Patty shoved Candace forward to the trees just a few yards from the state highway causing her to fall over her bike.
"Leave it!" yelled Candace yanking the teen to her feet while pushing her bike and attached cart to the cover of the brush and trees. Brad and Catelyn had already made it to cover and the young man had thoughtfully turned his bike on its side and was doing the same to Catelyn's.
Patty pushed Candace ahead and turned her bike over behind a large bush hoping the cart would not show either. By then, the rumbling was louder and definately coming their way from the east. The noise was as loud as any Nascar event with the sounds of dozens of motorized vehicles moving at a brisk pace.
Patty pulled her Glock and waved her hand at the teens directing them all to hit the ground and lay low. Brad pulled the Ruger around and pointed it through the bushes tensely watching the highway only yards away for the oncoming juggernaut. They did not have to wait for long.
The first vehicles to approach were two large motorcycles ridden by similarly sized men wearing goggles, black helmets and black flak jackets. They passed quickly, but they noticed both had rifles slung over their backs. Immediately behind them came a dark painted Humvee with a similarly clad rider sticking out of the turret behind the barrel of a large automatic weapon. While he looked from side to side, he did not notice them or pay any attention to Candace's abandoned bike.
Next came not one, but three eighteen wheelers, all with Swift Transport logos on their sides. There were two riders in each cab and the trucks were followed by yet another Humvee and four more motorcycles. There was a brief lull, and then four more trucks and groups of motorcycles passed by over the next ten minutes. There were followed by one more open sided truck with two more motorcycles riding drogue.
The final two motorcycle riders slowed perceptibly and looked at Candace's bike but quickly throttled up and moved on to rejoin the caravan. For ten minutes or so, the tiny group of travelers held fast and listened as the noisy convoy moved west.
"Well, there's your relief supplies. Anyone notice anything?" said Patty.
"They make a lot of noise. I guess I am not used to running trucks any more." said Catelyn.
"None of the vehicles were what I would expect. They did not look like soldiers or the Red Cross but something out of a movie." said Brad.
"Very observant. I guess that's the new look for FEMA. Stormtrooper 2012." said Patty.
"I'm glad they didn't run over Candace's bike or stop. Let's get back on the road and get going." said Patty.
"Are we going to go the same way they went?" asked Candace.
"We don't have much of a choice, hon. I am not going to go south to 20 and this is the fastest way back to Dallas and home. We won't be able to catch up with them and they probably going on to some other town or a base or something. No use in worry about what we can't control." replied Patty.
The group picked up Candace's bike, remounted and headed west. The road ahead was fairly flat and the next stop was Terrell, like it or not. Patty shoved the ominous vanguard to the back of her mind and genuinely believed that there was little they could do about the similar paths of the two groups. What never crossed her mind was stopping any of those trucks or motorcycles and asking for aid for her or the kids. Instinctively, she did not trust anyone handing out aid to Americans for such a high price.
They went about a mile when they came upon a familiar site; an abandoned car, hood up, parked in the right lane. Something did not sit right in the pit of Patty's stomach regardless of how many other benign cars and trucks they had passed in the many days since the Burnout. Something raised the hackles on her back and screamed "Trap!" in her mind. After that, things went into slow motion.
As they came within twenty yards of the car, a man, clad in black, wearing goggles and black helmet abruptly stood up from behind the car holding a revolver at waist height. In perfect synch, another stepped out from behind a tree just yards away from the road he holding a military style carbine to his shoulder.
The man behind the car held up one hand and spoke, but Patty only heard his voice in slow motion.
"S-T-O-P R-I-G-H-T-T-H-E-R-E!" the voice slowly tumbled out. Patty instincts quickly honed from numerous death defying encounters turned her bike to the left and allowed it to fall to the ground with her landing on the pavement beneath it. She pulled the Glock from her holster on the right and slid with the bike to a stop about five yards from the abandoned vehicle.
Candace shrieked and she rolled right into the parked car and went over the handlebars onto the trunk of the vehicle which caused the first gunman to make a sound of surprise and jump back while his partner stifled what sounded like an audible laugh from his position behind the tree. Brad meanwhile lost brief control of his bike causing his front wheel to wobble and send him sprawling to the pavement on the left lane. Only Catelyn rolled to a controlled stop and put both feet down on the pavement staring apprehensively at the first gunman and looking to Patty who was now getting up on her left knee.
Patty's pants were torn away on the knee, but that did not stop her getting to a kneeling position and training her Glock on the gunman behind the car. The rifleman behind the tree turned his attention back to the road after his brief burst of mirth over his partner's reaction but had not seen Patty behind the car yet. The other gunman clearly saw Patty as he regained his composure, but that only lasted for milliseconds as Patty fired her first shot catching him in his throat where the strap of his helmet was bound. He fell over backwards onto the pavement without uttering a sound, his revolver clattering to the pavement.
The rifleman was clearly not used to being in a shooting situation and rather than react as a trained lawman or soldier would to the gunshot, instead watched as his partner fell to the ground his mouth open wide. Catelyn, at the same moment, jumped at the sound of Patty's gun and fell to the ground not knowing where the shot had come from initially before realizing it was Patty doing the shooting.
The rifleman realized now that his partner was wounded and probably dead and he was the only person still standing. He brought the rifle back up, aimed at nothing and squeezed the trigger instinctively, but the safety was still on and nothing happened. He lowered the weapon and looked at the safety as Brad took Patty's lead and fired the Ruger now that he had managed to get his head up and the rifle off his back. The shot went wild and high above the rifleman's head.
