warmed up by the time he got back inside, and he drove forward. “Send Jules a text, and ask him where we should go.”

“On it,” she said, keeping one eye on the target reticle, pointed towards the rear.

“Here they come,” Tex said, nodding up ahead. “Four UN Vans, coming this way. He flipped the switches for the minigun and grenade launcher.

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

“We have any choice?” Tex asked. He fired the minigun, splattering the first two vans. The two behind them tried to turn around, but he hit both with grenades, blowing them up as he raced by.

“Get on 680 north,” Karen said. “We’re joining Jules up in Dublin. It’s right ahead.”

They headed for the on-ramp as the sound of sirens approached from both sides, making it up on the freeway before they were in sight.

“Stay on that weapons console, little lady,” Tex said as they got up to speed.

***

Ted and Stacey sat in the salon, watching the news reports, which were covering the Mertins Plant attack and Ivan’s TV show. The reports were being heavily censored, with whole phrases being beeped out and pictures covered over. Ted got up and went to the window, peering out.

“You worried, boss?” Stacey asked. “We can go get the girls if you are.”

“I’m worried, but let’s give them a little while longer. This compound is pretty well guarded.”

“The Diablo Country Club,” Stacey said. “Now I get to see how the other half lived.”

“Hell, a lot of the other half still lives this way. They’re colluding with the enemy to do it, and it will be the death of them.”

“So how are we allowed to be here, and why is it empty?”

Ted chuckled. “This was shut down by the local authorities. They have to make it look like the rich and powerful have nothing better than the rest of the population. The joke is that they’re probably someplace better as we speak.”

“Some of them might be dead,” Stacey said.

“Don’t bet on it,” Ted said. “We’re still getting all of the basics of American life. You know…food deliveries to markets, water, gas. That sort of thing. You can’t keep that kind of stuff flowing without private enterprise. The Chinese finally figured that out. That’s why they dumped communism.”

“They still call themselves communist, though, don’t they?”

“Yeah, but what they really are is a form of totalitarian capitalism,” Ted said, turning to look out the window again. “Good, here they come.”

“Two blondes,” Stacey said. “Look how much their hair shows up even in this light.”

The door opened, Haley and Brianna coming inside, both carrying food bags.

“We were lucky,” Brianna said. “They were almost out of food, and deliveries to this place are no longer a priority, according to the chef. He’s trying to decide if he should split or hunker down here.”

“He said the UN has been here doing inspections a couple of times,” Haley said as she put her bag of food on the counter.

“Wonder why they keep it open?” Stacey asked. “Why not just padlock the place, or open it to the public?”

“The chef said they were holding this place in reserve,” Brianna said, “for when the area is completely stable. Foreign dignitaries will stay here, since it’s so easy to secure.”

“How does the chef feel about that?” asked Ted.

“That’s why he’s considering whether to stay or go,” Haley said.

“Maybe we should recruit him,” Stacey said.

“This guy is about fifty and weighs about four-hundred pounds,” Brianna said. “I don’t think that’s happening.” She helped Haley put the food onto four plates and set them on the dinette table. “Anything interesting on the news?”

“Propaganda, but the video tells a decent story,” Ted said. “When they think they can get away with it, they’ll black these kinds of stories out completely.” His phone dinged. “Dammit.”

“What?” Haley asked.

“Tex and Karen had to shoot their way out of the location they were in,” he said.

“No,” Brianna said. “Are we safe here? Maybe they’ve kept track of where all of these RVs went.”

“We won’t be safe until this damn war is over,” Ted said.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Haley said. “This smells great.”

“It does,” Stacey said, sliding onto the rear bench in front of a plate. Brianna slid in next to him. Ted and Haley took the other side.

“Too bad there’s no wine,” Haley said.

“I wouldn’t drink anything anyway,” Ted said. “If they found Tex, they might find others.”

“Good point,” Haley said. “This is tasty. We still having a meeting soon?”

“Yeah,” Ted said, “although the mess Tex and Karen ran into might throw a monkey wrench, since they’re going up to where Jules is.”

They ate silently until the food was gone. Then Ted got up and looked out the window again.

“Anybody?”

“Nope, quiet as a church,” Ted said. “I don’t like being behind these big walls like this, though.”

“Why not?” Brianna asked. “Doesn’t that make us safer?”

“We could be surrounded by UN Vans and have no idea,” Ted said.

“Should we go out and look?” Stacey asked.

“Yeah,” Ted said. “Quietly. Hand guns only.”

“I’m game,” Brianna said.

“No, you and Haley stay here,” Ted said. “We might need you two on the battle stations.”

“Crap, you think there’s somebody out there, don’t you?” Haley asked, fear in her eyes.

“Oh, probably not,” Ted said, “but I’m too antsy not to take a look.”

“It’s pretty dark out there now, so watch your step,” Brianna said. “Most of the lights are off.”

“Let’s get it over with,” Stacey said. The two men grabbed their pistols and slipped out, walking into the lush greenery of the area, between the massive clubhouse and one end of the golf course.

“It’s quiet, at least,” Ted said. They rushed towards the nearest wall.

“Do we have to climb up?” Stacey asked.

“Not right here,” Ted said. “See that gate over there?”

“Oh,” Stacey said, looking at the tall double-wide gate, covered with olive drab canvas. “Look. They’re still mowing the grass. See the fresh clippings?”

“That might mean there’s some VIPs coming,” Ted whispered. “No talking now. Watch the ground. Don’t step on anything that will make noise.”

They inched forward, to the crack between the fence and the left side of the gate, both peering out.

Ted gave a thumb up, then they hurried away.

“Well, that side is clear at least,” Stacey whispered. “Nobody around.”

“That would’ve been the best place to attack from, too,” Ted said.

They were almost back to the coach when they heard explosions.

“Dammit, what the hell was that?” Stacey asked. “Didn’t sound that far away.”

Another explosion went off, a little closer.

Ted’s phone dinged. They rushed to the door of the rig.

“You aren’t going to check the message?” Stacey asked.

“When we’re inside.” Ted opened the door and held it for Stacey, then followed him and shut it. “Set up siege mode.”

Haley and Brianna froze, looking around in a panic.

To be continued…

 

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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 2017

Bugout! California Part 114 – Starvation

Garrett ran out to the body in a crouch, startled when it rolled towards him.

“Hey, boss,” the ranch hand said. “Can’t get up.” He was an old man, looking too frail for his dress.

“What happened, Tommy?” He rushed over and helped him sit up.

“Some cretins showed up to steal cattle,” he said. “Cracked me over the head with a rifle butt.”

“Dammit,” Garrett said. “Think you can walk?”

“With help,” he said.

“How long ago did this happen?”

“Few hours,” Tommy said. “The other hands went on that hunting party.”

“They should’ve left somebody here with you,” Garrett said, shaking his head.

“They did. Casey’s around here someplace. We’d better find him. He might be hurt.”

“Did you see who it was? It wasn’t Islamists, was it?”

“Nope,” Tommy said. “Hungry Mexicans. I heard them talking. We would’ve gotten buzzed by the app if it was the enemy. I have one of the phones.”

Anna came out of the truck and rushed over. “So glad he’s not dead.”

“Anna, this is Tommy.”

“Pretty lady,” Tommy said. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise. You’ve got a pretty good bump on your noggin. Maybe I’d better look at it. I’m a nurse.”

“He might have a concussion,” Garrett said.

“He might,” Anna said. “It wasn’t the bad guys, was it?”

“Mexicans,” Garrett said. “Heard they’re starving down there. They came to steal cattle. Hell, I’d give them some if they’d ask.”

“You’re nicer than I am,” Tommy said. “We’d better find Casey.”

“Casey?” Anna asked.

“The other ranch hand that was here,” Garrett said. “Most went on that hunt.”

“Oh,” Anna said.

“Let’s get to the truck­­,” Garrett said, helping Tommy to his feet. He wobbled a little, but got steadier as they went.

“Where was Casey last time you saw him?” Anna asked.

“In the barn,” Tommy said. Garrett and Anna helped him into the cab of the truck, then drove down the long driveway, past the two-story house with a wrap-around porch.

“That house is beautiful,” Anna said.

“Thanks,” Garrett said. “There’s the barn.” It was an old-fashioned wood barn, painted red, a yard around it sectioned off, goats and chickens wandering in their areas. Garrett parked the truck and they all got out.

“Casey!” Garrett yelled.

“I hope he’s not hurt bad,” Tommy said. They walked into the barn. “There he is!”

There was a younger man tied up, leaning against the wall on some hay. His mouth was covered with duct tape, his wrists and ankles tied together. His eyes showed relief, peeking out under his longish blonde hair.

“This is gonna hurt a little,” Garrett said, ripping the duct tape off his mouth.

“Garrett,” Casey said. “Sorry I let them get the drop on me. Where you been, Tommy?”

“They brained me out in the front pasture,” Tommy said. “You hurt?”

“Nah, they just held a gun on me,” he said as Garrett and Anna untied him. “Damn Mexicans.”

“What’d they take?” Garrett asked.

“I couldn’t see everything they did. I could hear the chickens going nuts, so I’m sure they took some of those. They took one of the milk cows too, and I heard them talking about taking some cattle. They didn’t know I speak Spanish.”

“I’m just glad it wasn’t Islamists,” Anna said.

“I was a little nervous, since Tommy had the phone,” Casey said. “You okay, old man? That’s a pretty good knot on your head.”

“I’ll be okay,” he said. “I just feel like an idiot.”

“You gonna go after them, boss?” Casey asked.

“This time, no,” Garrett said. “I’ll send a warning. I know some folks.”

“Luis?” Tommy asked. “You don’t think he did this?”

“No, but he might know who it was,” Garrett said.

“This happen often?” Anna asked.

“Nah,” Garrett said. “The Mexican Government has fallen apart. We had a similar incident a month ago.”

“Yeah, you old softy,” Casey said.

“Softy?” Anna asked.

“After he caught them, he gave them a couple of animals and sent them on their way. This is the thanks he gets.”

“Don’t be so sure it was the same folks,” Garrett said. “I told them I’d help them if their families got into trouble. This war is hurting them even worse than it’s hurting us.”

“We’re getting kinda low on food ourselves,” Casey said. “That’s why the others went hunting.”

“I know,” Garrett said. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine.”

“We should put some ice on Tommy’s head,” Anna said.

“I can do that back at the bunk house,” he said. “I’ll be fine. Really.”

“I’ll watch him,” Casey said.

“Okay, but don’t take this lightly,” Anna said. “You got knocked out. That’s not good. I’d try to stay awake for a while.”

Tommy nodded. They got into the truck, Casey climbing into the bed, and Garrett drove them to the bunkhouse, about a hundred yards behind the barn. A dog rushed out to meet them as Garrett parked. It was a large German Shepard.

“A lot of help you were,” Casey said as he jumped out of the truck bed.

“Yeah, he’s no guard dog,” Tommy said. Anna got out of the truck, letting the big dog sniff her, then petting him on the head. Tommy got out, and the dog rushed to him, nuzzling his side. “Hey, Blackjack.”

“He’s probably hungry,” Casey said. “Don’t worry, boss, I’ll take it from here.”

Garrett nodded, and headed back to the cab with Anna.

“If he passes out or starts acting funny, call,” she said. “I mean it. Even if he doesn’t want you to.”

“Damn, you know him already, don’t ya?” Casey asked, a sly grin on his face. “Don’t worry, I’m a good babysitter.”

Tommy shot him a sidelong glance. “Keep talking, junior.”

Garrett chuckled and helped Anna into the truck. “See you guys later.”

He drove them to the big house and parked outside.

“You keep surprising me,” Anna said, “and always in a good way.”

He smiled as he helped her out of the cab. “These are tough times. I’ve done business with our friends south of the border over the years. They’re good people, who are badly served by their government and their society. They’ve always dealt fairly with me.”

“Except when they steal from you,” Anna said. They climbed the steps onto the veranda. “This is a nice place to have a few drinks.”

“It is, he said, unlocking the front door. “If these folks were really criminals, they would’ve broken into the house. I’ve got all kinds of valuable stuff in here.” He held the door open for Anna and she walked in, looking around at the front parlor.

“Very nice,” she said, turning to him. She got on her tiptoes and put her arms around his neck, pulling him in for a kiss. They kept it going for more than a minute. “I was so anxious to do that.”

“Me too,” Garrett said, looking at her face, his hands on her matronly waist. “I’ll give you the tour.”

They walked through the ground floor of the house, checking out the kitchen, his office, and a couple of guest bedrooms.

“Very nice,” Anna said. “I expected this to be a lot more rustic. It’s quite elegant.”

“Thanks,” Garrett said. “I hired somebody to set this up.”

“What’s upstairs?”

“We’ll go check it out,” he said, leading her up the stairs. There were two more small bedrooms, one of them being used as a hobby room, the other as another guest room.

“That the master?” Anna asked, looking at the double doors.

“Yep,” Garrett said, pushing the doors open.

“Lovely,” she said, looking around the large room, with the king-sized bed and the sitting room to the right, in front of the windows. “What a great view.”

“Yeah, it’s nice,” Garrett said. “The master bath is pretty outrageous. I balked, but my designer said it always pays off.”

They walked in, looking at the huge jetted tub with windows behind it, and the large shower on the opposite side. A dual basin sink was on the right, and then a large walk-in closet.

“Wow,” she said. “Now run along while I freshen up, okay?”

“Want me to whip us up something to eat?”

“Have any white wine?”

“Sure, I’ll bring some up,” he said, his heart beating quicker.

“Mind if I rinse off in the shower?”

“Not at all,” he said, pausing at the door for a moment, then heading down the stairs. He went to the wine cooler and picked out a bottle, then got a bucket, set the bottle inside, and filled it with ice. His hands fumbled. “What am I, a high school boy?” he asked himself. He could hear the water running upstairs and decided to give Anna a few minutes. The water stopped running, so he started up the stairs with the bucket. The water started again, and he paused at the door.

“You up here?” she called out.

“Yes,” he said. “Are you decent?”

“Decent enough,” she said. “Come in. Hope you brought the wine up.”

“Shoot, forgot glasses.” He set the bucket on the floor and raced downstairs, almost tripping, returning in a flash. He froze as he entered the bathroom, staring at Anna’s naked round curves as she stood in the big tub, water running from the faucet.

“Get your clothes off and get in here,” she said.

“Yes mam,” he said, rushing to her.

***

Ed was lying in a bed at the Williams house, crying as the doctor hooked up the iv. Tyler had just told him about James and John.

“You’re lucky,” the doctor said. “Dehydration was well on its way to killing you. Why didn’t you carry more water?”

“My main bottle rolled down the hill before I could grab it,” Ed said. “I’ll have to strap it down next time.” He turned to Tyler. “The families know, right?”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “The town is a mess.”

“Descanso?”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “The enemy fled after they figured out how many people we had, but along with the boobytrap that killed John, they also boobytrapped the grocery store. Bastards left a little girl in there as bait.”

“That’s not good,” Ed said. “Did the little girl get rescued?”

“She’s with Sam and Erica. No luck finding any next of kin.”

“Geez,” Ed said.

“Anna says they’re going to raise her,” Tyler said with a twinkle in his eye.

That brought a smile to Ed’s face. “She’s always right, you know.”

“Seems like it,” Tyler said. “We’ve decided against hitting Julian for now.”

“Why?”

“They’re dug in,” Tyler said. “We could beat them, but it’d be too expensive.”

“Oh. Won’t they just end up attacking us?”

“Eventually they will, but it would be easier to defend against them than to mount an attack against their fortifications in Julian.”

“Why are they even there?” Ed asked.

“I-8, we think,” Tyler said. “We have a new target.”

“What?”

“Big UN base being set up in Jamul,” Tyler said. “We want to hit it hard before they get it fully populated.”

“I’m going to leave you two,” the doctor said. “Bed rest for forty-eight hours. Get me?”

“Yes sir,” Ed said.

“Oh, and use those other bags of saline, okay? Have Anna swap them for you.”

“Anna’s not here,” Tyler said.

“Uh oh,” the doctor said. “Then I’ll show you how. It’s simple.” He showed Tyler, then left.

“Where’s Anna?” Ed asked. “Garrett’s place?”

“How’d you guess?”

Ed chuckled. “Good for them. How are we gonna get my hovercraft back here?”

“Don’t worry about that now,” Tyler said. “Sure you want that thing back?”

“It didn’t break down on me,” Ed said. “I had to do a quick maneuver to get out of sight, and turned it down a hill, right onto a rock. Broke the junction box for the bottom fan.”

Tyler sat down next to the bed. “You saw Black Crow?”

“Yes, and he saw me,” Ed said.

“That’s not what he said.”

Ed chuckled. “And that surprises you because…?”

“You’re right,” Tyler said.

“I assume you guys killed him.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “We tried to get some info out of him, but he wasn’t very forthcoming.”

“Figures,” Ed said. “When are we gonna hit that UN base?”

“I don’t know,” Tyler said. “Ji-Ho is waiting for more intelligence from Ivan. Probably within the next few days.”

“Good,” Ed said. “Now let me sleep for a while, okay?”

“Will do,” Tyler said. “You got the parts around to fix your hovercraft?”

“Yes,” he said. “Zac and Bradley know how to fix it. Take them out there when you have time.”

“Will do, Chief,” Tyler said. He left the room.

Ed stared at the ceiling, tears starting to come back. James’s face was in his mind’s eye as he drifted off.

***

Jules and Sparky climbed the steps of the rig, after hooking up the coach to the power and water.

“You guys done?” Shelley asked. She was sitting at the dinette facing Dana.

“Yes, we done,” Jules said. “Getting warm. Need air conditioner soon.”

“Anybody nearby on the apps?” Sparky asked, sitting next to Dana.

“There’s a facility about four miles from here,” Dana said. “About twenty hits. East of where we are, on 580.”

“Maybe we should go pay them a visit, no?” Jules asked.

“No,” Sparky said. “We can only see the Islamists, not the UN folks, remember? We might walk into a hornet’s nest.”

“I kid,” Jules said. “We need to keep focus, prepare for rescue missions.”

“Everybody else report in?” Sparky asked.

“Yep,” Shelley said. “Everybody is placed. Robbie and Morgan got pulled over by a cop in Livermore, though.”

“That’s not a concern?” Sparky asked.

Dana looked over at him. “The cop knew who he was, and said he wished he could’ve been part of the Mertins Plant attack.”

Sparky and Jules laughed.

“That rich,” Jules said.

“I wouldn’t get over-confident,” Dana said. “We don’t know for sure if this cop was being straight with Robbie.”

“He call if there problem,” Jules said.

“Wait, you aren’t worried because of the connection to the father?” Sparky asked.

“No, too late to stop now,” Jules said. “Tools almost finished. Nothing enemy can do now.”

“Is this almost over?” Dana asked.

“No,” Shelley said. “I was just looking around the country with the apps. There’s nearly a million enemy operatives in country. Even when we can openly hunt them down, it’s going to be tough going. Lots of good people will die before we root them all out, and there will probably be terror attacks going forward for years.”

“Marvelous,” Sparky said.

“Hey, turn on the TV,” Jules said. “Ivan on soon.”

“Why does he bother?” Sparky asked. “It’s already all over the news.”

“It is, but he bring special guest,” Jules said.

Shelley picked up the TV remote and turned it on. “Which station?”

“Any,” Jules said.

Sparky cracked up. “How the hell does he do that?”

“Ivan’s connections legion, and his tech staff great,” Jules said. “You know this.”

Sparky nodded. “Yes, I know.”

The screen went black for a moment.

“Here it comes,” Dana said.

Ivan appeared, sitting behind his massive desk, wearing his pin-striped suit with fedora.

“Hello, Northern California. I’m Ivan the Butcher.”

The screen changed to video of the firefight at the Mertins Plant.

“As you can see, we have made an attack. The news media is telling you that this was a crime. It was not. It was an act of war against the foreigners who have put the state under martial law, and are currently having their way with the population. Here are the people we killed in this attack.”

The screen switched to a graphic, showing twenty-five faces with captions under them.

“I’m sure you recognize many of these people. They’ve been on the news talking their globalist lies while chastising each and every one of you for resisting the invaders. They are all dead. We will hunt down the other criminals in this land who are still working for Global Governance and the Caliphate.”

The screen came back to Ivan, who stood up and walked around to the front of his desk, face filling the picture.

“I call upon all of you to resist. We will help. We will soften the targets and kill many of the invaders. You must do your part. Ignore the rules of martial law. Kill UN Peacekeepers. Kill Islamists. Destroy their bases. Have no mercy, because they have no mercy.”

Ivan got back behind his desk. “We have a special guest this evening. Before I introduce him, please look at this exchange which aired on the local PBS station a week ago.”

The screen changed to video of the panel discussion about martial law and its benefits, ending with the beating of Ben Dover.

The screen came back to Ivan’s desk. He stood and motioned to Ben, who came into the frame next to Ivan. Both of them leaned against the front of Ivan’s desk, facing the camera.

“This is Ben Dover, patriot of Northern California, and student at UC Santa Cruz. As you can see, his head is almost healed up after the beating he took, but he will have some of the scars for the rest of his life.”

“Hello, fellow citizens,” Ben said. “Our institutions of higher learning have been infiltrated by the enemy. Your sons and daughters are at risk. They are being lied to, and recruited to use as muscle in demonstrations. They are being taught to bully and injure those who demonstrate against martial law and the globalists who have infested our state and national governments. Pull your kids out of school now. Cut funding. Round up the University staff who are helping the enemy.”

The screen changed to video in the dim cell, where two live professors and one dead one were propped up against the wall.

“These men hosted the invaders, allowing Islamists and UN Thugs to train your sons and daughters at UC Santa Cruz,” Ben Dover said. “They have been brought to justice by our freedom fighters. There are many more like them. Shun them. Arrest them. Kill them. Save yourselves. Save Western Civilization. Stand with us.”

Ivan’s face was back on the screen. “In the coming days, we will provide proof of the treachery of our government officials and the foreign invaders. In the meantime, you know what to do. You know who to target. Take back your state. Take back your country. It is not too late.”

The screen went black.

“Wow,” Dana said.

“He does have his way about him, doesn’t he?” Sparky asked.

Jules smiled, looking at his phone.

“What?” Shelley asked.

“Text, points to site with details on rescue mission. Ivan wants meeting with team in two hours.”

To be continued…

 

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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 2017

Bugout! California Part 113 – Boarding House

“He’s gonna pull us over,” Robbie said, looking in his rear-view mirror at the cop cruiser behind him, it’s red light shining. The siren blipped.

“Are you gonna pull over, or should I waste him with the rear guns?” Morgan asked.

“I’m gonna pull over,” he said. “We’re bulletproof.”

“Our tires aren’t,” Morgan whispered as Robbie slowed, pulling to the side of the road.

“So if he doesn’t shoot those right away, we’re probably fine,” Robbie said. “Put your piece out of sight.”

“Yeah,” Morgan said.

Robbie pulled over, and slid the heavy plate glass side window forward so he could talk to the officer, who was leaving his car.

“He’s alone, isn’t he?” Morgan asked.

“Yep. Might have called for backup or something.”

The officer walked up, looking around.

“Good day,” he said when he got to the window.

“Hello, officer,” Robbie said politely. “Did I do something wrong?”

“You’re not staying in town, are you?” the officer asked, searching his eyes.

“No, we’ve got a place outside of town,” Robbie said.

“How about your friends? They’re not coming here, are they?”

“Friends?” Robbie said.

The officer chuckled. “I saw what happened at the Mertins plant on TV.”

“Oh,” Robbie said, sensing the officer was a friendly. “You don’t have a problem with that?”

“Would’ve joined in had I known,” the officer said. “I’ll deny I said that.”

Robbie laughed. “Don’t blame you there. Are we gonna be okay?”

“I’m not going to mess with you, and I won’t tell anybody you’re here,” the officer said. “I just wanted to find out if there was going to be a battle here, that’s all. There are people I’d want to move away from town if that’s the case. People I love.”

“Gotcha,” Robbie said. “We aren’t planning anything here that I’ve heard about.”

“I think we understand each other,” the officer said. He pulled out his ticket book and scribbled something, then handed it up to Robbie. “Have a nice day. If you have issues or problems, feel free.”

“Thank you, officer,” Robbie said, looking at the phone number on the ticket. “Nice to know there are other patriots around.”

He nodded and went back to his car.

“Whoa,” Morgan said. “That was interesting.”

“I’ll say,” Robbie said, starting his engine. He pulled away slowly. “Smooth how he used his ticket book. If anybody was watching, it looked like a normal traffic stop.”

“I noticed,” Morgan said. “Maybe we’re gonna be okay.”

“We’ll be fine while we’re here, I suspect,” Robbie said. “Any hits around?”

Morgan picked Robbie’s phone off the center console and checked the apps. “Nobody in this town or near it. The closest large concentration is in Oakland.”

“Figures,” Robbie said. “There’s probably stragglers all over the place, though, right?”

“Oh, yeah,” Morgan said. “Lots of hits in San Jose, Palo Alto, and San Mateo. Also some in Berkley and Concord.”

“None in San Francisco?”

“Just a few here and there,” Morgan said.

“Interesting,” Robbie said. “Where do I turn?”

“Concannon Boulevard,” she said. “Take that to South Livermore Avenue, then get on Tesla Road. Follow that all the way out of town and into the hills. The name changes to Corral Hollow Road when we’re getting close to the RV Park.”

Robbie nodded. “There’s that street up ahead already.”

“We’ll have some twisty roads once we get out of town,” Morgan said. “You’ll be tired by the time we get to our destination.”

“No problem,” Robbie said. Morgan’s phone dinged. “Gil?”

Morgan looked up, smiling. “Yep, he got the apps too.”

“Excellent. Can’t wait till we get to the park.”

“Me too,” she said. “The fire’s still burning a little from the battle.”

“We have to get set up first, you know,” Robbie said.

“We’ll work together.” She shot him a sexy grin.

Robbie made the turn onto Concannon, curving towards the left after a mile, then making a tight right turn onto Livermore.

“That wasn’t fun,” Robbie said. “We aren’t on this one for very long, are we?”

“Nope,” Morgan said, watching her phone screen. “After this curves to the left, you’ll be making a right on Tesla, and then you’ll be out of town in a hurry.”

They were into the hills in minutes, cruising at a good clip on the empty road.

“This isn’t that tight,” Robbie said. “The curves are pretty gentle.”

“Give it time. It looks worse when you zoom out. This is a good road, though. By the way, the place we’re going is for the off-road park nearby.”

“Really?” Robbie said. “Used to love those. Bummer that we don’t have our jeep anymore.”

“Probably won’t have time to do off-roading anyway,” Morgan said. “Hard to believe we just left the city. Feels remote out here.”

“Part of it is the lack of cars,” Robbie said.

“I’m surprised the RV Park is open.”

“Hell, it might not be,” Robbie said. “Might just be some special deal that Jules and Ivan set up.”

They followed the road through the hills, clumps of trees showing up every so often.

“Look there,” Morgan said, pointing at blackened ground and trees. “Must have been a brush fire recently.”

“Welcome to California.” Robbie glanced at her, smiling.

“That’s right, you’re a native,” she said, looking out the windshield. “I could get used to it here, if the government wasn’t so crazy.”

“Here’s a big curve,” Robbie said, turning the coach hard, applying the brakes.

“Wow. Careful.”

“Time to slow down a little bit,” Robbie said. “Sorry.”

“You’re doing fine,” Morgan said.

“More curves coming. Spoke too soon. Some of these are pretty tight.”

“Take your time, honey,” Morgan said. “We’re not in a hurry.”

“I know,” Robbie said, hands gripping the wheel. They rolled along for nearly a half hour before they saw the signs for the RV Park and the OHV facilities.

“We’re getting close,” Morgan said, looking at her phone. “Wonder if we’re gonna have to pay?”

“I’ve got cash if we need to,” Robbie said. “Hope there’s a camp store there.”

Morgan chuckled. “There it is. See it? Looks almost empty. Sparse. Not many trees.”

“Geez,” Robbie said, looking at it as they approached.

“There’s the driveway, to the right,” Morgan said, pointing. Robbie took it, slowing to a crawl as they neared the office building.

“They have a small store,” Robbie said. “Looks like only about five coaches here. The whole damn place is visible from the road.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. There’s nobody on this damn road.”

“Good point,” Robbie said as they pulled into the check-in lane. He shut down the engine, and they left the coach, walking down the steps into the warm, dry air.

“Wow, there’re dirt race-tracks on either side of this place,” Morgan said as they walked.

“I’ll bet it’s noisy as hell here when they’re busy,” Robbie said. “This was my dream place when I was in Junior High.”

“I’ll bet,” Morgan said. “Back home we just drove off the road a little. There were off-roading places everywhere.”

“Country girl,” Robbie said, shaking his head.

“At least you didn’t call me a hick,” she said, smiling as Robbie pushed open the door and held it for her. They entered, walking up to the counter. There was a middle-aged woman sitting behind the register, eating a popsicle.

“Howdy,” she said, standing up, wiping her mouth. She set the popsicle down on a paper towel. “You Robbie?”

“Yep,” he said. “This is Morgan.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Jill.”

“Not many people here,” Morgan said.

“Damn war killed our business. We just have a few locals living here. The rest of the trade hasn’t been around for more than a month.”

“You got something that’s a little away from the road?” Morgan asked.

“We’ve got you set up in thirty-six,” Jill said. “Oh, and your Jeep was dropped off this morning.”

“It was?” Robbie asked.

“Glad they did it in time,” Morgan said, eyeing Robbie. “We didn’t expect it until tomorrow.”

“How much do we owe you?”

“Paid in full,” Jill said. She got out a map and drew on it with a felt-tipped pen. “We’re here. Just follow the line. It’s a pull-through, 50 amp.”

“You got a store?” Robbie asked. “We could use some food.”

“Yes, but I’ll have to open up for you. Can you wait until tomorrow morning?”

“Sure,” Robbie said. “Thanks.”

The couple walked back to the rig with the map and pamphlet in hand.

“Well that was easy,” Morgan said.

“Glad they brought the Jeep. They had this whole thing planned to a T.”

“Indeed,” Morgan said, waiting as Robbie unlocked the coach door, then climbing up. “I’m so glad we’re here.”

“Yep,” Robbie said, getting behind the wheel. He fired up the rig and drove it down the long access road, finding their spot quickly.

“We can see the road from here,” Morgan said.

“Hell, you can see the road from every single space I’ve seen here,” Robbie said, shooting her a grin. “This place is solely focused on the off-road park. I’ll bet this is filled with drunk off roaders on Friday and Saturday nights.”

“During normal times,” Morgan said.

“Normal times,” Robbie said as he drove into their space. “At least the front of the coach isn’t facing the highway.”

“There’s more coaches here than I expected,” Morgan said.

Robbie shut down the engine, then started the auto-level program. Morgan got up. “Can I walk around while this is going?”

“May want to give it a minute,” Robbie said.

She nodded and sat back down until the coach settled.

“There we go,” she said, getting up again. “Hungry?”

“Yep,” Robbie said.

“Good, I’ll see what I can come up with while you get us hooked.”

Robbie pulled her into his arms and kissed her, then left the coach to do the hookups, leaving her looking at the door.

***

“Wow, this is something,” Anna said as Garrett drove her into Dodge City. It was a long western street, with buildings on either side, looking like a movie set. He parked and got out to open Anna’s door. She took his hand and stepped out. “Wow, realistic down to the mud in the streets.”

He chuckled, holding her hand as they went to the wooden sidewalk, his boots clomping on them as they walked towards the saloon.

“What, the first place we’re going is the bar?” Anna asked, shooting him a sly grin.

“That’s where my friends will be,” he said, helping her through the door.

“Garrett, you old son of a gun,” said a short, skinny old man behind the bar. “This the woman I’ve been hearing about?”

“Sure is, Willard. Her name’s Anna. Anna, this is Willard.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said. “You two related?”

“He’s my cousin,” Garrett said.

“Yep, can’t you tell the resemblance?” Willard asked, laughing.

Garrett shook his head. “Willard here was the black sheep of the family.”

“You tell her,” Willard said. “You drinking?”

“One,” Garrett said. “People staying on the wagon for the most part?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Willard said. “Rumor has it we’re not going into Julian.”

“Those rumors are true, and I agree,” Garrett said.

“What’s we gonna hit instead?”

“New UN headquarters,” Garrett said. “That’s all I’ll say right now.”

“You want a drink, Ms. Anna?” Willard asked.

“Maybe just half a shot,” she said.

Willard poured a full shot glass and a half one, then poured one for himself. He held it up. “Here’s to new friends and old.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Garrett said.

They tossed them back.

“Where’s everybody else?” Garrett asked.

“Home, for the most part,” Willard said. “Jess and Frankie went hunting with a few other folks. Probably won’t be back until tomorrow morning.”

“Figured we’d need to do that,” Garrett said.

“How’s the game holding up around here?” Anna asked. “Tyler said it was getting a little sparse around the Williams place.”

“Damn drought really knocked the herd for a loop,” Willard said. “We need a few wet years, like we had back in 2016.”’

Garrett chuckled. “Yeah, a lot of things were better back then.”

“Damn straight, brother, but things aren’t all bad now,” Willard said. “Now we get to shoot back. Saw this mess coming all the way back in 2016.”

“Preaching to the choir,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna go visit my sis. See you later. Pass the word around that I’m in town for a day or two.”

“Will do,” Willard said.

“This really is cool,” Anna said as they walked out of the saloon. She looked at a horse-drawn wagon coming slowly up the street. “No cars on this street?”

“We discourage driving through the middle of town, but just about everybody has some kind of motor vehicle,” Garrett said as they walked, past a hotel and the sheriff’s office and a bank. “Our pride and joy is the opera house, but we don’t have any talent to run it now. Before the war we were bringing people in and putting on shows. Drew a lot of the locals out here.”

“I remember reading about that,” she said. “Always wanted to come.”

“You should have,” Garrett said.

“My husband didn’t like that sort of thing,” she said.

“Well I do,” Garrett said. “Sis lives up there.” He pointed to a two-story boarding house across the street. “Hey sis!” he yelled.

After a moment one of the second story windows opened, and a gray-haired woman stuck her head out.

“What are you yelling about, you old goat?”

Garrett chuckled. “She’s a little salty.”

Anna smiled. They went across the street, avoiding the mud and road apples.

By the time they got to the wooden sidewalk, the gray-haired woman was waiting for them, a grin on her face. She rushed up and hugged Garrett. “Glad you survived that last battle. Heard bad things.”

“We lost people,” Garrett said. “This is Anna. Anna, this is Susanne, my big sister.”

“Great to meet you,” Susanne said. “Heard this old fool got himself a girlfriend.”

Anna smiled, watching Garrett get embarrassed. Both women laughed.

“All right, all right,” Garrett said.

“Come on in. Want some coffee?”

“Sounds great,” Anna said. They walked into the door ahead of Garrett.

“Hey, Garrett, you want something stronger than coffee?” asked an old bald man in the back of the parlor. He was large with an imposing demeanor.

“Don’t you dare, Elmer,” Susanne said.

Elmer laughed, rushing over to shake hands with Garrett.

“This is Anna,” Garrett said.

“Heard you took a woman from the nations,” he said, a sly grin on his face, his scraggly beard making him look goofy.

“Took a woman?” Susanne asked, shaking her head. “Sorry, Anna. Elmer engages his mouth before his brain kicks in.”

“It’s a stream of consciousness thing,” Elmer said, following the comment with a snicker. “You’re lovely, Anna. Hope you float Garrett’s boat as well as Susanne floats mine.”

“Oh, please,” Susanne said, face turning red. “You’re just a gentleman friend. Nothing more.”

“What about last night?” Elmer asked, sending a wink to Anna, who chuckled.

“Shut up about that,” Susanne said. “It was a weak moment.”

“Been a lot of those lately,” Elmer said. “Maybe I should just move in.”

Susanne rolled her eyes. “Ignore him. I’ll go get the coffee.”

Anna followed Susanne into the kitchen. Garrett sat on one of the antique loveseats. He shot a grin at Elmer and put his booted feet up on the table in front of it.

“You’re a brave man,” Elmer said. “How’d you get hooked up with Anna? She’s cute, by the way.”

“We’re just friends, really,” Garrett said. “I like to talk with her.”

“Uh huh,” Elmer said. “I know that look she’s giving you.”

“There are some sparks,” Garrett said. “I’m not discouraging them.”

“Here they come,” Elmer whispered. Garrett pulled his feet off the table and sat up, straight and formal.

“Got your feet off my table pretty quickly,” Susanne said, walking back into the room with Anna. Susanne turned to her. “He looks housebroken, but he’s as much of a beast as Elmer is.”

Anna chuckled.

“You two gonna shack up?” Elmer asked.

“Dammit, Elmer, stop that,” Susanne said. “It’s not polite.”

“I’m just kidding. Don’t get your bustle in a bunch.”

Garrett laughed, patting the space next to him. Anna came over and sat there.

“I think your sister is lovely,” Anna said.

“She’s that, but she’s also ornery as all get out,” Garrett said. “Without her operation, we’d be toast.”

“Operation?” Anna asked.

“I run the ammo factory,” she said with pride. “Dangerous work because of the black powder, but we’ve got it down. We need some more brass, though. You got any ideas, Garrett?”

“I’ve asked my guys to save what brass they can,” Garrett said, “and we’ve been picking it up off the ground after battles. We still need a better source, though, now that the routes into Arizona are shut down.”

There was sputtering from the kitchen. Susanne got up and rushed back there, Anna joining her.

“They’re conspiring against us,” Elmer whispered, a grin on his face.

Garrett shook his head. “When are you gonna make an honest woman out of her?”

“Like Susanne would go for that. I’ve already tried. I’ll just take what I can get at this point.”

Garrett chuckled. “Well, whatever makes you two happy.”

“You’re taking Anna to your spread?”

“Yeah, I’ll take her out there,” Garrett said. “Might bring her back here tonight, though, so she can have a room in the hotel.”

“Don’t count on that,” he whispered. “Here they come.”

The women were back, each with two coffee cups in their hands.

“Good,” Garrett said after his first sip.

“When do our men get back?” Susanne asked. “The large group.”

“They’re probably already at the Williams place,” Garrett said. “I’ll leave some of them there to help protect it.”

“Why don’t you just move everybody here?” Elmer asked.

“Might come to that,” Garrett said. “We’ve got room, that’s for sure.”

“Then why not?” Anna asked.

“Don’t want all of our eggs in one basket,” Garrett said. “Being split between the two locations makes an assault twice as hard for the enemy.”

“Yeah, but they have to go against a force that’s double the size,” Susanne said.

“These folks have access to advanced weapons like artillery,” Garrett said. “That can water down our numbers quick, and then we’re done.”

Anna nodded in agreement. “It helps to have your forces in more than one place. Our tribe would be gone now had we all stayed together.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “We could get bottled up in here, too. Not something we couldn’t put down, but how many people would we lose? They could lob shells in here and blow the hell out of our little town, too. Better to have them worried about their backsides.”

“Hope you two are right,” Susanne said.

“You worried, honey?” Elmer asked, moving closer to her on the couch.

“Stop it,” she said.

Garrett’s phone rang. He answered it, his face showing a smile.

“What?” Anna asked.

“Thanks, man,” Garrett said into the phone before he ended the call. “Ed’s been found.”

“Alive?” Anna asked. “Obviously that’s a yes, with that grin.”

“Yes, he’s alive, but we almost didn’t find him in time. His hovercraft broke down in a bad spot.”

“Never trusted that damn thing,” Anna said.

“Well, this is great news,” Elmer said. “It calls for a drink.”

“You don’t drink anymore,” Susanne said.

“I know, but it still calls for it. I don’t have to answer the call.”

Anna laughed. “You two are a riot.”

“I’m a riot,” Susanne said. “He’s a stupid old coot.”

“Yeah, but you love me,” Elmer said.

Susanne rolled her eyes.

“I think we’ll get going,” Garrett said. “I want to show the homestead to Anna while it’s still plenty light.”

“Yes, I’d love that,” Anna said.

“Look at the love birds,” Elmer quipped.

“Oh, leave them alone,” Susanne said. “I think it’s sweet.”

They said their goodbyes, and Garrett walked Anna outside.

“I love them,” Anna said, “and I’m so relieved about Ed.”

“Me too,” he said. “We’ll need to go get the truck. I’m a few miles outside of town.” He walked with her back to the parking spot, and they got into the truck, Garrett taking it on a back road to the far end of town, then onto a well-worn dirt road.

“They think we’re a couple,” Anna said as they drove along. “Did you tell them that?”

“No, that’s their idea, although you’re the first woman I’ve brought out to meet them.”

“I see,” Anna said. “We going to an old-west shack, or is it a modern house with a bathroom?”

“Don’t worry, we’re on septic. No outhouse.” He looked at her and chuckled. “There’s plenty of horses and cattle. I’ve got hands living in a bunkhouse on the edge of the property.”

“I hope this place has a bathtub big enough for the both of us,” she said.

“Oh, really now?”

“You have a problem with that?” she asked.

“Not even a little bit,” Garrett said, rolling down the road.

“It’s so pretty out here,” Anna said.

“Something’s wrong,” Garrett said, looking at the gate as they approached. “The gate’s open. Shouldn’t be.”

Anna looked at him, fear in her eyes. “We’ve got guns, right?”

Garrett pulled over, getting out and rushing to the truck bed, pulling back the tarp and grabbing two lever action rifles. He brought them up to the cab, then drove forward.

“These easy to shoot?” Anna asked.

“They’re just like modern Winchesters, except they kick less and let off some smoke,” he said, going through the gate, staring around the area.

“Is that a body over there?” Anna asked, pointing.

“Dammit,” he said. “Wait here, and keep the gun in your lap, okay?” I’m leaving the keys in the truck and the motor running. If something happens to me, high-tail it.”

Anna nodded yes as Garrett got out, grabbed one of the rifles, and trotted into the pasture.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 112 – Captives

The choppers on the roof of the Mertins Administration building started their engines as gunfire raged around them, explosions going off on the floor below them. One of the choppers leaned as the roof over the big conference room started to collapse, the chopper sliding sideways down into the building, exploding with a huge fireball. The other two choppers tried to lift off. Commandos approached from the far side of the roof, unsteady as the building shook, trying to get a bead on the closest chopper with their RPG. Then machinegun fire erupted from the third chopper, cutting down the team, the RPG falling to the composite roofing.

“Back off!” shouted the voice over the headsets. The commandos running to take the place of the first team dived behind cover as more machinegun fire came at them.

“Don’t worry about the choppers,” the voice on the headset cried. “Nobody from the building was able to get on. This is just the chopper crews trying to save themselves. Concentrate on officials running around. The routes to the roof have all been destroyed.”

“Roger that,” said the leader of the second team, who peered over the edge of the roof. “Van trying to escape below. You see it?”

“We’re heading towards it, but still a lot of snipers. Take out if you can.”

“You got it,” the Commando said, getting up, sprinting towards the RPG, picking it up. Blood dripped off it as he ran to the side of the roof. Machinegun fire started again from the chopper, the commando bobbing and weaving through what little cover there was while the other commandos fired their M-16s at the chopper, killing the pilot and copilot. The chopper went out of control, slamming into the third chopper, both of them exploding.

“Shoot that van,” shouted the man on the headset.

The commando aimed the RPG and fired, hitting the van, exploding it in front of the gate.

“Nice, that blocked their exit,” the voice over the headsets shouted.

“Glad to be of service,” the commando said. “Crap, get ready. There’s a line of vans headed our way.”

“Where they come from?” Jules asked over the headset.

“Alpha One, good to hear your voice. Nice job on those enemy choppers.”

“Where they come from,” Jules repeated.

“Oh, sorry sir. Coming on Route 17, good clip. I see about twenty of them.”

“Vans only, or military vehicles?” Jules asked.

“Vans…no, wait. I see two Gaz Tigrs.”

“Okay, we attack,” Jules said. “Everybody hear?”

“I got you, partner,” Tex said.

“Yeah, we heard you,” Robbie said. “On our way. You want us up on the freeway?”

“Yes, going wrong way,” Jules said. “I be there quick.”

“Be careful, chief,” the commando said. “We’re almost done here. Killed all of the leadership.”

“Oh, crap, more choppers,” the commando on the roof said. “Scratch that. Those are TV choppers. They’re filming.”

“Leave them be,” Jules said. “Ivan need footage for show.”

Several people on the radio chuckled.

***

Daan sat in the passenger seat of the van, at the back of the caravan, his first lieutenant driving, headset on, brow furrowed.

“We shouldn’t go in there so fast, boss,” the lieutenant said. “In fact, you shouldn’t even be here. It’s too dangerous.”

“Shut up, Hanson,” Daan said. “That’s my place.”

 

Hanson’s eyes squinted as he listened to a message coming in. Daan noticed.

“What?”

“I got intel from the lead,” Hanson said. “The entire leadership bought it.”

“What about the choppers?”

“The ones on the roof? Destroyed, but the leadership had no chance to get up there anyway.”

“And the two I sent to help?” Daan asked.

“Destroyed before they got there. Crap.”

“What?” Daan asked.

“The new UN base got destroyed,” he said. “Overwhelming force of citizen fighters aided by MERCs. The ammo storage blew. I told you we shouldn’t put it inside, even temporarily.”

“This is Ivan,” Daan said. “I’m going to skin him alive.”

Hanson looked forward, afraid to say anything, then his eyes grew wide. “What the hell is that?”

“What?” Daan asked, looking up from his cellphone screen. He froze, sweat breaking out on his forehead. “They’re coming the wrong way on the freeway? What are those things? They look like buses.”

“That one has a minigun on the roof,” Hanson cried. They both watched in horror as the two Gaz Tigrs exploded in a hail of lead.

“Dammit, all of those things have miniguns,” Daan said. “I thought that was only a prototype.”

“What? You knew about these things?”

“We nailed one in central California, remember? And that damn Ji-Ho had one in the south. Almost wasted it, but he limped away.”

“Oh, the battle in Julian,” Hanson said. “Sir, we’d better turn around now.”

“Yes, do it,” Daan said. “Go to the alternate location.”

Hanson slowed quickly as several vans in front of them blew up, then made a sweeping u-turn as machinegun fire ripped into the roof of the van, going through the driver’s seat, guts and brains slamming into the front windshield as Daan looked on, horrified. He held on tight as the van went out of control, rolling onto the driver’s side and sliding to a stop against the center divider.

“Hanson!” Daan shouted, struggling to climb out. The door was jammed. He grabbed Hanson’s rifle and shot through the passenger side window, then scrambled out and ran off the freeway as the other vans were blown to bits with minigun fire and grenades.

***

“That got them,” Robbie said, watching the UN Vans burn on the road ahead. “Should we go check them out?”

“That’s a negative,” Ted said over the headphones.

“Yes, Ted right,” Jules said. “Retract weapons. Turn around, head north on this road. I send text with GPS coordinates for each coach. All separate RV parks. We reconnect before rescue operation. Nice work, everybody. Turn off headsets when text come.”

“Wow, that was a rush,” Morgan said, her face flushed. “I could get used to this.”

Robbie glanced at her, smiling. “Yep, gets your blood up, that’s for sure.” He got the rig turned around, and retracted the weapons systems.

“I wish we could pull over right now,” Morgan said.

“Why?”

“Guess,” she said, shooting him a sexy grin.

“Oh,” he said sheepishly. “Yeah, I could really get into that now, but it’ll have to wait.” Both of their phones dinged.

“Watch the road,” Morgan said. “I’ll look up where our GPS coordinates take us and guide us there.”

“Hope we don’t run into trouble on the way.”

“Just drive casual,” Morgan said as she looked at her screen. “Ah, there we go.”

“Where?”

“Way east,” she said. “Take the 280 to the 680. I’ll guide you after that.”

“What’s it near?”

“It’s southeast of Livermore,” she said. “Looks like a pretty rustic place.”

“How long will it take?”

“Just over an hour, if we don’t run into any problems,” she said.

“I doubt we will, from what we heard about the attack on the UN Headquarters.”

Morgan snickered. “Yeah, why would those morons put so much ammo in their headquarters? Seems pretty stupid.”

“I suspect it was temporary, and we lucked out. Where’s everybody else going?”

“All over the damn place,” Morgan said. “We’re a good sixty miles from the nearest of our friends.”

“Who’s closest?”

“Cody and Allison,” she said. “Ted’s about eighty miles.”

“Where’s Jules?”

She looked at her screen for a couple minutes. “Someplace called Dublin. You aren’t still worried about him, are you?”

“No,” Robbie said. “How’s he going to handle the folks that don’t have the apps?”

“Every coach has a laptop with the new app, remember?” It’s got the normal long-range app on it too.”

“But not the short-range app,” Robbie said. “That one might be the most important, since it doesn’t require LTE.”

“I’m looking at that matrix of coaches and people that Shelly put together. There’s only two coaches that don’t have leadership people in them.”

“I know, Justin and Gil,” Robbie said. “Text one of them and see if they’ve been sent the apps. If not, I need to get on the horn with Jules.”

She nodded, moving her fingers on the screen, sending a text. “I sent a broadcast to the two of them.”

“Good,” Robbie said, hands gripping the wheel. “Here comes the 280.”

“It just turns into the 680, by the way.” Her phone dinged. “Text from Justin.” She smiled. “He got the apps.”

“Gil?”

“Not back yet,” she said. “Give it time.”

“Okay.” He made the transition to the 280. “This road is deserted.”

“Not surprising,” Morgan said. “Wonder if we’ll see any checkpoints?”

“Not on the freeway. Do we have much in the way of surface streets to deal with?”

“We go from the 680 to a much smaller road. Route 84. Looks like it goes through the residential part of Livermore.”

“Freeway or highway with stops?” Robbie asked.

“Looking.” She focused on her phone for a moment. “Crap. Big street, but there are stop signs and such.”

“Are there other ways there?”

She looked closer. “Not better than this way. There’s mountains we have to go around after we leave Livermore. No shortcut to there that I can see, at least with a road vehicle. We should trust Jules, though. I’m sure they thought through these spots.”

“Hope so,” Robbie said.

They rode silently for a while, the freeway transitioning from 280 to 680, then going into rugged terrain.

“Really deserted out here,” Morgan said.

“Yep. Wish we still were towing the Jeep. We’ll probably need to get some food.”

“There’s quite a bit of stuff in the freezer,” Morgan said. “I checked before we took off this morning. Quite a bit of food in the pantry too, but some of it might be bad now. Wouldn’t trust the loaf of bread that’s in there.”

“At least we can tell by looking.”

“It won’t be long before we hit the beginnings of Livermore,” Morgan said, looking at her phone again. “What do we do if there’s a checkpoint?”

“Fight our way through, I guess,” Robbie said. “We’re sure as hell not letting them search us.”

“We’re probably dead if it comes to that,” Morgan said. “How can we outrun anybody in this thing?”

“We have a lot of firepower,” Robbie said, “but you’re right. It’ll be tough. You know it’s possible that we’re being tracked via satellite right now. All of us.”

“I don’t think so,” Morgan said.

“Why not?”

“They would’ve found us at that winery,” she said. “Think about it.”

“Good point,” Robbie said. “Thanks, that makes me feel a little better. We’re getting into town.” He slowed as the road went from freeway to highway. The side streets were nearly empty, with only an occasional car or truck. There was a semi rig ahead of them and a couple of cars behind them. Robbie’s eyes kept darting between his mirrors and windshield, as Morgan looked nervously out the passenger side window.

“So far so good,” she muttered under her breath.

“Traffic light ahead,” Robbie said, rolling to a stop.

“Look, there used to be a checkpoint here,” Morgan whispered. “See the barricades over there?”

“So why is it not running now, I wonder?”

“Maybe because of that big shindig that we messed up in San Jose,” Morgan said.

They cruised along, going through several lights, and then Robbie’s eyes lingered more on the rearview mirror.

“What?” Morgan asked.

“We’re being followed by a cop.”

“Oh no,” Morgan said.

“Don’t get upset yet,” Robbie said. “There’s a big difference between a cop and the UN.”

***

“No luck?” Erica asked. Sam put his cellphone and the address book down on the coffee table in front of the couch. He shook his head no. Mia was sleeping next to them on the couch, her head on Sam’s lap. Most of the people had left the house after the meeting, and it was quiet.

“Should we take her home?” Sam asked.

“Home?”

“Our coach,” Sam whispered.

“Oh, let her sleep,” Erica said. “She’s still recovering from the trauma. You okay to sit there for a while?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he whispered, petting Mia’s head tenderly. “Poor girl.”

“Want a cup of coffee?” Erica asked.

“Sure, thanks,” Sam said. Erica got up carefully and walked into the kitchen. Garrett and Anna were in the kitchen with Clem and Sarah, all of them looking exhausted.

“Hey,” Erica said as she went to the coffee pot.

“It’s a little stale,” Sarah said. “There’s a smaller coffee pot in the cupboard next to the dishwasher.”

“Okay, thanks,” Erica said, retrieving it. “Any of you interested?”

“Sure, I could drink a cup,” Clem said.

“Me too, come to think of it,” Sarah said. “Thanks.”

“How are you holding up?” Erica asked her.

“I’m numb,” she said. “I can’t even cry now. It’s weird.”

“I’m so sorry,” Erica said.

“How’s Sam doing with Mia?” Anna asked.

“He’s in love with that little girl,” Erica said. “Should have known that would happen. He’s a good man. Even better than I thought when I first met him.”

“Yep, he’s good people,” Garrett said.

“So are you,” Erica said, glancing at him. Anna smiled and nuzzled up against him.

“I’ll say,” she said. “How do you feel about Mia?”

“I know what you’re gonna say,” Erica said. “You sure?”

“Yeah,” Anna said. “You couldn’t raise any of the family, could you?”

Erica stopped spooning coffee into the drip basket and looked at her, shaking her head no.

“Do you want her?” Anna asked.

Erica looked at her, starting to tremble a little, tears running down her cheeks. She nodded yes, looking embarrassed.

“What’s the matter?” Sarah asked.

“I’m afraid I can’t be a good enough mother,” she said.

“Rubbish,” Clem said. “You’ll make a fine mother.”

“And you’ll have Sam to help you,” Garrett said. “I saw how he looked at her.”

“He didn’t have any kids with is first wife,” Erica said.

“First wife?” Sarah asked. “He’s only been married once.”

“He’s married to Erica now,” Anna said. “Or as good as married.”

Erica continued making coffee, feeling a welling of pride within her. She turned and smiled. “This is weird.”

“What?” Anna asked.

“I wanted to have kids with Sam,” she said. “It struck me so fast after we met. I thought I was going nuts. It kept up, too.”

“That’s not weird,” Sarah said.

“No,” Erica said. “Now it’s not urgent anymore. Now I want Mia. I can’t explain that.”

“Biology works in strange ways,” Clem said.

“It does,” Anna said. “Have you two talked about this yet?”

Erica turned on the coffee maker and turned back towards Anna. “No, not in so many words, but we’ve definitely had some non-verbal communication about it.”

Anna chuckled. “Hell, even I picked up on that, and I barely know Sam.”

The coffee maker pulsed, coffee dripping into the pot, the room filling with the aroma. Anna looked up at Garrett. “Maybe we should be off.”

“Where are you two going?” Clem asked. “Upstairs?”

“Clem!” Sarah said. Anna laughed.

“No, he’s taking me to Dodge City, to meet his sister and some other people,” Anna said.

“Oh,” Sarah said. “Is it safe to go there?”

“Sure,” Garrett said. “Probably safer there than it is here.”

“I meant the drive,” Sarah said.

“Oh. Yeah, we’ll be fine. A few others are going with us. Most are staying here, though, at least until the cavalry gets back. They should be here in a half hour or so.”

“Okay,” Sarah said. “Just be careful? Please?”

“We will,” Anna said, getting off the stool. She walked towards the archway into the living room and stopped, turning towards Erica. “You’ve got to see this.”

Erica walked over to her and looked. Sam and Mia were both asleep, looking as peaceful as can be.

“Oh geez,” Erica said. “Guess he’ll have coffee later.”

“They won’t sleep long,” Garrett said. “Those horses will wake them up.”

“Let’s go out the back door so we don’t wake them yet,” Anna whispered. Garrett nodded, and they went through the kitchen slider into the backyard, pulling it closed behind them.

The coffee pot sputtered as it finished. Erica poured three cups, sliding one to Clem and one to Sarah, then taking a sip of hers.

“Thanks,” Clem said, taking a sip. “Wish we could have a little booze in this.”

“We have some,” Sarah said.

“I know, but I’m not comfortable,” Clem said. “I know we’re supposed to be safe and all, but I still want to be alert.”

“Good policy,” Erica said.

“You know, our marriage was having real problems before this craziness started,” Sarah said. “John had a real drinking problem.”

“I remember,” Clem said, watching her start to tear up.

“The old goat had to become such a good man,” she said. “Right before I lost him.” She broke down, Clem and Erica both rushing to hug her.

***

Dean Lambert sat in the cement room next to Hodges and Davis, their hands still bound, their mouths uncovered.

There was a clanking sound, and the heavy metal door creaked open.

“Shit, what now,” Dean Lambert muttered under his breath. Hodges looked over at him, pure hatred in his eyes.

“What are you gonna tell them this time, traitor?” he said, sweat glistening on his bald head.

“Shut the hell up,” Davis said. “Both of you. He scratched his kinky black hair on the wall behind his head.

“Gentlemen, how are you?” Ivan asked, walking in with Mr. White and Mr. Black. “Somebody wanted to see that you were really here. Come on in, Ben.”

Ben Dover walked into the room slowly, his face still battered, his head bandaged. “Hey, no fair, these creeps aren’t beat up as bad as I am.”

“Your name is Kent Garland,” Davis said. “You were in one of my classes. What are you doing with these reactionaries?”

“You don’t know what this little cretin did, do you?” Hodges asked. He spat at Ben, who leapt back to avoid it.

“We don’t need Mr. Hodges anymore,” Ivan said. Mr. Black nodded and walked towards him as his eyes grew wider, grabbing his head with both hands and twisting, a sickening crack reverberating in the cement room. Davis and Lambert both cried out, trying to scoot away from Hodges as he fell, ending up across Davis’s lap. He began to cry.

“There, there,” Ivan said. “You don’t have to suffer the same fate as your friend here. All you have to do is cooperate as well as Dean Lambert has.”

“They’ll kill me,” Davis said.

Ivan chuckled. “Your leadership is the least of your worries. Trust me on that. They’re in more danger from us than you are from them, I guarantee you.”

“What do you want?” Dean Lambert asked. “I’ve already told you everything I know.”

“If that’s the case, you won’t last much longer,” Ivan said. He turned to Ben Dover. “You might want to leave the room. This is liable to get a little intense.”

“I’d rather stay, if you don’t mind,” Ben said.

“You didn’t ask me to call you Kent again,” Ivan said.

“I think I’d rather go by Ben,” he said. “Sounds like a good name for a revolutionary. I might be able to help you steer the questioning. I know a lot of details that you might not.”

“Capitol idea,” Ivan said. “Hey, Mr. White, close the door, would you please?”

He nodded, his bulky figure moving towards the door, slamming it shut so hard the walls shook.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 111 – Re-plan

“This technology is amazing,” Shelly said, watching the laptop screen as enemy fighters and patriots moved around the building, inside and outside.

Jules nodded as his phone dinged. He checked the text message and grinned. “Commando team at UN Regional Headquarters in place. Waiting for attack to start here.”

“Good,” Shelly said. “I think our assets outside the building are rounding up enemy fighters now. They aren’t using many UN Peacekeepers in there, are they?”

“Mostly Islamist,” Jules said. “UN slugs have rough few weeks. Short-handed. Experiment failing. Many are deserting, trying to leave state.”

“Don’t blame them,” Shelly said. “They’re probably not use to dealing with an armed population.”

“Look,” Jules said, pointing to screen. “Commandos going inside building. See?”

The headphone scratched. “Alpha one, inside main hallway, middle of target building.”

“We see you,” Shelly said. “That hallway is clear. Go past three hallways that intersect. Turn right on the fourth one, which leads to the conference room. Many Islamists in that hallway, so be ready.”

“Roger that, Alpha One. Three choppers on roof. You guys see that?”

“Crap,” Jules said. “Taken out?”

“No sir, noise would’ve spoiled the party. Our assets have them in sight, but they might be tough to disable with small arms fire. That’s mainly what we have on the roof. Will get RPGs on the roof after outside enemy fighters are neutralized.”

“They have to fly over our assets to get to UN base,” Jules said. “We have miniguns.”

“Hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, good backstop. Just make sure you get them.”

“If they make it to UN headquarters, they die,” Jules said.

“Going down fourth hallway,” the voice on the headset said. “Enemy fighters ahead. They’ve made us. We’re attacking now.” There was the sound of machinegun fire.

“Whoa, look at that conference room,” Shelly said. “Looks like somebody poured gasoline on an ant hill.”

“Action on roof and parking lot,” Jules said. “See that?”

“Listen,” Shelly whispered. “Hear the gunfire?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “Battle rages now.”

“Surprised we aren’t getting more vocal traffic from the headsets.”

“They busy,” Jules said. “They already know where enemy is.”

“Better tell them about that,” Shelly said, pointing at the screen. “See them? Group coming in from parking lot.”

“Headsets chasing them,” Jules said.

“Wow,” Shelly said.

The headsets scratched. “Parking lot locked down, Alpha One. Heading to roof with RPG. Heavy fighting inside building. Main room barricaded. Taking explosives in.”

“Good,” Jules said, his brow furrowed. He sent a text.

“What are you sending?” Shelly asked.

“See people heading for roof? Want our units in siege mode, ready with miniguns.”

“Oh,” Shelly said. “Yeah, I see what you’re talking about.”

He sent the text, then set up siege mode on their coach.

“That gun might stick up far enough for somebody to see it past this fence,” Shelly said.

“Yes, be ready. Keep eyes open. Get console going for forward and rear machine guns. I man minigun just in case.”

Shelly nodded, listening to the whir of motors as siege mode locked into place.

Jules’s phone dinged.

“Our people?” Shelly asked.

Jules snickered after looking at the phone. “No, report from UN assault. Done. They had ammo stored in building. Went up. Entire building in flames. Big mess.”

“If the choppers find out about it, they might go a different direction,” Shelly said.

“Maybe we should move closer,” Jules said.

Just then his phone dinged again. He looked. “Ted and Sparky. They want to move to site. Afraid choppers go other way now.”

“You think that’s a good idea? Two of our best people in an exposed tin can doesn’t thrill me.”

“It be okay, we lock down site outside now.”

Shelly looked at him nervously. “Maybe we should send more than one unit.”

“Not unless need,” Jules said, replying to the text.

“Hope this isn’t a mistake.”

“I tell them to go on other side of site and hide out,” Jules said.

The headset scratched again. “Alpha one, through doors, at least half of people inside killed by blast. Others trying to escape to roof as we suspected. RPGs up there now.”

“Listen,” Shelly whispered. “Choppers.”

“Dammit,” Jules said, getting on his minigun sight, looking around. “Enemy chopper, going to help.” He turned the minigun on, and pointed it at the sky.

“Be careful,” Shelly said.

Jules grinned. “I got you, suckers.” He fired, hitting the belly of the chopper, watching it come apart in the air.

“That’s not the only one,” Shelly said. “Listen. They’re liable to come for us.”

Jules nodded, listening and watching. A chopper appeared, heading right for them. Jules fired. “It’s coming in fast, getting ready to fire missiles.”

“Shoot it down!” Shelly shouted, panic in her eyes. Jules fired, but then there was more gunfire from the other direction, the chopper exploding overhead.

“Another coach help,” Jules said. “Brace. Debris coming down.”

There were explosions around them as pieces of chopper rained around the schoolyard they were hidden in, fires starting on some of the buildings.

“We go,” Jules said. “If that building by driveway burn, we can’t get past.” He took the rig out of siege mode and started the engine, then raced out as the rest of the school buildings went up in flames, hitting the street, making a left turn.

“Where are we going?” Shelly asked, eyes scanning the street ahead.

“Far side of site, like Ted and Sparky,” Jules said.

“We’ll be out in the open,” Shelly said.

“Trees by reservoirs,” Jules said. “I try there. Keep eyes open, man machine guns and grenade launcher.”

She nodded, fear in her eyes.

***

Ji-Ho pulled into the driveway of the Williams Place, Garrett sitting in the passenger seat next to him. Some of the coaches were already there, others behind them. Car loads of Garrett’s men were with them as well, but the cavalry was far behind, half of them going to Dodge City, the others coming to the Williams place.

“Right decision,” Garrett said.

“Yes, is,” Ji-Ho said as he backed into his spot. “Here she come.”

Garrett watched out the window as Anna ran towards the coach. “Mind?”

“Go be with woman,” Ji-Ho said. “We meet in couple hours.”

Garrett left the coach, running towards her in his boots, almost falling down. They embraced on the pasture. Garrett pulled back to look at her face, then kissed her with passion.

“Thank God you guys made it back here okay,” she said.

“You’re glad to see me, aren’t you?”

She laughed. “We’re going to be more than friends. Fair warning.”

He smiled at her and kissed her again as Ji-Ho and some of the others walked by them, heading for the house.

“We have an audience,” she whispered to Garrett.

“Don’t care,” he said, kissing her again. “We’d better settle down a little, I guess.”

“Yes, save it up for later,” she said. “I hear we have a little girl coming.”

“Mia,” Garrett said. “Such a cute little thing. She’s with Sam and Erica.”

“They’re going to raise her,” Anna said.

“I think we’re gonna try to find some relatives,” Garrett said.

“We won’t,” Anna said. “They’re all dead.”

“How do you know that?”

“I just know. I saw them with a daughter. Didn’t understand that the timing was all off. Now I get it.”

“Wait, are you some kind of witch doctor or something?” he asked, smiling at her.

“More like a medicine woman,” Anna said, “but only for certain things. Mainly relationship things.” Her brow furrowed.

“What?”

“Wish it was for more than that,” she said. “I wish I would’ve seen through the traitor.”

“That wasn’t your fault,” Garrett said. “You aren’t feeling guilty, are you?”

“No,” she said. “Still nothing on Ed, I take it.”

“Nothing,” Garrett said. “I send three of my best trackers out to look for him before the battle started, but it’ll be like looking for a needle in a haystack, I’m afraid. That damn hovercraft of his doesn’t leave much behind to track.”

They walked onto the veranda. People were starting to congregate there, as battle wagons and cars continued coming in the gate every few minutes.

“That’s almost all of them,” Seth said, walking up with Kaitlyn. Megan and Angel followed.

“Hey, mom,” Kaitlyn said.

“Hi, Kaitlyn,” she said, leaving Garrett’s side to hug her and then Seth.

“Nothing on Ed?” Megan asked.

“Nope, not yet,” Anna said. “Garrett’s got some trackers looking.”

“There’s Trevor and Kaylee,” Seth said, watching as they approached.

“When are we meeting?” Trevor asked.

“Ji-Ho said a couple hours,” Garrett said.

“You’re more anxious than I am,” Kaylee said.

“We won’t go on the attack right away, I suspect,” Angel said.

“I don’t know,” Trevor said. “If we don’t, we’re liable to see the enemy coming here.”

“They don’t have enough people,” Garrett said.

