Les Bund Part Two
Gayle was already through the front door with Gary close behind as Les stopped and allowed the two cops to enter as he scanned the street before stepping in, closing the door and locking it. Both of the children and Emily came out of the kitchen and stepped to the side as the cops entered and Gayle asked them to sit. After going through the cupboards earlier in the morning, she knew where to find what she needed to serve the officers.
Les held out his hand to shake and introduced himself; the two officers, John Connelly and Darin Hyde introduced theirselves as well.
“So,” Les started. “Why are you guys on foot?”
Hyde answered, “Front suspensions and the flood curbs we have around here don’t mix very well.” He pointed at Connelly, “John was driving and a civilian ran a red light and clipped us. We bounced off the other car and into one of those damn high curbs. The impact almost tore the right front wheel off the unit.”
“You couldn’t call for back-up to get you back to your station?” Gary asked.
“We tried,” Hyde continued. “But we’re spread really thin. Dispatch didn’t know when they could break someone loose to bring us in.”
“Well,” Gary started. “I guess I can give you a ride in after you have a quick bite to eat.”
Connelly nodded as he accepted a cup of coffee from Gayle, “We’d really appreciate that if you don’t mind.”
While Connelly sipped his coffee Hyde asked, “You folks seem to be pretty well armed; you wouldn’t happen to have any 5-5-6, or 2-23 Remington we could get off of you? We’re both almost out of ammo.”
“Sorry,” Les said. “All the rifles use 7-6-2 by 39 and the pistols use 7-6-2 by 25. Once you get back to the station you can resupply there, right?”
“I wish,” Hyde grumbled. “When we left last night they handed us two thirty round mags a piece and told us to make it last. The only people with a shitload of mags and ammo are the County and City SWAT guys.” Emily frowned at the officer’s use of profanity. “Sorry, Ma’am, but it’s been a long and stressful night.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Gary said. “Believe me; we know how stressful this morning has been. We had to shoot one of the infected in the entrance to my house.”
Les instantly went tense as the two officers both looked up at Gary.
“You had to shoot someone this morning?”
“Yeah, it was all I could do to get a bullet into him while Les held him down.”
Jesus, Les thought, It might be a good idea to shut-up, Gary!
“Did you shoot him in the head?” Hyde asked.
“Yeah, Les shot him three times, but the guy kept coming until I shot him in the head.”
Hyde sipped at his coffee as Connelly said, “You’re lucky, most folks don’t discover until it’s too late the only quick way to put them down is a head shot.”
Les began to relax as he opened the refrigerator, “What would you guys like, bacon and eggs with hash browns okay?”
“Anything quick and easy,” Hyde responded.
“I’ve got a box of breakfast sandwiches, Sausage, eggs, and cheese on English muffins. I can throw them in the microwave.” Opening the freezer he pulled out the box and checked the contents, “In fact, I’ve got enough here for everyone.”
“Les,” Hyde said. “I don’t care what you put in front of me; I’m going to eat it.”
Gayle took the box of sandwiches from Les, “Why don’t you guys figure out how you’re going to get John and Darin back to their station and I’ll heat these up?”
“Thanks, Gayle,” Les answered.
Hyde stood up and tapped the microphone of his radio strapped to his shoulder, “I’m going to step outside and call in to let them know we’re going to be coming in. I’ll be right back.”
He stepped out the door as Les watched.
“He’s really concerned,” Connelly said. “Everyone’s families were supposed to go to the station for safety, but the last we heard his wife and kids hadn’t shown up yet.”
“I see,” Les said. “How about you, is your family there?”
“No family. Divorced twice; no kids with either one.” He shrugged.
“Too bad,” Les said. He noticed the policeman’s eyes linger on Gayle’s ass and smiled to himself.
Connelly glanced through the window in the rear door where he could see Hyde talking animatedly into the microphone of his radio. “I saw the bars on the front windows when we came in; I see you have the rear door secured also. Does the whole house have security bars?”
“Yeah, now I’m wishing I would have had the cameras installed too.”
“That would be sweet,” Hyde answered.
Connelly looked back to the door as Hyde came back in, “What’s the word?”
Hyde looked upset, “Dispatch says they wanted everyone on patrol to report to the station, but now it’s surrounded by infected.”
“What about your family?”
“Nothing, they never arrived at the station.”
The room grew quiet as Gayle started placing the sandwiches on paper plates and then on the table. “Maybe we can take you by your home before we take you to your station?” She asked.
Hyde glanced around at everyone as his expression brightened, but the look of hope slid away, “No, dispatch says the freeways are starting to clog with people trying to get out of town. If that’s the case it would take forever to get over to Arcadia. The Lieutenant says he is going to try and get law enforcement over there to swing by and check on them. UPD has already done the same for one of theirs that lives in Upland.”
Emily walked into the kitchen, “Les, there’s a man coming to the front door and he has a gun!”
