Saturday, July 18, 2015

Short Story: The Prepped

The Prepped


“Close the gate!” Miriam yelled to the kids who were just coming in, she was yelling down from the second story window. They quickly shut and locked up the gate, throwing some sandbags behind it to make opening it harder even if it was breached.

They jogged into the house and similarly bolted the front door. Miriam looked through the scope on her rifle at the two vehicles coming up the road. These vehicles were unknown to her and this alarmed her to no end.

She picked up the walkie talkie next to her and said “White caddie and gold beamer heading our way, everybody to your posts!”. Just as she suspected they would the vehicles slowed down and then stopped in front of the house. She slammed the bolt into place and prepared to fire if it was needed.

The eight doors on the two vehicles opened and eight large men exited carrying a variety of weapons, some had pistols, shotguns, baseball bats. One of them took a chainsaw from the trunk of the caddie after pointing to the gate.

“Halt” she heard John shout on the bullhorn “Return to your vehicles and leave the area”

She knew it was going to be useless, these men had come to kill and take what they wanted. They totally ignored the instructions from the bullhorn. One of them seemed to be the leader and that is the one she closed in on with her scope.

“This is your last warning. We are armed and we will shoot” John told them over the bullhorn.

The men outside the gate responded by hurling curses and laughing. Then the chainsaw started up after the men yelled in unison. Miriam fired at the man holding the chainsaw, it hit him in the shoulder and he lost control of what he held. The chainsaw got the man in the side and blood poured out of a rather large wound there.

Someone with a pistol took a shot at the house, then another. She heard glass break before she returned to the window and got a head-shot against the pistol holder. Finally she looked for the leader again, but he seemed to be inching back toward the drivers seat of the dirty white Cadillac. She heard others in the house taking shots at the man too, one of whom tried to hit something with a shotgun.

One bald man poked his head over the fence and flashed a golden grin as he climbed over and rushed toward the house waving a baseball bat. He was hit twice from downstairs before he got half-way.

Finally John used his old battle rifle and gave a 3-round burst at the windows of the Cadillac shattering most of them. Carefully not aiming at tires and engines. This was all encouragement for these attackers to leave. At least three of the attackers were already dead and two other badly wounded and still they hadn't left.

Someone else wondered this too, she heard her grandson Danny ask “Why aren't they leaving”

Miriam wondered too. Then she decided to check out the roads again using the scope. There were a dozen more vehicles heading in from the blighted city.

“They got reinforcements!” Miriam said over the radio “Looks like twelve more vehicles inbound!”

“Better get the Wilson's and the Vandenberg's alerted” She heard her son John say. She heard the back-door unbolt and Jennie run outside to get the neighbors. They had all helped get the community ready for this and they were all in this together.

We got reinforcements too, punks, Miriam thought to herself.

The reinforcement vehicles started arriving just as fifty-five-year old Brad Vandenberg joined her in the upstairs room and took the other window as his sniper position. Of course his weapon was a 50-caliber and this was no longer about scaring the vermin off.

The first time the loud report of the 50 reverberated all of the men outside of the gate, now numbering about thirteen had hit the ground. Miriam had jumped too but she thought a couple of the punks below had pissed their pants.

“All right” John said over the radio “No mercy, take them out”

Miriam chambered another round after ejecting the spent shell casing. She casually and calmly put the cross-hairs on a large man in a Raiders tee-shirt with a rifle strapped to his back and fired. His exposed neck exploded in a fountain of red as he dropped to the ground in mid-conversation.

The cars were playing loud rap music and the men outside were chanting something she could not make out, she was sure it was something horrible. Instead of cowering into the closets, though, they had attacked the wrong family this time.

One of the skinnier young man jumped on a hood of a vehicle and gyrated nastily screaming something and waving a pistol in the air. Until the fifty caliber opened a gaping hole in his chest and covering a couple of other men in his guts.

The men began to return fire but they weren't aiming. They were holding their pistols sideways and firing from behind cars and fences. They would need a lucky shot to hit someone like that, but this was a distraction. Miriam saw trunks opened along the growing line of vehicles and men come running to the front with bottles stuffed with cloth.

Fire bombs.

Miriam heard Brad Vandenberg swear and he was a God-fearing man. She took close aim and tried to hit the guy lighting up one of the bottles but missed. The man's arm pulled behind him as he prepared to throw just as red blossomed on his white shirt and he went down.

Miriam fired again, hitting one of the people getting more bottles from the trunks. The fifty blasted again and one of the trunks went up in flames. She could hear plenty of small arms from downstairs and from the fence line as she pulled back and loaded another round into the chamber of the bolt-action.

That is when something sailed through the window, a bottle with a flaming cloth and it smashed against the far wall. Flames engulfed the far wall and quickly reached the ceiling as it spilled across the carpet too.

Brad stood up and ran to Miriam. “Let's get out of here” he said “Fall back”

He helped her gather her ammunition and the radio they rushed out of the doomed room and down the stairs. “It's on fire, get out!” Brad yelled “Fall back”

John, Danny and Jennie gathered their ammunition and such and then they all moved out of the back-door and through the backyard, where there was a gate. Once they crossed in and shut it, Brad Vandenberg locked it in two places and then pulled barbed wire over it.

“Into my house!” he told them and the others were half-way there already. Meanwhile the Wilson's were also arriving. Steven and Maude, wearing backpacks at their age and carrying rifles joined the others in the powder-blue Vandenberg house.

