Just Published! Bug Out! Texas Book 9 – Patriots Unleashed
#KindleUnlimited #DriveThemOut #covfefe #war #terrorists #DeepState #ShadowGov #motorhome #guns #NRA #prepper #invasion #bugout #Texas
Just Published! Bug Out! Texas Book 9 – Patriots Unleashed
#KindleUnlimited #DriveThemOut #covfefe #war #terrorists #DeepState #ShadowGov #motorhome #guns #NRA #prepper #invasion #bugout #Texas
Anna and Kaitlyn used disinfectant wipes on the massive granite island in the kitchen. Seth and Trevor stood on either side of Hasan, watching them.
“I’ll go get my bag while the counter dries,” Anna said. “You can assist, Kaitlyn.”
Anna left the room.
“Don’t worry,” Kaitlyn said, looking at the fear in Hasan’s eyes. “She’s good. It won’t hurt. You’ll be sore for a few days, but we have medication for that.”
“Thank you,” Hasan said.
“Who made these chips?” Trevor asked. “You’ve got to have millions of them for your whole organization.”
Hasan chuckled. “They’re made right here in California. The Mertins Plant in San Jose, to be exact.”
“No way,” Seth said, shaking his head. “Figures.”
“Do the UN Peacekeepers have chips?” Trevor asked.
“No, but our other partners do,” Hasan said.
“Other partners?” Trevor asked.
“The Militias,” Hasan said. “They’re not active in California, but their a big deal in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado.”
“Which militias?” Seth asked. “We’ve never heard of this before.”
“Secessionists,” Hasan said. “They hate the Federal Government, but are too stupid to realize that they’re fighting for them.”
“Geez,” Seth said. Anna walked back in with two bags.
“Get up on the counter, please,” she said. “On your back, head facing this way.”
Hasan climbed up quickly, looking more scared now.
“I don’t think I can watch this,” Trevor whispered. “I’m going back by the far wall.”
Seth nodded, but stayed where he was, watching Kaitlyn and Anna work. “You’ve assisted before, haven’t you, sweetie?”
Kaitlyn nodded. “Yep, in the tribal clinic. That was a part-time job for me.”
“You should go back to school and become a nurse,” Anna said. “Hand me the gauze, please.”
“We’ve been over this, mom. I like accounting better.”
They worked for about twenty minutes, Hasan sleeping through most of it.
“Done,” Anna said. “Let’s bandage him up.” She used her tweezers to drop the chip into a small metal pan.
“Where are we gonna put him?” Trevor asked, walking back over.
“Good question,” Kaitlyn said.
“He’ll be sleeping this off for at least a couple of hours,” Anna said.
Garrett walked in. “How did it go?”
“Fine,” Anna said. “It was buried pretty deep. He’ll be out for a couple hours. You know where we can put him?”
“We’ve got some leg and wrist irons,” Garrett said. “We can chain him to something while he sleeps. Then maybe we can move him to Dodge City. We have a jail there.”
“Dodge City,” Anna said. “You guys finished that?”
“Yep, after we settled some things with the county,” Garrett said. “That was a learning experience.”
“So I’ve heard,” Anna said. “Didn’t you have to tear some things down?”
“A few,” Garrett said. “To be honest, I’m grateful. We learned a lot. Built a bunch more the right way after that. All with permits, all to code.”
“Well, that’s good,” Anna said. “I’d love to see it someday.”
“Then you shall,” Garrett said, tipping his hat as he went out to fetch the irons.
“Flirting with Garrett, mom?” Kaitlyn asked, grinning.
“Shut up,” she said. “You’re one to talk.”
“Yeah, but I’m not married,” Kaitlyn said.
“Your father isn’t with me anymore.”
Kaitlyn looked at her, sadness in her eyes, and nodded. Seth shot her a glance, and she nodded to him, saying later with her eyes.
Karen and Tex were still in the embrace they fell asleep in earlier, facing each other. Karen woke, feeling the sweat between them, and rolled onto her back. Tex stirred, his eyes fluttering open.
“Wow, we stayed together the whole time, didn’t we?” Tex asked. “I’m all sweaty where I was pressed against you.”
“This thing has an air conditioner, right?” Karen asked.
“Yeah, two, one for the bedroom and one for the salon. The thermostat for the bedroom is by the door there, see it?”
She looked, then nodded, catching his eyes on her breasts when she looked back. “Oh, you like, huh?”
“You know I do,” Tex said. “Is it okay for me to look, or does it bother you?”
“I guess you can look,” she said. “You’ve earned that much. I’ll give you more of a show. I’m going to the bathroom. Can I turn on the air conditioner?”
“Of course,” he said, watching her climb out of bed. She turned on the air conditioner, and it started up quickly.
“Wow, it’s loud,” she said.
“Sorry,” Tex said.
“Maybe that’s a good thing,” she said as she slipped out to the bathroom.
What did she mean by that? Tex’s mind went to them, coupling with passion, his eyes glassed over when she returned. The sight of her made him moan.
“You’re in quite a state,” she said as she went back under the sheet.
“I think I’d better hit the bathroom too,” he said, getting up, his back to her to hide his condition.
“Turn around,” she said. “You got to see me.”
“I’m in a state you might not be ready for,” he said.
“Oh, please,” she said. “You were in that state quite a bit while you were asleep, by the way.”
“Oh,” he said, sheepishly. He turned towards her as he maneuvered around the bed to the door.
“Wow, impressive,” she said, half a smile on her face.
“No Texas comments,” he said. She giggled, and he chuckled as he left the room, rushing to get back. She was lying on her side, head propped up on her hand and elbow, grinning at him.
“Looks like you’re back to normal.”
“Around you it isn’t really that normal,” Tex said.
“My, but aren’t we talking naughty now,” Karen said, watching as he went to his side of the bed. “Maybe I spoke too soon.”
“Stop it,” he said, shooting her an embarrassed glance.
“What time is it?”
Tex picked his phone off the ledge next to his side of the bed. “Almost ten pm,” he said. “I think our nap might have messed with our sleeping patterns a little.”
“It’ll be okay,” she said, turning on her back. “That air conditioner is cooling the room down nicely.”
“Getting too cold?”
“No, not at all,” she said. “It feels good. And besides, we need the noise.”
“What?” Tex asked.
She rolled her eyes, then pulled at him. He got the message and rolled towards her, moving his upper torso against her.
“C’mon, move closer,” she whispered.
“I would hope so,” she said, reaching for his hip and pulling. He groaned as he moved against her. “Wow. You’re back and then some.”
“Sorry,” he said, starting to move away.
“Stop!” she said, pulling him back. He groaned again.
“You’re torturing me,” Tex said, half a smile showing. She looked at him, a loving smile on her face. Tex trembled at the sight of it. “Haven’t seen that look from you before.”
She looked him in the eyes, then took his hand and put it on her breast. “You don’t have to be that way anymore.” He rolled closer, kissing her gently, his whole body alive, his senses at the max.
“How long will that air conditioner run?” she asked.
“Depends,” he said. “What’d you set it at?”
“Sixty-six,” she said.
He chuckled. “It’ll run for a while.”
“Good,” she said.
“I get noisy,” she said, pulling him over herself.
The passion grew quickly between them, and they were together, riding the waves, beside themselves as they rose and fell, Karen screaming and crying out. Tex focused on her face, amazed and so much in love. Then they settled down, laying on their sides facing each other, silent for a time.
“Told you I get loud,” she said, her eyes misty.
“My God, woman,” Tex said, caressing the back of her head as he went in for a kiss.
“Was it worth the waiting? Worth all the dramatics?”
He chuckled. “I’m so much in love with you that I can hardly stand it.”
“I know,” she said. “I’ve known that for a while. I’m sorry it takes me so long.”
“So long?” Tex asked. “I’m the one that should be apologizing. I’ve been hounding you since the moment I met you.”
“Yes, but in a nice way,” she said. “I was so angry when we met. You pushed past it. You pushed me past it.”
“When did you decide?” Tex asked.
“Decide what? That I’d let you take me?”
“No, that I was okay. That I was safe.”
She smiled, a calmness showing on her face that was new to him. “That’s not what you really want to know.”
“What do you think I really want to know?”
“When I fell in love with you,” she said, eyes dancing with his.
“You don’t have to say that yet.”
“You did,” she said.
“I know,” he said, “but it has to happen naturally. Without pressure.”
Her eyes teared up more, and she reached up to pet his cheek. “Okay, cards on the table. I knew I was in love with you last night. When I offered myself to you and you wouldn’t do it.”
“Oh,” he said. “I was hoping. I felt like you were close.”
“So, you calculated a little in turning me down?” she asked.
Tex smiled. “No, it was after that. It was your reaction when I admitted that I loved you.”
“Okay, I could see that,” she said, more tears coming. “I cried. Geez, it’s so obvious. I’m such a dope. I should’ve told you then and there.”
“You weren’t ready,” he said. “It happened when it was supposed to happen.”
“Yes, it did,” she said.
“We can get up for a while if you want,” Tex said.
“No way,” she said. “We’re not done yet.”
They kissed again.
“You hungry?” Jules asked, sitting up in bed next to Shelly.
“I guess we’ve worked up a good appetite,” she said. “What did you have in mind?”
“There was peach cobbler,” he said. “In kitchen fridge. You like, no?”
“Oh, yeah, I like,” she said. “Should we go get some and bring it back, or just eat it there?”
“Maybe eat there,” Jules said. “Mind?”
“No, not at all,” she said. “We need a break anyway. We’ve been making love on and off since this afternoon.”
“I should be,” she said. “You know why I’m not.”
“Oh,” Jules said. “Sorry. I wish that never happen.”
“I know, sweetie, but I’m a survivor. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Jules smiled. “That one of Ivan’s favorite sayings.”
“Will I ever meet him?”
“Almost certainly,” he said, getting out of bed. He pulled on his clothes, and picked up his phone. “Message. Didn’t even hear it come in.”
“Gee, I wonder why,” Shelly said as she dressed, her face turning red.
Jules shot her a sidelong glance, then focused on his phone. “Oops, it Ivan.”
“Call him back,” Shelly said.
“Let’s wait until we get to kitchen,” Jules said.
“Somebody’s got a sweet tooth,” she said.
“Maybe little. Let’s go.”
They finished getting ready and left the coach, stepping out into the crisp night air.
“Northern California is always cooler than I expect,” Shelly said, pulling him closer as they walked.
“Warm compared to home,” Jules said.
“You want to go back there?”
“Back to Belgium?” he asked. “Spend time there, spend more time here. This new home. I run business with team who reside both here and there.”
They walked into the house and stepped into the kitchen. Jules opened the fridge.
“Still there?” she asked.
“Yep.” He pulled out the large glass baking pan and set it on the counter, then removed the foil covering it. “Look. Enough for us, no?”
“I think so,” she said, looking at it. “If you want me to keep this figure, don’t feed me this stuff too often.”
He chuckled, looking for silverware in the drawers. Shelly went to the cupboard and took down two small plates. They split what was left and took it to the table.
“Mmmmm, this is good,” Shelly said after a bite.
“Yes, good,” Jules said. “I call Ivan, put on speaker, okay?”
“Sure,” Shelly said.
Jules hit the contact and put the phone on the table, hitting the speaker button.
Ivan picked up. “About time.”
“Sorry, boss, I was otherwise occupied. I’m with Shelly in the kitchen of the groundkeeper’s house. What going on?”
“Oh, with your milkmaid again, huh? Getting anywhere?”
Shelly giggled. “Yes, he got somewhere.”
“Oh, my my,” Ivan said. “Congrats to you both. I’ll be waiting for Wedding invitations.”
“One step at a time,” Shelly said.
Ivan chuckled. “Well, I’m happy for both of you, however serious this is. Now on to business. I have good news. General Hogan’s team has given us the prototype of the apps we were talking about.”
“No, really?” Jules asked. “Why they do that? They finish?”
“Very close. We still have to keep it to leadership team, though, okay?”
“I understand,” Jules said.
“Who’s on the leadership team now?” Ivan asked.
“Sparky, Tex, Ted, and me,” Jules said.
“Want me to leave the room?” Shelly asked.
“Put her on the leadership team,” Ivan said. “Anybody who can put up with you deserves it.”
Jules laughed. Shelly shook her head. “I’ll bet you two are a riot at a party.”
“You’ll find out, when this is over,” Ivan said.
“What next?” Jules asked.
“I send link to each phone. Have Shelly call me so I get her number.”
“Yes, I do,” Jules said, his mouth a little too full of food.
“You guys are eating? Kinda late, isn’t it?”
“There was some left-over peach cobbler,” Shelly said. “Sorry.”
“I’ll bet it was Jules’s idea,” Ivan said. “He always did have a sweet tooth.”
Jules’s phone dinged. “I got link.”
“Good, follow it, download, and install, and I’ll walk you through what it does. Then you can show the others.”
“Downloading now,” Jules said. He took his last bite of cobbler. “This good, wish more left.”
“You have to watch your figure too, you know,” Shelly said.
“Belgians,” Ivan said. “No wonder they’re famous for chocolate.”
“Downloaded. Installing app number one now,” Jules said, watching his screen.
“This is going to make our operations a lot safer, isn’t it?” Shelly asked.
“Yes, it will give us an enormous advantage,” Ivan said. “But we must avoid letting the enemy know about this, at all costs. That’s why we’re keeping it to the leadership team.”
“Does Ji-Ho get this?” Jules asked.
“Yes, he got it earlier today. Same situation. Leadership team only.”
“Can we tell the others that we have it?” Shelly asked.
“Yes, but they can’t have it on their phones. Soon, but not yet.”
“Any word on General Hogan?” Jules asked.
“There’s an operation happening to get him out in a couple days,” Ivan said. “Keep your fingers crossed.”
“I do,” Jules said. “Second app done.”
“Great, then open the first app.”
Jules tapped the tile, and the app opened. “Map show up.”
“If there are enemy fighters within about half a mile, you will get buzzed, and the display will show their location.”
“Wow,” Shelly said.
“Nobody close now,” Jules said.
“Yes, and that’s good,” Ivan said. “This app can be used even where there is no cell coverage. It works peer to peer with the enemy RFID chips.”
“Wow,” Jules said. “They can’t sneak up anymore.”
“That’s right,” Ivan said.
“How do we know this really works?” Shelly asked. “Since nothing will show up?”
“Let’s check the long-range app,” Ivan said. “Load it.”
Jules tapped that app, and it loaded, taking a little longer than the short-range app. “Okay, it up.”
“Expand the map, just like you would do with the normal map application. Go to San Jose.”
Jules did that, and his eyes got wide. “Whoa.”
Shelly got close and looked. “My God, there’s so many that they just look like a blob on the screen.”
“That first target area,” Ivan said. “Mertins Electronics factory. They’ve been making the RFID chips.”
Jules snickered. “Are you kidding? The enemy chips are made in America?”
“You got it,” Ivan said. “One of your Belgian buddies did it.”
“Daan Mertins,” Jules said, a look of disgust on his face. “That man’s whole family has been a disaster for Europe, going back hundreds of years.”
“He’ll get his,” Ivan said. “We’re going in on three sides to hit this factory. Then we move on to another pocket. Move the map towards San Francisco. Make it wider. Expand to show the entire Bay Area.”
“Wow,” Shelly said. “Daly City. Palo Alto. Oakland.”
“Not many in San Francisco,” Jules said.
“Not in the city itself,” Ivan said. “Look at Sacramento. That’s the other big hive of enemy activity.”
Jules moved to that part of the map. “More here than Bay Area. We hit next?”
“Yes,” Ivan said. “Remember focus, though. You don’t try to kill all yourself, you make big show for recruitment. Don’t get killed trying to destroy any single target. Do you understand? We couple with more of my TV appearances. Just like LA Area and Orange County.”
“Yes,” Jules said.
“One other thing,” Ivan said. “There are three locations we know of where women are being held as sex slaves. I think your team is uniquely qualified to liberate them. Do you agree?”
Jules looked at Shelly, who shook her head yes, terror in her eyes.
“Yes, we agree,” Jules said.
“Think about it and get back to me after you’ve talked to the others. The rescue missions will be the most dangerous jobs you will take on.”
“Okay, I discuss, but I think we fine with it.”
“Damn straight,” Shelly said, resolve showing on her face. She put her hand on Jules’s.
“Okay, that’s all I have for tonight. Remember to have Shelly call my phone. Also be ready in the morning to work with team leadership. Take vote on liberation missions. Call me when you’re done. Conference call with the leadership, including Shelly. Got me?”
“Yes, I got,” Jules said. “Thank you.”
“Talk to you soon, old friend.”
The call ended. Jules set his phone on the table and took a deep breath.
“Wow,” Shelly said.
“Look,” Jules said, showing the phone screen to Shelly.
“My God, is that Washington DC?”
“Yes, is,” Jules said. “This why we wait for wide release. Need names of traitors before they can get rid of RFID chips and hide.”
“Can we win this?” Shelly asked.
“Yes, we can win,” Jules said. “Ready to go home?”
“I’m ready,” Shelly said, getting out of her chair. Jules picked up the plates and put them into the sink, and they left the house, heading into the night air, holding hands, fingers intertwined.
To be continued…
Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!
The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”
Copyright Robert Boren 2017.
“Look, there’s my people,” Kaitlyn said as Seth drove their battle wagon onto the Williams property. “My mom!”
“Oh, great, she’s here!” Seth said, a mixture of relief and nervousness filling him.
“Don’t worry,” Kaitlyn said, watching him. “She’ll like you. Trust me.”
“I’m not worried,” Seth said.
Kaitlyn chuckled. “I can read you like a book, sweetheart. It’s okay.”
“Now we can get married, can’t we?” Seth asked.
“When the rest of the people get here,” Kaitlyn said. “I want Erica here. She’s like my big sister.”
Seth smiled at her. “Okay. Hope they get here soon. I want you to be mine as soon as possible.”
“I’m already yours,” Kaitlyn said. “It’s just a formality.”
“You know men are more sentimental than women,” Seth said, eyes tearing up. “The act of committing to you formally is a real turn on for me.”
“Me too,” she said. “I understand what you’re saying.”
Seth did a K-turn in the coach and parked it, facing towards the exit, other coaches doing the same as they streamed in. Kaitlyn was out the door as soon as Seth shut down the engine, running towards the group of tribal women.
“Mom!” Kaitlyn cried, hugging her tight.
“Kaitlyn, I’ve missed you so much,” her mother said. “So glad you survived. Where’s your man?”
“Probably giving me a few minutes to say hello,” Kaitlyn said. “He’s a good man, mom. I love him so much.”
“Good, I was hoping. Is Megan still with her man?”
“Oh, yeah,” Kaitlyn said. “She’s on fire for Angel.”
“I wish her mother was still with us.”
“I know, mom,” Kaitlyn said. “Here comes Seth now.”
“Wow, he looks so white.”
“Be nice, mom,” Kaitlyn whispered.
“He’s handsome,” she said. “I have no disrespect. I’ve heard he’s a good man.”
“Hi,” Seth said, walking up. “I’m Seth. You must be Kaitlyn’s mom.”
“Anna,” she said, holding out her hand. “Good to meet you, Seth.”
“Likewise,” Seth said. “You raised quite a daughter.”
“She’s something, all right,” Anna said, shooting a grin at Kaitlyn.
“Mom,” Kaitlyn said.
“Oh, don’t take it the wrong way,” Anna said. “You know how much I love you, and how much I’m proud of you.”
“Hi, Anna,” Megan said, walking up with Angel. “This is Angel.”
“Nice to meet you,” he said.
“What a nice-looking couple you make,” Anna said. “Nice to meet you, Angel.”
“I wish my mom was still with us,” Megan said. “I miss her so much.”
“I know, honey,” Anna said. “I miss her too.”
Trevor drove their coach through the gate, following Ji-Ho’s coach. They parked next to each other, close to the house.
Ji-Ho bounded out of his coach, looking right as rain. Kaylee saw him as she came out with Trevor.
“Uncle, you look back to normal.”
“I tell you, that what happens,” Ji-Ho said. “I feel well for while, but have problems again later. Bad times come more often, but in-between still good.”
“Hey, honey, I’m going to see if I can fix the M19 turret,” Trevor said. “See you in a little while.”
“You’re climbing on top of that thing?” Kaylee asked.
“Yeah,” he said, heading for the ladder on the back. “Oops, better take my toolbox up there.” He went into the storage compartment and grabbed a small metal toolbox, then went up the ladder with it and walked up to the front turret.
“What’s he doing?” Seth asked as Kaylee walked over.
“Our M19 turret got hit in the battle,” she said. “He’s trying to fix it.”
“He’ll figure it out, I suspect,” Seth said. “This is Anna, Kaitlyn’s mom. Anna, this is Kaylee.”
“Nice to meet you, Kaylee,” Anna said. “You’re Ji-Ho’s daughter?”
“Niece,” Kaylee said. “Nice to meet you.”
“Yes!” Trevor said from on top of the coach.
“You fixed it?” Kaylee asked, walking towards the coach.
“I got to see this,” Seth said, walking in that direction. Kaitlyn joined him, taking his hand as they walked.
“What was it?” Kaylee asked, looking up at him from below.
“Bullet got stuck in the turret. It didn’t damage anything. Just a lucky shot.” He tossed the bullet down, Kaylee catching it and looking it over. She handed it to Seth.
“Wow,” Seth said. “This was a big slug.”
“I’m going inside to test, to make sure it’s working,” Trevor said. He put his tools back into the tool box and headed for the ladder. Kaylee went back there and watched him climb down.
“I’m going back over to my mom,” Kaitlyn said. Seth joined her. Ji-Ho was there, chatting with her.
“I see you’ve met,” Kaitlyn said.
“Yes,” Anna said. “He’s invited us to move into the house.”
“Good, it’s comfortable, and there’s plenty of beds,” Seth said.
“Yes, it’ll be nice for you, after being on the trail,” Kaitlyn said.
Ji-Ho’s phone rang. “Excuse me. Boss call, I must answer. Pick room upstairs in house. Settle in. Rest.”
“Thanks so much, Ji-Ho,” Anna said.
“Want me to show you around inside?” Kaitlyn asked.
“No, you don’t have to. I’ll check it out. You spend time with your man. I know it’s been crazy for you two.”
Kaitlyn nodded, and watched as her mom followed Ji-Ho onto the veranda and into the house.
“I think Ji-Ho kinda likes her,” Seth said.
“Yeah, I picked up on that too, but we know what his situation is,” Kaitlyn said. “C’mon, let’s go back to our coach and relax for a while.”
“Sounds good,” Seth said. “I didn’t mean that there was any romance there. Ji-Ho is married, even if he wasn’t so ill.”
“Oh, I know,” Kaitlyn said. “My mom’s worked as a nurse. I suspect she’ll be helpful to him as his disease gets worse.”
“She doesn’t have to do that,” Seth said.
“I know, but she will, and it’ll make her happy to serve,” Kaitlyn said. “Trust me on that.”
Karen and Tex walked away from the barn.