“Then why didn’t we go on to Julian?” Angel asked.

“They’re gonna be dug in,” Trevor said, “and they’re expecting us. It’s easier to defend than it is to assault.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “We would’ve won, but the cost would’ve been too high. It was way too high as it was.”

Trevor nodded in agreement.

“Here comes Sam and Erica’s rig,” Kaitlyn said. “They’re going to keep that girl, aren’t they?”

Anna looked at her and shook her head yes.

“Huh?” Seth asked quietly.

“Later,” Kaitlyn whispered. Anna smirked.

“Look at how darling she is,” Anna said, watching them approach, Mia between Sam and Erica, holding their hands.

“Don’t get any ideas,” Garrett said. He pulled Anna close and chuckled.

Anna rolled her eyes, then walked down to greet them.

“Is this Mia?” she asked, squatting down in front of them.

“Yes,” Erica said. “Isn’t she a doll?”

“Glad you feel that way,” Anna said, glancing up at her.

“Shut up,” Erica whispered. Sam shot them a sidelong glance.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Erica whispered. They went towards the house.

“Do you like ice cream, Mia?” Anna asked.

She smiled, shaking her head yes.

“Good,” Anna said. “There’s some inside. Come on.”

Anna held out her hand, and Mia took it as Erica and Sam watched.

“We should follow,” Sam said, brow furrowed.

“You don’t trust Anna?” Erica asked.

“No, no, it’s not that,” he said. “It just makes me uncomfortable when she’s out of sight, that’s all.”

Kaitlyn snickered. Erica shot her a glance and shook her head.

“Okay, honey, let’s go. Maybe we can have some ice cream too.”

The couple went inside the house.

“What the hell?” Seth asked.

“My mom,” Kaitlyn said. “She has the sight. Sometimes I do too. I have this strong feeling that Mia is gonna stay with Sam and Erica.”

“Oh really?” Seth asked. “What else do you see? Do I get to keep you barefoot and pregnant?”

“I never go barefoot,” she said. Seth chuckled.

“When are we getting married? Seth asked.

“We’ll have to wait,” Kaitlyn said. “At least if we want Tyler involved. We’ve got James to take care of. Hopefully we don’t have Ed to take care of too. I’m scared to death for him.”

“I know, he didn’t carry that much in the way of food and water on that hovercraft.”

Ji-Ho came out of his rig, looking tired. Kaylee saw him and rushed over.

“You having that problem again, uncle?”

“No, I fine, just tired,” Ji-Ho said. “Talking to Ivan. Big deal happening now up north. Many friends involved.”

“Is it going well?” Kaylee asked.

“Sound like,” Ji-Ho said. “Still very dangerous.”

“Maybe we should have the meeting sooner rather than later, so you can relax,” Trevor said as he walked up.

“How many coach not back?”

“They’re all back,” Trevor said. “Sid and Yvonne just drove in. There’s still a few of Garrett’s people coming in, though.”

“Where Garrett?” Ji-Ho asked.

“He went into the house with Anna,” Kaylee said. “To feed Mia some ice cream.”

Ji-Ho smiled. “Good. I get ready. Pass word. Meeting in five minutes, in house. Air conditioner running?”

“Last I was in there, yes,” Kaylee said.

“Good,” Ji-Ho said, starting for the house. Trevor rushed over to Seth and Angel and talked to them for a second, and then they all started spreading the news about the meeting.

Everybody was in the house in about five minutes. Ji-Ho stood up in the front. Kaylee and Trevor rushed into the kitchen, grabbing one of the tall stools that was at the counter. Ji-Ho smiled at them and got on.

“Thanks, all,” Ji-Ho said. “We make brief, then rest up.”

Sam and Erica sat on the couch, Anna and Garrett joining them. Mia climbed onto Sam’s lap, still eating ice cream.

“All of you know we lost people,” Ji-Ho said. “Moment of silence for James and John please. They were brave, gave their lives for liberty.”

A hush came over the room, broken by sniffling and crying. Sarah left the room, not able to contain herself.

“Okay,” Ji-Ho said. “We have ceremony soon. Now let’s talk.”

“Anything on Ed?” Ryan asked.

“I’ve got men trying to track him down,” Garrett said.

“Hear from them lately?” Tyler asked.

“No,” Garrett said. “I’ll call them when we’re done here.”

“I might want to go search too,” Tyler said.

“Let’s talk first, then decide,” Ji-Ho said. “As you know, we have large group of enemy fighters in Julian. They dig in.”

“We also have UN Peacekeepers in the mix, and we can’t see them with the apps,” Clem said.

“I don’t think it worth risk to hit Julian with frontal attack,” Ji-Ho said. “There are other targets we can hit, though.”

“Do we know where the supply depot is for the Julian operation?”

“Yes, do,” Ji-Ho said. “They expect us to hit there. Dug in too. Can tell.”

“Yeah, I’m seeing that too,” Trevor said. “They’re waiting for us. You can tell by where the icons are.”

“That right,” Ji-Ho said. “I talk to Ivan a little while ago. He has new prisoners. Got information we can use.”

“Like what?” Sam asked.

“UN bring in reinforcements for Southern California. We find out where secret base is.”

“We did, huh?” Garrett asked. “Where?”

“Jamul,” Ji-Ho said. “Waiting for more intelligence from Ivan.”

“Are they there already?” Sam asked.

“Leadership and some of the peacekeepers. Might need to transfer some up north after what Ivan do today.” He laughed.

“They still mixing with the Islamists?” Garrett asked.

“Yes, are,” Ji-Ho said. “Small force of Islamists in Jamul, though. Bulk still around Julian and also northeast. Ramona and Fernbrook.”

“Hell, we chased them out of some of those locations already,” Sid said.

“Understand,” Ji-Ho said. “We can’t occupy and lock down unless robust citizenry there. The enemy still in trouble around populated areas of LA and Orange County. No need to operate there now. Citizens have control, elect local governance, organize militias.”

“Well, that’s good,” Yvonne said. “Why does this area continue to be a problem?”

“Border, I suspect,” Garrett said.

“Yes, border,” Ji-Ho said. “New UN base planned to be large. They will battle with US Armed forces for control of Route 125. Our job is to stop them from getting strong enough.”

“If they get control of that road, we’ll have a constant flow of enemy fighters coming in,” Sid said.

“Yep,” Ji-Ho said. “Very bad. Must stop.”

“What about Julian?” Garrett asked. “If we move a bunch of our people away from here to attack Jamul, the bad guys from Julian will move in and attack our loved ones here.”

“We have to move them away,” Ji-Ho said, “but no worry yet. We can leave enough here to defend for now. Should dig in, though, like they have in Julian.”

“What good is Julian doing them?” Angel asked.

“Interstate 8,” Garrett said. “It’s vulnerable. Not enough resources to protect it if they attack and take control. They want to open both I-8 and Route 125.”

“And we can’t let them do that,” Sam said. “When do you expect the info we need for the first attack?”

“Tonight or early tomorrow,” Ji-Ho said, “so relax for now. Rest up. Gonna get crazy again soon.”

There were murmurs around the room.

“When are we doing memorials for John and James?” Sarah asked, leaning against the wall by the door.

“I say we try to do them late tomorrow,” Tyler said.

“I second that,” Ryan said.

“Fine with me,” Ji-Ho said. “I’ll leave you to your planning now. Need to rest.” He struggled to get off the stool, Trevor and Kaylee rushing to help him.

“He’s not in good shape, is he?” Erica asked under her breath.

“No,” Sam said. “We need to protect him.”

***

Daan Mertins sat on a couch in the posh office of the Chancellor at UC Santa Cruz. A very uncomfortable academic sat behind the desk. Saladin sat in a chair close to the door, exasperated look on his face.

“I can’t believe you morons can’t handle a little resistance,” Saladin spat. “You guys are as bad as Sable was.”

“Zip it, skippy, or I’ll yank your leash,” Daan said, sitting up straighter. “Chancellor Wilson, did you know that Dean Lambert was dipping his wick in that damn coed?”

Chancellor Wilson loosened his tie, his double chin sagging in relief. “This specific girl? No.”

“Oh, so there’s been more, huh?” Daan asked.

“Please, let’s stop the bullshit,” Saladin said. “We heard the tape of your conversation with him. He offered her to you, and you took it to a worse level.”

“What’s he talking about?” Wilson asked.

“Daan here likes them about five years younger,” Saladin said.

“Knock it off,” Daan said. “I mean it. If we get Dean Lambert back, I’m gonna gut him for those tapes. You get all of them away from the police?”

“Yes, and we washed down the scene too,” Wilson said. “This is not what I signed up for.”

“Hope you washed the body,” Saladin said. “If his DNA is inside her, it’ll start a real mess. The press is friendly unless there’s a sex scandal they can pounce on. They just can’t help themselves.”

“We’ll deal with this ridiculous freedom of the press after we’ve consolidated our control over the population,” Daan said.

Saladin laughed again. “Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it.”

“I’ve had enough of you,” Daan said, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He walked away, having a hushed conversation.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to talk on the phone while there are others in the meeting?” Saladin asked.

Daan slipped the phone back in his pocket. “Rank has its privileges. I was just talking to your boss.”

“About what?” Saladin asked.

“I just suggested that you need to be involved in the set-up of the new base in Capitol Reef.”

Saladin snickered. “I’ve already discussed it with him. I’m going there anyway. You had nothing to do with it.”

“True, but I got it moved up. You need to be away from here while we solve this problem. More heavy-handed crap like you pulled at that abandoned prison isn’t going to help us. Remember what that led to.”

“What are you talking about?” Wilson asked.

“Sable’s assassination,” Daan said. “This idiot took that upon himself. Didn’t know that all that data was going to get released as a result.”

“It was a minor problem,” Saladin said. “We got past it.”

“And I want to get past this one, too, so you’re out of here tomorrow morning. You might want to go pack.”

Saladin stood up, sneered at Daan, and left the room in a huff. Wilson looked like he wanted to hide under his desk.

“Relax, Henry,” Daan said. “You’re not in trouble. Neither is he, really, but we need him out of here before he pulls some stupid stunt that makes things worse.” His phone dinged. Daan looked at the incoming text message, his eyes wide.

“What?”

“My factory is under attack,” Daan said, heading for the door in a panic.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 110 – Rear Fire

Sam and Erica sat in their coach with Mia, who was at the dinette eating some food. Erica had bathed her and helped her into fresh clothes.

“Clem, Sid, and Yvonne have been in Sarah’s coach for a while now,” Erica whispered. “This is horrible.”

“Yes, and it’s not the last of it,” Sam said softly. “We’re getting in deeper, and the enemy knows how much of a threat we are. More of our people are going to die.”

“They’re preparing Julian for us right now, I’m sure,” Erica whispered. “We’ll be lucky if they don’t try anything at home.”

“Home?”

“The Williams place and Dodge City,” she said. “We need intelligence on Julian before we go in there. We’ll need to send in scouts. Our best.”

“I know,” Sam said. “Damn UN. Can’t completely trust the apps because of those losers.”

“We should try to sleep,” Erica said. “I think we’d better bring Mia into bed with us.”

“I know,” Sam said. “Don’t want her waking up early and either leaving or messing with the weapons systems.”

“We really need to get her back to the Williams place,” Erica said. “This is a battle party. It’s no place for a little girl.”

“How do we do that? Take the Jeep. Leave the rig here?”

“Maybe,” Erica said. “Let’s sleep on it, okay?”

“Probably best,” Sam said. He studied her worried look. “They aren’t going to win.”

She sighed. “I know, but how many of us are gonna die before they’re defeated?”

“Look, Sid and Yvonne are leaving the coach. Maybe Clem will stay with her.”

“Sid’s typing something on his phone,” Sam whispered. His phone dinged. “Thought so.” He looked at the message.

She’s taking it hard. Clem will stay night. We should talk in the morning. Maybe we go home and regroup.

Sam showed the message to Erica. She nodded in agreement. Sam sent a response, then put his phone down.

“It’s probably for the better,” she said. “We need to plan the attack on Julian. It’s going to be huge. That town is too spread out, and there’s lots of places where they can dig in.”

“Maybe we leave them there and attack something else,” Sam said. “They’re expecting us to attack there. Even with our numbers, they’ll be ready, and they’ll kill a lot of our people. Better to draw them out. Take their strategy away from them.”

“I’m tired,” Mia said.

“I know, honey,” she said. “We’re all going to bed.”

“Protecting her is job one,” Sam whispered, tears in his eyes.

“I know, honey,” Erica said.

***

Mr. Black and Mr. White hid in the bushes by the windows of Dean Lambert’s office, watching him rise and fall on top of the pretty blonde coed.

“Wimp,” Mr. White whispered.

“Wait till he finish, then we take,” Mr. Black whispered.

“Think the old goat can?” Mr. White whispered. They both snickered. “We take her?”

Mr. Black shook his head no.

“We let go?”

Mr. Black shook his head no again.

“Oh, I get. We kill. His DNA inside.”

Mr. Black shot him a deadpan look. “Look, he finish.” They watched as Dean Lambert rolled off of the girl. “Now.”

The huge men rushed to the door, breaking it down like it was made of cardboard. Avril screamed, sitting up, covering her breasts. Mr. Black pulled his silenced handgun and shot her in the forehead.

“No!” Dean Lambert shouted. “Don’t kill me!”

“Don’t worry, we not kill you yet, scumbag,” Mr. White said, reaching down and yanking him to his feet with one hand. “Come, we leave now.” He pulled the naked Dean out the door and into a van parked in back, throwing him in with the two others.

“Hodges! Davis!” Lambert shouted. They looked back at him, duct tape covering their mouths, hands bound behind their backs, terror in their eyes. Mr. Black came into the back as Mr. White drove away.

“What are you doing? Do you know who I am?”

Mr. Black unrolled some duct tape and bound his hands behind his back, then covered his mouth. “Your wife arrives at office any minute. She thinks you have heart attack. She might have heart attack when she see.”

Dean Lambert’s eyes were wide. He struggled against the tape on his wrists. Mr. Black elbowed him hard in the face, breaking his nose, causing him to pass out. Then Mr. Black went back to the passenger seat.

“Night night?” Mr. White asked.

Mr. Black nodded yes. Several police cars and a paramedic unit flew by them in the opposite lane, sirens blaring as they made their way to Lambert’s office. Mr. White chuckled.

***

Tex was sitting next to Karen on the couch when a text came in. He looked at his phone.

“Meeting?” Karen asked.

“Yep,” Tex said. “Let’s get ready to go.”

“Maybe it’s time to attack,” she said, worried look on her face.

“Could be, little lady,” he said. They went out the door. Others were walking towards the patio behind the house. It was mid-morning, the sun burning hot already.

“Look, Ted and Haley are holding hands,” Karen whispered.

“Saw that coming,” Tex said. “Jules is already set up.”

“With Shelly,” Karen said. “Those two are peas in a pod.”

“Yep,” Tex said. They took seats towards the front as the others arrived.

Jules stood and raised his hands. “Hello all, thanks for coming.”

“We gonna attack?” Justin asked.

“Yes, and timeline short, so we need to meet quick and get on road. VIP scum attending conference at Mertins plant. We wipe out.”

Shelly nodded, and the TV screen next to Jules showed a satellite shot of the facility.

“That place is huge,” Ted said.

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Now look.” An overlay covered the picture, showing icons in various places in the building, and some around the grounds and by the parking lots.

“That looks different than our apps,” Tex said.

“New,” Jules said. “High resolution view. Used to rescue General Hogan. We can zero in on right part of building when enemy meetings go on.”

“So we’re getting new apps?” Robbie asked.

“This PC only,” Jules said. “Takes too much power to put on iOS or Android devices.”

“What are we gonna do with that?” Ted asked. “It’s not like we have laser target designators and smart bombs.”

“We sneak in nearby, then watch where enemy personnel are using the laptops. Ivan’s commandos rush in and kill bad guys. We communicate, act as eyes. There is extra enhancement, too. Headsets visible on screen. We can see where commandos are as well as enemy.”

“Wow,” Karen whispered to Tex. He nodded, brow furrowed.

“Hope we’ve got a lot of commandos, partner,” Tex said. “Looks like a death trap.”

“We have two thousand men,” Jules said. “Another thousand in reserve. Plus us.”

“Geez,” Sparky said.

“We also on hand to prevent escape,” Jules said.

“We can use this new technology for the rescues, too, can’t we?” Morgan asked.

“Yes,” Jules said. “Laptops and headsets inside house, set up and running. For each rig. We train now. Leave in two hours.”

“Wait, honey, let’s show them where we’re parking first,” Shelly said.

“Oh, yes, sorry,” Jules said. “Area bounded by Winchester Boulevard, West Valley Freeway, San Thomas Expressway, and Los Gatos Creek.”

“What’s that water?” Ted asked. “Looks like a reservoir system.”

“Yes, prevent escape that direction,” Jules said, getting next to the screen to point. “We stop along roads off Winchester. Here, here, here, here, and here. Escape through this maze of roads.”

“What’s to prevent them from blocking our rigs in and taking us?” Ted asked.

“You let me worry about,” Jules said. “Ivan and I have something special planned for certain key roads, and attack happen on UN base of operations at same time.”

“Geez, how many people are involved with this operation?”

“More than ten thousand,” Jules said. “Including rogue law enforcement personnel who were supposed to be security for this event.”

Tex laughed. “We turned them, huh?”

Jules nodded his head yes. “We go over assignments for each specific rig. Have easy part of battle.”

“Uh huh,” Ted said. “We’d better get busy. I’m not comfortable enough with the plans.”

“Yes, I knew,” Jules said. “You help develop now. You’re on board, no?”

Ted sighed, looking at Haley. “Yeah, we’re on board.”

The group focused on where each rig would park, what the escape routes were, and how to use the headsets and app. After that was over, everybody went into the house and got training on the new apps and the headset radios.

“Wow,” Karen whispered. “This is a professional hit, isn’t it?”

Tex nodded yes. “We’re gonna cream these folks. Big time.”

“Okay, let’s get into our rigs and take off,” Shelly said. “Staggered exit. Five minutes apart.”

“There’s our cue,” Tex said, picking up the laptop and headsets for their rig. They headed out along with the others. Soon there were diesels starting, and coaches pulling away, leaving at five-minute intervals.

“Almost our turn,” Karen said as they waited at the stop sign. Tex’s phone buzzed, and he drove onto the street, making a right turn. “Glad we’re not taking Route 17 all the way in. There’s that massive interchange right by the target. Seems like we’d be too visible to anybody watching.”

“Seriously,” Tex said. “We are on it for a while, though.”

“We’re getting off at Saratoga Los Gatos,” she said. “I’ll navigate you there, honey.”

“Excellent,” Tex said. “There’s Route 17.” He turned onto it and sped up.

“We’re going to have to run our generator if the laptop battery gets too low,” Karen said.

“Hell, I doubt we’ll use up all the battery,” Tex said. “Supposed to be good for five hours.”

“Not much traffic,” Karen said.

“They’ve got everything locked down. Can’t wait for Ivan to go public with Ben Dover.”

“When are we going public. About the rapes?”

Tex looked over at her. “I wish you didn’t have to do that.”

“I want to do it. You won’t be ashamed that people know, will you?”

“No, of course not,” Tex said. “I’m proud that you’re my woman. I’ll always be proud, no matter what.”

“I like that,” Karen said. “I like being your woman. Didn’t see that coming.”

“I did,” Tex said.

“Look down there.” Karen pointed. There was a checkpoint on a major street below the freeway. UN Peacekeepers with their blue helmets were beating an old man senseless with their batons as his wife looked on.

“Bastards,” Tex said. “They’ll get theirs.”

“And then some,” Karen said. “My teachers in school always talked up the UN as the future for mankind. What morons.”

“The teachers in Texas weren’t like that, except for in places like Austin.”

“What part of Texas are you from?”

“West Texas,” he said. “Long line of cattle ranchers.”

“Which city?”

Tex chuckled. “We were between cities. I’m a country boy. The closest city was Lubbock.”

“How’d you end up in California?”

“I got caught outside of Texas after they shut down the borders,” Tex said. “Couldn’t get back in, so I figured I’d spend some time with Sparky. Didn’t expect this to be old home week.”

“Old home week?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Tex said. “I never expected to see Jules or Ted. That was a nice surprise.”

“Do you wish you were in Texas?”

“No,” Tex said.

“Why?”

“Because I wouldn’t have met you,” he said. “We getting close?”

“Oh,” she said, breaking out of her trance. “Three more miles. Sorry.”

Tex watched her red hair swaying as she looked at her phone. “You’re so gorgeous.”

“Stop,” she said, smiling at him. “Are you going back to Texas when this is over?”

“If you’ll go with me,” Tex said. “We don’t have to. I’d like to visit pretty often, though.”

“I have nothing holding me to California,” Karen said. “You’re all I have, actually. I’ll go wherever you want to go.”

“It’ll be a joint decision,” Tex said.

“There’s the off-ramp.”

Tex nodded, moving into the right lane. He took the ramp, getting onto the surface street.

“Wow, it’s even deserted down here, and this is a big street,” Karen said.

Tex was watching his rearview mirror. “Open the target console.”

“Oh, crap, what do you see?”

“UN Vehicle. They’ve noticed us. They’re getting ready to pull us over.”

“What are we gonna do?”

“Well, it’s not a van. I can see all the way inside, and there’s only two people. Think you can hit both the driver and the passenger with the rear machine guns?”

Karen had the console pulled out, and looked at the target reticle. “I see them. They need to be a little closer.”

“They just turned on their red light,” Tex said. “Good, nobody around. I don’t see anybody on the road for the next several blocks.”

“Nobody behind us either. Slow down a little bit, like you’re getting ready to pull over.”

Tex chuckled as he slowed.

“Come to papa,” Karen said. “Or should I say mama?”

“God, I love this woman,” Tex muttered.

Machine gun fire blasted out the rear of the coach, smashing through the windshield of the UN vehicle, hitting both occupants square in the face. The vehicle rolled to a stop against the curb, hitting a parked car. Tex sped back up to speed, eyes darting between the road ahead and the mirrors.

“Hope they didn’t call in a description,” Karen said. “Hey, there’s people running out to the vehicle. One of them looked at us and gave a thumb up.”

Tex laughed. “I’m telling you, the people around here don’t like this martial law garbage one bit, and they hate the UN. We’ll have plenty of help.”

“I hope you’re right about that,” Karen said. “I’m gonna leave the console out.”

“Good idea,” Tex said.

“Turn right on Daves Avenue. It’s coming up in a few blocks. We’ll follow that around until we get to our parking place.”

“Okay,” Tex said. He made the turn. “This is a nice street. Plenty of tree cover. Not much traffic. Just residential.”

“Also a hard place to escape from,” Karen said, watching out the window. “Think that church parking lot will be safe enough?”

“Yeah,” Tex said. “It’s not visible from the street.”

“We need to park so we can drive out in a hurry.”

“Don’t worry, little lady,” Tex said. “We’re holding a good hand. We’ll be fine.”

They cruised down the quiet tree-lined street as it curved to the right twice, then to the left.

“Home stretch,” Karen said.

“Nice houses back here,” Tex said. “Looks like a good place to raise a family, except for the murderous UN thugs and Islamists.”

Karen laughed. “There’s a good point. See the church up ahead?”

“Yep,” Tex said. “That’s a tight driveway.”

“I’m sure you’ll make it just fine,” Karen said, watching as he made the left turn into the long driveway. “Hopefully Ivan made arrangements for us to be here.”

“Look,” Tex said, pointing to a man looking out the back door as he pulled into the parking lot. The man waved, and then went back inside. “There’s our answer. I’m gonna make a wide turn and pull this puppy around so we have a fast shot at the exit, though, just in case. No other way out of here.”

“Okay,” Karen said, getting out of her seat. “I’ll bring the laptop out here and get her set up. Want your headphones yet?”

“Bring it up, but I won’t turn it on yet. I’d rather save the battery.”

“We can plug them in,” Karen said. “To recharge.”

“You go ahead and put yours on,” Tex said.

“Okay.” She watched as Tex parked and shut down the engine. “Should we go into siege mode?”

“Nah, not yet,” Tex said. “Right now we just look like somebody’s rich uncle. There might be people walking around.”

“Good point,” Karen said, walking to the front. She put the laptop on the center console and opened it, turning on the power. “Wonder how long till we strike?”

“Good question,” Tex said. “Look for headsets on the app.”

Karen nodded as the application opened, showing the map. She moved the view to the target complex. “Wow, there are a lot of enemy personnel in there.”

“They clumped up yet?”

“Getting there,” Karen said. “You know that we can see them moving with this, right?”

“Seriously?” Tex asked, looking closer. “I’m surprised Jules didn’t bring that up. Surprised we didn’t see it before.”

Tex sent a text to Jules asking him about it. His phone dinged right away. Tex chuckled. “He forgot to mention it.”

“But why didn’t we see it before, during the demo?”

Tex typed a message. A reply came right back. “Distance. That’s why we didn’t just do this from the base.”

“Oh,” she said, “so this has a peer to peer element like the short-range app.”

“Probably,” Tex said. “I’m not that technical. Give me something that works. I don’t need to know how.”

Karen laughed. “There’s where we differ a little. I love to know how things work. I’m gonna zoom out and look for the commandos. Maybe you should mention that UN cruiser we killed on the way in here.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Tex said, whipping his phone back out. He sent a text, the ding coming back after a few seconds.

“We’re not the only ones,” Tex said. “They tried to stop Robbie’s rig too. Same result for them. So far no indication that they’re watching for us, but we’re all pretty well out of sight from the road.”

“I can see the other battle wagons,” Karen said. “Looks like all seven are placed.”

“Good,” Tex said. “See those commandos yet?”

“Nope…wait. There are a bunch of them. They’re riding down West Valley Freeway. Some of them are already on Winchester.

“This is gonna happen fast,” Tex said. “Maybe I should put the headset on.”

“Yeah, maybe so,” she said. “Another group coming in on Camden, from the opposite direction. They’re crossing the river as we speak.”

“We’d better focus on where the enemy is,” Tex said. “This is gonna ramp up fast.”

Karen shook her head yes. “Wow. There’s about four hundred people in the same room right now. Northeast corner of the building. There are still folks streaming in, though. I see icons outside, patrolling the buildings and the parking lots.”

“So how we gonna sneak a thousand men in there, I wonder?” Tex asked.

“Oh, crap,” she said. “We’ve already got a bunch of men there. I’m seeing headsets moving around inside, and they don’t have RFID chips.

“Rogue cops,” Tex said, grinning. “That’s how the other commandos are getting in. Wait and see.”

“Aren’t the enemy VIPs going to head for the hills when they hear shooting start outside?”

“Hopefully not,” Tex said, “but since we can see them, they aren’t going anywhere.”

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 109 – Children

“Should we go back right now?” Yvonne asked, looking at the ruined church before them.

“No, we need to check out the town,” Sam said. “We can’t let them shut down our resolve every time they kill one of us.”

“You’re right,” Erica said. “Let’s go into town, but nobody opens any doors, and watch the ground for trip wires too.”

“They’re watching us,” Clem said, pointing into one of the trees.

“That’s a video camera?” Yvonne asked.

“Yep,” Clem said.

Sam took aim with his pistol and shot it, the plastic exploding over their heads.

“Maybe we shouldn’t be doing that,” Sid said.

“You want them to know which direction we’re going?” Sam asked.

“Crap, didn’t think about that,” Sid said. “We ought to look for more of them.”

“Save one,” Clem said. “I might be able to figure out which IP address they’re using.”

“Okay,” Sam said. “Let’s go.”

“Your Jeep got hit, Sid,” Clem said. “We’d better take a look.”

“It did?” Sid asked. “Didn’t see it happen.”

They rushed to it, Clem using his flashlight. “There, see. Driver’s side fender.”

Sid squatted next to it as Clem brought the flashlight closer. “It’s okay, but we’re lucky. Just missed the tire. See?”

“We’d better check it over good, and then check Sam’s Jeep too,” Erica said.

“Yeah,” Clem said. They looked at both vehicles.

“I think we’re okay,” Sam said. “Let’s get going.”

“Which way?” Sid asked.

“Get to Oak Grove Drive,” Yvonne said, looking at her phone screen, the glow lighting her face. “There’s quite a few streets. We won’t be able to look at the entire town. It’s tiny but spread out.”

“Okay,” Sam said. “Let’s go.”

They got into the vehicles and took off.

“This is terrible,” Erica said as she fastened her seatbelt. “Poor Sarah.”

“I know, this is really gonna hurt. It’s hard to keep going.”

“Did you know him long?”

“Not as long as Sid,” Sam said. “Always liked him a lot.”

“He went out of his way to be nice to me.”

Sam chuckled. “Before this mess started, he had a drinking problem. I think it was on its way to ruining the marriage. He sobered up when things started to go nuts.”

“I wonder how many more of us will give up our lives?”

“I’d rather not dwell on that,” Sam said.

“It still hurts, doesn’t it? Connie.”

“Yes, it still hurts,” Sam said.

“What was she like?”

“A lot like you, actually,” Sam said. “I don’t think I can talk about her right now. You mind?”

“No, of course not.”

They rode silently for a few blocks, coming to another clump of buildings.

“Look, to the right,” Erica said. “Looks like a grocery store.”

“I see it,” Sam said. “There’s some lights on inside, but it doesn’t look open. I’m gonna park there and check it out.”

“Don’t open any doors,” she said.

He nodded as he got out. Sid pulled up next to him.

“There’s probably nobody here,” Sid said. “These businesses have lights on a timer.”

“I know, just wanted to look around.”

Erica came over. “The front is all glass. Probably hard to rig the way they did with the church.”

“Hopefully,” Sam said. They walked up to the front and peered through the glass, the others following cautiously.

Erica saw something and rushed forward.

“What?” Sam asked, running after her. “Don’t touch the door.”

“I think there’s a child in there,” she said.

A little girl peeked out from behind a shelf, then moved back behind it again. Erica started to go for the door.

“Stop!” Clem shouted. “Don’t step in front of that door. Back away.”

“There’s a child in there,” Erica said.

“I know, but if this door opens, there’s gonna be an explosion. Look.” Clem pointed at the top of the sliding door. There were wires running from there up to the ceiling.

“Dammit,” Sam said, looking at it. “Everybody back. Now!”

They rushed towards the cars.

“We can’t leave that little girl in there,” Erica said.

“I know, but we can’t go through the front door, and I don’t trust the back doors either.”

“Roof,” Sid said.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking,” Sam said. “Wish we had a chain saw.”

“Maybe there’s a trap door,” Yvonne said.

“I should go see if I can get her to come out,” Erica said.

“What if she runs towards the door?” Yvonne asked.

“She won’t,” Sam said. “She’s part of the trap. I’ll bet she’s tied up so she can’t go near the trigger points herself.”

“You might be right about that,” Clem said. “Otherwise she would’ve come out that front door on her own.”

Erica nodded in agreement. “I just want to let her know we’re going to help her.”

“Okay,” Sam said. “C’mon.”

They rushed to the windows in front, avoiding the door. Erica knocked on the glass.

“Little girl! We’re here to help you. Come out where we can see you. We won’t hurt you. I promise.”

“I hope she can hear,” Sam whispered.

“She heard us out front,” Erica said. “Might have heard the Jeeps.”

“Look,” Sam said. “There she is.”

“It’s okay sweetie,” shouted Erica. “We’ll help you.”

“She’s got an ankle cuff on,” Sam said, cursing the enemy under his breath.

Sid rushed over from the side of the store. “Hey, man, there’s a ladder on the side of the building. Goes up to the roof. It’s got one of those hasps to keep people from climbing up, but it’s only got a cheapo padlock on it.”

“We can shoot it,” Sam said. “C’mon. Erica, let her know that we’re going to shoot a lock. Tell her not to be afraid.”

Erica shouted to her as Sid and Sam rushed to the ladder and looked at the lock.

“Hell, this is real cheeseball,” Sam said, looking around the delivery dock yard. There was a crowbar sitting next to a forklift. “I can probably break the damn thing with that.” He rushed over and grabbed it.

“Yeah, that ought to do it,” Sid said. He watched as Sam wedged it into the padlock and pulled. The lock snapped loose.

“Bingo,” Sam said, pulling the broken lock off the hasp and moving the barrier. He climbed up the ladder, Sid following him with the crowbar in hand.

“I see a trap door,” Sid said, pointing to the trap door towards the back of the building. “You don’t think they boobytrapped that too, do you?”

“Stay up towards the front,” Sam said. “No reason for both of us to get it.”

Sid laughed. “We’re both dead if it goes off. Make your move.”

“There’s no padlock on this side,” Sam said. He pulled up on the trap door, and it creaked open. “No bomb here, but we do have one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“No ladder. I can see one, leaning up against the wall by the back of the receiving dock. Over there.”

Sid looked. “Yeah. Maybe if we had a rope.”

“Don’t know if I’m in good enough shape to climb down a rope,” Sam said. “Been a long time.”

Sid chuckled. “You’re still in good shape. You got a rope?”

“There’s one in my Jeep,” Sam said. He rushed to the front of the building. “Erica, could you grab the rope out of the back of the Jeep? It’s in the storage compartment. Just move the carpet piece, undo the latch, and lift.”

“Got it,” she yelled, then rushed over to the Jeep’s tailgate.

“Hopefully there’s a door somewhere that doesn’t have a charge,” Sam said to Sid.

“Clem’s good at recognizing that stuff, but he’s not going down that rope.”

“Hey, he’s got an iPhone, right? We could Facetime it.”

Sid chuckled. “Yeah, we could at that.”

They heard huffing and puffing behind them. Erica appeared at the top of the ladder, climbing over, the rope on one arm. “Here you go, sweetie.”

“Perfect, thanks,” he said.

“Tie her off on this sewage vent pipe here,” Sid said.

“It strong enough?” Sam asked.

Sid pushed on it. “Yeah, it’s plenty strong.”

Sam tied one end of the rope to it and then fed the other end into the trap door. It made it within two feet of the floor.

“You sure you can do this?” Erica asked.

“Hell, if I fell half way I’d live through it,” Sam said. “Here goes nothing.” He started his climb, wishing he had gloves, but making it to the floor. The stock room was dark. He pulled his cellphone out and turned on the flashlight, looking for a light switch. He found it, by the back door, which was wired with plastic explosives. “Not getting out that way.”

“You okay?” Erica shouted down.

“Yeah, he said. “The back door is wired. Can’t go out that way. I’m gonna go get the girl.”

He pushed through the swinging doors into the store, rushing to the spot where the girl was. She sat on the floor trembling, her long red hair matted to her head from sweat, her pants soiled with urine.

“Hi, honey,” Sam said softly. “We’re gonna save you. Don’t be afraid.”

She eyed him with terror, then rushed around the shelving until the chain was taught. Sam peeked around the shelves at her, then got on his hands and knees and crawled over. “What’s your name, honey?”

She looked at him, trying to figure out if he was safe or not. “I’m Mia,” she said softly.

“What a pretty name,” Sam said. “I’m going to get the chain off. Don’t run away, okay? The doors have explosives on them. We can’t go out that way.”

“I won’t,” she said. “I have to go to the bathroom again.”

“Okay,” Sam said. He looked at the chain. It was bolted onto a hole in the bottom of the shelf. “Just a sec.” He ran into the stock room and found some pliers, then rushed back and undid the bolt, getting the chain off. Then he looked at her ankle, which was raw and bloody from her struggles, his anger flaring.

“You aren’t going to hit me are you?” she asked, eyeing him.

“Oh, no, honey,” Sam said. “I’m mad at the people who did this to you. Hold still while I get the nuts off. It might hurt a little if it twists.”

She nodded yes. Sam worked on the nut, getting it loose easier than he expected, and carefully pulled the ankle piece off. “C’mon, there’s a bathroom over here. He rushed her over and held the door open while she used it.

“My pants are wet,” she said.

“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that after we find a way out,” Sam said.

She came back out and they walked into the back part of the stockroom. Sam pointed to the back door. “Don’t touch that. See that thing over the door, on the wall, with the wires coming out of it?”

She looked at it, then shook her head yes at him.

“If we try to open that door, it’ll blow up. Do you understand?”

She nodded yes.

“Let’s go look at those big doors.”

“You two okay?” Erica asked from the roof.

“Yeah, just looking for a way out,” Sam shouted back. “I’m going to check out the roll-up doors. Tell Clem to be ready for a Facetime, okay?”

“Sid already did,” Erica said. “He’s standing by.”

Sam took Mia’s hand and they walked towards the big doors. He looked all along them, not seeing any explosives or wires, but there were large padlocks on both the doors. He set up a Facetime call to Clem.

“Oh, Facetime,” Mia said. “I talked to Grandpa and Grandma with that.”

“Yes, it’s nice,” Sam said. “Hey, Clem.”

“Coming through perfect,” Clem said.

“Okay, I’m going to show you the roll-up door back here. If it’s not wired, I’ll open it.” Sam walked to one edge, focusing his phone on the right side from floor to ceiling, then across the top, then down the left side.

“I’m not seeing anything,” Clem said. “That’s a pretty big padlock on there, though. You won’t break that one with a crow bar.”

“I’m going to have to shoot it off,” Sam said. “See you soon.” He took Mia’s hand and led her into the bathroom. “Stay in here, honey. I don’t want you to get hit with anything.”

“Okay,” she said, walking in. Sam blocked the door with some crates and rushed back to the roll-up door, aiming his pistol. He fired, the sound echoing through the stockroom. The lock moved, damaged on the outside, but it wouldn’t open. He stood back and fired again, twice. The lock broke. He knocked the remains away and then pulled the chain on the right side to roll the door up. Erica, Clem, and Sid were waiting for him outside. They rushed to the bathroom, unblocking the door. Mia came out, looking scared.

“Did they come back?” she asked.

“No, I had to use my gun to open the door,” Sam said. “It’s okay. You’re safe.”

“Hi, honey,” Erica said, squatting next to her. “Do you know how to get to your home?”

She nodded yes, but her expression was full of fear. “They hurt mommy and daddy there. I heard them.”

Erica shot a glance at Sam, her brow furrowed.

“They’re liable to have booby traps like this set up all over the town,” Sid said quietly.

Sam nodded. “Let’s go.”

They left the store, heading back out to the parking lot, where Yvonne was watching, her rifle in her hands.

“We gonna blow this place?” she asked. “So nobody else gets killed?”

“There’s a lot of food in there,” Sam said. “Maybe we ought to empty it before we do that.”

“All it’s gonna take is somebody standing in front of the doorway,” Clem said.

“I’ll go shut down the power,” Sam said. “I saw the breaker box in the back. That should stop the door, right?”

“You don’t think the doors automatically open if the power is shut off, do you?” Sid asked.

“Crap,” Sam said. “Good question.”

“I could try to defuse it,” Clem said.

“You an expert?” Sam asked.

“Nope, but I’ve read some stuff.”

“No way, Clem, you’re way too valuable to lose,” Yvonne said.

“Yeah, I agree,” Sam said. “Let’s keep going for a while.”

“Should we go to the girl’s house?” Erica asked.

Mia shot her a worried glance.

“Don’t worry, honey, we won’t take you inside, but we could get some of your stuff,” Erica said.

“She’s only about seven,” Clem said. “She might not even be able to tell us how to get there.”

“I’m eight,” Mia said. “It’s right down there.” She pointed down the street.

“Maybe we should just go back to camp and come here with the main group,” Yvonne said.

“There might be other children being used for bait,” Sam said.

“Might not be able to get them all out,” Clem said. “We were lucky with this one.”

“Yeah, I know,” Sam said. “We still have to try. If we can’t save our children, what good are we?”

“Might be easier when it’s light,” Sid said.

“True,” Sam said. “Let’s at least try to get to her parent’s house. Maybe they’re alive.”

The others nodded in agreement, and they got into the Jeeps, Mia sitting on Erica’s lap.

“There it is,” Mia said, pointing to a house next to a yardage store. “That’s my mom’s store next to it.”

Sam turned into the driveway. “Wait here.” He got out and rushed to the door, Sid following him. Yvonne stood outside their Jeep with her rifle.

“Hope they watch out for booby traps in there,” Clem whispered to Yvonne.

“They know,” Yvonne said. “What are we gonna do with the girl? You know her parents are dead, right?”

“Somebody in our group is going to foster her until we can find some relatives,” Clem whispered back.

Sam and Sid walked down the hallway from the front door of the single-story house. There was blood on the wall near the door of the first bedroom.

“Smell that?” Sam whispered.

Sid nodded yes. They went inside. There were two headless corpses on the floor and blood all over the room.

“Dammit,” Sam muttered under his breath. “Look for an address book or some ID.”

Sid nodded as Sam checked the other rooms. There was a little boy dead in the next bedroom, single bullet hole in his forehead. The next room was Mia’s. Sam grabbed the pillow on the bed, yanking the pillowcase off, then filling it with clothes and other items. He came back out just as Sid was leaving the master bedroom.

“Find anything?” Sam asked.

“Nope. Let’s look in the kitchen. People keep address books in there more often than in their bedrooms.”

They walked down the hall, turning left before they got to the front door. The kitchen and connected family room were a mess, broken plates and glasses all over the floor, food laying around half eaten on counters, windows to the back yard broken. A dog’s bloody body lay on the carpet in front of the TV.

“Animals,” Sid said, going to the small hutch where the phone was. “Bingo.” He picked up an address book, taking a second to look inside.

“Look for the woman’s purse,” Sam said. “We want her driver’s license. I’ll go check the male body in the master for a wallet.”

Sid nodded, rummaging around as Sam walked away.

“There was a wallet in the back pocket,” Sam said, holding it up as he came back into the kitchen. “Jason Berliner.”

“Here’s the purse,” Sid said. “Wonder where the heads are?”

“Probably on spikes someplace. I say we take Mia back to camp. I don’t want her to see anything like that.”

“You’re right,” Sid said. “Let’s go.”

They both rushed back outside.

“We’re going to the camp,” Sam said to Erica as he got into the Jeep.

“Why?” Erica asked.

“She’s asleep?” Sam asked.

“Yep, she crashed. She’s totally exhausted.”

Sam got close and whispered about the heads to Erica, who looked down, her body shaking as she began to cry. She nodded yes. “Get us out of here.”

Sam drove back onto the highway, his heart heavy as he thought about Sarah and John. Sid and the others followed.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 108 – Higher Education

The door opened, a pretty young woman rushing in, her long blonde hair flowing.

“You don’t knock anymore?” the old man asked, sitting behind a huge mahogany desk. His degrees and awards covered the wall behind him.

“I thought things were more casual between us now, after…”

“Stop,” the gray-haired man said, standing, his sweater a little too tight. “What are you doing here, Avril?”

“Sorry, Kelsy,” she said, hurt look on her face.

“Dean Lambert,” he said. “Don’t call me by my first name. Even in here. Want us to get caught?”

“The UN and their guests have left,” she said, walking towards the desk, making her hips sway.

“Good,” Dean Lambert said. “How did the students take to the training?”

“Most of them are fired up,” Avril said, moving next to him behind the desk, pushing his chair back. She got on his lap.

“Dammit, not now. This thing worries me. It’s liable to get totally out of control.”

“Relax,” she said, her hands going around his head, pulling it against her chest. He backed away.

“Get off me, dammit,” he said, rising out of his chair, forcing her off. “Be professional. Give me an assessment. I have to tell the Regional Governor how it’s going, and he’ll ask a lot of tough questions. Remember where our funding comes from.”

“Why do they still call him the Regional Governor? Isn’t he just the Governor? He’s been in that job since Governor Sable disappeared.”

“States are just mini nationalistic structures,” Dean Lambert said. “They must be swept away with the rest of our bankrupt Republic.”

“Oh, sorry,” she said.

“I’m busy. Tell me what I need to know and then get out of here.”

“Don’t treat me like that,” she said. “There’s no patriarchy anymore, remember?”

“Yes, I understand that, but there is still leadership, and those below leadership. You’re below leadership. Do your job.”

“Okay, okay,” she said. “The military training went well. The students know how to knock the crap out of all those retired folks with too much time on their hands who’ve been protesting the Regional Governor.”

“Do you think the students will hit them hard enough to put them into the hospital or the morgue? That’s what we need. Blocking streets and breaking windows doesn’t work anymore.”

“Yes, they showed us where to hit, and how to get around their protection,” Avril said. “Most of the students were gung-ho. A few expressed concerns about really hurting people. The UN folks removed them from the classes.”

“Good,” Dean Lambert said. “Anybody who shows reactionary tendencies needs to be dealt with.”

Avril’s look changed, her brow furrowed. “They’re just kicking them out, right?”

“They’re being sent to re-education camps, on orders of the Regional Governor,” Dean Lambert said, sitting back down behind his desk. “The authorities need to have a free hand to work the problems we have in the southern part of the region.”

“Why, that battle is already over,” Avril said. “They’ve been covering that on the news reports for a while now.”

“Yes, we’re mostly in control, but there is a stronger resistance there. Do not talk of that outside this office.”

“Why is there resistance everywhere?” Avril said. “My professors always said that once people see the truth they will follow.”

“Yes, I know what the professors say, and in most cases they’re right. We can’t stop all of the corporate agitators overnight. They’re being paid too much.”

“They go away when Capitalism is all the way gone, though, right?”

Dean Lambert smiled at her, shaking his head. “Part of your charm is your naivety, but it’s more exciting as an act than it is as the real thing. You’ve got a lot to learn. That’s why I took you under my wing.”

She giggled. “I thought it was because of these.” She raised her shirt, exposing her bra-covered breasts.

“Stop that. It’s too early. We’ll spend some time together later.”

“When’s later?” she asked.

“Do your job. What else can I say about the training?”

“Those Islamists did most of the hand-to-hand combat training. They make fun of the UN Peacekeepers whenever they aren’t around, and they mess with the women too. I think it’s unprofessional.”

“They’re just contractors,” Dean Lambert said. “We’re paying them to do a job. How do you think auto mechanics talk about women when they aren’t looking? Doesn’t mean we don’t need them.”

“I guess,” she said.

“What about the propaganda instruction?”

“The UN Peacekeepers handled that, but they aren’t all that bright, so a couple of your professors helped them out. I think some of the students were only there looking for extra credit from them, though. There was a lot of snickering going on.”

“By who?”

“Male students, mostly.”

“Names?” Dean Lambert asked.

“Oh, sorry. I’ll have to look into that. They weren’t people I knew.”

Dean Lambert’s brow furrowed. “They were students here, though, right?”

“I’m sure they were,” Avril said. “The professors spoke to them by name.”

“Which professors?”

“Hodges and Davis,” Avril said.

“Would you classify the training as successful?”

She sighed. “I guess. The students were about as serious as they usually are.”

“I don’t like the sound of that.”

“They were just joking around a lot,” Avril said. “I think they absorbed what they needed to.”

“Okay, thanks,” Dean Lambert said. “Now run along. I’ll call you later. We’ll meet here.”

“Here again?” she asked, looking disappointed. “I was hoping for more time in the hot tub.”

“My wife’s in town,” Dean Lambert said.

“Oh,” she said. “All right, see you later. Not too late, though, okay? I do actually have classes tomorrow.”

“Understand,” the dean said, focusing on the papers he was looking at when she came in, acting like she’d already left. She stared at him for a moment, then walked out the door, leaving it open. He got up after a moment and shut the door, looking at his cellphone to see the time.

“Dammit. Late again.” He hit a contact on his phone as he walked back to his seat. He set the phone on the desk and hit the speaker button.

“Dean Lambert,” the voice on the phone said.

“Daan, how are you?”

“Good,” Dean Lambert said.

“You’re late. Anything wrong?”

“Getting info out of my little chickie-poo can be like pulling teeth,” Dean Lambert said.

“She the blonde that I met when I was there? The one in those nasty photos you sent me?”

“Yes, that’s her. You can have her next time you show up, if you want.”

“Thanks, but I like them a little younger,” Daan said.

“So I’ve heard. Isn’t that why you can’t go to New York anymore?”

Daan chuckled. “No comment.”

“You think that was funny?”

“No, I think it was worth it, but enough about the sport. Do you have a report for me about the pilot program?”

“Sounds like it’s going all right,” Dean Lambert said. “There were a couple who didn’t have the stomach for it, apparently. They’ve been removed.”

“We always expect some fall-out,” Daan said. “You know that.”

“Avril said that some of the students aren’t taking it seriously.”

“Well, if that’s the case, they’ll probably get caught at the first demonstration,” Daan said. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“Apparently, the Islamists who are doing the military training are making fun of the UN behind their backs.”

Daan snickered. “Who doesn’t?”

“I’m serious,” Dean Lambert said. “They’ve also been getting a little aggressive with the women.”

“That is a problem with them, but we should be careful how we handle it,” Daan said. “The belief system they have is beneficial for what we want them to do, so we don’t want to temper them too much, but we also have to make sure they understand that there won’t be any Sharia Law garbage here after we’ve taken over.”

“There’s a lot more of them than there are UN Peacekeepers. We should discuss this with Saladin. I don’t want any misunderstandings. We don’t need to fight a new war the minute the first one has been won.”

“I’ll take it under advisement, but don’t worry about it now, and do not discuss it with others on your team. Understand?”

“Yes, I understand, of course,” Dean Lambert said. “Any truth to the rumors that this Ivan character is moving his operation north?”

“We’re still working that,” Daan said. “You worry about your job. I’ll worry about Ivan the Butcher.”

“He’s ruined our plans in the southern half of the state.”

“Don’t say that on the phone,” Daan said angrily. “Ever. You got that?”

“Then it’s true.”

“Like I said, you let me worry about Ivan the Butcher. We’ve got a number of tricks up our sleeve. We’ll catch him and flay him alive.”

“Okay, fair enough,” Dean Lambert said.

“Do you feel that this training program is ready for expansion to the other UC locations in the state?”

Dean Lambert was silent for a moment, his heart beating too fast.

“You still there, Lambert?”

“Yeah, I’m thinking,” he said. “I would say yes, with some reservations.”

“What reservations?”

“The ones I brought up just now. The Islamists have behavior problems that might be hard to control. If young women start to disappear or get attacked at the campuses we’re targeting, it will be counter-productive. You know that, right? Remember what happened in Sweden and Denmark six or seven years ago. Hell, it happened in France, too, a little later.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Daan said. “We’re trying to terrorize this society. As long as the general public doesn’t know that we’ve got this training program going, we won’t have any big problems, and the general unease in the society will ramp up. People will want protection.”

“How are we going to keep people from talking?”

“We might have to make a couple of people into examples,” Daan said. “By the way, the detail that was bringing that idiot from the TV show the other night is long overdue. Have you heard anything?”

“No. Not a word. I thought you guys were going to kill him anyway. Your thugs damn-near did in the theater, from what I saw on the video.”

“He’s part of a small student resistance movement,” Daan said. “That needs to be nipped in the bud before it can grow. We need to question him. It’ll probably take some torture. We’ll kill him after we’ve gotten what we want out of him.”

“I don’t want to hear about it.”

“You’re part of the team, so you’d better want to hear about it,” Daan said. “You keep your ear to the ground. If I find out that he’s being helped from your sector, you will join him on the flaying table. You got me?”

“You don’t have to be that way.”

“Sounds to me like I do,” Daan said. “Remember your place. You want a nice leadership position when this is over. You’re in line to get one. Don’t blow it now.”

“I won’t,” Dean Lambert said, his heart pounding again.

“Good, glad we cleared that up,” Daan said. “Talk to you later.”

The call ended, Dean Lambert looking at his phone for more than a minute before he moved. Should I leave now?

***

Garrett got off his horse and strode over to Sam’s rig, still parked on Wildwood Glenn Road. He reached down and pulled off his spurs, then knocked on the door. Erica opened it.

“Hi, Garrett,” she said. “The rest of your force get here?” She made room for him to climb inside.

“Yep, they’re arriving now. That area is barely large enough.”

Sam came out of the back of the coach. “Hey, Garrett, how’s it going?”

“This was a hard day,” Garrett said. “We won, but losing James was really bad.”

“I know,” Sam said. “I was just chatting with Ji-Ho. He wants to send a party into Descanso tonight, while it’s dark, to check it out. Make sure that it’s really free of the UN.”

“It’s free of Islamists, at least,” Garrett said.

“Sit down,” Erica said.

“If I do that your coach is going to smell like a stable,” he said, smiling. “I’m only here to check in and see what’s next. Want me going into town with that detail?”

“You’ve been up too long,” Sam said. “You and your men need to rest. Get some shuteye.”

“Hoping you were gonna say that,” he said. “I’ll do that, but don’t hesitate if you need me.”

There was a knock at the door. Erica looked outside. It was John, Sid, and Clem. She let them in.

“Hey, Garrett,” Clem said. “Nice job.

“Seriously,” John said.

“Yeah,” Sid said. “What’s up, Sam?”

“Thanks for coming over. We need to scout Descanso. I was wondering if you guys are up to helping.”

“I’m game, but Yvonne will want to go along. She was over with Kaitlyn and Megan when you called. They’re pretty torn up about James.”

“I could imagine,” Sam said.

“I’m pretty torn up about it too,” Erica said, “and I’m going, by the way.” She shot a glance at Sam.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Sam asked. “We don’t want you taking un-necessary chances for revenge.”

“I’m mature enough to not do that,” Erica said.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to say…”

“Sam, I get it, okay. I agree on principle, and wouldn’t suggest that either Kaitlyn or Megan go. Same for Tyler and Ryan and the others.”

“I’ll go let Sarah know,” John said. “How we going?”

My Jeep and Sid’s?” Sam asked.

“That’ll work for me,” Sid said. “I’ll go round up Yvonne and bring the Jeep over here.”

“Good,” Sam said.

“Well, I’ll be leaving you folks alone, then,” Garrett said. “Good luck. If you get pinned down, call me. We’ll send the cavalry.”

“Thanks,” Sam said.

Garrett tipped his hat at Erica and left the coach.

“I love that guy,” John said. “Thought he was a nutcase at first.”

“Yeah, we’d be dead now if not for him,” Clem said. “I’m gonna go get ready. You might want to swap places with a coach that’s going to be manned. You’re in a key position on this road.”

“Yeah, we’ll do that,” Sam said. “See you in about ten minutes.”

Sid nodded, and left with the others. Sam closed the door behind him as Erica texted.

“Who are you asking?” Sam asked.

“Zac. He agreed. He’ll be over here in a couple minutes. We’d better move out of the way.”

Sam nodded and got into the driver’s seat. He moved the coach off the road just as Zac’s rig was driving up.

“There he is already,” Erica said as she walked up to the front of the coach. “You putting this back into siege mode?”

“Yeah, might as well.” Sam parked and set up the coach. They were walking down the steps as Sid rolled up in his Jeep, Yvonne in the passenger seat, John and Clem in the back seat.

“Ready to go?” Sid asked.

“Just about. You’ve got some ordinance with you, right?”

“One of the mortars with some willie pete, a BAR, an M60, and all of our M-16s,” Clem said from the back. “Oh, and John’s bow.”

“Good,” Sam said as he rushed back into the coach, coming out with his guns. Erica went back inside and came out with her AK-47. The two Jeeps took off on Highway 79.

“Dark road,” Erica said. “It’s not very far.”

“Hope they don’t have snipers along the side of the road. I feel like we should have our lights off, but I don’t want to drive this road in the dark.”

Erica looked at Sam’s phone, checking the apps. “There’s no Islamists anywhere near here.”

“I’m more worried about the UN. They’re easier to beat in a battle, but not being able to see them sucks big time.”

“It does,” Erica said, “but we haven’t seen much of them for a while. I believe the reports that many of them went up north. Not every single one, but most.”

“Hope you’re right. They still have Gaz Tigrs around here. I was surprised to see that.”

“Islamists have had those too, though.”

“I know,” Sam said. “I think that’s our road to the left. Riverside Drive.”

“Yeah, that’s it, and it’s a smaller road, so be careful.”

Sam made the turn, his eyes scanning ahead, searching for anything that looked like a setup. “Do we know how many citizens are left in town?”

“I heard some conversation between two of Garrett’s guys. They’ve been scouting. They said only about a quarter of the people are left. The rest split after hearing about the battle in Julian that we lost.”

“How many people would that be?”

“Let me check,” she said, moving her fingers on the phone screen. “Geez, less than four hundred people.”

“Really?”

“Yep,” she said. “There’s the bridge over the river.”

“Not much of a bridge.”

Erica laughed. “Not much of a river, either. We’ll start to see more structures now.”

“How far along is the bridge?”

“Less than a quarter of the way,” she said. “We’ve got a little time.”

“There’s some buildings off to the left. Lights aren’t on in any of them.”

“Those our mostly businesses,” she said. “There’re quite a few people living outside of town, so we should start seeing lights.”

They drove along for a few more minutes. “There’s some houses, see?”

“Dark,” Erica said. “Crap.”

“There’s a big Catholic Church to the left. See it coming up?”

“Yeah,” Erica said. “Stop!”

“What?” Sam asked, startled as he slammed on the breaks, Sid skidding to a stop behind him.

“Look,” she said, pointing.

“Oh, God,” Sam said. “Look at all of them.” He drove up the driveway and parked on the shoulder, getting out, M60 in his hand. Sid and Yvonne got out of their Jeep, followed by Clem and John.

“My Lord, no,” Clem said, looking at the bodies hanging from every tree and light post surrounding the church.

“This can’t stand,” John said, the anger in his eyes visible even in the dark.

“This is most of the people I expected to find here,” Erica said, looking around in horror.

“These bodies have been here for a little while,” Clem said. “Look at that one. The birds have been working on it for days.”

Erica looked, turning away quickly.

“I’m gonna go see if anybody is alive inside,” John said, trotting over to the church.

“Dammit, he shouldn’t go in there,” Sam said, turning to shout at him as he made it to the door. He pulled it open, and there was a flash of intense light, as the building blew up in front of him.

“Hit the deck!” Clem shouted. All of them dived to the ground as debris flew at them, damaging Sam’s Jeep. Heavy pieces fell around them for what seemed like minutes.

“Oh, no,” Erica cried. “Everybody else okay? Anybody hurt?”

“Small cut on my right arm,” Clem said.

“I’m okay,” Yvonne said.

“Yeah, me too,” Sid said. “John. Oh my God.”

“Sam!” Erica cried.

“I’m okay,” Sam said, crawling over to her. “Unhurt. I was looking for anybody running away.”

“Nobody there?” she asked.

“Not that I saw,” Sam said. “Boobytrap, just like what happened to Connie. Sick bastards.”

“We won’t even find pieces of John,” Clem said, tears running down his cheeks. “How are we gonna tell Sarah?”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 107 – Job Offer

“Dammit,” Ryan said, looking in horror at James’s body lying on the ground before them. Shots rang out again, hitting the rocks around where they were hiding. All of them opened fire, several blue-helmeted cretins falling.

“How many are there?” one of Garrett’s men asked.

“Can’t see may of them,” Tyler said, aiming his rifle and firing, a man falling off one of the taller ridges in the area.

“Nice shot,” Garrett said. “Men, don’t just sit there. Fan out along this ridge and that one over there, and let’em have it. Our five hundred men will be here in less than ten minutes.”

“Look, on the right, somebody’s trying to set up a mortar,” Ryan said.

“Got it,” Garrett said, firing his .45-70, the massive blast echoing through the area.

“Damn, boy,” one of Garrett’s men said, chuckling.

“Shoot the mortar tube,” Ryan said.

“On it,” Garrett said, firing again, hitting the tube, sending it flying as the others fired at the team running to take over. Then there was a large chain reaction explosion, as a huge .45 caliber round hit the ammo box.

“That worked,” Ryan said. “Look, somebody’s trying to set up in that direction too, see them?” He fired several times, hitting the team that was running up with the mortar, as Garrett used his .45-70 again.

“Hear that?” Ryan asked. “Horses.”

“Yeah, here come our guys,” Garrett said. “They’re early.”

“My God, that is a thing of beauty,” one of Garrett’s men said, watching hundreds of mounted men along the ridges, rifles aimed. They fired, the air full of thunder and smoke.

“Look, the enemy is running away,” Ryan shouted.

“So let’s go get them,” Garrett said, racing towards his horse, the others following. They rode together, meeting the five hundred on the flats and chasing the panicked UN peacekeepers, killing all of them within a few minutes.

“I’m gonna go check on James,” Ryan said, turning his horse, Tyler nodding in agreement. They rode quickly, dismounting by his body and rushing over. Ryan carefully rolled him over. James smiled at him, his eyes barely open.

“About time you slugs got back here. Beat them?”

“Yeah, we beat them,” Ryan said. Tyler got down on his knees and looked for the wound, finding it on his left side, his shirt and the top of his pants soaked in blood. He shot a grim look at Ryan.

“How bad is it?” James asked quietly.

“You’ll be okay if we can get you to a doctor soon enough,” Ryan said. He looked away from James, wiping his tears away from his eyes, trying to hide it.

“I’m done, aren’t I?” James asked.

Tyler looked at him, and slowly nodded yes.

“Tyler,” Ryan said.

“Better to be honest,” Tyler said.

“Thank you,” James said, his eyes barely slits. “It’s been an honor serving with both of you.”

“It’s been an honor growing up with you, brother,” Ryan said, weeping.

“It has,” Tyler said, tears running down his cheeks.

“Tell Abby that I loved her,” James whispered, his breath faint. “Tell her I’m sor…” His breath escaped his lips and stopped.

“Oh, God,” Ryan said, breaking down, Tyler with him. Garrett rode up with several men, and he dismounted, running over.

“Oh no,” Garrett said. “I’m so sorry. He was a great warrior.”

“We can’t leave him here,” Ryan said.

“I know,” Tyler said. “We’ll pack him out.”

“There’s UN vans and a bunch of pickup trucks parked off Barrett Lake Road,” Garrett said. “We can take him there and drive him out.”

“Where are we going?” Ryan asked.

“We’re going to the camp where the rest of our people are,” Garrett said. “Probably be in Descanso tomorrow. The enemy fled that area, heading for Julian. Just got a text from Sam about it.”

“I’m worried about our base,” Tyler said. “There’s more UN thugs around than any of us expected, and the apps can’t see them.”

“I know, I had the same thought,” Garrett said. “They’re okay so far. I just got off the phone with Anna.”

“How many people we have guarding the place?”

“Six hundred there, another three thousand at Dodge City,” Garrett said. “Plus four battle wagons. I think they’ll be fine. If I didn’t think that, I’d be on my way to get Anna already.”

“Getting kinda sweet on her, aren’t you?” Tyler asked.

“Yes,” Garrett said. “We’re about the same age. Nice to have her to talk to.”

“Let’s go, okay?” Ryan asked. “Somebody needs to call Abby.”

“That’s my job,” Tyler said. “I’ll help you load James on the back of your horse, and then call her.”

Ryan nodded yes, and they picked up James’s body with Garrett’s help.

***

The bruised, beaten man woke with a start, his bandages constraining his arms and his torso, tape wrapped tightly around his broken ribs. A large man sat in a wooden chair against the wall. He casually pulled a phone out of his pocket and sent a text.

“Where am I?” the wounded man asked, catching the big man’s movement out of the corner of his eye.

“Safe, my friend,” the big man said.

“Who are you?”

“Just call me Mr. Black.”

The man tried to get up into sitting position, but fell back.

“Here, I help,” Mr. Black said, walking over to the bed. He pushed a button, and the bed slowly raised, bringing him into a position where he could see the whole room. It was industrial, with concrete walls.

“Am I in a hospital or something?”

“No, you at safe house,” Mr. Black said.

“Where are you from?”

“Bulgaria, originally,” Mr. Black said. He went back to the chair and plopped down. “Boss be here soon. He brings food and drink.”

“Am I a prisoner?”

Mr. Black chuckled. “No, you free to go as soon as you well, but boss have proposition. You should listen.”

“Who’s your boss?”

“Ivan,” Mr. Black said.

“Ivan the Butcher?” the man asked, a grin working its way onto his face.

“Oh, you heard of him?” Mr. Black asked.

“He rescued me, didn’t he?”

“Yes. Now save strength. Ivan be here soon. Relax. You safe. Trust me.”

The man tried to find a comfortable position, but his entire body ached. The door swung open, and Ivan walked in, dressed in a blue pinstriped suit, a gray fedora on his head.

“Mr. Dover, you’re awake,” he said, walking over to the side of the bed. “I’m Ivan.”

“Mr. Dover? You saw me on TV.”

“Yes, I was watching. Excellent performance. How much do you remember?”

“Nothing, after the thugs grabbed me and started hitting me with their batons.”

“It was brave what you did,” Ivan said.

“It won’t do any good. Only true believers watch that garbage. Most people know it’s propaganda.”

Ivan chuckled. “I agree, Mr. Dover.”

“My name is Kent,” he said. “Kent Garland.”

“Nice to meet you, Kent. Perhaps you should keep Ben Dover as a stage name. It works.”

Kent started to laugh, then held his sides. “Dammit. Those creeps beat me up good.”

“They won’t beat anybody else up,” Ivan said. “Isn’t that right, Mr. Black.”

Mr. Black chuckled. “Their necks crack nicely.”

“Are you working with an organization, Kent?”

“A student organization,” Kent said.

“You’re still a student?”

“Grad student,” Kent said. “Political science and econ.”

“Impressive. Which school?”

“Belly of the beast,” Kent said. “UC Santa Cruz.”

“Ah, very interesting,” Ivan said. “We were just looking into that campus. Are you aware of what is going on at Merritt College?”

Kent rolled his eyes. “Morons.”

“UN Peacekeepers and several truckloads of Islamists have been there for the last twelve hours or so,” Ivan said.

Kent chuckled, holding his sides again. “And they thought their rape rate was bad before.”

Mr. Black laughed out loud.

“You’ve heard about their antics?” Ivan asked.

“Dark web boards went nuts a month ago, after that incident in Torrance.”

“You mean the attack on the Armstrong Theater,” Ivan said.

“We know about the rape operation,” Kent said. “I hope the women got out okay. We can’t find any info.”

“Most work for us now,” Ivan said.

“You guys were involved,” Kent said. “Knew it. My friends didn’t believe me.”

“Yes, one of my teams was involved,’ Ivan said. “Mr. Black here handled the Armstrong Theater. The rest handled the rescue.”

“I had help, boss, remember? Mr. White.”

“Two guys killed all those high-ranking slugs there?” Kent asked.

“Like fish in barrel,” Mr. Black said.

“What’s going to happen now?” Kent asked. “Am I a prisoner?”

“No, not at all,” Ivan said. “We’ll nurse you back to health. We will offer you a position. It’s up to you if you accept it.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Two stage job,” Ivan said. “First we flood airwaves with TV show you were on. Then you go on live TV with me to explain further, and to rally citizens.”

Kent cracked up. “Oh, so this is my fifteen minutes, if I agree?”

“If you agree, you’ll be able to stay on, should that be your desire,” Ivan said. “That will be up to you. No pressure.”

“I think I’ll accept,” Kent said. “I know others. We’ve been fighting against the UC system even before the war and martial law started. We’ve learned a lot.”

“I was hoping,” Ivan said. “You know anything about the meetings going on now?”

“It’s training,” Kent said, “and it’s not the first time. It was part of the reason we felt we had to make a big splash on the TV show. We’re trying to wake people up.”

“Good effort,” Ivan said, “but to do this, you have to force your way in front of people who would never watch that propaganda garbage.”