Brad got to the door “Snipers upstairs! We'll need to try and cover both sides in case they come around, I'll be up in a second” he went to the basement to start up the generator that would electrify the fence to his home.

On the other side of the home a brick wall protected the house but seconds after hearing the muffled sounds of rap music the gangsters arrived there. Now they had to worry about the back and the front of the house.

The doors on the black sedan opened and five men got out carrying rifles, two had sidearms strapped on while another had a sword. He also had a prominent scar on the left side of his face and this advertised his identity. This guy controlled a large part of the city and now they were invading the rural areas. The food must have run low and running his pirate radio station is not as much fun on an empty stomach.

One if his men ran to the wall and was going to jump it, but as soon as he touched it he screamed and fell to the ground. The electric fence had worked. Another man threw down the bolt cutters and yelled something to scar face.

One of men got into a vehicle and backed up.

“He's going to ram the gate!” Miriam yelled to Brad who was looking out of the next window.

“That gate is reinforced pretty good” he said but the car buckled the wall where it hit, although the car was totalled and the driver wasn't in good shape. They fired down as the enemy began to come over the hood of the car into the front yard.

Downstairs began firing too. Then Miriam ran to look into the backyard and she saw men breaching the back fence. She took aim and hit one in the side of the head, the others backed off but not for very long.

“Why don't they go away?” she wondered “Are they zombies or something?”

Miriam didn't live for sixty-years just to die like this.




3 months ago


Power outages had pulled down the grid in about twenty states across the country. The Wilson's, Vandenberg's and the Johnson's were all well-prepared. So well prepared, in fact, that on the first night of the outage they held a barbecue near where their backyards met. Even Earl Arlen, another prepper, had put aside his conspiracy ramblings for the evening.

The power didn't come back the next day. Or the next. The local families were all ready for this but they were more worried about everyone else who wasn't prepared. They heard stories of massive riots and reports that sounded more like civil war than anything else.

Even the city they lived closest to, considered safe by comparison to other large cities, had been said to be one big mess. Earl Arlen talked about blowing down the bridge that was the easiest way for those from the city to reach them.

Surely it couldn't get that bad, most of them had thought. This was called “Normalcy Bias”, everyone assumed that this insanity would soon be over. Certainly the electrical systems would be fixed soon, right?

Within a few days the first vehicles passed through, these were escapees and refugees. They were told by armed neighborhood patrols to keep moving. They knew they could not afford to take people in, especially strangers. If they weren't family, they were nobody. How would you know that someone you took in could be trusted?

The Anderson's learned the hard way that even family might not be all that trustworthy. They had taken in a distant cousin, who claimed he had been working at a YMCA. Within days he had been caught in the act of molesting one of the kids. Paul and Wilma lynched him on a high branch of an elm tree over the road.

Then there were the neighbors who were not prepared. They tried to shame the families into taking care of them. Yes, “taking care” of them. They didn't offer to contribute anything they just wanted to be given food and stuff, even demanding generators.

It had even come down to a gun battle. The Meyers and the Smith family men had come out with rifles and threatened violence if food was not “shared” with them. This was, of course, stupid. Those men were out-numbered and the upstairs windows were good positions because they had no cover.

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, these men had brought their wives and children to show off, left them up the road a bit. They watched as their husbands and fathers started a fight and get gunned down for the trouble. They were shocked and crying but they had soon packed up cars and left the area.

When the power went out to more than a hundred million Americans, money became worthless, banks were down and nobody got their food stamps. Food was not delivered when the riots started and the shelves went empty within hours or days. The whole system had gone down and those who relied on government to “fix it” were the first ones to go hungry.



Present


The walled home had been breached. She heard those downstairs locking themselves into the cellar, they reported that everyone had gotten in over the walkie talkie. Then she heard steps running up the stairs yelling. Miriam, Brad Vandenberg and Paul Wilson turned their guns inward. Since the fifty was too big, Brad pulled out his side-arm, a forty-five.

As soon as the enemy reached the top of the stairs they began firing. They hit at least two in their head and there a commotion on the stairs as to who would go next. Miriam was afraid to think they might have brought some of those fire bombs with them.

Then they heard some loud noises outside. Paul was able to look outside and report to them “It's Earl Arlen, looks like he's got a light tank!”

Brad laughed but his eyes got wide when the first shot of what sounded like artillery was made, they heard the intruders yelling and running around like they had gone insane. Miriam leaned back and peaked out to see, sure enough, a light tank crushing one of the smaller vehicles and firing another round into a brown Cadillac, which exploded.

Earl's tank was followed by an armored truck with several guns firing away at the crowd of startled thugs. Brad and Paul went to the doorway and fired downward at the scattered and running thugs.

“Stay here!” Paul said as they descended. Miriam went back to her perch at the window and fired a few rounds at the retreating panicked gang.

...

After the fourth month the utility company had gotten the power back on. The cities were pretty much ruined by this point, ruled by feral gangs. Civilization had been dealt a blow, the think veneer between lawless chaos and “getting along” had been shown to be mostly imaginary.

Millions had died, many more killed by violence than starvation. Many large cities no longer had nearly the population they had before it all started. Major cities had become minor ones in the span of a few months. Trying to get a full listing of the dead would be nearly impossible, already there were politicians trying to score points with their rhetoric.

The world was quiet again for us, it was time to replenish our food stocks and ammunition. You never knew when the system might go down again.

We'd be ready for it, again.

-----------------

Buying New Arrivals will help keep me writing!

Reward: Stolen Planet, a humorous short for 99 cents.

1 comment: