Authors: M.D. Massey
Tags: #dystopian, #werewolf, #shapeshifter, #horror, #vampire, #vampire hunter, #post apocalyptic, #zombie, #werewolves, #werewolf hunter, #zombie hunter, #apocalypse, #post apocalyptic books, #Zombie Apocalypse
“Yeah, well—I lost a bet with Kelley, so here I am. Should have stayed out of that game—I’m pretty sure Kelley deals off the bottom of the deck.”
The soldier screwed his face up, then laughed. “Yeah, I’ve lost my fair share of rations and smoke to those guys.” He reached down and gave me a hand as I climbed up the wall. “Cox, Carter, and I are just coming on shift.” He nodded to a figure standing about twenty meters away, walking the opposite direction. “You can take sector charlie”—he pointed at a dark shipping container down the way from us—“and patrol from the blue container over to that far corner at the tip of the diamond on the opposite side of the wall. Just stay moving, and check back in with us at the gate every half hour or so.”
I nodded. “What if I need to take a piss break?”
He gave me a look like I was stupid. “Just piss off the wall, man. Shit, I thought you rangers was hardcore.”
I grinned. “Well, it’s not really a piss I’m looking to take. I got a hot date with that Latina doctor over at the med station. Been working her all week.”
Topo looked at me like I’d just pulled a rabbit out of my ass. “Shee-yit, ain’t nobody been able to tap that since she came. Colonel’s got her on lockdown, won’t let any of us have a taste.” He leaned in and smiled. “Think she’d be willing to pass it around a little?”
I shrugged and looked around, as if to keep things on the down low. “Maybe. I mean, she seems pretty straitlaced, but I bet if she got some hootch in her she’d loosen up.”
Topo’s eyes lit up. “Alright. Allll-right! My man is on the ball.” He leaned down and stage-whispered to the gate guard. “Carter! Go over to the tent and grab my hootch.”
Carter climbed halfway up the wall. “Aw, shit man, you know if the sergeant major catches us drinking on guard duty again, he’s gonna put us on KP for a month.”
Topo gave him a sour look. “Oh, you must not want to get laid then. That’s alright, I get it.” He backed up a step with his hands in the air.
“What do you mean—you get hooked up with that nurse from the med station again? She’s got a face like a horse—not that I’m complaining.”
Topo grinned. “Naw, man, something better. My man Sullivan here has a date with the Doc.”
Carter looked unconvinced. “She’s wound up tighter than a two-dollar watch. Ain’t no way he’s makin’ time with her.”
“My man knows how charm, apparently. So, go get that hootch before someone sees you off the gate.”
Carter shook his head and ran off. Topo chuckled and bumped fists with me. “We gonna party tonight! But we can’t all be off watch at once, and we gotta let the guys who patrol down below in on it too.” He looked thoughtful for a moment, rubbing his chin with a gloved hand. “You go get her once the camp settles down, say after twenty-hundred hours. Get your rocks off, and get her all liquored up, then bring her over here. We got a guard room down here by the gate where we can take turns, let all the boys in on it.”
I nodded, but deep down inside I wanted to punch Topo in the throat. “Sounds like a plan.”
“Good. Now get on watch before Sergeant Major sees us yapping and tears us a new one. Or worse, pulls you off wall watch. That’d screw everything up.”
I gave him a two-fingered salute. “Here’s to twenty-hundred hours.” Then I walked off to patrol sector charlie, wondering if it’d be worth the risk to kill these worthless mouth breathers on the way out.
- - -
bout fifteen minutes before twenty-hundred hours, Bobby gave me the sign that he was in position. The little dumb shit made a bird call that sounded like something from a Tarzan movie; luckily, he did it softly enough so the other guards couldn’t hear. I made a mental note to teach him some accurate local bird calls later, but for now I was just glad they got my message. I reached down under the makeshift plywood bridge I was standing on and grabbed the party favors I’d asked them to bring. I tucked them away, and then walked over to the gate.
Topo looked over at me as I walked up. “Shit, you’re ten minutes early.” Then he grinned like a cartoon version of the big bad wolf. “I get it—been a while, eh? Alright, go do what you gotta do—but make sure you bring that bitch back over here when you finish,
“Will do.” I climbed down the wall and headed over to the CHU where the doc slept. As I rounded the corner, I saw a guard slumped down in a plastic lawn chair outside the door. He was out cold; anyone walking by would assume he was just sleeping, but the last thing I needed was the sergeant major or the colonel coming by and catching him out cold. We needed to move, and fast.