“You know what they were doing, don’t you?” Karen asked, her face still red.
“Enjoying each other,” Tex said. “Good for them.”
“She said I should make you happy,” Karen said.
“You are, just by being here with me,” Tex said.
“But you want more,” she said. “Don’t you?”
“We’ve already been over this,” Tex said. “When you’re ready. You’ve told me that you might be falling for me. That has me walking on cloud nine, you know.”
“I didn’t say might,” Karen said. “I said I was falling for you.”
“Oh,” Tex said. “Yes, I remember.”
“Good,” Karen said. “I wasn’t kidding.”
Tex looked at her for a moment, watching her red hair blow in the breeze, her eyes squinting slightly in the late afternoon sunshine. “You are so beautiful.”
“Oh, please,” she said. “I’m a mess. My hair is a tangle of split ends, and I haven’t had any moisturizer on my face for a month. And then there are the scars and bruises.”
“You think I care about any of that stuff?”
She sighed. “I guess I should just accept it and be grateful.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Karen stopped and pulled Tex into her arms. “I know, honey. This is my stuff that I’m working through. I’m trying to feel like a desirable woman again. That can’t come from you. It has to come from inside me.”
“Okay,” Tex said, his arms around her waist. “I get it.”
“Good,” she said. “You hungry? I smell food at the house.”
“I could eat,” Tex said. They walked to the house together. Dana was just entering with Sparky.
“Is Jules still searching for Shelly?” she asked.
“They found each other,” Karen said. “They’ll be along in a little while.”
“Is it okay?” Sparky asked.
“I’d say so, partner,” Tex said.
“You mean she’s finally giving in?” Dana asked. “It’s easy to see how much she likes him.”
“I’ll let them talk about that,” Tex said.
“Smart,” Sparky said. “Let’s talk about something serious.”
Dana elbowed him, and everybody chuckled.
“Sorry,” Sparky said. “Didn’t mean that the way it came out. I want to know when the next mission starts. All the coaches are done as of earlier today.”
“Jules is supposed to get that info from Ivan,” Tex said. “I’m expecting tomorrow, though, just between us.”
“That soon, huh?” Dana asked.
“Yeah, I wish we had a few more days to relax,” Karen said. “This has been nice.”
“It has,” Dana said. “I don’t want to give up our privacy. We’ll be back to sharing our coach with the kids when we get on the road.”
Sparky shot her an embarrassed glance.
“What, did I embarrass you?” Dana asked. “Sorry. Don’t take it the wrong way. I just enjoy being with you, that’s all. I know you don’t want to be pressured.”
“We should talk about this alone,” Sparky said.
“Oh,” Dana said. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
Karen and Tex shot each other a glance.
“Let’s go eat, and then maybe rest up for a while,” Karen said.
“Sounds good, little lady,” Tex said. He took her hand and they went inside.
“Holding my hand in front of the others?” Karen grinned at him. “You sure that’s a good idea?”
“I don’t care,” Tex said. “Do you?”
“No,” she said. “Fun to tease you about it, though.”
“Yeah, I figured. That smells good. Looks like brisket.”
“I’ll eat anything at this point,” Karen said. “I’m just happy to be here.”
“You are? Even though we’ve got battles coming?”
“You know what I’ve been through,” Karen said. “I never properly thanked you for rescuing me, you know.”
“Yes you have, and not another word about it,” Tex said. “Really.”
She shook her head yes, then reached up to his face and kissed him tenderly on the cheek. “I’ll always remember,” she whispered. “No matter what happens between us.”
Tears started forming in Tex’s eyes. He just nodded at her, and they got in line for the food. When their plates were full, they sat at a table with Ted and Haley. Sparky and Dana walked over. Robbie and Morgan were at the next table, chatting with Gil and Tisha.
“We still going after the target tomorrow?” Robbie asked.
“Don’t know yet,” Sparky said. “That’ll be up to Jules and Ivan. The coaches are all done, at least.”
“Yeah, and they’re impressive, too,” Morgan said.
“I’ll say,” Gil said. Tisha was sitting close, hand resting on his thigh as they picked through the remainder of their food.
“Aren’t you nervous?” Dana asked Sparky. He finished his mouthful of food and looked over at her.
“I’m nervous, but I’m also anxious to get it over with,” Sparky said.
“Yeah, me too,” Ted said. “Too much sitting around before a big battle isn’t good.”
“Where’s Stacey been hiding?” Robbie asked.
Haley snickered. “He’s been attached at the hip with Brianna constantly.”
“Lot of that going around,” Gil said, glancing at Tisha. She smiled at him.
They all focused on eating for a while.
“You about done, Tex?” Karen asked.
“I am,” Tex said. “You in a hurry?”
“I’m tired,” she said. “I don’t want to go back alone. Is that a problem?”
“Not at all,” Tex said. He got up and helped her out of her seat. They picked up their plates and silverware, taking them to the kitchen.
“That was good,” Karen said as they left the house. “I’m glad we’re alone again.”
“Me too,” Tex said, his arm going around her waist as they walked to the coach.
“Home sweet home,” Karen said, climbing the steps. Tex followed her up and shut the door behind them.
“It is our home, isn’t it?” Tex asked. He sat down on the couch and pulled off his boots, then grabbed the TV remote and switched it on.
“You want to watch TV?”
“No, I just want to sit a spell with some background noise,” he said. “I’m tired.”
“We should rest in the bedroom,” Karen said.
“The way I’m feeling right now, it might not be a good idea,” Tex said. “I’m pretty mushy.”
She chuckled. “Okay, do what you want. I’m going to change.” She walked into the bedroom. Tex watched her until she disappeared, and didn’t look away for a couple minutes, feeling the warmth of his feelings for her.
“My God, how I love that woman,” Tex muttered to himself.
“What was that?” Karen asked, standing in the bedroom doorway naked. Tex’s eyes got wide as he took her in. “Get in here, Tex.”
He got up, slipping and losing his balance, almost falling. Karen giggled.
“You’ve got me wound up like a sidewinder,” Tex said. He took her into his arms and kissed her deeply, his hands all over her bare back. She broke the kiss.
“I think we need a nap,” Karen said. “I want you close to me.” She pulled back the covers and got into bed. “Get in here.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“We’ll see,” Karen said. “First I just want to sleep. If something develops after we wake up, we’ll just have to deal with it.”
Erica and Sam made it to Highway 94 just before sundown. The Jeeps were shuttling groups of people to the Williams place now, and nearly half of the tribe was already there.
“Well, looks like we’re going to make it,” Sam said.
“So it would appear,” Erica said. “We live to fight another day.”
“Look, here comes a couple of trucks,” Sam said. Tyler jumped out of the cab of the first one. “Load up, folks. We’ve got more trucks coming too, and hot food waiting at the base.”
People started climbing up onto the beds of the first two trucks as more trucks arrived. Ed’s Hovercraft drove up.
“You guys want a ride?” Ed asked.
“Sure,” Erica said.
“You can get us all the way there in this?” Sam asked.
“Yep, alongside the road. We won’t go as fast as the trucks do, but I can get you there in about twenty minutes.”
“Sounds good to me,” Erica said.
“Me too,” Sam said. They climbed on and Ed took off, as several more trucks arrived.
“We’ll all be at the Williams place within the hour,” Ed said.
“You look surprised,” Erica said, speaking loudly to get over the sound of the propellers.
“I’m not surprised, but I am relieved,” Ed said. “This has been a good day for our tribe. A very good day.”
They cruised along, moving as the flat ground did, sometimes in sight of the road, sometimes not.
“Maybe we should be mounting guns on these,” Erica said.
“Too heavy,” Ed said. “About the best we could do is ride-alongs with weapons. Oh, and by the way, the M60 is still in the back.”
“Expecting problems?” Sam asked.
Ed glanced back at Sam. “No, I think we took the wind out of their sails for a few days, but they’ll regroup and hit us.”
“I think you’re right,” Sam said.
“As long as they give us a day or two,” Erica said. “That’s all I ask now. Oh, and a warm place to sleep for a night or two would be nice.”
Ed chuckled. “You’ll get that, I’m sure. They’ll probably give you one of those crazy battle wagons.”
“Not sure I want one,” Sam said.
“They have beds in them, and heaters, right?” Erica asked.
Sam and Ed chuckled.
“I can see where this is going,” Ed said.
“Yep,” Sam said. “Not that I have a problem with it.”
Ed drove, the smile fading, his brow furrowed, worry in his eyes.
“You think we’re still in trouble, don’t you?” Erica asked.
“This war isn’t over, and we’re fighting people with no respect for life or civilization.”
“Or common decency,” Sam said.
“We can win, though, can’t we?” Erica asked. “We have to win.”
“Yes, we have to win,” Ed said. “I think the citizens will win. I hope we live to see it. We’ve hurt the enemy badly. They’ll target us for it.”
“They might,” Sam said. “Especially the man running things.”
“Saladin?” Ed asked. “I read about him.”
“He holds a grudge, and gets revenge,” Sam said. “He’s an evil man.”
“You two are scaring me,” Erica said.
“Don’t say that in front of anybody but your man,” Ed said. “You are one of our greatest warriors. You can be scared, but you can’t admit that you’re scared.”
“He’s right,” Sam said. “Your tribe needs people to look up to and trust. People who give them hope. That’s you, and Tyler, and James, and Ryan, and Zac.”
“I understand,” Erica said. “Same with Kaitlyn and this boy Trevor you’ve been talking about, and, of course, you. We’re joined now. We’re brothers in arms. Hell, Garrett and his men have earned that as well. We’d be dead now if not for them.”
“Yes,” Ed said. “These people inspire others to be better. They inspire bravery and hope.”
“There’s the road again,” Erica said as they approached. “Look, three truckloads of our people just went by.”
“And three more empty trucks are going back for another load,” Sam said. “We’re almost home. I recognize this stretch of road.”
“Good,” Erica said. “You’ve got something on your mind. I can see it on your face.”
“My mind is just expanding on what we were talking about,” Sam said. “Ivan. He seems crazy. He’s got a horrible background. He’s the last person anybody should follow in so many ways, but he put his finger on the key to taking our country back.”
“What?” Erica asked.
“Inspire others,” Sam said. “That’s what he put Ji-Ho out there for. That’s what his other groups are doing. Inspiring others. Making them understand that the citizens still own this country, and the citizens can take it back.”
“Yes, this is true,” Ed said.
“There’s our driveway,” Sam said, pointing.
“Guess I’ve got to cross some blacktop,” Ed said, looking both ways and then shooting across, onto the small access road that led to the front gate.
“Well, I don’t see any smoke,” Erica said. “Probably a good sign.”
They drove into the front gate and pulled up to the house.
Ji-Ho, Garrett, and Sid got off their chairs on the veranda, rushing down the steps to greet them as they climbed out of the hovercraft.
“Sam,” Sid said. “You’re back.”
“Nice to see,” Ji-Ho said. “This Erica? Lovely.”
“Hi,” Erica said.
“And the great Silver Wolf,” Ji-Ho said, holding out his hand to shake.
“You can call me Ed,” he said, “and I’ve heard a lot about you too. It’s an honor to meet you.”
Ji-Ho smiled. “Dinner ready soon. Come, let’s go into house and chat. I have news.”
They went into the house and sat down on the living room couches.
“Hope this isn’t bad news,” Sam said.
“No, it special gift from Ivan, but we have to keep it close to vest. Leadership people only.”
“I’m not leadership,” Erica said.
“Yes, you are,” Ji-Ho said. He pulled out his cellphone, tapped and slid his fingers around, then turned it towards the others. “Gather close, please.”
“What is that?” Sam asked. “What are those icons?”
“Those enemy fighters,” Ji-Ho said.
“This is the app that reads the enemy RFID chips,” Sam said. “How did Ivan get this?”
“Passed on in limited way from General Hogan team,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan give capability to all leadership, but not to troops yet. We can talk about, but we can’t give others capability.”
“Wait, this lets us see the enemy?” Ed asked. “Anywhere?”
“Short range and long range app. Here, I show how work, then we side-load phones.”
“Wait, how safe are we right now?” Erica asked, shooting a glance at Sam.
“Here, I show,” Ji-Ho said, loading the long-range app. “Here next target. See icons near El Cajon?”
“My God, how many is that?” Erica asked.
“More than thousand.”
“There’s still some nearby,” Erica said.
“Those dead fighters not burned up,” Ji-Ho said. He moved his finger on the screen. “Here dead Islamists on trail.”
“There’s no other group of enemy fighters closer than El Cajon,” Sam said, smiling. “We have breathing room.”
“And we get warning from short range app if they approach,” Ji-Ho said.
“Wow,” Sam said.
“Job change somewhat,” Ji-Ho said. “We start recruitment along with demonstration attacks in El Cajon. Start people fighting, like LA County and Orange County. Turn from strategic hit to big show. Rally people.”
Ed smiled, and sat down on the couch. “We’re going to win.”
“Yes, we win,” Ji-Ho said.
“Yes, we’ll win all right,” Sam said. “We were always going to win, even without this new tool, but it will be a very bloody affair. Saladin will see to that.”
To be continued…
Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!
The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
Sid was at the mortars with several warriors, directing fire, when he saw a group of Islamists rushing by, not noticing their position.
“Hey, look,” Sid whispered, grabbing his BAR. He took off running behind them, firing, killing all but two of the enemy fighters. Zac left the mortar and rushed behind him with his AK-47.
“Get back on that mortar,” Sid said. “I’ll get this. I’ve got Yvonne and a few others up on the side of that hill there. I’ll make sure I force them in that direction.”
“Okay,” Zac said, rushing back.
Sid felt the hackles on the back of his neck rise, and looked for cover. A group of about twenty Islamists rushed by. The two who survived the first volley slipped out and pointed in Sid’s direction. They turned, rushing towards him, and he opened fire, spewing 30-06 rounds at them, taking out about half, the others fleeing for their lives, right into the kill zone under Yvonne and the others. They opened fire, killing all of them. Then another group rushed in, larger this time, Sid watching until they got in a good position, then opening fire again with the BAR, sending them rushing to the same place the others met their doom. Yvonne’s group fired, killing most, the others rushing past to where the tribe was, running into more warriors who shot them.
Sid’s heart was pounding in his chest. He struggled to reload the BAR as another group rushed through, not getting ready fast enough, Yvonne’s group trying to hit them, only getting about half. Then another group came in. Sid was loaded and fired, hitting about a quarter of them, some continuing on, others turning and heading towards Sid. They saw the mortar team and fired, killing several warriors, Zac getting under cover just in time, returning fire from his AK-47 as Sid joined in. As Sid was pointed in that direction, another group came in, rushing past Yvonne’s team, losing a few men, but continuing, attacking the tribe.
“Dammit,” Sid said, heart hammering in his chest as he got up and ran towards the tribe, firing on the Islamists, then diving into cover as they turned and fired back. “We’re gonna lose.”
Suddenly there was a multitude of guns going off, and the pounding of horse’s hoofs. The smell of black powder floated towards him, and he smiled, getting up again to join the battle. Garrett’s men flooded in from three directions, firing their Winchesters and Colt revolvers, causing the Islamists to panic and retreat. They raced back into the kill zone where Sam and the others were, right into a volley of fire from the M60 and BARs. Sid saw nearly a hundred mounted men following them and sent a text to Sam to hold fire. The gunfire intensified all around them, as Garrett’s men chased down the Islamists, some of the mounted men going to swords, killing Islamists with frightening speed. Then the gunfire subsided to occasional shots as hiding Islamists were discovered and shot.
Yvonne rushed down the hill and leapt into Sid’s arms. “We won, honey.”
“Yeah, we did, but I was getting pretty damn scared for a while there.”
“You and me both,” Yvonne said. “Lose anybody?”
“Yeah, about half the warriors on the mortar team.”
“Zac’s okay, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Zac said, walking over. “We lost too many good warriors, though. If those cowboys wouldn’t have shown up, we’d be dead.”
“True that,” Sid said.
Sam and Erica came down the hill with the others, tired but happy.
“Wow,” Erica said. “That was intense.”
“Tell me about it,” Yvonne said. “You must be Erica.”
“I am. Are you Yvonne?”
“Yes,” Yvonne said, shaking her hand. “Lose anybody up on the ridge?”
“Nope,” Erica said. “It was getting pretty scary, though. We couldn’t hold them all.”
“We killed a lot, though,” James said.
“Yep,” Tyler said. “Wonder what’s going on in Dulzura?”
“Last I heard from Ji-Ho, the battle wagons were joining about four hundred of Garrett’s men to take on the three hundred Islamists that are hiding out at an abandoned church retreat,” Sid said. “At the Y between Highway 94 and Marron Valley Road.”
“I know where that is,” Sam said. “They better be careful. Lot of cover there for the enemy. Not a lot of room to maneuver in those battle wagons.”
“Garrett’s men will win it, I suspect,” Sid said. “We need to get back on the road.”
“Want us to go back with you in one of the Jeeps to help?” Sam asked.
“No,” Sid said. “Stay with the tribe. We don’t know if this was the last of the Islamists. There may be more behind this group.”
“He’s right, honey,” Erica said.
“Honey?” Sid asked. Yvonne elbowed him. Sam just grinned.
Ed cruised up in his hovercraft. “You guys okay?”
“We lost a bunch of the mortar team,” Zac said, his brow furrowed.
“We lost a few warriors further up, too,” Ed said. “We’d better get back on the trail. Sam, could you and Erica continue to guard the back door?”
“Yeah,” Sam said. “No problem.”
Two of Garrett’s men rode up.
“Thanks, guys,” Sam said. “You saved our butts. Big time.”
“No problem,” the first man said. “We’re going to follow the trail back to see if there’s any more coming, for at least twenty miles. Then we’ll come back this direction and protect you the rest of the way. That sound okay?”
“That sounds perfect,” Ed said. “We are forever in your debt.”
“We all do our part, sir,” the man said. He tipped his hat and they rode back towards the north.
“We made the right decision teaming with them,” Erica said.
“That’s for sure,” Tyler said. “Seen them in action several times. Those guys are amazing.”
Ted and Sparky were walking around the back section of the winery in the late afternoon sun.
“How’s it going between you and Dana?” Tex asked. “She keeping you interested?”
Sparky chuckled. “I made a deal with the winery team to use the house, even after the coach was finished. She’s a wildcat in bed.”
“Looks like you have mixed emotions, partner,” Tex said.
“She’s trying too hard,” Sparky said. “She’s afraid of losing me.”
“Should she be afraid?”
Sparky was quiet for a moment. “She’d do better if she didn’t try so hard. I am getting to like her, but I don’t want to end up with an overly clingy woman. Been there, done that.”
“She’s a looker,” Tex said.
“Well, yeah, she is, but there wasn’t one woman we rescued who wasn’t. That’s why they were taken in the first place.’
“True,” Tex said. “Here comes Ted.”
The two men smiled as he walked up.
“What’s up, guys?” Ted asked.
“Just talking about life and love, partner,” Tex said. “Speaking of that, how’s it going with Haley?”
“We’re just friends, for now,” Ted said. “We like each other a lot, though. Something might develop over time.”
“You sleeping in the same bed?” Sparky asked.
“That’s a pretty personal question,” Ted said. “No, I’m on the couch convertible. She’s short enough to handle the dinette bed. We gave the bedroom to the kids.”
“Oh, that’s right. Stacey and Brianna are with you,” Sparky said.
“How’s that going?” Tex said. “Brianna is pretty hot. Maybe too hot for Stacey.”
“Be nice, Stacey is a good solid man. Trust me.”
“I know, Ted,” Tex said. “Just messing. They have a hot romance going?”
“You two are like women,” Ted said, shaking his head. “Yes, they seem to be bonded pretty tight. He worships her, and she’s more than willing. That’s pretty obvious. They’re young, though, and Stacey’s a little immature for his age.”
“Well good for them,” Tex said. Hope it works out the way they both want.”
“You had the more interesting situation, Tex,” Sparky said.
“Yeah,” Ted said.
“Wait, I thought you said we were like women,” Tex said.
Ted and Sparky chuckled.
“C’mon, I told you about Dana,” Sparky said. “Probably more than I should’ve said.”
“And me too, dammit,” Ted said. “Fess up.”
Tex looked at them, face turning red, eyes glassy.
“Crap, man, you’re in love with this girl, aren’t you?” Sparky asked. “Don’t get hurt, man. She’s more than a little flighty, from what I can tell. Remember that thing with Gil?”
“Tex, always the romantic,” Ted said.
“Cut it out, guys,” Tex said, half a smile on his face.
“Forget it,” Ted said. “Sorry.”
Tex was quiet for a moment as they walked along, then looked at them. “Okay, I love her. Is that what you want to hear?”
“I think we both figured that out a second ago,” Ted said. “How does she feel?”
“She’s moving in my direction,” he said. “I know she’s not ready yet, so I’m not pressuring her. Not even a little bit.”
“That’s unusual,” Sparky said, smirking at him
“Shut up, partner,” Tex said sheepishly.
“Well, she is a beautiful girl, especially if you like redheads,” Sparky said, “and like most redheads, she’s going to be the highest of high maintenance.”
“That’s a wives’ tale, man,” Ted said. “One of the best girlfriends I ever had was a redhead, and she wasn’t like that. Not at all.”
“I like high maintenance women,” Tex said.
“What, are you crazy?” Sparky asked.
“Hell no,” Tex said. “When I’m in love with a woman I put her on a pedestal and worship her. You know that. Keeping her happy is a big turn-on for me.”
“That’s why I told you not to get hurt,” Sparky said.
“I don’t think I’m going to get hurt with this one,” Tex said.
“Have you two been intimate yet?” Ted asked.
“Wait, you just called out Sparky for being too personal,” Tex said.
“So sue me,” Ted said. “Answer the question.”
“Not yet,” Tex said.
“Then how do you know she’s moving in your direction?” Sparky asked.
“She offered herself to me,” Tex said. “That had better not get out. Don’t tell your women.”
“I don’t have a woman,” Ted said.
“Uh huh,” Tex said, “but really, guys, don’t say anything. Please?”
“Your secret is safe with me,” Sparky said.
“Me too,” Ted said. “If she offered, you must have turned her down.”
“She did it out of gratitude,” Tex said. “I can tell she’s not ready.”
“You’re a good man, Tex,” Sparky said. “Hope she deserves you.”
“I hope I deserve her,” Tex said, “but thanks.”
“Speak of the devil,” Sparky said softly, nodding to the left. Karen was walking towards them quickly.
“Uh oh, she looks upset,” Tex said. “Talk to you guys later.” He rushed over to her.
“What’s wrong, little lady?” he asked.
“Oh, Tex, I feel so bad,” Karen said, hugging him, crying.
“Shelly. She’s mad. Really mad. Now nobody can find her. Jules is going crazy over it.”
“Why?” he asked, pulling away to look at her face, wiping her tears away with his fingers.
“They were on a call with Ivan earlier, and he spilled the beans about Jules’s family business.”
“That should make her happy,” Tex said. “Now she knows he’s not a mobster.”
“She’s not taking it that way.”