Les quickly walked from the kitchen towards the front door with everyone following. Stopping at the door he looked through the window in time to see the man from across the street knock. Placing his hand on his pistol, he opened the door.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hello,” the man answered. “My wife, my kids and I were wondering…” He trailed off for a moment and then rushed on, “We were wondering if we might shelter in your home? I have some food I can bring over because we were going to have a bar-b-que this weekend and we already bought all the meats, veggies, everything for about thirty people. Plus my son and I have firearms, so we can help defend the house. There’s just the four of us…it’s the bars on your windows; I always hated the look of them, but their looking pretty good today, know what I mean?”
Les chuckled, “Yeah, I know what you mean.” He glanced around at the rest of his houseguests, “What do you guys think?”
Hyde and Connelly didn’t answer; Gayle nodded yes and then frowned when Emily shook her head no. Gary said, “Sure.”
Les turned back to the man and held out his hand to shake, “Looks like the “ayes have it; my name’s, Les Bund.”
“Frank Connors,” the man answered. “It will take a while to load up the food and the family and then we’ll drive over, okay?”
“Sure thing,” Les said. “When I see you coming I’ll open my side gate and you can park near the rear door.”
“Thanks,” he said and then ran back across Euclid to his home.
Emily seemed out of sorts, “More guns, why are we letting people with guns come here? I mean…”
Gary frowned, “Em, we need the guns. More guns equal more safety, surely you can understand that.”
“No, they don’t! I was just reading a few days ago that you’re 42 times more likely to be killed or injured by a gun in your home than to ever use it to protect yourself with one!” She turned to Officer Hyde, “You know that, right? I mean you guys have to deal with gun accidents and murders all the time, right?”
Hyde looked at his partner and then answered, “Ma’am, let me put it this way, my wife has a gun close-by anytime I’m gone. When I am gone it’s her job to protect our children and when I’m home her job is to watch my back while I protect her and the children. Your safety and the safety of your children are your responsibility, it’s not mine, it’s not John’s, it’s not your neighbor’s, it’s yours.”
“Protecting us is your job!” Emily said. “It’s your job!”
“Ma’am,” Hyde said calmly, “Dial 911 right now and see who gets sent to protect you.”
Emily stuttered for a few seconds and then walked away. A moment later Gayle said, “Sorry,” and then followed her sister out of the room.
Gary watched her leave and then said, “She used that same argument on me a couple of months ago when I suggested we buy a gun. Now we have this crap going on.”
“This situation is going to shake a lot of people’s moral foundations,” Les said. “I think we may see an increase in gun ownership in California when this is over.”
“I hope so,” Hyde responded. “We’ve seen so many cases where people could have protected themselves if they just would have been armed.”
The room lapsed into silence as everyone ate the sandwiches Gayle had prepared and as they finished Hyde asked Gary, “When can you give us that ride?”
Before Gary could answer, Les asked, “Didn’t you say the station was surrounded by infected people?”
“Yeah, but they said all of the officers in the field were supposed to gather together and try to break through.”
“Okay, but what are the chances the cops have as much ammo as the two of you?” Hyde and Connelly glanced at each other before Les continued, “I can maybe spare a couple of my SKS rifles until we help you get in, but I’m going to need them back.”
Connelly nodded, “The problem may be whoever takes us might have trouble getting back out.”
From the entrance of the kitchen, Emily said, “Gary is not going; he has children to care for!”
“Emily…” Gary started to say.
“Wait,” Les said. “She has a point, but there really should be two of us that drive Hyde and Connelly back. It could be very important for someone to ride shotgun.”
“I already said I would drive them to their station,” Gary said as he glanced at Emily. “And I’m not going back on my word.”
“Hold on, Gary,” Les wanted to diffuse the situation before it got out of hand. “First off, both of your cars are small and cramped. We need a bigger vehicle and I have what we need; I’ve got a ton-and-a-half, four wheel drive, crew cab, dually in the garage. We’ll take that.”
Gayle looked out the kitchen window as a car drove past on the driveway, “Les, the Connors are here.”
“Crap! I thought it would take them longer to get loaded!” He said as he rushed towards the rear door. Running out, he opened the rear gate and let them pass through, but he suddenly noticed a group of six people running up his drive as the Connors passed. There was no mistaking they were infected. Unslinging his rifle, he brought it to his shoulder as he pulled the safety back and pulled the trigger almost simultaneously. Then he fired again as Connelly and Hyde joined in with their AR15s. Within moments all six of the infected were spread across the driveway dead.
Frank, and his son, both with rifles, ran up beside the three men as Hyde said, “Well, I’m out of ammo for the carbine.”
“Me too,” responded Connolly.
Connors looked at their carbines and then asked, “Your ARs, are they chambered for 5.56 NATO?”
“I’ve got some ammunition you can have.”
“Really? That would be great if we could get enough to reload our magazines.”
