The Second Holocaust Part Two - It All Ends Now
"Shuddup, all of ya. Here's the dealio so listen and ya won't get yer head shot off.
There's two big roadblocks one on the east and here on the west. We're gonna ignore that east block for the time being cause we got an ace in the hole for it.
Now the west block is gonna be strike team one. We're gonna move in across country and take it out once their call in time passes. Then we are gonna make a distraction and cut into town.
Now, you guys with the bus, i want you to wait right here until you get the signal, then come in from the west and pick up strike team two.
Now the rest of you sorry sunsabeeches are coming in technicals into the town square last. Setup the Equalizer and scare the locals into their hidey holes.
I figger about fifteen minutes of fightin in town, another hour or so of clean up and then the party begins. Sounds good?"
The holler went up from the fifty plus men gathered around Rafe and the homemade map spread out on the truck bed. Dead center, bullseye on the map was one word: Hobbs.
"Jose, Arturo and Chuy will take in the main body once we have transportation together. Your fields of fire are here, here and here.
Ernie, you have heavy weapons and will setup here but your fall back is here.
Celina and I have insertion here and here if that first one fails.
Stifflebeam? You, your boy, Chuck and Barger are here. We are counting on you and what you got on your plate. And Chuck, we can't test it until it happens, so you'd better be as smart as you say you are, got it?" finished Delbert.
The air was heavy in his office and Hough felt like a caged animal. He opened his desk drawer and took out a Colt Trooper and checked the cylinder one more time and put it back.
His hands were sweaty and there was a pall around the city hall. Too many men were missing. The roadblocks were at half strength. Even the town residents all appeared to be missing or hiding.
So this is how Hitler felt down in that bunker, said a voice in his head. He waved it away and went back to his calculations for the spring.
Rick Stiller had been a deputy for Hobbs for all of ten days and here he was, in charge. His men, all five of them, were gathered around two burn barrels trying to stay warm on the dry, but frigid afternoon.
The group was primarily comprised of dragooned citizens promised a day's food for a day on the roadblocks. The previous deputies and citizens militia members had all figured out the system and after siphoning the food and goods they needed, were safely back in their homes staying warm and well fed.
For Stiller, it was the end of an uneventful twelve hour shift as no vehicles or foot traffic had been by as it the word was out; stay away from Hobbs. But here they were spinning their wheels.
The old UHF two way field radio discovered in some out of the way location was hanging from the rear view mirror of one of two running vehicles stationed at the road block. Once an hour, a bored dispatcher would call for clearance and the roadblocks would report in. Then all would wait for the next hour.
"City Hall to Roadblock West, over."
"Roadblock West, copy."
"Roadblock West, say all clear over."
"Roadblock west, all clear, city hall, over"
That was that. Stiller turned back to the burn barrel when a flash of movement caught his eye in the ditch to the north of his position. There was a puff of smoke and by the time the report reached his ears, Rick Stiller was alredy dead.
Thiry seconds later, so were all the others on the roadblock.
Rafe stepped out of the bush delighted the first step of his plan had gone so well.
"Alright, you know what to do. Strip em, get the uniforms of those that got em and get all these guns! Gimme that radio, Boon." said Rafe to one of his gang.
Rafe waited for ten seconds and then keyed the radio.
"Cityhall, roadblock west, do you copy?"
"Roadblock west, city hall go ahead over."
"City hall, we heard shots fired, can you confirm over?"
"Roadblock west, negative on that, no shots fire..."
The radio went silent for a moment until the dispatcher came on suddenly,
"Roadblock west affirmative. Roadblock east is taking heavy fire, over"
"City hall, roadblock west, shall we render aid, over?"
"Roadblock west, stay, I repeat, hold your position, over"
"Roadblock west, affirmative, over and out."
Rafe smiled an evil grin. Get loaded up boys, let's go to town.
The school bus had been heavily modified with steel plates over most of the front windows and windshield. When the plate ran out, two by fours, backed by sandbags inside provided the secondary protection.
The front grill had a push bar installed and sheet metal had been welded to the sides of the bus to offer some protection to the tires from gunshots. Rafe's gang called it "The Beast".
The side door on the right side was open as was the rear emergency door.
Currently, there were only four men manning the vehicle; the driver and three gunman whose job was to wait and pick up one of the strike teams once the attack commenced inside town. For now, all four were languishing outside smoking home rolled cigarettes and passing around a jug of questionable hooch.