“How’s she taking it?” Tex asked.
“She’s taking it as dishonesty,” Karen said, “and when she talked to me about it, she figured out that I knew. I had to admit it. Now she’s mad at me too.”
“Oh, geez,” Tex said. He was silent for a moment, and then looked at her with a sly smile. “You know what this means, right?”
“She’s already in love with him,” Tex said. “Otherwise why would she care?”
Karen thought through it for a moment. “You might be right.” She backed away from him, breaking their embrace.
“Oh, sorry,” Tex said.
“Sorry about what?”
“Holding you too long,” Tex said. “It’s not my place.”
Karen looked up at him, eyes tearing, and hugged him, getting onto her tiptoes and kissing him. They both moaned as the passion took them.
“Oh, God,” Karen said when they broke, her breath coming fast.
“What happened?” Tex asked, still reeling from the kiss.
“I’m falling for you,” she said. “It’s like I’m seeing you for the first time. It’s never hit me like this before.”
“Maybe it’s just the worry,” Tex said softly.
She kissed him again, more passionately, then broke it, looking into his eyes. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Let’s just give it a little time,” Tex said. “To make sure.”
She smiled at him. “If Shelly wasn’t missing I’d drag you back to our coach right now. We need to help find her. You okay with that?”
“Of course,” Tex said. “Where was she headed last time you saw her?”
“Out into the big field behind the house, but that was a few hours ago.”
“Let’s go in that direction, then,” Tex said. “Do you know where Jules is?”
“Searching for her,” Karen said. They started walking, Karen taking his hand.
“Nervous?” Kaylee asked, looking at Trevor as he drove the battle wagon.
“Of course,” Trevor said. “We’re going into battle, and I think I’m more comfortable running around with my Winchester than I am driving a big tank.”
“Maybe this is a little safer,” she said.
“I trust my own ability more than machinery,” Trevor said. “If we get into a bad position, I’ll want to get out of this thing, where I can fight.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Kaylee said. “We’re almost to the Y. Go to Marron Valley Road on the right. It’s a little way after we get to Freezer Road.”
“Freezer Road, huh?” Trevor asked. “Wonder why they named it that?”
“Good question. Hope Garrett’s men are close by.”
Both of their phones dinged.
“Another broadcast text,” Trevor said.
“I’ll check it, you keep your hands on the wheel.”
“Okay,” Trevor said.
“We defeated the enemy on the trail,” Kaylee said, smiling. “Very few people killed or wounded.”
“Good. Does it say how soon they’ll be back to Dulzura?”
“Tomorrow, mid-day,” Kaylee said. “Some of them will be back faster. They’re putting as many people on vehicles as they can. Probably moving the very old and the very young that way, so the rest of the tribe can speed up.”
“So, it’s one down, one to go.”
“Sounds like it,” Kaylee said. “What’s that ahead?”
“UN Roadblock? Get on the forward guns.”
“You sure? Who’s behind us?”
“Seth and Kaitlyn,” Trevor said.
“My uncle is back a ways, right? He’s not in as safe a vehicle.”
“He’s second from the end,” Trevor said. “The one at the end has some of Garrett’s people in it.”
“Good.” Kaylee reached down for the tray and pulled it forward, using the target reticle. “Now?”
“Now,” Trevor said.
Kaylee pulled the trigger as Trevor raised the turret for the M19.
“Gaz Tigr,” Kaylee said. “See it, coming up from the shoulder.”
Several loud shots came out of the turret, and the Gaz Tigr blew up.
“Stay on those guys up front. I’m gonna raise the mini gun.”
“Remember what the tech said,” Kaylee said. “Don’t use both at the same time.”
“I know,” Trevor said. “Hit those guys fleeing to the side.”
“Got them,” Kaylee said, following them with the target reticle and pulling the trigger, mowing them down. They breezed past the roadblock, and then heard bullets hitting the armor plate behind the engine.
“Knew it,” Trevor said.
“Should we hit them? Not sure I can with the rear machine guns. They’re too far off the road.”
“No, they’ll get hit by the other coaches,” Trevor said. Just at that moment they heard a mini-gun fire up. “Seth. He plastered them all over the trees back there. I can see it in my mirror.”
“Good,” Kaylee said. “There’s a nest over there, see it?”
Trevor nodded and fired the M19, several grenades hitting the makeshift structure a few miles off the road, blowing up the ammo inside, the whole area exploding into flames. Kaylee hit running Islamists and UN peacekeepers with the forward machine guns.
Hear that?” Kaylee asked. “There’s action on Highway 94, too.”
“Yeah,” Trevor said. “I hope Angel and Megan are careful. They’re on that side.”
“There’s the compound,” Kaylee said. “See it?”
“That’s a lot of enemy fighters,” Trevor said, taking aim with the mini gun and firing short bursts, ruining their cover. Then the next coach hit the area with several M19 shots, blowing up what was left of the structures.
“These grenade launchers work pretty well,” Kaylee said.
“Yeah, they do,” Trevor said. “They’re kinda fun to shoot, too.” He shot several times at the first building, sending grenades right through the front windows, causing intense explosions inside. Islamists and UN Peacekeepers flooded out of the building, most of them being picked off by Seth and the other coaches behind them.
“I’m going to park by the last building and set up siege mode,” Trevor said. “It’ll block the escape route. See it?”
“Yeah, I see it,” she said. “We need to save the big stuff for the Gaz Tigrs.”
Automatic fire hit them broadside, bouncing off the armor.
“Oh, you want to play, huh?” Trevor asked, firing off the M19 several times, taking out the machine gun emplacement. “They dug in.”
“You know what’s important, right?” Kaylee asked. “Take out anything that’s going to kill a lot of Garrett’s cavalry.”
“You’re right,” Trevor said. “Machine gun nests and vehicles.”
“Speaking of vehicles, look off to the right,” Kaylee said.
“I see them,” Trevor said, firing the M19 at two Gaz Tigrs, Seth and the others behind them joining in, blowing the vehicles sky high.
“We’ve got to keep our eyes peeled for those things,” Kaylee said.
“Seriously,” Trevor said. “A shot in a bad place from one of those will end us quick.”
There was a loud explosion on the Highway 94 side, then mini gun fire.
“We’re engaging something over there,” Kaylee said. “Can’t quite see it.”
“We’ll be past the trees when we get to our parking spot,” Trevor said. “Right about now.” He stopped the coach and flipped the switches for siege mode, then fired several grenades at the back of a machine gun nest and a Gaz Tigr next to it, hitting them both, exploding them into flames.
“Wow, that grenade launcher has some range,” Kaylee said.
“Yep. Look, we’ve got a whole bunch of troops running towards us. Maybe we ought to use the M60s out the gun slits.”
“On it,” Kaylee said, “Keep your eyes peeled and your fingers on the trigger for anything big.”
“You got it,” Trevor said. “Gaz Tigr, coming straight at us.” He fired the M19 before it could take a shot, disabling it but not blowing it up until the second grenade hit them.
Kaylee got the M60 aimed and fired when the rushing Islamists were only about twenty yards from the vehicle. One of them had a Molotov Cocktail in his hand, which exploded over the area, starting a good fire in the dried leaves and pine needles around that side of the neglected property.
“Whoa,” Trevor said. “We got some help from mother nature on that shot.”
“Seriously,” Kaylee said. “That fire might spread too quickly. We might need to get away from here.”
Two Gaz Tigrs were caught in the flames, and attempted to drive through them, both catching on fire and blowing up before they could get to the road. The fire started to spread to the building near where they were parked, and Islamists flooded out in a panic, only to be cut down by machine gun fire from Highway 94 and Marron Valley Road, Kaylee joining in with the M60.
“Crap, here comes several more Gaz Tigrs,” Trevor said, firing the M19 at them, hitting one, missing the second. It opened fire, a round hitting the M19 turret. “Dammit, they just took out the grenade launcher.”
“Hit it with the mini gun!” Kaylee said, the gun starting before she could finish the sentence, the Gaz Tigr stopping, exploding after a couple seconds.
“This is bad,” Trevor said.
“Maybe we should pull away,” Kaylee shouted. “The fire’s getting too close anyway.”
“Here come more,” Trevor shouted, firing the mini gun, ruining both vehicles. “We need to move out of the way so Seth and the others can take them on. Trevor fired up the coach, taking it out of siege mode and driving forward, hitting two more Gaz Tigrs as they rolled.
“Text Seth, and tell him that our M19 is out of commission. I’ll find another place for us to be.”
“You got it,” Kaylee said, sending the text. Then there was a massive boom behind them.
“Crap, what the hell was that?” Trevor cried. “Hope it wasn’t Seth’s rig.”
To be continued…
Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!
The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
Karen entered the yellow coach.
“Tex?” she asked quietly. As she approached the bedroom door, she could hear him breathing, fast asleep. She slid the door open quietly, looking around in the bedroom, waiting for the flash back of Lily to hit her. Nothing. She sighed, relieved, then slipped inside, stripping and climbing into bed carefully. Tex stirred, rolled over to face her, and settled back into sleep. Karen glanced over at him and found his peaceful expression calming. She turned onto her back and looked at the ceiling, with its mini gun structure hanging down. How did I get here?
Tex stirred again, moving closer to her, hand going over her stomach, making her jump. His eyes opened slightly. “Oh, sorry,” he muttered, pulling his hand back. She grabbed it and put it back on her belly, petting it tenderly, a warm feeling almost overpowering her. In seconds he was back to his light snore, and she felt herself starting to drift away. For a split second the peppermint smell rushed back into her head. She shuddered, waking Tex.
“Hey, you okay, little lady?” he asked sleepily, not realizing that his hand was resting on her, or that she held it.
“I’m fine,” she whispered. “I started to slip back into that dream, but I came out of it.”
“Want me to go out into the salon?” he asked, pulling his hand back.
“No, I want you to stay right here,” she said, taking his hand again. “Please?”
“Sure, honey,” he said softly, his hand caressing her slightly. She trembled, turning towards him, pulling his arm back over herself, moving tight against him, not caring that her breasts were resting against his hairy chest.
“Can I trust you?” she whispered. “Really?”
“Yes,” he said, his hand moving on her back now, pulling her closer. Her leg went over his hip, entangling them.
“I feel safe,” she said. “I’m not bothering you too much, am I?”
“No,” he said. “I’ll hold you all night if it helps.”
“I know,” she said, checking herself, trying to bring on the bad thoughts. They weren’t there. She started to cry softly.
“Is this bothering you?”
“No, dummy,” she said. “It’s helping me. Just hold me. Okay?”
“Okay,” he said softly, settling in, trying to keep his libido under control. It was a struggle. Everything that filled his hopes and dreams was in his arms at that moment. The last thing he wanted to do was blow it now.
“This is hard for you,” she whispered. “I can feel it. I can feel you.”
“Sorry,” he said. “I’ll move away. He started to back off, but she pulled him back tighter.
“No, stay,” she said, opening her eyes, meeting his. “We can, if you want. I’ll let you.”
“No,” Tex said. “You don’t want to. I’ll settle down after a few minutes. I promise.”
“But you want it,” she whispered. “I’ll get into it once we start.”
“No, I’m fine,” Tex said.
“It’s okay, really,” she said, moving her hand on his side.
“I need to know that you’re ready, and I’m not getting that from you,” he said.
“What are you getting?”
“Fear and guilt,” he whispered.
“I’ll battle that for the rest of my life,” she said. “It’s okay. I know you want it.”
“You don’t get me, do you?”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I don’t want it, I want you. I can wait until you’re ready. No, I have to wait until you’re ready.”
“What, until I love you?” she asked. “You keep this up and it’ll happen.”
“That’s what I want more than anything,” he said, “but that can’t be rushed, especially after what you’ve been through.”
“Do you love me?” she asked.
“I don’t think I should tell you that,” he said.
“You might feel pressure. You might get overwhelmed.”
“I don’t care,” she said. “Tell me anyway. Then we can go to sleep.”
He chuckled. “That would keep you awake, trust me.”
“No, it wouldn’t,” she said. “It’ll force out the bad, either way. If you don’t love me now, you will soon. I can tell.”
Tex sighed. “All right, all right.” He laid there silently for a moment.
“Yes, I love you,” he said, feeling his eyes tear up. She saw them glisten in the low light of their bedroom, and started to cry.
“See, I told you,” Tex said.
“I’m happy, dummy,” she said, pulling him closer. “Now hold me. Make me know that it’s going to be okay.”
They fell asleep in each other’s arms.
Sid rushed over to the veranda. Garret was there with Ji-Ho, John, Sarah, Yvonne, and Clem. Tyler was walking up, getting there at about the same time that Sid climbed the steps.
“Uh oh, what’s wrong with you?” Garrett asked, looking at Sid’s face.
“I just heard from Sam,” Sid said, out of breath. “There’s about two hundred Islamists following them on the trail.”
“Oh no,” Yvonne said.
“How long ago did you talk to him?” Tyler asked.
“Just a couple minutes ago,” he said. “He’s at the rear of the group with Erica, watching the back door.”
“We need to do something,” Garrett said. “Quickly.”
“I was hoping that was what you were gonna think,” Sid said.
“Sounds like a good opportunity for a long ride,” Garrett said. “You know the trail they’re on, right?”
“Yep,” Sid said. “I propose that we take our Jeeps and lead you guys to where they are.”
“We should take about three hundred men,” Garrett said. “The rest should be here, ready for an attack, just in case they want to hit us in both locations.”
“I agree,” Sid said.
“Me too,” Tyler said. “I’ll go get the others. Let’s take off right away.”
Garrett pulled his phone out of his pocket and hit a contact, walking off the veranda with the phone in his ear.
“What’s going on?” James asked, walking up with Seth and Angel.
“The tribe is about to come under attack,” Tyler said. “I was just coming to get you. Let’s get the Jeeps loaded up again. We’re going out there.”
“I’ll go get the others,” James said, turning and trotting away.
“Let’s go get Kaitlyn and Megan,” Seth said. “You know they’ll want to be in on this.”
“Seriously,” Angel said. They trotted off together as Garrett came back. “It’s all set. My guys will be here in a few minutes. Where exactly are we going?”
“You know the trail to the ghost town and mine?” Sid asked.
“Yeah,” Garrett said, “but only from the Barrett Lake side. “I assume you guys got in from somewhere along Highway 94.”
“Yeah,” Sid said, pulling out his phone. He loaded the map application and held it out for Garrett to see. “We went as far as we could get away with on Highway 94. You guys might not want to go that way.”
“I know a lot of this area,” Garrett said. “We could be there fairly quickly if we go as the crow flies, this way.” He traced the route with his finger. “See?”
“How long of a ride is that?” Tyler asked.
“Way less than a day to get near these ridges here,” Garrett said. “Where would we engage the enemy, though?”
“Maybe we could go in the Jeeps and send GPS coordinates,” Tyler said.
“Yes, that would be a good way to do it,” Garrett said. “How long would it take for you guys to get the Jeeps to the tribe?”
“Not long,” Sid said. “Maybe three hours max.”
“We should take off now,” Tyler said. “With as much ammo and men as we can carry.”
“I agree,” Garrett said. “My forces will take off now too. We’ll make a course correction when we get the GPS coordinates.”
“What go on?” Ji-Ho asked as he walked up. Sid and Garrett filled him in. He got a worried look on his face.
“We can’t lose ability to fight rest of battle,” Ji-Ho said.
“We can’t afford to lose the rest of the tribe,” Sid said, “and remember that Sam is with them. He won’t leave them. He’ll fight to the death for them if he thinks that’s all they can do. We need to get there, and fast.”
Ji-Ho thought for a moment. “How many people we keep here to watch base?”
“Most of my men,” Garrett said. “I’m only taking three hundred. That leaves you with about six hundred men, plus these battle wagons. I’d keep enough of your people here to man them.”
“The clock is running,” Sid said, standing up. “C’mon, let’s go.”
Yvonne stood. “You know I’m going, right?”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Sid said. They took off for the Jeeps.
“We taking ours or one of the newer ones?” Yvonne asked.
“One of the newer ones,” Sid said. “There are some wicked rocks to climb on the way out there.”
“Okay, good,” Yvonne said. Sid led her to the one that he and Sam were in. “Let’s grab some of those Jerry cans. I think they all have fuel in them.”
Yvonne nodded, and they grabbed three, putting them in the back with their rifles and two BARs. Tyler and James rolled up, followed by Zac and Ryan in another Jeep.
“Are Seth and Angel coming?” Sid asked.
“No. Ji-Ho caught them. He’s giving each couple a battle wagon, and running them through the training now. Trevor and Kaylee are doing the same.”
“Okay, makes sense, I guess. Hate to be without their guns in this, though.”
“We need to have someplace to come back to,” Yvonne said. “Let’s go.”
Sid nodded, and got behind the wheel, Yvonne jumping into the passenger side. They took off on Highway 94, heading southeast.
“Think we’ll get there in time?” Yvonne asked.
“Yeah, we will, but if Garrett doesn’t make it in time, we’ll probably get killed.”
“Thanks for that,” Yvonne said. She glanced over at him with a smirk.
“I don’t feel right not going,” Kaitlyn said.
“I know,” Seth said. They stood by their battle wagon, waiting for Ji-Ho and Trevor to show up for their training. Megan and Angel joined them, Kaylee following.
“My uncle will be here in a few minutes,” Kylee said. “He’s just about finished with Clem, John, and Sarah. He’s training a few of Garrett’s folks too. Ones that can’t ride.”
“Good,” Angel said.
“You okay with this?” Megan asked Kaitlyn.
“Not really, but I get it,” she said. “Hey, at least we have places to live now. Other than tents, that is.”
Ji-Ho rushed over with Trevor.
“Ready, guys?” Trevor asked.
“Yep,” Angel said. “Let’s get busy.”
The group went into the coach, watching intently as Ji-Ho and Trevor went over all the systems. It took about half an hour.
“Well, I must admit, this is pretty cool,” Kaitlyn said.
“Seriously,” Seth said. “Just remember what Ji-Ho said. These aren’t indestructible.”
“Yes yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Good.”
“We’re going to ours,” Angel said. “See you guys.” He took Megan by the hand and left the coach, Trevor and Kaylee following.
“Any last question?” Ji-Ho asked.
“Nope, I think we’ve got it,” Kaitlyn said. “Thank you.”
“Welcome,” Ji-Ho said. He turned and left, closing the door behind him.
“You think Megan’s okay with this?” Seth asked, eyeing Kaitlyn as she watched Megan and Angel through the window. She turned to him.
“I think so. She’s like me. Scared for her people. That’s all.”
“Okay,” Seth said, sitting on the couch. She sat next to him.
“This is our first home, isn’t it?”
Seth chuckled. “Oh, I don’t know. I was getting used to the tent.”
“Yes, we made some memories in there,” Kaitlyn said. “I hope my mom survives this.”
“I hope they all do,” Seth said. “I also hope we don’t get attacked here.”
“Wonder when more of Garrett’s men are gonna arrive?”
“He didn’t say, exactly, but they’re never far away,” Seth said. “That I’ve noticed. They patrol all the time, too. That’ll make it hard for the Islamists to get the drop on us.”
“Trevor is coming over with Kaylee,” Kaitlyn said, seeing them through the window.
“Uh oh, hope nothing’s wrong,” Seth said, getting up. He opened the door, waiting as Kaitlyn got outside, then closing the screen after himself.
“Anything wrong?” Seth asked.
“No, but Ji-Ho had a good suggestion. We need to move these coaches around. We need them parked by all of the entrance points, and the parts between that are weak, like over there where the trees are, along the road.”
“Okay, where do you want us?” Seth asked.
“You’ll take one side near the back gate, over there,” he said, pointing.
“Okay, no problem,” Seth said.
“I got to go tell the others too,” Trevor said. “Talk to you in a few minutes.”
Seth nodded, then opened the screen for Kaitlyn.
“You don’t always have to open doors for me, you know,” Kaitlyn said, smiling at him.
“It’s a sign of love and respect,” Seth said, looking at her. “It doesn’t bother you too much, I hope.”
“No, I actually like it, I just don’t want you to feel obligated all the time, that’s all.”
“I don’t,” Seth said. “Want to drive, or should I?”
“You go ahead,” Kaitlyn said. “I’ll learn on the road.”
“Okay,” Seth said, getting behind the wheel. He fired up the big diesel and pulled forward, heading for the back of the property, where a small road went past the barn and corral. He did a K-turn with the massive coach, setting it up so it pointed for a good escape route. “There we go.”
“You handle this thing with no problem,” Kaitlyn said, watching him.
“Thanks,” Seth said. “I’ve driven these before.”
“That’s good. When?”
“When I was a kid. My uncle had one. We went on vacation with him, up to Yellowstone. I got to drive some then.”
“Good,” Kaitlyn said. “What do we do now?”
“Relax, I guess,” Seth said. “Wait.”
“Wait. That’s going to be hard.”
“I know, honey,” Seth said.
Jules woke with a start. Shelly was facing him, breathing in his face, still asleep. He reached for his phone, looking at the screen. It was already noon. He sat up quickly, blankets going with him, uncovering Shelly’s nude form next to him. He sucked in some air, then got back down, covering her up carefully.
“Enjoy that?” Shelly asked, eyes barely open.
“Sorry, it was accident,” he said.
“Uh huh,” she said. “What’s wrong?”
“It noon already,” he said. “Too late to sleep.”
Is it really?” Shelly asked. “Wow. Guess we needed it.”
“Guess so,” he said.
“You didn’t answer my question,” Shelly said, looking at him with a mischievous grin. “Did you enjoy that? I mean, you saw all of me. Or most, at least.”
Jules chuckled. “You tease me, no?”
“Answer me,” she said.
“Yes, I enjoy how you look,” Jules said softly, “but was accident. Really.”
She giggled. “It’s okay, Jules, you’ve been a good boy. At least it’s easier now.”
“What’s easier now?”
“I have to go to the bathroom. I don’t have to wait until you’re gone.” She got out of bed and walked out the sliding door, turning to smile at him. Jules’s eyes glassed over.
“Beautiful,” Jules said under his breath.
“I didn’t hear that,” she said, turning around, showing her naked front to him.
“I said beautiful,” Jules said, eyes fixed on her. “You enjoy this, no?”
“Oh, maybe a little bit,” she said before rushing into the bathroom.
Jules watched the doorway for almost a minute after she was gone, trying to save every detail in his mind. When she came back in, he was still staring.
“Wow, I really hit you with the thunderbolt, didn’t I?” she asked as she slipped back into bed, pulling the sheet over herself. “Show’s over for now.”
“You’re getting back into bed?”
“For a little while,” she said.
“You just want to torture me some more, no?”
She giggled. “Is that what this is?”
“You woke up playful,” Jules said. “I like.”
“Well, which is it? Playful or torture?”
Jules laughed. “Maybe little both.”
Jules’s phone rang. “You hand to me?”
“Why, you don’t want to get out of bed for some reason?”
“Maybe so,” he said.