“How many mags do you have?”
“Three apiece,” Hyde said.
“180 rounds then? I’ll give you a flat 200.”
“Thanks, so much,” Connolly said and then continued, “Your ARs, are they California compliant?”
“Yes, they are.”
“Damn,” Connolly said. “It would be nice if you had thirty round mags and didn’t have those crappy “bullet buttons.””
“Yeah, but here in Cali only the government gets nice toys.” Frank pointed at the bodies in the driveway, “We should do something with the bodies, maybe drag them to the street or something and then wash the blood down.”
“Yeah,” Les agreed. “We should disinfect it also. I’ll get some bleach and a broom if you guys want to take care of the bodies. Oh, and I have some vinyl gloves and dust masks left over from a job I did a while back; we should probably wear them when we handle the bodies.”
Everyone agreed and they set about their tasks. When Les opened his garage to get a bottle of bleach he looked at his dually. He used the truck occasionally for his job, but it wasn’t primarily for work; it was his bug out vehicle in case he needed it. At the moment it was equipped with stake sides, which would be easy for an infected to scale, but with a little effort and time he could screw sheets of plywood, he had set aside for the storm shutters he planned for his house, to the truck. Grabbing a bottle of chlorine bleach, dust masks, vinyl gloves and a broom he hurried back to the driveway.
The two police officers were returning from the curb after dragging two bodies away and accepted gloves and masks from Les. Gary, Frank, and Frank’s son Roger, stood by watching the street with their weapons at the ready. Les began pouring bleach on blood stains and then unreeled a garden hose to begin washing away the bleach and blood. First he scrubbed the stains with his broom as Gayle joined him with another broom.
“This will go faster if I help,” she said.
“Thanks, Gayle.” Within minutes the bodies were removed and the blood washed away. Les waved everyone into the house and they gathered in the spacious living room.
“Okay, the next thing we need to do is get John and Darin back to the police station. I’m going to propose making some quick changes to my work truck before we leave,”
Connolly frowned, “What kind of changes?”
“I have some plywood I was going to use for a future home improvement project and I think it might be to our best interests if I screw some of them to the side rails of the truck; it will make it more difficult for any of the infected to climb into the back.”
“Can’t we just ride inside?” Connolly asked. “You said it was a crew cab, right?”
“Yes, we could, but I don’t want to have to stop and shoot infected people that might climb into the back of my truck. In addition, trying to shoot out the windows will restrict our ability to bring our weapons to bear in a concerted manner. With one or two shooters in the back I think we’ll be better off.”
“How many people are you thinking about taking?” Gary asked. “First I was going to take them, but you said I would need someone to ride shotgun on the way back. Now you’re talking about an additional one or two in the back of the truck.”
“Well,” Les said. “I was hoping you, Frank and Roger, and me would drive John and Darin to the station.” He looked at the man and his son. Roger looked at his father and Frank nodded in agreement.
“Whoa,” Gary said. Who’s going to look after the women and children while we’re gone?”
Frank spoke up, “My wife and daughter are pretty good shots if you have some spare guns they can use.”
Les pointed to Gayle and added, “Gayle is very good also and I have two extra SKS rifles Gayle can show your ladies how to use.”
Frank glanced at his wife and she quickly nodded her head in agreement, “Okay, sounds good. With the security bars on your house I don’t think we need to worry very much while we’re gone.”
“Alright,” Les said. “I’m going to go out and get started on the truck; it shouldn’t take long.” He looked to Gayle and said, “Gayle, can you take Mrs. Connor and her daughter down to the basement and run them through how to use the rifles?”
Frank stood up from the couch where he was sitting, “Can I give you a hand? I have a little construction experience.”
“Yeah, as a matter of fact we could use one more person to hold the sheets of plywood up while we screw them down.” Les looked at Frank’s son, “Roger do you want to help us out?”
“John and I can,” Darin said.
“No,” Frank answered. “You guys need to get some rest; you look pretty worn out. The three of us can handle the plywood.”
Les glanced at Frank wondering if perhaps Frank didn’t like cops very much.
Hyde nodded, “That’s a pretty valid point, I wouldn’t mind a nap.”
“What about me?” Gary asked.
“Stay here in the house,” Les answered. “Gayle is going to be in the basement with the Connor ladies, so it might be best if you’re up here with Emily and the kids.” Gary nodded and Les said to Frank and Roger, “Let’s go get this done.”
The three of them walked out the back door and to the garage. As they entered Frank asked Les, “Connolly and Hyde, I noticed before they didn’t seem to be very supportive of California compliant ARs; what do you think they would say if I told them I had a couple of lower receivers for my guns that didn’t have bullet buttons?”
Les stopped inside the door and looked at him, “Do you?”
Frank nodded, “I have some 30 and 20 round mags also.”
“With the current circumstances, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t care if you used them.”
