Last Stand: Surviving America's Collapse (18 page)

BOOK: Last Stand: Surviving America's Collapse
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Chapter 44

T
he three minutes came and went. Finally Cain called out from somewhere beyond view. “So what’s your answer, John?”

“Show yourself and find out
, you coward,” John shouted through the loophole.

T
hrough the narrow opening in the cabin wall, he spotted men scurrying up the path.

John slowed his breathing, took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The cabin exploded with deafening sound as John fired at the approaching men. Shooting a man in real life wasn’t like in those fancy
Hollywood movies. They didn’t fly ten feet back. A man hit by a high-caliber bullet usually fell where he stood. Nothing dramatic, nothing fancy. That was what happened to the first two John hit. They dropped to the ground and stopped moving. More came up behind them, firing wildly as they made their way forward.

Rounds struck the cabin wall, the larger ones passing through and rattling a row of pans hanging in the kitchen.

John emptied his magazine, released it, popped in another and continued firing. A handful of Cain’s men were circling around to John’s right.

“You got a few coming your way,” he called to
Diane who was covering the eastern section with a deer rifle. She fired and then worked the bolt before firing again. Bullets slammed through the cabin, thudding into the sandbags.

There were still men firing at them from the tree line.
It appeared as though the booby-traps they’d set had taken out a few of Cain’s thugs, but others pushed on and settled at the forest’s edge. They were preparing to open up with AK-47s when John peppered their position. Dirt and leaves kicked in the air as rounds landed all about them. One of the men was struck through the eye and slumped forward. The other pushed himself back and out of view.

Out came another empty magazine. Behind him, Gregory was crouched low to
the ground, pulling 5.56 rounds out of the box and feeding them into the empty polymer mags. This was the benefit of having four positions manned by two people each. If one was hit, there was an immediate replacement and in the meantime, the backup could keep a supply of fresh mags coming.

Course, they couldn’t go on shooting indefinitely. At some point they would run out, which was why John was trying to conserve as much as he could.

“How many on your end Diane?” John called out.

“I hit three, but two others were moving too fast. Tim should see them any second.”

“Got ’em,” Tim replied as he opened fire.

He burned through
a mag in a matter of seconds.

“Make every shot count, Tim,” John
shouted over the barrage. “We could be here all night.”

Then John caught a terrifying sight. Two of Cain’s men were
in the open, lighting Molotov cocktails and preparing to throw them at the cabin. If they succeeded, it would quickly be the end of everyone inside. The place would go up like a tinder box.

John peered through
his ACOG Scope and laid off three quick rounds. Except he wasn’t aiming for the men, he was aiming for the Molotov cocktail. A second later, the sound of shattering glass was followed by the two men screaming as the bottle exploded and doused them in flames.

More shots continued to ring out from each of the loopholes as Cain’s men tried to surround the cabin, searching for a weak point in their defenses.

John was in the process of loading a fresh mag when the sound of bullets slamming through the southern wall made him turn. Tim slumped forward. Without enough sandbags, a round had passed through the cabin wall and hit him.

Kay screamed and moved to grab hold of
her husband.

“Take
my rifle,” Diane told her. “And keep firing.”

Diane had the most medical knowledge of anyone there and it only made sense for her to be the one to assess Tim’s wounds.

For her part, Natalie took hold of her father’s AR and continued to return fire.

Grabbing Tim by the shirt, Diane pulled him flat on his back and out of harm’s way.
She then rifled through his clothes, searching for the entry wound. “Where’re you hit?”

Tim shook his head. “I don’t know.”
Soldiers with adrenaline pumping through their veins during combat often didn’t know where they’d been shot.

After searching for a few seconds, Diane found the wounds. Tim had been shot twice. Once in the right arm and once in
the abdomen. There were also bits of wood sticking out of his flesh that must have splintered off from the rounds punching through the cabin wall. While Diane used QuikClot and dressed the wound, the others continued fighting back.

“How many are down?” John ordered. “I need each of you to report back.”

“Five over here,” Brandon called out from the western wall.

“Three,” Kay replied in a quivering voice.

“Three for me too,” Tim said quietly.

That made eleven and John had taken out seven more which brought the total to eighteen. Predictably John hadn’t seen Cain show his face once during the attack. He was probably waiting to swoop in when all the heavy lifting was done so he could execute John himself.

“Emma, take over for Kay, will you.” Kay wasn’t doing them any good, trying to soldier on while her husband lay wounded nearby.

“Okay
, Dad.”

The attacks from outside began to die down. Then John spotted two men running along the tree line to his left. But they weren’t heading toward him. They appeared to be running away. John took careful aim and dropped them both.

Those two made twenty and with Cain twenty-one. He was confident that most of the attackers were now either dead or gravely wounded. All except for Cain.

“I’m going outside,” John said to protests from those around him.

The safe play would have been to stay inside, but allowing Cain to get away would only push the danger further down the line. Plus, not only did Cain know where they were, but he now had a good idea of their defenses. The next time around he’d be better prepared and surely do far more damage.