It continued to ring. Jules shot her a sidelong glance and then got out of bed quickly, grabbing it and getting back under the sheet. “Enjoy show, no?”
She giggled. “Well, at least I know you like me.”
“I already tell you that.”
“Sometimes there are things more convincing than words,” she said, the mischievous grin back on her face.
The phone quit ringing.
“Shoot, lost call,” Jules said. He looked at it. “Ivan. Better call back.”
He hit the contact and put the phone on speaker. It rang.
“Do I need to leave?” Shelly asked, looking serious.
“Yes, I just want to watch,” Jules said. “No, I kid, you stay. He tell if top secret.”
“Jules,” Ivan said. “Sorry to bother you.”
“You never a bother to me, old friend,” Jules said. “Shelly here with me. Okay?”
“Oh, the one you want to take back to the farm with you?” Ivan asked.
“No, not say that, you trouble maker,” Jules said, looking embarrassed as he glanced at Shelly.
“Have it your way, Jules. Sure, she can listen. We need to get word to Ji-Ho about some enemy activity, and I’m going to be someplace where I can’t call. Haven’t been able to raise him.”
“Okay, what message?” Jules asked, sitting up, motioning to a pad of paper and a pencil on the shelf by the window. Shelly got up and grabbed it for him. “Thanks, Shelly. Go ahead, Ivan.”
“Our sources see two groups of Islamists, in very bad places. One group follow Indian Tribe on trail home. Two hundred. Second group near hideout in Dulzura. Three hundred men. He should get ready.”
“That not good,” Jules said. “I call right away.”
“Good, and keep trying until you get him. You could try Sam too, but he’s been out of cell range.”
“Okay, we get word there, no worry. Anything else?”
“No,” Ivan said. “Have fun with your milk maid. See you soon.”
The line went dead.
“Milk maid?” she asked. “Was that a reference to my breasts or something?”
“No,” Jules said. “I call Ji-Ho.” He hit the contact. It rang several times and went to voicemail. “Ji-Ho, it Jules. Large force of enemy fighters near base in Dulzura and behind Indians on trail. Call me.”
He put the phone down. “Dammit.”
“Where’s Dulzura?” Shelly asked.
“Southeast San Diego County,” Jules said. “This very bad.”
“How does Ivan see them?” Shelly asked.
“Top secret? You keep mouth shut?”
“Of course, although I think I should be mad at you.”
“This milk-maid thing. I want some answers, after we get through with this.”
Jules nodded, brow furrowed. “Okay. Robbie’s dad create way to track Islamists via their RFID chips. We don’t have access yet, but exists. Contact call Ivan with info.”
“Oh,” she said. “Wow. That would be huge. Have they been watching out for us?”
“Some, yes, but difficult. Bigger problems in Utah and Colorado than here. They don’t have time to wipe our butts for us.”
Jules’s phone rang. He hit the speaker button.
“Yes. This from Ivan? Using new tool?”
“It is,” Jules said. “Be ready. You have enough fighters?”
“Sent many to trail behind tribe just now. Have plenty staying here, just in case of this. We good. Don’t worry.”
“Good, Ji-Ho, then don’t waste time talking to me. Talk later. Bye.”
Jules ended the call, then looked at Shelly. “Thank you. Maybe we get dressed, go outside.”
“Wait a minute,” Shelly said, grabbing his arm as he prepared to get off the bed. “What farm was he talking about?”
“Family business, I tell. Belgium.”
“You aren’t going back to being a mobster, are you?”
Jules cracked up. “I not say I mobster. Never. I tell you about family estate, too.”
“Crap, you’re rich, aren’t you?”
“A little,” Jules said.
“No, a lot,” she said, eyeing him. “Dairy farms, right? Milk Maid? Geez, I feel like an idiot.”
“I didn’t tell you I was mobster,” Jules said.
“You knew I thought that, though. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Jules sighed. “I guess jig up.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” she said. “Time to fess up. Now.”
To be continued…
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
It was morning. Robbie sat in the dinette of his coach, setting down his phone. Morgan came out of the bedroom.
“Who were you talking to?” she asked.
“My folks. I hate lying to them.”
“They still think you’re in the Army?”
“Yep,” he said. “It’s for their own good, and ours.”
“What’s up today?”
“I think we have the day to ourselves,” Robbie said. “We aren’t supposed to leave until tomorrow.”
“Good, then maybe we can take a walk. It’s so pretty here.”
“I’m game. I’ve seen some of the others walking towards the house. Maybe they’ve got some coffee going.”
“Or some breakfast,” Morgan said. “Wonder how Gil did last night?”
Robbie chuckled. “They probably had as much fun as we did.”
“I hope so,” she said.
“I was afraid you’d have a real problem with that, after what happened.”
“They’re two different things in my mind,” Morgan said, “although I was worried about it too.”
“If it ever is, you tell me, okay?”
“I will, sweetie,” she said. “I’ll go get dressed.”
Robbie nodded, and picked up his phone, looking for news. His usual sources were locked down. Obviously censored. He went to a site that he rarely trusted. Too many conspiracy stories, but every so often they found something nobody else did. Perfect. Stories of the resistance. That was what he was looking for. He raced through a story about Governor Nelson of Texas. Innuendo. Not believable. The Republic of Texas making deals with foreign countries? He chuckled. Then he hit a story about General Walker and General Hogan, and how they were training civilian groups to take on the enemy in the Southwest and Mountain states. He zeroed in on one story about an RV Park in Utah. A picture caught his eye. A row of motor homes. One of them looked just like his folk’s rig. The picture was too small to see well.
“You about ready?” Morgan asked.
He didn’t answer for a moment.
“Earth to Robbie.”
“Oh, sorry,” he said, saving the link. He stood up and stuffed his phone into his pocket.
“You see something interesting?”
He sighed. “I think I’m just missing my parents,” he said. “There was a story about the resistance in the Southwest, and one of the pictures had a motor home that looked just like theirs.”
Morgan’s eyes got wide. “You think it’s them? You think they’re part of the resistance?”
“Probably not,” he said. “Picture was too small on my phone. I’d like to take a closer look on a PC or an iPad.”
“Maybe there’s something in the house,” Morgan said. “C’mon, let’s go.”
The couple left the coach, walking to the main house. Gil and Tisha were in front of them.
“Hey, Gil,” Robbie said.
“Good morning,” Gil said. Tisha eyed them, then smiled.
“Good morning,” she said, arm going around Gil’s waist. Morgan shot a glance to Robbie.
“Hi,” Morgan said. “You guys sleep well?”
Gil nodded yes, an embarrassed smile on his face. Tisha’s eyes showed confidence. “We did. You?”
“Best in days,” Morgan said. “Wonder if they got some food going?”
Tisha laughed. “I saw Shelly go into the house last night. She’s probably got everything set up.”
Morgan chuckled. “She does like to take charge. You don’t think her and Jules…”
Robbie laughed. “Jules likes her, but she wasn’t having it at the warehouse.”
“Any man would like her, dude,” Gil said. “She’s gorgeous.”
“Hey,” Tisha said.
“Don’t worry, she’s not my type,” Gil said.
“Uh huh,” Tisha said, breaking into a giggle. “I’m just teasing you. I can be kind of a jealous bitch, though. Fair warning.”
“I think I figured that out pretty fast,” Gil said.
They climbed the veranda steps and entered the house. The smell of bacon and eggs hit them.
“Yes!” Morgan said.
“Ah, good morning,” Jules said. “Breakfast in kitchen. Plenty. Eat up. Enjoy.”
“Thanks,” Robbie said. “You know if there’s a PC around here that I can use?”
“In den, down hall past bathroom,” Jules said. “Might have password. Why?”
“I was looking at an article about the resistance on my phone. There was a picture that I want to get a better look at.”
“That right, you blog writer,” Jules said. “Don’t give away position.”
“I won’t,” Robbie said.
They went into the kitchen. People were eating at the table and at the long bar which made up part of the generous island. Shelly was working the food service with Dana and Alexis.
“What’d I tell you?” Trisha whispered. “Queen bee is in control.”
Gil chuckled. “Yep, you called it.”
“Hey, guys,” Justin called out from the table.
“Good morning,” Katie said, sitting next to him.
How are you two doing?” Robbie asked.
“It was nice to get a decent night’s sleep,” Katie said. “Wish we were staying here longer.”
“Seriously,” Morgan said. She got in the food line next to Robbie, Gil and Tisha following.
“This is quite a spread,” Tisha said to Shelly.
“I was surprised there was so much here,” Shelly said.
“You sleep in here last night?” Tisha asked.
Shelly turned red. “Yes, by myself.”
“Uh huh,” Tisha said, eyes twinkling.
“Stop,” she said. “All we did is have a couple of drinks. Really.”
“She’s just teasing you,” Gil said. “Thanks for doing this.”
“You’re welcome,” Shelly said. “It wasn’t just me, though. Dana and Alexis did as much as I did.”
“Thanks,” Alexis said. “You guys see Tex yet?”
“Nope,” Gil said. “Want me to go check?”
“No,” Alexis said, looking embarrassed.
Dana whispered something in her ear, and they both cracked up.
“What?” Gil said. “Oh, never mind.”
“He’s probably still in bed with the redhead,” Tisha whispered as they took their food to the table. Gil looked at her and shook his head no.
“Let’s not start up on that, okay? I like Tex.”
“Okay, sorry,” Tisha said as they sat down.
Tex walked in alone, scanning the kitchen before getting into the food line. Alexis picked up on it right away.
“So, where’s Karen?” Alexis asked.
“She wanted to take a shower,” Tex said. “Why?”
“Just wondering,” Alexis said. “You got her dirty, I suppose.”
Tex chuckled. “I never touched her. She’s a challenge.”
“Nope,” Tex said. “Where’d you end up?”
“In Sparky and Dana’s coach,” she said. “I don’t think I can sleep in ours. At least not yet.”
“Oh,” Tex said. “Understand. Karen was having a problem with it too. We both slept out in the front of the coach.”
“Is it cleaned up yet?” Alexis asked.
“Oh, yeah, I did that last night,” he said. “Kinda got to me.”
“I’ll bet,” Alexis said. “Poor Lili.”
Robbie finished his breakfast quickly, Morgan still working on hers. He started to get up.
“You’re going already?” Morgan asked.
“I’m just going down the hall to try out the PC,” Robbie said. “Mind?”
“No, not at all,” she said. “I’ll bring you a cup of coffee when I’m done.”
“That would be excellent,” he said.
“Okay, sweetie,” she said. “Don’t get too worked up.”
“I won’t,” Robbie said as he walked away, heading into the hallway. Jules nodded to him as he walked by the living room. He was seated in front of the bar with Ted, Stacey, and Jordan.
The den was masculine, dark paneled walls and over-stuffed dark leather furniture. A pool table sat to the left, another bar in the middle and a huge TV across the room. The PC was on a desk just inside the door, running, cycling through security camera video. He watched the pictures from the video feeds flash by for a moment, then clicked on the browser. It loaded, much to Robbie’s surprise. He looked at his phone, and input the URL of the story. It came up in a few seconds, the pictures showing up large and clear on the big monitor. The photo wasn’t very high resolution, but it was much easier to see than it was on his phone. He was just about to zoom in when Morgan came in with coffee.
“Here you go, honey,” she said, setting the cup down next to the keyboard. He nodded to her and took a sip.
“This hit’s the spot,” he said.
“Still think it might be your folk’s coach?”
“Sure looks like it. Wish this was a higher-res picture.”
“Where is it?”
“Someplace in Utah,” Robbie said, zooming in closer. “Holy crap.”
“See the face inside?” Robbie asked, pointing.
“Barely,” she said.
“That’s my mom,” he said. “Wonder if she knows about this picture.”
“Your parents are part of the resistance?” Morgan asked.
“Looks that way,” Robbie said.
“Oh, good, you on,” Jules said, walking in. “You find what looking for?” Ted followed him in.
“It’s my parent’s coach all right,” Robbie said.
“Maybe you shouldn’t say anymore, kid,” Ted said.
Jules shot him a glance. “We on same side. What about article?”
“You want to read it?” Robbie asked.
“Yes, please,” he said.
Robbie un-zoomed the picture and got up, giving his chair to Jules. Ted read over his shoulder.
“You know this is an unreliable source, right?” Ted asked after he finished reading.
“Yes yes, but right sometime,” Jules said. “What your dad do?”
“He’s retired,” Robbie said, Jules’s intense stare making him nervous.
“Before retire?” Jules asked.
IT manager at a big aerospace firm,” Robbie said. “Why?”
“What are you thinking, Jules?” Ted asked.
“I hear some things from Ivan. Remember when I say Malcolm and George needed by General Hogan?”
“Yeah,” Ted said.
“This why. One asset make this group crucial. I bet it Robbie’s father.”
“What are you talking about?” Robbie asked.
“When last time you talk with?” Jules asked.
“Everything okay? He sound okay?”
“Yes, Jules, he and my mom sounded about normal. I feel a little guilty lying to them about where I am, but it’s probably just as well. They’d worry too much if they knew what I was doing.”
“What cover story again?”
“I joined the army to get away from the martial law situation,” Robbie said, looking more agitated.
“Calm down, Robbie, you’re with friends here,” Ted said.
“Sorry. I know that.”
“What father’s specialty?” Jules asked.
“Sure we should go there?” Ted asked.
“Yes,” Jules said.
“It’s okay,” Robbie said. “He was a manufacturing systems expert. I don’t know that much, but he wrote papers. I think he was highly regarded in his field.”
“He ever mention RFID?” Jules asked.
“Jules,” Ted said.
“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Robbie said. “He invented some stuff for that. Got an award.”
Jules looked at Ted. “You didn’t know about this?”
“Hell no,” Ted said. “We should talk to Ivan.”
“I agree,” Jules said. “Close door. We do in here.”
“What the hell is going on?” Robbie asked.
“Your father is most important person in country,” Jules said. “He holds key to victory in head.”
“I can’t get anything from him,” Robbie said.
“We don’t want you to get anything from him,” Ted said. “The enemy is looking for him. They’ve made several attempts to capture or kill him already. We need to make sure there’s no way they can figure out that he’s your dad. The enemy could use that against the resistance.”
“Crap, my parents are in danger?” Robbie asked. “They didn’t sound like it.”
“And you sounded like you in army.” Jules chuckled. “You should be proud, but we need to protect. It may affect how we use you.”
“You really have no idea where they are?” Ted asked.
“I only know the state,” Robbie said. “They said they couldn’t tell me anything else over the phone.”
“That’s good,” Ted said.
“Not stop enemy from using him,” Jules said.
“I know that, Jules,” Ted said, pacing around behind them. “We have to tell Ivan.”
“Why?” Robbie asked.
“Everything Ivan is doing has same focus,” Jules said. “Win war only.”
“Does that mean he might lock Robbie up to protect his father?” Morgan asked.
“If he does, I’m through,” Ted said.
“No, he not do that,” Jules said. “I’ll make sure. I have influence.”
“What difference does it make if I don’t know where he is?” Robbie asked.
“If they captured you and knew who you were, it could be a big problem,” Ted said. “They could use you to drag your father out of hiding.”
“Are either of those things really likely?” Robbie asked.
“This war, anything possible,” Jules said.
“Jules, let’s talk about this and call Ivan later,” Ted said. “I don’t want to go off half-cocked over this. We need to have Tex in the conversation, and Sparky too.”
Jules sat silently for a moment. “Okay, I can agree to that.”
“You’re going to discuss my future in private?” Robbie asked. “Should I be worried?”
“No,” Ted said. “Ivan isn’t going to want to hurt you. He’s going to want to protect you.”
“Wait a minute,” Morgan said. “If you’re worried about Robbie being taken captive and used to get his dad, Ivan might want to do him in so that’s not a possibility.”
Robbie’s face went white.
“No,” Ted said. “That won’t be allowed. We go with united front to Ivan. Sparky, Tex, Jules, and me. He’ll listen. I know him.”
“Yes, Robbie, don’t worry,” Jules said. “If I thought like that, I’d lock you up right now. You two go be with others. Send Tex and Sparky. Go relax.”
Robbie shook his head yes, and took Morgan’s hand, leading her into the hallway.
“Should we split?” Morgan asked.
“They’d only find us,” Robbie said. “I trust Ted.”
“I trust Sparky, too,” Morgan said, “but this makes me nervous.”
“I know, me too,” Robbie said.
Trevor and Kaylee left the house to take a walk around the grounds.
“Well, our friends are happy,” Kaylee said. “You notice?”
“I noticed,” Trevor said. “I haven’t seen Seth like this before. Angel either.”
Kaylee froze. “Hear that? Sounds like horses.”
“Yeah, I hear it,” Trevor said. Suddenly there were a large number of men in western garb riding towards them, Garrett in the lead. They stopped when they met the couple.
“Where’s John, Sam, and Sid?” Garrett asked.
“In the house,” Trevor said. “What’s wrong?”
“You guys must be hot, because there’s a large force of Islamists coming this way,” Garrett said. “With some of their UN thug buddies.”
“Oh, crap,” Trevor said, pulling his phone out. He sent a broadcast text to the group. “Sent them a message. I’ll go get the battle wagon ready to go.”
“We’re going into the trees. Got over a hundred men here now, and another two hundred on the way.”
“Here they come,” Trevor said, nodding towards the veranda as everybody flooded out, weapons in hand.
Sam rushed over. “How many coming at us?”
“Sixty to eighty, from what we could tell,” Garrett said. “You guys got plenty of ammo?”
“For everything except the minigun,” Sam said. Ji-Ho and John showed up, with Tyler and James.
“Get ready,” Garrett said. “We’ve got maybe ten minutes.”
“We need more .50 cal,” Ji-Ho said. “Dammit.”
“We got some of that, but no gun to use it in,” Garrett said. “I’ll have it brought over. Might not be in time for this fight.”
“Very good,” Ji-Ho said. “Battle wagon still in siege mode?”
“Yep,” Trevor said. “C’mon. Front and rear machineguns are loaded, too.” Trevor, Kaylee, and Ji-Ho ran into the rig and got inside, turning on the weapons systems. The barrels of the machine guns inched out of the lower front and rear of the coach.
Kaitlyn and Seth raced to their Jeep to grab the AK-47 and the M60, Angel and Megan doing the same.
“We should take these Jeeps to the back, just in case we need to hi-tail it,” Angel said.
“Yeah, let’s do that,” Kaitlyn said. “I can’t believe we’re back in this so fast.”
“Tell me about it,” Seth said. “Look, there goes James, Tyler, and the others.”
“We don’t have enough people,” Angel said.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Megan said. “I saw a lot of those cowboy folks out there. Way more than fifty.”
“Let’s get these Jeeps hidden,” Seth said. They parked them toward the trail-head at the back of the property, then raced back up in a crouch, staying in the underbrush as much as possible.
Sid and Yvonne and John and Sarah moved their vehicles to the back also, then came out with their guns and ammo, and hid around the house. Sam was ahead of them, going towards the front of the property where Tyler and James were.
“I hope he doesn’t still have that death-wish,” Sarah said, checking the magazine in her M-16.
“Seriously,” Yvonne said.
“He’ll be fine,” Sid said. They were all in position, waiting. The grounds were peaceful, everybody out of sight.
“Maybe they were wrong,” Sarah whispered.
“Doubt it,” Sid whispered back. “Look.”
A UN van drove into the driveway, heading up to the house, followed by several troop transport trucks. Men jumped out, looking around, surprised that nobody was in sight.
“Crap, if we hide long enough, they might just leave,” Sarah whispered.
“No they won’t,” John said.
A horse whinnied from one side. Several of the Islamists turned, just in time to be hit with the first volley of shots, black powder smoke getting into the breeze as the survivors rushed for cover in a panic. The machine guns on the RV fired, ruining the vehicles in front and cutting down most of the UN peacekeepers in a few seconds.
A stream of trucks raced onto the property, busting through the split-rail fences on either side of the gate.
“My God, how many are there?” Yvonne asked, her eyes in the scope, taking out the drivers of the trucks one by one.
“There’s too many of them,” John said, firing with his M-16.
Trevor burst out of Ji-Ho’s rig with his Winchester, acting like he was on a combat range, taking out enemy fighters one by one as they panicked. Then the cowboys showed their numbers, riding in from both sides of the property at a gallop, guns blazing. There was a commotion at the front of the property, and many more cowboys rode in firing. The enemy took cover behind their trucks as best they could as they were surrounded.
To be continued…
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
Jules walked back into the house after the others left the meeting. He pulled out his phone and hit Ivan’s contact. When it clicked, he punched the speaker button, then put it on the bar in the living room, freeing his hands to mix a drink.
“Finally,” Ivan said. “How’s it going? You settled in for the night?”
“Yes, Ivan. I drink your friend’s booze. How’s it going up there?”
“We’ve got everything in place. We’ll knock the UN out of power even quicker up here.”
Jules took a sip of his drink. “Which first? Frisco or Sacramento?”
“We’re hitting Frisco first,” Ivan said, “I’ve got a lot of recruits up here already. You guys are going to be PR at first. That’ll be as important as the number of UN thugs you actually kill.”
“PR? What is PR?”
Ivan laughed. “We need you guys to make a big show. We’ll have as many people with video cameras there as you have in the attack force. I’ll break into the TV stations again and make a big deal.”
Jules chuckled. “That good, boss. Rally citizens.”
“How’s the team dynamics?”
“You never ask before? Worry about? What different this time?”
“You’ve got a bunch of damaged women with you,” Ivan said.
“Some already fought,” Jules said. “We had management meeting. Rate team. Better than I expect. These women tough as nails, boss.”
“Glad to hear it, but remember that your objective is the job, not protecting your new girlfriends. Think you can handle that, Jules?”
“I do okay before, no?”
“I understand that, but now there’s all these women, and I saw pictures. At least the UN thugs have good taste.”
“They be fine,” Jules said. “Trust.”
“When we get to a good break, I want you guys to help Ji-Ho,” Ivan said.
“I do what can,” Jules said. “We go down south first?”
“No, we have to plant the seeds up here, in both cities,” Ivan said. “It’ll snowball. Then you’ll go down there.”
“You got plan already, boss. I hear in voice.”
Ivan laughed. “You know me too well, old friend. Yes. Have six more battle wagons almost completed. We need to get them to Ji-Ho’s team. They’ll finish cleanup in the Inland Empire and San Diego County, outside of main city.”
“Feds still control San Diego?” Jules asked.
“Feds don’t control San Diego anymore,” Ivan said. “Top secret. Don’t tell the team yet. Understand?”
“The Feds don’t know that they don’t control the Navy anymore,” Ivan said.
“So, who control?”
“At this point, they control themselves,” Ivan said. “They work with General Hogan part of the time. Same with the US Air Force, but the enemy has infiltrated there more than the Navy. There have been some regrettable incidents. The Air Force leadership is trying to lock it down. It’ll take some time. Hard to tell who’s good and who’s bad.”
“I don’t see help from either of those forces,” Jules said.
“They’re keeping outsiders from joining the battle,” Ivan said. “Much more danger of that than you know. The UN has been pressuring the EU countries to help the Feds in the areas with martial law. They don’t have enough peacekeepers to handle the job.”