Frank turned to Roger, “Son, go back to the car, take out the box of standard capacity magazines, take them in and start loading them up. Send Gary out here to help us. Use the two surplus cloth bandoliers for 20 round magazines for the police officers and load up the twelve thirty rounders for us. Put the thirty round mags in those new pouches I bought when we visited your uncle in Tucson; we’ll keep and use those.”
“Okay, Dad.” Roger quickly left the garage.
Les watched him leave and then said, “Good kid. He listened to you and got about what you wanted without any delay.”
“Yeah, he is. I’m lucky both of the kids are turning out so well.”
“It helps to have good parents to direct them.”
“I’m not so sure,” Frank said. “I’ve known real assholes that had great kids, and great parents that raised asshole kids. When you look at the nature versus nurture debate, I sort of fall on the nature side. Kids are going to be what they are and not so much what we’d like them to be.”
“I guess,” Les said. “Maybe someday I’ll be able to comment on that from experience, but I’m not holding my breath while I wait.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t seem to click very well with the ladies, you know?”
“Really? I thought you and that woman Gayle were sort of an item judging from the way she looks at you.”
Les looked at him and frowned.
“I guess I misjudged what I was seeing,” Frank muttered.
“Yeah, well, let’s see what we can get going here.”
With Gary’s help, Les and Frank measured the sides of the stake bed on the truck and were soon using Les’ circular saw to cut the plywood to fit. With the smooth plywood in place it would be difficult for an infected person to gain a purchase and climb up the side of the bed. They were just finishing screwing the plywood down when Les heard Gayle’s voice shouting his name.
The three of them glanced around the inside of the spacious garage as Gary said, “What the hell…”
“Les, I’m in the tunnel!”
Les trotted over and looked down into the service pit of the last parking space in the garage. Les’ father had covered the pit with sections of removable steel grating. He could see Gayle staring up at him.
“The sound of your sawing out here has drawn a lot of those crazy people!”
“Shit!” Les exclaimed. “How many?”
“I’m not sure, maybe thirty or forty. They’re in the backyard and some are out front!”
As Gayle was speaking they heard a resounding crash on one of the galvanized roll-up doors. Then another!
Les looked at Frank and realized he only had the one short magazine in his AR 15. “How many rounds do you have, Frank?”
“Just ten, it’s California legal. Roger is loading the standard capacity mags in the house.”
Gary only had one of the pistols stuck in his waistband. “Gary, do you have any spare mags for the pistol?”
“No, I didn’t think…I mean…we were going to be in here, so…sorry.”
“Alright, give me a hand and we’ll lift out one of the grates; we can get back to the house through there.” Les and Gary lifted the grate and slid it away. “You two go back to the house and get armed up; I’m going to stay here and go up on the roof beneath the solar array with my SKS and ammo. I’m going to start shooting then I want the rest of you to shoot from the house. I don’t know if it will help, but it might confuse the infected or something.”
“Okay,” Frank said and then dropped down into the pit; he was quickly followed by Gary as another loud crash vibrated the garage door. Les slid the grate back into place and watched as all three disappeared into the tunnel.
“Lock the tunnel door when you get to the basement in case they get into the garage!” Les shouted after them. Running to his work bench, he dropped his web gear over his head, grabbed his rifle and then ran to the ladder that went up to the roof of the garage. Opening the roof hatch, he climbed through and then moved to the edge of the garage beneath his solar array. Geez, there were a lot of the infected crowded around the three roll-up garage doors. He wasn’t really concerned about them getting past the roll-ups, but if enough of them attacked the regular door they might get in. Carefully positioning himself, he began to fire the rifle at the infected clustered around the garage.
Moments after he started firing he heard gunfire from his house. Glancing over as he reloaded his SKS, he saw John, Darin, Frank and Roger standing on the second floor balcony that overhung the patio beneath. Where were Gayle, Gary, and Emily? Looking farther, he saw another group of infected climbing the gate in the driveway and then sprinting into the backyard; more were turning into the drive from the street. Where the hell were they coming from? Why were they coming here? It had to be as Gayle suggested, noise, they had to be drawn by the noise of first the circular saw and now the rifle fire…shit!
It was too late now. Les and his friends had no choice, but to continue shooting. Finished with reloading the SKS Les resumed firing until he heard the sound of shattering glass and a shrill scream. Looking back at the house he saw an infected man with his arm thrust between the bars over the window of the rear door to the house. Twisting around, he aimed at the man’s back, but as he started to squeeze the trigger the man stumbled back and collapsed to the deck of the patio. The muzzle of an SKS protruded out and he saw the muzzle flash as it was fired before he returned his attention to the infected grouped about the garage doors. He kept firing and reloading as more infected replaced the ones being shot, and then something happened. He heard the sound of a motor coming from his driveway and as he turned and looked the front of a large truck burst through the gate of his driveway as it ran over numerous infected. He realized it was a commercial armored transport truck and as it entered the backyard gunfire erupting from its gun ports. Behind it, another truck of the same type had pulled in behind the first and was blocking the driveway.