I walked into the trailer and found the captain tying up the nurse, with the second guard hog-tied right beside her. Both were gagged and they looked like someone had slipped them each a Mickey. The doc barely registered my presence as I walked in. “I’d take her with us, but she’s loyal to these sorry bastards. And a slut.” She looked up at me and stood. “Let’s go.”
I put a hand out and stopped her from leaving the unit. “Hold on—we’re supposed to be bumping nasties. We have to make this look good.”
She rolled her eyes. “Seriously? I doubt you’d take longer than thirty seconds. And these
? Puh-lease. Trust me, if you take too long they’ll know something’s up.”
I weighed her advice and decided we should wait a few more minutes at least. I handed her a clear plastic bottle with a milky yellow liquid in it. “Here, slosh some of this on you and rinse your mouth with it.”
She took the bottle, opened the cap and sniffed it, then gagged. “Ugh! I can’t believe they drink this stuff. The hangovers must be brutal.” She pinched her nose with her free hand and did as I advised, handing the bottle back and grimacing. I could smell the hootch on her from where I was standing; a combination of rotten fruit and grain alcohol, with a bit of puke on the back end. Lovely.
I splashed some on me, and then checked my watch. “Alright, that’s long enough, I suppose. Remember to act drunk when we walk over.” I unclipped my combat folder from my rig and handed it to her. “One of the guys is going to get friendly with you once we’re at the gate. Just play along, but if he gets rough—well, you’re a trained medical professional, you know what to do with that.”
The doc flicked it open, tested the edge, flourished the blade a few times, and then palmed and pocketed it in a motion that made it seem as if the knife had disappeared. I waggled an eyebrow at her.
“I grew up around a bunch of boys in a tough neighborhood, remember? You’re Latino, you should know we like to play with knives.”
I harrumphed in response. Sure, I liked to play with knives just as much as the next guy, but even after the apocalypse I wasn’t keen on promoting racial stereotypes. “Just be sure he doesn’t make any noises that don’t sound like humping, and we might get out of here in one piece.” I gestured to the door with a wave of my arm and a bow. “My lady, your date awaits.”
She walked by and popped me with a respectable horizontal elbow strike to the gut that caused me to exhale with force. “Let’s just get this over with.”
- - -
e walked back to the gate, the doc hanging on my arm and stumbling every few steps. She’d even unbuttoned her ACU jacket to reveal a bit of cleavage, courtesy of the tight olive-drab tank top she wore underneath.
I leaned over and whispered, “Man, you can really slut it up when you have to.”
She stumbled into me and elbowed me again. “Eyes front, asshole.”
Deciding that two could play that game, I reached over and scooped her up, goosing her ass as I did so. I decided to carry her the last fifteen feet or so, to avoid another one of those vicious elbows. She still got in a heel kick to my nuts that I barely managed to take on the thigh. I winced and made it look like I was having fun, while the doc squealed like a sorority girl at her first frat party.
“Woo-hoo! I heard there was a party at the gate!” She rolled her head around and whipped her hair in my face. Twice. I spat hair out of my mouth in an attempt to clear my airway.
Topo whispered down at me, “Damn, son, you got her plastered! Shit, get her in the gatehouse before she wakes up the whole compound.” Carter opened up a makeshift door that had been cut out of the shipping container next to the gate. He ushered us in, and then showed me where they’d managed to rig a secret entrance into the next container over, behind some metal utility chests that were stacked head high. Carter then backed out, looking the captain up and down as he left. Once we were clear I set the doc down and rubbed my thigh, and then I leaned in to whisper in her ear. “Well, that’s going to leave a mark.”
“Stop being a baby,” she replied with equal amounts of scorn and amusement in her voice.
“Last time I take you out on a cheap date and leave you with a serial rapist.” She huffed at that. “Now remember, I have to give the signal, so you need to stall him.”
I could hear her patting the knife in her pocket in the dark. “I make no promises.”
“Then just keep it quiet.” I walked out and climbed up on the wall. “She’s all yours, Topo.”
He grinned and rubbed his hands together. “Aw, hell, I’ve been eyeing that sweet piece of ass since she got here.” He began climbing down, but paused when his head was level with my feet. “Oh, I almost forgot. Carter’ll let me know if anyone comes around with some weight on their collar. But if someone asks for me, I’m taking a shit.”
