Tuesday, November 16, 2010

American Apocalypse IV - Chapter 1e - by nova

He opened his mouth to say something more when Thursday casually dropped the head of his hammer on our table. They hadn't reacted to him having it in his hand. Who is scared of a short handled sledge when you are armed with state of the art black plastic? Our table collapsed. I heard a roll of thunder overhead which was weird as the day had been only moderately overcast. At first I thought it was a flyover or something hovering overhead. I heard Thursday mutter "We'll see who gets to babysit the dogs..." Then all hell broke loose.

Thursday raised his hammer. The officer looked at him, grinned, and said "This ain't a body shop old man. Put it down." I was doing my calculations on who I was going to kill first when he put it down. Hard. The next thing I knew was I laying on the diner floor trying to clear my eyes from the after flash of the lightening strike that had hit the Humvee outside the window. It was now a smoking ruin and all the diner windows had blown in. I was covered in shattered glass and my ears were ringing which was good. It meant I wasn't deaf.

My brain was screaming at me "Shit! Get up dumbass!" I got up, filled my hands with guns, and registered that Thursday was still standing and laughing. I saw movement on the floor where the officer escorts had been. One of the soldier boys was sitting up and shaking his head. I shook it some more for him and shot the one next to him who was screaming. The officer was down. His head was a pulp. Mentally I noted it, thought "Huh?" and moved forward to find the remaining two.

One of them was busy bleeding out from the face full of glass he taken. The other popped up from behind a table and I caught him right between the eyes. I swear he looked cross eyed at the bullet just before it impacted. "Damn! The kid!" I looked back and he was fine. He had gone down and stayed down on the floor. He looked a little pale but I didn't see any bleeding. This was good. Someone outside cut loose with a short burst just barely missing me. It was time to go. I yelled "Go!" and ran for the kitchen door. I didn't look back. They either followed or we all died right here and I wasn't in the mood to die.

Inside the kitchen there was no sign of the cook or the waitress. Just as well. No sign of apple pie either and no time to look. Life was a real bitch sometimes. The kid was through next followed by Thursday. He had waited to make sure the kid cleared the room first. I liked that. I crouched down and gestured for them to do the same. Someone was pushing rounds through the front of the diner and I knew we were running out of time fast. I also knew going out the back door was probably going to hurt.

We were crouched there in the kitchen when someone shot a short three round burst through the door I planned on going through. I thought about sending Thursday through the door first as a bullet sponge then I laughed. Hell, that's why I got paid the big bucks. I was getting ready to tell Thursday to lay flat on the floor with the boy when he signaled me to look at the opposite wall. I looked. I saw a wall. So? He pointed at me and the kid to cover our eyes. I don't know what the boy did but I peaked. Thursday reared back and tossed his hammer at the wall he had pointed at. The wall blew out like it had been hit by a cannon. I was impressed. I grabbed the kid by the collar and raced towards the hole making a mental note to myself to get a hammer like that. Maybe two.

The world we found as we ran out of the diner wasn't the same one that had been there when we had stopped by for lunch. I had never been in the eye of a tornado but this was what I would expect it to look like. The sun was gone. The wind howled somewhere not far off and the clouds were black, fat and low. I doubt if we had more than a 100 yard ceiling at this point. The temperature had dropped too. It felt good. It felt right. It felt like killing time.

Nobody was outside, at least on this side. We had had come out into a parking lot. To my right was an alley that the backdoor of the kitchen opened on. I had two choices: Move away from the enemy who was around the corner or engage. I let go of Zanes collar by shoving him hard into the asphalt of the parking lot, pulled my sword, and screamed "Freya!" without breaking stride.

On my left was Thursday. I took a quick look at him just before we turned the diner corner. His face was red, veins stood out like snakes on his neck, he screamed something I lost in the wind and roar of my fury and desire to cut some fucking heads off. There were four of them. They looked at us and they freaked. That was a mistake. A fatal one. We ran into them like a pair of wolves ripping into a flock of sheep. Their only advantage was distance. We were breathing in their faces before they could get their act together. I didn't break stride. I hit the one to my right using the sword as a lance. It hit him dead center and ripped through every thing he was wearing, his guts and then punched its way out the back just below his shoulder blades. I forgot to shoot the guy on my left. Instead I slashed at his face as I went past with the barrel of the Ruger. It wasn't a clean hit. He was wearing a helmet and he took it half on it and half in his face. I did get the pleasure of seeing his nose explode.