“Like Cali,” Jules said. “We kill lot of UN punks.”
“Yes, like here, and also Washington state, and all of the eastern seaboard between Maine and North Carolina. The citizens are fighting back almost everywhere now.”
“Air Force threaten?”
“Air Force, Navy, and our main Allies,” Ivan said.
“Who main allies?”
“Britain, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Israel. A handful of Eastern European countries.”
“Let guess,” Jules said. “Countries that reject globalist tyrants.”
“Pretty much,” Ivan said. “We’re lucky Britain got out of the EU when they did.”
“They still have warrant for our arrest?” Jules asked.
Ivan chuckled. “In the open, yes, but I’ve been dealing with them through back channels for a while now. Where do you think I got the mini-guns?”
Jules chuckled. “The limeys give? No way.”
“Ji-Ho got his through Asia, but the UN figured it out and clamped down on the arms dealer he was working with. The final straw was that stupid drone. The CIA found out.”
“Well, at least he almost get Saladin with it. Wound him, no?”
“He’s recovered, and now he’s acting like a wounded animal,” Ivan said. “The only good thing to come out of that was his manic reaction. Saladin spent too much time and resources chasing down Ji-Ho. Made our job in LA County easier.”
“Where Saladin now?”
“He’s building a big base in Utah,” Ivan said. “His team thinks nobody knows.”
“They’re stupid, no?”
“Saladin’s not stupid,” Ivan said. “The people who surround him aren’t that bright, though.”
“What about EU? I hear grip of globalists starting to fall apart.”
“Where’d you hear that?” Ivan asked.
“Sister in Belgium,” Jules said. “She say ministers worried. France run another conservative. Better chance to win than before.”
“They had the last one killed,” Ivan said. “Those globalist creeps are capable of anything. They might pull that off again.”
“They might, boss. Wish we could help. German leadership on ropes too, no?”
“Same situation,” Ivan said.
“Jules?” a woman’s voice asked from the entry way.
“Who’s that?” Ivan asked.
“Shelly,” Jules said. “Woman on team. Good one.”
“Oh, I see,” Ivan said. “We’re done. I’ll talk to you later. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Jules chuckled. “Talk later, boss.”
“I here, Shelly. In living room, at bar. Want drink?”
He heard her footsteps, slowly moving into the room. Shelly poked her head into the archway, her short, shiny blond hair swaying. “Oh, there you are.” She smiled and walked over. “What’s you drinking?”
“Gin and tonic,” Jules said. “You want? Tonic a little flat, but okay.”
“Sure, what the hell,” she said, sitting on one of the barstools. Jules mixed her a drink and handed it to her, pausing for a moment to watch her pretty face. She noticed, turning red.
“What you do? Are others settled in?”
She took another sip of the drink. “This is good.”
“I think Dana wanted me to make myself scarce,” she said.
Jules chuckled. “She make time with Sparky, no?”
“She’s trying,” Shelly said. “Made me feel a little uncomfortable. I told them to take the bedroom. Hope you don’t mind.”
“Fine,” he said. “I might stay here tonight. You join?”
“I’m not sure that’s such a good idea,” she said.
“We drink, then decide, no?”
She giggled. “I’m sure that seems like a good idea to you. What were you doing in here, anyway? Everybody else is in their coaches already.”
“I talk with Ivan,” he said.
“Oh, did I interrupt something important?”
“No, it fine,” Jules said. “We done anyway.”
“Anything wrong? Are we safe here?”
“Safe?” Jules asked, smiling. “World too crazy. There no safe anymore. Not yet.”
“That sounds a little more pessimistic than you let on in the meeting.” She gulped down the rest of her drink.
Jules snickered. “Meeting for rally troops. This just you and me. Another drink? I have one.”
“Sure, why not,” she said. “I’ll probably regret it, but what the hell. Might be dead in a couple of days.”
“You not be dead,” Jules said. “I make sure of that.”
“What, you’re going to protect me?”
“You valuable,” Jules said. “I see.”
“What do you see? You don’t know me.”
“You like to organize. I see in warehouse. What job, before?” He slid a fresh drink to her, then mixed another for himself.
“You don’t care about that,” she said.
“Come on,” Jules said. He took a sip of his drink, eyes on her.
She giggled. “That’s so European.”
“You take a sip but your eyes are still glued to the person you’re talking to.”
“Oh, that,” Jules said. “Maybe I like what I see. Where worked?”
She sighed. “You see, this is the problem. I know I’ve got a look that men like. We can tell when you’re looking at us that way, you know.”
“You missed last part of question. Where worked before?”
She was about to shoot an answer back at him, but stopped herself, thinking for a moment. “Why do you care?”
“I see management and organizational skill. Trust me, I good judge. Run business as manager. Know types, and how to use in organization.”
“Okay, I’ll bite,” she said, downing her drink. She set the glass on the bar and slid it over to him, smiling demurely. “I was a producer for a fashion magazine. I arranged things, and got teams together. For shoots, mostly. They gave me some video production stuff to run right before everything went crazy. I was hoping I’d make it into TV eventually.”
Jules smiled. “Exactly what I expect. You do producing job for us.” He mixed her another drink and slid it towards her.
“Thank you,” she said. “What I was doing is nothing like what this world is going to throw at us.”
“You wrong about that,” Jules said. He tossed back his drink and mixed himself another. “You gather resources and decide how to use. That skill translates everywhere. You manage one thing well, you can manage others. Trust me. I see.”
She took a big sip of her drink. “You’re just trying to butter me up so you can get into my pants.”
“No,” Jules said. “Not that I don’t want to be in your pants. We have small team. You only person other than me and Ted that has demonstrated skills.”
She giggled. “So what, I get the job if I put out?”
“No,” Jules said. “You get job no matter what. If we get together some day, all the better, but not requirement. We need to win and stay alive. You understand that, no?”
She looked at him, not sure what to say, then pushed her glass away. “Maybe I’ve had enough.”
Jules downed the rest of his. “I have enough. Can still fight after three. More, no.”
“You expect to fight?” she asked.
“Wartime. Never know. We talk tomorrow about job. If you want.”
She eyed him cautiously. “I’m not sure I can trust you.”
“You can trust,” he said. “Not Hollywood trust. Real trust.”
Shelly snickered. “Oh, please.”
“I mean what say, but you learn on own. You want to take bedroom here? Inside house?”
“I’m not sleeping with you,” she said.
“And I’m not sleeping with you either. Many bedrooms. Pick. All upstairs.”
She eyed him again. “How do I know you won’t sneak in later?”
He laughed. “Hey, you don’t trust, go back to rig and sleep with Dana and Sparky.”
She thought about it for a moment, her mind starting to cloud as the gin hit her system.
“You okay?” Jules asked.
“Maybe I drank too fast,” she said, getting off the barstool. She felt dizzy and had to grab the bar to keep from falling over.
“Okay, let’s sit on couch for while,” Jules said. “Talk more. I grab snacks from fridge. Sober up.”
“Now I feel like an idiot,” she said, watching as he came around the bar to her, taking her by the arm, helping her to the couch. “I make toast to soak up some. Jam?”
“Just butter would be fine,” she said, leaning back, looking up at the ceiling. “I actually feel kinda good.”
“Don’t look up for too long. Get spins.”
“Oh, shoot, you’re right,” she said.
Jules went to the kitchen, shaking his head. He found the bread and the toaster. The butter was buried in the fridge, but he found it just in time for the toast. He rushed back out with two pieces on a plate.
“Here you go,” he said, handing it to Shelly. She studied his face as she took it.
“Sorry, I feel like an idiot,” she said.
“You were victim of bad things,” Jules said. “Maybe a little drinky is a good thing, you know. Help little, no?”
She nodded and took a bite of the toast.
“So how you get fashion magazine job?” Jules asked.
She laughed. “Believe it or not, at first I was a model. It was when I was very young.”
“You are beautiful,” Jules said. “I can see.” He watched as she took another bite of toast.
“That didn’t last,” she said. “By the time I was nineteen, my hips got bigger, and I quit growing. I’m just over five feet. Neither of those things are good if you want to be a model.”
“You went from that to producer?” Jules asked.
“They took pity on me and gave me a job as an assistant to the producer I worked with. I did well at that. The rest is history.”
She finished the toast and set the plate down on the coffee table. “Thanks. That was a good idea. I already feel a little better.”
“Good,” Jules said. “I’m tired. Go upstairs.”
“Okay,” she said. “I think I need to sit up a little longer.”
“Feel free,” Jules said. “I’ll be in room at top of stairs, to right.”
“Why did you tell me that?”
“So you don’t stumble in there later and get big surprise,” Jules said with a grin. “I not touch you. Okay? I promise.”
She looked at him, then shook her head. “You’re something. I never know what you’re going to say, and after you’ve said it, I never know how to take it.”
“You get used to me,” he said. “Tomorrow I start training you. That’s okay, no?”
“I don’t know. I think I’ll sleep on it. Maybe I just want to shoot bad guys.”
“Don’t worry,” Jules said, standing up. “We all get chance for that.”
She watched as he went up the stairs, and then leaned back on the couch. It felt good to be comfortable, but the dread was building. The dread of those dreams.
Trevor was sitting at the dinette in Ji-Ho’s rig. He’d opened the curtains, the bright mid-morning sun shining in.
Kaylee came out of the bedroom. “I expected you to be there when I woke up.”
“Sorry,” he said. “Got this idea about Seth and Angel when I woke up.”
“What time is it, anyway?” she asked.
“After eleven,” he said. “I didn’t wake up until half an hour ago. We both needed the sleep.”
She nodded, then went to the coffee machine and turned it on. “What about the rest of us?”
“Haven’t seen any of them up and around yet,” he said. “Battle fatigue.”
She snickered. “Okay, I could see that. What’d you do about Seth and Angel?”
“I sent them a cryptic text, suggesting where we are. Also threw them a hint about using the walkie talkie.”
“Oh, so that’s why it’s out,” she said. It was sitting next to Trevor on the table. “Think they’ll bite?”
“I just hope they’re alive at this point,” Trevor said. “They might not be, you know. We need to prepare ourselves for that possibility.”
“Oh, God,” she said. “Did they receive the text?”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Trevor said, getting up. He got two coffee cups down from the cupboard above the sink. “Think we should take this out of siege mode?”
“We can get in and out like this, right?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I slipped out and plugged in the electrical when I got up. Figured the batteries would need it by now.”
“Then just leave it,” she said. “You never know when we might get attacked.”
“Well, there is that,” Trevor said, looking at her. “You’re always so pretty.”
She laughed. “Yeah, right. My hair’s a mess, I probably stink, and I haven’t had any makeup on since before we left South Bay. I’m a real prize.”
“Yes, you are,” Trevor said, pulling her close, arms going around her waist. She turned her head up to him and they kissed passionately.
“I was hoping you’d be ready for some play time this morning,” Kaylee whispered, looking into his eyes. “We still have some unfinished business there, you know.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I was so worried about my friends. Still am.”
“I know, me too,” she said. “I hope we hear from them. I’ll make coffee.”
“Maybe playtime later, okay?” Trevor asked.
“We’ll see,” she said as she fiddled with the coffee machine. The walkie talkie squawked. They looked at each other.
“Hope it’s them,” Trevor said, practically leaping over to it. He pushed the button and talked.
“Seth. Where are you guys?”
“Oh, thank God,” Kaylee said. Trevor smiled at her.
“We’re outside of Dulzura. Where are you?”
“In Dulzura,” Seth said.
“Good,” Trevor said. “Drive south on Highway 94. I’m going out to the front of the road. Watch for me on your left side.”
“Roger that,” Seth said. “We’re in two of Ji-Ho’s Jeeps. See you in a few minutes.”
“Well there you go,” Trevor said, beaming.
“You didn’t want to tell them the road?”
“Nope,” he said. “This isn’t very secure communication. Get dressed, and let’s get out there.”
“Okay,” she said. “We can take our coffee with us.”
They were dressed and leaving the coach in a couple of minutes, Trevor carrying his Winchester, Kaylee with her M16.
“I’ll send a text to my uncle,” Kaylee said.
“Good idea.” They rushed out the gate and down the road. “The highway is further than I thought.”
“He was happy to hear that they’re okay,” Kaylee said. “He still sounds like a bundle of nerves, though. Something’s going on with him.”
“Maybe just battle fatigue, like we’re having. Hell, like we’re all having.”
“There’s the highway,” Kaylee said. “We can slow down now.”
“Yeah,” Trevor said. They got out to the intersection, half in the trees, and watched the road.
“They’re probably gonna be here quick,” Kaylee said. “The town’s not far from here.”
“There they are!” he said, stepping out and waving his arms. Angel was in the lead, and turned on his signal for the left turn, Seth right behind him. They pulled over about twenty yards from the highway.
“How about a ride?” Trevor asked.
Angel smiled at him. “Dude, I’m so glad to see you guys.”
“Seriously,” Seth said from behind in the other Jeep.
Megan pulled back the rear cover. “One of you can take shotgun in this one. The other can take shot gun in Seth’s vehicle.”
They got in and rolled down to the gate, pulling up next to the two motor-homes.
“Ah, very good,” Ji-Ho said, coming down the steps. Sid and Yvonne followed, then John and Sarah, and the rest.
“What happened?” James asked, rushing over. “We were so worried.”
“We were in a motel in Jamul last night,” Megan said.
“Yeah, and we got attacked this morning,” Kaitlyn said.
“They found us pretty easily,” Seth said. “Hope this place is safe. We’re so tired of running.”
“Come on in,” Ji-Ho said. “Tyler and Kenny are cooking pancakes.”
“Sounds great, man,” Angel said.
Everybody headed towards the veranda.
“I’m gonna go lock up the coach,” Trevor said.
“I’ll go with you,” Kaylee said.
They walked over hand in hand.
“I’m so glad they’re back,” Trevor said.
“You catch the vibe?”
“What vibe?” Trevor asked.
“They’re couples now,” she whispered. “They’re bonded.”
“That’s good, right?”
“We need some bonding too,” Kaylee said. “I want some us time later.”
Trevor nodded as he locked the coach. The two joined the others in the house.
To be continued…
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
Chapter 12 – News Conference
Richardson and Lita sat on the front porch next to Roberto and Kris.
“You think we’re gonna be safe here?” Kris asked. “We really poked the hornet’s nest.”
“Depends on if there’s more bases close by,” Richardson said.
“Yeah, that’s the real question,” Roberto said. “You get chewed out by your CO?”
“Not really,” Richardson said. “After I explained it to him.”
“It went viral,” Lita said. “Big time. We’re even in the international news.”
“I’ll bet half of the media thinks we’re villains,” Kris said.
“Pretty much,” Lita said.
“Screw ‘em,” Roberto said. “Let them have their families attacked.”
“Wish we had an alternate location,” Richardson said. “I feel completely exposed here.”
Roberto’s phone rang. He fished it out of his pocket. “Gerald. I’ll put it on speaker.”
“Okay, Gerald, what’s up?”
“Governor Nelson is gonna do a speech in a few minutes,” he said. “Rumor has it that he’s going to address our posting.”
Richardson chuckled. “This ought to be interesting.”
“I’ll go get the TV turned on inside,” Kris said.
“Yeah, I’ll go with you,” Lita said.
“Better go round up the kids,” Richardson said.
“Shouldn’t we have somebody stay in that boat?” Lita asked.
“We’ll get early warning from the dogs,” Roberto said. “Bring guns inside though, just in case.”
“For sure,” Richardson said, heading towards the boat. “Hey, guys, come on in the house. Nelson’s about to talk.”
“What about guarding the place?” Brendan asked.
“Roberto’s leaving the dogs out here,” Richardson said. “It won’t be for too long.”
“Good, I want to see this,” Juan Carlos said, helping Madison up.
They rushed into the house, Madison barely using her crutches now.
“I’m gonna be nervous the whole time we’re in here,” Hannah said.
“It’ll be okay,” Brendan told her as they went through the door. The TV was already on, the reporters milling around in a crowded press room, waiting for the Governor to come out.
“That’s in the bunker,” Richardson said. “Been down there once.”
“Really?” Lita asked. “Why?”
“Tour, believe it or not,” Richardson said. “Seems like that was a whole different world.”
“Tell me about it,” Roberto said. “Look, here he comes.”
Governor Nelson walked up to the podium, flanked by Major General Gallagher and Chief Ramsey.
“Thank you all for coming. This will be brief. I’ll allow a few questions after the statement.”
There were murmurs in the room. Nelson waited till they died down.
“I’m sure you saw the meme which went viral on the internet last night. It touched off a firestorm in the establishment media, which disturbs me more than the graphic nature of the photos. We’ve had an alarming reaction from the foreign press, particularly in the EU. There are now calls for the UN to move into Texas, if the US Federal Government can’t settle things down here.”
He paused for a moment, watching the press corps, making eye contact with several of the more prominent members.
“I’ve given careful consideration on how to respond to both the meme, and the emotional reaction from the press and some foreign governmental entities.”
Murmurs flooded the room again, as reporters hammered away on their cell phones and tablets.
“The United States is under attack by foreign groups, aided by treasonous government officials at the state and federal levels. The foreign groups include the following: The Islamic Caliphate. The UN. The Government of Venezuela. The Government of North Korea. Secessionist Militia Groups in the Southwestern states, who recognize neither the Federal Government nor the Republic of Texas. These attacks are being coordinated by the EU leadership in Belgium and their Globalist partners, foreign and domestic.”
The room exploded with reactions, from boos to cheers. Nelson waited for the crowd to settle down. Some in the crowd began arguing with each other. Chief Ramsey stepped near the microphone, Nelson backing away.
“Settle down or you will be removed from this facility,” the Chief said sharply.
The group quieted down after a moment.
“Wow,” Richardson said, eyes glued to the screen.
“I love this guy, dude,” Juan Carlos said.
Nelson stepped back up. “The story that the meme tells is true. My office checked it out. Islamist fighters near San Marcos were kidnapping young women. These thugs took them back to their hideout at an abandoned recycling center. They used our women for sex slaves. Some victims were under sixteen years of age.”
“You have proof, I assume,” one reporter spat.
“Yes,” Nelson said. “I talked to some of the parents, and to others living in the area.”
“That doesn’t excuse what our people did,” the reporter said.
“Yes, it does,” Nelson said. “The enemy killed the hostages when Texas Patriots attempted to rescue them. The bodies were still warm when the patriots found them. This cannot stand. I support the actions of these Texas Patriots, and advise the Islamist invaders and their allies to expect similar treatment if they harm Texas citizens in this manner. Do I make myself clear?”
“This is barbaric,” said a female reporter near the back of the room.
“You can say that, as a woman?” another female reporter said. “You’re trash, and so is your movement. I ought to bust you right in the chops.”
“That’s enough,” Nelson said.
“Yes!” Hannah said.
Nelson waited while the crowd settled down.
“Geez, some of these reporters are clueless,” Lita said. “What if this was their wives or daughters?”
“Now, a few comments directly to the EU Leadership and the traitors in the Federal Government,” Nelson continued. “Texas left the union because we discovered what you were planning. We will fight you to the death. If you attack Texas, I suggest you bring a lot of body bags. We have twenty million armed citizens in Texas and they have at least thirty-four million guns between them. That’s not counting our Police Departments and the Texas National Guard. You’ve seen how effective our people can be, in places like Austin, Fort Stockton, Riviera Beach, and most recently San Antonio. Attack us at your peril. As a point of reference, the army of China is under four million troops.”
You could hear a pin drop in the room. Gallagher shot a smile at Ramsey as Nelson collected his thoughts.
“Finally, I have a special message for the UN, which is doing a lot of sabre rattling due to the meme in question.”
“Here it comes,” Richardson said.
“We know what you are doing in California. We know about the murders and rapes. We know about the attempted lockdown of that state. We know you are teamed with the Islamist Army there. We also know California Patriots are fighting you, and we know they will win.”
One of the reporters chuckled. Nelson smiled.
“Contrary to popular belief, there are almost as many guns in private hands in California as there are in Texas. The UN and their Islamist partners will not defeat the armed citizens of California. To aid in the struggle, this administration will make public all reliable stories we receive about actions of the UN in California, and we wish our California brothers-in-arms well.”
There was a smattering of applause in the room.
“If the UN attempts to enter the great state of Texas, they will be met by a hail of bullets. We will hunt you down and kill you like the dogs that you are. You cannot defeat us. We will kill you wholesale. Do I make myself clear?”
Murmurs erupted again, some reporters visibly shaken and others smiling.
“That’s the end of my prepared comments. I’ll take a few questions.”
A reporter in the front raised his hand. Nelson pointed to him, and he stood up.
“Price Jones, Washington Post. What’s to stop the Federal Government from just nuking Texas and moving on?”
Nelson chuckled. “They could do that, but they won’t. Texas has friends who understand what the Federal Government is up to. They are prepared to step in.”
“Foreign friends?” the report asked. “Would you like to get more specific?”
“Nope,” Nelson said. “Next question.”
“What’s he talking about?” Brendan asked.
“Probably the Russians,” Richardson said. “They’ve been on our side since the beginning.”
“Quiet, he’s talking again,” Madison said.
“Second row center,” Nelson said, pointing into the sea of raised hands.
A woman stood up. “Kat Bower, MSNBC. Do you consider what was done to the Islamists by the dogs cruel and against the Geneva Convention?”
“Yes,” Nelson said.
“Are you intending on punishing the men who did that?” she asked.
“Nope,” Nelson said.
“Because child rape and murder of civilians are also against the Geneva Convention,” Nelson said sharply. “That behavior needs to be answered, and the answer needs to be in language that these savages understand. Next question.”
“This is barbaric,” the woman cried.
Nelson ignored her and picked another reporter, towards the back of the room.
“Harrison French, Fox News. Have you been in contact with Ivan the Butcher, and do you support his actions in California?”
Nelson chuckled. “Ivan the Butcher. Colorful fellow. I enjoyed his videos, and look forward to more. I’ve had no contact with him, but I fully support his actions against the invaders in California.”
“Thank you,” Harrison said.
“You’re not going to ask a follow up?” the CNN reporter next to him asked. She was a young woman with blonde hair and an attractive face.
Harrison laughed at her, shaking his head. “No, he answered my question. Do you want me to hammer the Governor for his support of an obvious patriot?”
“This is interesting,” Nelson said. “Bree, what is your follow-up?”
She stood up, a smirk on her face. “This ‘Ivan the Butcher’ character made his fortune on vice operations. Prostitution, gambling, and drugs.”
“That was a statement, not a question,” Nelson said.
She sighed, an exasperated look on her face. “How can you support him given his past actions?”
“Do you support the UN?” Nelson asked.
“Of course,” she said. “They’re a stabilizing influence, and we need that in the world today.”
Harrison burst out laughing. Others joined him.
“Next,” Nelson said.
“You don’t have a comment?” Bree asked.
“Sorry, but you aren’t too bright. Any response to that is a waste of time.”
