He was sixteen, maybe seventeen on a good day, but very likely only fifteen years of age. His thigh had a nickle sized hole in it spewing blood and he was in tremendous pain. He also had Patty's left foot, squarely on the gaping wound.
"How many? Are there more?" she spat.
"Please, it hurts. Aaauggghhhh! Getoffameeeeee!" he wailed.
Patty placed the barrel of the M4 against the boy's crotch.
"C'mon, you wanna see what happens next, honey?" she said in a cat like voice.
The boy turned white, both from loss of blood and Patty-induced shock. His head turned side to side like the arm on a grandfather clock. Patty looked down with regret and sadness, raised the barrel of the rifle to the young man's chest and pulled the trigger twice. She then paused and looked upon her handiwork before turning to the next young man. He had a gaping wound to his stomach and was an hour, maybe two until death.
"How about you? Any more of you guys around? Where did you come from? How did you know we were here?" Patty asked.
The kid gasped and spat blood from his mouth. He wheezed,
"You come into our hood, you gots to expect.. Shiv knew, he said you was easy.. aint had nothing new in a while.. c'mon and get me a docta.. ahhhhhh, this hurts...." he gasped.
"Lot's more hurt where that came from." said Patty. "You know who raided this house and killed the people inside?"
"This is Octavio's turf.. *cough* at least it was... he got done in last week. Ain't nobody running things down here now.. just free turf... *cough cough cough*.." he gasped.
Patty turned and looked at the bodies on the ground. Most were dead, one of which was a friend. But justice had to be served first. She hung her rifle on her back, removed the Glock, turned and put it to the head of the boy with the belly wound.
"Go play with Shiv." she said robotically and pulled the trigger. The boy's head exploded and he fell backward to the gore stained grass.
Catelyn looked up from Candace directly at Patty.
"Find another. Now." the teen said.
"That's all of them. Come on, I'll help you. And with your parents too." said Patty.
Cately let Candace's vacant eyes roll back in their sockets and gently laid her head on the grass. She then carefully stood and wiped her hands on her jeans and took a step back. Brad was rocking back and forth on his heels staring at the carnage before him. Antonio had disappeared. Candace had joined her parents forever.
Patty put the gunfight out of her mind and started back into the house. "Should be burned to the ground when this is done" she thought to herself. But that was Catelyn's problem, not hers. Patty went into the garage, and found what she was looking for. A shovel, a matching pick and for some reason, a fork, heck who cared.
She brought the three tools to the backyard, stepped over the girls' long dead father and into the backyard. There was not a great deal to work with as the pool took up most of the flat backyard. She finally decided upon a level spot underneath a crepe myrtle tree in the corner of the yard. The unwatered lawn was as hard as rock. She raised the pick and slammed it into the ground.
Catelyn had a hard time breaking the window glass when the shooting began. Patty reared her rifle back, rammed the barrel through the pane and started firing. The noise surprised the young men and three went down easily, the next seven not so much. Catelyn finally got her rifle through and took out her first target.
The ground did not give easily to the pick, but eventually the grave began to take shape. Patty tried to make it in the classic grave shaped rectangle, but accepted the uneven oval which was forming instead. She did not think the occupants would mind.
The thug in the wife beater and giant sunglasses had the top of his head blown off at a one foot range by Antonio. Antonio put a round through the chest of another kid nearby, but did not see the guy to his left who was leveling a nine-millimeter semi-auto at Candace. The gun barked twice before Catelyn or Patty, neither was sure who, cut the shooter down.
Patty had reached about a foot in depth before she felt a hand on her shoulder. In one part of her mind, she wanted it to be another gang member who would put her out of her misery. Instead, it was Antonio. He wordlessly took the pick from her hand, pushed her from the grave and raised the tool over his head. He face was bandaged, dirty, tear stained and there was a huge blood stain on his t-shirt. The place where Candace had buried her face.
Two of the gang members tried to run and they were fast. Patty stood in the window and fired her magazine dry before they both fell to the street. There was one left standing at that point. He waved his hands in front of his face pleading for his life. Catelyn saw her sister at that point and froze. Antonio's gun was empty as was Patty's. Antonio advanced on the young man and began beating him on the head with the magnum. It was hard at this point to recognize what the kid looked like now, what with his nose broken and beaten into his skull.
Antonio progressed on the grave faster than Patty. Maybe it was his size or the amount of emotion coursing through his veins. They would both be sore in the morning.
Patty put on a pair of gloves from her fanny pack and went into the house. She grabbed a discarded and dirty sheet off the bedroom floor and went into the kitchen. After laying the sheet on the kitchen floor, she rolled Candace's mother into it and wrapped it around her. She tied one end off and grabbed the other and dragged it to the door. She retrieved another for the father and then pulled both bodies out onto the deck. She did not look at their faces.
Patty managed to get her Glock out and shot the last kid, who at that point only had a superficial wound to his shoulder, in the stomach. One other was still alive when they went outside. Catelyn went to Candace first. Candace was dead before she hit the ground.