“I know, that is a problem,” Kent said. “We don’t have the resources that you do, I suspect.”

“What training?” Mr. Black asked.

“Paramilitary training, as well as propaganda instruction,” Kent said. “Remember Antifa about eight years ago? Similar stuff. The state government hasn’t won over the people to martial law, even up here. People are at least passively resisting. The state thinks they need to intimidate the population. They’re stupid, though. That always backfires.”

“It sure does,” Ivan said. “It works in a society that’s never been free. Here that’s not the case, and the citizens are armed.”

“They’ve been confiscating weapons,” Kent said.

“Yes, but they’ve only gotten a small fraction. We’ve been watching that situation closely, and supplying better weapons to other groups too.”

“Well, I’m glad to be working with you,” Kent said. “We have no weapons and no training. We just see and hear things and pass them out on the dark web. I don’t really have that much to offer.”

“Not in terms of power or reach, but you have the most important things,” Ivan said. “Brains and heart. There’s food coming in a few minutes. Eat, then rest. Recover. We’ll talk later. Remember you’re free to go whenever you want to. You are also free to leave the room when you’re ready.”

“Thank you,” Kent said.

The door swung open again, and a tray of food rolled in, pushed by a Russian beauty with delicate features, long black hair, and long legs.

“Is this hero?” she asked, smiling.

“Yes,” Ivan said. “Treat him well. He might need help eating.”

“Shall I leave, boss?” Mr. Black asked.

“Yes. We have some things to discuss.”

“Okay,” Mr. Black said, his huge frame rising. “See you, Mr. Dover.” He chuckled as he followed Ivan out the door, closing it afterwards.

The woman rolled the tray closer, uncovering plates of food, which filled the room with a rich smell. “You need help? I feed you?”

“I think I’m in heaven,” Kent said, shooting her a smile.

“Hardly,” she said. “You’re in Mission District. I’m Cat.”

“We’re in Frisco?” he asked, eyes wide. “Is it safe?”

“Don’t worry,” she said, moving closer with a plate. She filled a spoon and put it to his lips. “Open wide.”

***

Seth watched as Kaitlyn was talking on her phone. She was facing the gun console, but he could see her start to shake, and rushed over, seeing that she was crying. He touched her shoulder.

“I’ve got to go,” she said softly, ending the call and getting into Seth’s arms, her head against his chest as she sobbed.

“My God, what happened?”

“James,” she said, not looking up at him.

“Oh no, he got hit?”

“He’s dead,” she said. “Poor Abby.”

“Oh, no,” Seth said, his tears coming. “Did they say how?”

“The UN laid a trap, near Barrett Lake. He was taking out sentries with his crossbow and got shot.”

“He’s a hero,” Seth said.

“Yes, I know, but it hurts so bad. I’ve known him my whole life.”

“What happened to the rest of the group?”

“They killed the UN trash,” she said. “They’re on their way here.”

“Thank God for that,” Seth said.

“I wish we could just leave.”

“I know, honey.”

“Can we?” she asked.

Seth was quiet for a moment.

“Forget I said it,” she said.

“Look,” Seth said. “You are the most important person in my life. If you want to split, we’ll split. All I ask is that you wait until the grief has died down. Okay?”

“You’d really go with me?”

“In a heartbeat,” Seth said. “I love you so much. You know that.”

She looked at him. “Yes, I know that.”

There was a knock on the door.

“It’s Megan,” Seth said. “She shouldn’t be walking around out there.”

“Let her in, honey,” Kaitlyn said. He nodded and rushed to the door, opening it. She came in, crying hard, and hugged Kaitlyn.

“Where’s Angel?” Kaitlyn asked.

“I told him to stay in the coach,” she said. “I basically ordered him to stay there. I can’t lose him.”

“Want me to slip out and be with him?” Seth asked.

“Yes, do that, honey,” Kaitlyn said, “but be careful. Stay under cover.”

“Okay,” Seth said, grabbing his Winchester. He slipped out the door and trotted away, Kaitlyn watching him until he went inside Angel’s coach.

“How’s Abby taking it?” Megan asked.

“She’s in shock,” Kaitlyn said. “So’s my mom. This is horrible.”

“Angel cried,” Megan said.

“So did Seth. I asked him if we could leave.”

“You did?” Megan asked. “What did he say?”

“He said wait until the grief dies down, and if I still want to leave, he’ll take me.”

“You wouldn’t really, would you?”

“When I said it, I thought I would,” she said, “but no, I can’t leave our people hanging. They need us.”

“He said he would, though,” Megan said. “Angel would too.”

“Did he say that?”

“No, but I know,” she said.

“We’re lucky,” Kaitlyn said, “but I’m so scared of losing him.”

“You’ve never been this much in love before,” Megan said.

“You feel the same way, don’t you?”

Megan shook her head yes, starting to cry again.

“Oh, no, what’s that?” Kaitlyn asked, watching a pickup truck drive up in the dusk.

Megan peered out the side window. “Tyler and Ryan. They’re probably bringing James here.”

“Should we go out?” Kaitlyn asked.

“No,” Megan said. “I promised Angel I wouldn’t go anywhere where he couldn’t see me. I’m keeping that promise.”

Kaitlyn nodded.

“I’m going to go back to him, okay?” Megan asked.

“Yeah, send Seth back.”

“I will,” Megan said. She slipped out the door, Megan watching as she made it to their rig. Seth bolted out and ran back, rushing through the door and closing it behind himself.

“How’s she doing?” he asked.

“About like me,” Kaitlyn said. “How’s Angel?”

Seth sat on the couch. “We talked. If you and Megan want to leave, we’ll take you.”

Kaitlyn sat next to him. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” Seth said.

“Well, don’t worry, because I wouldn’t really do that, and neither would Megan.”

“You don’t have to decide either way right now,” Seth said.

She smiled at him. “How’d we get so lucky? How’d we find each other?”

“We’ll never know,” Seth said.

***

Shelly and Jules made love feverishly until the sun rose.

“Wow,” Jules said, trying to catch his breath.

“Happy?” Shelly asked.

“You know I am,” Jules said. “You?”

“Yes,” she said. “Can’t quite believe it.”

Jules’s phone buzzed.

“Uh oh,” he said, rushing to grab it off the shelf opposite the bed, where it was charging. “Enemy. Same road as before. Looks like they’re going home from UC Santa Cruz.”

“You think it’s the same ones?”

“Same number, anyway,” Jules said. “Placement same.”

“I’ll send a text reminding everybody to sit tight, unless they pull in here,” Shelly said.

Jules nodded as he refreshed the app. “They’ve already gone by the front gate.”

“Good,” Shelly said. “Sent.”

“They just pass back gate. Gone. No problem.”

“Thank God,” Shelly said.

Jules’s phone rang, startling both.

“Dammit,” Shelly said, smiling.

Jules grinned and hit the speaker button. “Ivan, what up?”

“Hi, Jules. Sounds like I’m on speaker again.”

“Yes, Shelly here.”

“Okay, no problem. Ben Dover woke up.”

“Really? What he have to say? He join us, no?”

“Yep,” Ivan said, “and get this. He’s a student. He goes to UC Santa Cruz.”

“You joke?” Jules shot a grin over at Shelly, who stared back in disbelief.

“No joke,” Ivan said. “He knew about the enemy fighters and UN thugs working with people there.”

“What they doing?”

“Paramilitary training,” Ivan said. “They’re training themselves some thugs to push people around. It was like we figured. Most people don’t like this martial law one bit. The local media makes it sound like everybody is on board, but it’s just smoke and mirrors.”

“So, what we do?”

“I still send in Mr. White and Mr. Black to nab the corrupt UC officials,” Ivan said. “After we finish with the Mertins plant, we might just pay their training center a visit.”

“That sounds like a bad idea,” Shelly said, stopping to put her hand over her mouth. “Sorry, I should keep my mouth shut.”

“No, don’t keep your mouth shut,” Ivan said. “Why do you think it’s a bad idea?”

“It might generate sympathy for the students who’ve bought into this,” Shelly said.

“We have to kill some of them, you know,” Jules said. “No way around it.”

“I agree,” Shelly said, “but we should make sure it’s during violence driven by them.”

“Smart woman,” Ivan said.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 106 – Merrill

“You get them?” Kaylee asked, sitting at the target tray in the passenger seat of the battle wagon.

“Yeah, but there’s more,” Trevor said, his eyes glued into the sight for the main guns.

“Why didn’t we get buzzed?”

“Crap. There’s why. UN Van. See it?” He fired the grenade launcher, blowing the van sky high, but another one moved up, the side door sliding open, blue-helmeted fighters rushing out. Trevor shot a grenade into the open door, blowing up the vehicle.

“Yes! They’re in front of my guns,” Kaylee said as she opened fire, killing all seven men. Then Trevor’s phone buzzed. He looked at the app in a panic. “Islamists coming in.”

“How many?”

“Looks like a couple hundred,” he said.

“Dammit, we aren’t ready,” Kaylee said.

One of the other battle wagons fired its grenade launcher, taking out another UN van.

“Should we get on the road?” Kaylee asked.

“No,” Trevor said. “We’ve got four hundred men only a few hundred yards away. You know they’ve heard this.”

Suddenly gunfire erupted from the south as more UN vans rolled up. The smell of black powder floated into the air.

“Speak of the devil,” Kaylee said, taking aim at more running UN troops, opening fire.

“I’m saving the mini-gun,” Trevor said. “We’re going to get hit with worse than these vans.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Kaylee said. “Where are the Islamists?”

Trevor refreshed his app. “Two hundred yards and closing,” he said. “Do we stay in here or go outside?”

“We’d better stay in here,” Kaylee said. “We’ve got a lot of firepower. If things turn, we can high-tail it. Just be careful not to hit any of Garrett’s men. They’re running in, see?”

“Yeah, I see them,” Trevor said. “Crap, Gaz Tigr coming in on the left.” He fired the grenade launcher, hitting the vehicle in the front, but it kept coming, so he moved to the mini-gun, firing into the windows of the vehicle, which rolled into a tree. Then he fired a grenade inside. It blew up big, spreading fire, causing some of Garrett’s men to flee.

“Wow,” Kaylee shouted. She picked up the M60 and headed for the slit on the passenger side of the coach.

“What do you see?”

“About fifty Islamists and a few UN thugs running towards us broadside. I’m gonna ruin their day.”

She slipped the M60 through the slit and opened fire, sweeping the line of men, dropping many as bullets hit the side of the coach.

“Nice,” Trevor said. “Let’s see how they like this.” He rapid fired several grenades into the fleeing men, knocking many to the ground as Kaylee continued firing. Other coaches joined in.

“Sam’s moving his coach,” Trevor said. “Getting to a better position, I hope.”

“Won’t that expose his tires and his windshield?”

“Yeah, hopefully he goes back into siege mode quickly.”

“I see why he did it,” Kaylee said. “He can use the forward guns and fire right down the road. They can’t come that way now.”

“Yeah,” Trevor said. “He just went back into siege mode.” There was a large explosion.

“He just blew up something big on the road,” Kaylee said. Several more enemy fighters rushed the side of the coach, and she opened up with the M60, dropping all of them.

“This is great,” Trevor said. “Sam’s got Wildwood Glen Lane completely blocked – he can shoot down one direction with the front guns and the other direction with the back guns.”

“Seth just did the same thing on Los Terrinitos Road,” Kaylee said. “Nobody can get in that way anymore either.”

“We should go position ourselves on Highway 79 the same way.”

“That’s a lot bigger road,” Kaylee said.

“So, we move two coaches out there. I’m texting Angel.”

“Okay,” Kaylee said nervously.

“Angel agrees. I’m taking this baby out of siege mode. You okay with handling the forward and rear guns?”

“Of course, but what about broadsides?”

“I’m on the mini-gun and the grenade launcher. If worse comes to worse, I’ll get on the other M60 and do what you were just doing.”

“Okay,” she said. Trevor took the coach out of siege mode and started the engine, moving towards the highway, getting out into the right-hand lane and stopping, setting up siege mode again. They got hit with gunfire right away.

“This was a good idea,” Kaylee said, opening fire with the forward machine guns, stopping two vans which were driving towards the turnoff onto Wildwood Glen lane. One of the vans rolled, landing on the blacktop, blocking both lanes.

Angel pulled up next to them and set back up into siege mode.

“We’ve got to clear that wreckage,” Trevor said. “It gives the enemy cover to get onto Wildwood Glen.” He fired several times with the grenade launcher, lifting the van into the air. It came down on it’s side, but still partially blocking the road. “That’s not good enough. We might have to go push it out of the way.”

“Try again,” Kaylee said.

Trevor nodded and fired several more grenades. This time it moved the van’s burning hulk out of the road. “Good, it worked.”

“There aren’t any more enemy fighters coming,” Kaylee said.

“Well, not yet, anyway,” Trevor said. “Wonder how many escaped?”

“Or how many got calls back to the others,” Kaylee said. “I’ll keep watch. Check what’s happening on the apps.”

“Yeah,” Trevor said, putting his phone in front of his face. He shook his head.

“What?”

Trevor looked over at her. “The enemy is evacuating Descanso. I don’t think they’re going to hit us here again. Nobody else is coming.”

“We can’t see the UN,” Kaylee said.

“That’s true,” Trevor said. “We should stay parked right here until the cavalry arrives.”

“I agree,” Kaylee said.

***

Sam looked over at Erica. They were still sitting on Wildwood Glen Lane, covering both directions of the road with the forward and rear machine guns. “The enemy gave up, and they’re leaving Descanso.”

“Already?” Erica asked.

“They didn’t expect these battle wagons and five hundred men,” Sam said. “We’re going to have to fight them in Julian.”

“We did badly there before,” Erica said.

“Yep, but now we’ve got a lot more fighters,” Sam said, “and better equipment too. Not to mention the apps.”

The phone rang.

“Who’s that?” Erica asked.

“Ji-Ho. I’ll put it on speaker.” He did that and set the phone on the dash. “Hi, Ji-Ho.”

“Hey, Sam, looks like they on run.”

“Saw that. We’ll fight them in Julian.”

“Yes, agree,” Ji-Ho said. “Just heard from Garrett. Large force only half hour away now.”

“Good,” Sam said. “We’ll have to let them rest before we go on. Julian is further from here than this place is from our base.”

“Yes, I know,” Ji-Ho said. “Garrett and men on way here too. Enemy fighters flee from Barrett Lake area.”

“Oh, really?” Sam asked. “Crap, that means we’ll have to fight them later.”

“Yes, true. I say we go into Descanso when main forces arrive and dig in, regroup. Then attack Julian.”

“We need a way to see the UN,” Erica said.

“They not problem,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan tell. They only left few stragglers here. Large group in north, where Jules’s team is.”

“How are they seeing them?” Sam asked.

“Satellite,” Ji-Ho said. “Morons have UN painted on top of vans.”

Sam chuckled. “They think they are legit, and they think we think they are legit.”

Ji-Ho laughed. “Yes, true. They have nasty surprise waiting for them in north. Ivan has multitude there. Bloodbath.”

“Yeah, well I hope he’s being careful,” Erica said. “We can’t see them. That means they can spearhead attacks.”

“Yep,” Sam said. “What now?”

“Wait until Garrett’s groups arrive, then regroup in Descanso after they rest.”

“Maybe we should do that in the morning,” Erica said. “It’ll be dark in a hurry.”

“Yes, maybe. We talk later.”

“Okay, Ji-Ho, talk to you soon.”

Sam ended the call.

“Should we continue to sit in this street?” Erica asked.

“Yes,” Sam said. “With Siege mode on and parking lights too.”

“Are you convinced that the UN is really that weak down here now?”

Sam thought about it for a moment. “Not as convinced as Ji-Ho is. We need to make sure everybody watches tonight.”

Erica nodded. “Wish we knew where Ed ended up.”

“I know, honey. Me too.”

***

Shelly woke up very early in the morning, feeling for Jules. He was gone. She got up in a panic and rushed out into the salon. He was sitting at the dinette in his underwear, studying his phone, it’s glow lighting his face in the darkness.

“Hey,” Shelly asked as she approached. “It’s only four. Can’t sleep?”

“No,” Jules said.

“What are you looking for?”

“Santa Cruz,” he said, looking up at her naked form, silhouetted by the lights from outside. “That make nice picture.” He started to aim his phone.

“Don’t you dare,” she said, rushing back into the bedroom. She came back out with her long t-shirt on. “That was naughty.”

Jules looked at her and grinned, then looked back at the screen.

“What are you expecting to see?” She slid onto the dinette bench next to him and watched his screen.

“I don’t know,” Jules said. “I expected enemy to go to harbor or the beach area.”

“They didn’t, though, did they?”

“No. UC Santa Cruz,” he said. “Merrill College.”

“Why would they do that?” Shelly asked, looking at him, her eyes getting wider. “They don’t do nuclear or biological research there, do they?”

“Thought crossed mind,” Jules said. “Maybe I call Ivan when light.”

“He might be watching too, right now,” Shelly said. “Send him a text. He might answer.”

“Okay,” he said. “Can’t hurt. Won’t wake him.” He sent the text, then set his phone down for a moment. “You can’t sleep too?”

“I woke up and felt for you,” she said. “I didn’t like that you weren’t there.”

“If Ivan not respond, we go back into bedroom,” Jules said. “I try to sleep again.”

“There’s always something else we could do, you know,” Shelly said, her hand going onto his thigh. Then Jules’s phone rang, making them jump. Jules checked the number.

“Ivan,” he said, hitting the speaker button. “I not wake, I hope.”

Ivan chuckled on the line. “Good morning. I was already awake. You’re looking at apps?”

“Yes. Shelly next to me.”

“Ah, good morning, milk maid,” Ivan said. “Maybe you aren’t keeping Jules occupied enough.”

Shelly giggled. “Maybe not. Hi, Ivan.”

“Hello,” Ivan said. “You’re worried about them being at UC Santa Cruz.”

“Yes,” Jules said. “They drive inside campus, stay near place marked Merrill College. Strange, no?”

“Strange yes,” Ivan said. “The boys and I have been racking our brains on this one. The college they’re in isn’t technical, so they aren’t there to gather up weapons materials.”

“What is study there?” Jules asked.

Ivan snickered. “We read about that part of US Santa Cruz on Wikipedia. Sounds like Leftist Studies to me.”

“What mean, political science?” Jules asked.

“United States impact on the developing world,” Ivan said, sounding like he was reading. “That’s what Wikipedia says.”

“They’re there to develop propaganda,” Shelly said. “They probably want to tailor it to the people living in the bay area.”

“Bingo, milk maid gets the prize,” Ivan said. “At least that’s what we think.”

“Islamists and peace-loving hippy types? Not mix, no?”

“We got a satellite shot a little while ago from General Hogan. There’s more UN vans there than there are the phony trucks the Islamists came in. It’s like they’re having some kind of conference. They even had a stage. There was a concert going on there earlier in the evening. Lots of students attended.”

“Good Lord,” Shelly said.

“Perhaps they be including paramilitary training, no?”

“We thought that at first, two,” Ivan said. “Possible. Huey Newton came out of Santa Cruz.”

Jules looked at Shelly blankly.

“Founder of the Black Panther Party,” Shelly said. “Most people don’t realize that UC Santa Cruz is more radical than UC Berkeley.”

“What we do?” Jules asked. “Anything?”

“You mean like go in there and kill them?” Ivan asked. “No, that’ll play right into the hands of the enemy. This tells us that they are having problems winning over the bulk of the population up here. Our actions will resonate with a significant portion of the population. Enough to stop them.” He paused for a moment.

“Okay, boss?” Jules asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “Sorry. Just thinking.”

“What thinking?”

“I’m going to find out who at the University invited these cretins in. I’ll send Mister White and Mister Black in to nab them.”

“You mean murder them?” Shelly asked.

“Kidnap, for now. Find out who they know, what their plans are. You know.”

“Might have been state government,” Jules said.

“Oh, I’m sure they were involved too,” Ivan said. “Propaganda is crucial up here. We have to fight fire with fire. We’ve already laid the groundwork for that.”

“How?” Shelly asked.

“We rescued somebody who made a scene on one of their propaganda TV shows. We’re nursing him back to health after the UN thugs beat him up, live on a statewide TV show.”

“He’s going to talk for our side?” Shelly asked.

“We’re going to give him that option,” Ivan said.

“Who?” Jules asked.

“He goes by Ben Dover,” Ivan said. He and Jules laughed. Shelly rolled her eyes.

“The nature of this battle will be different than down south,” Shelly said. “You guys know that, right?”

Ivan stopped laughing. “We will expose the enemy for what they are.”

“Yes, we will, and we’re going to help, remember,” Shelly said.

“Yes, I remember,” Ivan said, “and it will help. Big time.”

“What about our problem with the three locations?” Shelly asked.

“Still working on it, but we’ll be able to cover it. We’re working on the how now. We’ve already decided to go ahead. Don’t tell the rest of your group yet.”

“Okay, boss,” Jules said. “You want us to leave Islamists in trucks alone if they go by here again? We could arrange, how you say, accident.”

“No, let’s not make martyrs out of this group. We’ll kill plenty of their kind, trust me on that. We’re going to show the public who they are, and we’re going to use their own media outlets to do it.”

“Do you know when we hit the Mertins plant?” Shelly asked.

“Day after tomorrow at the earliest,” Ivan said.

“Still planning?” Jules asked.

“No, we’re waiting for some special guests to arrive,” Ivan said. “We want them to have front-row seats.”

Jules shot a grin at Shelly. “We hurt them bad?”

“Oh yeah, we’ll hurt them bad,” Ivan said. “Now go play with your milk maid. I’ve got work to do.”

“Thanks, boss,” Jules said. He ended the call. Shelly stood up and pulled her long t-shirt over her head, tossing it on the dinette table.

“Hey, what you do?” Jules asked, smiling.

“You heard the man.”

***

“I wish we brought camping gear,” James said, weary in the saddle. “This is a long haul.”

“At least we don’t have to fight,” one of Garrett’s men said.

“Don’t be so sure about that,” Tyler said. “We’re going to approach the spot where the enemy was dug in very quietly.”

“Why?” Ryan asked.

“Because of the UN folks who showed up near Descanso,” Tyler said. “You read the texts.”

“Ji-Ho said there wasn’t a significant UN presence down here,” James said.

Garrett chuckled. “There weren’t supposed to be any of them around Descanso. Sorry, but I’m not a trusting soul. Tyler is right. When we get close, we go in as if there’s some UN folks there.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t have sent the five hundred to Descanso, then,” James said.

“I had mixed feelings about that,” Garrett said. “Still do. Glad it’ll still be dark when we get there.”

“How will we know when we’re there, now that the Islamists are gone?” James asked.

“I saved the GPS locations,” Tyler said.

“That’s why he’s chief,” Garrett said, “although I saved them too. Can’t be too careful. Even if there’s no UN folks there, they might have boobytrapped the area.”

“Dammit,” James said. “I didn’t think about that.”

“Well don’t get your panties in a bunch,” Ryan said.

Tyler grabbed his phone and checked their location. “We’re really close. I say a few of us sneak up there and take a gander.”

“I’m game,” Garrett said.

“Yeah, same crew as last time,” Ryan said. James shot him a worried glance, but nodded yes. They dismounted, Garrett taking a second to chat with his foreman, who got off his horse to help.

“Grab your long guns,” Garrett said, pulling his out of the scabbard hanging from his saddle. The others did the same, and they walked forward, trying to be as quiet as they could.

“I’m taking my crossbow,” James said. “Just in case.”

“Good idea,” Ryan said.

“We don’t have a well-defined ridge here,” Tyler whispered. “It’s a lot of big rocks and little valleys, right off the road, a few hundred yards in front of the dam. Watch yourselves. If there’s anybody here, you can bet they’re watching for us.”

The others nodded and they moved along quickly, trying to keep close to cover. The rugged, hilly dirt terrain changed to large rocks after about forty yards, and they slowed down, stopping behind rocks to take a good look, then rushing to the next cover available.

“Look,” Tyler whispered. “Cell phone. See the light?”

“That’s a sentry,” James said, pulling his crossbow off his back. He loaded an arrow and crept forward as the others watched, covering him.

Garrett texted on his phone, Tyler seeing his screen. “Careful with that. What are you doing?”

“Turning the five-hundred around,” Garrett whispered. “They’re not that far. They can be here in a hurry.”

Tyler gave him thumbs up. Then they heard the crossbow, and the sentry clutched his chest, falling. James ran in a crouch to his position, checking the body and the phone, which was still on. He began typing on the screen.

“What’s he doing?” Ryan whispered.

“Probably pretending to be the enemy,” Garrett whispered back.

“Look, here comes another one, wearing one of those stupid blue helmets,” Tyler whispered. The running man stopped, clutching his chest, falling without a sound.

“That’s two,” Tyler whispered.

“Dammit,” Ryan said, catching another UN Peacekeeper sneaking over the top of the rock James was next to. “Game over.” He aimed his rifle and fired, dropping the enemy, the sound echoing through the area.

“James, get over here,” Tyler shouted. James sprinted back towards them, but his running went wild and he fell half way back, shot through the side.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 105 – Santa Cruz

Tyler, James, and Ryan were on horseback, with Garrett and about thirty of his men. They were on their way to intercept the four icons they saw coming south from Barrett Lake, riding through the desert with its low ridges and dry river beds. Nobody had been able to raise Ed, so they all assumed he was being held by Black Crow.

“You guys did a good job breaking these horses,” Garrett said.

“Thanks,” Ryan said. “They’re barely even winded.”

“Seriously,” James said. He glanced over at Tyler, who was looking at his phone screen as he rode, struggling to keep the horse under control. “You want us to stop for a sec, chief?”

“Chief?” Tyler asked, looking up. “I just saw what we thought we’d see. They’ve started back towards the north.”

“How fast?” Garrett asked, his horse snorting as he slowed to get next to Tyler.

“About the same speed as before,” Tyler said. “I think they’re on foot, but they’re moving pretty quickly. We’re a few miles behind them.”

“Wonder how close we have to be for them to hear us?” James asked.

“We’ll want to slow down when we get within half a mile or so,” Garrett said. “We’ll still be moving faster than they are.”

“That’s easy,” James said. “The short-range app should buzz us at that distance.”

“Roughly,” Garrett said. “Wonder if the hills out here will make any difference in range?”

“Good question,” Tyler said. “This is peer to peer, so we might have some problems. Might be line-of-sight. I think I’ll need to go by the long-range app to keep track of how close we really are, just in case.”

“If it were flat, we’d be seen,” Ryan said.

“True that,” Garrett said. “Remember they might be up high enough to see us once we get close. They could be on one of the hills.”

“And we’re taller, since we’re on horseback,” James said.

They continued at a good clip, keeping their thoughts to themselves for a while, the tension and anticipation rising.

“Wonder how far along the battle wagons are?” Ryan asked.

“They’ll beat most of my guys to Descanso,” Garrett said. “They’re going to stop outside of town and wait.”

“Good idea,” Ryan said. “Those battle wagons aren’t indestructible, and they can get overrun.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “You been watching the Williams place too, right?”

Tyler nodded. “No enemy hits anywhere near there so far. I see some movement from Julian down to Descanso, though.”

“How much movement?” Ryan asked.

“Several hundred fighters,” Tyler said. “I already shot a text to Sam and Ji-Ho.”

“You don’t look very worried about that,” James said, looking at Garrett.

Garrett chuckled. “We’ve got two thousand men riding there, and there were only about three hundred men there to begin with. If we see a couple thousand men coming down there, I’d be worried.”

“They don’t have that many man anywhere near here,” Tyler said. “Glad we kicked the UN out of this region. They don’t have chips.”

“You sure they’re all really gone?” James asked.

“Pretty sure,” Tyler said.

Garrett had an uneasy look. “Hope that’s the case. Sam told me that they’re all up north, trying to salvage martial law in that part of the state.”

They rode silently for another hour or so, the sun beating down on them, their horses getting tired.

“There’s a stream up ahead,” Tyler said.

“Good,” Garrett said. “Let’s water the horses there. How close are the enemy now?”

Tyler looked at his phone. “Just under a mile. We don’t want to for break too long. Quick rest and drink, and then we need to get moving.”

They made it to the stream and dismounted, bringing the horses close to the water. Garrett pulled out his phone and sent a text, then read his screen, shielding it from the sun with his hat.

“Our main forces are making good time to Descanso,” he said. “And the five hundred-man group is already at Barrett Lake Road. They’re waiting for us to take the four and rescue Ed. Our scout has seen the enemy forces. They’re dug in. Good thing we sent them with some mortars.”

“I just got a reply from Sam,” Tyler said. “They’re on Japatul Road, not too far south of I-8. They’re looking for a place to park until the cavalry arrives.”

“When do your men get there, Garrett?” James asked.

“It’ll be a few hours. Wish we had enough horse trailers to move them all there.”

“Are all of them on horseback?” James asked.

“No, we’ve got about four hundred in vehicles,” Garrett said. “They’re with the battle wagons. Not enough to do the job.”

“We should get going,” Tyler said. “The horses have drunk all they’re going to.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Garrett said. The group mounted up and rode forward, Tyler riding one handed, phone in his free hand. When his phone buzzed, he held up his hand and slowed down. Garrett nodded, his own phone buzzing.

“This is pretty accurate, according to what I see on the long-range app,” Tyler whispered. They rode slowly, heading up to a ridge.

“Stop,” Tyler whispered. “Best snipers, follow me.”

Garrett nodded, sending a couple of his thirty men forward with long rifles, joining them himself. Tyler, Ryan, and James led them to the ridge. They snuck up to the edge and looked over.

“Dammit,” Tyler whispered. “There’s Black Crow and four Islamists, but Ed’s not with them.”

“Crap, man, they probably killed him already,” James said softly.

“Or something else happened to him,” one of Garrett’s men whispered. “He was blasting around in the back country on that hovercraft. He might have crashed it.”

“You’re right,” Tyler said. “Let’s take these guys out. One shot each.”

“You don’t want to question Black Crow?” James asked.

“Shoot him in the leg,” Tyler said. “We’ll see if we can get some info out of him before we gut him.”

James’s eyes opened wider as he looked at Tyler.

“What?” Tyler asked.

“That’s harsh, man.”

“He’s been responsible for the deaths of our people,” Tyler said. “He might have been the reason we got ambushed in Julian. You ever consider that?”

“He’s right, James,” Ryan whispered, aiming his rifle. “C’mon, we’ve got a job to do. I’ve got Black Crow. I’ll wound him. Kill the others.”

The men aimed, carefully, Tyler watching. “On my mark.”

They held their breaths.

“Now,” Tyler said. Five shots rang out almost in unison, all the men slumping to the ground. Black Crow screamed in pain, clutching his right shoulder.

“Why’d you shoot him there?” Garrett’s man asked.

“He’s right handed,” Ryan said. “He won’t be able to shoot.”

“Yeah, but he can run,” James said, nodding towards him as he got up and started running. Ryan fired again, hitting him in the left thigh, bringing him to the ground.

“We’d better get down there quick, before he goes into shock or bleeds out,” Tyler said.

“Yeah,” Garrett said. They rushed back down to their horses, and then all thirty-five men rode over the ridge and down to the enemy bodies. Tyler, James, and Ryan rushed over to Black Crow, who was barely conscious. Tyler frisked him for weapons, pulling a small auto pistol out of his pocket and tossing it away.

“He’s clean,” Tyler said. He turned Black Crow onto his back. “Where’s Silver Wolf?”

Black Crow grinned at him through the pain, his thin features and pockmarked skin shining with sweat. “Wouldn’t you like to know, you wannabe paleface.”

Garrett stuck his spur into Black Crows thigh wound, causing him to scream in pain. “I didn’t hear you.”

“Damn, dude,” James said. Tyler shook his head no at him, then turned back to Black Crow.

“I’ll ask you again. Where’s Silver Wolf?”

“He went to the happy hunting ground,” Black Crow said.

“Where is he?” Garrett asked, poised to dig the spur in again. Black Crow tried to spit at him, blood spewing out with the saliva, landing on his belly. Garrett dug in again, and he screamed bloody murder.

James got up and walked away. Ryan stayed there, watching, his face showing mixed emotions. Tyler glanced at him, then back at Black Crow.

“How long have you been against us?”

Black Crow laughed. “Why should I tell you anything? I’m done anyway. Unless you’ve got a chopper at your disposal, I’ll bleed out long before you can get me out of here.”

“Why’d you do this, son?” Garrett asked.

“I’m not your son,” he spat.

“No, but I’m your chief,” Tyler said. “So is Silver Wolf. At least tell us why.”

“You wouldn’t understand,” Black Crow said, his breath laboring now, sweat pouring off his face.

“Try me,” Tyler said.

“We could’ve used this opportunity to get our land back,” he said. “All of it. We could’ve teamed with the Islamists. They aren’t all that different from us, you know. We’ve both been wronged by the white man.”

Garrett laughed. “Are you kidding me? You planning on converting to Islam? Because if they win and you don’t convert, you’re dead. You’d just be changing one dominate culture for another.”

“They are warriors,” Black Crow said. “Like we used to be.”

“You are one mixed up son of a bitch,” Ryan said. “Can we shoot him and move on? We have a whole lot of Islamic warriors to kill.”

Black Crow laughed hard, turning to a cough, blood leaking from the corners of his mouth. “What do you have, about forty guys? There’s hundreds coming for you, and another thousand sitting north of there, getting ready to hit your little stronghold at the Williams place, and that stupid western town.”

Garrett laughed. “We’ve got five hundred mounted men closing on the enemy forces at the highway, and another two thousand heading for Descanso, you idiot.”

Black Crow’s eyes opened wide.

“You’re beaten,” Tyler said. “Honor your ancestors and tell us where our chief is.”

Black Crow started to cry, as his breath slowed down even more.

“C’mon,” Tyler said.

“All right, if you agree to end me quick.”

“Agreed,” Ryan said.

“We don’t know where Silver Wolf is. I never found him. He probably crashed that stupid hovercraft of his somewhere.”

“So why were those guys coming down here?”

“To pick me up,” he said. “They were going to make me a general.”

“That’s what they told you?” Ryan asked, shaking his head.

“Screw you,” Black Crow said. “Kill me. I did what you asked.”

Ryan pointed his gun at Black Crow’s head.

“No,” Tyler said. “I’ll do it. Stand back.”

The others left. Tyler pulled his pistol, as Black Crow shut his eyes and tensed up. Tyler fired.

***

Ted and Haley rushed into their coach, which was already in siege mode. Brianna had her gun in her hand, eyes wide with fear. “Thank God you’re back.”

Stacey had his gun ready to go, when all of them got buzzed with a text. Ted read his phone. “Shut down the engine. Jules thinks they might just drive by, unless they hear us.”

Stacey nodded and rushed to the driver’s seat, shutting down the engine as the other coaches around him did the same. Then it was silent.

“Turn out the lights,” Ted said. Haley got close to him, putting her arm on his back. “Don’t worry, honey. We know how many there are and we’ll see them if they make the turnoff.”

“I know,” she whispered. “Just scared.”

“Gather around and I’ll display the app,” Ted said. “I’ll have to refresh it every few seconds.”

Haley rushed over there and pulled the coffee maker away from the wall. “Here, prop it up against this.”

Ted nodded and set his phone down. All of them watched the screen, Ted hitting the refresh button every ten seconds.

“They’re passing the turnoff,” Brianna said.

“Yeah, thank God,” Haley said.

“We aren’t out of the woods yet,” Ted said. “They just went by the back entry to the winery. They might still turn in through the front.”

“There’s not that many,” Stacey said. “We could take them.”

“We could,” Ted said, “but they’d get a call out, and we’d have to leave before we’re ready to hit the Mertins plant.”

“Okay, I can see that,” Stacey said. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Ted said. “Always be thinking.”

“They’ve passed the main entrance,” Haley said.

“So it would appear,” Ted said. “We’re probably safe, but it’s going to be a long night.”

“You going to monitor them?” Haley asked.

“Damn straight,” Ted said. “We need to know where they go.”

Everybody got buzzed by a text message. Haley looked at her phone. “Jules just sent an all clear, but said we need to keep lights off, be quiet, and watch the apps.”

“Should we leave this in siege mode?” Stacey asked.

“Yes,” Ted said. “It won’t hurt anything. More headroom too.”

“Maybe we should stay here tonight, instead of going to the house,” Haley said.

Ted looked at her and nodded yes.

Brianna shot a glance at Stacey. “You two want to use the bedroom?”

“No,” Haley said. “You might as well stay in there.”

“All right,” Brianna said. “Let’s go back and get some sleep, Stacey.”

He nodded and followed her, both still carrying their guns.

“Sorry,” Haley whispered. “Hope you don’t mind.”

“It’s the right choice,” Ted said.

“We can share the convertible sofa,” Haley said softly.

“I’d like that,” Ted said. They got their bed set up in a few minutes.

“Thank you,” Haley said softly as they got undressed for bed.

“For what?”

“Everything,” she said as she climbed under the covers. He joined her after a moment, and she snuggled up close. “This okay?”

“Yes,” Ted said, putting his arm around her.

“We can, you know,” she whispered. “I can be quiet.”

“Let’s wait,” Ted said. “You mind? I’m still pretty stirred up.”

“Okay,” she said, watching him as he refreshed the screen on his phone. “Where are they now?”

“They’re almost to Santa Cruz. Now why would they be going there?” He switched to his text app and sent a message.

“What are you doing?”

“Sending a text to Jules, asking what he thinks,” Ted said. His phone buzzed.

“He got back that fast?”

Ted chuckled. “Yeah. He’s already talking to Ivan about it.”

“You don’t think they’ve got bad guys coming in from the Pacific, do you?”

Ted shot her a glance. “That’s the first thing I thought of. Not much of a harbor there. Just pleasure boats. The harbor does go some ways inland, though. Look.” He showed his phone to Haley.

“Looks like someplace they wouldn’t want to be,” Haley said. “They could get attacked from two directions in there.”

“Yeah,” Ted said. His phone buzzed again. “Jules again. Ivan got visuals via a satellite feed. It’s not military vehicles. They’re in commercial trucks. They’re trying to hide themselves.”

“Does he want us to do anything?” Haley asked.

“We’re the closest assets, so he’s putting us on alert.”

“What does that mean?” Haley asked.

“He wants my phone someplace where I can be woken up in the middle of the night,” Ted said. “Let’s try to get some shut eye.”

Haley smiled at him. “Can I have a kiss?”

“Think that’s wise?”

“I don’t care,” she said. “Come here.”

They embraced and kissed, and then it was like a damn bursting.

“Wow,” Haley said. “That was something.”

“Gonna be hard to sleep now,” Ted said, his breath coming fast.

“Then let’s stop,” she said. “We’ll just cuddle, okay?”

Ted nodded, giving her a peck on the forehead.

***

The battle wagons were parked along Los Terrinitos Road, among the trees surrounding several abandoned mini-ranches.

Sam and Erica walked over to Ji-Ho’s rig. Trevor and Kaylee were in there with Seth and Kaitlyn. Megan and Angel were walking up.

“You heard?” Sam asked Ji-Ho as he entered.

“Yeah, no Ed,” Ji-Ho said. “Hope he still alive. Be hard to find.”

“Seems pretty strange that his phone isn’t working,” Trevor said.

“I know,” Erica said. “I’m worried sick.”

“Where’s the cavalry?” Angel asked. “Getting close to dark.”

“Two hours to the south, if they can keep up the pace,” Sam said. “They’ll have to slow down when it gets dark.”

“They can’t be anywhere near the roads,” Erica said. “Too many of them. It’d raise attention for sure.”

“It might anyway,” Seth said. “We could probably take on the enemy with who we’ve already got.”

“Too risky,” Ji-Ho said. “Things go wrong. Battle Wagons not that hard to break. Only four hundred men to fall back on. They have over thousand men between Descanso and the road down from Julian.”

“Yeah, and more getting ready to leave from Julian, from what I’ve been seeing,” Sam said. “We have to wait. This is not going to be an easy battle with them, either. The enemy will have better weapons.”

“Yes yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Sam right. Wait. Make sure. Lower risk. Remember what happen in Julian.”

“That was different,” Angel said.

“Why do you say that?” Erica asked.

“I’ll lay you ten to one that Black Crow guy helped the enemy with the ambush,” Angel said. “Think about it.”

Erica looked down, then up at the others. “You’re probably right about that.”

“This was not your fault,” Sam said, “and besides, he wasn’t even with our group in Julian, remember? He was with the group you were in, off in the alternate location.”

“We all knew about the battle there,” Erica said. “He could have made phone calls.”

“Not matter now. Black Crow dead,” Ji-Ho said.

“Where’s Garrett’s guys?” Angel asked. “I thought they’d be right next to us.”

“They close,” Ji-Ho said. “In huge pasture, just before this road. Maybe four hundred yard.”

“Okay, makes sense,” Angel said. “They’ve got about seventy vehicles.”

“Seventy-two,” Megan said, smiling.

“Let’s go back to our rig,” Sam said. “We’re too close to the enemy to be far from our weapons systems.”

“Yeah, good point,” Trevor said.

Everybody but Ji-ho left the coach, heading quickly back to their rigs.

Sam opened the door to their coach and followed Erica inside. “Should we be in siege mode?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said, “since we’re going to be here for a few hours. Send a broadcast text out about that, okay. I’ll get ours set up.”

She nodded and sent the text. Sam watched out the window of the rig as the electric motors in the other coaches whirred to life, armor plates moving into place, guns rising from the tops. Then there was gunfire, bouncing off the first coach in the row.

“Dammit,” Sam said, pulling down the sight and scanning, other coaches doing the same. “Where’s that coming from?”

Trevor’s coach fired a burst of fire from the mini gun.

“I feel like we’re sitting in a tin can,” Erica shouted, picking up one of the M60s. “I’ll be ready at the slits, but if it gets too crazy, I’m going out there.”

“Me too,” Sam said. “Text Garrett’s guys.”

“Doing that now,” she said.

To be continued…

 

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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 2017

Bugout! California Part 104 – Pronouns

Ted was sitting in the coach with Brianna and Stacey, watching a local San Francisco public station on TV. There was a sleepy conversation going on about Martial Law and how to make the most of it, with an equally sleepy live studio audience there to watch and ask questions.

“These people are brain-dead,” Brianna said. “I think I’m done.” She got off the couch. “Don’t be too long, honey.”

“Okay,” Stacey said. He watched her walk into the bedroom. “Wow.”

“You like her, don’t you?” Ted asked softly.

“I love her,” he said. “She’s so far out of my league, though. Hope I don’t lose her once things settle down again. She’ll have more selection.”

“Give her some credit, Stacey.”

“You’re right,” he said. “Where’s Haley?”

“She’ll be along. Needed some time to think.”

“You like her, don’t you?” Stacey asked, then paused. “You don’t have to tell me.”

“Yes, I do like her,” Ted said. “Not sure that the feeling is mutual. I’m hoping.”

“Good,” Stacey said. “Don’t give up.”

“I won’t. Listen to these idiots.”

The panel was two women and one man, sitting at a table on stage, with a moderator at the head, who was fielding questions from the studio audience, and asking some himself.

“Kimberly, what is it about the new reality that is working best for you?” the moderator asked.

“That’s hard to say, Chuck,” she said, moving her shiny brown hair away from her face, her unisex shirt and vest looking a little too warm for the studio lights. “If I had to pick just one thing, I’d say it’s my commute time.”

“Commute time? How so?”

“When they laid out the grids, my job was seven grids away from my apartment. After about a month, they got me moved to a different job which is walking distance from my home. It’s much more environmentally sound.”

What a moron,” Stacey said. He looked at Ted, and they both snickered.

“We have a question from the front, there,” the moderator said, pointing to the man raising his hand in the audience. “Go ahead. Which pronoun would you like us to use?”

“They would be fine. Thank you for asking.”

“Sure, no problem,” the moderator said. “Go ahead, please.”

“Hi, Kimberly. Is the job that you left the same as the new job they gave you? Oh, and do you like it as much?”

“I like it about as much as my original job,” Kimberly said, “but it’s lower level. In the old patriarchy I would’ve lost money, but I’m still getting the standard livable wage now, just like everybody else.” She paused, looking at the moderator. “What was his other question?”

There was murmuring from the audience.

“Kimberly, please use they’s chosen pronoun.”

“Oh, geez, I’m so sorry,” Kimberly said, her face turning red.

“Not a problem,” the audience member said. “You basically already answered it, anyway. You said it was a lower-level job, so it’s not the same.”

“Yes, they’s right,” Kimberley said.

“Another question from the audience,” the moderator said. “This will be it, then we’ll need to move to one of the other panelists.”

A woman stood up, wearing a yoga outfit. She had tattoos going up both sides of her neck and many piercings on her face. “I’m Smith Five. Please refer to me as they as well.”

“That’s an unusual name,” the moderator said. “Does it have a meaning?”

“I’m the fifth living person in my family, whose last name is Smith. We all changed to that model, to fight the patriarchy. It kept us from having a gender tag placed on us for life.”

An older man in the audience laughed out loud. There was rustling around, and the man was dragged out of his seat by two large ushers.

“Some people still don’t get it,” Smith Five said, rolling her eyes.

“Are these idiots worth saving?” Stacey asked. Ted shot him a glance, shaking his head.

“Your question, please?” The moderator asked.

“Oh, yeah, sorry. If you’d have wanted to stay in your original job, could you have? I’m asking because I’m in a job that I love, and I’m three grids away from home. I’m being told that I’ll be moved.”

“I was told I had a choice, but when I talked to my boss, I found that wasn’t the case,” Kimberly said. “Not that I minded that much.”

“Were you given a reason?” Smith Five asked.

“We’ll have to cut this question short,” the moderator said.

Somebody else in the audience stood up. “You folks need to read the fine print.”

“Sit down, please,” the moderator said. “You haven’t been called on.”

“Whatever,” the young man said. “My name is Ben Dover. Oh, and I identify as he, since I have a penis. The employers pay a tax for any worker who lives outside of their grid. It goes up based on how many grids away the employee’s home is.”

“That will be enough,” the moderator said.

“It’s just the truth,” Ben Dover said.

The audience broke into outrage. The man laughed, and tossed something on stage. It started to emit smoke, causing somebody in the audience to scream. People started to leave their seats in a panic. Two big men rushed Ben Dover and wailed on him with batons, dropping him to his knees. Then they dragged him out as blood flowed from his head. The screen went blank.

My God,” Ted said. “This is gonna be harder than we thought.”

“Ben Dover is my hero,” Stacey said. He looked at Ted and they both cracked up.

“Yeah, maybe we can recruit him, if he lives through this.”

The door opened, Haley coming up the steps.

“I think I’ll go to bed now,” Stacey said, getting up.

“Don’t leave on my account,” Haley said.

“The show’s over anyway. Ben Dover ended it with a bang.” Stacey chuckled and walked into the bedroom, closing the door behind him.

“What was that all about?” she asked, sitting down next to Ted.

“San Francisco local TV,” Ted said. “We’re gonna have our work cut out for us. Some of these folks are beyond help.”

“What do you mean?” Haley asked.

“We just watched a panel discussion on their local public station. They were talking about the benefits of martial law. It was a politically correct hot mess.”

“What were the benefits of martial law?” she asked.

“You know how they break the cities into grids?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Didn’t pay much attention to it before I got nabbed by the UN.”

“Down south they didn’t go as far before the people ended it,” Ted said. “They laid out the grids, and made the employers pay a tax for employees who didn’t live in the same grid as their job. I was getting ready to pay a tax on Stacey, since he lived a couple grids away. Robbie was in the restaurant’s grid, so there was no tax.”

“That sounds pretty bad,” Haley said. “Are they doing that up here?”

“They’re taking it a step further,” Ted said. “To be environmentally sound, they’re forcing people into jobs closer to their homes.”

“You’re kidding,” Haley said. Then she shook her head. “I don’t’ know why I said that. They made a sex slave out of me. If you’re willing to do that, you’d be okay with just about anything.”

“We saw them beat up one person in the audience and drag another one away tonight,” Ted said. “I suspect the one they beat is in bad shape now. They hit him on the head repeatedly with their batons as they dragged him away.”

“What did they do?”

Ted stretched, yawning. “The guy they took out first laughed at something in a way that wasn’t politically correct. The guy they beat up threw a smoke bomb, after making fools out of them.”

“That must have been the one Stacey called Ben Dover.”

Ted snickered. “Yep. He told the moderator that was his name.”

“Geez,” Haley said.

“They’ve gone full Marxist up here. Everybody is getting paid the same “sustainable wage” regardless of job. One of the panel members told the crowd that she’d been moved out of her original job because it was too far from home. She was put into a lower level job, but with the same money everybody else makes.

“Well, keep one thing in mind,” Haley said. “That mindset is probably not the mindset of the majority up here. It’s propaganda. Sounds like they were unable to keep at least two dissenters out of their audience.”

“Good point,” Ted said.

“You tired yet?”

“Not really,” Ted said. “I was getting there, but the show fired me up a little.”

“Good. Let’s go for a walk.”

He looked at her, worry on his face. “You’ve been thinking about things.”

She shook her head. “What do you think I was doing out there?”

“Sorry,” he said. “Sure, I’ll go for a walk.”

“There’s a nice gazebo on the far side. We can be alone there.”

“Expecting this to get heated?” Ted asked. “I won’t be mad, no matter what you tell me. You know that, I hope.”

“If I thought you’d get mad, I wouldn’t take you off someplace where we can’t be heard, now, would I?”

He sighed. “Sorry.”

“Quit saying sorry,” she said. “Let’s go.”

They got up and left the coach, Ted closing the door as quietly as he could.

They walked into the crisp night air. Half the coaches were dark now as people were retiring for the night.

“Peaceful out here,” Ted said.

“It is,” Haley said, looking over at him in the darkness. “Do you trust Ivan?”

Ted chuckled. “Yes, I trust him, and I hope Jules is right about him.”

“What’d Jules say?”

“That the war has changed his focus, and that he might be done as a mob boss,” Ted said. “I suspect that he can’t be done being a mob boss, even if he wants to be, but we’ll see. He’s connected to a lot of people who might want him unable to talk.”

“Has he murdered people?”

“Personally? I doubt it, but I don’t know for sure. He was in Special Forces, so he can be physically dangerous. You know he’s not really Russian, right?”

“Well, he has no accent,” she said.

“Yes he does,” Ted said. “He has a Southern California accent. He grew up in Torrance.”

“That’s really true? Somebody was saying that a while back, but I didn’t believe it.”

“Yeah, it’s true,” Ted said. “Frankly, I think he’s worked with governments as much as against them over the past ten years.”

“Which governments? Russia?”

Ted laughed. “He was part of the Russian government after the USSR broke up. The mob did there what they wanted to do in Cuba, before Castro upset the apple cart.”

“Until they got a strong dictator, anyway,” Haley said.

“Yep,” Ted said. “He went to the EU mainly to mess with the globalists.”

“He was still running organized crime, though, wasn’t he?”

“Had to bring in money somehow,” Ted said. “We parted ways for a while at that time.”

“But you’re with him again now,” Haley said. “There’s the gazebo.”

“Yeah, I’m with him again now. He kinda tricked me into it, but truth be told, this is a fight I want to be in. How could I not?”

They entered the gazebo, which was dimly lit with moonlight. There were lounges and chairs in there, and a bench-seat swing. Haley sat in the swing and patted the spot next to her. Ted shot her a worried glance and sat next to her.

“I know what you are,” she said softly.

He stared at her blankly for a moment.

“You’re a patriot,” she said.

“Don’t think I totally agree, but thanks.”

“Why wouldn’t you agree?”

“I’m not selfless,” he said.

She smiled at him, her blue eyes locked with his, framed by her blond hair. “Do you think George Washington was selfless? Or Jefferson? Or Franklin?”

“I’m not like them,” Ted said. “I’m part of the resistance. That’s all.”

“So were they, but enough of this. That’s not why I brought you out here.”

Ted took a deep breath. “I know. Enough with the small talk.”

“That wasn’t small talk,” she said. “You still look afraid.”

“Of course,” he said.

“I understand,” she said. “You think you’re going to lose me. That’s not going to happen, so settle down. All right?”

“I’ll try.”

“I’ve been attracted to you since the day we met,” Haley said, watching for his reaction. “I’ve kept you at arm’s length on purpose, and it’s been hard for me.”

“Because you didn’t know how I felt?”

She laughed. “I know you’re interested. Known for a while now. I was hoping it was going to just simmer until this mess is over. You and I both know that’s not going to work anymore.”

“We can go back to how it was, for now,” Ted said.

“No, we can’t,” she said. “The cat’s out of the bag now. There’s no putting it back. I should’ve expected one of us to slip.”

“You’re sounding like you feel the way I do,” Ted said, staring at her face.

She laughed. “Hell, I’m as much in love with you as you are with me.”

“What?” he asked.

“Don’t be shocked. Who do I spend all my waking hours with?”

“So, you wanted me to make a move all this time?” Ted asked.

“No, like I said, I was hoping it would simmer until this mess is over.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m a coward,” she said. “I knew that when we got started, it would become the most important part of our world. Make plans and the devil laughs.”

Ted shook his head. “We were both separately in the same place, weren’t we?”

“So it would appear.”

“Why can’t we just put the cat back in the bag for a while, and be friends?”

“You broke the ice,” she said. “There’s no going back. Not that I want to now. That would’ve only worked if we both would have preserved it.”

“Then you’re upset with me?”

“Upset? No, that’s not the right word,” she said. “I was hoping our timing would be different, but truth be told, I couldn’t have held back much longer anyway. One of us was going to do it. Turned out to be you, but it could’ve just as easily been me.”

“You’re awful calm about this,” Ted said.

“No I’m not. I’m going crazy inside. Both of us are like that, you know. We’ll have to work on that if this is going to last.”

“You’ll be with me? You want that too?”

“Yes, but we need to work a few things out,” she said. “And you have to keep your mouth shut about some things. Do you promise?”

“Yes,” he said, brow furrowed. “Is this gonna be something bad?”

“I don’t want to be pregnant,” she said. “Not during this mess. Later, maybe, but not now. We have to use birth control. You gonna be okay with that?”

“I have no problem with that at all,” Ted said. “It’s too dangerous to be pregnant right now. Surprised we haven’t had problems already.”

“What makes you think we haven’t?”

“Uh oh,” Ted said. “That look on your face scares me a little bit.”

“Some of us got pregnant during captivity,” she whispered. “I was one of them.”

“Oh no,” Ted said. “I’m so sorry. You’re not pregnant now, though. You’d be showing.”

“Remember Audrey?”

“The doctor,” Ted said. “Losing her was really bad.”

“She was able to hook us up with something.”

“When?” Ted asked.

“At the Volvo dealership. We got a delivery that none of you noticed. It was risky. Didn’t work with all of us.”

“I thought those pills were only effective for seventy-two hours afterwards,” Ted said.

“You know more than most men,” she said. “It can be up to five days, but it doesn’t always work.”

“How did you know you were pregnant? It was so early.”

“I know when I ovulate, and I know the feeling when it takes,” she said, looking down.

“That’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Ted said.

“I know, but it still hurts. It worked with all but one of us.”

“Who?” Ted asked. “Never mind, that question was out of line.”

“It was Lily,” she said, tears filling her eyes.

“Oh,” Ted said, looking at her. “Oh God.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Don’t tell anybody. I mean it.”

“I won’t. I promise.”

“We’ll have to get something soon,” she said. “Pills make me blow up like a balloon, and women in my family have a hard time with IUDs. You know what that leaves.”

“No problem. Wonder what the other couples are using?”

She laughed. “Some aren’t using anything. There are a couple who are already pregnant.”

“Are they gonna take care of it?”

“They want it,” Haley said. “Won’t make much difference for six months or so. Assuming the stress doesn’t cause them to miscarry.”

“This conflict will still be going for six months, at least.”

“I know, I’ve seen the icons on the maps. Rooting these creeps out is gonna be a big deal. If I thought it were only six months, I wouldn’t worry.”

He looked at her face, passion rising fast. “You’d want to?”

“Yes,” she said, her breath coming a little quicker.

“Wow,” Ted said, moving closer to her. “You’re getting worked up.” He slipped his arms around her, but she leaned away.

“Wait, we’re not done talking yet.”

He froze. “Sorry. Go ahead.”

“When I commit, I do it intensely. Think you can handle that?”

“Yes,” Ted said.

“You don’t want to know what I mean by that?”

“We understand each other,” Ted said.

“What do you think I mean?”

“You mate for life,” Ted said. “I demand the same thing.”

“Oh, yes,” she said, pulling him close. They kissed, long and deep, both trembling. They broke it, and she stood up.

“Want to go back?”

“We could, but don’t you want to see me naked?”

“Oh yeah,” he said, starting to get up.

“No, sit,” she said, starting to unbutton her blouse.

“We don’t have anything,” he whispered.

“It’ll be okay for a couple days,” she said, a twinkle in her eye as she shrugged out of her top, her white bra showing in the moonlight. “You like so far?”

Ted couldn’t even speak, and then his phone buzzed, startling him.

She froze. “What’s wrong?”

“Hopefully this is just a text,” he said, fishing the phone out of his pocket. “Crap. It’s the short range app. Enemy fighters coming in from the north. Half a mile away and closing fast.”

“Oh no,” she said. “They’ve found us.”

“I left my gun in the rig. We’re gonna have to run back.”

“Let’s go,” Haley said as she buttoned her blouse. They sprinted towards the row of battle wagons, some already going into siege mode, some starting their engines.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 103 – Hit the Trail

Jules and Tex messed with the laptop, getting ready for their conference call with Ivan.

“You hear back from him yet, partner?” Tex asked.

“No, but will soon,” Jules said.

Stacey came up to them. “Want to feed that into the TV? I know how.”

“Yes, that good,” Jules said. “Be my guest.”

Stacey smiled proudly and got to work on that, Jules and Tex standing back to watch. Jules felt his phone buzz and pulled it out of his pocket.

“He’s good,” Jules said. “Will be on.”

“Great,” Tex said. “How do you think he’ll react?”

“He won’t tell answer tonight, but he’ll think about and let us know soon.”

“Hope you’re right,” Tex said.

“Okay, this is set up, but we’ll still have to use the camera in the laptop for Ivan to see us,” Stacey said.

“Great, thank much,” Jules said. “I grab barstool and bring out. Higher, give better look to Ivan.”

“I’ve got it,” Stacey said, rushing into the other room.

“That kid’s trying to make points,” Tex said.

“He solid,” Jules said. “I know. Watching.”

Ted walked over. “Looks like we’re almost ready.”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“Everything okay, partner?” Tex asked.

Ted looked at him and shrugged.

“What?” Jules said.

“I’ll tell you later, boss,” Ted said.

Jules chuckled. “Woman problem.”

“Later,” Ted said, glancing around to see where Haley was.

“Don’t worry, I zip it,” Jules said. His phone buzzed again. “Ivan ready.”

Stacey was back with the bar stool, which he placed next to the TV and put the laptop onto.

“Shelly, ready,” Jules said. She rushed over and got onto the laptop, loading the video conference software and then sending request to Ivan’s number. His face showed up on the screen, smiling under his fedora, a flashy tie with a diamond stick-pin on his chest.

“Milk maid?” he asked. “I see why Jules is smitten.”

“Thanks, I think,” Shelly said, smiling. She backed away from the laptop so he could see the whole room. “Sorry we don’t have a better camera.”

Ivan laughed. “It’s better than mine. Good evening to all. Pleasure to see you. My, so many beautiful women.”

Jules chuckled. “No flirting.”

“Don’t worry,” Ivan said. “What’s on your mind?”

“Morgan, would you explain?” Jules asked.

She flashed him a nervous smile and nodded, then approached the front of the room. Robbie came up with her, and sat as she stood.

“Don’t be nervous,” Ivan said. “Take your time.”

“I’m okay,” Morgan said.

“Is that Robbie next to you?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said proudly.

“Your father,” Ivan said, starting to choke up.

“Oh, no, did something bad happen to him?” Robbie asked.

“No, no, I’m just emotional,” Ivan said. “He’s an inspiration. A great man, who will be remembered for years.”

“Thank you,” Robbie said, feeling himself tear up.

“Go ahead, Morgan,” Ivan said. “Sorry.”

“Okay,” Morgan said, taking a deep breath. “We have two proposals for you, which go together.”

“I’m all ears,” he said.

“Good,” Morgan said, fidgeting. Robbie put his hand on her back, encouraging her. She looked at him and smiled, then looked back at the laptop. “After we do the rescues, we’d like to come on the air with you and tell our story.”

“Your story? Of the captivity? Won’t that be very difficult?”

“Of course it will be, but people need to know what the UN is doing. It should help us win the war.”

Ivan was silent for a moment, thinking, wiping his eyes. “Your bravery. All of you. Wow. Yes, I’ll do that with you.”

“Thank you,” Morgan said.

“What’s the second part?”

“We’d like to hit all three locations at once,” Morgan said.

Ivan was quiet for moment, his eyes reading the room. “You think after the first rescue is done, the enemy will kill the women in the other two locations, or move them somewhere else,” Ivan muttered.

“Or fortify their other locations,” Morgan said. “Make a play for killing us all.”

“This will be difficult,” Ivan said, looking down, the top of his fedora hiding his face for a moment. He looked back up. “Difficult, but not impossible, and it might win the war for us. It should at least shorten it.”

“Then you’ll help us?” Morgan asked.

“I’ll confer with my team,” Ivan said. “It’ll take a few days to work out the details and the logistics. Fair enough?”

“Yes,” Morgan said. “Thank you.”

“Did you lead this effort?” Ivan asked.

“I pushed the idea, and brought it to the other women,” Morgan said. “I got the idea from a comment that Justin made, about using the rescues for recruitment of citizens.”

“Where’s Justin?” Ivan asked.

“Right here,” Justin said, standing up.

“Kudos to you,” Ivan said. “Must have taken a lot of courage to bring that up.”

“I blurted it out, then wished I could take it back right away,” Justin said with a sheepish grin.

Ivan chuckled. “You sound like me. You can’t make that choice for the victims at these three locations…although I suspect some of them might want to join in with their comments.”

“That thought crossed mind,” Jules said. “Would not pressure them, but perhaps they pressure us.”

“Okay, I understand what you want and agree with you in principal,” Ivan said. “I’ll get back to you. Thanks very much for bringing these proposals to me. I’m impressed, and proud to have people with so much courage on our side.”

“Thank you, boss,” Jules said.

“Talk to you soon,” Ivan said. His video stopped.

“Wow,” Robbie said. “He’s so personable. Not at all what I expected.”

Well, he is that, but he’s also a dangerous person,” Ted said. “Good to remember that.”

“Yes, Ted, he dangerous, but war affect him,” Jules said. “I see change. Slowly at first. He great General now. Probably never mobster again.”

“I still wouldn’t want to work for him,” Morgan said.

Sparky and Tex laughed.

“What’s so funny?” Morgan asked.

“He’s your senior management,” Sparky said. “The card club. That’s his operation. You know that, right?”

She looked shocked for a moment. “I thought he was just using it to help with money laundering. You know, as a third party.”

“He owns it,” Sparky said. “Yeah, he’s used it to launder money, but he owns it because he likes poker, and he’s making a tidy profit beyond the other benefits.”

“Oh my God, you’ve been working for the mob,” Robbie said, laughing.

Morgan punched him in the arm, laughing. “Be nice.”

“I think we should get shut eye now,” Jules said. “Late. It’s possible Mertins attack happen tomorrow.”

Morgan nodded, and stood, facing the others. “Thanks for this.”

The crowd gave her a round of applause, turning her face red.

***

Sparky watched as the crowd dispersed, looking for Dana. She was chatting with Karen and Allison.

“Hey, Sparky,” Dana said as he walked up. “What do you think?”

“I think it’s noble and brave,” Sparky said. “Want to take a walk?”

She looked him up and down, brow furrowed.

“Go ahead,” Karen said. “Be with your man. We’ll chat later.”

She shrugged, her face showing hurt for a split second, then forming a smile. “Yes, we’ll talk more tomorrow.”

Sparky started walking toward the door, Dana following behind. He looked back, stopping until she caught up.

“We can just go into the bedroom, you know,” she said. “I’ll treat you right.”

“We need to talk,” Sparky said, not looking at her when he said it. They went out the door and walked silently to the path, near the border of the property.

“It’s okay,” Dana said, hurrying to catch up. “Can we slow down a little?”

“Oh, sorry. I tend to walk fast when I’m nervous.”

They went a little further away from the house, the conversation of the crowd fading into the background.

“It’s okay,” she said. “I understand. I can probably bunk with Cody and Allison.”

Sparky stopped. She kept walking a few steps, and then stopped, turning back to him.

“You’ve got the wrong idea,” Sparky said softly. “Hell, it’s probably my fault, and for that I’m sorry.”

“I have those episodes. I might have them forever. People get tired. People leave. There’s no shame in it. We aren’t married.”

“How do you feel about me?” Sparky asked, trying to read her eyes. “Really?”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Why prolong this? I’ll get my stuff.” She started walking back towards the house, Sparky grabbing her hand and pulling her back.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Let go.”

“No, we need to talk. Now. I’ve put it off for far too long.”

She sighed, looking at him, tears running down her cheeks. “So talk.”

Sparky looked at her, his heart speeding up as her soft eyes studied him.

“You look like a schoolboy who is about to get a whipping,” she said softly. “I told you that I understand. I won’t make a fuss. Really.”

“Will you stop that,” Sparky said. “I’m in love with you.”

She froze, staring at him in shock. “That’s what you wanted to say?”

“How can you be surprised?”

“You’ve never said it,” she said.

“Neither have you,” he said softly, approaching her.

“Oh, God,” she said, starting to tremble. “Really? Are you sure?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m sure,” Sparky said, moving closer to her. “If you don’t feel like that about me, I need to know.”

“Yes,” she said quickly, staring into his eyes as she moved into his arms. “Yes, I love you. So much that I can hardly stand it.”

“Good,” he said, hugging her tight. “I was afraid you didn’t.”

“Neither one of us are very good at non-verbal communication, I guess,” she said, a soft smile on her face. “Is this going to change anything?”

His face got serious again. “Only one thing. Don’t feel like you have to please me to keep me around. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll deal with your problems when things get a little back to normal.” They started walking again.

“You think I was making love with you to hold onto you?”

“No, not totally,” he said. “That probably sounded terrible, but I’ve got to muddle through this conversation, so hear me out, okay?”

“Okay,” she said.

“I know we enjoy each other,” he said, “and it’s heaven when it goes well. I don’t want it to end, but I want you to understand that I’ll love you even if we back off for now. Do you understand me?”

“Do you feel the urge to leave me when I have an episode?” she asked.

“No, never,” he said. “I feel guilty. Ashamed, even.”

“Why would you feel that way?”

“You’re doing it to make me happy, and it can be so hard on you.”

Dana stopped walking. Sparky stopped after a couple steps and turned back towards her.

“Sweetie, you don’t understand this,” Dana said. “I’m making love with you because I want to. I need it, just like you do.”

“And yet you thought I didn’t love you, and was ready to leave you,” Sparky said.

“Men are different about sex than women are sometimes,” Dana said. “It doesn’t always mean the same thing.”

“That’s never been true for me,” Sparky said.