Chuck, Barger and the Stifflebeams crept through the underbrush to the south until they were fewer than thirty yards from the monstrous vehicle. Chuck was carrying a satchel over one shoulder, the Stifflebeams each had a rifle and Barger carried a compound bow and a quiver of arrows.
Chuck purposefully distanced himself from the others and carefully withdrew a number of green packages from his satchel and laid them out.
Barger took his arrows from the quiver and laid them end to end on the dirt in front of him. Mr. Stiffleman readied his rifle, a bolt action .243, while son Brett set down his Marlin .22 and waited for Chuck.
"Let's go," said Barger and he readied his bow.
The first arrow took the only guard standing solo on the right side of the bus through his neck. He dropped to the ground, but one of the slightly inebriated other guards saw the flash and said,
"What was that?"
But by then, Barger's second arrow caught the questioning guard through the chest in front of his remaining two friends. He dropped his burning cigarette and fell to the ground causing his loyal pals to break for cover, one to the rear of the bus, the other around the front.
"Now, Chuck," said Barger.
Chuck gingerly handed one of the softball sized green packages to Brett who held out the long black fuse protruding from it to his father who carefully lit it with a Bic lighter.
Brett stood and took a classic quarterback position and threw the package at the back of the bus where it landed to the right and exploded, showering the bus with dirt and dust.
"Get it through the target, Brett," hissed Mr. Stifflebeam, "You did it in the playoffs, get it done, boy"
Chuck handed over another, Stifflebeam lit it and away the pass went. This time. money. It went straight through the emergency exit door and into the bus.
A single, slightly muffled pop and a plume of white smoke rolled out the door. One man, his face confused and his ears bleeding stepped out the exit and was promptly shot by Mr. Stifflebeam.
Barger moved quickly drawing a semi auto nine millimeter from his belt and went to the side of the bus. He carefully looked through the driver side window and fired twice. He then waved the others over.
"Let's go, job's done". Brett hopped on the roof of the bus and hastily tied a red bandana to the useless antenna and dropped back to the ground and climbed aboard.
The east roadblock was taking steady fire from the brush one yards to the north of the road when a motorcycle with a single rider approached cross country. Wearing his deputy uniform, Holtz hastily rolled to a stop and hopped off the still idling bike.
"Who's in charge, here?" he asked the four men behind the auto barricade.
"I am, Deputy. We lost Molesworth and Harry's been hit, but we have been holding out for now. What should we do, sir." said a young man clutching an old shotgun.
"Ok, you stay here. You two cut through the brush there and you, head over that a way. When you reach that tree, wave your rifle at me and we'll give it to them. Now git."said Holtz.
As soon as the other three were away, the young man turned to Holtz and asked,
"We're ready, what do you want me to do now?"
"Die." said Holtz and he shot the young man through the chest.
One minute and three shots later, the brush along side the road came alive with ten former convicts.
"Told you it would be easy. Now you guys wait for your ride while I go unlock the front door."
Holtz climbed aboard the dirt bike and rode towards Hobbs.
The parade of hastily repaired vehicles, three in all, rolled down the road towards the east roadblock and then stopped two hundred yards short.
The first car honked twice and one of the men on the road block thrust his rifle in the air for victory. The lead car moved forward as did the other two following in close formation.
When they approached the roadblock, one of the attackers, a poor old slob named Cliff, approached the lead car window, his grin revealing rotting brown teeth.
"Rafe'll be glad to see you guys back.. hey, who are.."
The air was full of the sound of shooting. At the very least, Cliff never had to worry about the dentist again.
Two vehicles rolled up behind city hall as Carl looked out the window. "Great" he thought, "Stiller failed to follow orders, again."
Things had been confusing enough as it was. There had been some sporadic shooting at first on the east roadblock, but that was confirmed to be nothing more than a ticked off old guy who was angry he could not walk through town, or so said the deputy on the radio.
Then there were several shots fired from the same direction, and now, no radio contact with the guys there. Carl was going to put together some deputies from the shrinking staff when Stiller rolled up down stairs.
Carl was still watching out the window and waiting for his three guys to get ready to go when Stiller stepped out of the old International Scout downstairs. He had his hat down low so Carl could not see him clearly which was odd.
That was until Stiller was joined by none other than Holtz who rolled up on a motorbike. "NOw where has that old sorry saddlebag been?" thought Carl.
Stiller and Holtz walked to the sally port and opened up the main door to the back of the city hall with Holtz's keys when Stiller turned and waved at the two vehicles.
At that moment, no fewer than ten men, none of whom Carl had never seen before and who were all armed and jumped out and ran to the back door.
"Oh cr*P" said Carl.