Half the room cheered, the other half booed. Gallagher was laughing, and shot a glance at Ramsey again, who shook his head. Bree left the room in a huff.
“Sorry folks, that was a little harsh,” Nelson said. “I’ll try to behave. There’s time for a couple more questions.” He pointed to a reporter in the middle of the room.
“Brice Ketchum, Austin American-Statesmen. Are there plans for Texas to rejoin the Union, and if so, when?”
Nelson thought for a moment, the room silent.
“Uh oh,” Richardson whispered, eyes glued to the screen.
“Yes, we expect that Texas will rejoin the Union,” Nelson said. “I can’t tell you the timeframe or the exact circumstances that will lead to our re-entry, but I never intended to have Texas remain an independent republic for the long term.”
“You can’t give us any more info than that?” Brice asked.
“Well, this war must be over, and the Federal Government must be back under the control of the citizens,” Nelson said. “I’m hoping that’s sooner rather than later. Good enough?”
“For now,” Brice said.
“One more,” Nelson said. He pointed at a woman on the far right-hand side. She stood.
“Christine Simon, KXAN News. Will Texas hold their statewide elections for the next cycle, or will they be put off until the war is over?”
“I’m glad you asked that question, Christine,” Nelson said. “We will absolutely hold our Texas state elections on schedule no matter what, and they will be free and open. I won’t run for re-election, since this is my second term.”
The room burst into questions, reporters raising their hands frantically. Nelson waved to the crowd, left the stage, and headed for the door, Ramsey and Gallagher following him.
“Wow,” Roberto said. “That was quite a press conference. I didn’t vote for this guy, but I’m glad he’s in the job now.”
“This is gonna start a shit-storm,” Lita said.
“Only one thing surprised me,” Richardson said.
“What’s that, honey?” Lita asked.
“Texas has no term limits for Governor,” he replied. “Nelson could run again.”
“He’s doing the right thing,” Kris said. “And I did vote for him. Canceled Roberto’s vote right out.” She giggled.
“Why do you think he’s doing the right thing?” Richardson asked.
“To avoid any appearance that he wants to hold onto absolute control,” Kris said. “This is a great man. I hope Texas appreciates him.”
“He’ll get a lot of heat for what he said to that one idiot,” Brendan said.
“The CNN reporter,” Madison said. “She kinda pissed me off, after seeing what happened to those poor girls at the recycling center. The MSNBC reporter pissed me off more, though.”
“Seriously,” Lita said.
“What now?” Juan Carlos asked. “Should we go back to the boat?”
“Why don’t you stay in here and get some sleep,” Roberto said. “Trust me, the dogs will alert us if anybody shows up. I’ll let them loose. We got the M60s and M-16s in here.”
“You okay with that?” Brendan asked Richardson.
He thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, I am. Chances are good that we destroyed their local capability anyway, and we’ve been running on too little sleep for a few days. It’d be nice to catch up a little bit.”
“Good, then it’s settled,” Kris said. “I’ll show you were the guest rooms are.”
She got up, Lita, Madison, and Hannah following.
“You forgot your crutches,” Juan Carlos shouted to Madison.
“Don’t need them,” Madison said. “Don’t worry about it.” The women disappeared down the hall.
“So, you really think we’re safe?” Juan Carlos asked softly.
“Yeah,” Richardson said. “There was command and control stuff at the recycling center, those Gaz Tigrs, and all of those other supplies. That was a major base. They don’t have the bandwidth to man another one of those close by.”
“I hope you’re right, dude,” Juan Carlos said.
“Me too,” Roberto said. “We’ll find out soon enough.”
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
“Here they come,” Trevor said, looking out the driver’s side window of Ji-Ho’s massive coach.
“Thank God,” Kaylee said. “That was scary.”
They could hear Sid’s Jeep on the gravel next to them, car doors opening. John got up and opened the door. Yvonne climbed in, followed by Sid and Sam, carrying weapons.
“Sorry we took so long,” Sid said to Ji-Ho as he set down the guns.
“Yeah, sorry,” Sam said. “That was quite an experience.”
“We can’t go get our rigs?” Sarah asked.
“No, we need to stay away from there, and we need to get out of this spot before we get seen,” Sam said.
“You really okay?” Ji-Ho asked. “It your place.”
“It’s still my place,” Sam said. “It’ll keep until after the war. I like what Garrett’s men are doing there.”
“Where’s this safe place?” Trevor asked.
“Near Dulzura, off Dutchman Canyon Road,” Sam said.
“I know that place,” John said. “I was one of the few people around here who actually got along with old man Williams. He gonna be okay with us showing up? He can be a little dicey.”
“He’s dead,” Sid said. “Killed by the enemy shortly after they showed up in the area.”
“Oh,” John said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“He’s got RV hookups and an extra coach there,” Sam said.
“We should get going, then,” Trevor said.
“Wait,” Ji-Ho said. “Sure you trust?”
“I think those guys have the town locked down pretty good, and they’ve got seven hundred men.”
“You see?” Ji-Ho asked.
“No,” Sam said. “But I believe it. I know Garrett. He’s a little kooky, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s a survivor, and his group is growing.”
“Attract bad attention,” Ji-Ho said.
“Don’t be so sure about that,” Sid said. “They’ve taken back this area. That’s pretty clear.”
“Then why enemy at RV Park?” Ji-Ho asked.
“It’s about ten miles outside of town,” Sam said. “They’re losing people there, and they don’t understand why, plus there’s something going on with the bodies, because they’re tracking them with their cell phones. Saw that with my own eyes.”
“RFID Chips,” Ji-Ho said. “I hear about from Ivan.”
“Yeah, that’s probably it,” Sid said. “Couldn’t believe when those black powder guns started going off. Nothing smells like that.”
“Wait, they use black powder guns?” Ji-Ho asked. “Like muskets?”
Sam chuckled. “No, they’re using late 19th century guns. Probably replicas, for the most part.”
“Yeah,” Sid said. “Old 1873 Winchesters, Colt Single Action Army pistols, even cap and ball revolvers. Saw one of them with a nice pair of Colt 1851 Navy guns.”
“That’s bitchen,” Trevor said.
James, Tyler, and Ryan chuckled.
Ji-Ho shook his head. “Why use? Old garbage.”
“They actually had some good reasons for that, beyond the fact that they’re black powder hobbyists,” Sid said.
“Oh yeah, what that?” Ji-Ho asked.
“They make their own powder,” Sid said. “We haven’t had to go into a store and buy ammo. He said it’s locked down tight in this state. This is a good fit.”
“Old garbage,” Ji-Ho repeated.
“Oh, I don’t know, they’ll kill people just as well as smokeless guns do,” Sid said.
“True, but it like travel. You can still sail across Pacific, but you don’t do, if objective is only to cross Pacific.”
Sam chuckled. “I get your point, Ji-Ho. Let’s talk about this later. You should meet these guys. I think you’ll like them, but right now we need to get out of sight. Our butts are hanging out too much here.”
“Yeah, let’s go,” Trevor said. “You guys lead the way.”
Sam nodded, and he went outside with Sid, followed by Tyler, Zac, James, Ryan, Bradley, and Kenny. They got into their Jeeps, Sid leading the way down the highway.
“I hope we can get a good night’s sleep,” Kaylee said. “Wonder what happened to Seth and Angel?”
“I don’t know, honey,” Trevor said from behind the wheel. “I’m pretty worried about them.”
“I pretty worried about us,” Ji-Ho said. “Need to get team to Temecula to get more fifty-cal. Wonder how much ammo Sam get from park?”
Trevor chuckled. “Crap, we didn’t even ask him about that.”
“Lots,” Yvonne said. “More than I expected. More than we started with.”
“That good,” Ji-Ho said. “If area really locked down like they say, maybe we use as base for while.”
“What’s this house like?” Kaylee asked.
“Huge,” Yvonne said. “I’ve never been inside, but I’ve seen the outside. Looks like about six thousand square feet.”
“I’ve been there,” John said. “It’s seven bedrooms. Huge kitchen. Used to have chickens and goats. It’d make a good base, if we could protect the surrounding ridges. You can’t see it from the main highway.”
“Then why don’t Garrett men stay there?” Ji-Ho asked.
John chuckled. “You really don’t want to trust these folks, huh?”
“They not sound serious,” Ji-Ho said. “That all.”
“They have that western town,” Sarah said. “Been there for a carnival they ran once.”
“You’re joking,” Kaylee said.
“It’s pretty cool,” John said. “They own several hundred acres. Built the town themselves. Had a big battle with the county over permits. Had to tear parts of it down and rebuild.”
“Like I say, not serious,” Ji-Ho said. “Hope they not get us killed.”
“They handled the enemy fighters without breaking a sweat,” Yvonne said. “Not that I don’t agree with being cautious.”
“We’re almost there already,” Trevor said, gripping the wheel tight as the Jeeps took a right turn. He followed them. “Tight street.”
“It says no outlet,” Kaylee said. “Hope it’s not a good place for a trap.”
“We could take the Jeeps out through the back in a pinch,” John said.
“Maybe we ought to get some horses, like Garrett’s men had,” Yvonne said.
“Wait, they on horseback too?” Ji-Ho asked.
“Yep,” Yvonne said. “Perfect for back there. If they get hit with more enemy fighters than they can handle, they can ride into the canyons in every direction from that RV Park.”
“Whoa, that it?” Trevor asked as they approached the huge house. The Jeeps drove through the gate.
“Yeah, that’s it,” John said, looking out the windshield from behind. “See where that other coach is, sitting next to the garage? Pull up next to it. There’s electrical and sewer hook ups there.”
“Why’d he have two?” Kaylee asked.
“Son-in-law had a rig,” John said. Used to come here a lot, even after his wife died.”
“So somebody could be coming back, then?” Trevor asked. “Somebody who could kick us out?”
“Nah, he wasn’t a relative anymore,” John said. “Had no claim on this place. He was a nice guy. Wish he was around. Used to be a drinking buddy.”
“I’m glad he isn’t around,” Sarah said. “You two were a bad influence on each other.”
“I know,” John said. “I’m not that person anymore. I can still like the guy, though.”
“He how you know place?” Ji-Ho asked.
“Yeah, as a matter of fact,” John said.
Trevor made a sweeping curve and backed in next to the other coach. “That’s a nice one. Maybe we can take off with it.”
“Tire flat on rear driver’s side,” Ji-Ho said, pointing. “Fixable. We check out in morning. Sleep tonight.”
“We can cover the entrance road with the forward machine guns,” Trevor said. “I’ll help Sam reload them.”
“Yes, do,” Ji-Ho said. “You in charge of coach. Maybe you and Kaylee stay here tonight. Rest in house.”
“Makes sense,” Kaylee said. “We’ve already been using the bed anyway.”
Everybody piled out of the motor home and walked to the wrap-around porch of the huge house. There was a barn behind it, and horse facilities. The porch light turned on as they approached.
“Crap, there’s somebody here,” Trevor said.
“Hold it,” Sam said. “There’s Garrett’s horse. See it, in the coral by the barn?”
“Good, I meet,” Ji-Ho said.
“Hey, folks,” Garrett said, walking out onto the porch with his Winchester in his hand. “Thought I’d better get over here and get the place unlocked. Keys are on the table next to the door.”
“Thanks,” Sam said, walking up the steps. “I’ll introduce you to our folks.”
“That’s an interesting motor home you got there,” he said.
“You don’t know the half of it,” Sid said. “Hi, Garrett. Long time no see.”
Garrett nodded and shook hands with him and Yvonne.
“Hi, I’m Trevor, and this is Kaylee,” Trevor said. “Love to chat with you about black powder sometime.”
“Sure, it’d be a pleasure,” Garrett said, smiling as he shook hands. “Always ready for some new converts.”
“This is Ji-Ho,” Sam said, nodding to him as he walked up. “He’s our leader.”
Ji-Ho smiled. “I not leader. Sam better, or Tyler here. Good to meet you, sir.”
“Nice to meet you too,” Garrett said, giving him a warm handshake. “Tyler – which tribe?”
“Barona,” Tyler said. “What’s left of them. We nearly got wiped out earlier tonight.”
“I heard,” Garrett said. “Take some time to recharge. Maybe we can work together. We’ve got the bad guys on the run around here.”
“Hey, Garrett,” John said, walking up with Sarah.
“Oh, thank God,” Garrett said. “I was so glad to hear you survived. You knew old man Williams, didn’t you?”
“Yep, been to this house quite a few times,” he said. “Sorry to hear about what happened. Heard anything about Clinton?”
“Ah, the brother-in-law,” Garrett said. “Last I heard he was in Utah.”
“Not a great place to be,” Ji-Ho said. “I hear much bad. Islamist and Militia slaughter people there.”
“Yeah, heard some of those same stories,” Garrett said.
“I’ll show everybody around this place,” John said. “It been closed up?”
“Yeah, for the most part,” Garrett said. “We had to chase some kids out of here a while back, but they didn’t do damage. Might find a beer can or two laying around.”
Sam introduced the rest of the group to Garrett, and they went inside.
Kaylee stopped Trevor at the porch. “You care about the tour?”
“Not really,” Trevor said.
“Good, then let’s get the ammo out of Sid’s Jeep, reload the machine guns, and hit the sack. You mind?”
“Not even a little bit,” Trevor said. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. “We haven’t been alone for a while.”
“I know,” she said. “C’mon.”
They walked to the Jeep and opened the tailgate. “There it is,” Trevor said.
“Hey, you guys gonna reload the guns?” Sam asked from the porch.
“Yeah,” Kaylee said. “And then we’re going to bed. I’m beat.”
“Good,” Sam said. “See you two in the morning. I’ll stash the rest of the ammo later.”
Trevor nodded and picked up one of the metal boxes, then followed Kaylee back to the rig.
“You think we’re safe here?” Kaylee asked, closing the door behind them.
Trevor went to the driver’s area and removed the floor in front of the passenger seat to reload the guns. “Yeah, I think we’ll be okay for now. Maybe we ought to put this baby in siege mode, though, after I get her reloaded.”
“I’ll text my uncle and ask him about that.”
“Good, do that. I’ll be finished here in a couple minutes.”
She typed on her screen as Trevor finished loading. “Perfect. Only used about a quarter of the ammo in this box so far, and there’s five more boxes in the Jeep. I’ll go do the back guns too, just in case.”
“My uncle agreed with the siege mode,” Kaylee said, following Trevor into the back, watching as he reloaded the rear guns.
“Done,” Trevor said.
“Good. Show me how to put this into siege mode.”
Trevor nodded and took her back to the driver’s seat. He went through the steps slowly as she watched. The metal plate moved in front of the windshield, and they could hear the plates coming down around the tires as well.
“We don’t want to hook up?” she asked. “Forgot about that.”
“In the morning,” Trevor said. “I’d rather be able to hi-tail it in a hurry.”
“Good, then take me to bed,” she said, slipping her arm around his waist. They undressed, got under the covers, and were out like a light.
Angel woke up startled, looking around in a panic, then seeing Megan next to him, lying face down. The night came rushing back at him. He got up to use the bathroom. When he came back, her eyes were open.
“Morning,” she said. “What time is it?”
“Almost eleven,” he said. “That was quite a night. I don’t think we fell asleep completely till about four.”
“Well, you kept waking up and getting me started again,” Megan said, turning over and stretching, her naked body before him.
“Oh, yeah,” Angel said.
“Stop! I’m sore. Give me a little time, okay?”
Angel chuckled. “Okay, I guess I can live with that. It’s your fault, anyway.”
“You said you were going to wear me out last night,” he said. “Didn’t think I heard that, did you?”
“I wanted you to hear that,” she said, getting out of bed. “I need to use the bathroom now. Maybe we ought to get some breakfast.”
“I could eat a horse,” he said. He got dressed, then opened the door. A shot rang out, just missing him, hitting the door. He slammed it and dropped.
“Get down!” he yelled.
“Oh, shit,” Megan said, crawling back out, trying to pull her shirt on. Angel grabbed his M60, then used the barrel to break out the window. He fired on the van that was sitting at the back end of the parking lot. Then more gunfire erupted from behind the van. There was more glass breaking, and Seth opened up with his M60, hitting several UN thugs as they tried to run for cover.
“Son of a bitch,” Seth yelled. “How many do you see?”
“You just killed four. I filled the back of the van pretty good. I think we’d better get the hell out of here.”
“There might be more out there,” Megan said, checking the magazine on her AK-47.
Seth rushed out of his room, Kaitlyn following, both running to the back of the parking lot. Somebody popped up from the bushes and Kaitlyn dropped him, then ran towards the van with her gun blazing.
“Whoa, that woman can fight,” Angel said. He opened the door. A couple more shots hit the door frame and the wall, and then Seth fired, killing three more men who were coming in from the left. Megan burst out, her AK-47 blazing.
“Hope the Jeeps aren’t ruined,” she said, stopping behind theirs, trying to look it over. Seth was already inside his Jeep as Kaitlyn covered him. He started it up and rolled forward.
“Good, theirs is okay,” Megan said. “Get in and start this puppy. We need to leave now.”
Angel nodded and jumped in, starting the engine and backing out.
“You get the ammo?” she asked.
“Yeah, I got it. Let’s go out the back. Throw her in four-wheel drive. That courtyard is a good place for an ambush, and I don’t trust the street either.”
“Yeah,” Megan said. “That’s what Seth is doing.” She got in and they took off towards the rear of the lot, guns out the windows. They went over the back curb and raced down the dirt road, which curved around the hillside quickly, picking up speed as they raced for the nearest of the canyons bordering the town.
“How the hell did they find us?” Angel asked. Megan had her eyes peeled outside, looking for vehicles on their tail.
“I don’t know,” she said. “This sucks.”
“Maybe it’s our cellphones,” Angel said.
“Look, Seth and Kaitlyn are stopping ahead.”
Angel nodded and pulled up next to them. They got out with their guns.
“Stay low, between the Jeeps,” Seth said. “For all we know they might have snipers around.”
“Why didn’t they destroy our vehicles?” Kaitlyn asked.
“Probably figured the noise would tip us off,” Seth said. “How the hell did they find us so quick?”
“It’s probably simpler than we think,” Kaitlyn said. “There’s not that many places to check, and they knew what kind of vehicles we had. They might even have pictures of them from the earlier battles.”
“Crap, you’re right,” Seth said. “They could take a map and look at how far we could’ve gone. Draw a circle, then check out every town within it. If they figured out we skipped I-8, that helps them a lot.”
“You might be right about that,” Megan said, looking at her phone. “There’s not that many towns that have motels.”
“How many motels does Jamul have?” Seth asked.
“Three,” Angel said.
“Dammit,” Seth said. “They might have seen us from that ridge last night, too, you know. That would cut their search area way the hell down, if they took the time to see where our dirt road dumped off.”
“Oh, crap,” Kaitlyn said. “Forgot about that.”
“Son of a bitch,” Megan said. “If they figured out what road we were going on, there’s only one town to check – Jamul. That means they had to check three parking lots to find us.”
“How could we have been so stupid?” Seth asked.
“We were tired and scared,” Kaitlyn said. “We would’ve been better off going to El Cajon. At least there are a lot more motels there.”
“What do we do now?” asked Megan. “One of those slugs might have gotten a call out before we killed them.”
“I know, I’m thinking the same thing,” Angel said. “Let’s look at the map again.”
“Wait,” Seth said. “We should risk a call to Trevor.”
“What if they’re tracking our phones?”
“They are,” Kaitlyn said. “They were watching I-8. That’s why we saw them on the ridge looking for us.”
“We need to find a land line someplace,” Angel said.
“That’s going to be tough.” Megan said.
“We can’t send them a text?” Kaitlyn asked. “Not even one?”
“Not sure how that would help us,” Seth said. “It’s not like they can state their location.”
“Dammit,” Megan said. “Maybe it’s time to just go into San Diego and disappear.”
“If they even let us in,” Angel said.
Seth’s phone dinged. He pulled it out of his pocket. “Trevor,” he whispered. “Text. This is weird.”
“What does it say?”
“It says Samstown remember TV show on channel 6.”
“What the hell?” Angel said.
“Think,” Kaitlyn said. “It’s a message. You know it is.”
“Sam’s Town – that was a casino at Laughlin,” Angel said.
“Maybe he’s talking about Sam,” Kaitlyn said.
Megan laughed. “Where did Sam live?”
“Crap, that’s got to be it,” Seth said. “Dulzura.”
Megan looked at her phone. “That’s right down Highway 94 from here.”
“Can we get to that road without going back into Jamul?” Angel asked.
“Yeah,” Megan said. “See?” She showed her phone to the others.
“That’s only part of the puzzle,” Seth said. “Show on channel 6. That’s a San Diego station.”
“Dude, you still got Ji-Ho’s walkie-talkie?” Angel asked.
Seth smiled. “I think it’s still in the glove box, but remember that I didn’t drive it the whole time. Somebody might have grabbed it.”
“Let’s check,” Kaitlyn said, opening the door. “Yep, it’s here.” She turned it on. “Looks like there’s still battery, too.”
“Perfect,” Seth said. “Let’s get going before our friends find us again.”
“We’ll be lucky if we don’t run into them on Highway 94,” Megan said. “I think we need somebody in the back of these Jeeps with guns again.”
“Worked last time,” Kaitlyn said. “Let’s get out of here. You mind driving, Seth?”
“Not at all,” Seth said.
They got into their Jeeps and took off, moving south-east towards the highway.
To be continued…
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
“Angel sees a place,” Kaitlyn said. “We’re going to the right. Pretty dead around here.”
“Dead is good at this point,” Seth said. “Yeah, look, he’s driving into that parking lot over there. Looks like an early 60s motel. Classic.”
“Good, the parking lot isn’t visible from the street,” Kaitlyn said. They parked next to each other.
“You really think I should stay in the car?” Seth asked.
“We were kinda messing with you about that,” Kaitlyn said, “but we’ve got the guns out here. We need to leave somebody to guard them.”
“We’ll have to sneak them into the rooms, too,” Seth said.
“Yeah,” Kaitlyn said. “We’ll try to get a place in the back.”
Seth pulled out his wallet and gave her a wad of cash.
“Wow, this is a lot,” she said.
“I cleaned out one of my bank accounts right before things got really nuts. I’ve got a bigger account if we need it. Seems like the banking system got back to normal.”
“Where’d you get so much money?”
“Inherited it from my mom,” he said. “And saved from my job, too.”
Angel and Megan came over.
“Hey, dude, you staying to watch the hardware?” Angel asked.
“Yep,” Seth said. “I gave Kaitlyn a wad of cash.”
“I’ve got plenty in my bank account,” Angel said.
“Pay cash,” Seth said. “We’ll settle up later. We don’t need transactions for this with any of our names on them.”
“They don’t know our names, do they?” Angel asked.
“We both disappeared, and the UN was checking for people who didn’t show for work, remember? We also don’t know what Emma and Matt said after they were captured.”
“Damn, dude, forgot about that noise,” Angel said. “Cash it is.”
“What about these vehicles?” Megan asked.