“So, you’ve been in love with me all along?” she asked.

“Well, almost,” he said.

“You’ve been standoffish sometimes. I picked up on that.”

“I didn’t want to take advantage after what you’ve been through,” Sparky said. “Sorry. Seems pretty stupid now.”

“I wouldn’t use the word stupid,” she said. “We just didn’t understand each other. Like I said, we’ve got bad non-verbal communication.”

“I’m sorry.”

“So where do we go from here?” she asked.

“We don’t have to change anything unless you want to,” Sparky said. “Just know this. I’ll never leave you, unless you want me to. Do you understand?”

“What happens after the war?” she asked.

“Hopefully we get married and make babies together,” he said. “What do you want?”

“That,” she said. “I won’t leave you either. If I have an episode, it’s because of what was done to me, not because of what we’re doing. Having you there afterwards is crucial, though. You’ve been very good about that. Makes me love you even more.”

“Want to go back?” he asked.

“In a minute.” She got back into his arms, getting on her tiptoes to kiss him. It was passionate, both breathing hard when it was finally over.

“Geez,” Sparky said. “I’m so much in love with you.”

“I love you too, honey,” she said. “Thank you.”

“For loving you?”

She smiled at him. “For bringing this out in the open. I was afraid it would be the end if I brought it up.”

“Oh,” Sparky said. “Sorry I was such a bonehead.”

She giggled. “Let’s go to our room.”

They hurried back to the house.

***

Sam got a text back from Garrett, while sitting in Trevor and Kaylee’s rig, looking at the apps.

“Garrett wants to get together. He’s coming over to the house. We should round up the others and meet him there.”

“What others?” Trevor asked.

“Ryan, Zac, and Ji-Ho, for starters,” Sam said.

“I agree,” Sid said. “I want Yvonne there too.”

“Yeah, and I’ll call Erica,” Sam said. “But really, I think anybody interested should be able to come.”

“I’m gonna text Seth and Angel,” Trevor said. “I’ll tell them to bring Kaitlyn and Megan too.”

“All right,” Tyler said. “Meet you guys there.” He left with James.

Trevor unplugged his phone. “Got enough of a charge for now.” He slipped it into his pocket as the rest of the folks left the coach. He looked over at Kaylee. “You okay?”

“No,” Kaylee said. “They know we can see them, I suspect.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Black Crow probably told them. At the very least, they know we know about the chips, since we removed the one from Hasan.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Trevor said. “Hasan told us to remove it. They probably figured that out. They have no idea how much Hasan told us about them.”

“We’d better give them more credit than that, or we’ll get caught with our pants down,” Kaylee said, picking up her phone. “Let’s go.”

They left their coach, walking towards the house. Trevor texted Seth and Angel on the way.

“There’s my uncle,” Kaylee said, pointing.

“Hi,” Ji-Ho said. “Notice trickle of enemy fighters?”

“Well, I saw a group of four heading south from Lake Barrett.”

“More coming down from Descanso. Not bunching up. Staying under cover.”

“Uh oh,” Kaylee said.

“You don’t think they know we can see their RFID chips, do you?” Trevor asked.

“No,” Ji-Ho said. “They act like they are seen from above. Maybe drone or satellite. Go out of way to stay in areas with trees, except for the four that are the furthest out.”

They climbed the steps of the veranda and went into the living room. Quite a few people were already there. Seth and Angel rushed over, Kaitlyn and Megan with them.

“You think they really have Ed?” Angel asked.

“We have to allow for that possibility,” Trevor said.

Garrett strode inside, his cowboy boots clopping on the hardwood floor. Anna rushed down the stairs and straight to him, hugging him.

“Wow, look at that,” Megan whispered to Kaitlyn, who shot her a worried glance.

“Here comes Sam with Erica,” Seth said.

Ji-Ho walked over to Trevor and held out his phone. “Look. Building up by highway entrance to trail area. They think they ambush us.” He grinned. “Maybe we ought to turn tables.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Trevor said. “Look at this, honey.”

Kaylee looked at it. “I think you’re right. They’re setting up for our arrival.”

“Let’s get this show on the road,” Garrett said. “We’ve been watching the apps too. Large concentration in Descanso, but not large enough to survive an assault from us. You guys see that?”

“Yes, do,” Ji-Ho said. “You see group staying under cover, gathering around highway entrance to trail?”

“No,” Garrett said, eyes wider. “Show me.” He walked over and looked at Ji-Ho’s phone, a smile washing over his face. “They think they’re going to ambush us, don’t they?”

“Looks like to me,” Ji-Ho said.

“Let’s see that,” Sam said, walking over. “Yep. They don’t know we can see their chips, but they obviously think we can see them from above. Otherwise they wouldn’t go out of their way to stay in these trees, here, and here.” His finger pointed to clumps on both sides of the trail, near the highway.

“What about Ed?” Anna asked, brow furrowed. “What if they have him?”

“If they do, there’s not a lot we can do about it directly,” Seth said.

“He’s probably being held by Black Crow,” Tyler said. “Somebody we could take down easy, but we’d need to get to him before those four marks make it there.”

“We’re all over the place here,” Sam said. “We need to focus on what we know for sure and plan by that.”

“We’re listening,” Garrett said.

“We have to assume that Black Crow has Ed,” Sam said.

“Why?” Tyler asked.

“Because they’re setting up this ambush. They know we’ll try to get him back.”

“Hey, Garrett, you think you could beat those four icons to the trail on horseback?” Trevor asked.

“Nope, but I could beat that larger group there, by the highway, assuming they’re coming that way.”

“They won’t,” Sid said. “The four will bring Black Crow and Ed to them, I suspect.”

“This isn’t going to be as hard as you guys think,” Garrett said. “When those four icons start heading north again, it’s better than an even shot that they’ve nabbed Ed and are heading back. We can intercept them before they get there if we leave in a hurry.”

Ji-Ho was silently manipulating his phone, not interacting with the conversation. Trevor noticed it. “Ji-Ho, you’re seeing something, aren’t you?”

“I see same thing as you,” Ji-Ho said, looking up. “I’m planning what to do about it. I have suggestion.”

“Let’s have it,” Garrett said, “but make it quick. I’ve got to get my men on the trail with our horses right away.”

“Yes, agree,” Ji-Ho said. “In fact, you should text and get first group on way now.”

“Good idea,” Garrett said, pulling his phone out. He took a couple minutes to send the text. “Okay, go ahead.”

“I suggest we screw them good. Send battle wagons and several hundred fighters to Descanso. Wipe them out. At same time, send large group of cowboys into wilderness to intercept the four with Black Crow and Ed.”

“We don’t need a large group to do that,” Garrett said. “I could send a small group for the interception.”

“You need large group to attack enemy by highway while we kill force in Descanso,” Ji-Ho said.

Garrett was silent for a moment, thinking. Sam chuckled. Garrett flashed him a look. “What?”

“This is beautiful. Your group gets to the four bad guys. If they’re careful about it, they can take them out before they can warn the enemy fighters along the highway. We drag the bodies towards them. They think it’s their folks…but it’s really their dead folks and several hundred well-armed cowboys on horseback.”

Garrett laughed. “I like it. Need to send another text. Got to get on the trail right away if this is gonna work. Talk to you guys later. We can keep in touch via texts.”

He left, Anna rushing after him, kissing him as they stood on the veranda. Then Anna came back in.

“Mom, you okay?” Kaitlyn asked, seeing the tears in her eyes.

“My warrior is going into battle,” she said.

“Oh, he’s your warrior now, huh?” Kaitlyn asked softly. “So quickly?”

“How long did you know Seth before you felt that way.”

She looked at her for a moment. “Okay, forget I said anything.”

Anna smiled at her, then gave her a hug. “You’d best saddle up with your man. He’s going to need you. We’re all going to need you.”

“Let’s get into battle wagons and head out now,” Ji-Ho shouted. “We on strict timetable. Long drive.”

“All of them?” Seth asked.

“Two thirds,” Ji-Ho said. “Ought to be enough to protect here. Garrett just texted. Two thousand cowboys will meet us at Descanso.”

“Let’s go,” Sam said.

Everybody left the house except Anna, who sat down on the stairs and wept.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 102 – Heart

Shelly and Jules went back to their rig after shutting down the meeting.

“I’m a little upset with you,” Shelly said when they got inside.

“I know, I saw look,” Jules said. “That not bad as came out. Ivan knew I would act. He didn’t have to tell.”

Shelly sat down on the couch. “We’re really on our own for the rescues, though, aren’t we?”

“We run operations on own,” Jules said. “With equipment provided by Ivan. So yes and no.”

“Geez,” Shelly said.

“Still mad?”

Shelly sighed. “No, I get it. It bothered me a little that you made that point to the others before you made it to me.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re mine. I’m first. That’s why.” Shelly stood next to him and hugged him. “Listen to me. Sorry. That sounded so childish.”

“No, not,” Jules said. “I keep in mind, be more careful. You right. You number one. Always.”

“Good, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear,” Shelly said, looking up at him. They kissed, and then her phone dinged. “Wonder who that is?”

“Check,” Jules said, letting her out of his arms. She sat back on the couch and picked up her phone.

“It’s the other women,” Shelly said.

“Which?”

“All of them,” Shelly said. “They want to meet. You mind if I go?”

“Of course not,” Jules said. “You not need permission. You are adult, no?”

“Thanks,” she said, getting up.

“Where?” Jules asked.

“House.”

“Take pistol,” Jules said.

“Why? You always have yours? I thought it was safe here.”

“Yes, I always have gun either on me or nearby,” Jules said. “I plant few here and there.”

“You have one in the house?” she asked.

“High cupboard, above fridge,” Jules said. “You need ladder, so take own, okay?”

“Okay,” Shelly said. She went into the back, grabbed her 9 mm auto, and came back out, slipping it into the back waistband of her pants. “There.”

“Good. Have fun with friends. I see later.”

“I don’t think this is a social visit,” Shelly said. “Be back soon.”

She left the coach, walking into the dusk. Other women were getting out of their coaches.

“Hey, kiddo,” Karen said, joining her. “Who called this meeting?”

“Well, the broadcast text came from Morgan,” Shelly said. “Haven’t heard anything else.”

They climbed the steps onto the porch and went into the living room of the house.

“Would you like coffee?” the maid asked as the women came in.

“I want to be able to sleep tonight,” Morgan told her, “but I’ll ask when everybody shows up.”

The rest of the women arrived and looked for places to sit, the maid bringing in some folding chairs.

Morgan got up in front of the room. “Thanks for coming. The maid offered to make coffee. Anybody want some?”

A couple hands went up.

“I’ll use the small pot,” the maid said, hurrying into the kitchen.

“What’s up?” Shelly asked.

Morgan hesitated for a moment, waiting for the chatter to die down. When it was quiet, she stood up.

“Thanks for coming,” Morgan said. “I had a thought, and wanted to discuss it with you all. It came to me after the meeting this afternoon.”

“We’re all ears, sister,” Tisha said.

“Yeah,” Katie said. “What’s on your mind?”

Morgan’s expression became serious. “The conversation about using the rescues as a recruiting tool. Remember that?”

“My boyfriend kinda stepped in it,” Katie said. “Sorry.”

“I wasn’t offended by that,” Dana said.

“Me neither,” Allison said. “I thought it was a good idea, actually.”

“So did I,” Morgan said, “but we can’t make that choice for others. I have a suggestion. After we complete the first rescue mission, let’s get on the air with Ivan and tell our story.”

The room exploded in murmurs. Haley stood. “I think that’s spot-on. I’ll go along with that.”

“You think Ivan will go along with it?” Karen asked, glancing at Shelly. “Or Jules?”

“Jules will go along with it,” Shelly said. “I can guarantee you that.”

“But how about Ivan?” Dana asked.

“I don’t know,” Shelly said. “I’m sure I can get Jules to talk to him about it.”

“Did you lower the boom on him after the meeting?” Dana asked.

Shelly chuckled. “No, but I did tell him that I wanted to know about stuff like that before he went public with the whole group. If it pertains to him, that is.”

“Why?” Dana asked.

“They’re together,” Karen said.

“Oh,” Dana said. “I thought that was coming. Good for you.”

“Does anybody here have a problem with this idea?” Morgan asked.

“Some of our men might not like it,” Brianna said.

“It’s not their choice, honey,” Tisha said. “Besides, from what I can see, you’ve got Stacey wrapped around your pinky. He probably won’t object.”

Brianna smiled. “He’s stronger than he appears, but you’re right. I can convince him. He’ll be worried about me, though.”

“Let’s be honest, all of our men will be a little worried about this,” Katie said. “I know I can convince mine. Do any of you really think you can’t do the same?”

“I want to do it,” Dana said. “It won’t be easy, but we need to do this. There’s still people who support the UN in Northern California. They need to know what the UN is doing.”

“Exactly,” Morgan said. “Do we have an agreement? Does anybody object?”

“We might want to wait until after we do the final rescue,” Shelly said.

“Why?” Morgan asked.

Dana stood up. “I think I know why. The enemy might decide to kill the women at the other two locations before we can rescue them.”

“That might happen anyway, you know,” Karen said. “At the very least, we’ll go up against a more prepared facility for the second and third rescues.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Shelly said. “Didn’t think about that. We really need to do all three at the same time.”

“We don’t have enough people for that, do we?” Brianna asked.

“No, we don’t,” Morgan said. “These missions are going to be dangerous enough as it is. Some of us might get killed.”

“We need to recruit help,” Allison said. “Or at least go to Ivan and talk to him. He might be willing to help, if he knows we’ll go on the air with him and talk about it.”

“You might be right about that,” Shelly said. “Want me to call Jules over, and have him get Ivan on the phone?”

“When?” Morgan asked.

“Now,” Shelly said.

“No time like the present,” Dana said. “I say we do it, but should we also call our men over? This affects them too, you know.”

“It’s still our choice,” Tisha said.

“I agree,” Dana said, “but let’s get real. These men are in love with you. How would you feel if they launched into something like this without talking to us about it?”

“You’re in the same boat, dearie,” Tisha said.

“Kinda sorta, I guess,” Dana said, “but that’s not the issue here. Do you guys agree with me or not?”

“Maybe we should do it tomorrow morning instead of now,” Katie said.

“Anybody want to wait until tomorrow?” Morgan asked.

There was silence in the room.

“I’ll call Jules,” Shelly said.

“Yeah, I’m calling Cody,” Allison said.

The rest of the women pulled their phones out and called or sent texts.

Morgan stood back up after a couple minutes. “Any of them not coming?”

Nobody said anything, and then the men started to filter in, many of them looking nervous as they took seats next to their women.

“What going on?” Jules whispered, sitting next to Shelly.

“Something that will make you proud, I hope,” Shelly said. “Think you can get Ivan on a call with us tonight?”

“Ivan?”

“Yes,” Shelly whispered.

“Probably. What about?”

“Morgan is doing a good job of explaining it. I’ll let her talk.”

Morgan stood back up, Robbie sitting next to where she was standing. “Thanks so much for coming. I know it’s already been a long day for many of you.”

“No problem, little lady,” Tex said. Karen snaked her arm around his shoulders, looking at him with pride.

“What’s this about?” Cody asked.

“It’s about the conversation we had in the meeting today about the rescue missions,” Morgan said. “Remember Justin’s comments?”

“Oh, crap,” Justin said. “I’m sorry.”

“Stop,” Morgan said. “I’m glad you said it. We have a proposal. Well, a couple of proposals.”

“Go on,” Jules said. “We listen.”

“After we do the rescues, we want to go on live TV with Ivan and tell the people what the UN has done to us,” Morgan said.

There was a hush over the room for a moment.

“Won’t that be really hard on you?” Justin asked.

“Yes,” Morgan said. “We don’t care. There are still people up here who believe the UN is helping them. They need to know what’s really going on. It will help us win the war.”

“But you’ll live with the public knowledge of this for the rest of your lives,” Stacey said, looking at Brianna. “Sure you’re okay with that?”

Brianna looked at him. “I’ll need lots of support from you, honey, but you’re already giving me that.”

“What was second thing?” Jules asked.

“Can I handle this one?” Shelly asked.

Morgan nodded, and the group watched as Shelly walked to the front.

“Okay, we’ve been told that there are three locations where women are being held,” Shelly said. “During our conversation tonight, we realized that once we do the first rescue, the women in the other two locations will be doomed.”

“Doomed?” Justin asked.

“Yes,” Shelly said. “Think about it. They might just kill them as soon as they find out about the first rescue, or they might fortify their positions so much that we can’t mount a rescue without losing our team.”

“Or they might move them to a different location,” Sparky said, “so we can’t find them.”

“Yes, that’s another possibility,” Shelly said. “We want to hit all three locations at once. We think that’s the only way.”

“What if there are more than three locations?” Robbie asked.

“We can only react to what we know about, partner,” Tex said.

“Our forces not large enough to pull three at same time,” Jules said. “You know this.”

“We want to ask Ivan for help,” Shelly said. “What do you think?”

Jules got up and walked to the front, joining Shelly and Morgan. There were tears running down his cheeks.

“You okay?” Shelly asked, looking at him. He bent down and kissed her forehead, and then turned to the crowd.

“I’ve never been more proud than today,” he said. “Such bravery. Such resolve. I’m stunned.”

The other men applauded, the women looking around the room.

“Then you’ll talk to Ivan?” Morgan asked.

“We all talk to Ivan. We get laptop set up with camera and do video conference. I set up now. Anybody object?”

“You sure he’s available tonight?” Tex asked. “You know how he is sometimes.”

“He’ll talk to us,” Sparky said.

“Yeah, I agree,” Ted said. “This can win the war in California for him. He’ll understand that right away, but he’ll ask hard questions, so we’ll need to be sharp. That man is wicked smart.”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Come on up and help me get conference set up. I shoot him text so he be ready.”

“Sounds good, partner,” Tex said, coming up.

Shelly put her arms around Jules, looking up at him. “I love you so,” she whispered.

***

Zac, James, Ryan, and Tyler drove up in the Jeep, followed by Kenny and Bradley driving a battered pick-up truck, the back holding several deer. They all looked worried.

Sid saw them and rushed over. “Wow, looks like we’ll be eating well.”

“Meat, anyway,” Tyler said, getting out of the Jeep with the others. “What happened? We heard gunfire in the distance. Couldn’t tell if it was coming from here or not.

“Did Silver Wolf make it back here yet?” James asked.

Sid laughed. “Does he really make you call him that?”

James smiled. “No, but I like to show respect. His warriors mostly call him that.”

“I’m calling him Ed, but I’m not one of his warriors,” Sid said. “He’s been here and left again. He didn’t call you and tell you what happened?”

“No,” Tyler said, looking more worried.

“We got attacked by two waves of enemy fighters,” Sid said.

“You obviously beat them,” Zac said, eyes darting around.

“Yeah, we beat them, but they accomplished their objective,” Sid said, face looking grim.

“Oh no, who’d they kill?” Tyler asked.

“The prisoner,” Sid said, “and two of Garrett’s men who were guarding him.”

“Crap,” James said.

“Did the assassin get away?” Tyler asked.

“Nope, Anna shot him,” Sid said.

“Nobody else got hurt?” Zac asked.

“No,” Sid said. “We killed thirty-four enemy scumbags.”

“So where’s Ed, then?” Tyler asked.

“He went looking for a person named Black Crow.”

Tyler glanced at the other warriors, his brow furrowed. “What did he do now?”

“We think he planted the prisoner’s RFID chip in his room. The assassin knew exactly where to go. He ignored the chips in the shed with the bodies from the earlier attack.”

“I knew it, man,” James said.

“Yeah, we should have banished that jerk weed,” Kenny said. “He probably told the enemy about the ghost town.”

“That’s what some others have said,” Sid said.

“Somebody see him plant the chip?” Tyler asked.

“No, but Anna told Ed that he was helping with the bodies. He had access.”

“Dammit,” Zac said. “If Silver Wolf finds him alone, he’s liable to get killed.”

“You’re right,” Tyler said. He hit Ed’s contact and put the phone to his ear, brow furrowed, waiting through the rings. He ended the call after almost a minute. “This is bad.”

“He probably can’t hear you if he’s in that damn hovercraft of his,” James said. “You know how noisy it is. Leave him a message to call back.”

“He’ll know when he sees the call,” Tyler said. “This scares the crap out of me.”

“Yeah, me too,” Ryan said. “I think we’d better get ready to go after him.”

The tribal women came over to look at the deer, some of them stopping to greet their husbands.

“Tyler,” Mia said. “I’m so glad you’re back. You hear what happened?”

“Yeah, I heard,” Tyler said. “I’m worried sick about Ed.”

“Why, where is he?”

“Trying to find Black Crow,” he said.

“By himself?” she asked, looking scared.

“Yeah, unless he took somebody along on the way out. Anybody missing?”

“Not that I can think of, but I’ve been with the kids all day,” Mia said. “Haven’t wanted to be away from them for more than a few minutes after what happened earlier.”

“We’ve got the apps to warn us now, at least,” Tyler said.

“I know,” she said. “I’d better get to it. Nice looking deer.”

“There’s plenty out there,” Tyler said. “It’s poaching, of course, but the state isn’t in a position to enforce anything.”

Mia nodded and walked to the other women, who were chatting about where and how they were going to do their work.

***

Trevor was sitting on the coach in his rig, messing with the RFID apps. Kaylee came out of the bedroom.

“What are you doing? You’ve been messing with that thing for more than an hour.”

“I know, I’ve got to plug in my phone pretty soon. These apps suck a lot of juice.”

“So set it aside and tend to me,” Kaylee said.

“Don’t tempt me,” Trevor said, flashing her a smile.

“You aren’t done yet, are you? What are you looking for?”

“Ed hasn’t come back yet. Heard about it from Tyler a couple hours ago. Thought I’d keep watch.”

“What are you looking for?” Kaylee asked, sitting next to him.

“Small groups of icons showing up within about twenty miles of us in all directions.”

“Oh,” Kaylee said. “Evidence that Ed’s been snatched.”

“Exactly.”

“Dammit,” she said. “I’ll go get my phone. It’s got a full charge. Plug yours in.”

Trevor nodded, smiling at her. “Thanks, honey.” He got up and took his phone to the kitchen counter, plugging it into the charging cord. Kaylee was back in a few seconds, the app already loading up.

“Will you teach me more about the apps?” Kaylee asked. “I’ve barely touched them so far.”

“Sure.” Trevor took her phone and started looking again, taking the time to explain how it worked to her in greater detail. They worked together for twenty minutes.

“Hey, look,” Kaylee said, pointing to the lower left-hand corner of the screen.”

“There it is,” he said, using his fingers to zoom in. “Four. Out in the middle of nowhere.”

“Text the others,” Kaylee said.

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

“What’s that lake?”

“Barrett Lake,” Trevor said as he sent the text. “I told them to come over here.”

“Wasn’t Barrett lake the spot where the trail started?” Kaylee asked. “The trail that the tribe came on?”

“I think so,” Trevor said.

There was a knock on the door. Kaylee got up and opened it. Sam, Tyler, James, and Sid came in.

“Still showing?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” Trevor said. He showed the screen to the others.

“Ed couldn’t have gotten that far this fast, even with the hovercraft,” Tyler said. “He’d run out of gas, for one thing.”

“Where’d they come from?” Sam asked.

“Don’t know,” Trevor said. “I was only going out about twenty miles. I went further in this direction kinda by accident.”

“Yeah, that’s more like fifty miles away,” James said.

“What if this Black Crow person is holding Ed out there, and this is the enemy team coming to get them?” Kaylee asked.

“Crap,” James said. “This isn’t good.”

“No, it’s not,” Sam said. “Is there a faster way for us to get into this area than the way we went in to meet the tribe?”

“Yeah, you could use the highways and come down from Barrett lake,” Tyler said. “You’d be risking a lot of exposure, though.”

“We have the apps now,” Sam said. “They can’t sneak up on us.”

“Expand the view and look for other clumps of icons,” James said, “in the directions we know they could be coming from. North, to the west and the east. They must have a base someplace up there.”

Trevor nodded and started zooming out more. “Oh, boy, look at this. Descanso. Oh, and look at Julian. Guess some of them stuck around after they kicked us out.”

“We need to talk to Garrett’s group and the rest of our folks,” Sid said.

“Yep, you’re right,” Tyler said. “I’ll send the texts and get a meeting set up.”

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 101 – Leftover Coffee

Tex and Karen were sitting in the dinette of their rig.

“The meeting is coming up fast,” Karen said.

“You don’t look like you want to go.”

She smiled, reaching across the table to take his hand. “I’d rather just hole up with you in here for a while.”

Tex smiled. “When you decide, you decide, don’t you, little lady?”

“Having second thoughts?”

“Yeah, right,” he said. “I haven’t been this happy in years.”

“Keep talking like that and we’ll miss the meeting,” she said.

“Oh, it won’t last that long,” Tex said.

“Okay, but clear sometime afterwards,” Karen said, getting out of the dinette.

“What are you doing?” Tex asked.

“I need to wash my hair,” she said. “It’s a mess.”

“Oh,” Tex said. “Fine. Think I’ll go get some air.”

“Okay, sweetie,” she said.

Tex got up and left the coach, walking along the row of other coaches. Ted was outside of his, having a smoke.

“What’s up, partner? I thought you quit putting nails in the coffin.”

Ted glanced over at him, then went back to his forward stare. “Don’t bug me about it, okay? I’m not starting again.”

“Sorry,” Tex said. “You want to talk, or should I continue on?”

Ted sighed, then dropped the butt and ground it into the dirt. “I could use a walk, I guess.”

The two men walked towards the house.

“What’s bothering you?” Tex asked. “The rescue mission?”

He chuckled. “No, I literally can’t wait to do that one. Nothing I hate more than the UN. Hope we abolish the whole damn thing after this war gets over.”

“That’ll depend on who wins,” Tex said.

“You think we’re in danger of losing?”

“You been studying the apps like Jules suggested, partner?”

“No,” Ted said, shooting him a sheepish grin. “I’m coming down with what the rest of the group has.”

Tex looked at him blankly. Ted returned it and shook his head.

“Oh,” Tex said. “She falling for you?”

“No,” Ted said. “Haley is still keeping me at arm’s length. It’s me that’s having the problem.”

“I know how that feels.”

“Oh, please, you knew Karen was going to fall for you.”

Tex chuckled. “No, I didn’t, but I wanted it so badly that I kept at her.”

Ted smiled. “Well, that’s fair, I guess. Still going well?”

“If we could just disappear somewhere and make babies, I’d die a happy man,” Tex said.

“Baloney. You’d get bored.”

“I don’t think so, but who knows,” Tex said. “When did you know?”

“Know what?”

Tex laughed. “Really?”

“All right,” Ted said. “When I told her about the rescue mission. I was afraid about her reaction. I wanted so badly to protect her from it, but I knew it would be the end of our chances if I didn’t tell her.”

“I don’t get it,” Tex said.

“Do I have to spell it out for you?”

“Yeah, maybe,” Tex said.

Ted stopped walking, and looked down at the ground.

“Hey, partner, you don’t have to say anything. I’ll leave you alone.”

“Funny how these women can turn us into mush,” Ted said. He looked over at Tex. “I realized that keeping her close was very important to me. In fact, I realized that what she thinks of things is more important to me than anything. Hit me like a ton of bricks.”

“That can happen without romantic attraction, you know.”

“Oh, I’ve got plenty of romantic attraction,” Ted said. “I’ve been pushing it back as hard as I can. It’s out there now.”

“Whoa,” Tex said. “What happened?”

Ted was silent for a moment.

“Forget it,” Tex said. “Let’s go see if they have any coffee left.”

“No, I’ve started this. You can keep your mouth shut, right?”

“How long have you known me again?” Tex asked.

“All right, sorry,” Ted said. “When I told her about the rescue missions, she had a bad reaction.”

“What kind of reaction?”

“She started to tremble and cry. I hugged her. It was the first time we’d touched like that. She held onto me for dear life.” He paused again.

“Go on,” Tex said.

“Let’s get the coffee first, if they have some,” he said. “I could use it. Could use a belt in it too.”

“I’ve got some whiskey in my rig, but Karen’s in there.”

“There’s some in the kitchen,” Ted said. They went into the house. The maid was there, smiling as they walked up.

“Looking for a snack?” she asked.

“Coffee, if there’s some left,” Tex said.

“Sure, there’s some left,” she said. “Help yourself.”

The two men walked into the kitchen, grabbing Styrofoam cups and drawing coffee out of the big canister pot.

“Smell’s a little burned,” Tex said.

“It’ll do,” Ted said, reaching up to open one of the high cabinets. He took out a bottle of Jim Beam. “You want some?”

“A little,” Tex said. “We’ve got that meeting coming up.”

“Yeah,” Ted said as he poured a small amount into Tex’s cup. He poured a larger amount into his, then capped the bottle and put it away.

Tex had a sip. “It’s good, partner.”

Ted nodded and took a sip, then another. “Good, that’s better.” They walked outside.

“See you later,” the maid said as they left.

Tex waved at her as they walked down the steps. “You ready to finish? I’ve got to get back to Karen in a few minutes. Only said I was stepping out for some air.”

“Okay,” Ted said. “There isn’t much more to tell. We hugged until she settled down, then broke it, looking at each other. She thanked me and was about to back away when I kissed her.”

“On the mouth?”

“First on the forehead, then on the mouth,” Ted said.

“How did she react?”

“She bolted,” Ted said. “I called for her to stop, but she ran out of the coach.”

“Know where she is?”

“Around,” Ted said. “I think she’ll be back. I shouldn’t have hit her with that. She was dealing with the rescue mission. I dumped more on top of it. I feel like a jerk.”

Tex chuckled. “You’re not a jerk, and I’m sure she knows it. You been sending signals to her?”

“I don’t think so,” Ted said. “Shoot, I don’t know. Maybe. We still interact like friends.”

“You haven’t tried to change that yet, have you?”

“Nope,” Ted said. “It’s like being attracted to your best friend’s wife. I looked at her as off-limits, and was doing a good job of controlling myself.”

“Until just now,” Tex said. “Don’t worry about it. She’ll settle down, and then figure out what she wants. May be just friends, but she hangs around with you most of the time, from what I’ve seen.”

“There aren’t other un-attached women around for her to hang with.”

“That’s true,” Tex said. “You need to think this through. Don’t rush yourself or her.”

Ted chuckled. “You sound like Dr. Phil.”

“Maybe. Just common sense. Let her take the next step.”

“Okay,” Ted said.

“I’ve got to get back, partner. See you at the meeting.”

“Thanks, Tex,” he said, watching as he walked away.

“You were gone for a while,” Karen said. Tex sighed and sat on the couch.

“Ended up chatting with Ted. Sorry. Want a sip of coffee?”

“Sure,” she said, taking the cup from him and sipping. Her eyes opened wider. “Is that whiskey I taste?”

Tex chuckled. “Oh, yeah, forgot. Ted wanted some. Put a little in mine too.”

“It tastes kinda good,” Karen said as she handed the cup back to him. “Ted okay?”

“He’s nervous,” Tex said. “Can’t really talk about it.”

“Oh,” Karen said. “Haley.”

“I didn’t say that,” Tex said.

Karen laughed. “You didn’t have to. Look at us. We’re like an old married couple.”

“No, more like a young married couple,” Tex said, watching as she sat next to him.

“Yeah, maybe we are,” she said, looking into his eyes.

“You have something to say? You look serious all of a sudden.”

“No, it’s okay,” she said. “I’m happy. That’s all.”

“You want to be married,” Tex said.

“I didn’t say that,” Karen said. “We’ve only just started the dating phase, remember?”

Tex kissed her, Karen returning it with more passion than he expected. “Wow, little lady. Wish we had more time before the meeting.”

“Me too,” she said. “Think Ted is going to be okay?”

“Not talking about that, remember? I promised.”

She looked into his eyes again. Tex had the urge to kiss her, and started moving towards her. “No!” she said quickly.

“Sorry,” Tex said.

She giggled. “If we do that again we really will miss the meeting. You can have me when we get back here.” She tried to read his eyes, petting his cheek. “There’s that look again.”

“What look?”

“Maybe we should stop talking. It’s becoming worse than the kiss was.”

Tex leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, hands holding his chin.

“Thinking?” she asked, leaning forward so she could see his face.

“Yeah,” he said.

“We need to talk, don’t we?” Karen asked, brow furrowed. “Are we going too fast for you? Are you getting nervous?”

Tex looked at her. “No, that’s not it, at least not for me.”

“Then what?”

“I’m serious about you,” Tex said.

“I know that,” Karen said. “I got that message before we broke through with each other.”

He looked back at her silently, her face turning red, her eyes dilating. “Oh.”

“What?” Tex asked, looking down. She put her hand under his chin and turned his face back towards her.

“If you thought I’d go for it, you’d take me somewhere and marry me right now, wouldn’t you?”

Tex stared silently at her, the look of reverence back on his face.

“Never mind,” she said. “That look said it all. I will, by the way.” She stood up. “We’d better get to the meeting.”

Tex looked at her, shocked and speechless. She shot him a smile and reached out her hand to help him off the couch. They left the coach, heading for the patio near the house.

***

Ted wandered the grounds, looking for Haley, wondering if he should be. The conversation with Tex made things even harder, and he regretted saying anything. Everything was going wrong. He felt despondent, like he did when he left his restaurant behind. His life was out of control. He was riding it along, afraid of where it was taking him, just wanting to get off. His phone dinged at him. Broadcast message. Meeting starts in five minutes.

“Dammit,” he said, hitting Haley’s contact. He typed out a text and sent it.

Haley, sorry. I got carried away. Can we just go back to the way it was? I’ll behave. I promise.

He slipped the phone back into his pocket and walked quickly towards the meeting, dropping his half-finished coffee into the trash on the way. People were already showing up. Jules and Shelly were under the covered part of the patio, the flat screen TV moved out onto a table next to them. He saw Sparky there with Dana, and most of the younger people were already seated towards the front. He avoided them, finding a place near the back. Robbie turned and nodded to him from the front. Tex and Karen walked in slowly, hand in hand, Tex shooting him a glance as they sat down.

“Hello,” Jules said from the front. Thanks for coming. Anybody not here? Ted, where Haley?”

“She’ll be along,” Ted said. “Go ahead. I’ll brief her on whatever she misses.”

“Good,” Jules said. “Anybody else not here?”

“Sorry we’re late,” Gil said, rushing in with Tisha.

“Yeah, sorry,” Tisha said. They sat up near Robbie and Morgan. Stacey turned, seeing Ted by himself, his brow furrowed. Ted nodded and smiled, trying to keep him from getting concerned. Brianna snuggled closer to him, and whispered something in his ear. They both faced forward.

“Okay, I go,” Jules said. “First, we talk mission to destroy Mertins Electronics.” He nodded to Shelly, who sat in front of a laptop on a small table. She used her mouse to share a picture. It was a satellite view of the electronics factory complex.

“We don’t go in here. We get near and blow up, with battle wagon guns and mortars,” Jules said. “Team from Oakland join.”

“Do they have battle wagons too?” Tex asked.

“No, we break open location. They go in with five thousand fighters. More like infantry.”

“Citizen fighters,” Robbie said. “Good.”

“This looks like it could turn into a trap for our vehicles pretty easily,” Justin said.

“Yes, but we have new advantage. Some already know about. Now we show rest of you.” He nodded to Shelly, who changed the screen, picking up her cell phone. An image of it went to the screen.

“What’s that?” Gil asked.

“General Hogan’s technical lead finish prototype apps that show enemy RFID chips. Shelly, show San Jose.”

She nodded, moving the map on her screen to that area. Large numbers of icons showed up.

“This enemy concentration in San Jose. We can see real time with apps.”

“Who has these now?” Justin asked.

“Leadership team for now. Restricted. Eventually all have.”

“Why is it restricted?” Justin asked.

“Final version show name, rank, and country of origin data. All ranks of enemy have RFID chips with this information.”

“We need to keep them in the dark on our capabilities,” Tex said. “Until we can see all of them by name.”

“Oh, I get it,” Justin said. “That will keep government infiltrators from escaping.”

“You got, young man,” Jules said. “Exactly right. These apps keep situation from becoming ambush. We see. We’ll be ready.”

“So, we break open this facility and let the citizen infantry finish the job, then,” Katie said. “That sounds less dangerous than some of our other battles.”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Ivan take to airwaves as it’s going, show video., All channels, like in southern California.”

“Is this what we’ll be doing for the rest of the war?” Tisha asked.

“No, move to next part of meeting now,” Jules said.

“Wait, when are we doing this?” Justin asked.

“Exact timing come from Ivan within hours. Probably within next three days.”

“Okay, thanks,” Justin said. “Sorry.”

“No sorry, ask questions always,” Jules said. “Very important. Thank you for doing.”

Justin nodded, smiling.

“Okay, next part. This dangerous part. Ivan identify three locations like Torrance Police Station.”

“Oh, God,” Tisha said.

“Son of a bitch,” Cody said. “We’re going to mount rescues, I hope.”

“Yes, do, but like I say, dangerous. Everybody involved needs to understand, make choice, volunteer. Understand? I know emotions run high on this. Too much emotion result in dead team members.”

The room burst into murmurs.

“Count me in,” Tisha said, tears streaming down her cheeks. “It’s the least I can do.”

“Me too,” Katie said.

“Don’t decide yet. We lay out what we know now, and you decide later. It won’t happen until after assault on Mertins Electronics.”

Ted felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned, Haley’s beautiful face staring back at him, eyes red from crying. She sat next to him. He looked at her, but she nodded towards the stage.

“We need to listen to this,” she whispered, avoiding eye contact with him. He shut up and watched. The discussion went into each location, and the beginnings of a strategy for handling each. Jules highlighted the dangerous parts, while Shelly showed long-range app visuals of each of the areas. The crowd sat mesmerized. Then Jules opened it up for questions.

Cody stood up. “One thing is bothering me about this.”

“Go ahead,” Jules said.

“The rescues aren’t strategic. I thought the focus was on beating the enemy as quickly as we can. In the first rescue, I remember there was some doubt as to if Ivan would agree to the risk.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Justin said. “This could be valuable as a recruiting tool.”

There was a collective groan from the crowd, Justin looking like he wanted to take it back right away.

“No,” Jules said. “We not use Torrance rescue, and neither use these rescues. We won’t expose victims. If they want, they do themselves. Not us.”

“Then why?” Justin asked. Robbie shot him a glance, which he ignored.

“I push issue, when find out from Ivan,” Jules said. “My fault. That’s why voluntary. This not strategic war, this rescue only.”

“But Ivan’s okay with it, right?” Karen asked.

“He’d rather we didn’t, but he not forbid. Hell to pay for me if we lose people and hurt mission.”

“You didn’t tell me that,” Shelly whispered. He glanced her way, then back at the crowd.

“Well, I’m all in,” Ted said from the back. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the only thing to do.”

“I agree,” Tex said.

“Me too,” Sparky said.

Others around the room nodded or said yes in agreement.

“Take time to decide,” Jules said. “Relax and enjoy during time we wait for Mertins operation. Any other question?”

Ted watched the crowd as they sat silently, nobody asking anything. He glanced over at Haley. “Shelly’s going to read Jules the riot act when this is over.”

“Why?” Haley asked.

“They’re together, and he just told her he’ll be in trouble if this doesn’t work out.”

“They’re together?” Haley asked. “How’d I miss that?”

“Just happened, and there’s been so many other things.”

The crowd started to get up and leave the patio, most heading back to their rigs. Ted got up.

“Wait a minute,” Haley said. “We need to talk. You know that, right?”

He sat back down and looked at her. “Okay.”

“You think I’m angry at you,” Haley said, seeing the fear in his eyes.

“Not angry, exactly,” Ted said. “That would be easier.”

“How long?”

“What?” Ted asked.

“You know. How long. Has it been since the beginning, or recent?”

Ted sighed. “It’s been a slow ramp-up. I’ve always liked being with you, and we’re together all the time, so it’s been building. Holding you made the feelings rise in me beyond what I expected.”

She studied his face, giving nothing away with her expression. Ted’s heart was pounding in his chest.

“You still look scared to death,” Haley said. “How strong is it?”

“I don’t know, I….”

“Stop,” she said quickly. “You know exactly how strong it is. I know you. Like you said, we’ve been together all the time.”

“What do you want me to say,” Ted asked.

“Just answer the question,” she said.

“It’s strong,” he said softly.

“Strong meaning your attracted to me, or is it more?”

“You mean am I madly in love with you?” Ted asked, smiling, trying to break the tension.

“Stop that,” she said. “This is serious. Is it just attraction, or is it more?”

“It’s more.”

“Geez, this is like pulling teeth,” she said. “Do we have to do the scale between one and ten thing?”

Ted felt anger rising in him, and looked at her, trembling. “Dammit. I’m in love with you. You’re all I think about. I adore you. All right? I’m sorry.”

“Okay, we can go now,” she said, standing up. “Let’s go see if they made more coffee.”

He sat looking up at her, flabbergasted. “That’s it?”

“That’s it for now,” Haley said. “I’ve got to think about this, and I won’t be rushed.”

“If I can’t have you that way, I still want to be friends with you,” Ted said. “I know I blew it, and I’m sorry.”

Haley smirked at him as he got up, shaking her head. “You have no idea what I’m thinking, so don’t project. Let’s go.”

To be continued…

 

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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!

 

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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 2017

Bugout! California Part 100 – Legacy

“We need to give this kid a proper burial,” Garrett said, staring at the user name and password scratched into the wall, above the bed where Hasan’s body lay. The others were gathered, staring, trying to avoid looking at the gore which used to be Hasan’s face.

“I think we could’ve turned him to our side,” Anna said.

“Looks to me like we did,” Garrett said.

“I agree,” Sid said, “but what can we do with this? We don’t know what system this user name and password are for.”

“Ivan might,” Sam said, taking his own set of pictures of the scrawled data. He texted the pictures to Ivan.

“Good thinking,” Garrett said. “Let’s get this cleaned up.”

The women left the room, and the men gently picked up Hasan’s body and carried it outside. Anna followed with a few of the others.

“Where?” Sid asked.

“Shed, for now,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna find out how you respectfully bury a Muslim. We’ll set something up. We have a cemetery outside of Dodge City.”

Anna looked at his face. “You really care about this?”

“Yes,” Garrett said, breath short as they set him down just inside the shed door. He came out and looked at her. “We failed him. This is really tragic.”

“That’s an understatement,” Sam said.

“Ivan reply to the text yet?” Seth asked.

“Nope, not yet,” Sam said. “One thing really bothers me. How did those cretins know where he was? I thought the chips were all in the shed.”

“Yeah, I was wondering the same thing,” Garrett said. “I had one of my men put them all in there.”

“Let’s check,” Sam said. The two men went back into the shed and came out with a small cardboard box, which Garrett opened.

“Crap, there’s only two in there,” Garrett said.

“Dammit,” Sam said, whipping out his phone. He refreshed the short-range app. “Two hits inside the house. Can’t tell where inside the house.”

“Let’s go find it,” Seth said. “We need to drag the bad guy out of there, too.”

“And my men,” Garrett said, pained look on his face.

“Who was supposed to put the chips in this box?” Sam asked.

“Charley,” Garrett said. “He was one of the two men in the house.”

“So we aren’t going to be able to figure this out,” Seth said. “Dammit.”

“Wait a minute,” Anna said softly. “One of our people was helping them.”

“Who?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Black Crow,” Anna said, looking down.

“We need to talk with him pronto,” Sam said. He sent a text to Ed.

Seth looked at the expression on Kaitlyn’s face. “What?”

“This is bad,” she said. “He’s been a problem before.”

“What kind of problem?” Garrett asked.

“He hates the white man,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t be too hasty,” Anna said. “We worked that mess out, remember?”

Ed arrived in his hovercraft after a few minutes.

“Where have you been?” Sam asked. “I was worried when the battle started up.”

“We’ve got to feed everybody,” Ed said. “I was out scouting game with Zac, Tyler, and Ryan. Thought I heard gunfire, and headed home. Just got back a few minutes ago.”

“Oh,” Sam said. “Well, glad you’re okay.”

“What happened here?” he asked.

“The attack was a hit,” Seth said.

“On who? Ji-Ho?”

“No, on the prisoner we took yesterday,” Anna said.

“Oh,” Ed said, looking relieved. “None of our people got hit?”

“Two of my men got killed in the attack,” Garrett said.

Ed looked at him. “Oh no. So sorry, Garrett.”

“Thanks,” he said.

“You okay?” Anna asked, watching him struggle to hold back tears.

“I always have a delayed reaction to this stuff,” he said. “Sorry. These were good friends of mine.”

“Why did you call me over?” Ed asked.

“The enemy knew exactly where the prisoner was being held,” Sam said. “Somebody put his RFID chip near him. It was supposed to be out in this shed with the bodies.”

“You think one of our people did this?” Ed asked.

“I saw Black Crow helping Garrett’s men last night,” Anna said. “He was involved in moving bodies and chips into the shed.”

“And one of the chips is missing?” Ed asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

Ed sighed, a worried look on his face. “Where is he now?”

“We don’t know,” Anna said. “I haven’t seen him since last night.”

“He’s a problem?” Sam asked.

Ed was silent for a moment, then looked at Sam. “Yes, he can be a problem. I’ve tried to work with him, but he’s troubled. He’s got a huge chip on his shoulder, and he’s been in and out of jail several times.”

“For what?” Sid asked.

“Assault on customers at the casino and the hotel,” Ed said.

“He was with us at the ghost town,” Erica said. “That’s probably how the enemy found us.”

“Don’t jump to conclusions yet,” Anna said. “We need to be sure.”

“Mom, you’re going to have to back away from this,” Kaitlyn said softly. “I know you worked with him a lot, but we have to protect ourselves.”

“I’ll go look for him, but I suspect he’s long gone,” Ed said. “We’ll have to track him down. Hate to give up the resources for that.”

Sam’s phone dinged. “Text from Ivan.”

“What does he say?” Sid asked.

“He said Thanks. This might be useful.

“That’s it?” Sid asked.

“Yep,” Sam said.

“He’s got somebody who knows what system to go to,” Trevor said. “Ten to one.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me,” Sam said. “We’ve got other things to think about. These folks have very good apps to read the chips. Better than ours.”

“Why do you say that?” Trevor asked.

“He’s right,” Anna said. “I saw the guy rush in. He ran right up the stairs, and right into the correct room. He didn’t have to look around.”

“Black Crow might have told them verbally, you know,” Seth said.

“That’s possible,” Erica said. “There were no RFID chips involved at the ghost town, remember.”

“One step at a time,” Sam said. “Let’s find that chip. If it was hidden in the room, we’ll probably have our answer.”

“Yeah,” Sid said.

“Wonder if they’re apps can read the names?” Trevor asked. “Why didn’t they go to the shed first? There’s no evidence that anybody bothered it.”

“How can we tell which chip was in Hasan?”

“I can tell,” Anna said. “I damaged the one that was in Hasan. It has a cut in the capsule. Let’s see that box.”

Garrett handed the box to her and she looked, her brow furrowed.

“The one that came out of Hasan is missing, isn’t it mom?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Yes,” she said, handing the box back to Garrett.

“I’m still not getting something,” Sam said. “How would Black Crow have known which was which?”

“Easy,” Garrett said. “We didn’t take the chips out of the dead guys until afterwards. Black Crow probably had Hasan’s chip.”

“You don’t remember putting all three together?” Sam asked Anna.

She shook her head no. “I didn’t keep track of where the chip was after I dropped it into the pan down in the kitchen. Sorry.”

“I’m looking at this as good news,” Sam said. “General Hogan’s guy is gonna figure the name part out. There’s a way to do it. This proves it. I’ll text that to Ivan so he can pass it along.”

“I’ll see you guys later,” Ed said. “I’ll go ask questions – try to find out who saw Black Crow last night or this morning.”

“Good luck,” Garrett said.

“Please don’t let this ruin our alliance,” Ed said.

“No worries there,” Garrett said. “Really.”

Ed nodded and walked away.

“Let’s go find that missing chip,” Sam  said.

They went back into the house and up to the bedroom. Anna and Kaitlyn stripped off the dirty sheets while Sam, Garrett, and Sid tore the room apart looking. Some of Garrett’s men arrived while they were working and took the bodies of the fallen guards out of the house.

“Bingo,” Sam said, holding a toy car. “It’s in the driver’s seat.”

Anna took the car and shook it upside down, the capsule falling into her hand. “Yep, this is it.”

“Okay,” Garrett said. “I’ve got to go. There are family members to talk to, and funeral arrangements to make.”

“You want me to go along?” Anna asked.

“Thanks, but no,” Garrett said. “This is something I need to do by myself. I’ll be back later in the day.”

“Okay,” Anna said, giving him a hug. He left the house.

***

Robbie and Morgan were walking back to their coach after breakfast, with Gil, Tisha, Justin, and Katie.

“I wish we could keep going like this for another few weeks,” Morgan said. “Feels like another world.”

“Don’t count on that, dearie,” Tisha said.

Robbie smiled. “I know this is a nice break, but I really want to get on with the rest of our lives. I hope we get the war over with soon.” He looked at Morgan, pulling her close as they walked.

“Have plans, do you?” Morgan asked.

“He probably wants to knock you up,” Gil said.

“What a romantic way to put it,” Katie said.

“C’mon, you guys,” Robbie said. “You know what I mean.”

“No, what do you mean?” Morgan asked with a sly grin.

“It’s not just that, it’s building the nest,” Robbie said, face turning red. “I’m also worried about my parents and my sister all the time. I’m just done.”

“That’s a good point,” Katie said. “I’d like to see Steve. Doubt that’s going to happen until the war is over.”

Robbie’s phone dinged. He pulled it out and looked at it, Morgan flashing him a worried glance.

“Jules,” Robbie said. “He wants to see me.”

“Crap,” Morgan said. “You don’t think it’s about that problem from a while back, do you?”

“I don’t think he wants to kill me,” Robbie said.

“We all should go,” Gil said.

Robbie was quiet for a moment. “No, I’ve got to trust him. I’ll go talk to him.”

“Where?” Morgan asked.

“In his rig,” Robbie said.

“Ask him if I can come too,” she said.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Robbie said.

“If you aren’t worried about his intentions, why would it matter?” Morgan asked. “Text him and see if I can go along.”

Robbie nodded, looking worried, and sent the request. His phone dinged right away.

“Well?” Morgan asked.

“He says fine. Let’s go.”

“Want us to hang around nearby?” Gil asked.

“Yeah, man, we could do that,” Justin said.

“No,” Robbie said. “I’ll be fine.”

“All right, but call me as soon as you’re out of there, so I don’t sit around and worry.”

Robbie smiled. “Okay, I’ll do that.” He took Morgan by the hand, and they walked to Jules’s rig.

“I heard that Jules and Shelly finally got together,” Morgan said.

“That’s good.” They got to the coach and tapped on the door. It opened, Shelly standing there, ushering them in.

“Good morning,” Shelly said. “Have a seat. Jules will be out here in a second.”

“We aren’t in trouble, I hope,” Morgan said.

Shelly smiled at her. “No, not at all.”

“Oh, you here, welcome,” Jules said, coming out of the bedroom. “Coffee?”

“Sure, if you’re having some,” Robbie said.

“You too, Morgan?” he asked.

She nodded yes. Jules went to the counter, but Shelly got up and took over.

“You go ahead, honey,” she said. “I’ll make some for all of us. You talk to them.”

“Honey?” Morgan asked. “You two?”

“Yes,” Shelly said. “We’re so happy.”

“I can see that all over your face,” Morgan said. “I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks,” Shelly said. “Take a seat in the dinette.”

Robbie and Morgan sat on the back bench. Jules slid into the front bench, facing them.

“Your father is amazing,” Jules said.

“You’ve heard from him?” Robbie asked quickly. “I haven’t been able to reach him for a while.”

“He hounded by the enemy, but being protected. General Hogan’s team talked to Ivan.”

“General Hogan has been rescued?” Robbie asked.

“Yes, has,” Jules said. “We talk in big meeting later today.”

“Why do you want to talk to Robbie?” Morgan asked.

Jules smiled. “You still afraid, no?”

“Well, yes,” Morgan said. “How can we not be?”

“No need worry,” Jules said. “Robbie, you will get download link on phone. I just clear with Ivan and General Hogan.”

Robbie looked at him blankly. Jules chuckled.

“Your dad release prototype of RFID app to Ivan’s leadership. I figure because you son, you should get too.”

Robbie smiled, relief washing over his face. “Oh, really?”

Shelly slid coffee cups to Morgan and Robbie, then went back to get cups for Jules and herself.

“Here, I show,” Jules said. He walked the couple through the short-range and long-range apps on his phone. Robbie was getting more excited as the demonstration went on.

Shelly got onto the bench next to Jules with their coffees. “You should be so proud.”

“I’ve always been proud of my dad. In awe of him, frankly. This hits it out of the park.”

“Yes, major advantage, at least for a while,” Jules said.

Robbie’s phone dinged.

“Nice timing,” Shelly said.

Robbie looked at his phone. “Yep, it’s the download link.”

“Go ahead and load, and we verify it working,” Jules said.

Robbie did that, as Shelly and Morgan each had sips of coffee.

“We were just talking about wanting this war to be over,” Morgan said. “Now maybe that will happen sooner than we thought it would.”

“Maybe,” Jules said, eyes narrowing. “We have rough time to come. We talk about in big meeting.”

“We can tell them now, can’t we?” Shelly asked.

“Go ahead, give preview,” Jules said.

Shelly looked Morgan in the eye. “Ivan knows where other women are being held. Like we were.”

“No,” Morgan said. She trembled slightly, eyes starting to turn glassy.

“We know hard for you,” Jules said.

“We’re going to rescue them, I hope,” Robbie said, determination and anger on his face.

“Yes, do, but volunteer. We make case in meeting. Dangerous mission. Like Torrance.”

“Count me in,” Morgan said.

“And me, of course,” Robbie said. “When do we do it?”

“After initial mission,” Jules said. “Initial mission easier, and we have more help.”

“What is the initial mission?” Morgan asked, then paused. “Sorry, it’s not my place.”

“No, is your place,” Jules said. “RFID chips for enemy manufactured at Mertins Electronics plant in San Jose. We take out.”

Robbie shook his head. “You’ve got to be kidding me. An American company made them?”

Jules smiled. “Belgian company, supported by late Governor Sable and former President Simpson.”

“Wait, that name sounds familiar,” Robbie said. “Mertins. My dad knew him. He had a weird first name. I think it had two As in it.”

“Daan Mertins,” Jules said, a distasteful look on his face. “He scum.”

“I’ll bet that creep got the idea from my dad’s research and development of RFID technology.”

“Could be true,” Jules said.

“Geez,” Robbie said.

“How many of our team has the apps?” Morgan asked.

“Me, Tex, Ted, Sparky, Shelly, and Robbie,” Jules said. “When General Hogan okay, everybody get.”

“I think it’s smart that they’re restricting it until my dad finishes the name part,” Robbie said. “Otherwise the cockroaches in DC will scatter.”

“Exactly,” Jules said.

“Honey, we’d probably better get to planning the big meeting.”

“Yes, you right,” Jules said. “Please excuse. Any questions before we finish?”

“No, and thank you very much,” Robbie said. “I’ll keep my mouth shut until the meeting.”

“Thank you,” Jules said. He ushered them out the door and shut it behind them.

“Well, that was a surprise,” Morgan said.

“I’m relieved,” Robbie said.

“Were you really worried about him?”

“Ted was, and that made me worry. I’ve always felt that Jules has a good heart, though. Had a hard time believing he’d want to kill me.”

“He can be a little shifty, but I like him more now than I did. Helps that Shelly’s with him now. I know her pretty well. She’s a good person. She wouldn’t be with him if he wasn’t.”

“I got that impression,” Robbie said. He picked up his phone and typed, then hit send.

“Telling the others you’re okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. He continued to look at his phone as they walked. “LA and Orange counties still have problems. I was surprised at how many hits there were, even after all of the victories.”

“I know.”

“San Diego and Imperial Counties are the bigger problem, though. Look.” He showed his screen to Morgan.

“Wonder why?”

“The border,” Robbie said. “The enemy needs more fighters in here.”

She nodded, and they walked silently until they got back to their coach, going inside quickly. Robbie sat down on the couch, Morgan sitting next to him.

“Scared?” Robbie asked.

She looked at him for a moment, not saying anything.

“You know, about the rescue mission,” Robbie said.

“I should be,” she said. “I’m not. I’m anxious to be involved. It’s my duty.”

“Something’s bothering you,” Robbie said.

“I wasn’t thinking of this as a national war before I saw all the hits on that long-range app. I thought of it as a California problem, and that seemed almost over to me.”

“I know, that hit me too,” Robbie said. “Even though I already kinda knew.”

She looked at him and smiled. “It kills my favorite daydream.”

“What was that?”

She sighed. “Leaving here, going someplace safe. Now we know that there’s no place safe. At least for now.”

“I know,” Robbie said.

“It’s going to be a while before we can start our life together.”

Robbie took her hand, moving closer to her. “We’ve already started our lives together, honey. They started when I took you home from your apartment. Remember?”

They kissed, and then studied each other’s faces.

“You always know the right thing to say,” Morgan said.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 99 – Hit Squad

Sam and Erica were on the veranda, sitting on the wicker love seat, enjoying the afternoon. Kaitlyn and Seth walked up the steps with Trevor and Kaylee.

“What’s cooking?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Just relaxing,” Erica said. “It’s so nice this time of day.”

“Where’s your mom?” Sam asked Kaitlyn.

“She took a walk with Garrett,” Kaitlyn said, grinning.

“My my,” Erica said. “Figured that was gonna happen.”

“Be nice, you guys,” Kaylee said. Trevor chuckled.

“So, we know now that those chips are planted deep in all the fighters,” Trevor said.

“Well, at least in the three that we’ve removed so far,” Kaitlyn said.

“I’ll bet it hurt putting those in,” Kaylee said.

“Maybe,” Kaitlyn said. “They put them in livestock with a special tool. Might not be as bad as you’d expect.”

Sid and Yvonne climbed the steps with Clem, John, and Sara.

“Mind if we join you guys?” Clem asked.

“Be our guest,” Sam said.

“What are we gonna do with the chips?” Trevor asked. “Ji-Ho decided yet?”

“I think he liked Garrett’s idea of using them for bait,” Sam said.

Sid laughed. “Well, they liked doing that with your RV Park.”

“Yeah, that’s going to be difficult to repair,” Sarah said.

“That’s the least of my worries,” Sam said. “Garrett said they aren’t showing up there anymore, though. Guess they finally got wise.”

“Or they don’t have enough excess forces to waste on that effort,” John said. “Surprised they threw as many into that meat-grinder as they did.”

Sid chuckled. “I wonder how many of them crapped their pants when they looked in the clubhouse.”

“That’s nasty, honey,” Yvonne said.

“Sorry,” Sid replied.

“Does Ji-Ho really think some enemy fighters might show up to get their dead?” Sarah asked.

“I think he does,” Sam said. “I’m a little skeptical. It’d be different if we didn’t have them on the ropes.”

“Don’t be so sure we have them on the ropes,” Erica said.

“Yeah, I was just gonna say that,” Sid said.

“Evening,” Garrett said, walking up with Anna. “Mind if we join you?”

“Please,” Sam said. They walked up and took seats.

“Hi, mom,” Kaitlyn said. “Have fun?”

“Shut up,” Anna said. She flashed a smile.

“We’re just friends,” Garrett said.

“Yes, and why shouldn’t they be?” Yvonne said. “They’re about the same age.”

“I don’t remember telling anybody how old I was,” Anna said.

“I can tell them,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t you dare,” Anna said. Everybody chuckled, but then Sam jerked. He looked at his phone.

“Well, here’s Ji-Ho’s answer,” Sam said. “Enemy fighters on the way here, it looks like.”

“Should we take cover?” Sarah asked.

“They’re almost half a mile away,” Sam said. He refreshed the app. “They’re coming in pretty quick though. They must be in a truck.”

“How many?” Trevor asked.

“Twelve. No, fourteen.”

“Lock and load, folks,” Garrett said. “No more prisoners. The one we have is going to be enough of a pain.”

“They might just be driving by,” John said. “What road are they on?”

“Highway 94,” Sam said. “They just passed Pringle Canyon. Go get your guns.”

“Should we get siege mode going on the rigs?” John asked.

“Some of us should, perhaps,” Sam said. “I’m sending a broadcast text.”

“Let’s go get our guns, honey,” Kaitlyn said. “I don’t want to be in the battle wagon.” Seth nodded and they rushed off the veranda.

“If you see them stop out a ways, say something,” Trevor said. “I’m gonna go get the Winchester.”

“Why do you need to know that?” Kaylee asked, getting up.

“Because they’d do that if they were gonna set up a mortar,” Trevor said.

“The kid’s right,” John said.

“Yep,” Sam said. “I’m gonna go get my M60. You want to get your weapon, honey?”

Erica nodded yes.

“You don’t look very worried,” Anna said, looking at Garrett. He flashed her a smile.

“I’ve got men all over the place, on patrol. I’m gonna send them a text right now.”

“Good,” Anna said. “We might want to leave some men upstairs with the prisoner, just in case.”

“Will do,” Garrett said, getting up. “You should go into the house.”

“I can take care of myself,” Anna said. “I’m going to get my gun.”

“Girl after my own heart,” Garrett said. Anna threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Sam and Erica watched, glancing at each other afterwards.

“What?” Anna asked.

“Nothing,” Erica said. “Let’s go get ready.”

They all left the veranda to get armed. Ji-Ho trotted up.

“You see, right?” he asked.

“Yep, we’re getting ready,” Sam said.

“Battle wagons?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Some should go into siege mode,” Sam said. “I’m grabbing my M60. There’s only fourteen of them.”

“We should kill all. No prisoner.”

“Agreed,” Garrett said. “See you in a couple minutes. They still coming, Sam?”

“Yep, they’re still coming, but they slowed down. They’re just hitting downtown Dulzura.”

“If they don’t come here, we should go get them,” Garrett said.

“Damn straight,” Sam said. He took Erica by the hand and they rushed to their battle wagon.

“You sure you want to carry that M60 around?” Erica asked.

“For this, yes, but I’m bringing the M-16 too. You gonna use your AK?”

“Of course,” she said. They rushed into the rig and got their guns and ammo, then headed back towards the house.

“Where are the RFID chips?” Erica asked.

“In the shed behind the big house,” Sam said. “Bodies too.”

“I hear some motors for siege mode,” Erica said.

“Yep.” Sam looked at his phone again. “They’re just passing Campbell Ranch Road. They’ll be here in a minute.”

“Want to position ourselves by the front gate?”

“No,” Sam said. “I want to see what they’re coming for, but we need to be ready to get into the Jeep. They’re gonna die either way.”

Erica nodded as Seth and Kaitlyn rushed over with Trevor and Kaylee.

“Those aren’t black powder Winchesters, I hope,” Erica said.

Trevor chuckled. “If we run out of ammo, might be a good way to go.”

Sam shook his head. “Don’t worry, Ivan will make sure we get ammo. Black powder will drop your power by a lot.”

“Where are they?” Seth asked.

“Slowing down, almost here,” Sam said. He refreshed the app again. “They’re off the road, heading into the trees by the creek bed, on the other side of Dutchman Canyon Road.”

“They’re gonna try to rescue their folks,” Erica whispered.

Sam nodded yes to her. “C’mon, let’s set up behind the house and let them come in.”

“What if they set up mortars?” Seth asked.

“We’re going into the woods,” Kaitlyn said. She glanced at Trevor, and he nodded yes.

“Let’s go, then,” Kaylee said.

“You sure, honey?” Trevor asked.

“I’m not so bad, you know,” Kaylee said, holding her M-16. “I’m a natural, remember?”

Trevor looked her up and down, and then sighed. “It’s not that I don’t think you can handle it, it’s just that I can’t live without you.”

“Now you know how I feel every time you run off with that damn Winchester,” she said. “C’mon. We’ve got to stop them in case they set up a mortar.”

The two couples ran toward the woods, Sam watching them, a worried look on his face.

“They’ll be okay,” Erica said. “Kaitlyn is good.”

“Yeah, Trevor’s at that level too,” he said. “I’m a little worried about the other two. Ji-Ho keeps telling me that Kaylee is a natural, but I’m skeptical.”

They positioned themselves in the bushes behind the house, a little left of the shed where the bodies and RFID chips were. Sid showed up with Yvonne, both carrying weapons.

“John, Clem, and Sarah are getting their battle wagon ready,” Sid whispered to Sam. “I’m gonna sneak towards the enemy position and keep an eye on things, just in case.”

“Me too,” Yvonne said. They ran towards the road in a crouch, slipping across and into the heavy woods.

Sam’s phone buzzed him again. “Dammit,” he said, looking at it. “Another group coming. Twenty this time.”

“Check the long-range app,” Erica said.

Sam tapped the icon and loaded it up. “Send a broadcast text about the second group, okay?”

Erica pulled out her phone and sent the text.

“Whoa,” Sam said. “We’re about to get hit hard. There’s another hundred enemy fighters coming.”

“Crap,” Erica said. “I just sent the text. Where are the others?”

“There’s a convoy on Highway 94. They’re just getting to Jamul. The first two batches were sent to soften things up.”

Sam’s phone rang.

“Who?” Erica asked.

“Ji-Ho,” Sam said. He put the phone to his ear. “Yeah, I see them.”

“I suggest sending six battle wagon off to tire dealership,” Ji-Ho said. “Blast last group on road.”

“Good suggestion,” Sam said.

“Okay, we go. I’ll tell Garrett about larger group coming.”

“He’s already got the app, right?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Just want to be sure.”

“Okay, talk to you later. I’m gonna go into the woods and help to nip the first two groups in the bud. They’re probably trying to set up mortars. Then we ought to get the rest of the battle wagons ready while Garrett’s men are on the way.”

“Roger,” Ji-Ho said. “Talk later.”

Sam checked the long-range app one more time before putting his phone away. “They stopped in Jamul.”

“Probably waiting for the first two teams to soften us up before they hit us,” Erica said. “C’mon, let’s go.” She got up and ran across the road, heading into the trees, just as the Winchesters started to fire. Sam raced after Erica.

***

Seth watched, worried look on his face, as Kaitlyn and Trevor rose and rushed the enemy, who were trying to set up a mortar, both firing as they ran. He got up and ran after them, pausing for a moment to blow away an enemy fighter who was trying to flee. Sid and Yvonne were right there with them, firing into the first group of enemy fighters, who were searching for cover in the underbrush. They hadn’t even returned fire yet. Seth made it to where Kaitlyn was.

“There’s only four of them left,” she whispered. “I can see one of them. She turned her AK towards a bush and pulled the trigger, not even raising it to aim. A man cried out in Arabic, and then there was a rustling, three more men making a run for their vehicle. Trevor was running behind them, firing. Then he tripped, hitting the ground, his gun sliding just out of reach. One of the Islamists saw it and turned, running back towards Trevor. Kaylee popped up and ran towards them, firing her gun as she ran, diving in and out of cover as they tried to hit her. She killed two of the men. The third broke and ran, only to be killed by Erica as she and Sam joined the battle. There was silence for a moment. Kaylee rushed over to Trevor, who shot her a sheepish grin.