The tempo of the gunfire from his house and the armored trucks increased as the infected began to fall and litter the backyard with their corpses. Scant minutes later, there were only a few of the infected left alive as they bled out from numerous bullet wounds. The doors of the first truck opened and several armed men stepped out; two of the men walked about and shot the alive, but incapacitated infected as the third shouted towards Les’ home.
“Hello, the house! All the Crazies are dead! It’s safe to come out!”
John Connolly shouted from the second floor balcony, “We’re up here! Thanks for the help!”
Seeing Connolly’s and Hyde’s uniforms, the man walked closer as he looked up, “You guys are cops?”
“Yeah,” Connolly answered. “These people gave us shelter when our patrol unit was damaged and they are going to try and get me and my partner back the UPD Station.”
“Oh yeah? That’s where my employees and I are headed. We heard the police station was surrounded and we thought we’d see if we could give them a hand.” He pointed out past the second truck, “I’ve got two more armored trucks in the street, do you want to ride in with us?”
While the men were talking back and forth, Les climbed down into the inside of the garage and then out the door. He walked up and joined the man from the truck talking while nodding at the other two who were making sure the infected were definitely dead.
Holding out his hand he said, “I’m Les Bund, the owner of the house. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your help.”
“No problem, my name is Gus Banner,” the man said as he shook Les’ hand. “We saw all the Crazies headed your way and thought we’d see what was going on. It looks as though you had a pretty good handle on things though.”
Les laughed, “Maybe, but I was sure glad when you guys showed up and opened fire.” Pointing at the logo on the side of the armored truck les asked, “Banner Armored Transport; can I assume you’re the owner?”
“Yeah, my dad was the original owner and I took over when he passed away.”
Les saw several of his people come out of the house and approaching, “We were just getting ready to drive the two policemen in ourselves, maybe we can join up with your group and give you a hand at the police station?”
“What kind of vehicle do you have?”
“Crew cab dually with a stake bed on the back; we just finished screwing plywood to the sides to give us some protection from the infected.”
“Well, I’ve seen some of these infected crazies jump and climb pretty high; are you sure you want to try that?”
“Do you have room inside of your trucks for more shooters?”
“Not really, I’ve got a man for every gun port and it’s kind of cramped in there with our supplies and extra ammo.”
“I guess we’re back to my truck then,” Les said.
“How many armed folks do you have?” Gus asked.
Gayle came out of the house and stood next to Les as Les answered Gus, “With the two cops we have six men armed. I thought we would leave the women here where they will be safe in the house.”
“You might need a medic, Les,” Gayle said.
Frank came out of the house and walked to the driveway where he studied the second truck blocking the driveway. Satisfied no infected could get past the large vehicle he joined Gayle, Les and Gus.
Gus looked at Gayle, “Are you a trained medic?”
“I’m a nurse,” she said, “And Les has a pretty good trauma kit I can use. Another point is I can shoot rather well.”
“She can,” Les said. “But I’d rather…”
“Good!” Gus said. “You might come in pretty handy. It might be best if you ride in one of my trucks though.”
“Gayle,” Les said. “If you come there won’t be anyone here that’s familiar with firearms.”
“My wife is,” Frank said. “She would need a gun though.”
“I have a spare SKS, what about your daughter?”
“She can shoot alright,” Frank said. “But she’s only thirteen. I’m not real comfortable with her being armed in a high stress situation and like my wife, she doesn’t have a gun.”
Gayle picked at the shoulder strap of her web gear as she said, “With the SKS, all this ammo, and the trauma kit I’m going to be overloaded; why don’t I leave the SKS for your daughter and she can back-up your wife and my sister?”
“What weapon will you use for protection?” Gus asked.
“Les gave me a pistol,” she answered. “And I can carry five or six spare mags.”
Everyone looked at each other for a moment and then Gus said, “Sounds good to me, but we need to make a decision right now; I want to get back on the road.”
Gayle started backing up as she said, “Just give me a minute to go over the guns with Frank’s wife and daughter and switch out to the pistol and extra magazines.” She turned and hurried away.
Gus watched her leave and then said, “You’re wife seems to have her shit together.”
“She’s not my wife,” Les said.
“Really?” Gus looked back at her as she disappeared into the house. “I sort of thought the two of you were together because of how she stood next to you. Is she with someone else?”
“No,” Les answered rather abruptly.
Gus smiled, “Maybe soon?”
Les pointed over his shoulder with his thumb, “I’ll pull my truck out of the garage and get some supplies loaded. We’ll need bottled water and some form of food in case we’re out for a while.”
“Okay,” Gus said as he watched Les quickly walk away.