I was past my two, trying to slow down and spin around so I could come back for more. It took me all of a second at most but I was too late. I got turned around in time to see Thursday shatter the soldier I had just run past helmet and his brains inside it. At his feet were the other three soldier boys who wouldn't be getting an open coffin send off to the next world. Their heads were nothing but seedless watermelon.

The kid came bolting around the corner. I noticed his knees were bleeding through his pants and one knee was torn. Asphalt is unforgiving but so was the world we were in. He didn't pause to gawk or talk. He grabbed a rifle off the ground and pulled the watermelon heads spare magazine in about three blinks of an eye. Which was good because we were running again.

We ran until we found another street to cross over on. I stopped at a corner. I sorely missed getting Freya's magic bird view at times like this. Thursday was almost right behind me. I was going to have to slow it down. The kid was game but his legs were too short. Lightening strikes were hitting all over town and I smelled smoke. Something was burning nearby. It was hard to tell where. From the smell it was wood. Whether it was a house or a tree I had no idea. I didn't really care either. What was bothering me was running down the road with all this iron attached to me. I felt like a freaking lightening rod waiting to get lit up. Especially as the strikes were not all that far away. Then it began to rain. Hard.

I looked the kid and asked him "You alright?

He told me "I'm fine. Shouldn't we be moving?"

Thursday joined in with "Yeah. Shouldn't we be plundering too? Maybe setting fire to houses and seeing if any women folk run out?"

I wasn't sure who I wanted to smack upside the head more. Instead I told the kid "Shut up." I told Thursday "Not today" and I started running again. The rain was heavy enough that I figured as long as it kept pouring we might get out of town without anymore problems. I felt better in the woods. In town if we got cornered they would eventually wear us down or burn us out. Of course the rain and lightening stopped almost instantly once we got moving again. I just kept jogging and thought "Shit never goes right. Never." The thought kind of made me happy. I was used to that.

I had us headed towards the truck. We needed it, or something like it, to get the hell out of here as fast as possible. I had a feeling that once who was ever in charge here got their act together they would be extremely interested in finding us. I hoped to be forty miles down the road by then. I figured that if I was in charge I would have staked out the truck just in case. I was hoping that if they did that it wouldn't be local soldier boys in Humvees with machine guns. I doubt if they had anything heavier. At least I hoped so. Even worse would be air support. I mentally shrugged and thought "In that case we are fucked."

The street we were on led to the corner of the block the truck was on. If the truck was still there it would be about a half a block down on the right. I slowed the pace and started looking at what we were running past. It was a mix of storefronts, row houses, and the occasional nicer house set a bit further back from the sidewalk. I stopped in front of a two story storefront that looked empty. I waited for Thursday an asked him "Can you open that front door with that hammer of yours?" He just grinned, walked over to it and swung. I thought he would whack it by the lock and we would have to push it in. Nope. He took the entire door down. I really liked that hammer.

I motioned for him to go in and waited for the kid. He was good. When we stopped he had plastered himself against the wall about nine feet away, crouched down, and was covering us. He saw Thursday go in, then he was up and moving towards me and the door. Lowell may have been an asshole but the school looked like it hadn't been a complete waste for the kid. He slipped past me and I followed him in. I grabbed the door and tried to fit it back into place as best as I could. "No use attracting attention" I thought.

Thursday was wandering around the room. There wasn't much to look at. Some shelving, a counter that had once held a POS terminal, and a woman's white high heeled shoe lying on the floor beside it. I told them "Kid, watch that door. Me and Thursday are going upstairs and see if his truck is still there." Thursday growled "They better not have touched my truck." I ignored him and passed through doorway in the back looking for stairs. The doorway still had curtains hanging inside the frame to block the view into the next room. Thursday should have cleared this room already. He hadn't, and I went into it with guns drawn. It was clear.

It also had been ransacked at some point. This had been a row house originally and this room had been the kitchen and dining room area. Someone had spent some money on moving walls an updating it into a nice break room. I wouldn't be surprised to find an apartment upstairs. Someone had a dream. An upscale art and glass boutique maybe. They could live the small town dream, make some money, and never have to commute again. Or maybe they sold sex toys. I would never know and I needed to focus on today.

"Hey Hammerhead." I was still irritated with Thursday. He should have known to clear the next room. Hell, the kid would have.

"What?" He turned to look at me. I wasn't sure if the "What?" was for the name or he was just responding.

I told him "Always check the rooms if you go in first. You never know who might be waiting."

He just stared at me. Actually glared would be more accurate.

"What." I told him flatly. "You got a problem?"

We locked eyes. If he so much as twitched an arm I was going to drill him. Fuck the noise it would make. He broke contact first, looked away, and mumbled something. I let it go. For now.

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