The tow truck, Celina's truck and the Mustang were all parked behind a stand of trees less than a mile from Hobbs. The trailer was loaded down with people as were the beds of both trucks.
The school bus, formerly known as "The Beast" rolled up and was allowed to approach unharmed due to the red bandana attached by Brett and clearly visible.
"I hope this works," said Barger to Delbert.
"It will, as long as the first roadblock is clear. Alright folks, safe your weapons and climb aboard!" he shouted.
A few tense moments later, Celina rolled her truck to a stop and Delbert and I jumped off and disappeared into a rundown neighborhood behind city hall.
Ernie and his "gunner" had been dropped of at his spot nearby two minutes earlier. Brenda, Tracy and Celina were on their way to the only location possible the old hotel on the other side of the square. Their concern was with nosy locals and stray convicts. They were ready for both.
The main force moved into downtown from the south and was comprised of five rundown vehicles with an ancient Chevy El Camino at point. In the back stood a heavily tatooed grizzled con named Vic.
The five autos worked the round about path to the center of town and the picturesque square small towns are famous for. Even more famous are the city and county courthouses of Texas and Hobbs' was no different. Hill Country limestone and rows of deep windows lined the oversized facade.
In the center of the green, the traditional and obligatory green space which was now invaded by at least three of the vehicles as they rolled over the curb with the El Camino taking center stage.
By then, it was evident it was too late for Hobbs. There was sporadic gunfire coming from the inner bowels of city hall. Deep rhythmic booms accompanied by stacato pops of small arms fire.
Vic opened up the dull green duffle at his feet and pulled the Equalizer from its resting place. The M249 SAW was laid across the roof of the vehicle and readied. Once the others were in place, Vic started raking the front of city hall in slow, controlled bursts.
The bus stopped only one block from city hall, the gunfire masking its heavy diesel engine. If any of the convicts heard the motors, it would only emboldent their attack, convinced that reinforcements had arrived.
The first load disgorged with Jose and Arturo and went to the west side of the square. Lined up in the alley behind the square's empty storefronts, the rear doors were jimmied and pried open and camp ground residents poured inside.
The bus backed off and worked its way dillegently over to the other side of the square, albeit unnoticed and behind the scenes.
Once inside, the improvised army, young and old. worked their way in groups of threes and fours to the front windows of the stores, many of the windows were broken, cracked or missing altogether.
As best they could, and with limited direction and tactics, they sat, crouched and stood in the shadows of the windows, their weapons prepared, ready and waiting.
On the rooftop of the supermarket, Ernie and his assistant, a seventeen year old high school kid named Tyreese, hauled the thiry year old automatic rifle onto its perch.
Ernie readied the weapon and gave his young protege a five minute crash course on small arms fire. They then dragged it to the edge of the roof, just out of site, overlooking the square.
Carl and his deputies were outgunned and outmanned. They were armed with sidearms, generally .40 caliber handguns, and pump shotguns. The attackers had semi-auto rifles and more than a few flash bangs and smoke grenades.
Two of his deputies had taken hits; one serious and the other not so much, but they were trapped at the top of the second floor landing trying to squelch the incoming fire.
Carl was about to head to the third floor to Hough's office and get some sort of direction from the old coot when a voice behind him said,
"Happy New Year, numbnutz." and his world went black. Standing in the corridor behind him was Rafe McCallister and a cardre of his gang.
"Upwards and onwards, boys. The sky's the limit!" shouted Rafe.
Delbert and I were in an empty corridor of the city hall I did not remember from the last time I was here. When Delbert said 'HObbs', my take was to let it burn and take Hough, Holtz and all the others with it. But when they explained this would be the time to stop these convicts I realized I had no choice.
Delbert and I had the job of hitting the cons already in the building from behind and preventing them from leaving once our main force counter attacked outside. We could hear the convicts automatic weapon firing from the square along with other small arms fire, but the time for our attack had not yet begun.
"OK, which way is Hough's office?" aske Delbert.
"It's upstairs, third floor, end of the hall." I replied remembering the last time I was here.
"Well, that's where they're heading so call us crazy, that's where we're headed too." Delbert said grimly.
We made it to the stairwell and were headed to the second floor when we came under fire from above. Delbert pushed me back and hissed "Find another stairwell up. I'll keep these guys busy for a few minutes and then tear out too."
I nodded and went back down to the ground floor and through the main offices towards the lobby. I hit the door and saw across the hall a door marked "Stairs" and was about to go inside when I heard a familiar voice say,
"Where do you think you're going, college boy?"