In the garage, Les loaded two cases of bottled water and one case of MREs. Gus had said he had supplies in his armored trucks so Les wasn’t concerned about supplying his men. He glanced at his tank of diesel fuel and fuel cans, but the police station wasn’t that far from his home and he didn’t anticipate needing more than what the main fuel tank of his truck already held. Opening his garage door he then pulled the truck out and closed the door behind him. One bad thing he hadn’t ever thought of; the canteens and butt pack on his web gear seriously hampered his driving by pushing him into the steering wheel. Starting to take his LBE off he saw Roger come out the back door of his house and hand Frank a series of ammo pouches that Frank slung over one shoulder and a large canteen he placed over the opposite shoulder; Roger was wearing the same set-up.
Les waved them over and when they joined him he asked, “Frank, the gear I’m wearing makes it difficult to drive the truck, but I see you and Roger have different set-ups, would you mind driving with Roger as your shotgun?”
“No, I don’t mind, but does your truck have an automatic transmission, or a stick?”
“It’s a manual transmission, you can drive one, right?”
“I can, but Roger has never driven a stick, if he has to take over for me…”
“Damn,” Les said. “Okay, we’ll just have to deal with it some…” Gayle walked out with the trauma kit slung over one shoulder and stood talking to Gus until Les waved to her. When she joined them Les asked, “Gayle, can you drive a stick shift?”
“It’s been a while, but it’s like riding a bike, so yeah.”
“Have you ever driven a large truck?”
“Yeah, I worked for my Dad’s delivery service when I was going to college.”
“Okay, can you ride in the backseat in case Frank is incapacitated in some way, so you can take over?”
“Okay, but if someone is injured and they need me to work on them and I need to drive…”
“Shit,” Les said. He looked around and called Gary over. “Gary, you can drive a stick shift, right?”
“Okay, you ride shotgun for Frank and Roger will ride in back with me, John, and Darin.”
“Okay,” Gary answered.
“Everyone ready?” He asked. Everyone nodded, “Okay, let’s load up.” As everyone began to get into the cab or the back of the truck Les walked to Gus.
“Gus, are you ready?”
“Yeah, do you have a CB radio in your truck?”
“No, but I have four walkie-talkies that I pass out to guys on my work crews so we can talk on the job.”
“Good, we have CBs even though we don’t use them much. How about we all tune in to channel one and go from there?”
“Sounds good,” Les said. “What route are you going to take to the station?”
“The most direct route; we’ll go straight down Euclid to 13th and then straight over to the police station.”
“Alright,” Les said. “We’ll follow your trucks, okay?”
“You bet,” Gus said as he directed the driver of the truck blocking the driveway to back out before he climbed into his own.
Les ran to the back door of his house and stepped inside, “Emily! We’re leaving now, so lock all the doors and do not go outside for any reason what-so-ever, okay?”
Emily walked into the kitchen, “Okay, Les. Tell Gary and Gayle to be careful, please?”
“We will be,” he answered. "I don’t think we’ll be gone long, but if we are don’t worry about it.”
She nodded as Les closed the door and then climbed into the back of his dually. Stepping to the front he tapped on the rear slider window and motioned for Gayle to unlock it, which she did.
“Gayle, there are walkie-talkies in the center console. Give one to me, one to Gary, and you keep one, okay?”
She nodded and pulled the radios from the console and passed them out, “I guess this is it, huh?” Her eyes were rather round and as she handed Les his radio she squeezed his hand, “You guys be careful back there.”
Les smiled and squeezed her hand in return as he asked, “When this is all over, maybe we can get a cup of coffee together sometime?”
“Here, or in San Diego?”
“Well, uh, wherever you want.”
She smiled as she said, “Sure.”
He told her to close and lock the rear window as he stood and grabbed the top of the plywood siding as Frank turned onto Euclid and followed the armored trucks.
John moved next to Les and asked, “So, what’s the plan?”
“Plan? Shit, I have no idea and we won’t until we get there.”
John smiled, “Cluster fuck, I feel right at home.”
“Ow!” Roger said loudly. “I got a splinter!”
Les glanced at him as Roger hooked his elbow over the side of the plywood and began to dig at his palm with his fingernails. Darin leaned close to examine Roger’s hand and then looked him in the eye, “Do you want to know what we said when someone got wounded in Afghanistan?”
Roger looked up at the big policeman and asked, “What?”
“Rub some dirt on it and get back in the fight.”
They stood there staring at one another and finally Darin laughed as he rubbed Roger’s hair and turned away. Roger frowned and then held his hand up to the sun trying to see the splinter. Les turned around and saw Gus’ trucks make the turn at 13th and head west. Frank followed them. At Mountain Boulevard two of the armored trucks went through the signal and two others were stopped as the light turned red. Frank stopped behind them and waited as the first two trucks slowed to a stop on the other side of the intersection and waited for them. Behind them a pickup truck with half a dozen armed men in the back pulled up and stopped as well.
“Jesus,” Les said aloud. “We’re trying to rescue the police and we’re waiting on a damn red light!”