John rose, stuffed fresh mags into his chest rig
, seated his S&W into his drop-leg holster and grabbed his AR.

“Whe
n I count to three, you open that front door,” he told Kay. “Gregory, get that AR in the front loophole and cover me.”

When everyone was ready, John counted to three, his AR in the
low ready position. The door swung open and he moved out swiftly, scanning from left to right and moving with purpose to the tree line. That was when he saw the figure down the path by the four trucks that were parked in a line. Right away the man’s mangled face told him it was Cain. Cain was alone now and trying to make his escape.

John
went after him, hopping over the fallen log just as Cain jumped in the cab of the rear vehicle and backed away at full speed. Chunks of gravel sprayed as he whipped backwards onto the road, tires screeching as they touched asphalt.

John raised his AR to spray the truck, but it sped away. Making a split
-second decision, he jumpedbehind the wheel of
a

77 Dodge Ram and prepared to give chase.

Chapter 45

C
ain’s pickup was just ahead of him now, weaving around the occasional stalled car that blocked the road. The obstacles gave John time to close the distance between them. He came up quickly from behind, trying to decide the best way to get him off the road. A pistol appeared out the driver’s side window and opened fire. Most of the shots went wide. Cain was firing blindly, trying to scare John off, but it would take more than that.

Pulling out on the left, John tried to
move alongside him, but Cain swerved and cut him off. John fell back, staying on the back right bumper of Cain’s truck. He then pulled to the left and dug the nose of his pickup into Cain’s rear fender. It was a classic police move when trying to end a chase. When it worked well, the leading car was sent into a sharp hundred-and-eighty-degree turn. But this time, the bumpers of both trucks locked together. Cain quickly lost control and so too did John. Both trucks fishtailed violently, smashing through a farmer’s fence and onto rough terrain where the vehicles flipped.

The centrifugal force tossed John out of the pickup and into soft ground where he rolled before finally coming to a stop.

The trucks continued to flip three more times.

Steam vapor rose up from
the engines as John staggered to his feet. A deep gash on his head sent a thick stream of blood streaming down the right side of his face. His legs felt wobbly. His hands were shaking as though he’d just been in a fistfight with a man twice his size.

John was still wearing his
Condor Tactical Vest, but his AR was nowhere in sight.

A foot kicked open the passenger door of the pickup Cain was driving. That
was when the man with two faces came sliding out. The woman’s description had been right on. The skull tattoo on one side of his face was largely intact while the other side was burnt and torn open in places. He now looked on the outside like the monster he was on the inside. A Desert Eagle .50 cal pistol was wedged into the front waistband of his pants.

John searched around again for his rifle bef
ore remembering the S&W in his Serpa drop-leg holster.

The two men stood looking at once another, their fingers inching toward their pistols.

“Guess it’s gonna come down to who can draw faster,” Cain said. “Guess that makes you the sheriff, don’t it?”

“Looks that way,” John said, weakening every minute from the concussion he’d suffered.

“Or we just forget all this and let bygones be bygones.”

John wasn’t sure if Cain was suddenly feeling his mortality or stalling for time.
But he caught sight of the man’s hand inching toward the pistol sticking out from his jeans.

“You draw
and you die,” John said.

“I thought you’d say that,” Cain
growled. In one quick motion, he gripped the pistol in his jeans and pulled it out, holding the gun tilted at a ninety-degree angle like the gangbangers in the movies.

Three shots rang out of Cain’s
.50 cal hand cannon.

John dropped, rolled and came up with his S&W, emptying the entire magazine until
the slide locked.

Cain looked down in disbelief at the baggy shirt he was wearing, covered now in growing pools of blood. He sank to his knees and then fell face first, dead.

Chapter 46

T
hree months had passed since Cain had showed up looking for revenge. His men had been given the burial they deserved, which was to say a large pit had been dug in a clearing in the forest and what was left of them was dumped inside. Cain was left where he fell, to be picked clean by the wild animals. Nature had a way of recycling waste and it somehow seemed fitting.

Since that time, the Macks and the Applebys continued to improve the surrounding area. They had plenty of food and water and were starting to
almost feel secure. Space was still an issue with everyone sleeping in the cramped confines of the tiny cabin. Once Tim had recovered from his wounds, he and John got busy cutting down trees to begin construction on the cabin that would be next door.

Their first neighbor.

Gregory and Emma had even carved wooden house numbers and nailed them in place. The Macks were number one and the Applebys number two. The next question had been a natural one: What would they call this new street? And the answer had come to all of them just as easily.

How about Willow Creek?

Thank you for reading Last Stand: Surviving America’s Collapse!

 

This is my first novel, so I hope you enjoyed the story. I’m always grateful for a review. For thoughts, comments or feedback feel free to send me an email: [email protected]

 

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BOOK: Last Stand: Surviving America's Collapse
7.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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