“Thanks, honey,” he said. “Wow. Your uncle is right about you. You are a natural.”

“You scared the crap out of me,” Kaylee said. “Don’t run over ground like this and fire at the same time, okay?”

“Okay,” he said. “There’s more coming.”

“Yes, I got the text.”

Sam rushed over, Erica by his side. “The other group just made the turn onto Dutchman Canyon Drive. Get ready.”

Kaitlyn and Seth showed up, Sid and Yvonne just behind them.

“Hey, maybe we ought to turn that mortar around and use it,” Sid whispered.

“Now there’s a good idea,” Sam said. “C’mon. You guys cover us, okay?”

The others nodded as they reloaded their guns.

“We can’t hit Highway 94,” Sid said as they got to the enemy’s mortar. “Ji-Ho is gonna be using that with the battle wagons.”

“Yeah, I know,” Sam said. Erica rushed by him, going a little past, finding a good spot to fire from. Kaitlyn and Seth joined them.

“Listen,” Seth said. “Our rigs are starting.”

“We need to splatter this second group before they get a chance to attack them,” Erica said.

Gunfire erupted at them from near the road.

“Get down, they’ve seen us,” Sid shouted. Everybody hit the dirt and returned fire.

“We need to get away from this mortar,” Sam said. “Not enough cover from this direction.” He turned and fired his M60 into the bushes where the fire was coming from. Then there was a pop, and a mortar round flew, hitting about sixty yards to the right of them.

“Take cover!” Sid shouted, turning to see Kaitlyn, Erica, Sam, and Kaylee in a full run towards the source of the fire, slipping in and out of cover as they ran. Kaitlyn did a drop and roll, firing, hitting some enemy fighters, their voices screaming out in pain.

“Nice,” Erica said, hot on her tail, slipping behind a tree near her and opening up full auto with her AK-47. Sam was almost even with them to the right now as another mortar round flew, hitting the spot where the first group’s mortar was, setting off the ammo box.

“Drop, dammit!” Sid cried out. He and Yvonne raced towards the others as Sam spewed lead at the enemy position with the M60.

“Kaitlyn, be careful,” Seth shouted, running after her as she weaved in and out of cover, sliding onto the dirt in front of some bushes like she was hitting home plate in a baseball game, then opening fire, hitting the second group’s mortar rounds, the explosion killing all the enemy fighters surrounding it. There was silence for a moment, the others rushing up behind her, peering through the bushes at the carnage.

“Damn, woman,” Seth said. “Nice work, but you scared the crap out of me.”

“Looks like you’ve gotten even better since I was working with you,” Erica said. “Sam, where are our friends now?”

“Two of them are running back towards Highway 94,” he said, his comment punctuated by the sound of horses, guns firing, the smell of black powder hitting them within seconds. “Scratch those guys.”

“We’d better check,” Erica said, bounding forward, Kaitlyn and Kaylee following in a full run, the others moving in that direction behind them. Erica stopped when she found the bodies, about fifteen yards from their truck. She looked away.

Kaitlyn and Kaylee each took a look and then backed off.

“What a mess,” Kaylee said.

“What now?” Trevor asked.

“We find all the bodies,” Sam said. “There should be exactly thirty-four.”

They fanned out and searched, and then Sam got a call from Ji-Ho.

“Yeah, what’s up?” Sam asked.

“Enemy group in Jamul turn tail and flee,” he said. “We come home.”

“That means word got to them before we killed everybody here,” Sam said.

“You sure kill everybody?”

“We’re checking now,” Sam said. “Should be thirty-four.”

Ji-Ho was silent for a moment, but then he gasped. “Get to house. One chip moving that direction.”

“Dammit, they’re going for Hasan,” Sam said.

“C’mon, let’s go,” Erica shouted, running towards the house, Kaitlyn joining her, Seth and Sam trying to keep up. They got to the house as Garrett was riding up with a bunch of men.

Suddenly there was gunfire from inside. Two black powder shots, and some automatic fire.

“Tarnation,” Garrett shouted, dismounting and sprinting up the veranda steps, Erica and Kaitlyn rushing into the house ahead of them.

“Mom!” Kaitlyn yelled as she bolted up the stairs. Then there was more gunfire, and some screaming.

Seth rushed inside, his heart hammering in his chest as he raced to find Kaitlyn, stopping when he found her and Anna at the top of the stairs, looking down at three bodies. Anna was holding her AK-47, crying. Sam and the others got there in a hurry, Garrett rushing over, pulling Anna into his arms.

“He killed your men, then shot Hasan,” Anna said, sobbing as she dropped her rifle and hugged him.

Seth took Kaitlyn into her arms. “Thank God you and your mom are okay.”

“What happened?” Trevor asked, rushing over with Kaylee.

“One of the Islamists got to Hasan,” Sam said.

“Is he dead?” Kaylee asked.

Anna shook her head yes. “He got shot in the face. It’s not pretty. That poor kid.”

Obviously, this wasn’t a rescue attempt,” Seth said. “It was a hit.”

“My men didn’t do much good,” Garrett said. “God rest them.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Anna said. “One of your men wounded him.”

“In close quarters, it’s hard to beat an automatic weapon with a couple single-action revolvers,” Sam said. “We need to remember that.”

“Yeah, they didn’t have any cover up here, either,” Seth said. He walked into the room and stared at Hasan’s body, sprawled on the bed, wrist and ankle irons still on him, blood all over the bed and the wall behind it.

“What’s that?” Kaylee asked, pointing to scratches on the wall.

“Dammit, he was trying to pick the locks,” Garrett said, looking at the scratches, and at the nail on the bed.

“Wait, look at this,” Seth said, getting closer. “He wrote something.”

Sam rushed in and got next to him, looking at the scratches, then glancing over at Seth, who smiled back at him.

“What is it?” Kaylee asked.

“Looks like a user name and password to me,” Seth said, taking his phone out. He took several pictures.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Garrett said.

“The battle wagons are back,” Sid said from the hallway. “Hear them?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Somebody check the long-range app and make sure the enemy really split.”

“I’m on it,” Sid said, putting his phone in front of his face.

“Anybody get hurt in this?” Anna asked. “Other than these two men?”

“Only bad guys,” Erica said.

“Maybe we should burn those chips sooner rather than later,” Kaylee said.

“No,” Sam said. “We should leave them in the shed back there.”

“Yeah, we don’t want the enemy to know what we know,” Trevor said.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 98 – Damage

Ivan made good on his promise, sending the download link to Jules’s leadership team early in the morning. Shelly woke to her phone dinging when it arrived.

“It’s here, honey,” Shelly whispered to Jules.

“How you know I awake?”

“Your breathing,” she said. “Did you send out a meeting notice yet?”

“Not yet,” Jules said.

“Sounds like a Chief of Staff task to me,” Shelly said. “I’ll do it. Tex, Ted, and Sparky, right?”

“Yes,” Jules said, turning to gaze at her. She noticed.

“Wait,” she said. “Let me do this. We can play afterward if you want. It’s still early.”

He nodded as she typed on her phone and broadcasted the message to the leadership team.

“Should we schedule a meeting with the rest of the team?” she asked.

“After the first meeting,” Jules said. “Now come here.”

“My, but aren’t we hot to trot, even after yesterday.”

Jules didn’t say anything, the need showing on his face. Shelly moaned as he pulled her to himself.

Afterwards Jules drifted off to sleep, waking to find Shelly out of bed. He got up and went into the salon, where she was making coffee.

“Hey, sweetie,” she said, turning towards him.

“Good morning.” He sat in the dinette and watched her in her long t-shirt, her short blonde hair swaying as she moved. “You’re so beautiful.”

“Stop it,” she said. “That meeting is coming up in an hour.”

“I know,” he said. “I get dressed.”

“Yes, do that. I’ll get dressed in a few minutes too.”

“Where we meet?” Jules asked.

“Here,” she said. “I thought it would be best for such a small group.”

“You right,” Jules said. “More coffee cups in pantry.”

“Yes, I found them earlier.”

Jules went into the bedroom and got dressed, thinking that they needed to do laundry, and that they needed more clothes. Shelly joined him after a couple minutes, handing him a cup of coffee. “You like it black, right?”

“Yes,” he said, taking it from her. He sipped. “Perfect.”

She nodded and dressed as he left the room.

Tex showed up first, Karen by his side. Then Sparky and Ted, both alone.

“Uh oh, should I leave?” Karen asked.

“No,” Jules said. “No problem. Shelly will stay as well.”

“We in trouble, partner?” Tex asked.

“No, we get gift. You see download link on your phone this morning?”

“Shoot, I haven’t checked,” Tex said, pulling his phone out.

“Been a little busy, huh?” Sparky asked. Karen turned four shades of red. Tex just shot him a smile.

“It’s here,” Tex said. “What is it?”

“Remember applications that General Hogan’s team worked?”

“The ones that read enemy RFID chips?” Ted asked.

“Yes, that it,” Jules said. “They do limited release to Ivan’s leadership team.”

“Oh, really?” Sparky asked. “Do they work?”

“Yes, do,” Jules said. “Pretty good news, no?”

“Very good news,” Ted said. “I saw the download link earlier. Thought it was some kind of spam or something.”

“Yeah, me too,” Sparky said.

“Do downloads, then we install and walk through,” Jules said.

They got to work. Karen nodded to Shelly, and they went into the bedroom.

“How’s it going?” Shelly asked. “Your body language with Tex looks different this morning.”

She smiled. “I’m his.”

“That’s it? You’re his?” Shelly looked into her eyes. “Because you want to be?”

“Of course,” Karen said. “I resisted him for a long time, remember? Kinda like somebody else I know.”

Shelly sighed. “Yeah, I know.”

“Is it going okay between you and Jules?”

“Oh, God,” Shelly said, her eyes misting up. “I’ve fallen so hard for that man.”

“Really?”

“Really,” Shelley said. “It’s still hard for me to believe.”

“I know that feeling,” Karen said. “I wish we were in normal times. I’d rent a hotel room for a week and not let him out of bed the whole time.”

Shelly snickered. “We’re so naughty. I’m anxious for the meeting to be over so we can be alone again for a little while.”

“I know, isn’t it weird? I’m having the same kinds of thoughts.”

“We need to be careful,” Shelly said. “Both of us.”

“Why?”

“So we don’t get hurt too badly if things go wrong,” Shelly said.

“I can’t be like that,” Karen said. “That’s holding back, and holding back isn’t what I want to do.”

Shelly thought about it for a moment. “Dammit. You’re right. We’re cast out on the sea, and we’re going to roll with the waves.”

“It’s like that even when the world isn’t like this,” Karen said. “You know that, right? You’ve been in love before, haven’t you?”

“Of course,” Shelly said. “It’s scary and intoxicating at first, but it always either settles down or ends after a while. Hope it doesn’t end this time.”

“Yeah,” Karen said. “Do you understand what they’re talking about out there?”

“I do,” Shelly said. “We’ve been set up since last night. Wait till you use the long-range app to look at Washington, DC.”

“Lots of traitors?”

“It looks like a blob on the map,” Shelly said. “Want to go back out there?”

“Sure.”

They got up and went back into the salon. The men had finished setting up their apps, and Jules was showing them how to work them.

“This is a game-changer,” Ted said.

“You got that right, partner,” Tex said.

“Where are we hitting first?” Sparky asked.

“We hit the Mertins Electronics plant in San Jose,” Jules said. “Timing depend on Ivan’s other teams. Joint effort. That easy part, though.”

“Uh oh,” Ted said. “What else?”

“Ivan know where women being held,” Jules said. “Like our women were, in Torrance.”

Karen got a scared look on her face. Shelly noticed and put her hand on her shoulder.

“We’re going to rescue them, I hope,” Tex said, his face grim. “I hate these bastards.”

“Yes, we do, but this most dangerous of missions,” Jules said. “Not just blow up and kill. Complex operation. Must do by numbers, like assault on Torrance Civic Center.”

“I want to be involved,” Karen said. There were tears running down her cheeks.

“You shall,” Jules said. “We all, but must volunteer. Like I say, more dangerous. We meet with big group this afternoon. Show apps, discuss Mertins plant, then talk about rescues.”

“You don’t look that upset about this,” Karen said, looking at Shelly.

“I found out last night,” Shelly said. “That’s when I had my reaction.”

“Oh,” Karen said. “You’re going in too?”

“Hell yes,” Shelly said. “How could I not?”

“Maybe we shouldn’t be including the women in that operation,” Sparky said. “Some of them are just now getting back to normal, you know.”

“That’s for us to decide,” Karen said.

“I know,” Sparky said. “I’m just worried.”

“Is Dana having problems?” Shelly asked.

Sparky was silent for a moment, then looked over at her. “Yes, I think so, but she won’t talk about it. She’s using me as her life raft. It worries me. This could make things worse.”

“Why worried?” Jules asked.

“I’m a human being,” Sparky said. “I’m not the knight in shining armor that she thinks I am.”

Shelly looked at him, seeing the tears forming around his eyes. “You’re in love with her, aren’t you?”

“I’m not good enough for her,” Sparky said.

“There’s the answer to that question,” Karen said.

“No, really,” Sparky said. “I probably can’t hang in there the way she needs me too. I’m not the selfless hero she thinks I am.”

“You worry too much, no?” Jules said. “If works, works. Don’t pressure self. Love of a good woman make you strong if you let it. Tomorrow take care of self.”

“Easy to say,” Sparky said.

“Do you want her?” Shelly asked.

“That’s not the problem,” Sparky said. “She’s the best woman I’ve ever been with, and that’s the truth.”

“You don’t want to disappoint her, partner,” Tex said. “That’s the best indication of love that there is.”

“Can we talk about something else?” Sparky asked. “Please?”

“All right, let’s move on,” Jules said. “Study apps while we have down time. Get feel for movement patterns of enemy. Share thoughts with others on team, but don’t replicate apps for anybody. Understand?”

“How long do we have before the Mertins attack?” Karen asked.

“I just guess,” Jules said. “Three or four days. Possible it’s earlier, even tomorrow.” His phone dinged. Jules looked at it, a wide smile washing over his face.

“What just happened, partner?” Tex asked.

“General Hogan,” Jules said.

“What about him?” Ted asked, standing up.

“Rescued. Back with team.”

“Thank God,” Sparky said.

“Okay, on your way,” Jules said. “Meeting over. You know what do.”

Everybody stood and got ready to leave.

“Sparky,” Jules said. “Stay for minute, okay?”

He nodded yes as the others left.

“Can you give minute, Shelly?” Jules asked.

“Yes, I’ll go outside for a few,” Shelly said. She followed the others out the door.

Sparky watched them leave, Shelly closing the door behind herself. “Am I in trouble, boss?”

“I worry about you,” Jules said. “I want you to know what others think of you. How much respect they have. You need to know.”

“Oh, come on,” Sparky said. “I’m fine.”

“No, not,” Jules said. “You one of best men I ever work with. Solid. Smart. Loyal. Good heart.”

Sparky sat back down on the couch, on the verge of tears. “I’m a mess.”

“What mess? Just relationship?”

Sparky smiled. “Just relationship. It’s pretty much everything.”

Jules studied him for a moment. “Love deep with you. I didn’t see until this morning. Thought you were reluctant with Dana. Not that way. Not at all.”

“She’s having problems, and I’m not strong enough to cope with them,” Sparky said.

“What kind problem?”

“I don’t think I want to talk about it,” Sparky said.

“It me, Jules, your old friend.”

“I know,” Sparky said.

“Then tell.”

He sighed. “Okay, okay. You’re right. I’m in love with Dana. It took a while, but now she’s the focus of everything that I am, and it makes things all that much harder.”

“This not bad,” Jules said. “I feel like that about Shelly.”

“You notice we aren’t staying in this coach with you whenever possible, right?”

“Shy about lovemaking,” Jules said. “Not unusual, but we have door between us. We knock before going through.”

“It’s worse than that,” Sparky said. “Sometimes when we’re making love, Dana slips back into the captivity and goes kinda crazy.”

“How crazy?” Jules asked.

Sparky stood and unbuttoned his shirt, showing bruises and scratches on his chest. “This crazy. I have to hold her down until she gets over it.”

Jules was silent for a moment, looking away, then back at him. “You stay even with that. It says something.”

“It doesn’t happen every time,” Sparky said, buttoning his shirt. He sat back down.

“How often?”

“Maybe every third or fourth time,” Sparky said.

“You think you aren’t strong enough to help her through,” Jules said. “Not that you aren’t good enough to deserve her.”

“Yeah, probably,” Sparky said.

“Not probably. You know, don’t run away from your feelings.”

“It was easier before I was in love with her,” Sparky said. “Now it’s like watching a family member go through this.”

Jules was silent for a couple minutes, thinking.

“Are we done?” Sparky asked.

“No,” Jules said. “Gathering thoughts. Sit tight.”

Sparky nodded, looking nervous.

“She need therapy,” Jules said. “Probably years of. That tough now. She only have you for time being. Can she survive with just you for short term?”

“I don’t know,” Sparky said. “I’ve tried to limit our intimacy, but she won’t have it, and now it’s hard for me to resist it too.”

“She still wants because of comfort,” Jules said. “Probably because she wants to keep you on hook. She needs you.”

“I guess,” Sparky said.

Jules chuckled. “Always hem and haw with you. Does she know you love her?”

“I’ve never said it,” Sparky said.

“Tell her,” Jules said. “Make her know you not leave her. Make her know you stay no matter what. Then maybe she not worry, not push herself too hard.”

“I’ll try,” Sparky said, eyes misting up. “I know she wants to hear that. Can’t imagine that she doesn’t know it already.”

“You have to tell,” Jules said. “Even if she should know. Very important.”

Sparky nodded.

“Go be with her,” Jules said. “We talk later, no?”

“Okay, boss,” Sparky said, getting up. He walked to the door, then turned back to him. “Thanks. You’ve always been a good friend to me.”

Jules nodded. “Send Shelly back in if you see, okay?”

“Will do,” Sparky said as he left.

Jules plopped himself down on the couch, trembling, then crying. Shelly came back in, not expecting to see him in that state. She rushed to his side.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“War,” he said. “Cruelty. The human soul. It’s so bleak. Society have problems, even after battles over.”

“What did Sparky tell you? Is he having problems with Dana?”

“Dana having episodes,” Jules said. “She slip into when they together.”

“Oh,” Shelly said. “I’m surprised more of us aren’t having that problem.”

“That why I cry,” Jules said. “I worry. About you. And Karen. And others.”

“We’re survivors,” Shelly said.

“Yes, I know, but price to pay. May pay now like Dana. May pay years from now.”

“You’re afraid I’m going to have problems,” she said softly. “I understand. Just know this. You’re helping the situation, not hurting it, and I suspect it’s the same with Sparky and Dana. I know it is with Tex and Karen.”

“Sparky not tell her he loves,” Jules said. “I told him he should. Hope I did right.”

“It was advice, not an order,” Shelly said. “You don’t have that much power there, so don’t worry. Sparky is a smart, sensitive man. He’ll figure it out. The two of them will figure it out.”

“I hope,” Sparky said. He got off the couch. “What do now? Go outside?”

She stood up next to him, standing on her tiptoes to kiss him. “Do we have to be anywhere right now?”

“No,” Sparky said, his arms going around her waist.

“Good, then let’s go back to bed,” she said. “I think I need some more therapy.”

Jules chuckled and shook his head. “That was almost in bad taste, no?”

“So I’m a little naughty. C’mon.”

They went back into the bedroom.

***

Hasan woke with a start, trying to roll onto his side, stopped by the heavy wrist and ankle irons. Sharp pain hit him in his upper arm. The last several days came rushing back at him. He looked around the room. He was on a twin-sized bed, the chains attached to the brass bedframe. The walls were covered with pictures that a young boy would put up. There was a shelf against the far wall holding toy trucks and cars, a desk next to that with a broken computer sitting on it.

“Hello?” he said as loudly as he could. “Anybody here?” He shook his chains hard, making metallic noises. The door opened, and Anna peeked in.

“How are you feeling, Hasan?” she asked as she walked in.

“The wound hurts like a son of a bitch,” he said. “Do they have to keep me chained up like this?”

“We have to protect ourselves, at least until you prove yourself to us,” Anna said. “I’ve got more pain meds. I’ll go get them, and then we’ll get you something to eat. There’s a water bottle right above your head, on the shelf at the head of the bed.”

Hasan nodded, then reached up with his unchained hand, finding the bottle, taking a large drink. Anna came back in with a pill bottle. She gave him two.

“These will help,” she said.

“Will they put me to sleep again?”

“They shouldn’t,” Anna said. “Unless you need the sleep. We need to keep a close eye on the wound. That was basically an operation we did on you, and it was in a kitchen, not a hospital.”

“I understand,” Hasan said. He took the pills. “Do you know what they’re going to do with me?”

“I heard a couple of the men talking about a jail in Dodge City,” Anna said. “That would be more comfortable than here.”

“I hope so,” he said. “What’s Dodge City?”

“It’s where Garrett’s group is based,” Anna said. She shot him a smirk. “I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it’s a replica old west town.”

“America is strange,” Hasan said. “Never ceased to amaze me.”

“Did you choose to go to school here?” Anna asked.

“Yes,” Hasan said, “and don’t get me wrong. I actually love this country. I just got pissed, and made some bad choices.”

Anna pulled the chair out from the desk and sat facing him.

“This is a little boys room,” Hasan said. “Where is he?”

“This place belonged to the Williams family,” Anna said. “When the Islamists and the UN first rolled in here, they slaughtered the whole family, as part of taking over the town.”

“Oh, my God, the boy is dead?” Hasan asked.

“You know what’s been going on,” Anna said.

He sighed. “Yes, I know.”

“You say you love this country,” Anna said. “Can you forgive the bad that we’ve done?”

“I didn’t think Americans thought that anything they do was bad,” Hasan said. “No offence.”

Anna chuckled. “I’m an Indian. You know that, right?”

“I know,” Hasan said. “Your people are fighting us everywhere, sometimes even harder than normal Americans.”

“Normal Americans?” Anna asked, flashing a sly smile.

“Sorry, you know what I meant,” Hasan said.

“Governments do bad things from time to time,” Anna said. “All governments. The US Government was very unfair to my people. Sometimes they were downright brutal.”

“And yet you are okay with them now?”

“The Federal Government?” Anna asked. She laughed. “Land sakes no, they’re at least partially behind this mess we’ve been in.”

“But you ally yourselves with the population,” Hasan said. “Why?”

“Our problems were mostly during the nineteenth century,” Anna said. “They were real problems, and we have grievances. In the twentieth century and this century, we’ve made peace. We’re friends. And by the way, my daughter is engaged to a white boy. They’re getting married today.”

Hasan smiled and shook his head. “Like I said, this country never ceases to amaze me.”

Anna stood, smiling at him. “I think you’re a nice young man. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to hurt you. We will protect ourselves, but you can win us over, given some time. I’ll go get you some food, and bring a couple men to escort you to the bathroom.”

She left the room. Hasan took another drink of water, then laid down on his side. What do I do now?

To be continued…

 

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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 2017

Bugout! California Part 97 – Breakfast Meeting

Seth woke up as the sun shined into the battle wagon’s bedroom window. Kaitlyn was still asleep, her body rising and falling, her breathing relaxed. He snuck out of bed, slipped on a shirt and his sweat pants, and went into the salon to start the coffee maker, then looked out the windows. Nobody was up yet. He picked up his phone. Only six. Geez.

“Hey, you up already?” Kaitlyn asked from the bedroom. He walked back in there.

“I woke up because of the sun shining on my face,” he said. “You don’t have to get up yet, if you’re not ready.”

“You could always come back in bed, you know,” she said, pulling back the covers to show herself to him.

He moaned and joined her. They kissed passionately.

“You still have clothes on,” she whispered, tugging the shirt over his head. He slipped out of his sweats and ravished her, both of them caught in the moment together, not caring about anything or anybody but each other.

“Wow,” Kaitlyn said as Seth rolled off her. “This just keeps getting better.”

“I know,” Seth said. “When are we getting married?”

“Maybe today, if things aren’t crazy,” Kaitlyn said. “Everybody’s here.”

“Yes, everybody’s here,” Seth said. “What were you going to tell me about your mom and dad?”

She looked at him, her eyes showing pain. “It didn’t work. They’ve been unhappy for a long time. The elders let them dissolve their marriage.”

“Oh,” Seth said. “I’m sorry. Where is your dad? Is he with us?”

“No, he left the tribe for a while,” Kaitlyn said.

“You don’t look too upset about that.”

“We never got along,” Kaitlyn said, “and by the way, he has a big problem with women in the tribe wedding men from outside.”

“You never seemed worried about that.”

“I knew this was coming, and I knew he’d be leaving. Happened earlier than I thought.”

“So, your mom really was flirting with Garrett, then, wasn’t she?”

Kaitlyn giggled. “Not seriously, but I’ll bet she’d give him a good roll in the hay.”

“He does like her,” Seth said. “I could tell by the way he was looking at her.”

“She’s a little on the hefty side,” Kaitlyn said. “A little bottom heavy. I’m liable to get that way, you know.”

“Yeah, especially after you have all the babies I’m going to put in you.”

“Stop it,” she said. “You just can’t wait, can you?”

“Neither can you,” Seth said. “Deny it.”

She looked at him, her eyes misting. “No, I don’t deny it. You’re my man and I’m your woman. It’s what we do.”

“It is,” Seth said. “Can I get up now?”

She grabbed her pillow and hit him in the head.

“Oh, you want to play, do you?” Seth asked, picking up his pillow and doing the same.

“Stop! We don’t want to break these. They aren’t ours.”

Seth laughed. “Okay, okay. You’re right.” His phone dinged.

“Uh oh,” Kaitlyn said, eyes showing fear.

Seth looked at the phone. “No worries, it’s just a meeting. In an hour.”

“We should get up and eat, then,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t worry, they’re feeding us breakfast,” Seth said. “This is early for a meeting. Must be something important.”

“Well, if we don’t need to eat, maybe you can keep me occupied for a while,” Kaitlyn said.

“Yeah, maybe,” Seth said, turning towards her. Then there was a knock on the door. Seth laughed. “So much for that.” He went to the door and looked out the window.

“Who is it?” Kaitlyn asked,

“Angel and Megan,” Seth said. “Get dressed.”

“Okay,” she said.

Seth cracked the door. “Give us a minute. We’re not decent.”

“We already knew that,” Angel said.

“Hardy har har,” Seth said as he shut the door. He got dressed in the bedroom. Kaitlyn opened the door while he finished.

“Good morning,” Megan said.

“Good morning to you,” Kaitlyn said. “Uh oh, what’s up? I’ve seen that grin before.”

“We had a little chat with Tyler,” Megan said.

“You did, did you?” Seth asked as he came out of the bedroom. “We were just talking about that.”

“Backing out already?” Angel asked.

“Yeah, right,” Seth said, pulling Kaitlyn close to him. “I can’t wait, and that’s the truth.”

“You got the meeting notice, right?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Meeting notice?” Angel asked, reaching for his phone. “Oh, yeah, here it is. My phone ringer was off.”

“Oh, crap, what now?” Megan asked.

“Just a meeting with breakfast,” Angel said. “Ji-Ho and Garrett are holding it.”

“Well, I hope it isn’t something that will foil our plans with Tyler,” Kaitlyn said.

“Me too,” Megan said. “We’ve got to get this done sooner rather than later.”

“There’s that look again,” Kaitlyn said.

Seth laughed. “Damn, dude, you knocked her up already, didn’t you?”

Angel snickered. “Knocked her up? How crude.”

“Megan?” Kaitlyn asked, looking her up and down.

“Alright, alright, I’m late. Might be nothing. It has been a little stressful, and that plays hell with my clock.”

“Why’s your face turning so red?” Seth asked.

“Yeah, imagine if she was a white girl,” Angel said. Megan elbowed him.

“Stop that,” she said. “Don’t tell anybody else, okay? This is bad enough as it is.”

“Not even Trevor?” Seth asked, a sly grin on his face.

“Oh, geez, then Kaylee would know,” Megan said.

Seth laughed. “You’ll be lucky to beat those two.”

“Are they getting married?” Megan asked.

“Not with Tyler,” Kaitlyn said. “I think they want to go into town and find a Justice of the Peace.”

Angel looked at Megan. “Do you want to do it that way too?”

“You mean instead of Tyler?” she asked.

“No, afterwards,” Angel said. “It probably makes a difference in California, you know.”

“Indian ceremonies aren’t valid here?” Seth asked. “Never heard that.”

“No, you’re not getting me,” Angel said. “It’s all about the marriage license. All kinds of things are affected. You know that.”

“Oh, yeah,” Seth said. “It’s not like we have to do a second ceremony. We just get the license and fill it all out.”

“Maybe I want to have that kind of ceremony too,” Kaitlyn said.

“Yeah,” Megan said.

“See what you started, man?” Seth asked. He and Angel laughed.

“Let’s go get a good seat for breakfast,” Megan said.

“Yeah,” Angel said, “and no mimosas for you, mother of my children.”

Megan punched him in the arm as they left the coach.

“We’ll be along in a few minutes,” Kaitlyn said. “Save us some seats.”

Megan turned back at her and nodded.

“Whoa,” Seth said as he closed the door. “Think Megan is right?”

“About being late? She would know that.”

“No, about being pregnant,” Seth said. “You know what I meant.”

She giggled. “Yes, I know what you meant. I’ve been late once too.”

“No, really? You didn’t say anything.”

“False alarm,” she said as they stepped out of the coach.

“Oh,” Seth said. Kaitlyn grabbed his arm and stopped, turning towards him.

“Crap, you’re disappointed that it was a false alarm, aren’t you?”

“Maybe a little,” Seth said. “I told you what I was feeling about this, remember?”

“I thought it was just about tying the knot.”

“It was about everything,” Seth said, face turning red. “Sorry.”

“Sorry? Are you kidding?” she asked, pulling him in for a kiss.

“Hey, people are watching us,” he whispered.

“So what,” Kaitlyn said. She got a wild look on her face and then kissed him again, harder and longer. They broke it, their breath coming fast.

“You’re something,” Seth whispered.

“We’re in love, and everybody knows it,” Kaitlyn said. “Why hide it?”

“I wasn’t trying to hide it,” Seth said.

“Uh huh,” Kaitlyn said as they climbed the steps of the veranda. Anna was just inside the door of the house.

“Great, you’re here,” Anna said. “Kaitlyn, want to assist me with Hasan? We need to check his dressing.”

“Sure,” Kaitlyn said. “See you in a few, sweetie.”

Seth nodded and went looking for Angel and Megan. They were at a table near the far end of the big room, and waved him over.

“Where’s Kaitlyn?” Megan asked.

“Assisting her mom with the prisoner,” Seth said.

“Oh, yeah, I was gonna ask you about that,” Angel said. “Is he going to be as useful as I’ve been hearing?”

“Depends on what you’ve been hearing, I guess,” Seth said as he sat down.

“C’mon,” Angel said.

“He was doing hacking for the enemy. He was part of the intel team.”

“No crap?” Angel asked.

“How do we know we can believe him?” Megan asked.

“We don’t know, yet,” Seth said. “We’ll see how his stories play out.”

“Where are we gonna keep him?” Angel asked. “When I saw him sleeping, he had a leg iron and a wrist iron on. Didn’t look comfortable, not that he was noticing at the time.”

“Yeah, he was out,” Megan said.

“I heard Garrett talking about the jail at Dodge City,” Seth said.

“They have a jail?” Angel asked. “Figures.”

“Garrett likes Kaitlyn’s mom,” Megan said.

“He likes women,” Seth said. “I’ve seen him check out every woman here. Not in a bad way, exactly, but he enjoys looking at them.”

“Wonder if there are women at Dodge City?” Megan asked.

“I’d assume so,” Angel said. “Here comes Kaitlyn.”

“Hey, guys,” Kaitlyn said, sitting next to Seth. “Breakfast is almost done. Of course, they had to clean up our operating room before they could cook.”

“Eeewwwww,” Megan said.

“Oh, don’t worry, mom and I cleaned it up pretty good after we were done.”

“Where’s Hasan?” Seth asked.

“In the bedroom on the south-east corner of the house.”

“I don’t know east from west,” Seth said.

Kaitlyn rolled her eyes. “Paleface.”

Megan and Angel laughed.

“So sue me,” Seth said. “I’m no Daniel Boone.”

“He’s up the stairs, on the back hallway, all the way to the left,” Kaitlyn said. “Better?”

“Yeah,” Seth said.

“Food is ready,” Ji-Ho said from the kitchen archway. “Line up, get food, then we talk.”

People got up quickly and headed for the line, a mixture of tribal folks, Garrett’s men, and the original group.

“I think I’ll wait until the line dies down a little bit,” Kaitlyn said.

“No problem,” Seth said. Anna walked over, drying her hands with a paper towel.

“That wasn’t so bad,” she said. “Mind if I join you guys?”

“Sure, mom,” Kaitlyn said.

“By all means,” Seth said.

“Can we join too?” Trevor asked, walking over with Kaylee.

“Have a seat,” Angel said.

“I’m getting in the food line first,” Kaylee said, setting her bag down on the table. Trevor nodded and followed her to the line.

“I figured you’d be sitting with Garrett,” Megan said to Anna, a twinkle in her eye.

“Stop,” Anna said.

Kaitlyn chuckled. “We’re all on to you, mom. Forget it.”

Anna got a sly grin on her face. “He’s one of the speakers.”

“Oh, so that’s why you’re with us instead,” Megan said.

“There’s nothing going on between Garrett and me,” she said. “We just like talking to each other.”

“Oh, you’ve spoken since we did the procedure last night?” Kaitlyn asked.

“A little,” Anna said.

“What’s a little?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Okay, we talked for a few hours last night,” Anna said. “It’s no big deal.”

“Were you horizontal when you were talking?” Megan asked. Angel laughed out loud, then covered his mouth.

“Sorry,” he said.

“It was an innocent conversation,” Anna said. “Really. Probably won’t get you guys to quit teasing me.”

“Probably not,” Kaitlyn said. “Don’t get hurt.”

Anna chuckled. “Please. I’m not looking for a relationship with anybody, but I enjoy the company of men. Always have. You know that.”

“Yes, I know that,” Kaitlyn said. “I’m getting in line. Coming?” She got up and Seth joined her.

“I need to have a talk with Megan,” Kaitlyn whispered. “I don’t want her saying stuff like she just did to my mom.”

“Which comment?”

“The horizontal comment,” Kaitlyn said. “She’s still my mom. I don’t like to think about her like that.”

Seth shook his head. “Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that to come out of her mouth. Either was Angel. Good thing he didn’t have a mouthful of food when she said that.”

“Seriously,” Kaitlyn said. The line moved quickly. Soon they all had their breakfast plates, and were back at the tables. Ji-Ho got up in the front of the room, helping a couple other people move things around. Then they brought in a flat screen TV, sitting on a tray with wheels.

“Wonder what that’s for?” Megan asked.

“That was a drink tray,” Seth said. “I saw it in the parlor.”

“I remember,” Anna said.

Garrett joined Ji-Ho and the others near the TV, and helped connect a cable to the back. They plugged it in and turned it on.

“Can I have attention, please?” Ji-Ho asked.

The talking came down to a soft murmur. Ji-Ho took out his phone, and plugged it into the cable. “Please watch screen.”

The screen showed a map program.

“This long-range application developed by General Hogan’s group,” Ji-Ho said. “See icons? Each represent one enemy fighter.”

“Where is that?” asked Kaylee.

“El Cajon,” Ji-Ho said.

“Hasan was right, then,” Trevor said. “Where is he, by the way? We need to make sure he doesn’t hear this. Isn’t he in the house?”

“He’s on some really strong pain meds,” Anna said. “He’ll be out for several hours.”

“And there’s two guards right outside his door,” Garrett said. “We’re fine.”

“Do we have access to this technology now?” Clem asked. John and Sarah were next to him, eyes glued to the screen. Sid and Yvonne were at their table too.

“This would’ve saved our friends at the RV Park,” Sarah said softly. Yvonne nodded in agreement.

“General Hogan’s group has provided access to the leadership team only,” Sam said, getting up to stand next to Ji-Ho. “Fortunately that will be enough. Want me to explain how the apps work and what they do, Ji-Ho?”

“Please, your English much better.”

Sam nodded as Ji-Ho took a seat, and then he went through the short-range and long-range app, showing them how they work and where the enemy fighters are, both locally and nation-wide. The people watched in awe.

“Any questions?” Sam asked.

“Why aren’t they just releasing these wide?” John asked.

“The final piece not in place yet,” Ji-Ho said.

“What is the final piece?” Sid asked.

“Name and rank,” Ji-Ho said.

“Oh, so they can use this to ID the traitors in Washington DC,” John said. “Smart.”

“Yes,” Sam said. “But remember what I said. This is top secret. Anybody on the leadership team who gets captured must destroy their phone, if at all possible.”

“There’s a good chance they wouldn’t notice the apps anyway,” Garrett said.

“True, if we are captured by the usual run-of-the-mill Islamist,” Sam said.

“Hasan would figure it out in a hurry,” Seth said.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “You right about that.”

“How long are we gonna keep Hasan?” Sarah asked.

“As long as he’s willing to cooperate,” Sam said.

“I suspect that will be for the duration,” Anna said. “He was only partly lucid when we changed his dressing. He really does hate the Caliphate. He was babbling on about it.”

“Yes, I agree,” Kaitlyn said. Erica saw her from near the front of the room and shot her a smile. When the presentation was done, she made her way over.

“Hey, kiddo,” Erica said. Kaitlyn got up and hugged her tight. “Sorry I didn’t come look you up last night.”

“Oh, please,” Kaitlyn said. “How long were you two up during the last part of the trek?”

“Thirty-six hours, give or take,” Erica said.

“Sam is your man now, isn’t he?” Anna asked.

Erica smiled. “Don’t tell anybody.”

Megan laughed. “Everybody knows, dearie.”

Sam walked over. “How are you all doing? Congrats on the battle.”

“Same to you,” Trevor said, shaking Sam’s hand. “It’s going to get easier now.”

“Within a specific window, yes,” Sam said. “They’ll figure out we can see them pretty quickly.”

“Won’t they just start removing the chips?” Kaylee asked.

“No, they won’t,” Anna said. “Those were put in way too deep. I think somebody put them in that deep to discourage deserters. Digging that chip out of Hasan was about as far as I’d go without being in a clean operating room. He might get infected because of this. We’ll have to keep a close eye on him. No way would the enemy be able to remove thousands of these things without losing a lot of their soldiers.”

“You think so?” Erica asked.

“Sounds like something Saladin would do to me,” Sam said.

“Maybe they’re not all planted that deep,” Trevor said. “We’ve got to deal with the other two bodies, right? Maybe instead of just burning them up we should dig the chips out first.”

“That’s a good idea,” Sam said. “We should do that. Do we know where the bodies are?”

“They’re behind the house,” Trevor said. “I helped the team drag them over.”

“Then let’s do it,” Kaitlyn said.

“Wait a minute,” Anna said. “I’ve got to go change into my other clothes. I’m not ruining two outfits.”

Kaitlyn and Megan chuckled.

Trevor was sitting silently for a moment, thinking. Kaylee noticed.

“What’s on your mind, honey?” she asked him.

“We need to understand more about these RFID chips.”

“How do you mean?” Sam asked.

“Well, for one thing, can they be hidden by shielding,” Trevor said. “Say they come in a special vehicle that’s shielded somehow. They might show up without us seeing them on the apps.”

“Crap,” Megan said. “Now we have something new to worry about.”

“I wouldn’t get worried quite yet,” Sam said, “but it’s smart to consider that. Wish we could test.”

“Maybe we can,” Trevor said. “Wonder how much internet research we can get away with doing?”

“None,” Ji-Ho said, walking over. “I hear conversation. Good thoughts, but no internet search on this. We have to assume we under surveillance. Hasan make that clear with his comments. He know lot about us.”

“He’s right,” Erica said. “They might be watching what we search for, and if they see those kinds of searches, they’ll know that we know.”

“Okay, I see your point,” Trevor said.

“We still should check how deep those chips are in the others,” Sam said.

Anna sighed. “Oh, all right, I’ll go change. You’d better too, Kaitlyn.”

“Yes, mom,” Kaitlyn said. The two women left, one heading for the stairs, the other to the door. Seth looked at Sam.

“Maybe we ought to be asking Hasan about this.”

Sam shook his head no. “We don’t want him to know what we know yet, either. What if he escapes, or can get a message out somehow?”

“Dammit,” Megan said. “Just when I get to thinking we’re out of the woods, I get reminded that we are still in a war for our lives.”

“Good thing to keep in mind,” Ji-Ho said.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! Part 95 – Prisoner

Erica and Sam left the house. Ji-Ho had tipped them off on the RFID apps. They ate a hearty dinner, and made plans to load up phones for the leadership team the next morning. Ji-Ho gave them a battle wagon, and showed them how to use the weapons systems.

“What color is it again?” Erica asked.

“White,” Sam said. “It’s the one on the end, furthest from the house.”

“Who had it before?” Erica asked.

“It was used in the battle by three of Garrett’s people. It’s never been lived in.”

“They didn’t want to keep it?”

Sam chuckled. “No, they want to be on horseback. Can’t say that I blame them, given their skills and tools.”

“Yeah, I could see that, I guess. Not sure how I’ll feel about fighting in one of these things.”

They got to the coach, Sam reaching up to open the door. He held it as Erica climbed the steps. She giggled. “Smells like black powder in here.”

“We’ll open the windows and air it out,” Sam said as he got inside. He shut the screen, then went to the windows and opened all of them. “Glad Ji-Ho got us trained.”

“We really have to go into siege mode at night?”

“We can still get out,” Sam said. “It will improve the headroom in the living room and bedroom, too.”

“Okay,” Erica said. “Can we set it up now?”

“Ready to settle in already, huh?”

She laughed. “We’ve been on the trail for several days, and we haven’t slept for a long time. First, I just want to sleep. Then I’m going to keep you occupied for a while. You okay with that?”

“Yes, mam,” Sam said. He got behind the wheel and flipped the switches to set up siege mode. Erica went into the bedroom to check it out. Sam joined her after a few minutes. She had just turned down the covers on the bed, and was unbuttoning her shirt.

“You are in a hurry,” Sam said, coming up behind her, his hands going around her waist, pulling her against himself.

“Sleep first, remember?” she said.

“Oh, all right,” Sam said, faking disappointment.

She snickered. “You probably couldn’t even perform. We’ve been up for over thirty-six hours.”

Sam let her go, and turned her around to face him. “How did this happen?”

“What?”

“How did we become so close so fast?” Sam asked.

“You mean how did you fall for me?”

Sam chuckled as he got undressed. “Maybe I’d better keep my mouth shut.”

“Oh no you don’t,” Erica said.

“Look, it’s not what I wanted, or what I expected,” Sam said. “It just happened.”

Erica finished undressing. Sam looked at her, sucking in air as he feasted his eyes.

“Put your eyes back into their sockets and get into bed,” she said.

He tossed his clothes into the corner of the room and got under the covers, moving towards her. “This feels nice.”

“It does,” she said. “Not that I don’t enjoy camping.”

“You aren’t surprised at all about this, are you?” Sam asked.

She rolled on her side, facing him. “No, I wasn’t surprised. I knew from the moment I saw you.”

“Oh, please,” Sam said. “Really?”

“Really,” she said, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “You look so tired.”

“It’s hitting me pretty hard now that we’re in a nice soft bed.”

“When are you going to tell me about this dream you had?” Erica asked. “After that you changed. You decided that I was going to be your woman.”

“What? I didn’t say that. I’ll admit that I like you a lot, but we’ve got a ways to go in our relationship. We’ve just barely met.”

“Uh huh. What was the dream about? Your wife was in it. You said her name.”

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Sam said, his eyes starting to tear up.

“Then why are you on the verge of crying?” She paused, looking at him. “Don’t worry about it now. Let’s sleep for a while.” She turned, facing away from him. “Cuddle up, okay? I need you close.”

Sam moved against her, his body trembling slightly.

“You’re crying,” Erica whispered.

“Sorry,” he said. “I’ll be okay in a minute.”

“Sam,” she said softly. “I’m sorry I pushed. Let’s sleep, okay? We’ll sort this out when we’ve rested.”

Sam was silent for a moment. “Dammit.”

“What’s the matter?” Erica asked, turning back towards him.

“I can’t sleep now.”

“Yes you can,” she said.

He searched her eyes for a moment, then kissed her forehead.

“Connie told me it was okay,” Sam whispered.

“That’s what I figured.”

“She said you are the mother of my children,” Sam said. “I can’t believe I told you that. It was just a dream.”

“Oh, God,” Erica said, moving closer to him. “Guess we aren’t going to sleep right away. She moved over him, kissing him hard, her hands reaching for him. They made love urgently but quietly, and then fell asleep in each other’s arms.

***

Ji-Ho woke when the short-range app buzzed. It was about six in the morning. “No, not already,” he muttered to himself. He looked at the screen. There were three icons approaching the east side of the property. He expanded the view in a panic, looking for more hits. There was nothing. Then he sent a text to Trevor and Seth.

Three enemy fighters on east side of property.

They both replied a few seconds later. Then Ji-Ho did a broadcast text, and got out of bed. He slipped on his clothes, grabbed his M-16, and slipped out the door. Seth, Kaitlyn, Trevor, and Kaylee were outside his rig. He showed them the phone after refreshing it.

“Let’s go get them,” Trevor whispered.

“Yeah,” Kaitlyn said.

The two couples checked their magazines, then rushed forward in a crouch, Ji-Ho following. A shot rang out, chipping the bark on a tree just right of Ji-Ho’s head.

“Uncle, get down,” Kaylee yelled. Kaitlyn and Trevor took off running towards the enemy position, weaving in and out of cover as more shots rang out. Kaylee and Seth fired into the bushes where the enemy was, and one of them screamed in agony. Then there was a rustle and the two other fighters bolted, running for the highway, Kaitlyn and Trevor right on their tails. Kaylee and Seth took off after them, Seth shooting the wounded Islamist in the head as they went by the bushes where he hid. They caught up with Kaitlyn and Trevor.

“I think we lost them,” Trevor said, looking down the highway. “They probably went across the road and back on the trail they followed to get here.”

“Text your uncle,” Seth said. “Ask him where they went. He can use the app.”

“Okay,” Kaylee said, sending the text. It came back after a few seconds.

“What’d he say?” Trevor asked.

“Across the road, down toward a river bed. It leads right back to the trail that the tribe came from. He’ll be here in a minute. We should wait, and let him guide us.”

“Wonder if there’s more around?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Uncle said no,” Kaylee said.

Ji-Ho rushed across the street. “They make good time. Here, take phone, I can’t keep up with you kids.” He handed it to Kaylee. “Code is your father’s birthday.”

Kaylee looked at him and nodded, and the two couples took off, across the road and into the dense foliage where the river bed was, Kaylee refreshing the screen every minute or two.

“They stopped,” Kaylee whispered. “About fifty yards ahead, to the left of the river bed.”

They snuck to the area, staying under cover. There was the sound of a magazine being pulled from a gun and put back.

“Hear that?” Trevor whispered. “They’re almost out of ammo.”

Kaitlyn smiled. “Let’s go get them.”

Trevor nodded, Seth glancing at her, worry in his eyes. “Don’t get shot.”

She gave a thumb up and took off, AK-47 in hand, Trevor with his Winchester. A shot rang out, and both dived for cover.

“I saw where that came from,” Seth said, aiming his Winchester. He fired, and there was screaming in Arabic, then silence.

“Where is he?” Seth asked Kaylee.

“Same place,” Kaylee said. “He thinks he’s hidden.”

Trevor moved forward to the clump of bushes. There was a moan from the fallen Islamist. Trevor shot him in the head, and then somebody threw an AK-47 on the ground.

“Don’t shoot, please,” shouted somebody.

“Come out,” Kaitlyn said. “Keep your hands where we can see them.”

A figure appeared, just a teenager, eyes filled with horror, hands in the air.

“You got a handgun?” Trevor asked, Winchester pointed at him. He shook his head no, then looked down at the ground. Trevor looked at Seth and Kaitlyn. “Cover me while I frisk him.”

He approached as the others watched, rifles aimed at the trembling boy. Trevor frisked him quickly. “He’s clean. Let’s take him back to the base.”

Seth and Trevor grabbed him, one on each arm, and they led him to the road, then across, where Ji-Ho was hiding.

“Why not kill?” Ji-Ho asked.

“He surrendered,” Trevor said. “We should question him.”

The boy shot a worried glance at Ji-Ho, then looked back at Trevor. “I’ll talk.”

They brought him back to the Williams place, and took him into the parlor. Seth and Trevor sat him down on an antique love seat and pointed their guns at his head. Ji-Ho stayed outside and sent a text to Trevor.

Don’t tell him about the apps.

Trevor sent a reply, which Ji-Ho read. Then he sent a broadcast text telling everybody that they had a prisoner in the house.

Trevor looked at Seth, then back at the prisoner. Kaylee and Kaitlyn sat on chairs on either side of the door, guns in their hands.

“What were you guys doing?” Trevor asked.

“We survived the battle on the trail,” he said. “We were looking for a way to get back to the base.”

“Which base?” Seth asked. “Where’s it located?”

“El Cajon,” he said.

“That’s a long way,” Seth said. “How did you figure on getting back there?”

“We were looking for a car to steal,” the prisoner said. “We saw vehicles here. We didn’t know this was your base. I swear.”

“You’re English is good,” Trevor said. “Where are you from?”

“I was here on a college visa when the war started,” he said.

“You joined them, after you knew about this country?” Seth asked.

“Drones killed my family in Iraq,” he said. “I got mad and joined. I regretted it almost immediately.”

“Why?” Seth asked.

He looked up at Seth and Trevor, shame in his eyes. “Rape and murder. Terror. This isn’t good. Making sex slaves out of young girls isn’t good.”

“Why did you stay?” Trevor asked.

He shook his head. “Once you’re in, you can’t just quit. They’ll kill you. Happened to two of my friends.”

“What does your army plan to do next?” Trevor asked.

“Get rid of you guys, so we can go back to our main task.”

“And what was that?” Seth asked.

“Rebuild the supply depots along I-8, so the rest of our force can use it to come into El Cajon.”

“What then?” Seth asked.

“Attack the military bases in San Diego, with help from the UN and certain parts of the US Army,” he said.

“The US Army is going to work with you guys?” Trevor asked.

“They have been all along,” the prisoner said. “Some of them, at least. The ones who aren’t working with General Walker and General Hogan.”

“You know about them?”

“I know a lot about computers. I usually work intel. When you guys cut off Highway 94 and ruined a bunch of our supply depots, we got low on fighters. They forced me into the battle along the trail.”

Trevor sent a quick text to Ji-Ho.

This guy is valuable. We should keep him.

He got a return after a few seconds.

Garrett on way into house. I tell, so he doesn’t just kill.

Trevor showed the phone screen to Seth, who nodded.

“Are you willing to cooperate?” Seth asked.

“I’ll tell you what I know,” he said. “I’m done with those guys. I hate them all. They’re perverting our religion, and living by the flesh as they kill those they say are non-believers.”

Garrett burst into the room, pistol in his hand. “Prisoner, huh?”

“Yeah,” Trevor said. “He’s agreed to cooperate.”

“Well, is that a fact?” Garrett asked, pulling a chair away from the desk and sitting down. “That true, heathen?”

The prisoner nodded yes slowly.

“Cat got your tongue?” Garrett asked.

“No sir,” the prisoner said.

“What’s your name, heathen?”

“Hasan,” he said, his voice trembling.

“Well, Hasan, what can you help us with?” Garrett asked.

“I worked intel for the Caliphate,” he said. “I saw a lot of stuff.”

“I’ll just bet you did,” Garrett said. Seth and Trevor shot each other a glance.

“How are you guys finding out where we are all the time?” Trevor asked.

“Originally, we used cellphones,” Hasan said. “That doesn’t work so well anymore. Somebody on your side figured out how to get around it.”

“Somebody in California?” Seth asked.

“No, somebody in Texas, and it spread around from there. Now all we have is satellite imagery, and we’ve lost some key contacts for that.”

“What are the longer-term plans?” Trevor asked. “After you get I-8 opened up again, and attack San Diego?”

“They want to re-open the route on I-8 and attack San Diego, huh?” Garrett asked. “You’d have to move thousands of cretins into this area to take on the Navy base. You know that, right?”

“Do you have any idea how many fighters for the Caliphate are in the US and Mexico?” Hasan asked.

“Please enlighten us,” Garrett said.

“Right around six hundred thousand,” Hasan said. “With more on the way.”

“Does that include the UN thugs?” Seth asked.

Hasan shook his head. “Those guys couldn’t do the job in California, thanks largely to your boss.”

“Our boss?” Trevor asked.

“Ivan the Butcher,” Hasan said. “You guys are allied with him. We know that.”

“Some of us are,” Garrett said. “Some of us have never had any contact with him.”

“Those crazy motor homes you have come from Ivan,” Hasan said.

“How do you know that?” Trevor asked.

“Intel,” Hasan said.

“We need to keep this guy,” Garrett said.

“Like I said, I’ll cooperate,” Hasan said. “If you’ll do me a favor.”

“A favor?” Seth asked.

“Do you have any medical staff?” Hasan asked.

“Why, got a hang nail?” Garrett asked.

Trevor shot him a glance, and he nodded to go ahead.

“We have a registered nurse here,” Kaitlyn said. “My mom.”

“That would do it,” Hasan said.

“What do you need?” Trevor asked.

“I’ve got an RFID chip in my right triceps,” he said. “It’s how the Caliphate tracks its fighters. If I’m gonna stay with you, I’d like it taken out. This is something you’ll need to do anyway, because my leadership can see wherever I am if the chip is in me.”

“You’re chipped like livestock?” Garrett asked, grinning.

“Exactly,” Hasan said. “It’s a genius move. You didn’t know we had RFID chips?”

“No,” Trevor said. “Do all of your fighters have RFID chips?”

“All of our personnel have chips,” Hasan said. “All the way up the chain of command.”

“Holy crap,” Garrett said. “Let’s go have a brief powwow. I’ll put a couple of my men in here to watch the prisoner.”

“Can you guarantee that Hasan won’t get accidently shot?” Seth asked.

Garrett chuckled. “I’ll tell them not to. If Hasan doesn’t try anything, he’ll be fine.”

“I’m okay with that,” Trevor said.

“Me too,” Hasan said.

Garrett nodded, and slipped out of the room. Two of his men came in, both with 1873 Winchesters, wearing double six-guns. Garrett stuck his head in the door and motioned for the others to follow him out.

“I’ll stay here if you want,” Kaylee said.

“Fine with me,” Trevor said. Garrett’s men nodded in agreement.

Ji-Ho was standing outside the room with Garrett. The others joined them.

“This guy is valuable,” Garrett said.

“I agree,” Trevor said.

“Yeah,” Seth said. “We can’t slip about the RFID chips around him.”

“Agreed,” Trevor said.

“Are we going to remove his chip?” Kaitlyn asked.

“I think we should,” Seth said. “We might be able to turn this guy completely, you know.”

“You mean use him as a double agent?” Trevor asked. “Send him back to the enemy?”

“We can’t,” Ji-Ho said. “Not if we remove chip, and we must if we keep him around more than day or two.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Trevor said. “He does want out of that org, and he might still have access to some of their systems, you know.”

“Yep, if his chip disappears, they’ll probably write him off as dead,” Seth said.

“You guys okay with my mom doing this?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Do we have the stuff we need to do it?” Seth asked.

“Yes, the tribe has stuff,” Kaitlyn said. “Anesthetics, and things to keep him from getting infected, at least.”

“I say we do, and do quickly,” Ji-Ho said. “We should get other bodies and burn, so chips disappear.”

“I’ll go get my mom,” Kaitlyn said. She rushed for the stairs and climbed them.

“I think we can get this guy to join our team,” Trevor said.

“You sure about that?” Garrett asked. “Once we get the chip out of him, what’s to stop him from taking off?”

“We keep locked up for now,” Ji-Ho said. “See how he cooperates. Treat him with respect. Treat him like team member under house arrest.”

“He said there’s six-hundred thousand Islamists in the USA and Mexico,” Seth said.

“I believe,” Ji-Ho said. “I know Saladin. Only way he do this is if he has good odds. That many men good odds.”

Kaitlyn came back down the stairs, Anna following her.

“I asked her,” Kaitlyn said. “She’s okay with it.”

“Where should we do it?” Trevor asked.

“We could lay him on the kitchen counter,” Anna said. “That big island would work. We can get that granite clean enough.”

“Okay, let’s get to work,” Trevor said.

“Thanks, mom,” Kaitlyn said.

Anna nodded. They went into the parlor to get Hasan.

“Hi, I’m a registered nurse,” Anna said, moving forward and shaking hands with Hasan. “I can do the procedure. We have what we need.”

Hasan looked relieved. “Thank you. When you’re done, we need to burn the chip. I’d do that with the two men I was with, too.”

“Agreed,” Garrett said.

They escorted him out of the room.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 93 – The Hayloft

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.

“What?”

“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?”

“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…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 91 – On the Ridge

Ji-Ho got off the call with Jules, heart pounding in his chest. He was getting a little weaker every day. His hands trembled as he sent the text. He got replies right away from most of the people at the Williams Estate, and could hear the whir of motors as the coaches went into siege mode in their new locations around the property.

“Tribe out of cell range,” he muttered to himself, but then there was a ding. Sid replied, thanking him, and saying he’d spread the word. He and the others in Jeeps had their walkie-talkies on. Ji-Ho smiled, then put his own coach into siege mode. “Hope Garrett’s men in place.”

He got into the driver’s seat and brought the sight in front of his face, scanning the area with it. It was quiet. No movement at all. Then he heard the sound of horses, and grinned. Garrett’s men. He turned the sight in the direction of the sound, seeing a handful of mounted men ride up to the front of the house. He left the coach to meet them.

“Garrett,” Ji-Ho said. “You got text?”

“Felt it buzz, but haven’t checked yet,” he said as he got off his horse. The others stayed mounted, their eyes darting around nervously. “What’s up?”

“Heard from Ivan through contact named Jules. Three hundred men massing in Dulzura. Two hundred following tribe.”

“Just as we thought,” Garrett said, pulling his Winchester out of the scabbard as he walked over. “Pretty sure about where the ones in Dulzura are. We have some people watching them now. They’re hiding their numbers pretty well, though. They’ve only seen about fifteen men around.”

“Maybe not there with fifteen.”

“We’ll find out soon enough, I reckon,” Garrett said. “Might be better to go make an assault instead of waiting for them to come here. They might just get close and start lobbing mortar rounds. That wouldn’t be good.”

“How about men going to tribe?” Ji-Ho asked.

“They’re at least half way there,” Garrett said.

“Good. Where enemy location? Maybe we take a little drive with battle wagons.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” Garrett said. “They’re in a compound between Highway 94 and Marron Valley Road. Used to be a church retreat. We can probably park on those two roads and blast them, but we’ll need to move if they pull out the mortars. My men are on their way to Dulzura now, on horseback. I’m sending four hundred men in there.”

Sound good, but you look worried,” Ji-Ho said.

“They’re well equipped. Better than usual.”

“Wonderful,” Ji-Ho said. “More than mortars and RPGs?”

“Gaz Tigrs. I think you have them on firepower, but they’re more maneuverable.”

“Good thing we have new grenade launchers. M19 should handle. Save ammo on mini-gun.”

“You guys ready to move out?” Garrett asked.

“Yes, I send text. Send south on 94. Half group split off on Marron Valley road. Okay?”

“Perfect,” Garrett said. “We’re going to have ourselves a turkey shoot.”

Ji-Ho sent the text to his people as Garrett walked back to his horse. He rode off the property. Engines around the park fired up.

***

“Well, are you going to fess up, or what?” asked Shelly, glaring at Jules. Her heart was beating fast, her face flushed with a mixture of embarrassment and anger.

“What you want me say?” Jules said. “I did work for Ivan before, and work for him now in war, but not in mob for many years.”

“Why did you let me think you were a mobster?”

“Why you assume I was?” Jules asked.

“Don’t answer a question with a question,” she said. “Nothing pisses me off more than that.”

“I sorry,” Jules said. “You put me under pressure.”

“Boo ho. Answer the question.”

“You reveal everything about yourself to me?” Jules asked. “I not know about background, and I don’t press.”

“You’re avoiding the question,” she said. “You should have corrected me when I said you were a mobster.”

“Why, you just think I use to get in pants, no?”

“I’m not that shallow, you know,” Shelly said softly. “You’ve hurt my feelings.”

“Sorry,” Jules said, eyes tearing up. “I like you. Been burned before because of wealth. I didn’t want you to think of me as rich guy. I wanted you to think of me as person.”

“But what you did made me think of you as a criminal,” she said. “I need to be away from you for a while. Turn around so I can get dressed.”

He nodded and turned around. She got dressed quickly and left the coach, walking into the midday sun. Karen saw her, and raced to catch up with her as she walked.

“Are you okay?” Karen asked.

“I’m pissed,” she said.

“Did Jules do something to you?”

“He’s not being honest with me,” Shelly said, slowing down, looking at her. “He’s a phony.”

“Did he trick you into doing something you didn’t want to do?”

Shelly stopped. “No, it’s not like that. I’d better not talk about it right now.”

“Okay, whatever you want,” Karen said.

“How’d it go with you last night?”

“Tex is trying so hard,” Karen said.

“Is he getting anywhere?”

Karen sighed. “Yes, he is. Part of it is me. I’m starting to recover from the bad times, I think. I tried to put myself in the dreams last night. I couldn’t go there.”

“Why would you even try that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe to see if I’m getting better. To see if Tex is helping me.”

“How about the coach?” Shelly asked. “The bedroom?”

“That didn’t bother me at all. We both slept in there.”

“Is he still pushing you?”

Karen laughed. “I told him he could have me last night if he wanted to.”

“Really?”

“Yes,” Karen said. “He wouldn’t.”

“Why not?”

“He said he knows I’m not ready,” Karen said.

“Is that true?”

Karen was silent for a moment, then looked at Shelly. “Yes, but I’m getting closer.”

“You’re starting to like him,” Shelly said. “I can see it in your eyes.”

“He told me that he loves me last night,” Karen said softly.

“That’s a good thing, though, right?”

“I kinda forced it out of him,” Karen said. “I don’t know what I should do.”

“Just relax and let whatever happens happen,” Shelly said. “He’s not rushing you. Take advantage of that.”

“I’m coming to that conclusion,” she said. “Why are you so mad at Jules? Seemed like you two were getting closer.”

“We were on a call with Ivan, and he slipped in a comment about Jules wanting to take me back to the farm.”

“Why would that make you mad?”

“He let me believe that he’s a mobster,” Shelly said. “Honesty is important to me.”

Karen stared at her for a moment. “This is what you want, though, isn’t it? Maybe you should give him a chance.”

Shelly looked into her eyes, her face turning red again, anger flashing.

“You knew.”

Karen looked down for a moment, then back at her. “Yes, I knew. Tex told me.”

“You didn’t tell me, after our talks? Dammit. You’re as bad as he is.”

“I’m sorry,” Karen said. “Don’t be mad. Think about it.”

“I can’t be around you either,” Shelly said sharply. “Leave me alone.” She hurried away from Karen, out into the big field behind the house, crying now, the feeling of humiliation washing over her.

***

“Listen,” Sam said. “That sounds like Jeeps coming.”

“I think you’re right,” Erica said, stopping for a moment, wiping sweat off her brow. The mid-afternoon sun was beating down hard on them.

“Wonder how far back they are now?” Sam asked, taking a drink from his water bottle. He offered it to Erica, and she took a swig.

“Don’t mind my cooties now, eh?” she said, smiling. “I hope we live through this.”

“Sounds like there’s a message in that comment,” Sam said.

“Oh, please,” she said, handing the bottle back to him. “Us women understand looks like you’ve been giving me for the last couple days. When we get past this, better pencil in a few days of alone time with me. I’m gonna wear you out.”

Sam chuckled and shook his head. “See that next ridge? Maybe we can see the enemy from up there.” He pointed at a rocky ridge to the left of the trail ahead of them.

“Maybe,” Erica said. “If those vehicles we heard were the Jeeps, things will be moving quickly, I suspect.”

“We’ll need Garrett’s men to take on the Islamists. They’re on horseback, so they may be a little while longer.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Erica said. “They can go as the crow flies. Good chance that they’re close by already.”

“Hope so,” Sam said.

They started the long climb up to the ridge, getting on top after about half an hour.

“Well, if we want to look, we’ll have to go over there,” Sam said, pointing to the right. “See those rocks up there?”

“Yep,” Erica said. “That’ll cost us a little time.”

“True, but might be worth it. C’mon.”

They scrambled off the trail and onto the jagged ridge, trying to keep behind the bushes and trees as best they could, making it to the rocks in ten minutes. They climbed up behind a big boulder and peered over.

“Crap, look,” Sam whispered. “They’re closer than they were. They didn’t stop for the night.”

“Well, at least they’re as tired as we are,” Erica said, looking with her brow furrowed. “We could take a few pot shots and pin them down.”

“That’ll give away our position,” Sam said.

“They already know where we are.”

“True. Let’s see if we’ve got cell coverage.” Sam pulled out his phone and looked, then hit Sid’s contact, giving Erica a thumb up sign.

“Sam,” Sid said. “Hear us come in, I suspect.”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “We’re up on the last ridge. The Islamists are not far behind. I can see them well. Could take some potshots to hold them. Maybe we should bring mortars up here and let them have it.”

“If we don’t do something quick, they’ll be past the kill zone,” Erica whispered.

“What was that?” Sid asked.

“Erica just said if we don’t slow them down fast they’ll be past the kill zone. She’s right. Where are you?”

“With the main group,” Sid said. “Ed is with me, and Tyler, and a few others.”

“Where are Garrett’s men?”

“Just sent them the GPS coordinates. They’re about half a mile away. Not far since they’re on horseback. They’ll be here quickly.”

“I think we should fire on them, but all we have is an M16 and an AK-47.”

“Where exactly are you?” Sid asked.

“Use Find My Friends on your phone,” Sam said.

“Oh, yeah, forgot about that.” He laughed. “Hell, you’re only four hundred yards away. Hit them. We’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Ed’s got my M60 in the back of his hovercraft. Bring it along, okay?”

“Okay, and we’ve got BARs with us too. See you in a few. Hold them down.”

Sam ended the call, and looked over at Erica, who already had an Islamists in her sights. “Fire.”

She smiled and pulled the trigger, exploding the Islamist’s head.  “That got their attention. Looks like an ant hill after pouring gasoline on it.”

Sam nodded and opened fire with his M-16, taking out several Islamists as the others fled, screaming in Arabic.

“Look, some are trying to go around that way,” Erica said. “See them?”

“Good eye,” Sam said as he aimed and fired.

“Some on the other side too,” Erica said, shooting several men. Then gunfire erupted from below, hitting the front of the ridge, rock chips flying.

“They’ve made our position,” Sam said. “Keep your head down.”

Erica nodded and fired again, hitting two more Islamists as they tried to scurry out of the kill zone.

Shots came at them from the left side of the ridge, hitting rocks again.

“Dammit, there’s another group over there,” Sam said. “This isn’t good. They’re on two sides of us.”