Les turned around and saw one of the men in the rear of the pickup waving at him. “Yeah?”
“Are you headed for the UPD Station?”
“Yeah! You too?” Les asked.
“Yeah! We’re going to follow you guys, alright?”
“Sounds good!” Les shouted back.
The light turned green and the growing convoy of volunteers accelerated through the intersection. Darin was speaking into his radio and suddenly shouted at Les, “Get on your radio! Tell Gus not to approach the station from the east; a group of civilian militia has blocked the road just west of the station and are shooting at the infected down 13th in our direction!”
Les immediately passed the word to Gus and the armored trucks slowed to a halt. Darin was listening to his radio again and finally said, “The station is organizing all the shooters they can contact. They want to set up an ELL shaped formation with the foot at the west entrance to the station and everyone else on the south side of the street. They’re suggesting anyone that wants to help to get on the roofs of the modular homes across the street from the station so they can fire down at the infected and be somewhat safe from them and from friendly fire.”
Les relayed the information to Gus and then Darin spoke again. “I told them we had four armored transport trucks and the Chief says if the trucks were to bear down on the crowd of infected they could literally kill hundreds by simply running over them!”
Once again Les relayed the information and discussed with Gus what they should do. Finally, he turned to those around him as John fired his patrol carbine at a nearby infected. “We’re going to turn around and drive back down Mountain to see if we can find a way over to the modular home tract the Chief told us about. Gus will keep his trucks here until we are in position and then make a run down 13th with two of the trucks to see what kind of damage he can do. While he’s doing that we start picking off the infected from the roofs of the houses across the street. Is everyone good with that?”
From behind him Les heard someone from the pickup shout, “Hey! My aunt used to live in there and I know how to get there from here! Do you want to follow us?”
“Lead the way!” Les shouted.
They definitely knew where they were going and how to get there, but first they had to put down several infected before they could dismount from the trucks. Once out they searched until they found several ladders and the two groups of shooters climbed to the roofs of the modular homes that overlooked 13th. Without delay, they set about firing into the mass of infected milling about the police station. Les called Gus on his radio and informed him they were in position and within moments two of Gus’ armored trucks accelerated down 13th towards the police station. As the trucks approached, Les and his fellow shooters slacked off on their gunfire to observe the effects they would have on the crowd. The infected at the east end of the crowd turned at the sound of the trucks and began running towards them as the heavy vehicles bore down on them like juggernauts. The trucks began slamming into the people running towards them; the bodies were literally being propelled dozens of feet away as they were struck. Those that were thrown forward and down in front of the vehicles were crushed by the weight of the vehicles as they passed over them. They were twisted, turned, and torn apart as their bodies tumbled beneath the speeding behemoths. Finally, the trucks hit the main body of the infected and Les was stunned by the sheer butchery that resulted.
Beside him, Gayle whimpered, “Oh, my God!” She turned away and covered her mouth with her hands.
Of all the shooters on the roofs only one man cheered as the others simply stared at the carnage. All firing ceased as they tried to accept what they were seeing. Les finally shook himself and then shouted, “Don’t stop firing! We have to stop as many as we can while they are confused! Shoot for the head!”
Everyone resumed firing as the trucks slowed and finally came to a stop as the drivers began to turn the vehicles around. Then the second two trucks began their run up 13th as the first two began to pick up speed and once again pass through the crowd headed back east. Where the four trucks passed each other going in opposite directions a cloud of red mist exploded upwards and outwards. Reaching their turn around points they once again reversed their directions and once again began to race towards one another, this time though two of the trucks speeding over the pavement, turned slippery with blood and body parts, clipped one another as they passed. The truck heading west lost complete control, swerved up onto the sidewalk, struck a lamppost, then flipped onto its side in front of the police station and in the midst of the largest portion of uninjured infected.
The wrecked truck was instantly swarmed by the infected and they began to cover it with their bodies as the scrambled over it seeking a way in. Les, and several others concentrated their rifle fire at the infected on and around the vehicle, but within moments a frantic cry came over the radio.
“Do not fire at the truck’s bottom! The protection there is weak and high velocity bullets are penetrating the metal floor!”
Les warned the others and then shifted his fire to the side and top of the armored truck, but turned as Gayle frantically pulled on the sleeve of his shirt. He couldn’t hear what she was saying over the incessant gunfire, but he could see where she was pointing; a group of infected were climbing the low block wall that separated the housing tract from 13th. He shifted his aim and began shooting them. In his haste, he started aiming for the torsos of the crazies because he feared too many would make it to a point below the houses where he wouldn’t be able to hit them. Maybe they would bleed out before they reached the ladders…the ladders!