Seth chuckled. “These are Ji-Ho’s Jeeps. Who knows what name he’s got them under. That guy isn’t exactly legit.”
“Let’s go get the rooms,” Angel said.
“Yeah, I’m getting cold,” Kaitlyn said. “I just want to cuddle up in bed with my man.”
“That makes two of us,” Megan said.
“You guys go,” Seth said. “I’ll keep watch.”
Kaitlyn came over and kissed him, then turned and followed the others. Seth had his eyes glued to her until she was inside the office door, his heart beating faster. Then he looked around the small courtyard where they were parked. There was two stories, a walkway for the second story running in front of the doors. An opening at the back of the courtyard led to more parking and a swimming pool. It looked like most rooms were vacant. There were dim lights on in the room next to the office, and one lit room on the other side of the courtyard. What time is it? He looked at his phone. Not as late has he thought. Barely eleven. The office door opened, light flooding out into that end of the courtyard as Kaitlyn, Megan and Angel walked out.
“We’re in the back section,” Kaitlyn said as she slid in. “We told them we were newlyweds.”
Seth laughed. “How’d Angel take that?” He started the car.
“He looked a little embarrassed. They gave us rooms across the rear parking lot from each other.”
“Oh, really,” Seth said. “I expected to be next to them.”
“I expect to get loud,” she said, shooting him a wicked grin.
Seth couldn’t respond. He put the Jeep into reverse, grinding the gears. Kaitlyn laughed.
“What’s the matter?” she asked. “Something on your mind? You look a little pre-occupied.”
He glanced at her. “Having fun?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Kaitlyn said. “Megan’s going to wear Angel out.”
“She said that?” Seth asked, smiling as he finished backing out.
“Whispered it to me when we were walking back to the car,” she said. “I think Angel heard her.”
“I suspect she did that on purpose,” Seth said. “What’s the room number?”
“It’s 183,” she said. “Go to the right. Angel and Megan are in 163, to the left.”
“Ground floor, huh?”
“Well, we thought that was better than lugging machine guns up the stairs,” Kaitlyn said, flashing him a smile again.
“You have a point,” he said. “Good, we can park right outside the door.” He pulled in, and saw Angel do the same on his side.
“This looks too symmetrical,” Kaitlyn said.
Seth laughed. “I’ll move it over after we’ve unloaded if you want.”
“I’ve got one suggestion.”
“Back in,” she said.
“Oh, you’re right. He backed out and k-turned, then pulled back into the space facing out. “Better to unload.”
“And better to leave in a hurry,” she whispered.
Seth shut off the engine. “Ready?”
“Yeah,” she said. “I’ll get the door opened.”
Seth nodded and got out, heading to the tailgate as Kaitlyn went to the door and unlocked it. He looked over at Angel, who waved as he helped Megan out of the car.
“Okay,” Kaitlyn said, pushing the door all the way open.
Seth took a look around, then grabbed the M60 and the AK-47 and rushed them inside. He went back for the ammo and the two hand guns, stashing them inside and then going back out to shut the tail gate. He saw Angel take his load inside, while Megan shut the tailgate. She waved to him, then went into the room and shut the door.
“They’re in okay,” Seth said, pulling the door shut.
“Put on the night lock,” Kaitlyn said from the bathroom. “I’m going to take a shower.”
“I could use one of those too,” he said.
“I know. You can get in after me.”
“Oh, we aren’t going to shower together?” he asked. “Darn.”
“No, that ruins the mystique,” she said. He heard the shower turn on, and then sat down on the bed, taking off his shoes. He felt incredibly tired all of a sudden. Battle fatigue, he thought to himself as he laid back, drifting off in seconds. He woke to Kaitlyn pulling on his ankle.
“Hey, sweetie, wake up,” she said. He opened his eyes. She was standing over him, towel wrapped tightly around her body, another towel wrapped around her hair.
“Hey,” he said. “Sorry, didn’t realize how tired I was.”
“Get up and shower,” she said. “Might as well keep the bed clean.”
“Okay.” He went into the bathroom, still misty from Kaitlyn’s shower, peeled off his clothes, and turned on the water. It was already warm, so he got right in, letting the hard flow wash away the sweat and the grime, remembering that they’d just showered earlier in the day, in a place that was now ruined. The memory shocked him awake. He raced through his shower, not wanting Kaitlyn to be out of his sight for more than a moment or two.
He dried off quickly, wrapped the towel around his waist, and rushed out, freezing in his tracks when he saw the door hanging open.
“Kaitlyn,” he said.
She appeared with the hairbrush, pulling the door closed as she entered, and tossing the car keys back on the dresser. “Sorry, forgot to bring this in. My hair will be a tangled mess if I don’t brush it out.”
“Oh.” He walked over to the door and put the night lock on, then looked out the window next to it for a moment. Quiet as a church.
“You got done in a hurry,” she said as she pulled the towel off her head. She looked in the mirror over the dresser and began to brush her thick black hair, water hitting the wood of the dresser. “Shoot, I’d better do this in the bathroom. I’m getting everything wet.”
“Mind if I watch you?” he asked.
“Yeah, but I got nervous when I couldn’t see you.”
She chuckled. “Oh, great, and then I’ve got the door hanging open. Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” he said.
“What got you so nervous?”
“I remembered that we’d taken a shower earlier today, in a place that’s been destroyed,” he said. She froze.
“Crap. You’re right.”
“Sorry,” Seth said. “We’re miles away from there, and they don’t have a way to find us. We’ll probably be fine.”
“I know, but we’ll both be nervous for a while,” she said.
“You look pretty calm.”
“I’m with you, and we’re away from it all,” she said. “I know it won’t last long, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can. You coming?” She walked towards the bathroom.
He followed her, mind still reeling, trying to think of anything that might lead the enemy to them.
“You didn’t have to give names in the office, did you?”
She began brushing her hair again. “We gave phony names. Megan and I are sisters. We’re both newlyweds, like I said.”
“They didn’t question why I wasn’t there?”
“Nope,” Kaitlyn said. “The old lady in the office looked half-asleep. She’s tribal.”
“Why’d you bring that up?”
“So you’d know she’s not connected to the bad guys,” Kaitlyn said.
“You think you can leave me alone for a few minutes, so I can finish up?”
“Sure,” Seth said. “I’ll climb into bed. Maybe turn on the TV.”
“Okay, be there in a few minutes,” she said. “Hey.”
He stopped, looking back at her.
“I love you. It’s going to be okay. Don’t worry.”
“I won’t,” Seth said, knowing that wasn’t true. Clear your mind, he thought to himself as he picked up the TV remote. He switched it on, then dropped his towel and slid into bed. The sheets felt nice after sleeping who-knows-where for a while.
The local news was just ending, one of the late night comedy shows coming on. The host was heaping ridicule on Governor Nelson of Texas, making him out to be a poor-man’s Sam Houston, clamping down on non-whites in Texas. Seth angrily changed the channel, finding one of the celebrity gossip shows, turning the sound down to background-noise level.
“Hey, honey, want me to fill a water glass for you?” Kaitlyn asked.
“Yes,” Seth said. He felt nervous all of a sudden. Kaitlyn noticed when she came in.
“Something on TV bothering you?” She still had the towel wrapped tightly around her curvy form, putting her hand on the front as she bent down and set the glass of water down on his bedside table.
“Just butterflies,” he said. “This is the first time we’re in a real bed together.”
She chuckled, moving to her side of the bed. “You always sleep on the right?”
Seth laughed. “Hell, I don’t know. I haven’t lived with anybody before, so I never really gave it much thought. I’m flexible. At home my bedside table was on this side.”
“Well, I like the left,” she said.
“Should I turn off the light?”
“Do you want to?” she asked, standing before him. “You haven’t gotten a good look at me, you know.”
Seth groaned, feeling himself starting to respond. “Yes, I’d rather leave it on.”
“Good,” she said, undoing the towel, letting it drop slowly off her body, her soft curves coming into view.
“Oh, geez, you’re beautiful,” he said, eyes locked on her.
She pulled the covers all the way back, exposing him. “Yes, you like me all right.” She climbed onto the bed and pulled the covers back over them, moving towards him.
“I didn’t think women were visual the way that men are,” Seth said, his hand going onto her side as she cuddled against him. She was soft, a little on the cool side.
“Men don’t understand what women like,” Kaitlyn said. “You’re handsome and well built, but I already knew that. I need to warm a little bit. You mind?”
“I love it,” he said, pulling her closer, his hands roaming on her back.
“If I get any closer, I’ll be on top of you,” she whispered.
“Is that a problem?”
“No,” she said, moving over further, all the way on top of him now, her face against his, kissing him lightly. Their hands roamed all over each other, and then Seth kissed her on the mouth, tenderly but with passion that was rising fast.
“Oh, God,” she said, starting to move around on him, returning the kiss. “Tonight won’t be a marathon, but I need you. Now. I’m ready.”
“Yes,” Seth said, kissing her again as they joined.
“Oh, Seth,” she cried. “I love you so.”
Their passion rose to a fever pitch, but was over quickly, both of them crashing afterwards, not waking until it was light. Kaitlyn woke up first and turned towards him, watching him sleep, his expression almost angelic. He woke after a few minutes.
“Hey,” he said softly, eyes barely open. “Is it morning already?”
“It is,” she said, kissing him on the forehead. “I’m glad we got that over with.”
“Over with?” Seth asked, turning on his side towards her. “That didn’t sound very good.
She kissed him passionately, then broke and stared into his eyes. “Doesn’t it make you nervous the first time? Especially with somebody you really want?”
“Not sure what you mean.”
“Some people who are compatible mentally have problems physically,” she said. “You’ve never had that experience?”
“I’ve had it the other way around.”
“Men,” she said, smirking at him, coming in for another kiss, then studying his face with sharp intensity.
“You okay?” he asked. She didn’t say anything; she just petted the side of his face, looking serious, eyes locked on him.
“So, this is what it’s like,” she muttered.
“What are you saying? Do we work?”
“Oh, honey,” she said. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Well you haven’t said anything.”
“We’re perfect,” she said. “Won’t be able to keep our hands off each other. We need to discuss some things.”
“Like what?” he asked. “You’re so serious all of a sudden.”
“Timing,” she said.
“Kids, silly,” she said.
“Oh. Yeah, we’d better talk about that. I’ll need to get some protection.”
“Not today, though,” she said. “I should be safe for at least a week.”
“So, what should we do today?”
Kaitlyn’s phone dinged. “Text.” She rolled away from him and took it off the charger on her bedside table.
Kaitlyn snickered as she read. “Yeah. Wow.”
“Never mind. Girl talk.”
“Oh, brother,” Seth said. “We were talking about today, remember?”
“Do we have anywhere to be?”
“Not really,” Seth said.
“Good, then I suggest we stay in bed, except when we need to get food,” she said.
“Oh, really?” Seth asked.
“Yeah, I think we can keep each other plenty busy, and I doubt we’ll hear much from Megan and Angel.”
“Good, then come here,” Seth said, pulling her over, rolling on top of her. They kissed passionately, forgetting about the world for a little while, knowing in the back of their minds that their break would be over soon enough.
To be continued…
Copyright Robert Boren 2017
Seth watched as Angel stopped before the last bend. Highway 79 was a short walk away.
“We can’t get killed,” Kaitlyn said. “Not now. Not when we’re just starting.”
“Don’t think that way,” Seth said. “We’re gonna make it. We’re good. We’ll handle whatever they throw at us.”
They got out of the Jeep, reaching back inside to grab their weapons, and then walked up to Angel and Megan.
“Never saw them again, dude,” Angel said. “We had our eyes peeled.”
Megan shook her head yes in agreement. “You two look different.”
Kaitlyn smiled. “We’ll talk later. If there is a later.”
“C’mon,” Angel said, gripping his M-60. “Let’s go.” Megan picked her AK-47 up off the front seat of the Jeep and closed the door quietly. They walked down the dark road, stopping when the highway came into view.
“Don’t see anybody,” Megan whispered.
“Well keep looking,” Angel said. “You’ve got better eyes than I do.”
She nodded and they crept forward.
“Good, this is a long straight section,” Seth whispered. “There’s no place to hide.”
“Dude, I think we’re cool. I think we ought to take off before they come looking down here.”
“Yeah, Angel, I think you’re right, but we need to watch ourselves,” Seth said.
“I agree,” Kaitlyn said. “I’ll hang out in the back of the Jeep, so I can fire behind us.”
“I’ll do the same,” Megan said. “Glad these aren’t hard-top Jeeps.”
“Okay, let’s haul ass.” Angel said.
The two couples raced back to their vehicles and took off for the road, making a left and getting to full speed in a hurry.
Angel’s hands were sweaty around the wheel. He glanced over at Megan, who was behind him in the back. “I don’t like you back there.”
“I know, but it’s a better idea at the moment,” Megan said. “You pick up the vibe between Seth and Kaitlyn?”
“I don’t know. Something’s different.”
“Different how?” Angel asked.
“I can’t quite put my finger on it.”
“He’s in love with her, you know,” Angel said. “I’ve known this guy for most of my life. I know how he is around girls.”
Angel chuckled. “Women. Remember that we were friends when we first started to think girls weren’t yucky.”
Megan giggled. “You mean sixth grade or so?”
“Hell, I’ve been friends with him since the second grade,” Angel said.
“Kaitlyn said she was going to spend the rest of her life with him,” Megan said.
Angel was silent for a moment.
“What, does that scare you? Or do you not believe it?”
Angel was still silent.
“Talk to me,” she said.
“Do you feel that way?” he asked.
“Hey, I’m not trying to lead you down that path.”
“I asked you a question,” Angel said. “We’ve been beating around the bush about this since we took off from the battle.”
“I know,” she said.
“Maybe we should hold off this conversation until we can see each other.”
“No,” she said. “It’s easier for me this way.”
“You sound scared.”
“I am scared,” she said. “How could I not be? This is a big deal for me. For all women.”
“And girls,” Angel said.
He snickered. “I’ve already let my feelings slip, you know. I don’t know what you’re afraid of.”
“When did you let anything slip?”
“When we were talking to Seth and Kaitlyn, after we passed the RV Park. Remember?”
She was silent for a moment. “Yes, I remember. That was an emotional moment. We were both looking for something to hold onto.”
“We’re still in that situation, but that’s not what it was,” Angel said. “We’re still beating around the bush.”
She sighed. “All right, all right. I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what?”
“Making this difficult. Not trusting you.”
“You don’t trust me?” Angel asked.
“I think you meant what you said at the time,” Megan said. “What if you change your mind?”
“Why are we only talking about me?”
She was silent for a moment again.
“Do you really care for me or not?” Angel asked. “Seems to me like you do.”
“I’m in love with you,” Megan said. “You can tell, can’t you?”
“I can tell,” he said.
“It scares you,” she said. “See, that’s what I’m worried about.”
“Don’t you think I should take this seriously?”
He could hear her breathing change in the back.
“Are you crying?” Angel asked. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m getting ahead of you,” she said. “Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to anything.”
“No, really,” she said. “We can be boyfriend and girlfriend. When it’s over, it’s over.”
Angel laughed. “It’s not going to be over. Trust me.”
“I thought you were being serious.”
“I wish I could look at your face. It’s hard to read you from here.”
“Oh well,” she said. “Go ahead anyway.”
“Okay,” he said. “I wasn’t kidding when I said you were my whole life. It’s not some passing thing. I’ve been in several relationships, two of which I thought were going to lead to marriage. None of them were like this.”
“Maybe it’s the times. The things we’re going through.”
“Nope,” he said. “When I’m with you, I feel this comfortable warmth. I love talking to you. Even when you’re being like this.”
“And when I’m not with you, all I can think about is being with you.”
“That’s the same in any early relationship,” she said softly.
“You’re not hearing me. I’ve been in serious relationships before. This is different.”
“But what makes you so sure?” she asked.
“I can’t explain that to you,” he said. “I can’t see a future for me without you there. It’s like we’re already together, and we will be forever. There’s no question in my mind.”
Megan started crying again.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I’m happy, dummy,” she said. “I’m so much in love with you. I can’t see a future without you either. That’s what makes this so hard.”
Angel was silent for a moment. “You think we’re both going to lose interest.”
“No, I don’t right now, but that’s just my heart speaking. My head is giving off warning signals.”
“Like there is something there, but it feels stronger than it really is, because of what’s happened. Because of the battles, and the loss, and the fear.”
“Oh,” Angel said. “I can’t fix that for you.”
“I know,” she said. “That’s why I’m crying.”
“Look, here’s my suggestion. As of now, you’re my girlfriend. Is that okay with you?”
“What does that mean, exactly?” Megan asked.
“You’ve been somebody’s girlfriend before, haven’t you?”
“Yes,” she said softly. “This is going to be different than those.”
“I’ve never lived with a man before,” she said. “Not even with the closest ones.”
Angel chuckled. “We been on the run most of the time we’ve known each other. It’s not like we’ve had the opportunity to settle down and be domestic.”
“I know, but still.”
“You aren’t a virgin, are you?” Angel asked. “Sorry, that’s none of my business.”
“Yes, it is your business, and no, I’m not,” she said. “It’s been really difficult holding back with you on that.”
“Then why have you?”
“Circumstances,” she said. “When I can get you alone somewhere other than a tent next to other people, you’re in trouble.”
Angel chuckled. “Finally some trouble I’m looking forward to.”
“Shut up,” she said. “I shouldn’t have told you that.”
“You haven’t told me if you’ll be my girlfriend or not.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“You have to say it,” he said softly.
“Then yes, I’ll be your girlfriend,” she said.
“We’ll go as far as you want us to,” Angel said. “We don’t have to live together, for instance, until you’re ready.”
She giggled. “Oh no you don’t. I’m not letting you out of my sight any more than I absolutely have to. I hope you don’t mind.”
“No, I don’t mind,” he said. “I like how that sounds. There’s our turnoff. Skyline Truck Trail.” He turned on his blinker and made the right turn.
“How much further?” she asked.
“Five minutes,” Angel said. “Gonna seem like longer.”
“Oh, you have something planned for me, do you?” she asked.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Jules led Tex, Sparky, and Ted to the big house. The lights over the big veranda were on. “It nice out. Let’s sit on porch.”
“Who owns this place?” Sparky asked.
“Associate of Ivan’s,” Jules said. “He not here. Just as well.”
“Somebody we don’t know, eh?” Ted asked as they sat down on the chairs.
“Government official,” Jules said. “Better you don’t know.”
Tex cracked up. “Nothing is ever what it seems in this crazy world.”
“You say mouthful,” Jules said.
“So, what’s on your mind?” Ted asked.
“First, we should make baseline, no?” Jules asked.
“What do you mean, partner?” Tex asked.
“Assess team,” Jules said. “Who we trust, who we watch, who we count on.”
“Oh,” Sparky said. “Yeah, that’s actually a good idea, and we do need to reassess as we get to know people better. No rough stuff, though, unless somebody is a traitor. That’s an absolute for me. I’ll leave the group if we do otherwise.”
“I agree,” Ted said.
“Me too,” Tex said.
“No worry, I not do rough stuff,” Jules said. “Let’s start with men.”
“Okay,” Sparky said.
“Certain ones we can already trust, no?”
“Well, Jules, I think we can trust each other,” Tex said.
“Yes, but not talk about us,” Jules said. “I trust Robbie, Jordan, Cody, and Stacey already.”
“Not that I’m in disagreement, partner, but what’s your criteria for that?” Tex asked.
“All in more than one battle,” Jules said. “They perform well. I see. Any question?”
“I think that’s sound,” Sparky said. Who’s left?”
“For the men, only Justin and Gil,” Ted said. “I know both better than the rest of you, because they were friends of Robbie. They used to show up at my restaurant fairly often.”
“We watch,” Jules said. “No offense.”
“Can’t argue with that, partner,” Tex said. “If we’re moving on to the women, I’d like to suggest that Morgan is okay.”
“I agree,” Sparky said.
Jules nodded. “I agree, but we discuss other details about women. Impact on men, and relationship with each other. Lay cards on table. We must, no?”
“Not sure what you’re getting at, partner,” Tex said.
“I get it,” Ted said. “It’s not just their loyalty and fighting ability. It’s also their effect on their men, and the dynamics between them as women. Females relate to each other differently than men do.”
“That sounds kinda sexist, partner,” Tex said.
“Don’t give me sexist,” Jules said, laughing. “This life death issue.”
“Okay, then let’s talk about ourselves in this regard first,” Sparky said. “These are all beautiful women, and we’re basically paired off.”
“Not sure I’d go that far,” Ted said. “And we’ve got an extra woman now, since Alexis is staying with us.”
“We talk, one by one. I start. I want Shelly. She resists, but I not give up. I think she likes. I see fire in her eyes. She be good in battle. I classify as okay pending more experience.”
Sparky laughed. “She’s a little hard to read. I think she’ll be okay.”
“Dana?” Jules asked. “She throw herself at you, my friend.”
Sparky’s face turned red. “I know. I like her, but she’s trying a little too hard. I think she’ll be good in a battle. I’m a little worried about her if we don’t work out.”
“Thanks for honest answer,” Jules said. “We put in watch category for now.”
“Agreed,” Sparky said.
“Tex, what up with Karen?” Sparky asked. “She wanted Gil, no?”
“That’s over,” Tex said. “We’ll have to watch her. I’m trying to win her over. Got the hots for her pretty good. Not sure that’s the same as love. She might get a little too shook up in a battle. Time will tell.”
“Another watch, then,” Jules said. “Agreed?”
The others nodded.
“Alexis want Tex too,” Jules said. “I see. Problems between her and Karen?”
“Alexis might be very valuable,” Tex said. “I’m not interested in her romantically. She might be a good operative. Seen women like her before. Good person to plant for spying. She’ll use her beauty to advantage if needed.”
“You sure about that?” Ted asked. “She’s been through hell.”
“All of them have,” Tex said. “Make no mistake about that. She’s strong. She also has a grudge against the enemy.”
“Grudge?” Sparky asked.
“Her whole family died in that Ventura Harbor nuke attack, partner,” Tex said. “We can use that.”
“That sounded horrible,” Ted said.
“Hey, this management talk,” Jules said. “People are friends but also resources. That what we talk about. Leave emotions at door, or at least be honest about them in discussion.”
“Okay, sorry,” Ted said. “No offence.”
“No offence,” Jules said. “I want Shelly. If I don’t get, I still be friend, still value her.”
“That little lady has organizing skills,” Tex said. “Saw that back at the warehouse. That’s valuable as hell.”
“Yes, I see too,” Jules said. “Back to Alexis. Watch, right? Develop.”
“We should apply colors to rate,” Ted said. “Yellow means we watch. Green means we trust fully.”
“What about in-between?” Sparky asked.
“Red,” Tex said. “Let’s make it bold. To review, Karen and Dana are yellow, Shelly and Alexis are red. Agreed?”
“Yes,” Jules said. “Morgan?”
“Green, partner,” Tex said.
“Why green?” Jules asked.
“She showed courage under fire at the card club,” Sparky said. “She also had the smarts to leave my number for Robbie to find.”