“Can you see them?” Erica asked.

“No, but I have a pretty good idea where they are. I’m gonna watch. Keep an eye on the first group.”

“Okay,” Erica said, squeezing off a couple more rounds.

Sam’s phone dinged. He looked at it. “Sid. He’ll be up here in about two minutes. They’re setting up the mortars. Asking for coordinates.”

“You know how to do that?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Sam said. His comment was punctuated by another shot from the left, whizzing over his head. He aimed and fired several times into the bushes, a man screaming below. “That got their attention.” He texted the coordinates for both groups of Islamists to Sid.

More gunfire came at them, Erica having to slip down for a moment. When it stopped, she moved over a few feet and took aim, killing several men who were trying to rush up the side of the hill.

“We have the advantage,” Erica said, “at least with position.”

“There’s a lot of them down there, and we’ll run out of ammo before too long,” Sam said. He fired again to the left, hitting a couple of men. “They were trying to set up a mortar.”

“Crap,” Erica said. “Where’s our friends? I’m almost out of ammo.”

“Me too,” Sam said. Then there was a pop from behind them, and the area to the left exploded. “Whoa, nice shot.”

“Seriously,” Erica said. Another pop came from behind them, and there was an explosion in front of the main group. “That one was short, sweetie.”

“Sweetie?” Sam asked. He texted to Sid as another shot towards the left group blew up below. A large secondary explosion went off. Then there were shots from the extreme right side. Erica moved quickly over towards Sam as he texted frantically to Sid with the third location.

“They’re getting around us,” Erica said. “I’ve only got about ten rounds left.”

“Dammit,” Sam said. A mortar round came down right in the middle of the main center group, more secondary explosions going off, but there were new shots from the left side.

“Where’s those bigger guns?” Erica asked.

“Almost here, I hope,” Sam said as he fired on the left side group. “Dammit, I’m out.”

Another mortar popped, and a round came down on the right side.

“Short again,” Erica shouted as the gunfire from below ramped up. Sam texted to Sid, and then Tyler, Ryan, and James arrived, with Sam’s M60, two BARs, and a bunch of AK-47 ammo, which they handed to Erica.

“Thank God,” Erica said, loading her magazines as fast as she could.

“You guys were out of ammo?” Ryan asked.

“There’s a crapload of Islamists down there,” Sam said as he picked up the M60. “This is gonna get their attention. He opened up, spewing rounds all along the bottom of the hill, catching the Islamists rushing up by surprise, killing most of them. Then Ryan and Tyler opened up with the BARs, one on the left side, the other on the right. Erica was back in action now, firing at the right position.

“They’re going to get around us,” James said, firing a BAR into the main group. “They keep coming. We can’t hit all of them from here.”

Mortar rounds fired, three at almost the same time, exploding in all three enemy positions.

“No secondary explosions that time,” Sam said. “They’re moving around us. Dammit!”

There was the pop of a mortar from in front of them, and the area behind the ridge exploded.

“Oh, no!” James yelled.

“I see where they are,” Sam said, firing a volley into a wooded area on the right, killing the men who were manning the mortar. Several more rushed in to take their place as Sam texted the position to Sid.

Gunfire erupted behind them.

“They’ve gotten to the tribe,” Ryan shouted. “What do we do?”

“Unless we want several hundred more joining them, we’d better stay up here,” Tyler said.

“Keep your focus,” Erica shouted. “There’s more coming up the middle, see them?” She opened fire, the others joining her with the BARs and M60, stopping the group just before they were hit with a mortar round.

“Yeah, take that, suckas,” Ryan shouted.

“Stay sharp,” Sam said, his brow furrowed as he fired on yet another group, rushing in from the left side.

“Where they all coming from?” James asked. Gunfire intensified behind them.

“How many good fighters do we have with the tribe?” Sam asked.

“Quite a few,” Tyler said. “It won’t be easy for the enemy, but if Garrett’s men don’t show up in a hurry, we’re toast.”

“Yeah, there’s too many of them,” James said.

“Don’t go soft on us, boys,” Erica shouted, firing again on a group that was rushing up the hill from the right group. “C’mon, help me!”

Tyler and Ryan opened fire with the BARs. Sam was still busy with the enemy on the left side, the massive firepower of the M60 keeping them at bay.

Another mortar round flew at them, flying too far, but closer than the first one.

“Where’d that come from?” Sam asked.

“Right side,” Erica said, firing at the position. “I just wasted their team, but there were others right there. We’re gonna get hit again.”

Sam rushed over with the M60 and fired at the mortar, breaking it, setting off the ammo box next to it.

“That’ll hold them up for a few minutes,” Ryan shouted. Then he opened fire on the middle group again, hitting a mortar team starting to set up, then firing on the mortar tube and the ammo box, setting it off.

“Nice job, man,” Tyler said.

Another large group ran towards the ridge from the left, stepping over the bodies of their dead compatriots. Most of them were mowed down by fire from the BARs, but then another group followed.

“There’s too many of them,” James shouted.

“Wait, listen,” Erica said. She looked over at Sam and grinned.

The pounding of hundreds of horse hoofs approached from behind them.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 89 – Call for Help

“Is that everything?” Trevor asked, carrying a bundle of items out of Ji-Ho’s rig.

“Yep,” Kaylee said, arms also full. “We hardly have anything.”

Trevor chuckled. “True.”

They walked to the Black coach and climbed the steps. Ji-Ho and two techs were still in there, giving a training presentation to several of the others.

“We better wait for a few minutes,” Kaylee said. “Look, there’s a picnic table there. Let’s set the stuff down and sit for a few minutes.”

“Okay,” Trevor said. He set down his bundle, then sat on the table with his feet on the bench. Kaylee snuggled in next to him.

“What do you want to do for the rest of the day?”

Trevor shot her a wicked grin.

“Other than that,” she said. “I’m a little sore.”

“Yeah, when we get started, we get a little intense,” Trevor said. “Is it wrong to want it again already?”

“No,” she said. “Wonder when the first mission is gonna be?”

“I heard Garrett and Ji-Ho talking about a base,” Trevor said. “Supposed to be the last big one in the area.”

“Was it the one they were talking about a few days ago?” Kaylee asked.

“Nope, this was based on new intelligence,” Trevor said. “We’re going to hit them on I-8. Apparently, they’ve been using that as a replacement for Highway 94.”

“That’s the one that the Dulzura folks stopped up in the pass, right?”

“Yep,” Trevor said. “I think we’re a few days away from starting that campaign, though. Don’t worry about it yet.”

“Look, they’re done,” Kaylee said, nodding towards the group of people leaving their coach. Ji-Ho saw them and walked over.

“Moving in,” Ji-Ho said. “Good.”

“How’d the training go?” Trevor asked.

“Okay,” Ji-Ho said. “We need hands-on. Maybe take to area where we can fire and not attract attention.”

“This might be as good as anywhere,” Kaylee said.

“Maybe,” Ji-Ho said. “Tribe got attacked on trail.”

“No, really?” Trevor asked. “Sam okay?”

“Yes, they kill,” Ji-Ho said. “Short work.”

How long until they get back?” Kaylee asked.

“Two day,” Ji-Ho said, “unless they walk through night. Discussion go on about that now.”

“Aren’t some of them older people?” Kaylee asked.

“Yes, and some children. I expect they don’t push too hard.”

Clem walked over. “Ji-Ho, we just heard from Garrett. Meeting in two hours. About the next attack. They’re coming here, bringing some Barbeque.”

Ji-Ho nodded and gave thumbs up, then turned back to Trevor and Kaylee. “You two should attend.”

“Be glad to, wouldn’t we?” Trevor asked, looking at Kaylee, who nodded yes.

“Good, then stow items, make self at home in coach for two hours,” Ji-Ho said. “I go take nap.”

He walked away slowly.

“I don’t like the way he’s moving,” Kaylee said. “He looks like an old man now.”

“He’s not young, you know,” Trevor said.

“I know he’s not, but he shouldn’t be changing so fast all of a sudden.”

“Let’s take our stuff in,” Trevor said. Kaylee nodded, and they grabbed it off the picnic table and carried it into the rig. Trevor shut the door behind them, then set his pile down on the couch and pulled Kaylee to himself.

“Oh no you don’t,” she said. “Let’s stow this in the back.”

“Oh, all right,” Trevor said, smiling at her. He picked his stuff up and followed her into the bedroom. They stowed it, and then she escaped to the salon before he could grab her, giggling on the way.

“Hey, no fair,” he said, grinning at her.

“We should talk, since I’ve got your attention,” she said, sitting down on the couch. She patted the spot next to her. He sat.

“Okay, what’s on your mind?” he asked.

“If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, something’s going to happen. You know that, right?”

“You want me to be more careful? Or do you want to get some stuff at the drug store?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Where is this going?”

“You want to be serious, don’t you?” Trevor asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“You want what Kaitlyn and Megan are about to go through,” Trevor said.

“No,” she said quickly, then thinking for a moment. “Maybe. What do you want?”

“You,” he said, “but you already knew that.”

“How sure are you?”

He looked at her, seeing how worked up she was. “Hey, you okay?”

“I’m afraid we’re going to be killed before we’re really together,” she said.

“We’re really together right now,” he said, pulling her close, wiping tears off her cheeks.

She sighed. “I know, I’m being dumb.”

“No you’re not,” he said. “You want Tyler to do a ceremony?” I’m game.”

“We aren’t Indians,” she said.

“Fine, then let’s see if there’s a justice of the peace in Dulzura.”

“You’d do that?”

“Of course,” he said.

“But you haven’t on your own. You’ve only said it after I was upset. I’m pushing you into it.”

Trevor chuckled. “You are the most important part of my life by far,” Trevor said. “I’m kind of a dork. I don’t show what I’m thinking easily, especially with girls. You know that. You’ve known me for a long time.”

“Don’t say that,” she said. “You’re not a dork. I feel the same way about you. You’re the most important part of my life too.”

“Then we should do it,” Trevor said.

“What would your parents think?”

“They’d love you,” Trevor said.

“We aren’t the same race.”

Trevor laughed. “Are you serious? My mom’s sister is married to a Japanese man. Has been for thirty years. He’s my mom’s favorite relative. Trust me. She’s not like that at all.”

“You’re her son, though,” she said. “Sometimes that makes a difference.”

“Would it make a difference to your parents?”

“Yeah, it would, but I don’t care, and they’ll like you once we start popping out kids.”

“Oh, so that’s how it is,” he said, smiling at her.

“Stop it. It doesn’t matter to me.”

“I know,” Trevor said.

“Maybe we should talk about something else.”

“Kaylee?” Trevor asked, his face serious.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Will you be my wife? Will you marry me?”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“Answer the question,” he said, stern look on his face.

“You really mean it, don’t you?”

“Yes, I really mean it,” Trevor said. “I want to be with you for the rest of my life.”

“Oh, Trevor,” she said, pulling him in for a hug, shaking as she cried. He pulled back from her.

“Answer the question.”

“Yes,” she said, smiling, then laughing. “Of course, yes.”

They kissed tenderly, then backed up and looked into each other’s eyes.

***

“Ed’s been behind us for too long,” Erica said, trudging along next to Sam in the mid-afternoon heat.

“Should we go backwards and find him?”

Erica thought about it for a moment.

They stopped walking.

“No, we should keep going,” Erica said. “He had two warriors with him, and they’re well-armed. I’m just being paranoid.”

“Okay,” Sam said.

They walked silently for a while, Erica’s brow furrowed.

“We could try to call him,” Sam said.

“Maybe in a little while,” Erica said. “We don’t have much juice left in our phones, remember?”

“Wait, I hear him,” Sam said. “Listen.”

Erica turned her head backwards and then smiled. “Yes, that’s him.”

See, he’s fine,” Sam said. They continued walking, listening to the sound of the hovercraft getting closer and closer, and then it was right behind them. They turned around and watched as Ed drove next to them. He looked at them, brow furrowed.

“What’s wrong?” Erica asked.

“There’s a couple hundred Islamists on our tail.”

The two warriors in the craft nodded in agreement.

“Any chance we can take them on?” Sam asked.

“Maybe, if we had a perfect setup,” one of the warriors said.

“Describe perfect,” Sam asked.

“Nice ridges that we could fire on them from,” Ed said. “There’s nowhere like that for the rest of the trip.”

“We need superior numbers, then, don’t we?” Erica asked.

“It’s a race against time, at this point,” Ed said. “If we keep going, they’ll have a hard time catching us. They’re a few miles behind us, and they’re not moving quite as fast.”

One of the warriors nodded in agreement. “They obviously aren’t used to walking through this terrain the way that our people are.”

“Even if we keep going, we’ll have to deal with them eventually,” Erica said.

“Yes, but we’ve got a lot of strength at the destination,” Sam said. “Garrett has a lot of people, and we have those battle wagons too.”

“Do we need to warn them?” Erica asked.

Sam froze for a moment, then smiled. “I have an idea.”

“What?” Ed asked.

“Garrett’s men ride,” Sam said. “Maybe we ought to have them ride their horses out here with a few hundred men.”

“You think they would do that?” Ed asked.

“Probably,” Sam said. “I’ll make the call, but my phone battery is getting pretty close to dead.”

“We’ll charge you guys up,” Ed said. “That’s not a problem.”

“I’ll bet the folks who came in Jeeps would come too,” Sam said. “There are others with Jeeps as well. Don’t know if we have good enough drivers for all of them, though.”

“Call,” Ed said, “but while you’re walking. I’m going up to warn the others. We don’t camp tonight.”

“Roger that,” Sam said, pulling out his phone. “Crap. No service.”

“Don’t worry, there’s a higher place that we’ll get to in about an hour,” Erica said. “That’ll probably give you service.”

“See you soon,” Ed said. He took off in the hovercraft with the two warriors.

“He’s worried,” Erica said.

“Yeah, that’s pretty obvious,” Sam said.

“What if they can’t get here fast enough?”

“Then we’ll take them on when we get to Dulzura,” Sam said. “We’ve got almost nine hundred fighters waiting for us there.”

“What if there are more bad guys on their way to Dulzura?” Erica asked. “On the highway instead of this trail?”

“Then we fight them,” Sam said. “Maybe we die. Maybe we live. I feel like I’m on borrowed time anyway.”

“You don’t look worried, though,” Erica said.

“I’m not,” he said. “Not anymore.”

“Why?”

“I can’t tell you. Just trust me.”

“No, that’s not good enough,” she said. “It was that dream last night, wasn’t it? You seem more relaxed since last night.”

“Maybe I’m more relaxed because of what we did,” Sam said, glancing at him.

She started into his eyes for a moment as they walked. “No, something’s different. Tell me.”

“It’s just a dream,” Sam said. “If it makes me feel more confident, just go with it.”

“Just go with it,” she said. “Sounds like Ed.”

Sam chuckled. “Yeah, that’s what he said about you. Just go with it.”

She looked at him, a smile on her face. “Crap, your wife told you something in that dream.”

“I really don’t want to go into it,” Sam said. “It’s dumb.” He pulled out his phone and looked at it.

“Nothing, right?” Erica asked. “Told you. We need to be at the higher place.”

“Okay, you’re right,” he said. “Just anxious, that’s all.”

“But every time you check you turn on the screen. It uses more battery.”

“I know,” Sam said.

“You’re really not going to tell me, are you?”

“Nope,” Sam said. “Is it going to make you angry?”

“A little, maybe,” Erica said.

They walked along for another half an hour, the grade of the trail climbing. “That’s it up there,” he said. “Isn’t it?”

“Yes,” she said, “but it’s further than it looks. You aren’t complaining about soreness as much now.”

“You were right,” Sam said. “This is getting me into better shape. I’m into it now. I feel great.”

“Good. Especially now that we probably won’t bed down tonight.”

“Listen,” Sam said. “Ed’s coming back.”

“Maybe he’s got some news,” Erica said.

“Here he comes, at a good clip. He’s alone.”

He pulled up and stopped by them.

“Climb in you two,” he said. “Plug your phone in here.” He held up a charging cable. “You’ve got Apple, right?”

“Yeah,” Sam said, climbing in and then helping Erica. He fished his phone out of his pocket and plugged it in as the engine vibrated the craft.

“Hold on,” he said, heading forward.

“How’d they take it?” Erica asked. “Not stopping for the night, that is?”

“Same as they always do,” Ed said. “Grit and determination.”

“That’s what I expected,” Sam said. “You have a strong culture and strong people.”

“We do,” Ed said. “Thanks for noticing.”

They sped up the grade, getting to the top. “Okay, try it now.”

Sam nodded and pulled the phone towards him, leaving it plugged in, bending down to get close enough. “Only got one bar. Hope it’s enough.” He hit Sid’s contact. It rang twice.

“Sam?” Sid asked. “Everything okay?”

“Hi, Sid,” Sam said. “No, we’re being followed by a couple hundred Islamists.”

“Dammit,” Sid said. “How far away?”

“Maybe a mile,” Sam said. “We aren’t stopping tonight. Hopefully they will, and it’ll allow us to gain some ground.”

“You guys are scaring me,” Sid said. “You didn’t call just to say that. You want the cavalry out there, don’t ya?”

“How’d you guess. You know what trail we’re on. Think you could have a chat with Garrett and Ji-Ho?”

“Perfect timing,” Sid said. “I’ll go talk to them now. You said a couple hundred, right?”

“Yep,” Sam said.

“All right. How hard will it be to have another call?”

“I don’t know,” Sam said. “Spotty coverage. We’re at the top of a ridge right now. Once we get off it I might be in the dark.”

“Okay, don’t worry,” Sid said. “I suspect Garrett and his men would love a little cavalry operation. You know those guys. We’ll bring the Jeeps too. And mortars and our other toys.”

“Great, thanks,” Sam said. “Talk to you soon, I hope.”

“If you don’t hear from me, trust that I’ve got help on the way, all right?”

“All right, thanks,” Sam said. He ended the call.

“Well?” Erica asked.

“Sounds good,” Sam said. “Garrett just happens to be at the Williams place right now. He also said they’d bring the Jeeps with some of our toys.”

“Toys?” Ed asked.

“Mortars, M60s, BARs, a few RPGs. Everything you need for a good party.”

Erica snickered and shook her head. “I’m gonna like these folks.”

“And they’re gonna like you,” Sam said.

“I’ll get you guys up with the main group. We’re gonna pass out food and rest for about ten minutes, then be on our way again. Can you still cover the back door?”

“Whatever you need,” Sam said.

Erica touched his arm, their eyes meeting as the hovercraft sped towards the main group. She mouthed I love you to him.

***

Dinner was over, and desert, and after-dinner drinks. The rows of picnic tables still look festive between the warehouse and the groundkeeper’s quarters, with strings of clear lights above them.

A tech approached Jules and whispered in his ear as he talked to Ted and Cody. He nodded at Shelly, who was sitting at the next picnic table over, chatting with Karen. She nodded back, then got up and came over.

“Is our coach ready?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “I’ll go get if you want to keep talking to Karen.”

“No, she’s leaving now anyway,” Shelly said.

“Where Tex?”

“Already in their coach,” Shelly said as Jules got up. “She’s nervous about that bedroom.”

“I hope it better,” Jules said. “Might not be enough.”

“We’ll see,” Shelly said.

“Still resist Tex?”

Shelly smiled and glanced at him. “Funny how men and women are.”

“What mean?”

“She’s interested in what’s going on between you and me, and I’m interested in what’s going on between her and Tex.”

Jules chuckled. “Humans.”

“Yeah, we’re something, aren’t we?” Shelly said. They entered the warehouse, the technician waiting for them by the door.

“There’s just a couple things I need to show you, sir,” the Tech said. He led them inside. “First of all, watch your head. This grenade launcher is in a bad place.”

Jules chuckled as he looked at it, an octagon-shaped structure hanging down from the ceiling. “You right. No matter how much I try, I still bump head. Wait and see.”

“We put this hard rubber on the outside,” the tech said, pushing on it, “but it’s not going to be enough if you’re moving fast when you hit it. Please be careful.”

“Okay,” Jules said, smiling, shooting a glance at Shelly. “You shorter. Not as bad.”

“Yes, not as bad,” Shelly said. “Watch me bump my head too.”

The tech opened the rear part of the structure. “Load here. Make sure the belt feeds properly through here and here.” He pointed to the spots, making sure that both Jules and Shelly saw it.

“No problem,” Jules said. “What else?”

“In front, see the new sight above the passenger seat?”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“The driver has to send the control to the passenger.” He showed a lever on the side of the driver’s sight.

“Can the passenger fire both mini gun and M19?”

“Yes,” the tech said. “The two sights work the same. The passenger might have their hands full, because the controls for the front and rear machine guns are still on the tray in front of the seat.”

“Understand. Can one sight fire both big guns at same time?”

“Yes, but it’s a new feature. It’s a little buggy. I’d avoid it if possible.”

“How could you do both at once?” Shelly asked.

“The dual mode splits the screen into two separate reticles,” the tech said. “Like I said, avoid it for now. We ran out of test time. You’ll probably get some updated software in the next few days.”

“We got,” Jules said. “What else?”

“Bedroom sight,” the tech said, walking back there. “Come in.”

Shelly and Jules joined him.

“See, on mini gun structure. Pull this down and in front of your face.”

Shelly laughed. “So, we can lay in bed and fire?”

“Yes,” the tech said. “We had a lot of fun with this back at the plant.”

“Yes,” Jules said, a sly grin on his face. “I bet.”

“Is this all?” Shelly asked.

“Yep, that’s it,” the tech said. “There are the added siege mode features, but they don’t require any change in procedures.”

“Okay, good,” Shelly said. “Let’s get this thing out of here. I’m tired.”

“Yes, let’s,” Jules said.

The tech nodded. “It’s all yours.”

“Good,” Jules said. “How many more?”

“Four,” he said. “We’ll be done mid-day tomorrow.”

“All right, thank you,” Jules said. He got into the driver’s seat and brought the rig out of siege mode, as Shelly sat in the passenger seat. He drove slowly out of the warehouse, then drove to the place they’d been parked before, backing in quickly. “I go hook up.”

“Good,” Shelly said. “See you in a couple minutes.”

He left the coach. Shelly took a paper towel, got it damp, and then wiped off a few places where she saw grease smudges, just finishing as Jules got back inside.

“Everything look okay?” he asked, closing the door behind him.

“Just a few smudges,” she said. “They’re gone. I’m going to bed.”

“I join, okay?”

“Okay, normal rules apply.”

“Of course,” he said, smiling at her.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 88 – Shadow Government

Jules backed the coach into the work bay, Shelly in the passenger seat. “I think we in.”

“The tech is motioning to keep moving backwards,” Shelly said.

“Okay,” he said, giving the massive coach a little more gas.

“Hold it there,” Shelly said.

Jules shut down the coach. “What time?”

“It’s about five,” Shelly said. “What time is dinner?”

“Six,” Jules said. “Walk?”

“Sure, why not,” Shelly said, getting out of her seat. Jules followed her out the door of the rig.

“How long?” Jules asked the tech.

“Five hours,” he replied.

“So, we sleep in house tonight?”

“No, you’ll have this back by about ten,” the tech said. “We’ll have two more coaches in here to work on by then, and they’ll use the house.”

“Okay,” Jules said. “Thank you.”

“I’m just as glad,” Shelly said as they walked out. “That coach kinda feels like home now.”

“Yes,” Jules said. “It is home.”

“Hey, Partner,” Tex said as he saw them leaving the warehouse. “They’re doing yours now, huh?”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“Hi, Tex,” Shelly said. “Where’s Karen?”

“She’s inside freshening up,” Tex said.

“Things all right between you two?” she asked.

“We’re past the battle stage, I think,” he said with a sheepish grin.

“Good,” Shelly said.

“Yes, good,” Jules said. “How’s coach?”

“They did a great job,” Tex said. “Love the sight on the M19, and I love that we can shoot either gun from three different locations in the coach.”

“Three locations?” Shelly asked.

“Both front seats, and bedroom,” Jules said.

“Bedroom? Why?”

“It’d be a life saver if we get attacked while we’re asleep, little lady,” Tex said. “I was wondering why Ivan would be okay with gutting our bedroom. They used ours as the pilot to do that retrofit.”

“The bedroom fine now?” Jules asked.

“Seems fine,” Tex said. “We’ll see how it is to sleep in tonight. What are you guys up to?”

“Walk before dinner,” Jules said.

“How romantic,” Tex chided.

“Shut up,” Shelly said. A faint smile washed over her face.

“I’m just kidding, little lady. Enjoy.”

Jules and Shelly walked off, down a path with a canopy of tree branches.

“It’s pretty here,” Shelly said.

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Reminds me of family estate in Belgium.”

“Your family has an estate?” Shelly asked, looking up at him.

“Yes.”

“Still?” she asked.

“Still,” he said. “Sister and brother there. Me when I’m in Europe.”

“You don’t like it over there anymore? Or did you leave when Ivan was forced out of the EU?”

Jules chuckled. “I not follow Ivan out, if that’s what you say.”

“You didn’t? Then why did you leave?”

“American citizen,” Jules said.

“You’re an American citizen?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “Fifteen year.”

“Are you still a citizen of Belgium?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “Family business still there. Dual citizen. Sticky mess with taxes, but I put up with.”

“Why are you over here now, with all this mess? Couldn’t you just ride this mess out from there?”

Jules chuckled. “You not understand war fully.”

“It’s just a bunch of crazy jihadists trying to spread Islam,” Shelly said. “Isn’t it?”

“Then why UN here?” Jules asked.

“I was wondering about that,” she said.

“You don’t think they here for moral purpose, I hope.”

“There’s been stories of UN Peacekeepers abusing populations before,” Shelly said.

“UN over here using martial law, rape, and murder to subjugate population. This my country. I stop. I fight.”

Shelly looked at him, the wheels turning in her head.

“You know Globalists control EU and UN, no?”

“That’s conspiracy theory stuff, isn’t it?” Shelly asked.

Jules looked at her, watching her think it through.

“Quit staring at me like that. It feels like you can see into my brain.”

“Sorry,” Jules said, looking forward again.

“Why would the Globalists want to send the UN over here to subjugate Americans?”

Jules chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” she asked, starting to get annoyed. “They’re here to help with the Islamists, right?”

“UN and Islamists on same team. Work together. EU involved. This why I not stay there.”

“Crap,” Shelly said. “Is the US Government in on this?”

“Yes.”

“Dammit,” Shelly said.

Jules stopped walking, and pulled her close. “You part of resistance. Be proud.”

“Wait a minute,” she said, pulling herself away from him. “This isn’t making sense.”

“Sorry,” Jules said, backing away, eyes still on her. It wasn’t anger in his eyes. It was love and pride. “You on verge of understanding.”

“You’re saying that my own government participated in my rape.”

“Yes,” Jules said, “but own government no longer of people. This is what we fight to take back. We stop their pilot project in west.”

“Pilot project?”

“Martial law in California,” Jules said. “Pilot for whole country.”

“So why are they working with the Islamists?”

“They think muscle help them,” Jules said. “Saladin turn. Take world for Caliphate after Globalists win.”

“How come this kind of fighting isn’t going on in the EU?”

“EU already subjugate people. Royalty still in control of Europe. No guns for people, no free speech for people, restrictions on everything. Noose in place around European neck. If America fall, trap door under Europe kicked out from under people.”

Shelly was starting to tremble, looking up at him with teary eyes. “This can’t be true. You’re lying.”

“Don’t worry,” Jules said softly. “They stupid. We win. Martial law gone in LA and Orange Counties. Nearly gone south of there. Gone in rural areas to east. Now we make final assault. Take back northern areas.”

“What if they send in reinforcements? They must have huge resources.”

“Three hundred fifty million guns in citizen hands,” Jules said. “That what spoil plan. That why constant gun control talk come from Feds over many years. Won’t work. Once people really free, tyranny very difficult for Globalists to impose.”

Shelly was silent for a few minutes as they walked.

“Are you really a mobster?” she asked.

Jules laughed. “I said. Resistance. That full time job for now.”

“Is Ivan a mobster?”

“Same as me for now,” Jules said. “Later go back, maybe.”

“He’s going to take over if we win, isn’t he?”

Jules laughed.

“That isn’t funny.”

“No, Ivan not do that. Even if want, he have same problem Globalists have. Can’t fight army of three hundred million.”

“I have to think this whole thing through,” Shelly said. “We should turn back. Dinner will be soon.”

“Yes,” Jules said. “Hungry.”

“Do the others know?” Shelly asked.

“Tex, Sparky, Ted, and Cody know. Robbie smart, figured out on own. Small wonder.”

“Why small wonder?”

“Father key to victory in Southwest,” Jules said. “Don’t tell anybody.”

“Who’s his father?”

“Genius,” Jules said. “Hope to meet someday. You handle top secret?”

“Top secret?”

“Yes, tell nobody, even inner circle. You can do, no?”

Shelly searched his eyes. “Why would you tell me?”

“You’re my second,” Jules said.

“What do you mean by that? If something happens to you, I wouldn’t be running things, would I?”

“No,” Jules said. “Tex. I mean you’re my right-hand person. You must know what I know.”

“You trust me that much?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “You can’t tell this? Should be obvious by now, no?”

She sighed. “I know you like me, but this is different.”

“Different, yes, but not unconnected,” Jules said. “Well?”

“Yes, you can trust me, Jules,” Shelly said, “and I trust you.”

“You trust me?”

“Several nights sleeping naked in bed with you,” Shelly said. “You haven’t tried anything. You won’t, unless I let you. I know that.”

“Good, that true,” Jules said. “Robbie. Ivan and I make think he in danger because of father.”

“What do you mean?”

“Robbie find out father is leader of resistance.”

“How? Is he talking to him?”

“Communications difficult. Father thinks Robbie in army.”

“Oh, a cover story,” Shelly said. “So how?”

“Internet searches. Ran across photo of resistance camp in Utah. Parent’s motor home on picture. Mom’s face behind windshield.”

“Did you know about that?”

“No,” Jules said. “No idea. Ivan and I make plan to keep him with group no matter what.”

“Why?”

“Protect,” Jules said. “If enemy know, they use.”

“How do you know his father is really that important?”

“General Hogan tell Ivan when they chat,” Jules said.

“Still not getting this.”

“I make sound like Ivan wants to lock up or kill Robbie so he can’t be used against father,” Jules said. “Hated to do. Now Robbie scared, but Ted and Sparky made him believe he’ll be okay.”

“You don’t want him sneaking off to join his parents, then?”

“Right,” Jules said, “and we don’t want enemy to see internet searches on father either. This make Robbie think twice. That all.”

“Couldn’t you just tell him the truth?”

“No,” Jules said.

“Why not?”

“It parents,” Jules said. “Emotions charge situation. He might monitor, see trouble, want to save. That would be bad.”

“Oh, I get it,” she said. “There’s a lot that I don’t know, isn’t there?”

“You know more than most of group; almost as much as me.”

“What don’t I know?” she asked.

He chuckled. “I not show management workup, but I will.”

“Management workup?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “We rate team like I rate normal employees. Code. Work to develop.”

“Who did this rating, exactly?”

“I, with Tex, Ted, and Sparky,” he said.

“So how did I rate?”

Jules chuckled. “I figured you’d ask.”

“Sorry,” she said. “You don’t have to tell me.”

“You in chief of staff position,” Jules said. “Useful for you to know.”

“You’ve got this written down, don’t you?”

Jules laughed. “I run multi-million-dollar business. We do with executive team. All executives do.”

Shelly thought about it for a moment. “You’re right. We did that when I was producing.”

“Yes,” Jules said. “What you and I do valuable. You understand that, no?”

“Never thought of it that way,” she said.

“We rank leader, trusted, probation, high potential,” Jules said. Color code. I like visuals.” He pulled out his phone and brought up a file, showing it to her.

“My name is coded in red,” she said. “What does that mean?”

“High potential,” Jules said.

“Oh,” she said, smiling at him. “Thank you.”

“Welcome, but not gift. You are what you are.”

“Oh,” she said. “Blue is obviously leadership. What’s green?”

“Trusted,” Jules said.

“And yellow?”

“Probation,” Jules said.

“Is that bad?”

“No, not bad, unproven,” Jules said. “Trusted people participated in battles before.”

“Okay, I get it,” she said. “What are those black blocks. I can’t read names.”

Jules looked at her silently, tears forming around his eyes. “They sacrificed.”

“Oh, God, it’s the people who are dead now,” Shelly said. “This really bothers you, doesn’t it?”

“Does,” he said, “I’m too emotional. My flaw.”

“That’s far from a flaw,” Shelly said.

“I can’t talk about. I hid names because of that.”

She put her arm around his waist. “It’s okay.”

“Hey, Jules, wondered where you were,” Sparky said, walking towards them with Dana. “Dinner’s almost ready. Smells good.”

“Hi,” Shelly said. “We were just on a walk. It’s so pretty here.”

“Isn’t it?” Dana asked, smiling, arm around Sparky’s waist. Shelly realized hers was still around Jules and dropped it, face turning red.

“Let’s eat,” Jules said, smiling. “Famished.”

“Yeah,” Sparky said. “Me too.”

They walked towards the house.

***

“Sam, come over here.”

His head snapped around, looking at the trail, dark and cold. “Connie?”

“Who do you think it is, sweetheart? Did you forget my voice already?”

“No, I,” he said.

“Softly, or they’ll hear,” Connie whispered. Her form walked towards him, in a white shift, her eyes glowing.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, walking towards her.

“Don’t touch me,” she said. “Or I’ll disappear. I have something to tell you first.”

“Oh, honey,” Sam said, feeling his cheeks getting wet with tears.

“Don’t leave the fight,” she whispered. “Not yet. I know you want to. I know it’s bothering you, like it did when you were in the service. This isn’t something you can walk away from. Stay the course. You’re more important than you know.”

“I’ve cheated,” he said, full of shame.

She giggled, like she always did before. “Oh please.”

“I did,” he said. “With another.”

“My time is over,” Connie said. “It’s her time now. She’ll give you what I couldn’t.”

“No,” Sam said.

“Protect her, but trust her to fight,” Connie said. “She’s the mother of your children.”

“How can you know that?”

“Just trust,” Connie said. “Come closer.”

He moved towards her on the dark path, and suddenly it wasn’t dark anymore, and she looked like she did the day they met.

“Oh Connie, I love you so,” he said.

“Remember me,” she said. “Come to me.”

He rushed forward, arms going around her, and she vanished into thin air.

“Connie!” he cried.

The gunshot woke him, and he sat up, feeling Erica move next to him.

“Crap,” Erica said. “We’re under attack.”

“Let’s go,” Sam said, his heart racing as he pulled his clothes back on. Both were out of the tent in a flash, Erica with her AK-47 and Sam with his M16. “I’ve got to get the M60.”

“Where is it?”

“Under a blanket in Ed’s hovercraft,” he said, breaking into a run, getting there just as Ed did.

“Take your M-60. I’ll take a couple of warriors with me in this to figure out how many there are. Protect your woman.”

Sam froze, the dream rushing back into his head.

“Snap out of it,” Ed shouted. “We need you.”

“I’m good,” Sam said, grabbing the M60 and the belts of ammo, throwing them over his shoulder. “Know where they are?”

“Following our trail,” Ed said, “Guess they do have some decent trackers.”

“Or some other way to see us,” Sam said. “They keep finding us.”

Several warriors rushed over with their AK-47s and a mortar. “You ready, Uncle?” one of them asked.

“Yes, get in,” he said.

Sam watched them take off down the road towards the pass, as more shots were fired by the sentries on the north ridge. Then Erica was by his side. “C’mon, I know a good place to sneak past that hill.”

He nodded and followed her in a run, the guns heavy in his hands, belt slapping his back.

Erica ran into a notch in the side of the mountain and climbed up quickly, with the grace of an antelope, Sam trying to keep up. Then she stopped at the top and peered over.

“It’s awful dark still,” she whispered as he got next to her, “but the sun will be up real soon.”

“Yeah, the east is already glowing,” Sam said, setting down the M-16 and aiming the M60. There was more gunfire from the ridge.

“They aren’t shooting back at us,” Erica said. Then there were muzzle flashes from below them as a machine gun started, firing at the top of the ridge

Sam chuckled. “Now I have them.” He opened fire with the M60, Erica joining in with her AK-47. There were screams below them and the gunfire stopped. Then there was a pop, a mortar falling in the area, lighting up everything.

“Willie peter,” Sam said.

“Geez, I can feel the heat from that up here,” Erica said. “Look, there’s a few running away.”

“Got them,” Sam said, firing the M60 again, dropping all of them.

“You’re good with that thing,” she said.

“It feels like a comfortable old pair of shoes,” he said, grinning at her. “Wonder if that was all?”

“Probably,” Erica said. “They’d still be returning fire. You leave anything in the tent?”

“Nope, everything I own is with me right now,” he said.

“Good, because the tribe is leaving now. It’ll be hard to figure out which tent we were in. They’re already down.”

Sam turned around and watched as the tribe was leaving the area, the tents already gone. Most of them were already around the pass at the south ridge. “Wow, they’re good.”

“Yep,” Erica said.

“We’re going to wait until it’s light and clean up stragglers, right?”

“You got it,” Erica said. “Hopefully they didn’t have a larger force behind them.”

“You said a mouthful there.”

“I think we just stopped a scouting party,” Erica said. “I think one of the sentries saw them. I doubt they wanted to attack yet. They might not even have known we were just past the ridge. We’d know if there were a bunch more around.”

“How?”

“Smell and sound,” Erica said. “The warriors are trained to pick that up.”

“Oh,” Sam said. They sat silently for a while, watching the area below them as the sun rose slowly.

“Hear that?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “That’s Ed’s hovercraft.”

“He’s coming back. Wonder if he found a larger group?”

“Maybe,” Sam said. “We shouldn’t go down to meet him yet. We should watch from here until it’s completely light.”

“I agree.”

They watched a while longer, the sun breaking over the far mountains now, bathing the area in yellow light.

“Nobody down there that I can see,” Erica said. “There’s really no cover.”

“Not when it’s light, anyway. “Those burned up bodies down there look a little disgusting. Maybe we should bury them.”

“Let the vultures take care of it,” Erica said.

Sam’s phone dinged. Then Erica’s.

“Broadcast text message,” Sam said, looking at his phone. “I’m almost out of battery.”

“Me too,” Erica said. “We can use Ed’s machine to recharge, but I’m sure we’re a ways back in the line. I’m gonna shut mine down. No reason to run both of them down to nothing. Bring up the message on yours, okay?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. He turned his screen so they could both read it. “Just like we thought. Scouting party.”

“They probably got a message off to their leadership,” Erica said.

“Probably,” Sam said. “Wish we knew if more were behind them.”

“I know,” Erica said. “We’re liable to stay on the road until we get out of here.”

“Tough on the older folks,” Sam said.

Erica laughed. “Hell, tough on us. I had plans for you before we left the tent, too, you know. Provided you weren’t feeling too guilty about last night.”

“You think I was feeling guilty?”

“You said Connie in your sleep a couple of times, right before the gunfire started.”

“You were awake?”

“Not for long,” Erica said.

“I had a dream,” Sam said. “That’s all.”

“Never ignore your dreams,” she said.

Sam chuckled.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Sam said.

“C’mon.”

“I’ll tell you about the dream someday,” he said.

“Uh oh,” she said, brow furrowed.

“Trust me, you’ll like what it was about.”

“You’re going to tell me that and just stop?” she asked.

“Yep,” he said, watching her thinking. He pulled her close and kissed her deeply.

“Wow, what was that for?”

“You know what it was for. We should take off, or we’ll get too far behind the tribe.”

“Yeah, I think it’s safe now,” Erica said, shooting him a sidelong glance before climbing down.

“Hope Ed is around so I can put this damn M60 back in it.”

“He’s down in the clearing where we were camped,” Erica said. “See?”

“Oh, yeah, now I see him,” Sam said. “Good.”

They climbed down the hill and walked over to him.

“You guys okay?” Ed asked.

“Yeah, we’re fine,” Erica said.

“Mind if I put this M60 in the back?”

“That’s why I waited here,” Ed said, smiling. Sam loaded it up.

“Mind taking up the rear for a while? I already took the two warriors back to the main group.”

“Sure, we’ll watch the back door,” Sam said.

“No problem,” Erica said.

“Okay, see you soon.” Ed fired up the hovercraft and drove forward.

“Alone again,” Sam said.

“Good,” Erica said. “Can you kiss me one more time?”

Sam pulled her into his arms again. “I think that could be arranged.”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 87 – Hovercraft Ride

“I think we’re stopping for the night,” Sam said, his feet and back aching. They were approaching a meadow area between two small ridges, with a sandy surface that was almost smooth. The shadows were getting long, the sun close to the western horizon.

“Looks like you’re right,” Erica said. “We’ve stopped here before. Not sheltered enough for a long stay, but there is a spring nearby.”

“Oh, and a pool for skinny dipping?”

She chuckled. “No such luck there. Don’t think you’d be up to it anyway.”

“Where are we sleeping?”

“Plenty of tents to go around,” Erica said. “You can even have one to yourself, but I’d advise against that.”

“Why?”

“We’ll end up in the same one anyway,” she said, glancing at him.

“Oh, really?”

“Really,” she said. “You don’t want me out of your sight.”

Sam chuckled. “Okay, whatever you say, mam.”

People were gathering around an area in the center, picking through tents that were carried on the backs of many of the young men there. Ed drove the hovercraft up in a cloud of dust, smiling when he saw Erica and Sam. He shut down the engine, and the craft sank onto the sand.

“Still together, huh?” Ed asked as he walked over.

“So far,” Erica said.

“How does it look up ahead?” Sam asked.

“Clear. Some rough terrain coming tomorrow morning, though.”

“Wonder if the enemy is following us?” Erica asked.

“I’m going back to wipe out some of our tracks,” Ed said. “At least to the second fork. I’d better take off, before it gets too dark. You want to go along, Sam?”

“Sure,” he said.

“Good, let’s go, then. I’m sure Erica won’t mind setting up the tent for the two of you.”

“No problem at all,” she said, smiling.

“You think we’re spending the night together?” Sam asked as they walked away.

“Don’t you?” Ed said, shooting him a grin. “Sometimes it’s just best to accept things. Climb aboard. Bring your rifle.”

Sam sat in the passenger seat, setting his M-16 down in the back. Ed got into the driver’s seat and fired up the engine, lifting the vehicle. Then he put his foot on the clutch and engaged the rear propeller, and they were off.

“Wow, this thing is great,” Sam said.

“One of my favorite toys,” Ed said, grinning. “Small engine, too, so it sips gasoline. Speak loudly, though. I don’t hear so well anymore, and this thing does make a lot of noise.” Sam nodded in agreement.

“My hearing isn’t so great anymore either,” Sam said. “Old age setting in I guess. Where are you getting the fuel?”

“The Jeeps left cans along the way,” he said.

“Ah, Sid, Tyler, and those guys?”

“Yep,” Ed said. “They wanted to return, but I told them to hold off until we’re a lot closer. I don’t think we’ll need them.”

They cruised along the path, the bottom rotor blowing the sand below them. Sam looked behind. “That does get rid of the footprints, doesn’t it?”

“Good enough for an Indian tracker, or even a good paleface tracker? Not really. Good enough for these peasants from the Middle East? Yep.”

Sam chuckled. “Well, tracking was never my forte.”

“But you know how,” Ed said. “I’ve seen how you look at the ground.”

“Okay, you found me out,” Sam said. “Hunting, and Special Forces too.”

“Yeah, I figured.”

“Did you bring me along for protection? Do you think we’re being followed?”

“Maybe,” Ed said. “This is hard country, though. My expectation is that they gave up.”

“How accurate are your expectations, usually?”

“They vary.”

“How widely do they vary?”

“Widely enough for me to bring you along,” Ed said. “You mind?”

“Not at all,” Sam said.

“Tell me about your group,” Ed said. “Honestly.”

“You mean Ivan’s group, or the group I started with?”

“Both,” he said. “We’ve got time.”

“Okay,” Sam said. “I didn’t really start with a fighting force. I was running the RV Park in Dulzura. We heard of attacks happening along Highway 94 and started watching. They eventually sent a scouting party to our park, intending to kill us and steal our supplies. We got the drop on them and killed them. After that they were constantly trying to attack us.”

“You blocked up the highway,” Ed said. “That was a military operation, was it not?”

“Well, yes, by that time we were in it pretty deep. We’d decided to be partisans at that point, and some of us left the RV Park to help your tribe attack that supply depot.”

“Yes, where One Eye was killed.”

“And my wife,” Sam said. “The enemy went to the RV Park and slaughtered everybody there, too.”

“I heard about this. It was hard on you. Your wife and your friends.”

“It was,” Sam said, trying to push the feelings back. “How much further are we going?”

“Another few miles. We want to be back before it gets dark. There’s no lights on this thing. It’s pretty fragile. You have to be careful what you drive over.”

“I could imagine,” Sam said. “What else do you want to know?”

“How close are you to Ivan the Butcher?”

“Not very,” Sam said. “I know him through a mutual friend. Ji-Ho.”

“I heard about him from Tyler,” Ed said. “He said Ji-Ho is a Korean millionaire with a questionable past, brave to a fault, and loyal to Ivan.”

“That’s accurate,” Sam said.

“What kind of questionable past does he have?”

“He was a weapons dealer,” Sam said. “The US Government didn’t like his dealings very much, but they’ve never been able to nail him.”

“Why is he involved here?”

“He has family in North Korea,” Sam said. “He knows what a police state is like. He doesn’t want that here.”

“How does he know Ivan?”

“Arms deals,” Sam said, “among other things.”

“You trust this man?”

“I’ve fought with him before,” Sam said. “I’d trust him with my life, and he’d trust me with his.”

“Friends like that are good to have.”

“I think so,” Sam said. “What are your plans after the war?”

“We’ll go back to our land, and get the Casino running again,” Ed said. “This has been very bad for us. We’ve lost many people. It’ll be hard to recover.”

“That’s why you welcome the pairing of Kaitlyn and Megan,” Sam said.

“Well yes, basically,” Ed said, “although I don’t have any illusions about that, and watering down the blood of the tribe isn’t my first choice. It’s just that we’re getting too small to sustain ourselves. We were never a huge tribe to begin with. Now we’re down to about a hundred couples of child-bearing age.”

“It’s starting to get a little dark,” Sam said.

Ed smiled. “Yes, I’m forgetting myself in the conversation.” He made a sweeping turn and headed back.

“You don’t know that Kaitlyn and Megan will stay with the tribe,” Sam said.

“You are correct,” Ed said. “I don’t know that you and Erica will either.”

Sam chuckled and shook his head. “Hey, I like her, and she is downright gorgeous, but I’m not going to rush into anything with her.”

“Oh, I’m kinda teasing you about that a little bit,” Ed said, “but I’d be proud to have you in the tribe, even if you didn’t live with us.”

“I’m very impressed with your tribe,” Sam said, “and your culture. I hope you can keep it going.”

“We will, in some form,” he said. “We’re just barely going to make it back before sunset. How’s your night vision?”

Sam chuckled. “I’m not a youngster. Maybe it’s a little better than yours.”

“Okay, if you see anything in the road that sticks up, like tree branches or rocks over about a foot tall, mention it just in case I don’t see it.”

“Will do,” Sam said. “At least we didn’t see any enemy fighters.”

“I didn’t really expect any, but you can’t be too careful.”

“I think you wanted to pick my brain,” Sam said, smiling at him. “Not that I minded.”

He glanced over and grinned. “Sure, that was part of it. Hope you don’t mind.”

“You’re moving your people into our group,” Sam said. “Any good leader would ask questions about that.”

“Are there any plans beyond what you and Sid mentioned already?”

“Not for me,” Sam said. “My core group of people would like to get the bad guys out of our area and then settle back into a normal, peaceful life.”

“Your core group of people?”

“Yes, and that’s not many people. Myself, Sid and Yvonne, John and Sarah, and Clem.”

“The others came along afterwards, I assume?”

“Yes, we merged with Ji-Ho’s group.”

“That’s where Kaitlyn and Megan’s men came from, correct?” Ed asked.

“Yes. I can’t tell you what they are planning to do after we clean up eastern San Diego County and Imperial County. I said I’d stick with them until that job is done.”

“You won’t continue on with Ji-Ho after your goals are complete?”

“Not unless I see a really good reason to do so,” Sam said.

“And you don’t know about Kaitlyn and Megan’s men?”

Sam chuckled. “When they got separated from the main group, after that bad battle near Julian, both said they’d be okay with disappearing into the woodwork with Kaitlyn and Megan.”

Ed smiled. “They want to go live happily ever after.”

“You know how young love is,” Sam said.

“They didn’t, though, did they?”

“Nope,” Sam said. “Part of that is probably due to Trevor and Kaylee. They were all from the same circle of friends in Torrance when all of this mess started.”

“Kaylee is Ji-Ho’s niece, correct? That might lead the group to stay together longer.”

“Maybe,” Sam said. “Again, I really don’t know. We don’t have a hierarchal structure, and I’m not a leader, except sometimes in battle. Watch that branch on your right.”

“I see it, thanks,” Ed said, swerving the hovercraft.

“You’re speeding up a little.”

“The sun always goes down faster than I expect, and there’s not much moon tonight,” he said. “What about Garrett’s people?”

“We didn’t join with them until recently,” Sam said.

“How did that happen?”

“We went to see if we could recover some rigs from my RV Park, since we were close to Dulzura again at the time. We found that Garrett and his men were using the RV Park as a kill zone.”

“Kill zone?”

“Yeah, they were luring enemy fighters there, ambushing them, then storing the bodies in my clubhouse, covered with pig’s blood and carcasses.”

Ed chuckled. “That’s pretty bloodthirsty.”

“War is war,” Sam said. “We joined up after that, as much out of necessity as anything. Fought a couple of battles with them. We’d probably be dead now if not for them.”

“What they’re doing ruins your park, doesn’t it?”

“Oh, I’ll have to tear down the clubhouse and rebuild, I suspect, but that’s about it. I’ve got the resources to do that if I choose.”

“You aren’t sure you want to go back there, are you?” Ed asked.

“That place is full of memories of Connie,” Sam said. “I don’t know if I can live there anymore. I might just do a quick renovation and sell the place. Maybe open up something elsewhere.”

“Closer to us, I hope,” Ed said. “Look, we’re almost home. See the smoke?”

Sam got a nervous look on his face. “I hope that’s just a campfire.”

“It is,” Ed said. “I can tell by the smell. We know which kind of wood to use.”

Sam chuckled. “So, your sense of smell is still sharp, eh?”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “We’re just around the bend. Sorry to have taken you away from Erica for so long.”

Sam shook his head and chuckled. “How do you know she’s really interested in me, anyway?”

“I know both of you,” Ed said, “but don’t worry, I won’t bug you. The choices you each make for your lives are your own.”

The hovercraft rounded the bend, in sight of the tribe, and slowed. Ed shut down the engine, and it settled into the sand.

“That was interesting,” Sam said.

“It was.”

“You find out everything you need to know?” Sam asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“No,” Ed said, “but I got a good start, and I know who else I need to talk to when we get to the Williams place. Thanks.”

“Good,” Sam said. He walked towards the fire. An arm went around his waist as he walked, and he looked to his right and saw Erica’s smiling face looking up at him.

“How was your ride?” she asked.

“Interesting,” Sam said. “No sign of bad guys.”

“We’ve got sentries on both ridges,” Erica said, “but we’re probably safe here.”

“Think this is the last night on the road?”

“Before we get to the William’s place? No, we’ll probably have to camp tomorrow night too, unless we have help getting home.”

“It would take a lot of vehicles to move all of us,” Sam said.

“True,” she said. “Hungry?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“Good. There’s some chili in the big pot. We need to eat it tonight. No way to keep it good for another night.”

“What do we eat tomorrow night?”

She snickered. “Granola bars, nuts, candy, crackers.”

Sam chuckled. “Hey, no problem. We’re on a hike.”

“That we are. Let’s get some of that chili. We’ll have to eat it out of paper coffee cups.”

“You haven’t eaten yet?”

“No, I waited for you, silly,” she said. They got cupfuls out of the pot, sitting on a rusty grate over the fire pit, and took them a few yards away, sitting on some small boulders that ringed the fire pit.

“You guys put this here?” Sam asked, taking his first bite of chili with a plastic spoon.

“Yes, we come here from time to time,” Erica said. “This isn’t bad chili.”

“Hits the spot for me,” Sam said, taking a second spoonful.”

“Well, get seconds if you’re hungry.”

“I probably will,” he said.

“What did you two talk about?”

Sam chuckled. “History of my group. What you’re plans are for the rest of the war and afterward.”

“Do you think he liked what he heard?”

“Basically, yes,” Sam said. “He talked you up some.”

She looked at him and giggled. “Sorry. He’s kind of a matchmaker. If I didn’t know differently, I’d suspect that he had something to do with Kaitlyn and Megan.”

“Those girls were definitely the aggressors in that situation,” Sam said. “Seth and Angel didn’t know what hit them.”

Erica laughed. “Yeah, I’ll bet. They both were having trouble finding somebody in the tribe that they liked, but weren’t too closely related to.”

“I got that impression,” Sam said. “Did you set up the tent already, or do you need a hand?”

“Oh, you’re okay with that now, are you?”

He got a sheepish grin on his face, nodding yes. “Why fight it?”

“Oh, good, that gives me a lot of license.”

Sam shot her an embarrassed glance. “I wasn’t meaning that way.”

“Uh huh,” she said. “We’re going to need to hit the sack pretty soon. Long day tomorrow.”

“I know,” Sam said. “You might regret this. I just ate chili.”

“So did I,” she said. “Want more?”

“No, I think I’ll stop at this.”

“Good, then let’s go,” she said, getting up. “Throw your cup into the fire, and toss the plastic spoon into the pan of water.”

“Re-using the spoons, huh?”

“Sure,” she said. “They wash up fine, and they’re light as a feather on the trail. We’ve washed and re-used plastic plates and bowls too. Same reason.”

“Good idea,” he said, following her to the fire, then on to the sea of tents beyond.

“So many,” Sam said. “I feel guilty for not carrying one of them.”

“Everybody has their job. Just be thankful and don’t worry about it. You did a job tonight, remember?”

“What?” he asked.

“You protected Ed and gave him information. You also kept him company. I can see how much he likes you.”

“The feeling is mutual there. He’s a wise man.”

“He is,” she said, kneeling in front of a tent, pulling the zipper up. She crawled in and switched on a small light. Sam followed her, looking around.

“Not much, but we don’t need much,” she said. “There’s a bottle of water up by the back there.”

“Space blanket?” Sam said, looking at the silver Mylar over a woven pad.

“We probably won’t even pull it over ourselves until very early morning,” she said.

“We sleeping with our clothes on?”

“You do what you feel comfortable with,” Erica said. She pulled her top off over her head and glanced at him. “Put your eyes back in your head.”

“Sorry,” he said as he unbuttoned his shirt.

“I’d be upset if you didn’t look at me like that,” she said. Her pants were off by the time he finished with his shirt, and she laid down on the pad, turning on her side, facing him. “Please continue.”

“You saw me at the pool already,” he said.

She giggled. “And you saw me, but you still got hit pretty hard by it just now.”

“You’re beautiful, and we’re alone this time,” Sam said, feeling himself getting excited. He felt a twinge of embarrassment as he finished getting undressed.

“My, you look different than you did before,” she said.

“Like I was saying, we’re alone now.” He laid on his back. “Don’t worry, it’ll settle down in a second.”

“No it won’t,” she said, moving closer to him, her leg going over his torso. “I’ll make sure of that.”

Sam groaned as she moved against him, and he pulled her closer, kissing her deeply.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 86 – Laundromat

IMG_1470

The three Jeeps rolled down the road into the Williams estate, Sid’s in the lead. The veranda of the big house was full of people, sitting around chatting. Yvonne saw the Jeeps and ran down to meet Sid, embracing him the second he got out.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes, sweetheart,” Sid said as they hugged.

“I’m so glad you’re back,” she said. “I was so worried.”

“Good, Ji-Ho and Garrett are both on the veranda. I need to have a quick chat. C’mon.”

“Where’s Sam?” Yvonne asked as they walked towards the house.

Sid chuckled. “Walking back with Erica.”

“Who’s Erica again?”

“Widow,” Sid said. “Beautiful. She’s also the person who trained Kaitlyn to fight.”

“Sounds like a match made in heaven.”

“Pretty much.” They climbed the steps.

“Welcome back,” Ji-Ho said.

“Thanks,” Sid said. He sat down on a chair, Yvonne sitting next to him.

“Where Sam?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Walking back with the tribe,” Sid said. “We got attacked by Islamists while we were at their spot.”

“Crap,” Garrett said. “Lose anybody?”

“No, we beat them like a red-headed stepchild,” Sid said.

Yvonne elbowed him, and he snickered.

“Ed with them?” Garrett asked.

“Yes, he’s the leader,” Sid said.

“I thought that Tyler,” Ji-Ho said.

“No, I’m the war chief,” Tyler said, walking up with James and Ryan. They pulled up chairs.

“I invited the tribe to come here,” Sid said. “Hope that’s okay.”

“Good, I was hoping you did that,” Garrett said. “They’re good people. We could use them on our side, and they’ll be safer with us.”

“We hope,” Ji-Ho said.

Clem walked over with John and Sarah. They pulled up chairs close by to join the conversation.

“Where’s Sam?” John asked.

“On the way, on foot, with the rest of the tribe,” Tyler said.

“How many we talking?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Couple hundred or so,” James said. “About half are good warriors. The rest are young and old.”

“Some of the old are smart as a whip,” Garrett said. “More brain power is valuable.”

“That true,” Ji-Ho said.

“Why are they leaving their hideout?” Clem asked.

“We were attacked by twelve Islamists,” Sid said.

“Oh,” Clem said. “Figures.”

“How soon will they get here?” Sarah asked.

“Probably take them a couple days at least,” Sid said.

“I’d say three or four,” Tyler said.

“Yeah,” James said. “Unless we can start picking them up. It’s possible once they get past those big rocks.”

There was a loud horn blast from the gate. Ji-Ho stood up, grinning ear to ear. “Battle Wagons arrive.” He walked down the steps and headed to the gate to meet them.

“He’s like a kid in a candy store,” Sarah said, shaking her head. Yvonne laughed.

“Seriously, but I’m glad we got them.”

“Yep,” Tyler said.

“Where was the tribe, anyway?” Clem said. “We got worried when you were gone overnight.”

“They were at a ghost town next to a mine,” Sid said. “Nice place.”

“I’ve been there, years ago,” Garrett said. “We modeled parts of Dodge City after that place. I’d love to go back someday.”

“The Islamists burned it after we left,” James said, face grim.

“No, really?” Garrett asked. “Those bastards.”

“Were they following you guys?” Sarah asked.

“They’d be on foot if they try it,” Sid said, “and the tribe is heavily armed.”

“Yeah, there’s some of those folks that the Islamists might not want to mess with,” Ryan said.

“Erica, for example,” Sid said. “She fights like Kaitlyn. Found out that she trained her after we had the dust-up. She did a drop, roll, and shoot maneuver that was beautiful.”

“That’s Erica,” James said.

“They’re lining up,” Garrett said, pointing at the row of coaches forming. “I thought you were only going to get six.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Clem said. “I count twelve.”

“Hats off to Ivan,” John said.

“Wonder what’s in that trailer?” Garrett asked. “Behind the green coach.”

“Probably ammo and equipment,” Sid said. “Might as well go down there and check it out. You guys are okay with the tribe coming here, right?”

“Hell yes,” Garrett said.

“Definitely,” John said, Clem nodding in agreement.

“Thank you for being so kind to my people,” Tyler said.

“Are you kidding?” Sid said. “You guys are like family to us.”

“Yes, I agree,” John said. “You saved us more than once, too.”

“And you saved us as well,” James said. “We are brothers forever.”

The group got up and made their way down to the row of coaches. Ji-Ho was beaming.

“Look, they give original request,” he said. “I surprised but very happy. Very very.”

“Now all we need is a couple of drones,” John said. Sid and Clem snickered.

“Hey, drone do job well,” Ji-Ho said. “Almost take out Saladin.”

“I agree,” John said. “We’re just teasing you.”

“I know,” Ji-Ho said. “Where Kaylee and Trevor?”

“Probably enjoying each other in the first battle wagon,” John said.

“John!” Sarah said.

Yvonne chuckled. “They’re like newlyweds. Good for them.”

“That good,” Ji-Ho said. “Here come. See?”

Trevor and Kaylee trotted over.

“Wow, uncle, how come we got so many?”

“Ivan surprise,” Ji-Ho said. “Nice. You move to one of these. I move back into my original rig. My stuff there.”

“Okay,” Trevor said, “but don’t you want one of the new ones? They’re safer and have more fire power.”

“No, I want my old one,” he said. “It home. Comfortable for me. You more important. World belong to young.”

Kaylee shot a worried glance at Trevor. He nodded.

“Wonder what that was about?” Yvonne whispered to Sid.

“I don’t know,” Sid whispered back. “Maybe Ji-Ho is sick.”

“I hope not,” she said. “He’s our connection to Ivan.”

“Yep,” Sid said.

Ji-Ho climbed into the first coach, with black paint on the sides and front. “Come, let’s check siege mode.”

Kaylee and Trevor climbed the steps.

Seth and Kaitlyn walked over, followed by Angel and Megan.

“Wow,” Seth said. “Look at these.”

The motors in the coach whirred as the shields moved into place. Then two turrets raised from the roof, the mini-gun in back and a smaller turret near the front.

“What’s that again?” Kaitlyn asked.

“That’s an M19,” Sid said. “Automatic grenade launcher.”

“Whoa, dude,” Angel said. “That thing looks bad-ass!”

“Seriously,” John said, looking at it. “Belt fed, see?”

“Where’s the rest of the tribe?” Kaitlyn asked.

“They’re coming on foot,” Tyler said. “Be a few days before they get here.”

“Where’s Sam?” Angel asked.

James snickered. “He’s walking with Erica.”

Kaitlyn’s eyes lit up. “Really? That’s great.”

“Hold your horses,” Sid said. “They aren’t together yet.”

“Emphasis on yet,” Ryan said. “Those two were made for each other, kinda like two other couples I can think of.”

Seth’s face turned red, but he pulled Kaitlyn close. “I hear you’ve been requested to do a job for your chief, Tyler.”

“Yep, as long as that’s what you two want.”

“It’s what we want,” Seth said.

“Yep,” Angel said. “When?”

“Can we wait until the tribe gets here?” Kaitlyn asked. “I want my mom and Erica to be there.”

“Of course,” Seth said.

Ji-Ho came out of the coach, smiling. “What you think?”

“That thing is awesome,” Angel said.

“It safer than old model. Armor underneath and in back to protect engine while under way. Grenade launcher make big difference too. Plus better electronics. Little less headroom in front of coach when turret not out, though. Have to watch head.”

“How we gonna divvy these up?” Seth asked.

“We meet,” Ji-Ho said. “When Sam back with other chief. I will give one to Trevor and Kaylee, though, and take back original.”

“Are these battle-proven yet?” Sid asked.

“No,” Ji-Ho said. “Team in north getting retrofit to match. They see action soon. I get report, tell.”

“Good,” Sid said. “There’s always the unexpected.”

“Yes, true,” Ji-Ho said.

***

Morgan woke next to Robbie. The bedroom of their battle wagon was comfortable. She felt safe and happy for the moment, but two things were bothering her. The coming battle was one. The other was more important, provided they survived. Her mind was going over ways to discuss that one with Robbie. She got out of bed and went into the salon to turn on the coffee maker. She could hear the muffled sounds of a saw cutting metal in the big warehouse, which, luckily for them, was about seventy yards away from where they were parked.

“Hey,” Robbie said, walking out, scratching his bed-head.

“Wow, you look so debonair,” she said to him as he approached. They embraced and kissed. “Brush your hair.”

He glanced at himself in the reflection of the microwave door, then chuckled. “Okay, that’s bad.” He went into the bathroom and got out his brush.

“Want coffee?” Morgan asked.

“Hell yes,” Robbie said. “I’m still waking up. You kept me awake too long last night.”

She giggled. “You didn’t seem to mind.”

“I didn’t,” he said, walking out. “Better?”

“Yes, thank you,” she said. “We could both use showers.”

“Seriously,” Robbie said, sitting at the dinette. “Glad we have a couple of days to relax before we have to fight again.”

“You and me both,” she said, watching the coffee maker sputter as it finished brewing the first cup. She took it out of the machine and set it in front of Robbie, then put her cup in and changed the pod.

“Thanks,” Robbie said. “Wonder if we get to check out the main part of the winery?”

“I’ll bet they want us to stay out of sight,” Morgan said, grabbing her cup. She sat across from him and took a sip. “Mmm, that’s good.”

“It is,” Robbie said. “You look like you want to tell me something.”

“I do,” she said. “I’m a little nervous about it.”

“Uh oh,” Robbie said. “Everything okay?”

“I’m late,” she said.

He looked at her blankly.

“I might be pregnant, silly,” she said.

“Oh!” he said. “Really? How sure are you?”

“We need to get a test kit,” she said. “I’ve never been pregnant before, so I might be wrong. My schedule stays like clockwork most of the time, though, so this is very unusual.”

“Maybe nerves are messing with your internal clock,” Robbie said.

“I doubt it,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot worse than we’ve seen lately.”

“True,” Robbie said, looking deep in thought.

“What do you think about it?”

He was silent for a moment, Morgan looking more and more nervous.

“Honey, settle down, okay?” he asked. “I see the wheels turning. Nothing would make me happier than having a baby with you. Really.”

“But?”

“But nothing,” Robbie said. “Would you be willing to keep the baby if we find out you are pregnant?”

“Yes,” she said softly.

“Good, because that would be my choice too. The only thing I’m worried about is providing for you while we’re at war.”

“Providing for me?”

“Keeping you safe and healthy,” Robbie said, “and as stress-free as possible.”

“Well, it could be a lot worse,” she said. “At least I know for sure that its yours.”

“Oh, crap, I didn’t think about that. Those cretins weren’t using protection.”

“Nope,” she said. “I had a period since you rescued us, though. We’re good.”

“Thank God for that,” Robbie said. “We should get married.”

“Do you want that?”

“Yes,” Robbie said. “Hell, I already consider us married. Don’t you?”

“I do,” she said. “It would be nice to make it official, though.”

“Make an honest woman out of you, huh?” Robbie said. “I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have you.”

“I feel the same,” she said.

Robbie got out of his seat.

“Need something?” she asked.

He knelt in front of her, and took her hand. “Morgan, will you be my wife?”

She teared up immediately. “Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure,” he said. “I love you so much. You can tell, can’t you?”

“Yes,” she said softly, “and yes, I’ll marry you.”

He stood, pulling her up into his arms and kissing her tenderly.

She broke the kiss and snickered. “Wow. Morning mouth and coffee.”

“I don’t care,” he said, coming in for another kiss.

“Oh, what the hell,” she said, kissing him hard. “If we keep this up, we’ll end up back there again.”

He picked her up. She squealed.

“What are you doing?” she asked, eyes dancing.

“Taking my woman,” he said, carrying her into the bedroom. They went at each other with passion.

“Whoa,” she said when they were done, laying on her back next to him. “That was intense.”

“It was,” Robbie said, pulling her hand to his face, kissing the back of it. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“Likewise,” she said. “You could’ve had me earlier, you know.”

“It wasn’t time yet,” Robbie said.

She looked over at him. “Actually, I think you’re right about that. We probably would’ve developed into a couple, but it would’ve been different.”

There was a knock on the door. “You guys up?”

“Justin,” Robbie whispered. “Hope they haven’t been there long.”

“Oh, crap,” Morgan said, an embarrassed smile on her face.

“Be out in a minute,” Robbie shouted. He and Morgan got dressed, and bolted out into the salon, Robbie going to the door. Katie and Justin were standing outside. “Come on in.”

“Hey, guys,” Katie said. “Sorry if you weren’t up yet.”

“They took our rig in for the retrofit,” Justin said. “They took Gil’s in too, so I suspect they’ll be here in a minute or two.”

“Here they come,” Robbie said, looking past Justin as he came in. “Come on in, folks.”

“Good morning,” Gil said, holding hands with Tisha. She smiled as they came up the steps.

“Have a seat,” Morgan said. “Coffee?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” Gil said.

“Sure,” Katie said.

“Uh oh, what happened?” Tisha asked, eyeing Morgan. “You look like the cat that swallowed the canary.”

Morgan and Robbie shot each other a glance. Robbie shrugged.

“We’re engaged,” Morgan said, face turning red.

Tisha chuckled. “Knocked you up, did he?”

“Tisha!” Gil said.

“No, it’s okay,” Morgan said. “I might be pregnant. Not sure yet.”

“We would’ve done it anyway,” Robbie said.

“Yeah, I could see it coming,” Justin said.

“What about you guys?” Morgan asked.

Justin snickered. “I knew you’d go there.”

“Are you saying you don’t want to marry me?” Katie asked. She shot a grin over at Morgan and Tisha, both of whom cracked up.

“See what you started, man?” Gil asked.

“Seriously, dude,” Justin said.

“Answer the question,” Katie said with false outrage.

“We’ll discuss it in private,” Justin said, twinkle in his eye. Katie stopped, staring at him.

“What?” Justin asked.

“You would, wouldn’t you?” Katie looked him in the eye.

“Like I said, we’ll talk later.”

Tisha cracked up.

Gil laughed. “Hey, what if I asked you?”

Tisha stopped laughing for a second, looking at him, and then started laughing again. “Honey, you’d have a harder time getting away from me than you would getting me to marry you. Trust me.”

“Yeah, I could see that,” Robbie said.

“This conversation is getting too dangerous, man,” Gil said.

Katie felt a buzz, getting a scared look on her face. “Shit, that’s my phone.” She pulled it out of her jeans pocket.

“Who is it?” Justin asked.

“I don’t recognize the number. She answered it, her eyes getting wide. She hit the speaker button.

“Sis?”

“Steve? Oh, my God, you’re still alive?”

“Yes, Colleen and I are still alive. How about our group? Everybody survive?”

“Yes,” she said, smiling through tears. “What are you calling from. Not a cellphone, I hope.”

“Nope, a land line at the laundromat.”

“Steve, dude, so glad to hear from you,” Gil said.

“Seriously, man,” Justin said.

“You still where you said you were going?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah,” Steve said. “It’s safe here. Never had the UN or the Islamists around, and there’s a bad-ass sheriff here who watches the place like a hawk. I’m doing deputy work for him part time now.”

“Wow, excellent,” Katie said.

“What are you guys doing?” Steve asked.

“We’re fighting for Ivan,” Justin said.

“Who? You don’t mean the guy on the video?”

“Yeah, that’s who we mean,” Robbie said.

“It’s pretty crazy, dude,” Gil said.

“Robbie just got engaged to Morgan,” Katie said.

“No way,” Steve said. “Colleen and I are married. We have a baby on the way, too.”

“You’re kidding,” Katie said. “Congratulations.”

“Thanks,” Steve said. “Wish I was there with you guys.”

“Stay where you are, if you’re safe,” Robbie said. “We’re in danger all the time. You don’t want that.”

“Maybe you guys should come up here.”

“Eventually we might,” Justin said. “When the work is done.”

“You and Katie are still together?” Steve asked.

“Yes, we are,” Katie said. “Gil’s got a girlfriend too.”

“Tisha,” Gil said.

“Hi,” Tisha said.

“Good for you, man,” Steve said.

“I’m a happy camper,” Gil said.

“Where are you now?” Steve asked.

“We’d better not say over the phone,” Robbie said.

“Yeah, better not to go there,” Katie said. “We’ll have lots of crazy stories for you when we get through this.”

“We all know how to fight now,” Morgan said. “Things are different. If you’ve avoided that, you’re lucky.”

“How come you haven’t called before now?” Katie asked.

“Our cabin has no cell coverage,” Steve said. “I was sitting in here doing laundry when I saw the phone.”

“You’re doing the laundry, huh,” Gil asked.

“Colleen is at work,” Steve said. “She has a full-time job now. I’m only working part time, so I’ve been doing things like laundry and housework.”

Gil and Justin glanced at each other, grinning, ready to pounce.

“No, guys,” Robbie said. “This is cool.”

“Oh, they were gonna mess with me, eh?” Steve asked. “Some things never change. Sorry, guys, but I don’t care. I love her so much. We have a nice life.”

“I know the feeling,” Robbie said.

“So does Gil,” Tisha said.

“Okay, okay, so do I,” Gil said.

“Me too,” Justin said. “I hope we can all get together again.”

“We will,” Steve said. “Uh oh, got to go. The Sheriff is calling me.”

“Take care, brother,” Katie said. “I love you.”

“Love you too, sis.”

The call ended.

“Wow, didn’t expect that,” Katie said.

“I figured he didn’t make it,” Robbie said. “Glad I was wrong.”

“I knew he was alive,” Katie said. “In my heart. I was afraid he was captive or something, though.”

“They don’t tend to keep men alive,” Justin said. “You gonna tell him everything?”

“I don’t know,” Katie said. “Do you guys think we’ll survive?”

Everybody was silent for a moment.

“Geez, are we in worse trouble than I thought?”

“Oh, I think we’ll make it,” Robbie said, “but there’s a lot we’re gonna go through to get there.”

Morgan leaned into him, on the verge of tears. The others sat silently.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 85 – Pepperment Schnapps

IMG_1477

Karen walked past the huge warehouse, feeling a little guilty about her comment to Tex. Why do I get like that? The voices of the group got softer as she neared the back end of the warehouse. Beyond it was a formal garden, beautifully maintained, with strings of lights crisscrossing it above. The house was not a mansion like the last place. It looked more like a large ground-keeper’s house. The lights were on, the front door open, screen door closed. A matronly woman in a maid’s uniform saw her coming up the pathway and held the screen door open for her.

“Welcome,” she said. “Are you hungry, or will you be spending the night here?”

“Sleeping,” Karen said, trying to force a smile. “I’m tired. Could you point me to the bedroom I’m supposed to use?”

“They’re in the back section of the house, through the foyer and the living room,” the woman said. “Take your pick.” She spoke with a slight accent which Karen couldn’t quite place. Eastern European, or Russian.

“This place doesn’t look big enough for a maid,” Karen said.

The woman chuckled. “I work in the public part of the winery. The big house is used as a Bed and Breakfast. Over the hill and down about half a mile. I’m Anna.”

“Karen,” she said, heading to the bedrooms. She went down a small hallway, two doors along the right side, one on the other. She opened the door on the left side. Figures. The room was beautifully furnished, but had a single king-sized bed, on the middle of the back wall. At least it’s a king.

“Does this work for you?” Anna asked, startling Karen from behind.

“They all have just one bed?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so. If there weren’t two other couples coming in, you could have one to yourself. I’m sorry.”

Karen sighed. “No problem. It’s only for one night.” She went through the door and shut it. Dammit. He’s going to win. She smiled to herself, then shook her head and turned back the covers on the left side. Suddenly she was so tired that she could barely stand. She laid down, clothes still on, and drifted off to sleep.

She was led down the stark hallway, florescent lights above, papers and trash littering the floor, her bare feet filthy under her. The hand was on her upper arm from behind, pushing her along.

“Hurry or we hit you,” the German-accented voice said behind her, gruff and wicked.

“You’ll hit me anyway,” she said, so soft that the guard couldn’t hear her.

“What did you say?” the guard asked, his hand tightening on her arm, hurting her.

“I said yes sir,” she whispered.

The man slapped her cheek from behind, the pain radiating through her jaw and neck. “I didn’t hear you.”

“I said yes sir,” she said louder, forcing back the urge to say more.

They got to the door of the interrogation room. The guard opened it and pushed her inside. The room was filthy, with several cheap plastic chairs around a mattress on the floor. Three men were sitting in the room, drinking and smiling. The smell of peppermint Schnapps wafted towards her. “Damn Germans,” she thought to herself.

“This one again?” one of the men asked. He was small and frail-looking with thick glasses. “She just checks out. Never engages.”

“We’ll fix that,” a larger man said, walking towards her with the bottle of Schnapps. “Hold her.” The small man and a third man grabbed her arms. She didn’t struggle. That was a lesson she learned fast.

“Wait, let’s get her robe off first,” the small man said. “Her body is her best feature.” They pulled the robe off her shoulders and tossed it aside. Karen didn’t even try to cover herself anymore.

The guard shook his head and chuckled. “Have fun.” He left, closing the metal door behind him.

“You got her?” asked the man with the bottle.

“Yes, but she knows better than to fight us,” the small man said.

The men snickered. The man with the bottle grabbed her nose, forcing her mouth open. Then he poured the Schnapps into her mouth, gagging her as she tried to breathe, the intense peppermint making her feel queasy and faint.

“Swallow,” the small man said, smacking her butt hard. She was so numb she could hardly feel it. He hit her again and she swallowed the awful thick liquid, bending her head down and coughing hard.

“More,” the man with the bottle said, wrenching her head back up, putting the bottle back to her lips. She forced her mind elsewhere as she felt her mouth filling with peppermint again.

Karen woke up in a start, her body hot and sweaty.

“Are you okay?” Tex asked as he slipped under the covers.

“Oh, Tex,” she sobbed, moving against him, crying hard as he held her.

“It’s okay, little lady,” he whispered, holding her tight. “You’re safe. I won’t let them hurt you ever again. I promise.” He kissed her forehead tenderly. She drifted back to sleep in his arms.

Morning came too fast. Karen woke up, still close to Tex, still in her clothes, hot and sweaty. The dream came crashing back into her head and she cried softly, shaking just enough to wake Tex.

“Oh, darling, you’re having such a hard time, aren’t you?” he asked, his eyes still heavy from sleep. He touched her hair, moving closer to her face, wiping the tears away. They locked eyes for what seemed like forever. She didn’t want to look away. Not now. She cuddled up against him.

“Thank you,” she whispered. “I’m sorry.”

“No, don’t say that,” Tex said softly. “You’re having a harder time with this than I thought. Don’t worry. You’re safe with me, and I won’t push you anymore. Okay?”

She nodded her head yes and settled against him, drifting off to sleep again. When she woke, he was gone. She felt next to her with her hand, not finding him, and then opened her eyes. He was sitting in a chair next to the window to the left of the bed, reading a book.

“You’re awake,” he said, setting the book down on the table next to the chair.

“What time is it?”

“Almost noon,” Tex said.

“Crap,” she said, sitting up.

“Hey, what’s the problem? You didn’t get to bed until nearly three, and you didn’t have an easy time. I came in at nearly four.”

“Oh,” she said, sitting up. “I feel grimy. Wonder if there’s a shower behind that door there?” She pointed to the door on the right side of the bed.

“Yep, bathroom and shower. No tub. There’s soap and shampoo in there.”

“Thank God,” she said, getting out of bed, starting to stumble.

“You okay?” he asked, bounding towards her, catching her before she fell.

“Too much sleep after days of not enough,” she said. “My body doesn’t want to wake yet, I guess.”

Tex chuckled. “Understandable.”

“I suppose,” she said, moving away from his embrace.

“Sorry,” he said.

She looked at him, then moved closer and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you for last night. Really.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“For what?”

“Being you,” he said, eyes misting.

She felt the dizziness coming back and steadied herself against him for a moment. “Whoa.”

“Take your time,” he said. “Maybe you should sit for a few minutes before trying to take a shower.”

“Maybe so,” she said, taking the chair next to the one he was reading in. He sat back down and studied her for a moment.

“Don’t worry about me,” she said. “I’ll be okay.”

“What was the dream about?”

“Guess,” she said, looking down. “It didn’t come back, though, after I woke up. I think you might have helped. I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch. You don’t deserve it.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Tex said. “Just get better. You’re away from them now, and we’re fighting them. You have your power back.”

“It doesn’t feel like that,” she said softly.

“Don’t worry, it will,” he said.

“How do you know?”

“You’re strong,” he said. “You’ll overcome this.”

“Hope you’re right,” she said. “I think I can get up now. I’ll feel better after a shower. Being filthy isn’t helping.”

“Oh, that reminds me. Here.” He picked up a bag and handed it to her.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“Clean clothes,” Tex said. “Nothing fabulous, but it’s better than putting the dirty stuff back on.”

“Where did you get them?”

“Jules ordered them when we were on the way. For us men too. Things were getting a little ripe.”

She looked in the bag. “These will be fine. Jules is a nice man, isn’t he?”

“He is,” Tex said.

“Think he told Shelly what he does yet?”

“I don’t know, but don’t you tell her, okay? I slipped him a hint last night. He might not be ready for her to know that yet.”

“Why?”

“There’s a lot of good things about being wealthy, but relationships with women can be tough. If you want them for a long-term relationship, that is.”

“He wants that with Shelly, doesn’t he?”

“I’ve never seen him so infatuated with a woman before, so I think the answer is yes.”

“Then maybe he should just be honest.”

“Don’t worry, little lady, he’ll get around to that when he feels comfortable enough.”

She nodded, then turned and went into the bathroom with her bag of clothes, setting them down on the granite sink counter. The lights were already on, and the room steamy from Tex’s shower. The stall was nice, travertine with high-end fixtures. She turned on the hot water, then closed the shower door and undressed, watching herself in the big mirror over the sink. How could he want this? Bruises, some very large and still almost black, and cigarette burns on her thighs, hips, and breasts. Shame filled her head, and she cried, turning from the mirror.

“You okay in there, little lady?” Tex asked from outside the door.

“I’m fine,” she said. “I’ll be out in a few minutes.”

The shower water was warm enough. She adjusted it slightly and got in, the hard stream washing away some of her tension. The bruised parts still hurt when she scrubbed, but not as bad as they did last time she had a shower. After she shampooed and soaped off, she stood under the warm running water and cried again. Pull yourself together.

Tex was still sitting in his reading chair when she came out, brushing her hair, wearing the trim t-shirt and white pants.

“Feel human again, little lady?”

She nodded yes, eyes tearing up again.

“Oh, honey,” Tex said, rushing to her side, taking her into his arms. She stiffened, but then settled into him, sobbing on his shoulder as he patted her on the back. “It’s okay.”

She backed up. “It’s not okay. You should see me. I’m all bruised and battered. Some of it may never go away.”

“They were really rough on you, weren’t they?”

“I wouldn’t give in until they started forcing booze down my throat. Then I was so numb that I didn’t care anymore, but I still wouldn’t give them what they wanted. They hit me for it, and cut me, and burned me with cigarettes. I look just awful.”

“You were strong,” he said. “You fought them. That’s something to be proud of.”

“I hope I feel that way about it someday,” she whispered, breaking the embrace. “Are you hungry?”

“Famished,” he said. “Ready to go eat?”

“You could’ve already.”

“I was waiting for you,” he said.

“Why?”

“Because that’s how civilized people act,” Tex said. “C’mon.”

They left the bedroom.

***

They’d been walking for several hours. Sam felt it in his thighs and calves. His hand was sore from carrying his M-16. He felt plodding and clumsy next to the graceful Erica. They made small talk on the first part of the walk, but the grade got tough, and the climbing over rocks. Shortness of breath made talking harder, so they stopped chatting for a while. The people walking in front of them were slowing down.

“Time for a rest?” Sam asked.

Erica turned to him and smiled. “There’s a creek ahead with a pool, like the one by the ghost town. No waterfall, though.”

“And hopefully no enemy fighters,” Sam said. “I’m so out of shape.”

She chuckled. “You won’t be by the time we’re done with this trek.”

“Hopefully we can get picked up for the last part of the journey,” Sam said. “The Jeeps and that crazy contraption that Ed’s in ought to be almost to the highway.”

“Ed will be back here,” Erica said. “He goes ahead in the hovercraft to scout. Then he gets behind us and uses it to blow away our footprints in the dirt. He won’t go to town before we can get there.”

“That’s why there were no tracks leading away from that other location.”

“Yes,” she said.

“Those things aren’t that good on a highway. Probably not even street legal. We might have to load it into a truck or something when we get to highway 94.”

She chuckled. “As if anybody would care in this world. Don’t worry. He’ll probably follow a route alongside the road. That’s what he did coming down from Barrett Lake.”

“Makes sense,” he said as they neared the water.

“Fair warning – there will be some skinny dipping at the pool,” Erica said. “Hope that doesn’t embarrass you too much.”

“Skinny-dipping?”

“When we’re on the trail we bathe this way,” she said. “There’s nothing sexual about it, but outsiders get a little taken aback. It feels so good to cool down and get some of the trail dust off.”

“Hey, I’m pretty easy going about that kinda stuff.”

“Uh huh,” she said, grinning at him as they got to the water’s edge. There were a lot of people in the water before them, obviously naked but not seeming to notice amongst themselves. Sam looked at them.

“See, it’s not bothering me,” he said, turning back to her. She already had her top off, and was taking off her pants. “Coming? Sorry to take the mystique away, but I’m hot.”

Sam chuckled and shrugged, then undressed and followed her into the water. “Okay, this feels good.”

“Told you.” She dunked her head under the water, coming back up with her shiny black hair wet. Sam did the same, shaking when he came back up, the cool water taking a lot of the soreness and tension away in seconds.

“So, were we gonna skinny dip at the pool last night?” Sam asked

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she said. “If we did, it might have turned into more than skinny dipping.”

“I told you I’m not quite ready for that yet.”

“I saw how you looked at me just now,” she said softly. “I like the way you look too.”

People were starting to leave the pool.

“Appears to be time to go,” Sam said.

“Yes,” she said. “Look the other way. That’s not considered polite.”

“They show when they’re getting in,” Sam said.

“Yes, but that’s when they’re getting in.” She giggled at him. “You can look at me when we’re getting out. Just not at everybody else. Avert your eyes from them and you’ll be considered polite.”

“Okay,” he said. They waded for the beach. “Wish we could stay in here longer.”

“Me too,” she said, walking out of the water. Sam took in her naked back, trying not to let it affect him. She turned and looked him up and down. “I’m impressed.”

“Impressed?”

“Self-control…you know what I mean,” she said, bending down to pick up her clothes. They got dressed quickly, and were back on the trail again.

“Nobody complains about this,” Sam said.

“To the young it’s an adventure,” Erica said. “Luckily they don’t really understand how much danger we’re in. The old won’t ruin it for the young by complaining about it.”

“You have a nice culture,” Sam said.

“I think so,” she said. “That’s why I haven’t left the reservation. It’s a comfortable way to live.”

“Smell that?” Sam asked, freezing and looking around.

“Yes,” she said. “Fire.”

“You think some of the people are setting up camp already?”

“No,” Erica said. “It’s coming from the north.”

Sam whirled his head around. “Crap, they lit the ghost town on fire. Look at the smoke.”

“Bastards,” Erica said, turning around. “They have to erase everything that came before them. I remember what they did in Afghanistan.”

“The Buddhist monuments,” Sam said. “I remember. I saw what they did.”

“You were over there?”

“Yes,” Sam said.

“What was it like?”

“I’d rather not talk about it,” he said. “At least not yet.”

“Don’t know me well enough?”

“No offence, but yes, that’s why,” he said. “I get too emotional. Sometimes I even break down crying. I’m not ready for you to see that yet. Maybe I’ll never be ready for that.”

She put her hand on his shoulder. “I like men who can show emotion.”

He nodded, not wanting to go further with it. They climbed up to another ridge, and then the rock field was before them.

“Oh, yeah, this place,” Sam said.

“This was the part you didn’t like in the Jeep?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Stupid, I know.”

“You like to be in control,” she said. “Noticed that about you pretty quick. If you were used to driving Jeeps in that terrain, it would have been easier for you to traverse.”

Sam laughed. “You’re right about that. Sometimes I get a tad car-sick when I’m not driving on normal roads.”

“I have the same problem,” she said. “We’ll have to compromise on that a little, I think.”

He chuckled and shook his head. “You think we’re going to be together, don’t you?”

“No,” she said, stopping, looking into his eyes. “I know. I’ve already seen it.”

To be continued…

 

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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 2017

Bugout! California Part 84 – Flight into the Back Country

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Sam was asleep in his tent, the breeze slowly swaying it. He could hear others around him, breathing, some snoring. Footsteps approached in the sand.

“You awake?” a woman’s voice whispered.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Erica?”

“Yep,” she whispered. “Want to take a walk with me? I can’t sleep. You can’t either.”

“How did you know that?” Sam asked, unzipping his tent. He stuck his head out.

“You were breathing normally,” she said. “I’ll leave if you don’t want to come.”

“No, it’s fine,” Sam said. “Got to put my pants and shirt on, though.”

“I’ll wait, unless you need help.”

Sam chuckled. “No, I think I can handle it”

He emerged from the tent in the dim moonlight. She was standing, her long black hair blowing in the breeze.

“Hi,” she said, smiling at him.

“Didn’t expect to see you until tomorrow morning,” he said as he stood next to her.

“You expected to see me tomorrow?”

“You asked me not to leave without saying goodbye, remember?”

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “I didn’t think you’d take that seriously. Glad you did.”

“Where to?”

“There’s a water fall about a thousand yards down that path,” Erica said. “Nice place to sit and chat.”

“Lead the way,” he said.

They walked away from the tent area quietly, single file at the beginning of the path. It widened after a while, and Erica waited for Sam to get next to her.

“Why me?” Sam asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Ed said you’d want to meet me. So did Tyler.”

She giggled. “Yeah, I’ll bet. I don’t care what they think.”

“But you aren’t answering my question.”

“I was getting there,” she said, her eyes dancing with his.

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said. “We both lost our spouses suddenly. I don’t have anybody to talk to about that.”

“Oh, so that’s all it is?” Sam asked, sounding a little bit disappointed.

“I’m lonely, and I’ve heard you’re a very impressive man,” she said, “so don’t be disappointed.”

“As long as you don’t expect too much,” Sam said. “I don’t have that much to give right now. Not until this fight is over.”

“Fight? Oh, you mean this damn war.”

“Yeah,” Sam said.

“You in it for the duration?”

“I’m in it until Imperial County and eastern San Diego County are free of the UN and the Islamists,” Sam said. “I owe my fellow citizens that much.”

“How long do you think that will take?”

Sam glanced at her, then back ahead at the trail. “Hopefully not very long at all. I’m not enjoying this.”

“Good,” Erica said. “There’s a little bit of a grade here. We’ll have to walk single file for the rest of the way.”

Sam followed her down through some bushes, single file again, and the terrain started downhill quickly.

“Be careful here,” Erica said. “Loose rocks.”

Sam started to slip, stopping himself by grabbing a branch. “Yep, you’re not kidding.”

As they followed the trail, they could hear the water fall, very soft, but getting louder and louder.

“It’s pretty down here,” Sam said. “Even in the dark.”

“Wait until you see the pool,” she said. “It’s beautiful. I like to swim there.”

“It’s pretty cold, though, isn’t it?”

“Not this time of year,” she said. “We’re not in the mountains.”

“Where does the stream come from?”

“It’s spring-fed,” she said. “I can see it now. Look past me.”

“Oh, yeah, there it is,” Sam said, looking at it, a rough oval shape, bordered on one side by big rocks, with the water fall flowing over one of them. The side they were approaching was a small sandy bank. The sound of the rushing water was loud now.

“We’ll have to climb down here one at a time,” she said. “There’s another way up, so don’t worry about that. Wait until I tell you I’m down.”

She got on her butt and slid down, getting out of his sight. He waited. Nothing. A cold sweat broke out. Something’s wrong. He slid down slowly, trying to be silent. Erica was there, facing towards him, an Islamist pointing a rifle at her head. Before even thinking, he leapt onto the man’s back, grabbing his head and twisting it, a sickening crack sounding louder than the waterfall.

“Hey, what you do?” shouted another Islamist, who was next to a third. Sam grabbed the AK-47 out of the dead man’s hands and fired, killing both before they could react.

“Get down, and head into the bushes,” Sam said.

She grabbed one of the AK-47s from the other men and rushed away, Sam scanning the area before following her.

“Dammit,” Erica whispered as he got next to her. “Wonder how many others are around?”

“Good question,” Sam whispered back. “Didn’t see anybody else. We need to follow their tracks.” He pulled out his phone and sent a quick text.

“Who are you sending that too?” she whispered.

“Sid, Tyler, Ryan, and James. We’ve got M60s and a BAR in our Jeeps.”

“Hope they’re still there,” she whispered, scanning with him. “Where did you learn how to do that?”

“Special forces,” Sam said. “You know how to shoot the AK-47?”

“Yep,” she said. “I trained Kaitlyn.”

“Oh, really now?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Good, isn’t she?”

Sam’s phone buzzed him. He looked at it, trying to hide the shine of the screen with his hand. “They’re up, getting the weapons now, including the mortar we brought.”

“You guys have a mortar?” she asked. “Geez.”

“Wait till you see the battle wagons.”

“Battle wagons?”

“Later,” he said. “C’mon, let’s see if we can find some tracks. I want to see how many enemy fighters there are.”

She nodded, then stopped for a second and put her arm around his neck, pulling him in, kissing him tenderly.

“Wow, what was that for?” he asked.

“Saving my life,” she said. “Consider that a down payment.”

“You’re something,” he whispered. “Let’s go. Stay sharp.”

They got back onto the sandy bank. There were footsteps in the sand, leading off towards the north.

“They came in from the road to Barrett Lake,” Erica whispered. She noticed Sam wasn’t next to her anymore and looked back to see him taking ammo and grenades off the enemy fighters. “Oh, good idea.”

He caught up with her, and they followed the tracks, which led around the side of the rocks near the waterfall and over. Suddenly a shot rang out, hitting the rocks to their right.

“Hit the dirt,” Sam said. Erica already had, and was crawling up, AK in front of her, eye already on the sight.

“Looks like about ten,” she whispered. “Two trucks. Let’s nail the tires.”

“Yeah,” Sam said, crawling next to her. They opened fire, the trucks sagging downward as their tires exploded. There was yelling in Arabic below them, and a few more shots hit the ridge they were on. Erica opened fire, hitting several of them, Sam joining in. Then there was a much louder gun, full automatic fire.

“M60s,” Sam said, smiling at Erica.

After a few seconds there was silence.

“Let’s go down and check it out,” Erica said.

“Yeah, but be careful,” Sam said. They got up and headed over the ridge. Another shot rang out. Erica rolled onto the ground and fired from prone position, missing with the first shot, then hitting the enemy fighter square in the chest.

“I’m a little out of practice,” she said.

“Oh, please,” Sam said. They continued on. Tyler and Sid emerged from the cover to their left.

“How many?” Tyler asked.

“Three down by the pool,” Sam said. Looks like another nine here.”

“Twelve total,” Sid said. “Wonder if that’s all of them?”

“Let’s follow the tracks of that truck,” Erica said.

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “Nice shooting. I see you haven’t lost your stuff.”

“Seriously,” Sid said. “That drop and roll was nicely executed.”

“She trained Kaitlyn,” Sam said.

“And by the way, what were you doing by the pool?” Tyler asked. Sid snickered.

“Maybe they were gonna go skinny dipping,” he said.

“All right, knock it off,” Sam said. “We were gonna talk.”

“Uh huh,” Tyler said as they followed the tracks.

“How far is the highway from here?” Sam asked.

“Several miles,” Erica said. “Good dirt roads. Might be hard to find tracks as we get further. The surface gets harder.”

“You tell the tribe to pack up?” Sam asked.

“They’re working on it now,” Tyler said. “Those rifle shots were loud. Everybody woke up. We were on our way to the Jeeps already when we got your text.”

“Good,” Sam said. “We’re going to have to go back the way we came, or we’ll get killed on the highway. You guys know that, right?”

“Yeah,” Erica said. “It’s the way we came, you know.”

“I know you’re thrilled about that,” Sid said. He and Tyler chuckled.

“What?” Erica asked.

“I’m not into the whole rock climbing thing. Too much of a white-knuckle ride for me.”

“Then you can walk with me,” Erica said.

“It’s gonna take a few days to get back to the other location,” Tyler said. “And we still have the water problem.”

“Come back to Dulzura with us,” Sid said. “We’ve got room. It’s safer than here.”

“Where are you guys?” Erica asked.

“You know that estate on Dutchman Canyon road, off Highway 94?”

“The Williams place?” Erica asked. “How does old man Williams feel about that?”

“He’s dead, I’m afraid,” Sam said. “Killed by Islamists early on. We’ve taken the place over with some help from Garrett and his men.”

“Garrett,” Erica said. “Now there’s an interesting character.”

“I’m surprised we never met,” Sam said. “We know a lot of the same people.”

“Yeah, it’s weird,” she said. “Can’t see the tracks anymore.”

“Me neither,” Tyler said. “Maybe we ought to turn back.”

“Yeah, we need to get your people moving,” Sam said.

“The walkers are already moving,” Tyler said. “We told them to pack up and leave.”

“At least the enemy won’t be able to follow us in vehicles,” Sam said. “At least not in these trucks they have.”

“Hope they don’t have any Gaz Tigrs,” Sid said.

“Me too, but if they did, they would’ve been at the front of the line, not the back,” Sam said.

“Good point,” Tyler said.

“Okay, let’s go load up,” Sid said.

They walked back to camp.

“Do you really want to walk with me?” Erica said. “You don’t have to.”

“I’d like to,” he said. “You mind, Sid?”

“No, not at all. We can take three others in the Jeep then.”

“Hope we aren’t followed too quickly,” Tyler said. “The only way the enemy can follow us is on foot, if they’re in these kinds of trucks. Helps to have a head start.”

“How many of your people are armed?” Sam asked.

“All of them,” Tyler said.

“Good,” Sam said as they got back into the ghost town. The sea of tents was gone, and there was a stream of people walking south, past the open mine shaft. Ed saw them and rushed over.

“Don’t know what you two were doing at the pool,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, “but I’m glad you were there.”

“You would’ve taken them anyway,” Sam said. “There was only twelve.”

“We’ve been invited to their place in Dulzura,” Tyler said.

“It’s as much your place as it is ours,” Sid said. “Don’t forget that.”

“Think it will accommodate everybody?” Ed asked.

“It’s the old Williams ranch,” Tyler said. “It’ll take all of our people and then some.”

“Might eventually want to go to Dodge City, I suppose,” Sid said. “It’s a little less exposed.”

“What’s Dodge City?” Ed asked.

“Garrett’s place,” Sid said.

“Oh, yeah, heard about that,” Ed said. “That’s the place where they built a western town not to code, and the country made them pull it all down and rebuild it.”

Sid cracked up. “Yep. Heard that story.”

“I want to know how the hell the enemy found us,” Tyler said.

“You and me both,” Sam said. “We’re always thinking we’ve got these guys on the run, and then they do something we don’t expect them to be capable of.”

“That’s not very encouraging,” Erica said.

“It is what it is,” Ed said. “Guess we’re still in this fight.”

“Yep,” Tyler said. They prepared to leave.

***

Jules backed the big coach into the first spot, next to the huge warehouse. The other coaches followed suit. There were long, thick electrical cords on the ground behind the parking spots.

“Hookups for everybody, I see,” Shelly said, checking them out in her mirror.

“Yes,” he said. “All planned out. We all go into siege mode.”

“Expecting company?”

“No, but why take chance? We don’t need to, no?”

Shelly smiled. “You’re right, of course. Tex’s rig is getting the retrofit first?”

“Yes, he pull into warehouse. Huge shop. They work round clock. Ted’s coach also in first pair.”

“Where are they gonna sleep?” Shelly asked.

“Main house,” Jules said.

“Where are we gonna sleep?”

“In coach,” Jules said. “To man weapons in hurry if needed. Okay?”

She sighed at him. “Oh, I suppose. Can I trust you to behave?”

“Yes, you know. I did before.”

“Except sealing your body against mine naked, that is,” she said, smiling at him.

“Just cuddle,” he said. “That okay, no?”

“I need to get some pajamas.”

Jules chuckled, then hit the button to set the coach up into siege mode. “Don’t worry, I fall asleep fast tonight. It late. Both tired, no?”

“Yes, we’re both tired,” Shelly said. “Shall we go talk to the others?”

“Yes, ready,” Jules said, getting up. They left the coach together. “Let’s check warehouse.”

They walked over, waving to the others, some of them still backing in, others setting up siege mode. Light flooded out of the huge doors of the warehouse. Ted had just finished backing in. Tex was already outside his coach, standing next to Karen. Techs were working on their coach, pulling off the rear cover of the engine compartment.

“How drive?” Jules asked.

“Not bad, partner,” Tex said, walking up with Karen. “You?”

“Nice,” he said. “Right, Shelly?”

“Yes, it was fine,” she said. “I thought this place was further past the crash site. Almost seems like a shame that we waited.”

“No way,” Tex said. “We had to wait.”

“Why?” Karen asked.

Jules chuckled. “Some would see where we turn off.”

“Oh, crap, you’re right,” Karen said. “Sorry.”

“So, you guys are sleeping in the big house, huh?” Shelly asked. “Where is it?”

“Behind warehouse,” Jules said. “Not as big as last place.”

“Well, I’m beat,” Karen said. “I’m going there now, if that’s okay.”

“You go ahead,” Tex said. “I’ll catch up in a few minutes.”

“Don’t care,” she said, walking away.

“She still give you hard time, no?” Jules asked.

Shelly chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” Tex asked her. “You and Jules together yet?”

Shelly’s face turned red, but she smiled. “I guess I deserved that.”

“I’m just messing with you,” Tex said. “You do what you want to do, little lady. I know I’ve got a challenge with Karen, but I’m working it. Might just surprise you.”

“Oh, I expect you to get her eventually,” Shelly said. “Enjoy the beef jerky?” She turned and went back into the coach. Jules snickered.

“Wonder if she had something to do with that?” Tex asked.

Jules laughed. “These women outsmart us, no?”

“You might have a point there, partner,” Tex said. “When are you gonna tell her the truth?”

“What you mean?”

“Never mind. Already said too much.” He turned and started to head to the house.

“Wait!” Jules said. “What?”

He turned back to him. “I’ll give you a hint. Your occupation is important. Good night. Wish me luck.”

Jules smiled. Not ready yet. He shook his head and went into the coach.

“Sleepy?” he asked.

“I’m already in bed,” Shelly said from the bedroom.

“Okay, mind if I join?”

“It’s your bed,” she said.

“Yes, but I sleep out here if you want.”

She was silent for a moment.

“I sleep out here,” Jules said.

“No, it’s fine,” she said. “Just remember to be a gentleman, like before, okay?”

“Yes,” Jules said. He switched off the lights in the front of the coach and locked the door, then came in the bedroom. “Turn back unless you want to see.”

Shelly giggled. “Geez, look at us.” She turned on her side, facing away from him. He stripped off his clothes, turned out the lights, and slipped under the covers.

“You missed your chance,” she said.

“The lights? I be polite. You want that, no?”

“Yes, I want that,” she said. “What do you want?”

“You, but I understand.”

“Thank you,” she said. “What are you going to do after the war?”

“I don’t know,” Jules said. “You?”

“Same. I’ll have to start over. Had a decent career, but I’ve been gone so long. I don’t know if the team is still together.”

“They remember you,” Jules said. “They still want. Wait and see.”

“How could you know that?”

“I see your work. I’ll hire if they don’t.”

“Work for Ivan’s mob? You really think I’d do that?”

“You might be surprised what I do,” Jules said.

“I’d rather not find out,” she said. “This is fine. It’s war. I want to go back to a normal life after. A peaceful life.”

“You think I don’t want that?”

“You’ll still be in it,” she said. “The risky life. Don’t you get tired of that?”

“Yes, I work in cut throat business. Need best staff and best product. I like the competition. The striving for growth, for development of my team. What’s so bad?”

“You don’t see anything morally wrong with what you do?”

“No,” Jules said. “Can I cuddle? Cold.”

“Uh huh,” she said. “No hanky panky.”

“What’s hanky panky?”

She giggled. “You’re so European.”

“This bad?” he asked.

“Why do you want to cuddle?”

“I’m cold, and I like closeness to you,” Jules said. “I behave, remember?”

“Okay, Jules, you can lay against me,” she said softly, “just watch where you put your hands? Can you do that?”

“Yes, I do,” Jules said, moving over against her back, settling in. He moaned. “This nice.” His hand went to her hip. She grabbed it, pulling it against her belly. “Here okay. Not my butt. Or the other private spots. Understand?”

“Yes,” he said. “You like.”

“It is nice to be held,” she said, pushing back against him slightly. Her breath slowed, but she started to tremble a little.

“You cry?” Jules asked softly.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s the damn dreams. Every night. It helped being with you last night. Maybe it will help again, but I’m scared.”

“I’m here,” he said softly, turning her head to him. He kissed her lightly on the cheek. “You are a beautiful person. Good night. I be here. I protect you. Always.”

She drifted off, trying to believe him.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 83 – Los Gatos Vineyards

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Kaitlyn and Seth walked quietly into the big house and up the stairs. It was getting late. Seth opened the door for Kaitlyn, closing it behind them after they walked inside.

“Okay, Seth, I need you to tell me now that we’re alone. Are you really ready for this?”

“I wasn’t lying out there,” Seth said, his arms circling her waist, pulling her closer. They kissed, Kaitlyn breaking it before Seth was ready.

“Don’t change the subject,” she whispered. “Are you really ready? Do you really want me?”

“You can’t tell?”

“I think I can, but this is a big deal. It’s our whole lives. I don’t want to do this more than once.”

He kissed her forehead and then released her from his embrace. “Sit down. Let’s talk this out.”

She nodded and sat on the bed, Seth sitting next to her.

“Thanks,” she said.

“Are you having doubts?”

“I knew I wanted you the first time I laid eyes on you,” she said. “I keep waiting for my feelings to diminish, like they have with other men I’ve had relationships with.”

“That’s not happening, is it?”

“No, the opposite is happening,” she said. “It’s scary.”

“Why scary?”

She thought silently for a moment. “I feel out of control. Look how I blurted out that comment in front of Sam and the others.”

“That was cute,” Seth said. “The way you covered your mouth, and looked so worried.”

“I didn’t think it was cute. I thought it was embarrassing.”

“You know us guys like when women tip their hand like that,” Seth said. “It’s exciting.”

She looked into his eyes, searching. “What do you want. Really. No BS.”

He smiled calmly at her for a moment, taking in the beauty of her face, and her earnest look.

“C’mon,” she said.

“I want you in my life. Every day. I want to see you carrying my children. I want to raise them with you and settle down. I want that to start today.”

She looked at him through tears. “How do I know this isn’t just infatuation?”

He sighed, looking down, then back up at her face. “You’re just going to have to believe me for now. If you need more assurance than that, you’ll have to watch me over time. If you’re that worried about it, we can hold off with Tyler for a little while. Not too long, though.”

“Why, are you going to lose interest if we don’t move forward?”

He chuckled. “No, I’m just anxious, that’s all.”

“Anxious for what? You already have me in most ways. We’ve been kinda like bunnies since that first night at the motel.”

Seth smiled at her. “That was almost our last night.”

“Don’t remind me,” she said.

“You’ve known that I want you since before that,” Seth said. “I could tell by the way you looked at me.”

“How did I look at you?”

“Like my mom looked at my dad,” Seth said.

Kaitlyn’s face turned red, and she looked at him. “That’s it.”

“That’s what?”

“The way you look at me. I have you, don’t I?”

“Yes,” Seth said, “and I thought I had you, until this discussion started.”

“You think I don’t want you?”

“I didn’t say that,” Seth said. “I think you’re cautious about pulling the trigger so soon. That’s all.” He paused to look at her again.

“You’re going to say something else, but you’re not sure about it.”

“I know you want me,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind. We belong to each other. It’s clear as day to me, but I didn’t really realize it all the way until just now. It was wishful thinking before. Hoping.”

She leaned against him, on the verge of tears. “So, we should do it, then? You sure?”

“I’m sure,” Seth said. “I can’t wait, actually.”

“Why? Do you think things will change once we’ve gone through it?”

He smiled. “Yeah, I do, but I can’t put my finger on it.”

“I think I know,” she said. “We can start that now. We don’t need to go to the pharmacy after all.” She stood up and pulled her shirt over her head. Seth reached for her, his passion building fast.

“I was afraid you were going to back out,” Seth said.

“I was afraid you weren’t really ready,” she said as she undid her bra.

***

Sam and Sid followed Ed and Tyler back to the sheriff’s office. They went inside and sat back down.

“Well, what do you think?” Ed asked Sam.

“About what?”

“Erica,” Tyler said. He looked at Sid, and they snickered.

“She’s very nice and quite beautiful,” Sam said, “but I’m not ready. Not for a while.”

“What’s the verdict?” Sid asked.

“We’ll allow Tyler, Ryan, and James to go back with you guys,” Ed said. “They can bring their families if they so desire. That is their business.”

“There’s a but coming,” Sid said.

“We won’t commit more warriors to the fight,” Ed said. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Sam said. “I was going to suggest that anyway. Your people have given up enough. You need what warriors you have left to defend yourselves, until we can get the area really locked down.”

“Thank you for your understanding,” Ed said.

“Thank you for your fairness and your sacrifices up to now,” Sid said. “You will always be our brothers.”

“I hope we can spend time together once this is over,” Ed said.

“One other thing,” Tyler said. “If we run into trouble and need a place to hide out, all of you are welcome here with us.”

“Thanks for that,” Sid said. “That’s very generous.”

“You are welcome,” Ed said. “Now I’m tired. I’ll take my leave. Are you heading out tomorrow?”

“We’d like to,” Sam said.

“Good,” Ed said. “I’ll see you off in the morning then. Good night.”

He walked out of the office. Tyler looked at them.

“You guys okay with that?”

“Of course,” Sam said. “We never expected your people to ­­­send more warriors. The main reason for this trip was to check on them. Make sure they didn’t need help from us.”

“Exactly,” Sid said. “By the way, we gave Kaitlyn and Megan a heads up about Ed’s request.”

“And the guys too, I hope,” Tyler said.

“Yes, of course,” Sid said. “They were together when we discussed it with them.”

“Did they get upset?”

Sam chuckled. “Hardly.”

“Good, that’s how I figured it would go,” Tyler said. “I’m going to spend some quality time with my wife and family before we leave. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Are you bringing them?” Sid asked.

“I’m going to suggest they don’t come,” Tyler said. “I’ll have to promise to be back soon, but I want that anyway. My place is with my people.”

“I agree,” Sam said. “See you in the morning.”

Tyler nodded and left.

“Well, that’s that,” Sid said. “I’m happy about it.”

“Me too,” Sam said. “This is the outcome I hoped for. Finding them safe and sound, and leaving them here.”

“You still think this is a death trap, though, right?”

“Yes, but we’ve got the enemy on the run now,” Sam said. “They won’t last much longer.”

“Let’s hope not,” Sid said. “Joining up with these folks doesn’t sound half bad, you know.”

“I could think of worse things,” Sam said.

“So could Erica, I’m sure,” Sid said.

He looked over at her. “Okay, okay, I liked her. Maybe after all of this is over I’ll find her again. Don’t start telling everybody in our group about it, though, okay?”

“I won’t,” Sid said. “Let’s go to our tents and hit the sack. Tomorrow is gonna be a long day.”

***

Tex and Karen sat in chairs outside their rig, which was closest to the gate. They watched as Cody and Allison walked back from the highway, binoculars around their necks and M-16s in their hands.

“They gone, partner?” Tex asked.

“Yeah, finally,” Cody said. “Motorcycle went over the cliff. The guy walked away, believe it or not. Took them a long time to hoist the bike back up.”

“It’s almost midnight,” Allison said. “Not that I minded the company.”

Cody smiled at her, then looked at Tex. “We leaving tonight?”

“It’s not safe to stay here, is it?” Karen asked.

“No,” Tex said. “Go report to Jules, Cody. I suspect we’ll be leaving soon.”

Cody nodded. They walked off towards the other coaches.

Karen sighed. “Is everybody getting together in this group?”

“You have a problem with that, little lady?”

“Never mind. Forget I said it. I don’t want to get into one of those conversations again.”

“I thought you were getting to like me a little.”

“I am, a little,” she said. “It just feels like all of us are being pushed.”

Allison is the one who made the comment,” Tex said.

“I know. Like I said, I don’t want to start another one of those conversations with you.”

“Have it your way, little lady,” Tex said.

“Why do you call me that?”

“I call all women that,” Tex said. “Force of habit. Picked it up from my granddad.”

“Oh, brother,” she said. “It makes you sound like a hick.”

“It makes me sound like a Texan.”

“Same difference,” she quipped.

Tex laughed. “You’re going to be like this for our whole lives, aren’t you, little lady?”

She rolled her eyes.

“What, no comment?” Tex asked, grinning at her.

“That doesn’t deserve a comment,” she said, trying hard not to crack a smile.

Tex’s phone dinged. He looked at it. “Jules. We’re leaving now. Same order as before.”

“Good, then that’ll end this conversation,” Karen said, getting up out of her chair. Tex folded both chairs up and stashed them in the storage compartment as Karen went up the steps into the coach. Tex joined her there in a moment, and got behind the wheel. They watched Jules’s coach roll by slowly.

“There they go,” Tex said as he fired up the big diesel.

“Why is Shelly always riding shotgun?”

“Maybe she’s spotting for Jules,” Tex said.

“Sparky is in that rig too,” Karen said. “He could do that.”

“He’s probably playing house with Dana,” Tex said. “You see them together earlier? I’m surprised they weren’t holding hands.”

“Dammit,” Karen said. “That’s what I was talking about. There’s pressure. It’s not fair.”

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do,” Tex said. “I’ve told you that over and over again.”

“But you keep trying.”

“Told you about that, too,” Tex said.

She shook her head. Tex pulled out into his spot, just ahead of Robbie’s coach. Soon they were back on the road, cruising around the curves.

“Is Shelly really getting closer to Jules?” Karen asked.

“Thought you didn’t want to talk about this stuff.”

“I was talking about us,” she said.

“Oh, there’s an us, now, is there? Excellent.”

“Dammit, that’s not what I meant, and you know it,” she said. “I’m just surprised that she seems to be coming around to him.”

“Sitting next to him and coming around are two different things,” Tex said. “Look where you’re sitting.”

“It’s not the same,” she said.

“Why not?”

“Because Sparky is in the coach too,” Karen said. If Ted or Cody were in this coach, they’d be riding shotgun.”

“Don’t be so sure. Maybe I want you up here.”

“Why?”

“You have a calming effect on me,” Tex said.

She laughed out loud. “I’ve been an exercise in frustration.”

“Do you see me reacting as if that’s the case?” Tex asked.

“Now we’re back in that conversation again.”

“You brought it up,” Tex said, glancing over at her.

“Watch the road.”

“You’re watching me,” Tex said. “Caught you.”

“Shut up,” she said. “I don’t think Jules is gonna get anywhere with Shelly, anyway.”

“And why is that? She say something to you, or are you just guessing?”

“I heard her and Dana talking,” Karen said.

“Eavesdropping, huh? That’s not nice.”

“No, it wasn’t like that,” she said. “We were all in the store at the gas station. It was hard not to hear what they were saying.”

“What were they saying?”

“Don’t say anything,” Karen said.

“My lips are sealed,” Tex said.

“They better be. She does like him, but she’s afraid of what he does for a living.”

“Oh, really,” Tex said. “What does she think he does for a living?”

“He works for Ivan’s mob,” Karen said.

Tex laughed hard, then looked over at her, then turned back to the road and laughed some more.

“What’s so funny?” Karen asked.

“Jules hasn’t worked for Ivan in years. Not since the days when Ivan was in Russia.”

“He didn’t work for him in the EU, before Ivan got kicked out?”

Tex shook his head no.

“Then why is he here?” Karen asked.

“He’s an enemy of the guy who is behind this war,” Tex said. “He joined Ivan to fight him.”

“Saladin?”

Tex chuckled. “Saladin is second in command. He’s like the attack dog, although he doesn’t know it. He’s not the leader, and he didn’t dream this thing up.”

“Then who did?”

“A Belgian man named Daan Mertins,” Tex said. “He’s one evil piece of crap. There’s been a nasty feud between Jules’s family and Daan’s family. It’s gone on for a lot of years.”

“How many years?”

“Oh, about four hundred,” Tex said.

“What?”

“Europeans are a little different than us folks here.”

“Okay, so what does Jules really do for a living?” Karen asked.

“His family owns a dairy business. A big dairy business.”

“No way,” Karen said.

“It’s the God’s honest truth.”

Karen snickered. “So he’s going back to the farm after this is over, then?”

“Jules is rich. He can go wherever he wants to,” Tex said.

“Crap,” Karen said. “If Jules mentioned that to Shelly, I suspect she’d change her opinion. I’d have another couple here to put pressure on me.”

Ted laughed. “Don’t you tell her. That’s up to Jules.”

Karen was silent for a moment. “Wait, if he wants her so badly, why doesn’t he tell her?”

“Maybe he wants to make sure she wants him, not the money,” Tex said. “He probably will go back to the family business. He’s the one who built it up as big as it is today.”

Karen was quiet again, thinking. “Okay, which of you guys do work for Ivan’s mob? You do, don’t you?”

“I never said that,” Tex said. “We’re old friends, and we’re fighting a common enemy. We part ways when it’s over. Same with Ted and Cody. The only person who works for Ivan is Sparky. Oh, and Mister White and Mister Black.”

“Who are they again?”

“Hit men, basically,” Tex said. “You’ve never met them. They helped us to rescue you ladies. They handled the operation inside the Armstrong Theater while we were in the tunnels heading for you.”

“He never planned to take any of us along on this, did he?”

“He didn’t know he’d be rescuing you guys until Sparky and I talked to him,” Tex said. “The folks you should be thanking are Morgan and Robbie. That’s the connection.”

“You knew Morgan, right?”

“Just barely,” Tex said. “I told you about what happened at the card club, right?”

“Oh yeah,” she said. “Morgan thinks you and Sparky walk on water, you know.”

“We both have a problem with thugs who abuse women.”

The convoy started to slow down.

“Oh, crap, what now?” Karen asked. She looked out the windows franticly, her red hair swaying.

“We’re probably there already,” Tex said.

“You mean to tell me that this place was only a few miles past that crash site?”

“Yeah,” Tex said. “Why are you mad about that?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said. “I’m just tired, I guess. I thought we had a lot more driving to do.”

“Don’t worry, there’s a few more miles after this turn coming up,” Tex said. “You’ll get to partake of my sparkling personality for a while yet.”

“Hardy har har,” she said. “I’m still going to be in this damn coach with you anyway.”

“Ours is getting retrofitted in the first pair,” Tex said. “We’re staying in the house. Oh, and by the way, they’re tearing out the bed and the floors in the bedroom and replacing it all.”

“Why?”

“So we can use it,” Tex said.

“You’d be okay with sleeping in there?”

“Yeah, after they’ve cleaned it out completely,” Tex said.

“Okay, I could see that, I guess.” She watched as Tex made the right turn, onto a long skinny road lined with trees on either side.

“You okay?”

“You’re supposed to be watching the road,” she said

“This is straight. Not as difficult as that last road. I can glance over some now.”

“Wonderful,” she said.

“You were going to ask me something. I see those gears in your head turning.”

“Oh, stop,” she said. “You can not.”

“You’re like an open book. Go ahead, ask.”

She looked over at him. “Damn you. I was gonna ask what you did for a living.”

“I mostly live off my investments,” he said. “How do you think I got time off to do all of this?”

“Wait, are you rich too?”

Tex laughed. “You mean like Jules? No, nothing like that.”

“Oh,” she said. “What will you do when this is over?”

“Probably follow you around.”

“Dammit, I was serious.”

He just stared back at her quietly.

“You’re impossible,” she said, her anger flaring.

“Why are you so mad? Do you wish I was rich like Jules?”

“No, of course not,” she said. “We’ve been thrown together. We’re spending all this time together, like it or not. I was curious, that’s all.”

“Uh huh,” he said. “I just told you.”

“Follow me around? You mean like a stocker?”

“Also explained that,” he said. “I’ll pursue you until I know you want me to go away.”

“You aren’t very perceptive, then.”

Tex chuckled. “Look, there’s the gate.”

She turned from glaring at him to the road ahead, watching the coaches go through the massive ornate gates. The sign said Los Gatos Vineyards.

“We’re going to a winery?”

Tex smiled at her. “Tough, I know. It’s a little more than a winery, of course.”

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bugout! California Part 82 – Lights on the Dark Road

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Shelly watched the dark, scary road unfolding before the coach, glancing at Jules every few minutes, his concentration a comfort to her. When he glanced back at her, she looked away quickly. Stop that.

“How you do?” Jules asked. “Tired?”

“I’m fine,” she said. “You handle this coach well.”

“Others too,” Jules said. “I took lead to keep speed down. Not because good driver.”

“At least we’re next to the hillside going this direction, not that cliff. There’s not even a guard rail in some spots.”

Jules snickered. “It’s dark. That better, can’t see. That cliff is steep.”

“We’ve been on the road for almost an hour,” Shelly said. “How much further?”

“Two hour more,” he said.

“We’re going past Los Gatos, then?”

“No, we go roundabout way to get to Highway 17 corridor. Enemy base in industrial complex. Control for San Jose area and roads into San Francisco controlled by base. We ruin, then move up Highway 17, back to 101. Blow up Dumbarton and San Mateo bridges. Cut link between enemy bases.”

“What about San Francisco?” Shelly asked.

“Leadership elites of UN running things. We take out, with help from Ivan’s people. Blown bridges keep reinforcements from coming.”

Shelly sat quietly for a moment, thinking as she watched the road. “This took a lot of time to plan, didn’t it?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “Not agree totally with boss, but have to tow line, no?”

“What don’t you agree with?”

“UN slugs escape San Francisco by boat. Wait, see.”

“Oh,” she said. “Maybe Ivan has a plan to stop them.”

“Maybe yes,” Jules said. “I asked. He not say.”

“In case we get captured,” Shelly said, looking at him. He looked at her and shook his head yes.

“Don’t worry, we make it. Go on with lives. Maybe I win you over, no? We live happily ever after.” He looked at her again.

She shook her head. “Not now, Jules. Watch the road.”

He chuckled. “Not now better than no.”

“Oh, brother,” she said, a brief smile coming. She lost it before he looked over again. “How long are we staying in the next place? Just overnight?”

“Two or three night.”

“Why so long?” Shelly asked.

“Retrofit for coaches,” Jules said. “Boss made design team hurry and fabricate.”

“What are they doing?”

“Armor plate to cover engine compartment while driving, and armor plate on bottom of rig too.”

“Would that have saved the purple rig? Jordan’s?”

“Ivan think absolute yes. I say maybe.”

“Why only maybe?” Shelly asked.

“Engine harder to disable. That might have saved. Armor on bottom maybe not. Depends on size of charge, type too.”

“But it’s still worth it, right?” she asked.

“Yes,” Jules said. “Best part is second turret.”

“They’re putting another mini gun on?”

“No, M19 grenade launcher,” Jules said. “Automatic. Make ammo last much longer.”

“You’re joking,” she said.

“No, not,” Jules said. “Gimbal and sight design came from Texas. Cutting edge, 3D printed parts. Genius, no?”

“How fast does it fire? Is it automatic like a machine gun?”

Jules chuckled. “No, fire as fast as trigger pulled, like semi-auto rifle. Use 48 round belt.”

“Boy, your eyes light up talking about this,” Shelly said.

“New toy,” Jules said, “but we must remember one thing.”

“What?”

“Not indestructible,” Jules said. “We must not get over-confident, like Americans with B-17, during war.”

“Before my time,” Shelly said. “Before yours?” She grinned at him when he looked over.

“Please, ten years older, maybe. No more.”

“Than me or the war?” Shelly asked.

Jules glanced at her again, delight in his eyes. “You. What, you think I grandpa?”

“I’m just teasing you,” she said. “That’s okay, isn’t it?”

“Very much okay,” Jules said. “There soda left in fridge?”

“Yes, want one?”

“I like,” he said.

“Okay,” Shelly said, getting up. She went to the back to get them, hearing something from the bedroom, flushing when she realized it was Dana. She headed back to the front in a hurry, soda cans in hand.

“Something wrong?” Jules asked, looking at her face as she came up.

“My timing,” she said as she put the cans into the cup holders.

“What timing?”

“Never mind,” Shelly said.

“No, what?” Jules asked.

“Can’t you guess?”

He looked at her blankly. She sighed.

“Dana finally got her wish,” she said, feeling her face turning red.

“Oh, you hear?” Jules asked, smiling. “Good. Sparky need.”

“I thought he was avoiding her.”

“Afraid,” Jules said. “Too much afraid.”

“Of what? Commitment?”

“He not say, but I know.”

“Well?” Shelly asked.

“She’s traumatized,” Jules said. “He knows this. He doesn’t want to make things worse. Afraid of that.”

“Oh,” she said. “Maybe he’s right. Maybe all of us are in that boat.”

“Some, yes,” Jules said.

“You pursue me,” Shelly said. “Doesn’t it worry you?”

“Not after I know.”

“Know?” Shelly asked. “You think you know me? We’ve only just met.”

“Yes, I know. Judge people well. Pick up feelings. You hurt but healing fast. You take charge of self. Stronger every day. I see. I hire you. You understand, no?”

She shook head. “I’m not as strong as you think.”

“Yes, are. You take charge. Brave, confident, capable. That’s what I like. That’s why I chase.”

“Oh, baloney,” she said, smirking at him.

“What baloney?”

“You wanted me the moment you laid eyes on me,” Shelly said. “You like how I look.”

Jules chuckled. “You pretty, sure. I like. My type. Others in group also beautiful. Some others my type too.”

“Then why didn’t you go after them?”

“I see who you are fast,” Jules said. “Beyond beauty. That why.”

“If I were you, I’d reserve judgement on me for a while,” Shelly said. “Seriously.”

“We see,” Jules said. “I’m glad Dana and Sparky together. Happy for them.”

“Don’t say anything,” Shelly whispered. “Please.”

“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t do,” Jules said. “Give me credit.”

“Sorry, you’re right,” she said. “Want me to open that soda? Kinda hard when you’re driving.”

“Sure, please,” Jules said. She reached over for it, glancing up at him. His eyes were misty. She opened the can and put it back down, then focused on the road, her mind racing through everything.

“This road is getting more narrow,” Shelly said. “Maybe we should slow down a little.”

“Yes,” Jules said, dropping about five miles per hour. “Better?”

“Yes,” she said. “You’ve been down this road before.”

“I’ve been to the hideout before,” Jules said.

“Oh,” she said. “Is it like a safe house?”

Jules chuckled. “No.”

“Then what is it?” Shelly asked.

“It’s winery,” he said. “Very nice one. We’ll enjoy.”

“Won’t there be other people around to see us?”

“No,” he said. “You see.”

They rode for a few minutes silently, Shelly thinking, brow furrowed.

“Jules, they aren’t going to take all of the coaches out of service at the same time, are they?”

Jules chuckled. “You see, mind always working. No, we do two at a time. Rest will be on duty where they can fend off attack. Good, no?”

“Good,” she said. “Sorry, that was a dumb question.”

“Not dumb question at all,” Jules said. “They wanted to do them all at once. I had to say no. If I leave you in charge, you think of and say no too. See why I hire?”

She looked at him and smiled. “Okay, I get your point. My mind’s always crunching, and I look for things that might go wrong. Used to drive my parents crazy, but it’s helped me at work. It’s one of the most important tasks of a Project Manager or a Producer.”

Jules didn’t say anything, just looked over at her and smiled. She looked out the windshield again, and saw lights up ahead, set up on the road. Hand-held lights were pointing down the cliff, shining around

“Jules! Look!” she cried. He saw it, slowing the coach. “Text the others.”

She picked up her phone, tapping frantically on the screen.

“Not sure that roadblock,” Jules said. “I stop after that next curve ahead, where we can see again. We look with binoculars.”

“I’ll go back and get them,” she said. “They’re in the cupboard under the TV, right?”

“Yes,” Jules said.

The road curved inward, putting them out of sight of the lights. Then they curved back outward where they could see them again. Jules slowed to a stop, Shelly looking with the binoculars.

“I think you’re right, that isn’t a roadblock. Somebody crashed or something. Here.” She handed the binoculars to him.

“Yes, see. We can’t drive through there. People notice caravan and talk.”

“What do we do?” Shelly asked.

“See if there road to turn right. Properties back here. Maybe place to pull over. Look at phone GPS. I go slowly forward.”

“Okay,” she said.

The bedroom door opened, Sparky and Dana coming out.

“What’s up?” Sparky asked. “Felt us stop.”

“Something on road ahead,” Jules said. “Lights. People searching. Maybe car went off cliff.”

“What are we gonna do?” Dana asked. “Driving all these rigs through might attract too much attention.”

“That’s what Jules is thinking,” Shelly said, still looking at her screen. “We’re looking for a place to turn off until that blows over.”

“We’ll be lucky if we can find a road where we can turn around,” Sparky said.

“Have faith, my friend,” Jules said.

“There’s a road after the next curve,” Shelly said. “Looks like meadows on either side of the road, and a house at the end. Can’t guarantee that we can turn around.”

“Might be somebody at the house too,” Sparky said.

“Let’s try,” Jules said. “Text others to stay on road. Turn on blinkers.”

Shelly nodded and wrote the text. They went around the corner and saw the road. Jules turned down it, then slammed on the brakes.

“What’s wrong?” Sparky asked.

“Chain across driveway,” Jules said. “Go open, Sparky.”

He nodded to Jules and went out the door, Dana following. Jules and Shelly watched as they shined their phone lights at it. Sparky rushed back inside.

“It’s padlocked,” he said. “Got something that we can break it with?”

“Gun,” Jules said

“No, they’ll hear that up ahead,” Shelly said.

“You right,” Jules said. “Tool box in back compartment. I don’t know what’s in.”

“I’ll look. Keys?”

Jules took the keys out of the ignition and tossed them to Sparky. He left, Dana following him to the back of the coach.

“And things were going so well,” Shelly said. She looked at Jules, and both of them laughed.

“Look at us,” Jules said.

Sparky and Dana ran back to the front of the coach, Dana holding a big flashlight, Sparky holding bolt cutters.

“Looks like Ivan knew what to put in the tool box, eh?” Jules said.

“Yep,” Shelly said. They watched Sparky make short work of the chain. Then he turned and gave a thumb up as Dana pulled the chain over to one side of the road. They stashed the tool and flashlight, then rushed back inside.

“Okay, boss, you’re good to go. Hope we don’t get stuck.”

Jules chuckled. “Me too.” He drove forward, looking to both sides with the others.

“Well, it’s big enough and flat enough,” Dana said.

“As long as it’s not too soft,” Sparky said. “This beast is heavy.”

“Yes, very heavy,” Jules said. “House dark. Probably vacation place for rich San Francisco yuppies.”

“I can barely see the house,” Dana said. “So dark back here.”

“Dark good,” Jules said. He turned from the road onto the meadow. “It feel good, but I pull around and face towards road.”

“Yeah,” Shelly said. “Good idea.”

Jules made the turn, the coach moving easy enough, then shut down the engine and lights. “Text others to come in.”

“Already on it,” Shelly said as she tapped the screen.

“I’m going out to take a look with that flashlight,” Sparky said. “We don’t want anybody driving on something they shouldn’t.”

“Check around our tires first,” Jules said.

Sparky nodded, then went out the door, Dana right behind him.

“She stick like glue to him,” Jules said.

“Sparky doesn’t seem to mind, though, does he?” Shelly asked.

“He give in,” Jules said. “She good woman. Glad.”

Shelly looked at him. “I know what you’re thinking. You have to have patience with me.”

“This I know,” Jules said. “Look, here come other coaches.”

They watched as they all came in, some backing off the road onto the meadow, some driving on and turning like Jules did. Sparky and Dana came back in the coach.

“We lucked out,” Sparky said. “The ground is fine, and pretty clear of things that might damage the tires.”

“That good,” Jules said. “Thanks. I go talk to others.”

“I’ll go too,” Sparky said.

“Maybe I’ll stay in here with Dana,” Shelly said. “If something happens, I’ll get us into siege mode.”

“Yes, do,” Jules said. “Thanks.”

The two men left the rig.

“That must have been scary to see from the road,” Dana said.

“Sorry we woke you up.”

Dana chuckled. “We weren’t sleeping.”

“Oh, really?”

Dana looked at her, smiling. “I’m surprised you didn’t hear us. He got me going good.”

“So you’re happy?” Shelly asked.

“Oh, God yes,” Dana said. “I’m already falling in love with him.”

“I figured something happened,” Shelly said. “You look different when you’re together now. The body language is completely different.”

“What about you and Jules? You seem a lot chummier than you did before.”

“Nothing’s going on, but I am getting to like him,” Shelly said. “He’s a good boss. He trusts me. Has faith in me. That’s worth a lot.”

“But what about romantically?”

Shelly sighed. “He wants me. Badly. I could see myself going in that direction, but it scares me to death.”

“Why?” Dana asked.

“What are we going to do when the war is over?” Shelly asked. “We’re so different. I’m not going to go work for Ivan’s criminal syndicate, and that is Jules’s job.”

“Oh,” Dana said. “Maybe I’ll have the same problem with Sparky, although all he ever did for Ivan is run the card club. I have no problem with that. It’s legal.”

“It’s semi-legal,” Shelly said.

“What do you mean?”

“I’d bet money that it’s being used to launder money from some of Ivan’s other businesses.”

“Oh,” Dana said. “Didn’t think about that.”

“He’s a good man, over all,” Shelly said. “I know he’s not in as deep with Ivan as Jules is.”

“What if you fall for him?” Dana asked. “Will you stop yourself from being with him because of this?”

Shelly thought about it for a moment. “If I fell for him, and that’s a big if, we’d have to work something out.”

“You’d want him to quit,” Dana said.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Frankly, I don’t even know if Jules is a US Citizen.”

Dana chuckled. “Sparky told me Ivan the Butcher grew up in Torrance.”

Shelly laughed. “You’re kidding.”

“That’s what I said to Sparky, but he said it’s true.”

“Look at us,” Shelly said. “Involved with mobsters and shooting bad guys. Who’d have thought.”

“I didn’t think we’d get out of captivity alive,” Dana said, starting to tremble. Shelly looked at her, eyes tearing up. They hugged each other, crying harder.

“Oh, geez,” Shelly said. “It’s right below the surface, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but when I’m with Sparky it’s further back.”

“Maybe that’s a good reason to be with him, then,” Shelly said.