Les spun about and started to run to the ladder they had used to access the roof they were on, but Gayle was already there pulling the light-weight aluminum ladder up to the roof where she dropped it. She then raced to the edge of the roof and began to wave her arms at the men shooting from the next roof. She finally gained the attention of one of them and with a propitious lull in the shooting warned him to pull their ladder up also. The man ran to where the ladder was at, started to lean over to pull it up, then stopped, swung up his bolt action rifle, fired and then twice more downwards. Dropping the rifle beside him, he grabbed the ladder and tried to pull it up, but it snapped back down. He lost his balance and teetered back and forth before finally tipping too far and fell head first off of the roof.
Gayle screamed for help as she drew her pistol and emptied the magazine at the bottom of the ladder. Les ran to her and fired once into the mass of infected that were boiling over the fallen man, but had to stop and reload his rifle with another stripper clip from one of his pouches. By the time he was reloaded and began to fire into the crowd, the man who had fallen was dead. Two more men ran to the ladder and while one shot the infected trying to climb it, the second pulled the ladder up and out of the infected’s reach. Once the ladder was up, the two men looked over the side at the gruesome spectacle below. One of the men covered his eyes as the second started shooting into the crowd.
Les joined in until all of the infected were down. Glancing over at the two men, he saw one of them reload his bolt action rifle with only three rounds. They were using hunting rifles that could only hold three cartridges legally. Though he wished he had high capacity magazines, he was glad his SKS at least held ten. Returning to his original position, Les saw the three remaining armored trucks had pulled up next to the overturned one and were closely parked to it. Gunfire was erupting from the trucks gun ports.
The day passed slowly as Les and his friends’ ammo supply became depleted. When the sun began to lower itself in the west the gunfire began to slow and finally stopped as the infected fell one after the other until there were none left. Oddly, before the shooting died away, some of the infected that had previously lay on the street rose and began to stumble about, but they were not only shot, they were also attacked by the infected surging around them. Les couldn’t fathom why the infected should turn on their own; he hadn’t seen them do it before.
In the end, the militia group that had blocked the west end of 13th came out from behind their vehicles and slowly progressed down 13th to the east shooting the infected one last time to be sure they were finished. Checking his pouches, Les discovered he only had twenty rounds left. He had never been particularly religious, but he thanked God his ammo had lasted the day. Les wasn’t the only person short on ammunition; everyone in his group were either out, or almost out of ammo.
Everyone on the roofs stayed where they were until the members of the militia had passed by before lowering their ladders and leaving the roofs of the modular homes. Boarding their trucks, Les had Frank follow the pick-up out onto 13th and into the driveway of the police station where John and Darin said their goodbyes and entered the station to report in. As Les watched, Gus and his followers attempted to return the overturned armored truck to its wheels, but the road and sidewalk surfaces were too slick with blood for the other trucks to gain purchase. Gus decided to return the next day with a wrecker and reclaim the truck.
After gathering up Gayle, Frank, Roger, and Gary, Les had Frank return to his house where they unloaded and then set to the task of repairing the broken gate to Les’ backyard and garage. Throughout the remainder of the day they had to periodically gather together and take out small groups of infected that were drawn to the sound of Les’ work tools. As the sun set, they entered the house and sat down to a meal prepared by Frank’s wife, Emily, and Gayle.
Once they had finished eating they sat down together in the living room and filled in those who had stayed, with what had happened during the fight at the UPD station.
“Emily and I listened to the news today,” Frank’s wife said. “They say armed civilians everywhere started going out in groups and killed the infected. They say if we keep it up we may see a slowing and maybe even a complete stop to the crazy plague.”
“I suppose that’s possible,” Les said, but he looked concerned.
Gayle rose from where she was sitting and sat next to Les, “You don’t think so?” She asked.
“No, I think if everyone continues with what we did today, then yes, I think we can eventually get control of the infected, but there are other things to consider.” He looked at Frank’s wife and asked, “Were there any estimates of how many people have been infected or killed?”
Emily answered, “They said tens of thousands of people have been killed and quite a bit more infected.”
Les nodded, “I was afraid that might be the case.”
Gayle listened intently to what he said, and then asked, “What else are you concerned about?”
Les looked around the room before he answered her, “I’m wondering how many of the dead, or infected, had jobs that were critical to our infrastructure? How many people would we have to lose before things start to break down? Can we hold things together until others can be trained to take the place of those we have lost? I don’t know.”
“Jesus,” Gayle said. “Even if we manage to actually get control of the infected we could be looking at some real trouble down the road.”
Les raised his head and looked into her eyes, “I think so,” he said. “If we have lost too many people with the knowledge we need, how long will it take for that loss of capability to catch up to us?”
“If things get a little better,” Gayle said. “I’d like to drive home to San Diego and maybe bring some of my belongings here until we know for sure how things are going to turn out. You know, my guns and other preps I have put away.” She reached out and squeezed Les’ hand, “If I thought I’d be welcome.”
“You’d be more than welcome,” Les replied. “Maybe I could drive you down?”
She smiled as she said, “I think I’d like that.”