Patty picked up one more sheet and went out front where Catelyn was picking up firearms, ammunition and other weapons off the ground and putting them in a stack by the front door. Brad had disappeared into the house. Patty laid Candace on the sheet and noticed that it was blue and was not dirty or torn like the others. She then emptied Candace's pockets of anything useful and gently wrapped it up like the others.
"I'll do that." said Catelyn as Patty tried to lift the body.
"Let's do it together, she's heavier than she looks." replied Patty.
"She always thought she was fat, she was so dumb." said Catelyn. "She never had a problem with boys, the all liked her. I was older, but they always called me Candace's sister at school."
They carefully brought the body to the backyard and set it next to the bodies of her parents. Antonio stepped out of the grave which was now about two feet deep.
"Should be enough, their bodies aren't that big anymore." he said looking at the bundles containing Catelyn's mother and father.
They put the three together in the grave with Candace on top between the bodies of her parents and then stood there. Catelyn walked over and put a small, pink, plastic pony in the grave with Candace and then slowly stood up.
"We're supposed to say something. They did at my Mamma's, we got to here." said Antonio.
"Catelyn?" said Patty.
Catelyn shook her head, her chin out and looked away from the grave site.
"Candace, I hope you are in a better place than the world we live in now. You were optimistic, sweet and caring. You carried your weight, overcame obstacles and never stopped believing. Rest in peace with your parents. You made it home." said Patty.
Catelyn turned and went into the house without saying a word.
"Where's Brad?" asked Patty.
"Dunno, he went in the house while you were outside." replied Antonio.
Patty left Antonio outside by the grave and went into the house where she found Brad at the kitchen table writing something on a piece of paper. On the table was an old Thermos and a two-liter soda bottle full of water. One of the guns the gang members was carrying, a Taurus nine-millimeter with three magazines stacked next to it sat nearby.
"What are you doing?" asked Patty, her voice hardly hiding the contempt she had for the young man.
"Busy work. The water in the water heater is still good, that's what's in there. I'm taking one of the guns from those guys, there's more out there if anyone wants one." he replied.
He stood up, put the water containers in his backpack which had been lying next to the table, put the spare magazines in his jeans pockets and simply held the Taurus by his side. He picked up the paper and went to the back of the house where the bedrooms were. Patty followed with her arms crossed.
"Catelyn?" said Brad quietly at the open door to her old bedroom.
"I'm going to my aunt's house in Celeste, did you want to come with me?" he asked.
"No. I am staying here or at least in this area until I find out who killed my parents." she said coldly.
"I thought so. When you get done with that or if you want a change, here is where I'll be and directions how to get there." he replied.
Catelyn took the offered paper and stared at it before setting it on the floor next to her.
"I'll be thinking about you and waiting. Bye." he said before turning and walking past Patty without saying a word and to the front door.
Brad walked out the front door, paused to adjust his pack straps and then started off across the yard avoiding the dead bodies. He went to the end of the block, turned the corner and was gone.
Patty stood there and watched him walk away before she noticed Antonio standing next to her silently.
"How it ends, huh?" he said finally.
"That's how it ends for all of us. I'm going to get my stuff together." she said and went inside.
"So you taking off?" asked Antonio.
"I said I'd get them home, I did. Time for me to get home too." said Patty.
Catelyn came out of her room carrying a pillow case of things, her backpack in her other hand. She took everything into the family room and resorted things to get them into her pack. She picked up the carbine and removed the magazine.
"Patty, how many of these magazines do you have left and may I have a couple of more? One won't be enough." she said.
"Sure, I have five full ones and there are six more in the bag Brad left. How about you take five and I'll take the others? The one in my rifle is empty, okay?" Patty replied.
"That will work. What about the other guns out there?" asked Catelyn.
Patty went through the list in her head; the nine-millimeter Taurus Brad took, a nine-millimeter Ruger semi-auto, an unamed .32 caliber five round revolver, two Ruger Mark III .22, a sawed off 12 gauge double barrel, a Hi-Point nine-millimeter carbine and an SKS.
"Most of them are in .22 or nine-millimeter, you'd have to figure out which one works best for you. As far as I am concerned, you and Antonio can have them all." said Patty, "Antonio, you should take that SKS, it's heavy, but it has some good stopping power and the kid who carried it had a bag full of stripper clips for it."
"Umm, okay, that's cool." he said.
"I meant what I said, Patty. I'm not going until I find out who killed my parents and what happened to all the people who used to live around here." said Catelyn defiantly.
"I believe you. I can't stay, though. I have to get back to my daughter." said Patty.
"I know. Thank you for getting us back home and that includes Candace." said Catelyn quietly.
"What about you?" Patty asked Antonio.
"Got nowhere else to go now you people messed things up, so I'll stick around with Catelyn if that's alright." he said looking at the girl.
Catelyn shrugged, and said, "Okay."
Patty allowed Catelyn to hug her briefly before they parted. Patty made the neccessary arrangements with the remaining ammunition and food. She also gave them some of the antibiotics and pain killers she took from Peri long ago.
Afterward, as the shadows grew long on the grass, she put on her pack, adjusted her rifle and started down the street the same way Brad had gone. The only difference being she would head west when the right road came. The road home.
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