“Maybe it’s a good reason for you, too.”

To be continued…

 

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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 2017

Bugout! California Part 81 – Interstate 8

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Ji-Ho sat on the veranda, trying to deal with the pain in his gut. It was happening more often now. Throbbing pain, making him feel faint, then slowly going away. So far it hadn’t hit him during a battle, but still, it made sense to start off-loading more and more to Kaylee and Trevor. He knew he’d have to tell Kaylee eventually. That scared him, but not as much as the other part. Not as much as what happened to her parents.

Clem and John walked over together.

“Ji-Ho, you’re still up?”

“Yes, am,” he replied. “Have seat. Want drink?”

“I’m staying on the wagon,” John said. “Promised. Just as well anyway. Seems like we’re always right on the verge of an attack. It’s dangerous not to have a clear head these days.”

Clem sat on a chair next to the rail, opposite of Ji-Ho, facing the house. “I’m actually feeling safe here. Not enough to drink more than a beer or two, but better than I’ve felt since we left the RV Park.”

“Hear from Sam or Sid?” Ji-Ho asked.

“No,” John said. “Makes me a little nervous. Maybe they don’t have cell coverage where they are.”

“Doubtful anywhere in California,” Ji-Ho said. “Full coverage last few years.”

“They’re fine,” Clem said. “Don’t worry.”

“Yes, I agree,” Ji-Ho said. “Sam with. Sid no slouch too. Ryan and James and Tyler. They be fine.”

Ji-Ho’s phone buzzed. He looked at it and smiled. “Speak of devil.” He answered. “Mind if I put on speaker? John and Clem here.”

“Please,” Sam said.

Ji-Ho pushed the button and put his phone on the little table between the chairs. “Go ahead.”

“Hi, gents, how are you?” Sam asked. “I’ve got Sid here with me.”

“We good,” Ji-Ho said. “You find tribe?”

“Yes,” Sid said. “They’re in a cool place. Safe and sound so far.”

“Then why the over-nighter?” Clem asked.

“They moved on from the original location,” Sam said. “We had to go a lot further, to one of the alternate locations.”

“Where?” John asked.

“No, don’t say,” Ji-Ho said. “Walls might have ears.”

“Oh, you’re right,” John said. “Sorry.”

“No problem,” Sid said.

“Did they get chased out of the first location?” Clem asked.

“No, not enough water,” Sid said. “It’s the damn drought.”

“Oh,” Clem said. “Good. Better than being chased out.”

“How’s everything there?” Sid asked. “Yvonne okay?”

“She’s fine,” Clem said. “I’ll go get her.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Sid said.

Clem chuckled. “She’ll horsewhip me if I don’t.”

“Okay, you might have a point there,” Sid said. “I’d like to say hello anyway. This is the first time in years that we’ve been apart overnight.”

“Okay,” Clem said.

“Hey, bring the young couples back too, okay?” Sam asked. “I want to give them some heads up on something.”

“Seth and Angel?” Clem asked.

“And their women,” Sam said. “Please. Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad.”

“Okay,” Clem said. “John, you get Yvonne, okay? I’ll get the kids.”

“You got it,” John said.

They walked off.

“Everything really okay?” Ji-Ho asked.

“If the enemy doesn’t know or care where they are, yeah,” Sam said. “This place is cool, but it’s a death trap. One way out with vehicles. The back way is passable if you’re crazy like Sid.”

Sid chuckled. “Yeah, I almost made Sam crap his pants a couple times.”

“Why?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Going up big rocks at a 45-degree angle, for example,” Sam said.

Ji-Ho laughed. “Oh, here comes Yvonne.”

“Hi, Sid,” Yvonne said. “Is there a problem?”

“No, we’re fine, just wanted to hear your voice,” Sid said.

“Awww,” Yvonne said. “You can be so sweet for an old coot.”

Sid chuckled. “Everything going okay?”

“The bed’s going to be cold, but other than that things are fine here,” she said. “Are you safe? When are you coming home?”

“I think we’re safe, and hopefully we’ll be home tomorrow,” Sid said.

“Hopefully?”

“Yeah,” Sid said. “Don’t worry. Nothing bad. We’re trying to come to an agreement. That’s all.”

“Oh,” she said. “Sounds good. Hope it goes well.”

John came back, followed by Seth and Kaitlyn, and Angel and Megan. They looked nervous.

“Sam said this is nothing bad,” John said, eyeing them.

“Yes, nothing bad,” Sam said. “I just wanted to give you some heads up about something.”

“Is everything well with our people?” Megan asked.

“Yes,” Sam said. “Had a nice conversation with Silver Wolf about you too.”

Kaitlyn and Megan shot each other a worried glance.

“You told him?” Kaitlyn asked.

“He asked,” Sid said.

“Yes, he did ask,” Sam said. “He gave some instructions to Tyler.”

Angel looked at Megan. “He’s going to separate us?”

Sam chuckled. “He wants Tyler to do a marriage ceremony.”

Ji-Ho laughed.

“They aren’t mad?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Not even a little bit,” Sid said. “You should discuss this. Just in case it’s not what you want.”

“It’s what I want,” Kaitlyn said quickly, putting her hand over her mouth. “Oh, geez. I’m sorry, Seth.”

Seth pulled her closer. “We’ve already talked about this. I want to marry you. You know that.”

“Are you sure?” Kaitlyn asked. “Guys say things sometimes.”

“Are you kidding?” he replied.

“I’m good with this,” Angel said to Megan. She smiled at him.

“I know, honey,” Megan said. “I want it too.”

“Good,” Sam said. “Sorry for the embarrassment. I just thought it would be good to let you know before we come back.”

“Is everybody coming?” Megan asked.

“No,” Sid said. “We’re bargaining now about who we can bring back, and what role they can play.”

“So Tyler might not come back?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Tyler, James, and Ryan will be back, at least temporarily,” Sam said. “It may be to fetch the others, or it may be to fight with us.”

“They won’t fetch us, though, will they?” Kaitlyn asked.

“No,” Sid said. “That was pretty clear. You’re always welcome with the tribe, but there’s no desire to force you back there.”

“If they did, I’d go too,” Seth said.

Kaitlyn looked at him, eyes tearing up. “I know, honey. Let’s go back, okay?”

Seth nodded and they walked off together.

“You need us for anything else?” Angel asked.

“Nope,” Sid said.

“Okay,” Angel said. “Thanks for telling us.”

“You’re welcome,” Sam said. “Take care. We’ll see you in a few days.”

Angel nodded, and walked away with Megan.

“Young love,” Clem said, watching them. “I miss that.”

“Okay, what else?” Ji-Ho asked. “We have ally?”

“I wouldn’t suggest that they send more able bodied men to fight with us at this point,” Sid said. “They’re needed with the tribe. They have elders and young people here who need them.”

“I agree,” Sam said. “We have enough men with Garrett’s group.”

“Those battle wagons didn’t get there yet, did they?” Sid asked.

“No, ready tomorrow,” Ji-Ho said. “Some improvements over original.”

“Really?” Sam asked. “What?”

“Bottom armor,” Ji-Ho said. “New plate behind engine vent in back, stay there when coach running. Good enough for small arms fire.”

“That’s a good update,” John said.

“Lost coach up north because of engine problem and un-protected bottom,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan tell me.”

“Anything else?” Sam asked.

“Second small turret,” Ji-Ho said. “In middle of coach.”

“Another mini gun?” Sid asked.

“M19,” Ji-Ho said, grinning.

Sam chuckled.

“What’s an M19?” Sid asked.

“Automatic grenade launcher,” Sam said. “It’s 40 mm, belt fed. We’ve been using those for years. Good system.”

“That’ll save on ammo for the mini guns, I imagine,” John said.

“Yep, but where are we getting the grenades?” Sam asked. “You can’t go pick them up at Big 5.”

“We get large supply,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan send intelligence too. Location of last enemy bases and supply routes in region.”

“Where?” Clem asked.

“They’re along the I-8 Corridor. They’ve managed to lock that down, after you guys took away their initial route on Highway 94.”

“Where are the bases?” Sid asked.

“Pine Valley and Live Oak Springs are biggest ones,” Ji-Ho said. “Use Old Highway 80 from roads they make.”

“Coming from Mexico, of course,” John said.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Enemy also come through Yuma. Control most of southern Arizona. Base just west of Yuma. Another at Jacumba.”

“That’s a lot of bases for our little group,” Sid said. “Pretty hard to move Garrett’s men that far.”

“Many things to work out when get back,” Ji-Ho said. “We have on run, but war not done.”

“How are we seeing that?” Sam asked.

“Ivan could not tell,” Ji-Ho said. “Secret.”

“We need a large mobile force to cope with this,” Clem said.

“We hit Pine Valley and blow up I-8 first, to stop movement west of Alpine, and starve out forces hiding around El Cajon,” Ji-Ho said. “Later forces from north move down to help with eastern parts of I-8.”

“Forces from north?” Sam asked.

“Sparky, Ted, Tex, Jules, and others,” Ji-Ho said. “Many more battle wagons.”

“What are you smiling about, Sam?” Sid asked. “You know these guys.”

“I don’t know Jules very well, but I know the others quite well,” Sam said. “Cody with them too?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “You know?”

“Yep,” Sam said. “What are they doing now?”

“Get resistance started in Bay Area and Sacramento Area, like they did in LA and Orange Counties.”

“That’s a big job,” Sam said. “What’s the timeframe?”

“Not know yet,” Ji-Ho said. “Depends. We start without. When I-8 down, we make good headway. Some enemy will flee across border into Arizona.”

“The folks in Arizona might not like that much,” John said.

“Enemy own most of Arizona,” Ji-Ho said. “Other forces will work that problem. General Hogan forces.”

“This war is a long way from over,” Yvonne said. “Isn’t it?”

“Yes, but light at end of tunnel,” Ji-Ho said.

***

Sam and Sid looked at each other after the phone call.

“This sound good to you?” Sid asked.

Sam was quiet for a moment, thinking. “I’m getting tired. Listening to that was exhausting enough. Living through it will be horrendous.”

“Yvonne wasn’t happy,” Sid said.

“Yeah, I kinda picked up on that. Want to get some air?”

“Sure,” Sid said. “I don’t think I can get to sleep yet anyway. Think we’ll here from Ed and Tyler tonight?”

“No,” Sam said. “If I were them I’d fetch their other people and stay out of this mess. They can’t afford to lose more young men.”

They got up and left the Sheriff’s Office, walking onto the dimly lit street.

“I agree,” Sid said. “It would be different if they had enough people and weapons to make a big difference. They don’t. It’s all they can do to protect their people and just survive until this blows over.”

“Pretty much,” Sam said. “Why are you staying in this war?”

“You folks are my family,” Sid said. “If you, John, and Clem decided to get out of the fight, I’d follow you.”

“That thought has crossed my mind more than once.”

“I know,” Sid said.

“The UN is done in the south,” Sam said as they walked towards the front of the ghost town. There were more voices now, coming from the saloon and the sea of tents beyond.

“Yeah,” Sid said. “Ivan did a good job in LA and Orange Counties. Sounds like the UN has packed up and left. The furthest south they have any presence at all is Santa Barbara.”

“The people saw what Ivan did and refused to comply with martial law. They openly fought the UN and won. Genius move on Ivan’s part.”

“It was,” Sid said.

“We still have Islamists around, though,” Sam said. “Even the people who side with the UN hate those bastards, which will help some, especially in the north.”

“You think there’s people up north who like the UN?”

“Yep,” Sam said. “Here’s my prediction. The war in California will end before the war in the rest of the southwest. Saladin knows he’s lost California. That’s why he moved to Utah.”

“Hope you’re right,” Sid said. “Why do you think that’s the case?”

“Their supply lines are down to a trickle now,” Sam said. “Once we close down I-8, they’ll be in trouble. Might not even take the total effort that Ji-Ho was talking about.”

“What would it take, then?”

“We take out the base in Pine Valley, and blow up I-8 in a few spots, like we did to Highway 94. If we do that, they’ll starve out and have to move east into Nevada and Arizona.”

“Hey, gentlemen,” a woman’s voice said. Another woman giggled.

“Who’s there?” Sam asked. The two women stepped out of the shadows.

“I’m Erica,” said a large, shapely woman with an open smile.

Sid chuckled. “Uh oh.”

“Which one of you is Sam?” she asked, approaching.

“That would be me,” Sam said hesitantly.

“Well nice to meet you, Sam,” Erica said, holding out her hand. Sam shook it.

The other woman stepped forward, a matronly woman with an attractive smile. “Hi, I’m Anna, Kaitlyn’s mother.  Do you know her?”

Sam and Sid looked at each other and smiled.

“They do, see?” Erica said.

“Of course,” Sid said. “She’s a mighty warrior and a beauty too.”

“Do you know the man she’s with?” Anna asked.

“Seth,” Sam said. “He’s a good man.”

“Seth,” Anna said. “I asked Silver Wolf, but he didn’t want to talk about it. Too busy setting up for some meeting.”

“He can be a real boy scout,” Erica said, rolling her eyes. “What are you guys doing?”

“Just getting some air,” Sid said. “Trying to make ourselves tired enough to sleep.”

“Want to join us for a drink in the Saloon?” Erica asked.

Sid glanced at Anna nervously. She noticed.

“My husband is in the meeting with Silver Wolf,” she said.

“Oh,” Sid said.

“You’re married,” she said. “What’s her name?”

“Yvonne,” Sid said.

“Indian?”

“Yes,” Sid said. “As am I.”

“We know our own,” Erica said. “So sorry to hear about your wife, Sam.”

“Who told you? Ed?”

Erica chuckled. “He let you call him Ed? He must like you guys.”

“Well, the feeling is mutual,” Sam said. “Thanks for the kind comment. I miss Connie every day.”

“I know how you feel,” she said. “I lost my love a few years ago.”

“We heard,” Sid said. “So sorry. I knew Buck.”

“You did?” Erica asked. “I’m surprised we never met.”

“I was just a customer,” Sid said, “but I liked him.”

“Everybody liked him,” Erica said. “It was an honor to be his wife.”

Sam nodded.

“How about that drink?” Sid asked, looking at Sam.

“Oh, I guess one wouldn’t hurt,” he said. They went into the saloon. There were people sitting here and there, chatting quietly and drinking, most of them stopping to stare when they saw Sam and Sid.

“Whiskey?” Erica asked.

“Good enough,” Sam said. Erica went behind the bar and grabbed one of the old bottles of whiskey and four glasses. She brought them to an open round table and set them down.

“This stuff is pretty good, but we’re starting to run low,” Erica said. “It’s really old.”

“We had some with Ed,” Sid said. “He told us the story.”

Erica chuckled. “Well, that blows some of our conversation.”

Sam laughed. “What else have you found around here?”

“All kinds of things,” Anna said. “Most of us have been here before, as young adults. It was a favorite place to camp.”

“Does the tribe own this?” Sam asked.

“Not per the current paperwork,” Anna said.

“We did have an agreement back in the 19th century,” Erica said. “Kinda went by the wayside. It’s considered BLM land now, but we have special access.”

“We did,” Anna said. “Who knows what will happen after the war. The Feds basically shut down BLM during this mess.”

“Are we getting close to the end of this war?” Erica asked.

“Funny, we were just talking about that,” Sid said. Sam shot him a glance.

“You don’t have to tell us,” Erica said, her eyes glued to Sam. “It’s okay.”

Sam chuckled. “There’s really not much to tell, just the two of us trying to make an accurate guess. It’s next to impossible.”

“I hope we pull back,” Anna said. “We’re too small now. We’ve lost too many people and too much property.”

“You’ll get the property back,” Sid said. “Neither Sam nor I think you should risk what people you have left. You’ve given so much already.”

“Yes, we’re running a little low on warriors,” Anna said. “I’m worried about Kaitlyn and Megan. Are they safe?”

“They’re as safe as the rest of us,” Sam said. “Things have gotten better. The UN is pulling out. We’ve definitely got them on the run in the southern half of the state.”

“What about the northern half?” Erica asked.

“There are strong efforts going on there to end the martial law and kick out the UN and the Islamists,” Sid said. “It’s a big job, but our side has a good chance.”

“What happens when you’re done fighting?” Erica asked, looking at Sam.

“I hope to rebuild my RV Park in Dulzura,” Sam said. “Don’t know if I can stomach it, though. Too many memories of Connie and lost friends.”

“You’re still in mourning, aren’t you?” Erica asked.

“Yes, but it gets better every day,” Sam said.

“You never totally get over it,” Erica said. “Might as well know that now. I learned it, but it was tough.”

“Looks like the meeting broke up,” Anna said, looking out the window at the men emerging from the mine. “I’m going to my husband. Nice to meet you both. Take care of my Kaitlyn.”

“Nice to meet you too,” Sid said. Sam nodded in agreement.

“Wonder if Ed’s going to want to talk tonight?” Sam asked.

“Probably,” Erica said. “He’s on duty all the time.”

Ed and Tyler stuck their heads in the saloon. “Still up, huh?” Ed asked.

“Yep,” Sam said. “Want to talk now, or in the morning?”

“Give me about fifteen minutes,” Ed said. “Then let’s talk in the sheriff’s office.”

“Sounds good,” Sid said.

“Yeah,” Sam said.

“I’ll see you later,” Erica said, getting up. “Don’t leave tomorrow without saying goodbye.”

Sam watched her walk out the door.

To be continued…

 

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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!

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 80 – Candy and Beef Jerky

IMG_2726

Sparky was behind the wheel of the black rig, Dana in the passenger seat. It was nearly dusk. Shelly was on the couch, trying to sleep but not having much luck. Jules was sleeping in the bedroom.

“How much longer until we get to where we’re going?” Shelly asked, sitting up.

“Jules said we’re going to a place outside of Los Gatos,” Dana said. “Isn’t that right, Sparky?”

“What?” Sparky asked. “Sorry, I wasn’t listening.”

“We’re going to that place outside of Los Gatos, right?” Dana asked. “Shelly was asking.”

“Oh,” Sparky said. “He’s mentioned that location, but he told me to get off on Bailey Avenue before he went to take a nap. That’s kinda far south of Los Gatos.”

“He’s probably running us through a bunch of back roads,” Dana said. “Ought to be fun in the dark.”

Sparky chuckled. “He said he wanted to drive when we got off the 101. Must be why. He wants Shelly up front watching, too.”

“Oh, brother,” Shelly said. “I’m going to be in trouble if I don’t get some sleep.”

“Well then go into the bedroom,” Sparky said.

“She won’t sleep if she goes back there,” Dana said. “Neither will he.”

“Oh, please,” Shelly said. “Will you get off that?”

Sparky looked at Dana and grinned.

“You shut up too,” Shelly said.

“Hey, I didn’t say anything,” Sparky said.

“Okay, I’ll back off,” Dana said. “I’m just teasing you. It will be easier to sleep back there, though.”

“Jules sleeps like a rock,” Sparky said. “If you’re careful, he won’t even wake up.”

Shelly sighed. “How long till we get to this turnoff?”

“At the speed we’ve been going, a couple of hours,” Sparky said.

“If I go back there, will you tease me later?” Shelly asked.

Dana snickered. “Probably. No, I’m just kidding. Go ahead. You could do a lot worse, you know.”

Shelly rolled her eyes and went to the back of the coach, sliding the door open as quietly as she could. Jules was under the sheet, the bedspread shoved off the end of the bed. It was warm, heat from the rear engine making it feel almost cozy. She slid the door shut and went to the back wall, getting onto the right side of the bed in her clothes. Her mind was spinning, going over all the things that happened over the last few days, and all of the things she was afraid would happen in the next few days. Will I even be alive?

Jules’s breathing changed for a moment, and he turned onto his right side, facing away from her, settling back into the rhythmic snore. It was almost soothing. Shelly tried to settle down. It was too warm. She looked over at Jules, and then carefully got out of bed, shedding her pants and shirt, pausing for a minute, watching Jules. Then she shrugged and took off her bra, setting all of her clothes down on her side of the bed, within easy reach. The coach hit a bump, almost knocking her down, the snoring ending for a moment. Shelly covered her chest, waiting for him to turn towards her. He went back to his snoring, so she climbed into bed carefully, pulling the thin sheet all the way up to her neck. Sleep. She tried to clear her mind, but it wasn’t working. The low rumble of the engine below her was more helpful, so she focused on that, and on Jules, his light snore and the rising and falling of his chest. She calmed down and drifted off.

Shelly woke with a start as the coach slowed down suddenly. She was sweaty, and then she felt it. The hairy arm across her torso, body molded against her side as she lay on her back, the breath dusting her forehead. She felt the urge to move away, but didn’t, turning instead, her back towards him, not moving as he adjusted, closer to her, still asleep. She fell asleep again, feeling at peace for a little while.

There was a soft rap on the door an hour later, Shelly’s eyes opening wide. Jules stirred, backing away from her quickly when he realized she was there.

“Oh, sorry,” he said sitting up. “You came in. Not sleep on couch?”

She looked at his bare back, more hairy than she was used to. “I couldn’t sleep out there. Sorry. I tried not to disturb you.”

“I like, but you already know.” He turned back to the door. “Dana, are we almost there?”

“Yes,” Dana said. “There’s a truck stop coming up. Sparky said we should top up. You okay with that?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “We out in minute.”

“Okay,” Dana said. “Take your time.” Shelly could almost hear her giggle as she walked back to the front of the coach.

“I’ll never live this down,” Shelly said, turning in his direction, careful to keep the sheet sealed around her up to her neck.

“Hey, we do nothing, no?” Jules said. “Just sleep. Maybe cuddle a little.”

“Yeah, were you awake when you moved next to me?”

“A little,” he said. “Not for long.”

“Uh huh,” she said, feeling herself blush.

“You no like?” he asked.

She was quiet for a moment.

“Don’t say. Forget.”

“I liked it, okay,” Shelly said. “I wouldn’t have if you would’ve tried something.”

Jules looked her in the eyes. “See, I behaved, no? We can sleep together now? It better than alone.”

“We’ll see,” she said. “Now turn around so I can get dressed.”

He nodded and turned, getting up and pulling his clothes back on. Shelly dressed, and they came out of the bedroom together. Jules ducked into the bathroom, coming out again in a moment. “All yours.”

“I just need to run a comb through my hair,” Shelly said, going through the door as Jules went to the front.

“How road looking?” Jules asked.

“No problems,” Sparky said. “We got a few looks from fellow drivers, but I haven’t seen any sign of UN vehicles.”

“We might have damaged them more than expected,” Jules said.

“Hopefully,” Dana said.

“There’s the turnoff for the truck stop,” Sparky said, taking the off-ramp.

“You tell others?” Jules asked.

“Yep,” Dana said. “We’re all stopping.”

“We keep eyes open. If we get hit, this might be place. Get away from gas pumps fast if anything start.”

“Roger that,” Sparky said, turning onto the driveway of the truck stop. There were already two of their coaches there, and two behind them.

“We lose contact with anybody?” Jules asked.

“Nope,” Dana said. “Everybody is okay.”

“That good,” Jules said.

“How was Shelly?” Sparky said.

“Don’t make fun. We sleep only. She’s sensitive. I don’t want to blow it.”

Sparky looked at him after he set the parking brake. “You really like this one, don’t you?” he whispered. Jules nodded yes just as Shelly was coming out of the bathroom, looking fresh and wide awake.

“I go pump,” Jules said. “Maybe you two should take bedroom and sleep.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Dana said. “You tired enough?”

Sparky looked at her. “Probably, after I settle down a bit. Worth a try.”

“More sheets in closet,” Jules said. “If want.” He opened the door and went out to fuel the rig. Shelly came out with him to stretch her legs. The air was cool.

“Dana and Sparky are going to sleep for a while?”

“Yes, do,” Jules said.

“They might want to change the sheets. I sweated a lot.”

“I tell,” Jules said. “You ready to spot for me?”

“Yes,” she said. “We’re going into roads that will be difficult for these big rigs, aren’t we?”

“Yes, but it be fine,” Jules said.

“Hey, Partner,” Tex said, walking up with Karen.

“Tex, how you?” Jules asked.

“Good, but a little tired,” he said. “There are some advantages to having more than one person in a rig.”

“This true, my friend,” Jules said. “I take lead on this road. Had nap, while Sparky drove.”

“How are you doing, Karen?” Shelly asked.

“Okay,” she said. “Want to go check out the store?”

“Sure,” Shelly said. “You mind, Jules?”

“Of course not,” Jules said. “Enjoy. Maybe get snacks. Something sweet.”

“You need some money, little lady?” Tex asked.

“Still have some,” Karen said. “See you in a few minutes.”

The two walked towards the store.

“Is he still hounding you?” Karen asked.

Shelly shook her head yes.

“Are you okay about it?” Karen asked.

Shelly sighed. “We slept in the same bed. He cuddled with me. Naked, no less.”

“How’d you get yourself into that position?” Karen asked, holding the store door open for her. They went in, Shelly heading straight for the candy isle.

“We both needed sleep,” Shelly said. “I couldn’t do it on the couch, so I joined him. It was my choice.”

“Better watch yourself, girl,” Karen said. “Unless you want him.”

“I know what I’m doing,” she said, picking out several candy bars.

“Hell, you’re buying that for him, aren’t you?” Karen asked.

She turned to Karen and put her finger to her lips.

“Do you like him?” Karen asked.

“Maybe a little,” she said. “He was a gentleman in the bedroom. Completely.”

“I thought you said he cuddled with you naked,” Karen said.

“He didn’t try anything,” Shelly said, “and it helped me sleep, believe it or not.”

Karen shook her head, a sly smile on her face. “He’s going to get you, isn’t he?”

“I didn’t say that,” Shelly said. “Enough about me. You’ve got Tex after you. What’s going on there?”

“Just banter,” she said. “I won’t sleep in the back with him. I don’t think he wants to sleep back there either, after what happened.”

“Don’t blame either of you for that,” Shelly said. “So you’re taking the two beds in the salon, then?”

“Yeah, but the dinette one is too short for both of us,” she said. “I’ve been sleeping on that. May end up joining him on the couch queen convertible, if we can come to an agreement.”

Shelly snickered.

“I’m not falling for him,” Karen said sharply.

“Uh huh,” Shelly said. “You like to talk with him. Your body language together is loosening up. I noticed when you two walked over. I’m surprised you weren’t holding hands.”

Karen froze for a moment, turning to her. “That’s not true.”

Shelly sighed. “Okay, I’ll shut up. We’re quite a pair. Both interested, both afraid. I don’t believe in whirlwind romances during these kinds of times. It’s too convenient.”

“Convenient for whom?” Karen asked.

“Whoever the pursuer is,” Shelly said, glancing at her, face reddening slightly.

“Oh,” Karen said. “Men.”

Shelly laughed. “It’s not just men. Dana is throwing herself at Sparky. He’s resisting her.”

“Okay, you’re right,” Karen said. “Look how the bitch latched onto Gil.”

“Are you still upset about that?” Shelly asked. “That guy is clearly not your type.”

“Who are you to say?”

“It’s just an observation,” Shelly said. “You came from money, didn’t you? What did your parent’s do?”

“They owned a small factory,” Karen said. “Thought you knew that.”

“What, from the hell hole? From captivity? I was completely shut down during most of that.”

“Wish I was,” Karen said, tears forming in her eyes. “I dream about it every night. Their faces above me. Smug and mean.”

“I’m sorry,” Shelly said. “Is that why you’re resisting Tex?”

She thought for a moment. “No, if anything that experience is the only thing that might work for him someday.”

“What do you mean?”

“He’s kind and gentle, and he rescued me,” Karen said. “He was the first one I saw.”

“Then why’d you go after Gil?”

“I kinda knew him.”

“Kinda?”

“He worked for my dad,” Karen said.

“For how long?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Four or five years, maybe.”

Shelly took her candy up to the counter and paid, then turned to Karen. “You knew him for that long and never got together with him?”

“He was an employee.” Karen got a look of shame on her face, and covered her mouth. “Oh, God. I’m such a bitch.”

Shelly took the bag of candy from the clerk. Karen was about to put hers up there, but then she turned and grabbed a big bag of beef jerky from the end of the aisle behind the counter, and tossed it in front of the clerk along with the other stuff. She paid, and the two women walked out the door.

“You realized something in there,” Shelly said.

“I like to be in control,” Karen said, the shamed look coming back. “I feel like I can control Gil. I don’t think anybody can control Tex.”

Shelly nodded to her as they got back to Jules and Tex.

“Good, we go,” Jules said.

“Hey, little lady, find something you like?” Tex asked.

Karen pulled the bag of jerky up out of the paper sack.

“You got me jerky?” he asked, smiling. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Let’s blow this joint.” She followed Tex to the yellow rig, shooting a smile to Shelly. Shelly nodded to her, then went up the steps, Jules following her up.

“Ready?” Jules asked.

“Yep,” Shelly said, getting into the passenger seat with the bag of candy. She dumped it out on the center console shelf.

“Good, I like,” Jules said, looking at it.

“I know,” Shelly said. “Drive.”

Jules fired up the engine and they were off, in the lead, heading into the darkness.

***

Sam and Sid sat at the table with Silver Wolf and Tyler. They drank down their shots of whiskey.

“I think we need another,” Silver Wolf said. “I’ll bring the bottle to the table.” He got out of his chair and grabbed the bottle, putting it on the middle of the round table.

“Fine by me,” Sid said. “I’ll only drink a couple more, though. We’ve got important things to talk about.”

“That bottle looks really old,” Sam said.

“We found it in the saloon,” Silver Wolf said. “With a lot of others. It was in a metal crate that was buried in the basement, but we were still surprised nobody found it after all the years it was there.”

“The off-roader ban probably saved this place,” Sid said. He tossed back another shot.

“A lot of damage happened from the thirties through the sixties,” Silver Wolf said. “The two buildings that burned were a result of yahoos that were out here camping.”

“Maybe we should stop beating around the bush and talk,” Sam said. “No offence, but we’re tired.”

“Of course,” Silver Wolf said. “What are the plans of your group, what are your resources, and who is supporting you?”

Tyler shot a worried glance at Sid and Sam. Silver Wolf noticed.

“No coaching from the sidelines, Quiet Fox,” he said.

“I’m not,” Tyler said. “I’m just worried.”

“No need to worry,” Silver Wolf said. “Go on, gentlemen.”

Sam looked at Sid, then spoke. “Our plan is to rid eastern San Diego County and all of Imperial County of enemy fighters.”

“What about western San Diego county?”

“That’s controlled by the US Navy and the Marines,” Sid said.

“So the Feds are in control. What will stop them from moving in after we clean things up in the east?”

“I said the US Navy and Marines. They aren’t controlled by the Feds at this point.”

“And how did you get that information?” Silver Wolf asked.

“Our sponsor,” Sid said.

“Who’s that?”

“Ivan the Butcher,” Sam said.

Silver Wolf leaned back in his chair, thinking. “He has resources, to be sure, but he’s an evil man.”

“Depends on your point of view,” Sam said. “Right now he’s on our side. His efforts have won LA County and most of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties back for the people.”

“What people?

“You and me,” Sid said. “All of us.”

“This man is no saint,” Silver Wolf said. “He’s a whoremonger and a drug pusher.”

Sam smiled. “He’s all of that and more. You can add murderer onto the list. He hates globalists. He hates the UN, and he hates the corrupt men in the Federal Government.”

“Because they hurt his operations?”

“Partly,” Sam said. “Look, I’m not going to try to convince you that this man is a saint. He’s not. Look at him like Stalin in WW II. We fight a common enemy, and Ivan’s got resources. He’s also got a grudge against the Islamist leader and the leadership of the EU.”

“What was his name again?” Silver Wolf asked. “Saltin or Salton or something?”

“Saladin,” Sam said, his brow furrowed.

“You have experience with this man,” Silver Wolf said. “I can see it on your face.”

“I was in special forces, and fought my last battle against him,” Sam said.

“It didn’t go well, did it?”

“No,” Sam said.

“And now you want to fight him again,” Silver Wolf said. “With my people.”

Tyler started to say something, but Silver Wolf shot him a stern glance, and he shut up.

“Saladin isn’t my fight anymore,” Sam said. “He’s in Utah, and there are others after him. Others that I’ve fought with before.”

“Ji-Ho helped to chase him out of California, and wounded him badly,” Sid said.

“Who’s Ji-Ho?”

“A Korean man, mainly a smuggler and Merc,” Sid said.

“As bad as the Islamists are, the biggest problem in most of California is the UN,” Sam said. “They’ve tried to make this state a pilot for Global Governance, along with several other parts of the country. Washington and Oregon, most of New England, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic. Some of the upper Midwest, although I hear they’re losing there.”

Silver Wolf was quiet for a moment, thinking. Sid poured himself another shot. He glanced over at Tyler and Sam, both of whom nodded yes. He poured for them too. Silver Wolf slid his shot glass over and Sid filled it. They all knocked them back.

“What does Ivan supply to your group?”

“Money, weapons, vehicles, and intelligence,” Sam said.

“And what do you give in return?”

“We fight a common enemy,” Sam said. “That’s enough. Most of us have no part in Ivan’s underworld operations.”

“Most?”

“Ji-Ho has been involved,” Sam said.

“What parts?”

“Smuggling weapons,” Sam said.

“Oh,” Silver Wolf said. “Who is allied with you? How many people do you have?”

“Our core group is small,” Sid said. “It’s never been very large, and we’ve taken losses.”

“Do those losses include our people?”

“Yes,” Sid said. “and some of our own, including Sam’s wife.”

Silver Wolf leaned back in his chair again, choking back tears. “I heard, it was when we lost One Eye.”

“Yes,” Sid said, glancing at Sam, who was maintaining with dignity.

“It sounds like your group is close to dying out,” Silver Wolf said.

“We’re allied with a force of eight hundred men,” Sam said.

“Who?”

“A man named Garrett,” Sid said. “Old friend.”

Silver Wolf smiled. “You mean the cowboy nut from Dulzura?”

Sam chuckled. “He does have a style about him.”

“Silver Wolf looked at Tyler. “How do Garrett’s men fight? Be honest.”

“They saved us twice,” Tyler said. “I’d fight with them any time, in any place, against anybody.”

“Okay,” Silver Wolf said. “Where is your base?”

“Dulzura,” Sam said. “But we’re mobile.”

“Dulzura is almost locked down now,” Silver Wolf said. “We have contacts there watching.”

“So, what is your decision?” Sam asked.

“I don’t decide,” Silver Wolf said. “The council decides. I’m but one voice. I’ll report back, and we’ll discuss it tonight, while you’re sleeping. Tyler, I’d like you to be in the meeting.”

“Of course,” Tyler said.

“One more thing,” Silver Wolf said. “Kaitlyn and Megan. I hear they’ve pair-bonded with two of your people. White men.”

“We don’t have any control over that,” Sam said. Sid shot him a glance.

“Our tribe’s birthrate has dwindled in recent years, as young people take off to find their own way in the white man’s world,” Silver Wolf said. “We’re becoming inbred, and most of the tribes are having the same problem, so we haven’t been successful in working it together as brother nations.”

Sid smiled. “I think I know where this is going.”

Silver Wolf smiled. “I’m glad the couples have found each other. Their parents and I would like them to be bonded via our traditions. Tyler, would you do that? You have that right as War Chief.”

Tyler nodded yes.

“What if they aren’t ready to make that kind of commitment?” Sam asked.

Sid and Tyler laughed.

“What?” Sam asked.

“If I don’t do it, they’ll do it someplace else,” Tyler said.

“They’ll probably also do it someplace else,” Silver Wolf said. “I still want you to run them through the ritual. Doesn’t matter if they marry both under your traditions and ours.”

“Why?” Sam asked. “No offence, I’m just curious.”

“We want the children to be part of the tribe, and we want them to know of our culture.”

“You don’t expect the children to live with your tribe, do you?” Sam asked.

“No, that will be their choice, and the choice of their parents,” Silver Wolf said.

“This is a good thing, Sam,” Tyler said. “Trust me.”

“Yes,” Silver Wolf said. He shot Sam a glance. “Have you met Desert Flower yet?”

Tyler snickered. “I don’t think she’ll need your help, Silver Wolf.”

“What are you talking about?” Sam asked.

“Erica,” Tyler said. “She’s already been asking about you.”

“I’m not ready for that,” Sam said, brow furrowed. “I just lost my wife. I’m not ready to move on. Not for a while.”

“Have you seen her yet?” Silver Wolf asked.

“No,” Sam said.

“We’ll see. You and Sid go grab some rest. Tyler, take them to the tent area. There’s two set up for them, with blankets. Then you come with me. We’ll meet in the big tent, behind the town.”

To be continued…

 

The Plan is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 79 – Hovercraft

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sid looked tired. He’d been driving the Jeep for hours now. It was nearly dusk. Sam snored softly in the passenger seat, head turned towards the window. The terrain had gotten tougher. Still no sign of tracks, which made Sid nervous, even though he knew it was more a good thing than a bad thing. The Jeeps ahead of him slowed and made a sharp left turn, where there were ancient remains of a rutted wagon road. It climbed into the foothills, coming to a section of nearly broken dirt switchbacks. Tyler stopped his Jeep, James parking beside him. Sid parked behind that, and they got out and met in a huddle, Sam trying to shake off his sleep.

“What’s up?” Sam asked.

“It’s only about a mile in, but I don’t know if we can trust these switchbacks all the way up,” Tyler said. “I say we park in those bushes over there and walk in. If the road is good enough, we can come back and get the Jeeps.”

“Probably better to be safe than sorry,” James said. “At least there hasn’t been much rain lately.”

“Some of this road was so bad that a small quake could bring it down,” Ryan said, “and we have those all the time out here.”

“We’re taking the guns, right?” Sam asked.

“I’d suggest that,” Tyler said, “although hefting these M60s that far doesn’t sound like much fun.”

“We’d better get moving, unless we want to do this in the dark,” Sid said.

“Yeah,” James said. The men drove their Jeeps down the embankment, into a stand of bushes and trees in the bottom of the canyon.

“If it rains, we’ll lose these vehicles,” Sid said.

“No rain in the last weather report I saw,” James said.

Sam picked up his M-16 and his M60. Sid grabbed his hunting rifle and the BAR. The warriors picked up their AK-47s and their bows. They climbed up the loose hill of the embankment and started the trudge up the switchbacks.

“This is more fun driving up than walking,” James said. “The grade is worse than it looks.”

“Yeah, but imagine backing all the way down because we run into a bad spot,” Sid said.

“Seriously,” Tyler said. “If we’re lucky it’ll be good all the way up and we can fetch our vehicles.”

“Not that much in there that we need for this trip,” Sam said. “Unless we got followed here or something like that.”

“Crap,” Ryan said.

“Don’t get all upset, man,” James said. “It’s unlikely we got followed.”

“Didn’t we leave tracks?” Ryan asked.

Sid laughed. “Not on those rocks. They take the wrong way and they’ll get good and stuck.”

“Hope there’s another way in and out of here,” Sam said.

“There is,” Tyler said. “It’s just many more miles than this.”

They plodded along, tiring quickly, straining to carry weapons. The road didn’t have any major breaks in it, but the dirt was loose, rutted from a century ago.

“How much further?” Sam asked.

“We’re a little over half way,” Tyler said. “Let’s stop and rest for a few minutes.”

They all sat on the road, breathing heavy. Tyler took a large bottle of water out of his backpack and passed it around.

“I guess I don’t feel so bad,” Sam said. “You young guys are almost as winded as Sid and I are.”

Sid looked over at him and grinned. “Oh, I can feel it. Feel it more in the morning. This is tough on the joints.”

“Don’t remind me,” Sam said.

“How come they didn’t just come here first?” Sid asked.

“It’s further away from supplies, mainly,” Tyler said.

“How’d they get their vehicles up here?” Sam asked.

“They sent a scouting party with vehicles the long way around,” Tyler said. “The rest of the people walked or rode horses. I’m sure it took them several days to get here.”

“Your people must be strong,” Sid said. “I thought it was a lot of older folks.”

“Our older folks aren’t like most older folks,” James said.

“You got that right,” Ryan said. “We’d better get moving.”

“Yes,” Tyler said, standing up.

“Might as well,” Sam said, standing, moaning as he picked up the m60. “Should’ve left this thing in the Jeep.’

“Nah, we might need these,” Sid said, lifting the BAR.

“We aren’t bringing up enough ammo to get into a real battle,” Sam said.

“We don’t know what we’ll find when we get up there,” James said.

“Is this the only place they could’ve come to?” Sam asked.

“No, there are two others,” Tyler said. “Both further away, and both with possible water problems, due to this damn drought.”

“They have less game, too,” Ryan said. “It’s easier to live off the land here than in any of the other places.”

They continued the climb, the road getting thinner as they went, but still passable. Finally, they came to a long straight section, going through a beautiful valley with a tree-lined stream fifty yards to the right of the road.

“The road’s good enough,” Sam said. “Assuming there aren’t more problem areas ahead.

“Look up there,” Sid said. “The mill is running. Wonder if they did some work on it. The water wheel wasn’t turning last time I was here.”

“Kinda looks like they did something,” James said. “That’s beautiful. I want to take some pictures before we leave.”

“No internet posting,” Tyler said.

“I know,” James said.

“Hear that?” Ryan asked.

“Sounds like a small plane,” Sam said, getting his M60 ready.

Tyler laughed. “No! I know who that is.”

A white vehicle came into view, several men on it. There was a fan in the back.

“What is that, a swamp buggy?” Sid asked.

“That’s a hovercraft,” Sam said. “Wow. Good way to get around out here.”

“Wouldn’t work very well on those switchbacks,” Ryan said. “Silver Wolf is a nut for these things.”

The vehicle approached quickly, then pulled off the road and shut down. An old man and three younger warriors got out, rushing over, embracing James, Tyler, and Ryan.

“You’re okay,” the old man said. “We feared the worst.”

“You’ve been seeing news?” Ryan asked.

“This crazy old dude put a small generator on that damn mill,” said one of the warriors. “We’ve heard stories on the radio.”

“Respect your elders, Red Snake,” the old man said.

“Yes sir,” Red Snake said. “Sorry.”

Tyler stepped up. “Silver Eagle, this is Sam and Sid. They’re part of the group we’ve been fighting with since we had to flee the reservation.”

“Good to meet you,” Sam said.

“Likewise,” Sid said.

“You’re Indian,” Silver Wolf said to Sid. “Which tribe?”

“Chiricahua,” Sid said. “My wife is Zuni.”

Silver Wolf laughed. “Strange combination. Been in California long?”

“Most of my life,” Sid said. “Dad left us high and dry. My mom got a job in California, thanks to her sister.”

“You live among the white man now?” Red Snake asked.

“I was living in Sam’s RV Park when the war started up,” Sid said.

One of the other young warriors smiled. “You’re the folks who blew up that pass on Highway 94.”

“And who might you be?” Sid asked.

“Kerry,” the young warrior said. Silver Wolf shot him a glance. “Sorry, Yellow Bird.”

The third warrior snickered.

“Shut up, Swimming Cub,” Kerry said.

“That’s Swimming Bear,” the warrior said, a mischievous grin washing over his face.

“Are the young people in your tribe like these?” Silver Wolf asked Sid.

“I’ve been away from the tribe so long that I couldn’t tell you,” Sid said. “I used to be like them.”

Silver Wolf nodded, shaking his head.

“You’re the chief, aren’t you?” Sam asked.

Silver Wolf glanced at Tyler, and then at Sam. “I’m one chief. Tyler is another. I’m the Executive. Tyler is the War Chief.”

“Yeah, some War Chief I’ve been,” Tyler said.

“One Eye would be proud,” Silver Wolf said. “Come, let’s get to camp.”

“Mind if we put the big guns in your hovercraft?” Tyler asked.

“Not at all,” Silver Wolf said. The men put the guns into the back of the hovercraft. Silver Wolf drove it down the road, the other three warriors staying behind to walk in with their guests.

“Who’s left?” Red Snake asked. “And call me Shane when the chief isn’t around, okay?”

“I’m Will,” Swimming Bear said. “I don’t mind the Indian name that much, though.”

Shane sighed. “Oh, I know, when we’re with the tribe it’s okay.”

“I’m almost afraid to ask,” Will said, “but who’s left.”

Tyler’s face was grim. “Us, plus Zac, Kenny, and Bradley.”

“Crap, that’s all?” Kerry asked.

“Kaitlin and Megan,” Tyler said.

Will snickered. “It’s been kinda dull with them gone.”

“You got that right, bro,” Kerry said. “I could look at Kaitlyn all day. Maybe I was too hasty with her. She’s got a fiery passion, that’s for sure.”

“You’ve been married for three years,” Ryan said. “You getting bored already?”

“No, not really,” Kerry said.

“Both Megan and Kaitlyn are married off,” James said.

“They aren’t married,” Sam said. “Unless they snuck off someplace and did it after we left.”

Sid laughed. “They’re as good as married. The rest is just a formality.”

“There are other braves with you guys?” Will asked.

Ryan snickered. “They captured a couple of white boys. Well, a white boy and a Mexican boy.”

Will chuckled. “They don’t know yet, do they?”

“Hey,” Tyler said. “Both of those boys, as you call them, are great warriors. We’ve fought with them. Any woman of our tribe would be proud to have them.”

Sam chuckled. “Hell, I place Kaitlyn as about the second-best fighter we have.”

“Yeah, she was always good at that sort of thing,” Kerry said. “She’s scary good.”

“I didn’t mean any disrespect,” Ryan said. “Really. And those two couples get along well. Both those guys are used to more aggressive women. It’s a good fit.”

“Where did you lose the others?” Will asked.

“Ambush in Dulzura,” Tyler said, feeling himself choke up. “We were lucky anybody survived.”

“Thank Ji-Ho and that crazy Battle Wagon of his for that,” Ryan said.

“True that,” James said.

“Who’s Ji-Ho?” Kerry asked.

“A crazy old Korean guy,” James said. “He’s just like Silver Wolf. Total tech nut. He’s got an RV with a mini-gun mounted on a retractable turret.”

“Mini-gun?” Kerry asked. “Hell, do you know what those things can do?”

“Chew through a lot of ammo in a hurry,” Sam said.

“That’s for sure,” Tyler said. “Saved our butts more than once, though.”

“True,” Sam said.

“Ji-Ho is a close associate of Ivan the Butcher,” Ryan said.

The three warriors stopped in their tracks.

“You’re kidding, right?” Will asked.

“Nope, he’s not,” Tyler said. “This guy’s in constant contact with Ivan. We’re getting more of those Battle Wagons. Should be there the day after we get back.”

“You’re going back?” Kerry asked. “I thought you were staying here.”

“They would’ve brought the others if they were staying here,” Will said.

“How many people are at this base?” Sam asked.

“Just under two hundred,” Will said.

“Holy crap,” Sid said. “How are you feeding yourselves?”

“Hunting, and runs to Lake Barrett’s general store,” Will said, “but we’re gonna have a problem pretty soon. We’re hunting the game down too much.”

“We need to be going further out,” Kerry said.

“We can’t go off our own land,” Will said, “or we’ll be poaching.”

Sam laughed. “I don’t think anybody’s paying attention, guys.”

“See, that’s what I’ve been saying,” Kerry said. “Desperate times require desperate measures.”

“Silver Wolf might not go for it,” Will said. “You know how he is.”

They got to a clearing, where there were people walking around and vehicles parked. To their right was a mine shaft. In front of that were a multitude of small dome tents. Past that on the left was the ghost town…a collection of grey-black wood buildings, some dilapidated, some burned, but a few in good shape. There was some modern bracing and good wood on a couple of the buildings. A huge coral towards the back held many horses. Another held mules. Tribe members eyed the strangers, some rushing up to greet Tyler and the other Barona warriors.

“Tyler,” shouted a young woman, rushing over, throwing her arms around him. They kissed deeply. James’s woman rushed him, then Ryan’s.

“Wow, there’s beautiful women in this tribe,” Sid said. “I have even more respect for these guys now.”

“Because of their choice of women?” Sam asked.

“No, because they’re willing to leave them to fight for the tribe,” Sid said. “That can’t be easy.”

“Guys, meet our wives,” Tyler said. “This is my wife Mia.” She smiled at them, a young woman of delicate beauty with dark eyes and shiny long black hair.

“This is Abby,” James said proudly. She was of heavier build, with a rounder face and a smile that lit up the whole area.

“Thanks for taking care of my James,” she said.

“And here’s my wife,” Ryan said, his tiny bride standing next to him, tears still on her cheeks. “This is Riley.” She had a fetching look, with happy features and a warm smile.

“Nice to meet you,” she said. “Are you hungry?”

“I am,” Ryan said.

“We all are,” James said.

“Think we should go get our Jeeps?” Sam asked.

“In the morning,” Sid said. “They’ll keep.”

“Okay,” Sam said. The women led them into the first repaired structure. It was a saloon, complete with a long bar on one side and coarse-looking tables and chairs in the middle of the room.

“You guys fixed this building up pretty well,” James said.

“I wouldn’t go upstairs,” Abby said. “A lot of the floorboards are rotten. We took out the ones that were in danger of falling from the ceiling.”

“It took a while to get all the bugs out of here,” Riley said.

“How’s Kaitlyn and Megan?” Abby asked.

“Fine,” James said.

“Is Kaitlyn still making the warriors look bad?” Mia asked.

The other women giggled.

“Pretty much,” Tyler said. “They both have men.”

“I’m not surprised,” Abby said. “Who?”

“We’ll tell you later,” Tyler said. “How’s it been going around here?”

“We need more game,” Mia said. “I wish we had some chickens and goats. Silver Wolf doesn’t want us to go there, but it’ll get harder and harder to stay here. Winter is not that many months away.”

“It’s six months away,” Tyler said. “The war should be over by then.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Sam said.

“We’ve got some stew,” Mia said. “We’ll bring you some. Sit.”

They left.

“Nice wives,” Sid said. “Nice place, too. Probably a little more authentic than Garrett’s town.”

“Garrett?” Kerry asked. “That guy still alive?”

“Garrett and his men saved our butts,” Tyler said. “Twice.”

“They still into those black powder guns?” Kerry asked.

“Yep,” Ryan said, shaking his head. “How do you know him?”

“We broke a bunch of horses for them,” Kerry said. “Stu and I.”

“Really?” Sid asked. “Their horses look pretty good.”

“Yeah, they got a good group from one of those auctions,” Kerry said. “Came from the Colorado River valley, not far from Lake Havasu.”

“I’ve seen them,” Sam said, “from my boat. Back in happier times. Connie was so thrilled when we saw them.”

“Is that your wife?” Kerry asked.

“She was killed in the big battle,” Tyler said softly. “Same explosion that killed One Eye.”

“Oh,” Kerry said. “Sorry.”

“I know,” Sam said. “I miss her so.”

“If Erica sees Sam, she’s liable to start chasing him,” Kerry said.

“Who’s Erica?” Sid asked.

“Widow,” Shane said. “A beauty for an older woman. She’s lonely, and she likes the rugged type.”

“What happened to her husband?” Sid asked. He glanced at Sam, who looked uncomfortable.

“Her husband was a pilot,” Shane said. “His plane went down in the mountains north of the reservation. That’s been about five years ago.”

“I might know him,” Sid said. “You talking about Buck?”

“Yep,” Shane said. “Good man.”

“Yeah, he was,” Sid said. “He flew me and a buddy into the back country for a hunting trip, seven or eight years ago.”

“You know everybody, don’t you?” Sam asked, laughing.

“Kinda seems like it sometimes,” Sid said. “Sorry to hear that Buck is gone.”

The women came back with a big pot of stew and bowls.

“What, none for us?” Kerry asked.

“You guys just ate,” Mia said. “Want to get fat?”

“I was kidding,” he said. “I’d better go find my wife. She’s going to want help with the kids.”

“Me too,” Kerry said.

“Yeah,” Shane said. “Maybe we can chat later.”

“See you guys later,” Will said. The three men walked out together.

“This is good,” Sid said. “What kind of meat is this?”

“Rabbit, rattlesnake, and a little venison,” Mia said.

“How much juice are you getting from that mill?” Sid asked.

“Only enough for the fridge, the lights, and charging of our electronics,” Mia said. “And our radios.”

“Wish we had air conditioning,” Abby said. “This little valley heats up like a damn blast furnace.”

“It does,” Riley said.

“You are sticking around for a while, I hope,” Mia said.

Tyler got an uncomfortable look on his face. “No, I have to go back, at least for a while.”

“Why?” Mia asked, eyes tearing up.

“Because we’re on the verge of kicking the enemy all the way out of eastern San Diego County and Imperial County. When that’s done, the war will be over for us.”

“Is that true?” Riley asked, looking at Ryan.

“I think it is,” Ryan said. “Believe me, if I could stay here, I would. I don’t want to be away from you or the girls.”

The men finished eating. Silver Wolf pulled the hovercraft up to the front of the building. “Hey, guys, want your guns?”

Sam got up. “Thanks for the food.”

“Yeah, that was great,” Sid said, following Sam out the door.

“Call Tyler over, and let’s chat,” Silver Wolf said.

“Sure,” Sid said. He went back to the door. “Hey, Tyler, Silver Wolf wants to chat.”

“Okay,” Tyler said, turning towards Mia. “I’ll be with you soon. I promise.” He kissed her on the forehead and left.

“Where should we meet?” Tyler asked.

“The next building down,” Silver Wolf said. “Oh, and while we’re by ourselves, you can call me Ed.”

“Okay, Ed,” Sam said. They walked down the broken wood sidewalk, avoiding the bad spots. Ed walked in the dirt street next to it.

“You guys are brave,” Ed said. “I damn near broke my leg on that thing.”

The others looked at each other and got onto the dirt. Ed chuckled. “This building is in better shape than the saloon.”

“What was it?” Sid asked.

“Combination jail and city newspaper, from what we can tell,” Ed said, “although we have a running argument about that.”

“What about it?” Sam asked.

“Some people here think the printing press is in there because it was confiscated.”

Sid chuckled. “Wait, didn’t they have the first amendment back then?”

“Yeah,” Ed said. “They also had property rights and due process.”

Tyler shook his head.

“He’s right,” Sam said. “Good thing to remember. There’s some lessons for today.”

“Yeah,” Ed said. “The conduct of powerful men never changes.”

They walked into the structure. There was a kerosene lamp already burning.

“Feel like a drink?” Ed asked.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Sid said.

They poured whiskey shots and sat at a round table in the middle of the room, a few feet away from the rusty bars of the jail cell, one of its hinges broken.

“Okay, what do you want to chat about?”

“I want you to convince me that I should let my warriors go back with you,” Ed said, “and Tyler, you be quiet until the end. Got it?”

“Yes,” Tyler said.

Sid started talking.

To be continued…

 

The Plan is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 2017

Bugout! California Part 78 – Citizens United

IMG_1839(2)

Jules snickered as the intense stream of .50 cal fire cut into the line of Gaz Tigrs on the road.

“My God,” Shelly said, watching from behind Jules’s seat. Sparky was in the passenger seat manning the forward machine guns, taking out the few enemy fighters able to flee out of the ruined vehicles.

“Shelly, text to hold fire on mini-guns,” Jules shouted. “Save for assault on base. These done.”

Jules drove forward as she sent the text, pushing one of the ruined vehicles out of the way with the massive coach, clearing a space for the others to follow.

“Well, they obviously knew we were coming,” Sparky said. “And they knew what direction, too.”

“Yeah, that worries me,” Dana said from further back in the coach, M60 at the ready. “Seems like a trap.”

“We foiled it, if that’s what it was,” Sparky said. “Keep your eyes open. I expect an attempt to broadside us.”

“Watch for nail strips,” Shelly said to Jules.

“Yes, watching,” Jules said, glancing back at her. He made a right turn on 10th street, the Civic Center building coming into view.

“They’ve fortified it,” Sparky said. “See the sandbags?”

“Machine gun nests, no?” Jules said. “Shelly, text BearCat on my phone. In my shirt pocket.”

Shelly nodded and reached into his pocket to get it, locking eyes with him for a split second. He smiled at her, then focused on the road as they cruised past storage tanks and equipment yards.

“They think those sand bags are gonna help them,” Sparky said. “Are the other rigs hitting from the front?”

“Yes,” Jules said. “One pull up on Reed Way and lob mortar shells.”

“Who?” Sparky asked.

“Green coach,” Jules said. “Ted.”

“Good,” Sparky said. “Get ready.”

The four coaches pulled into the field behind the parking lot, all the mini-guns firing, splattering the machine gun nests along the back wall of the building. Then the BearCats rolled into view, joining in with their CROWS, hitting enemy fighters who were running for their lives.

“Look, some of those are Islamists, not UN Peacekeepers,” Sparky shouted, firing at them with the forward machine guns. Then there was a pop off to the right. The parking lot right behind the building exploded.

“Whoa!” Shelly shouted, eyes wide. “They missed.”

“Tell Ted he hit ten yards behind building,” Sparky said. “Use my phone.”

Shelly nodded and sent the text as Sparky fired again, hitting a Gaz Tigr that was rolling away from the building.

“I can’t stop that Tigr with this gun,” Sparky shouted.

Jules smiled and brought up the mini-gun, practically cutting the Tigr in half before their eyes, two of the other coaches joining in.

There was another pop, and the back half of the building exploded, glass flying in all directions.

“Nice,” Dana said, watching. “Look out, people running out of the back door. See them?”

Sparky nodded and fired with the forward guns. “Get ready with the M60. My field of fire doesn’t go far enough.”

“On it,” Dana said, opening fire, the belt of the M60 chattering as she strafed the parking lot, dropping all of the fleeing Islamists and UN Peacekeepers. Then there was another pop, and the building was hit again, knocking down the back walls.

“That’s gonna do them in,” Jules said. “Nice, no?”

“Yeah,” Sparky said.

The BearCats moved in closer, firing their weapons through the broken walls. Machine gun fire came from the front of the building, along Cherry Avenue.

“That the enemy trying to fight their way out?” Shelly asked.

“Nope,” Sparky said. “That’s mini-gun fire. We’re stopping them.”

The machine gun fire intensified, and some of the BearCats moved around the front as another mortar round took flight. It exploded into the broken building with a whoosh, flame rising and spreading all over the area.

“Geez,” Shelly said. “That’s not a good way to go.”

“No, it not,” Jules said. “Better them that us, no?”

There was silence for several minutes, and then law enforcement officers arrived in full body armor, carrying M16s and shotguns, rushing into the ruins. There were a few shotgun blasts, and then silence.

“It’s over,” Sparky said. “Roadblock?”

“Ten to one they’ve already left,” Dana said. “You know they heard this.”

“Stay sharp,” Sparky said.

“Yes, Sparky right,” Jules said. “They tried one trap. Maybe more. We should reload guns right now.”

“I’ll get on that,” Dana said.

“Me too,” Sparky said. “Shelly, be ready on that second M60, okay? Keep your eyes open.”

Shelly nodded and picked up the heavy gun, watching out the windows. Suddenly bullets began to pelt the side of the coach.

“Fighters on foot,” Jules said. “Send text. Broadcast to everybody.”

Shelly sent the text, then caught about thirty men rushing in from the left, from behind some storage tanks. “Get ready!” She pointed the M60 out the gun slit on that side and fired, taking down most of them.

“The mini-gun is reloaded,” Sparky said as he rushed back out. “Who’s shooting at us?”

“Look like Islamist fighters,” Jules said. “Man M60, they come from sides.”

“There’s another group there,” Dana said, pointing from the right-hand side of the coach. The enemy was coming at them in a full run, AK-47s blazing, Dana firing frantically. “There’s too many of them!”

The other coaches joined in, and the police officers rushed over, dropping to prone position and firing as the BearCats came over to help. Then there was different gun fire. Single shots, sounding like they were coming from all directions.

“What the hell is that?” Sparky shouted.

“It citizens, look,” Jules said, big grin on his face. Suddenly there were hundreds of people rushing in, firing hunting rifles and shotguns. “They wake up.”

“Holy crap, look at all of those guys,” Dana said.

“Be careful not to hit them!” Shelly shouted.

“Hold fire, they got this,” Jules said, watching in amazement.

The Islamists tried to find cover, running around in a panic as a thick curtain of lead flew at them.

“This what we start,” Jules said. “This what we need. Go USA!”

The battle only lasted another four or five minutes. The police officers emerged from their vehicles, rushing out to meet the citizens.

“Come, we go chat,” Jules said. He drove the coach to the back of the parking lot and parked, the other coaches on their side following suit.

Jules got up and left the coach, taking Shelly by the hand and helping her down. Sparky and Dana joined them. Tex was already outside with Karen. Ted trotted over from the right-hand side.

“Not bad, no?” Jules said to Tex.

“That’s an understatement, partner,” he said. “Let’s go talk to the cops and the leaders of the citizens.”

“Yes,” Jules said. He started to walk towards them with Tex.

“Wait for me,” Shelly said, rushing after them. Dana and Sparky joined them too. The large group of citizens and police were gathered around the BearCats, several officers standing on top of the armored vehicles watching the nearby buildings and streets.

“Are you Jules?” asked one of the officers.

“Captain Jenkins?” Jules asked.

“Yep,” he said, smiling. “Glad to meet you.”

“Thanks for help. Where did citizens come from?”

“That’s a good question,” Captain Jenkins said.

“We’re all locals,” said a large man with a red beard and long, dark brown hair. “Bill Callahan.”

“Glad you showed up when you did,” Captain Jenkins said.

“Yes, me too,” Jules said. “You had enough of these thugs, no?”

“They kidnap our women and girls, and push people around,” Bill said. “This has been coming for a while. We’ve been organizing. Your arrival allowed us to jump in a little earlier than planned.”

Shelly was trembling, and Jules noticed. “Hey, you okay?”

“Sorry,” she said. “It brings back what we went through.”

“She was held hostage by these thugs too, wasn’t she?” Captain Jenkins asked.

“All of the women with this group went through that,” Sparky said. “We were lucky. We rescued them.”

Shelly was still trembling. Jules put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. She turned her face against his side and cried softly.

“Did you get your women back?” Dana asked.

“No,” Bill said, a grim look on his face. “We don’t know where they are.”

“Oh, God, I hope they weren’t in that building,” Ted said.

“No, we’ve all been in there,” Bill said. “We had to go in to pay special taxes, and to check in if we were going to alter our daily routine. There’s no place to hide in that building.”

“Pigs,” Jules said, still holding Shelly against him. She was settling down, and pulled away, locking eyes with him and mouthing thank you.

“Anybody know about that roadblock?” Tex asked. “We might have more work to do before we can get on our way.”

Captain Jenkins chuckled. “We rolled through there on our way here. Tried out the CROWS. They’re all dead on the road.”

“Wonder how they knew which way we’d be coming?” Sparky asked.

“That good question,” Jules said. “We need better intelligence. I’d like to help citizens get women back.”

“So would I, partner,” Tex said.

“We’ll work with the citizens on that,” Captain Jenkins said. “We’ll have to work together to keep these guys from coming back anyway.”

Bill smiled and shook the Captain’s hand. “Cue music. This is the start of a beautiful friendship.

Captain Jenkins smiled, and several of his men clapped, citizens joining in.

“Do you guys have to leave right away?” Bill asked.

“Afraid so,” Jules said. “Boss have plans for us in Bay Area.”

“Boss?”

Sparky chuckled. “Ivan.”

Bill’s eyes lit up. “You know that guy? I love that guy. I want to see more of his videos.”

“You shall, my friend,” Jules said. “Ted, where other coaches?”

“In a field on the other side of El Camino Real,” Ted said. “Should we space ourselves again, or go in a caravan?”

“Caravan,” Shelly said quickly. She covered her mouth. “Sorry, it’s scary being alone after what happened.”

“I agree,” Jules said. “We caravan. Much harder to take us then. Enemy already know we on way.”

“All right, let’s move out, then,” Sparky shouted.

“Good luck to you,” Jules said. “We be back by later, maybe we meet again, no?”

“I’d love it,” Bill said.

“Me too,” Captain Jenkins said.

The crowd dispersed.

“You better?” Jules asked, looking down at Shelly as they walked.

“I’m scared to death, but it’ll be okay,” she said.

“Good,” Jules said. He turned to the others following him. “Everybody reload before we take off.”

“I’ll text the coaches on El Camino Real and tell them that,” Shelly said, moving her phone in front of her face.

***

Sid drove the Jeep down Barrett Lake Road, trying to keep up with James and Tyler.

“They’re cranking along pretty good,” Sam said.

“Yeah. Hope they’re careful. Wouldn’t want to run smack dab into an enemy roadblock.”

Sam looked at him and nodded in agreement. “Some of these curves are blind as hell.”

Sid nodded as they went around one of those, feeling his pulse quicken until he was through it and could see the other Jeeps in front of him.

“Does this place we’re going have a name?” Sam asked.

Sid chuckled. “No, not really. It’s beyond a place called McAlmond Canyon.”

“Sounds rustic.”

“It’s a wasteland,” Sid said. “With lots of canyons to hide out in.”

“Canyons aren’t always good. Canyons have ridges overlooking them.”

Sid nodded, grim look on his face.

“You’re expecting them to be dead, aren’t you?” Sam asked.

“I’m afraid they will be,” Sid said. “Hoping against hope that they aren’t. This tribe deserves a break.”

“True that,” Sam said. “Look, they’re slowing down.”

“About where I expected,” Sid said. He watched as the first of the Jeeps turned off the road, heading down a steep embankment to a dry wash below. The second Jeep followed.

“Here we go again,” Sam said, gripping the hand hold as Sid went over the shoulder and down.

“This is kid’s stuff,” Sid said, glancing over at him. They followed the two Jeeps down the wash, then out of it and over to the side of the growing hills, hiding canyons every few hundred yards. The terrain was classic desert, sandy with rocks and small plants. Evidence of flash floods, shot up cans, and other junk was laying around.

“People leave a lot of mess, don’t they?”

Sid chuckled. “Yep. Can’t say I always took everything out. I’ve gotten smarter as I’ve grown older, at least.”

“Wonder how far back this is gonna be?”

“Miles,” Sid said. “I hope, anyway.”

“Does this land belong to the tribe?”

“Not here, but beyond another few miles it does,” Sid said. “Or at least they consider it theirs. It’s old land. Who knows how honest the government was with them back then.”

“Yes, white man speak with forked tongue.”

“Shut up,” Sid said, laughing.

They continued for nearly half an hour, going about twenty miles per hour. The terrain was uneven but not difficult.

“Haven’t seen any tracks,” Sam said.

“I’m sure they did something about those,” Sid said.

“They have fires and such?”

Sid laughed. “Wood fires? Probably not. Coleman stoves, yes. They probably have somebody doing supply runs every week or so.”

“Oh, geez, there’s more of those damn rock formations,” Sam said, pointing to the right.

“Don’t worry, we won’t have to go through that,” Sid said. “Anything else you’re scared of that I need to know about?”

“Women.”

Sid looked over at him and laughed. “Okay, you got me with that one.”

“You know I’m kidding. I was afraid of losing Connie, not of having her.” His eyes started to mist over.

“I know, it still hurts,” Sid said. “Probably always will some. I really don’t like leaving Yvonne alone in times like this.”

“You could’ve brought her, you know.”

“She wanted to come,” Sid said. “The others talked her out of it.”

“Others?”

“Tyler and James, mostly,” Sid said.

“You upset about that?”