The Next Night

As the mobiles sped away Christopher radioed, “You can leave your fighting positions.”

Bud was excited jumping and running around, “We showed them.”

Christopher shaking his head, “We did. I hope that was their entire group, and not part of a larger one. They will lick their wounds for a day or two, perhaps. We’ll eat dinner here close to our fighting position in case they’re more vengeful than scared.”

“Bud, Claudia. Come with me. We’ll make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone with cookies and milk.” said Sylvia.

“I’ll help too.” said Natalie.

“It looks like you and me, Bryan. You did well today.” said Christopher.

I’ve killed no one before today. I just made believe it was a video game. That far away it didn’t seem real, but it was, wasn’t it. said Bryan.

“Bryan, there’s honor in protecting your family. If you didn’t kill them, they would have killed you along with the rest of us as well. Grab your binoculars. We need to monitor these scavengers.” said Christopher.

In the kitchen, Natalie and Sylvia were making sandwiches as Bud and Claudia were filling one carafe with milk and another with coffee.

Sylvia could see Natalie shaking as she spread the peanut butter.

Sylvia put her hand on Natalie’s arm, “It’s going to be alright, dear. You did it to protect us all. Chances are you will have to do it again. Just think of Claudia and Bud when you are shooting. They’re worth protecting and yourself. You have more life to live, don’t let the scavengers end it. We are in control of our destiny. Not them.”

Natalie wiped away a tear, “I know you are right, Sylvia. I will be strong for everyone. That’s what women do best. We stay strong for our family.”

Sylvia put her arm around Natalie and gave her a hug, “That’s right my dear, we stay strong for our family. Now, let’s have a picnic with Christopher and Bryan.”

With a blanket on the ground, they ate their sandwiches and cookies, drank their milk and coffee close to the fighting positions., having a grand time.

The town was buzzing with activity, but calmed after midnight.

Bud and Claudia took their positions at 0700 hours to monitor the town. A picnic lunch was prepared, with sandwiches, potato chips and soda. Christopher asked Claudia what they had been seeing in town. Claudia reported mobiles moving all over town, but that was it. Christopher thought there’s something going to happen and happen soon. Christopher, after lunch, told Bud and Claudia to radio if anyone or anything heads toward the mountain.

Back in the cave, Christopher had a more serious conversation, “We may have visitors tonight. Natalie, Bryan, Sylvia. I need you all to get some rest before nightfall. If nothing else, just lay in your bed with your eyes closed until your watch. If they come tonight, whoever is here will bring Bud and Claudia to their fighting position. We don’t want them running around if they hear gunfire. They will be safer in their fighting position. If we work together as we did yesterday, we’ll be fine. Since I have the last watch, I’ll stay with the kids until I’m relieved. The rest of you get some rest.”

Christopher put on his helmet and headed toward Bud and Claudia.

After Christopher left, Sylvia turned to Natalie and Bryan, “Christopher has a good plan. Let’s get some rest. Set your alarms for your watch times. I’ll turn the base radio up so we can hear if they need us.”

They went to their rooms to rest as best they could.

At 1800 hours Natalie relieved the children and Christopher. Two hours into her watch, she noticed convoys of five to ten mobiles leaving town, but heading away from them. There were mobile lights moving everywhere.

Bryan started his watch at 2100 hours. He to saw mobiles leaving town, but two hours into his watch twenty mobiles gathered facing toward the mountain. He watched as they formed two lines of ten and started toward his location.

Bryan radioed, “Alert, Alert. Twenty mobiles heading this way. Alert, Alert.”

Soon everyone was in their fighting positions. While the twenty mobiles raced toward the mountain, Christopher reminded everyone of the night fighting plan. When the mobiles hit the barbed wire, the concrete post stopped all but five mobiles. After hitting the concrete posts, scavengers got out of their mobiles. Christopher ignited the first row of napalm. Lighting up the entire area with flames.

Christopher radioed, “Take out the windshields.”

Shots rang out, shattering glass in the five mobiles. Christopher then ignited the second row, setting the mobiles and some occupants on fire. The mobiles stopped and their occupants fled the burning cars.

Christopher then radioed, “Automatic weapons and flares.”

As machine gun and automatic rifle fire rang out, flares illuminated the area. After ten minutes there was no detectable movement.

Christopher radioed, “Cease fire and stop flares. Scopes to infrared. Call out targets”

The scans revealed 15 hiding in the tall grass. Christopher radioed, “You know what to do, call your targets.”

Targets were called out and shots hit their mark. Soon five more were killed. The remaining ten sprang up, running toward town. Christopher radioed, “Flares and automatic weapons.”

When the ten fell, Christopher called for a cease fire. He then took his binoculars and switched to infrared. There were some heat signatures, but they were fading. He radioed, “Any one hurt? I need a casualty report.”

Natalie radioed, “Just a few scratches.”

Bryan radioed, “A bullet grazed me but I’m OK.”

Sylvia radioed, “Everyone here is fine.”

Christopher radioed, “Sylvia, check them out. Leave Bud and Claudia in the fighting position. Put your scopes on infrared and scan the battlefield. Sylvia will be there soon.”

Sylvia checked out Bryan, Natalie, then Christopher. When Sylvia entered Christopher’s fighting position, she found him leaning on the wall with a gunshot wound to his left shoulder. “Can you walk?” asked Sylvia.

“I can walk.” said Christopher.

Sylvia radioed, “Bud, Claudia back to the house. Natalie, Bryan, be vigilant. I’m taking Christopher back to the house.”

Natalie radioed, “Is he alright?”

Sylvia radioed, “He’ll be fine. He needs a larger bandage. Keep us safe, you two.”

Bryan radioed, “Will do. It’s clear to go.”

Published by M.Short

As a 19 year old CW2 helicopter combat pilot, M. Short served as an aircraft commander being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and eleven Combat Air Medals while serving the U.S. Army in the Vietnam war. His passion for Science Fiction and his experiences in combat as a pilot gave him his inspiration for the series -A Saga of Dogs of War. A Mercenaries Story. His series starts in 2235 after the Earth starts to heal from a cataclysmic event. The series follows the lives and experiences of one mercenary clan as they reclaim the Earth for their corporate sponsor, XTECH.

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