“She did well in the action at the Volvo dealership, too,” Tex said. “She’s solid, and she’s only focused on Robbie. They’re inseparable. There won’t be any intrigue.”
“Okay, green,” Jules said. “Who else?”
“Haley and Brianna rode with me,” Ted said. “They both seem solid, but we haven’t seen them in any action to speak of.”
“Haley fought at the Volvo dealership,” Sparky said. “She’s good.”
“Okay, make her red,” Tex said. “How about Brianna?”
“She didn’t say much to me,” Ted said. “Stacey’s infatuated with her.”
“She return affection?” Jules asked.
“She stuck to him like glue,” Ted said. “Stacey is a babe in the woods with women, but he was trying with her, and she didn’t resist him. I think she’s scared to death.”
“Of him?” Sparky asked.
“No, of the war,” Ted said.
“Yellow,” Jules said.
“I can go along with that,” Ted said.
“How about the lesbians?” Tex asked.
“Audrey’s a doctor,” Sparky said. “Automatic green, and we need to protect her.”
“Anybody disagree?” Jules asked.
Nobody said anything.
“Okay, green it is,” Sparky said. “How about Brooke?”
“She’s hard as nails and smart as a whip,” Ted said. “Maybe a little too aggressive. I think she’s at least a red.”
The others nodded in agreement.
“Okay, who left?” Jules asked.
“Tisha, Ashely, Allison, and Katie,” Ted said.
“You have a mind like a steel trap, partner,” Tex said.
The others chuckled.
“Tisha’s got a hell of a case for Gil,” Tex said. “She’s as loyal as the day is long, but to Gil, not to the group yet. I think we should rate her a yellow. Probably should move them up together if they prove themselves.”
“I can go along with that,” Sparky said. “I think we have to put Katie in the same category.”
“Agreed,” Ted said. The others nodded.
“Ashley?” Jules asked.
“Yellow,” Sparky said. “I don’t know if she can handle the violence.”
“Yeah, I picked that up too,” Ted said. “I agree.”
“One more,” Jules said. “Allison.”
“She should get at least a red,” Tex said. “Talked with her some. She grew up in the country. She’s good with guns. Done a lot of hunting. She has survival skills too. Good backpacker.”
“How do you know that?” Ted asked.
“She knows things that a non-backpacker and non-hunter wouldn’t,” Tex said.
“She killed several enemy fighters at the Volvo dealership,” Sparky said. “I’d give her a red, but I’d lean towards green. She was good. Very good.”
“Red,” Jules said. “That it.”
“That’s not all you wanted to talk about, is it?” Ted asked.
“No,” Jules said. “We stay here two days. Then we head up coast. Same as last time. Stagger departures. No clumping.”
“Where we going, partner?” Tex asked.
“We go to Gilroy. Set up at ranch to east, like this place.”
“Okay, then what?” Ted asked.
“Then I tell you rest,” Jules said.
“Dammit, Jules, don’t do that crap,” Ted said.
“No choice. If any of you captured, forced to talk, the set up with Ivan down drain,” Jules said. “I can give general plan. No detail. You understand, no?”
Sparky sighed. “He’s right, guys. We’ve got a job to do.”
Ted shook his head. “I don’t like this, but screw it. I’ll play ball. What’s the general plan?”
“Separate San Francisco Bay area from Sacramento. Then part of group help Ivan’s team to lock down bay area, other half help Ivan’s Sacramento team.”
Tex laughed. “Hell, you gave us quite a bit right there.”
“He didn’t give us what the enemy could use,” Ted said. “That’s good enough. Sorry I gave you crap.”
“Understand, old friend,” Jules said.
“What comes after this?” Sparky asked.
“Mop up, go back to lives,” Jules said. “May need to help Ji-Ho in south.”
“Is he having problems?” Ted asked.
“Most of force wiped out,” Jules said. “He call before meeting.”
“Crap, you didn’t think we’d want to know that?” Ted asked.
“Need focus for last discussion,” Jules said.
“Is he safe?” Ted asked.
“No, but he survivor,” Jules said. “You know this. Battle wagon intact. Out of ammo, but working situation now. Most of core team live.”
“Wish I knew that earlier,” Ted said. “I could’ve mentioned it to George and Malcolm. They could’ve stopped by.”
“I know where George and Malcolm go,” Jules said. “Ivan watch. They help people more important than Ji-Ho.”
“They told me they’re going to run down some serial killer stuff,” Ted said.
“That’s what they think. They end up helping old friend.”
“Who?” Sparky asked.
To be continued…
Copyright Robert Boren 2016
“There’s the access road,” Sam said. Sid nodded and turned the Jeep onto it, driving past the broken gate in the darkness.
“I’ll stop before the last bend,” Sid said. “You okay, honey?”
Yvonne looked at him. “I’m scared to death. Guess it shows.”
“Check your rifle,” Sam said. “That always helps me.”
“I’m not afraid of finding the enemy here,” Yvonne said. “There’s no reason for them to be here. I’m afraid of seeing my friend’s heads on sticks.”
“Maybe that’s been cleaned up by now,” Sid said.
“That’s the least of our worries,” Sam said as he checked his M60.
“Where’s the ammo?” Sid asked. “Hidden in your office?”
“Nope,” Sam said. “It’s easier to show you than to tell you.”
“Look, see the vehicle?” Yvonne asked.
“Shit, that’s a Gaz Tigr,” Sid said. “It’s blown up.”
“There was a battle,” Sam said. “Good. I hope our people took out a bunch of these bastards.”
Yvonne started to cry softly.
“I should’ve left you with the others,” Sid said.
“No way was that happening,” she said. “I’ll be okay. This was our home. It’s gonna be hard.”
“Well don’t worry about that now,” Sam said. “Stay sharp just in case. I suggest we park this Jeep back by the rear, so we can escape if somebody’s been monitoring the camera.”
“I can get in so the camera doesn’t see us,” Sid said.
“Yeah, I was gonna suggest that,” Sam said.
They went around the first bend, then the second. There was another broken vehicle in the road, almost blocking access.
“Wow, that’s a troop transport,” Sam said as they squeezed around it. “If we come in here with the motor home, we’ll have to get that thing off the road.”
“Your bulldozer is still there, I hope,” Sid said.
“Who knows? The whole damn place might be burned to the ground, you know.”
“There’s the last bend,” Yvonne said.
Sid nodded as he pulled over. “Dark night.”
“That’s probably in our favor,” Yvonne said.
“If there’s anybody here, they’ve probably already heard us,” Sam said. “Or seen the headlights. They’ll have somebody on the ridge.”
“Nobody’s here,” Sid said. “I can feel it. The place is dead.”
“Injuns,” Sam cracked. He chuckled.
“No jokes, paleface,” Sid whispered.
“How can you guys joke?” Yvonne asked, trembling as she grabbed the door handle.
“Breaks the tension,” Sam said. He waited until Sid got out, and then pushed the driver’s seat forward and squeezed through.
They closed the doors as silently as they could.
“I loved this place so much,” Sam said. “So did Conn…”
“Stop,” Sid said. “Later, if the place is clear.”
“Sorry, I’ll keep it together,” Sam whispered.
They rounded the bend, hugging the cliff on the right side of the road.
“Well, the office and clubhouse are still there,” Yvonne whispered.
“There’s lights on up ahead,” Sam whispered.
They got to the gate. The lights were coming from several of the coaches, one of them with its door hanging open.
“Look, no more heads,” Yvonne said. “Somebody’s been here since the battle and cleaned things up.”
“The attack happened at night,” Sid whispered. “Nobody bothered to turn off the lights in the coaches.”
“There’s a light on in the clubhouse too,” Sam said. “See it? It’s the one in the kitchen.”
“Dead Islamist,” Sid said, pointing.
“Why wouldn’t they have taken the body with them?” Yvonne asked.
“Good question,” Sam said. “Maybe our people killed most of the attackers.”
“Maybe,” Sid said. “There were some tough people here.”
“Yep,” Sam said. “I know.”
“Where to first?” Yvonne asked.
“Let’s take a quick look around, and then move the Jeep to the back,” Sid said.
“Okay,” Yvonne said. “Should we split up?”
“You two stay together,” Sam said. “I’m gonna go check the office and the clubhouse.”
Sid nodded and walked towards the first row of coaches with Yvonne. They went into the coach with the door hanging open.
“Should we turn off the lights?” Yvonne asked.
“No, leave them on, and leave the door open,” Sid whispered. “We don’t want the place to look different in the video feed.”
“Oh,” Yvonne said as she climbed in. “Oh, good, no bodies in here. We’ve had squirrels eating leftover food on the counter, though. Look.”
“They were surprised at dinner time.”
“Looks that way,” Yvonne said. “There’s a .45 under the dinette. I’ll grab it.”
“Good,” Sid said. “This place is clear. Let’s keep moving.”
They went to the other coaches, checking each of them, leaving them undisturbed.
“If the place got cleaned up, why’d the lights get left on?” Yvonne asked.
“Good question,” Sid said. “One more coach to look at.”
“They all look okay,” Yvonne said. “To drive, that is.”
“True, but some of them haven’t left this park for years. Wouldn’t trust the tires.”
They went into the last coach, finding the same thing as they did in the others. Evidence of surprise. No damage. Rotting food on the counter. Musty smell. Bad food in the fridge.
“Let’s go find Sam,” Sid said.
They walked back towards the front of the park.
“Hey,” Yvonne whispered, pointing. “That main camera up there is moving. It’s tracking us.”
“Dammit,” Sid said. “C’mon, let’s get out of range.” They ran in a crouch towards the office. Sam was on the porch, leaning against the railing.
“Didn’t find anybody, did you?” Sam asked.
“That camera was moving around,” Yvonne said, out of breath. “Tracking us.”
“Yeah, man,” Sid said. “We’d better get the hell out of here.”
“We don’t need to leave,” Sam said.
“What are you talking about?” Sid asked.
“This place is being used as a trap,” Sam said. “There’s a couple hundred dead Islamists and another fifty dead UN Peacekeepers in the clubhouse. Looks like a lot of them were tortured to death. The Islamists are stacked like cord wood and covered in pig blood, and there’s several pig carcasses laying on the pile with them.”
“What?” Yvonne asked, starting to walk towards the clubhouse veranda.
“I wouldn’t go in there,” Sam said. “It’s nasty, and it stinks. Luckily the doors and windows were closed, or we’d smell them out here.”
“Who do you think did this? Regular Army?”
Sam chuckled. “Only if the army went back to Colt Single Action Army revolvers. Found quite a bit of 45 Long Colt brass on the floor in there. Lot of 30-30 brass too, and some 44-40. Even some 45-70.”
Sid smiled. “You know who this is, don’t you?”
“Garrett,” Sam said. “Looks like they took their hobby to a new level.”
“You mean those crazy western nuts that live off Campbell Ranch Road?” Yvonne asked.
“Yeah,” Sid said. “You think they’re working that camera out there?”
“Could be either them or the enemy,” Sam said.
“Well, if it’s the enemy, they’ll be here soon,” Yvonne said.
“I got a phone number for Garrett,” Sam said. “It’s not in my cellphone, though. I was just about to go check for it in the office. Wanted to head you guys off before you went into that clubhouse.”
“What if the enemy shows up?” Yvonne asked.
“We’ll give them the welcome they deserve,” Sam said. “You might want to move the Jeep back to the rear of the park, just in case.”
“You don’t look very nervous about this,” Sid said.
“Some of those bodies have only been there a day or two,” Sam said. “I found horse tracks around the back of the clubhouse too. If the Islamists show up here, we’re probably gonna get some help.”
“How many people does Garrett have?” Yvonne asked.
“Hard to say,” Sam said. “Judging by the carnage in there, he must have a fairly strong group.”
“You did a talk for them once, didn’t you?” Sid asked.
“Yeah, about Special Forces Tactics. These guys are good. They didn’t need much help from me.”
“How many people were there?” Yvonne asked.
“I don’t know…maybe fifty or sixty.”
“I’ll go move the Jeep,” Sid said, trotting back towards the gate.
“Wait for me,” Yvonne said, running after him.
“You buying this?” she asked when they got to the Jeep.
“What’s to buy? Nobody else would use those kinds of guns.”
They got into the Jeep and Sid drove them through the gate.
“But why would they be doing this?” Yvonne asked. “It’s not like they spent much time with us.”
“Remember those two CHP officers? Officer Ryan and Officer Patrick?”
“Yeah,” Yvonne said. “Of course. Their heads were on spikes, remember?”
“They were both members of this group,” Sid said. “Glad I never pissed these guys off.”
“Oh. Sorry, I didn’t know that.”
Sid parked the Jeep by the trail leading into the back country. “This ought to be good enough. I doubt we’ll have to flee, though.”
“I hope you’re right,” Yvonne said as they got out. Sam was in the office when they got back to the front of the park. They went inside.
“Find it?” Sid asked.
“Yeah,” Sam said, holding up a slip of paper. “Was just waiting for you guys to get back. I’ll call him now.”
“I’m going to watch out these windows,” Yvonne said.
Sam punched the number into his cellphone, then hit the speaker button. Sid got close, and they listened to it ring. There was a click.
“Garrett,” a gruff voice said.
“Hey, Garrett, it’s Sam.”
There was silence on the line for a moment.
“Yeah, Garrett, I’m alive. Sid’s right here next to me, and his wife is in the room with us.”
“Yvonne,” Garrett said. “Hi, Sid.”
“Hey, Garrett, how are you?”
“I’m good,” Garrett said. “Where are you guys?”
“We’re at my park,” Sam said.
There was silence on the line for a moment.
“You still there?” Sid asked.
“You guys shouldn’t be there. You see the big camera panning around?”
“Yeah,” Sid said.
“Crap, then they’ll be coming, I reckon. I got to go make a few phone calls.”
“We saw your handiwork,” Sam said. “Impressive.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Garrett said.
Sam chuckled. “Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. You might want to pick up your brass, though. Not too many people are using old black powder rounds anymore.”
“Well, you always were the sharpest guy in the room,” Garrett said. “Listen, some of our Islamic friends are headed your way. I’d take up positions around the clubhouse, but not too close.”
“Why?” Sam asked.
“As soon as these cretins show up, they start walking around with their cellphones, and they always end up at the clubhouse. They never look anywhere else. It’s like they can see their dead with those things.”
“How do you guys know when they arrive?” Sam asked.
“We have some folks close by, who’ve been keeping watch,” Garrett said. “I got a couple of text messages. Probably them. I was asleep for a while.”
“Okay, we’ll let you go and get out of sight,” Sam said. “We know how to avoid the camera.”
“Good, see you soon,” Garrett said. The call ended.
“I’ll be damned,” Sid said.
“Let’s get out of here, you two.”
Sid and Yvonne followed Sam out the door, guns in hand, and snuck around the camera, getting into the bushes about forty yards away from the clubhouse.
“Wonder how long they’ll be?” Yvonne whispered.
“Who, the enemy or Garrett’s folks?” Sid asked.
“The enemy,” she whispered.
“I hear vehicles,” Sam said. “Listen.”
“You’ve got better ears than Yvonne does, and that’s saying something,” Sid said.
“I hear it now. You think that’s the enemy?” Yvonne asked.
“I’m certain of it,” Sam said.
“Why?” Yvonne asked.
“Garrett’s men will come on horseback. They’re probably already here.”
“Not Garrett,” Yvonne said.
“No, the force they keep here all the time,” Sam said. “Saw the hoof prints.”
“Here they come,” Sid said. “Another Gaz Tigr, and a truck. Shit, how many men do they have?”
“Don’t think we can take them?” Sam asked.
“Three of us and a few old-west reenactors?” Yvonne asked.
“They’re getting out,” Sam said. “Don’t fire. Let’s see what they do.”
“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing,” Sid said.
The Islamists made their way through the gate, looking around nervously. Then one of them got out front, following his cellphone like a divining rod.
“Wow, he’s going right towards the clubhouse all right,” Sid whispered, hands sweating around his rifle.
The lead man got to the veranda and went to a window, looking in. Then he shouted something in Arabic, the others rushing to the windows. Several men on horseback bounded out from behind the clubhouse, and about fifteen more came up from the back end of the park, firing their cap and ball pistols, dropping several Islamists as smoke billowed around them.
“Hands up!” shouted one of the men, holding an 1873 model Winchester in full western garb. The Islamists turned and dropped their weapons as the rest of the mounted men approached.
“Holy crap, what century is this?” Yvonne asked.
Some of the other western folks got off their horses, collected weapons, and sat the Islamists down along the veranda.
“These assholes never learn,” said one of them. The Islamist he was next to looked up at him, and said John Wayne fairy in a perfect English accent, which got him a cowboy-booted kick in the face. The Cowboys hooted and hollered. One of the Islamists got up and tried to run. The man with the 1873 Winchester dropped him, smoke billowing around his rifle. Then he leaned over on his horse and spit chewing tobacco onto the ground.
There was the sound of many horses coming up the main road, and Garrett appeared with a large group of men. The Islamists stared at them in terror.
“Hey, Sam, where are you guys?” Garrett shouted.
“Over here,” Sam said. “Hold your fire. I don’t think I want to mess with you guys!”
A few of the men chuckled as Sam, Yvonne, and Sid stood up.
“You know what to do with these creeps,” Garrett said. He got off his horse and walked to the bushes where they were.
One of the Islamists bolted for the road. Garrett whirled around, drew his pistol in a flash and hit the guy right between the shoulder blades, black smoke flooding around his gun.
“You’re really using black powder?” Sid asked.
“Tried to buy ammo or smokeless powder since martial law started up?” Garrett asked, striding towards them, his leggings and spurs making noise as he went.
“I’d think finding a place to buy black powder would be even tougher,” Sam said, shaking Garrett’s hand.
“Who said anything about buy? We can make this stuff. Have to be careful, though. Easy to blow yourselves up with this crap, and it’s illegal to have as much in possession as we do.”
“That’s a Colt Single Action Army,” Sid said, looking closer at Garrett’s pistol. “Your pals have old cap and ball revolvers.”
“Yeah, those cap and ball pistols have a problem I can’t get used to. Once you’re out of ammo, you’re out for too long. That’s why everybody carried two. The advantage to them is that they don’t require brass. Just lead, powder, and primers.”
“So, let me get this straight,” Sid asked, shaking Garrett’s hand. “You guys are making your own black powder and loading your own bullets for these museum pieces you’re carrying?”
Garrett chuckled. “We can make everything except the brass, and that’s still available all over the place. Nobody thought to put black powder cartridge cases under any kind of control. You can order them over the internet.”
“Yeah, but you still got to fire them out of those old weapons,” Yvonne said.
“Hey, we’ve all practiced with these a lot more than we have with modern firearms,” Garrett said.
A shriek came from inside the clubhouse, and then the sickening sound of bones breaking.
“What are you doing to them in there?” Yvonne asked.
“Less than they do to us,” Garrett said. “Trust me. They took some of our women.”
“From town?” Sid asked.
“Yep,” Garrett said, grim look on his face. “I’d rather not say more than that.”
More screams came out of the clubhouse, and a couple of pistol shots went off.
“You guys weren’t thinking about moving back in here, I hope,” Garrett said. “It’s not safe. It’s also a valuable way to lower their population.”
“I need to pick up some ammo I stashed here, and then we’ll be on our way,” Sam said. “As far as I’m concerned, you guys can keep this operation going. I’ll take the place back after the war.”
“You might have to tear down that clubhouse and rebuild,” Garrett said. “You’ll never get that stench out.”
“Yeah,” Sam said.
“What happened to the rest of the group?” Garrett said. “Anybody left?”
“Clem, John, and Sarah,” Yvonne said. “That’s about it.”
“Where’s your wife?” Garrett asked.
Sam started to speak but broke into tears.
“She was killed in a battle,” Yvonne said softly.
“Oh no,” Garrett said. “I’m so sorry. She was a great lady.”
“Thanks,” Sam said, trying to compose himself.
“There any safe places to hide out around here?” Sid asked.
“Yeah, Dulzura and the surrounding area are safe now. We patrol it constantly. The Islamists and the UN know not to show up.”
“Who’s patrolling it?”
“Men like you see down there,” Garrett said. “We’ve expanded our ranks. We’ve got seven hundred now, and we’re growing. People are fed up. They’re taking this region back. This park is the only place they attack around here anymore, and none of them survive.”
“If somebody gets away, you’re liable to have more enemy fighters here than you can handle,” Sam said.
“Uhhh, they can already see some, remember?” Yvonne said. “The camera.”
“Yeah, we use that camera to show ourselves when we haven’t had any action for a while. They used to send people here automatically after each group disappeared. Love to know what they’re thinking. Maybe they think it’s ghosts or demons killing their folks.”
“They aren’t gonna like that pig blood situation in there,” Sam said. “But still, you guys could get caught with your pants down in this place.”
“Don’t be so sure,” Sid said. “You can take horses back into these canyons and be very hard to catch, and there’s entrances to that kind of country in almost every direction from this park.”
“Yep, this place is perfect for what we’re doing,” Garrett said. “We’d be in trouble if they had choppers, but since this is so close to San Diego, they don’t dare.”
“We’ve got a large motor home and several vehicles. Fourteen people, plus another four not too far away,” Yvonne said. “Any suggestions for a safe haven in town?”
“Go to the old Williams place,” Garrett said. “There’s a big house plus a setup for more than one RV. There’s another coach there too.”
“Think that crotchety old man will give us the time of day?” Sid asked.
Garrett got a grim look on his face.
“Uh oh, what happened?” Sid asked.
“He was one of the first casualties after the UN and their heathen friends rolled into town. They tried to take his land over as a base. He fought them. Lost, of course. They wiped out his whole family and several friends.”
“Dammit,” Sid said. “Sorry for the disrespect.”
“Not a problem, he was a crotchety old man. None of us liked him much. You really only got eighteen people?”
“Yeah,” Sid said. “Had quite a few more just hours ago. We were fighting with the Barona Tribe. Most of them got killed in the last battle, along with some townspeople from Julian and Wynola. Long story. We’ll tell you about it over some whiskey sometime.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Garrett said.
Sam’s phone buzzed. “Crap, they’re wondering what we’re doing,” he said, pulling his phone out of his pocket. “Ji-Ho. Sorry. We’re okay, but we can’t come here. I’ll get the ammo and we’ll be back soon. We have a place to go.”
Sam put his phone away.
“They pissed?” Sid asked.
“No, just worried,” Sam said. “We best be going. The William’s place is on Dutchman Canyon Road, right?”
“Yep, you can’t miss it,” Garrett said.
“Where’s the ammo?” Sid asked.
“Back end of the park,” Sam said.
“Perfect, that’s where we parked the Jeep,” Yvonne said.
To be continued…
Copyright Robert Boren 2016
Horror Road is a supernatural thriller. It starts where the Bug Out! series left off, but it’s not really a sequel. It’s a new story about the awakening of an Ancient Spirit, and the battle to contain it by a group of psychics and their allies. Check it out!
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.
Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”