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A Change of Major (Chapter Fifteen)

I have hunted rabbit and dove before.I went deer hunting once and shot a small buck and when I came upon the creatures still body, I was amazed what one cartridge could do to an animal that large.

I killed two men today. I keep replaying it and thinking that maybe it didn't happen and that it was all my imagination, but I know that is just shock. It happened. Their bodies are a few miles behind me laying in the road in the rain.

The day after Hobbs, we started walking west towards Austin but really with not any particular destination in mind. I was wearing my poncho, but had my shotgun slung across my chest, covered with a trash bag and hanging on a piece of 550 paracord. It was raining steadily and the sides of the road were muddy so we stayed ion the right hand side of the two lane state highway. A small overpass was up ahead and there were two cars parked in the road. They appeared abandoned as both had doors or hoods open and there were no people around.

When we reached the first car we heard someone yelling at us from up ahead on the left. Two guys than appeared from behind the second car. The first one had reddish brown hair, a scraggly beard and was wearing a dirty brown jacket, a tshirt and jeans. The other guy also had a scraggly beard, was wearing a gray coverall and had a plastic shopping bag in one hand and a stick or piece of pipe in the other.

The red headed guy was about one hundred feet from us and had a big grin on his face and was yelling "Hey, guys! What's up? Hang on a minute! You got a sec? We want to talk to you!"

What struck me about him was his right arm was behind his back like something was wrong with it. My hackles went up and I brought my shotgun to my shoulder, the trash bag fell to the ground and I pointed the weapon in their direction, specifically at Red because I could not see what he was holding in his right hand.

Red kept yelling and walked fast towards us but I never said a thing, I just kept the shotgun on his center of mass. Chuck was on my right and Curtis my left and the rain was falling.

When he was about fifteen feet away, Red's face changed from a big poop-eating grin to an emotionless mask. His hand came up slowly from behind his back and I knew what was in it before it cleared his side. I fired. The blast caught him squarely in the chest and he flew backwards to the pavement.

I heard a short pop like a firecracker and I racked the slide, ejecting the spent shell and turned towards the other other guy. Coverall had his right hand raised holding the pipe and was coming fast. I fired again and he walked right into a face full of 00 buck. He went down too.

I worked the slide and swept it between the two bodies and then raised it in the direction they had come from. I noticed then that Chuck was tightly gripping my shoulder as if to steady himself from falling. Curtis on the other hand sat down hard on the wet pavement and said nothing, his eyes wide open. Curtis was wearing a trash bag with holes cut out for his head and arms for a rain cover and the only sound was the ringing in my ears and the rain hitting that bag.

I shook off Chucks death grip on my shoulder and carefully approached the bodies, Red first. His chest was a bloody mess and his face was lifeless. In his outstretched right hand spilled on the concrete, was a nickel finished small caliber automatic. Probably a .22 or .25 I guessed. I kicked it away from his hand and checked his pulse on his neck with my outstretched left hand, the shotgun still pointed at his body. Nothing.

I went over to Coverall and checked his wrist (I did not want to get near what was left of his face). He was dead as well. On the ground next to him was a lug wrench which was the object he was about to hit me with. I squatted and sat back on my heels for a moment before picking up the plastic bag next Coverall had dropped on the ground. Inside were two cans of tuna fish, a t-shirt and a single sock. I set that aside and checked the pockets on his coveralls.

In one pocket was a nearly empty pack of cigarettes and a lighter. In the other, a large pocket knife, some loose currency and a plastic ziploc bag with a handful of large silver coins. I took the t-shirt out of the bag and threw it on top of Coverall's decimated face.

I got up and checked Red's pockets. There was a spare magazine for the automatic and it turned out it was indeed a .25. In his pockets were another almost empty pack of cigarettes, a lighter, a couple of gold rings, a gold necklace and a small knockoff Swiss Army type knife.

I placed the money, jewelry, knives and lighters from both bodies in the grocery bag and picked up the .25 from the road. I removed the magazine and the round in the chamber, picked up the spare magazine and walked over to the abandoned car the two had come from behind. There was nothing or nobody back there so I went and sat down on the side of the road, under the overpass where the ground was reasonably dry. I wordlessly reloaded two more shells into my shotgun before the shakes came.

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