I nodded. “You got it.” I turned as if to walk off down the wall, then paused before I’d even taken a step and chuckled. “Hey, Topo—just a fair warning, she likes it rough.”
He grinned, wide enough for me to see his teeth in the dim light from the watch fires we’d lit in fifty-gallon drums earlier. “Oh, I’ll take care of that. She ain’t gotta worry about me being gentle.”
I watched him disappear into the guardhouse, and then pulled a matchbook from my pants pocket. Matches were hard to come by these days, and I hated to use one like this. But it was the easiest way for me to signal Gabby and Bobby, so I had little choice in the matter. I pulled out a corncob pipe and some tobacco I’d won in a card game two nights previous and lit up with the match.
Once the smell of tobacco wafted down to Carter, he looked up. “Hey, you mind if I—”
A loud explosion sounded from the rear of the compound, right where I’d told them to set it. I just hoped they were able to figure out how to set off the Claymore without blowing themselves sky-high in the process.
Soon, the explosion was followed by howls that pierced the night. I yelled out at the top of my lungs, “It’s a ’thrope attack!”
Carter looked up at me with fear in his eyes, and then ran back to the gate. He began looking out the porthole in the sheet metal doorway, intently searching the night for ’thropes. “I don’t see anything!” he cried out.
After another howl, he panicked and began blindly firing off into the night, making it easy for me to drop down behind him and rip out his throat with my bowie. As he stood there unsteadily, gurgling and spurting blood, I slashed twice more across his face, parallel to the initial cut. Anyone inspecting him in this light would hopefully think he got killed by a ’thrope. I let him go and watched him crumple to the ground, carefully wiping my knife on his BDU jacket before sheathing it.
After dragging Carter a few feet out of the way, I unlatched the gate and went back into the guardhouse. As I walked in, Captain Perez was crawling out from behind the utility crates, buttoning up her ACU jacket. “Topo?” I asked as she stood up.
“I punched him in the throat when he got distracted by the explosion.”
“Eh, too bad. I really wanted to do that to him.”
“Yeah, well—I made sure he was still breathing, then I knocked him out cold. He should be fine, but I doubt he’ll be singing opera anytime soon.”
“That’s also too bad—I really don’t think he deserved such gentle treatment.”
She snorted a laugh. “I’m a medical professional, Scratch. I’ll kneecap somebody in a heartbeat, but I won’t kill unless I have no alternative.”
“Your call.” I threw her Carter’s ACU cap, and she hurriedly put it on, tucking her hair up under it in an effort to disguise herself. Once she was ready, I pushed her out the door and toward the gate. “Gate’s open. Better take off before someone gets here.”
She turned and got in my face. “Wait, you’re not coming with me?”
“I’m going to be right behind you—there’s just something I have to do first.”
She growled in frustration before replying. “Just don’t get yourself killed—it’s not worth it.” Then she turned and ran out the gate. I shut it after her and ran back into the compound, which was now milling with militiamen in various states of undress. Many were running around in their underwear, carrying rifles and heading up on the wall. I could already see some muzzle flashes and hear the sounds of gunfire from various points around the perimeter.
Those fools didn’t know it, but they were shooting at ghosts. Before I left, I’d instructed Bobby and Gabby to use some old BDUs we’d found in the airfield supply room and turn them into scarecrows. They probably had a half dozen set up in the tree line around the wall, giving the militiamen something to shoot at while they ran around howling in the night. Assured of the fact that the troops would be occupied for a brief time, I started scanning the compound for my target. Sure enough, it didn’t take long before I spotted the colonel, barking orders in front of one of the quonset huts at the center of the facilities.
I ran forward and ducked to cover behind the CHUs, peeking around the corner to be sure I had the right range and a clear line to the colonel. Then, I pulled the pin on a frag grenade and let it fly. The explosion sounded off a few seconds later, and as I surveyed the aftereffects, I could see the fat bastard rolling around on the ground, bloodied and crying for help. I decided to finish the job, and took a bead on him with my HK.
Just as I was about to pull the trigger, I heard a loud voice sound off behind me. “Hey, what the hell are you doing? The wolves are out there!”
I turned around to see Ratcliff yelling at me from about thirty feet away.
. “I just thought I saw one get inside the wall—false alarm.” I cursed my bad luck, and hoped to hell that that Colonel Klink would bleed out before the night was up.