Patty was three streets into Brad's subdivion and at least two blocks from the main road to the card store. Worse, she was running in the late morning heat with a pack, ammo and carrying the M4 carbine. Getting to the kids would not be easy.
She did not hear shooting or any helicopters, so she took that as a good sign, but still played out scenarios in her head. The kids could have left the store after her departure which was a good and bad thing. The kids could have argued or decided to split up, again, good and bad. Finally, there was a chance she could get to the store before the DHS guys did and could get them away before the shooting started.
She rationalized in her head that the kids left the card store, went looking for her, for the way home, for Brad's parents, heck, for a latte from Starbucks. Either way, they were no longer at the card store and the DHS thugs would show up and find an empty store.
She dismissed all of that when she hit the main street outside of Brad's subdivision and heard the shooting from ahead. Most of it sounded one sided which made Patty's stomach turn.
Within sight of the store, she kept to the left side of the street and used trees and other cover to hide her entry to the battle. Finding a low brick wall no more than six inches high underneath the shade of a large tree and surrounded by unkept grass, she found herself about one hundred yards from the front of the store and as close as she could get with adequate cover. It would be enough.
In front of the store, parked a few hundred feet away from the entrance were two black Hummers. One was a hard top and had a large gun mounted on the roof with a shooter stationed behind it. There were two other men, both dressed in black wearing body armor and armed with M4 rifles similar to Patty's, crouched behind the other vehicle. All three were firing spaced rounds into the card store increasing their tempo presumably when they had a target in sight.
Patty was aiming for the man on top of the Hummer when she spotted movement on the store roof. A lone gunman, wearing a black load bearing vest and light blue sports shirt was crouched down on the roof carrying a black rifle like the others. He apparently had climbed on the roof from the rear of the store and was searching for a hatch or way into the building below. There was something about the shooter's shirt which seemed out of place, but she put it out of her mind to focus on the job at hand.
Seeing that the gunman was out of sight of the others, she planned to take him out first and then work on the others one by one. She carefully aimed with the ACOG gunsight mounted on her rifle and centered just above the vest in the event it was armored. She squeezed the trigger three times and the man dropped to the roof. She then turned her sights on the Hummer shooter and aimed for the side of his neck and head. It took four rounds before one hit above his ear and ended his part of the attack on the kids.
One of the other shooters on the ground saw the man on the Hummer slump and he turned to see where the shooting was coming from. He turned, for only a moment, before Patty hit him with three rounds center mass. His body armor protected him from the shots, but not without knocking the air out of him, badly bruising his ribs and causing him to drop his weapon.
Once he saw him fall, his partner grabbed the injured man and started dragging him to the rear of the Hummer, but Patty poured on the fire and at least one person started firing from inside the store at the DHS agent as well. The second shooter released his hold on his co-worker, hopped into the passenger seat of the Hummer and reversed it away from the store leaving his compatriot on the ground.
At that moment, another man, dressed like the others on the ground, came from behind the store and ran after the Hummer as it drove off, the engine whining in reverse as the driver increased its' speed. Patty switched to Select and fired at the man fleeing on foot and hit him in the back of his legs and buttocks which sent him to the ground as well. He was still alive however, and pathetically tried to crawl after the fleeing vehicle.
Patty reloaded and carefully looked over the scene before moving to her left to avoid fire from another shooter should they know her position. Once she took cover, she aimed and placed a head shot into man with the injured ribs and who was closest to her. She then took note of where the Hummer had relocated to, (about a block and half away) and then moved as quickly as possible to the store.
Patty made it no further than halfway there when the door opened and Antonio, holding something to his face, wedged the door open. Candace stumbled out with one arm around Brad and the other holding both her rifle and backpack. Catelyn crawled out the door and stuck the barrel of the Ruger .22 around the jamb and started firing toward the Hummer. Antonio then ran out the door with the .357 in one hand and his other still covering his face.
Patty ran to the edge of the building where earlier she had crouched after leaving the kids and waved them over. Once they joined her, she pulled them behind the store and back to the alley. They ran to the left and into the nearest side street, crossed and then into the neighborhood beyond. The quickly got off the street and into the alley running behind the homes before hunkering down for a brief break.
"Candace, let me see your leg. Hold her. No, I'm not going to take down your pants or hurt you if I can help it, I'm only going to cut back your jeans around the injury. Give me that gauze. It looks like it was close, but only a graze. Yes, I know it hurts, but you'll live. Hold this, alright, let me tape this on there until we can dress it better."
"Antonio, great, were you shot in the face? The glass? Some of these cuts are deep, but there's no glass that I can see. YOu are lucky you didn't lose an eye. Hold this. Here, I'll put some bandaids on these cuts for now. Let me rinse your face off. I know, it hurts hold on. Okay, that'll have to do. We got to get moving, now!"
The five went down the alley, cut through another yard and began leapfrogging from house to house, street by street to the northwest away from Brad's neighborhood. Within a few minutes, they heard the tell tale sound of a helicopter approaching from the east. They laid low behind some high bushes and watched as a two seater flew low over their last position before turining towards Brad's neighborhood.
"Good! That might buy us a few minutes. Let's move!" said Patty and they hurried away as fast as possible.
They ran through a maze of cookie cutter homes with overgrown yards with the sound of the helicopter close behind them. They soon heard another bird to their right but further away and knew their pursuers were as blind as they were. However, the DHS had more people and faster transport than sneaker power - it was a matter of time before they found them.
They ran for another twenty minutes before Patty ordered all to stop and take a rest. Water was short, but they drank what they could and took stock of their situation.
"Patty, what happened? How did they know we were?" asked Catelyn.
"Monroe. He betrayed us for food and other stuff. Apparently he had been doing that all along and explains why he was still in the neighborhood." replied Patty.
"What happened to him? Where is he now?" asked Brad.
Patty ignored the young man and turned her attention to the others.
"Candace, let's change out that bandage with something else. Antonio, I want to clean those wounds once more and replace those bandaids."
"I wish I had some way of knowing what those guys are up too. If they know where we are right now or if they are as blind as we are. If only I found the radio Monroe used, if knew where they were and what they were doing, we could do something.. da** it!" said Patty.
"What are you talking about? You don't need Monroe's radio." said Catelyn.