Patty rolled to her left and was able to see around the front of the dead vehicle and positioned herself between the front left tire of the disabled car and the sprawled legs of the first gunman. The rifleman had now realized how to release the safety but had flailed when Brad fired his second shot.
This time, Brad's shot struck the man on his right exposed shoulder. The carbine fired, but the shot went wild to the left and into the air as the rifleman reacted to the gunshot. Patty had a clear enough shot and fired as well, hitting the gunman in the center mass twice. He collapsed and the rifle fell from his hand to the ground.
Patty waited for a brief moment and then looked at the dead man laying closest to her on the ground nearby. She reached out with her hand and snatched his fallen revolver from the ground while keeping her Glock trained on the other fallen gunman behind the tree.
"Brad? Candace? Catelyn? Anybody hit? Everyone alright?" Patty said not taking her eyes away from the bodies lying in front of her.
"I'm good." said Brad in a shaky voice.
"Me too." said Catelyn.
"I think I hit my head." said Candace lying on the ground behind the rear of the dead vehicle.
"Okay, lay still and I'll be right over. Brad, do you see anyone else around?" Patty asked.
"No, just us." he replied.
Patty slowly stood and placed the dead gunman's revolver on the hood of the abandoned car. She carefully knelt down and checked the dead man's body to see if he was dead and if he had any other weapons. While he wore significant body armor, his gun belt carried no other weapons only spare speed loaders.
"Hang on, Cassie. Let me check this other guy real quick." called Patty carefully approaching the other dead body by the tree. On the ground was a military type M4 carbine with a thirty round magazine inserted. He also carried no other weapons, but his load bearing gear held several more magazines and other equipment.
Patty picked up the carbine and then noticed the two parked motorcycles down a small decline off the road where they would not be seen from the road. Both bikes had frame back packs attached to them, radio antennas and there was one more M4 leaning against one. The bikes were the same type which were in the convoy which passed them just a short time earlier.
Patty went and checked Candace at this point and found she had a small cut on her forehead, abrasions on her hands and one knee of her jeans were torn. The injuries were not serious and otherwise, she would be fine with a quick clean up and a couple of band aids.
"Those were a couple of guys from that group that went by us, weren't they Patty?" asked Catelyn.
"They were. If you can handle it, I want to get them off the road and down there behind those trees. I want to see who they really are because I don't think they are who they say they are." replied Patty.
Catelyn took a deep breath and with Brad, the three pulled the two dead men down to the ravine by their motorcycles. They then moved Candace and their gear to the same location and Brad collected the spent casings on the road.
When he rejoined them, Brad found Patty carefully looking at an ID of one of the dead men. She had also opened one of their jackets and turned out their pockets as well.
"It says Mr. McDermott here is a contractor with Bellaire Industries of California. His partner in crime is Mr. Gustav and works for the same company, but out of Virginia. They both have Department of Homeland Security ID's which identify them as 'Temporary Security Workers' what ever that means." Patty announced.
Patty picked up one of the two carbines and carefully examined it.
"This has Property US Govt. marked on it and it looks like it just came out of the wrapper. I didn't know DHS could hand out military hardware to rent-a-cops willy-nilly." said Patty.
Patty did a quick inventory of the weapons and beside the two M4 carbines, the other gun was a Smith & Wesson .357. The two men had a total of eighteen spare magazines for the rifles, two speed loaders for the pistol and a partial box of .357 cartridges in one of the two backpacks.
They each carried in their backpacks five stripped down MRE meals, ponchos, spare clothing and various other military or law enforcement gear including field radios with head set attachments. It was then Brad spoke.
"Patty can you ride? I mean a motor cycle?" he asked.
"Yes, my ex had one. And no, we are not taking the motorcycles." she replied.
"Patty, I can ride too. Candace and Catelyn can ride on the back and we can get home by tomorrow! What's wrong with you?" he implored.
"One, the bikes belong to two dead guys which we killed. Two, they are loud and will draw attention, probably from the people who provided them to our two dead friends. Three, we are about enter the worse part of our little field trip when we have to travel through more populated areas than we have so far. A motorcycle is nothing more than a calling card for every freak along the way to think we are worth ambushing."
"No. The bikes stay here. We can take their guns though, and all the food and other stuff they have that we need." she finished.
"That's bull s**t. You may like bike riding ten miles a day, but I want to get home to my mom and dad. I'm sure Candace and Catelyn do too. You know Patty, maybe Lamar was right. You're slowing us down on purpose. Do you even want to get home to your daughter? What are you so afraid of anyway?" Brad said.
Patty strode over to Brad and slapped him across the face and then grabbed his arm and pulled him down to the ground by one of the dead bodies.
"What part of this don't you get you piss**t brat? This is like the tenth person I've killed since this whole mess went down! I didn't want this, but I've got this problem with picking up people and making sure they get through the next day alive! People like you! Like Lamar! Like them! And what do I get? Huh?"
"Back talk! Questioning! Arguing! You didn't kill them, I did! I finished the job! I get to live with it, not you! This isn't a video game, it's for keeps! Get it!"
"And here's another thing. You ever talk about my daughter or try to use her against me again, I'll kick your butt back to Winona and you can figure your own way home, got it?"
Patty let go of Brad's arm and walked away from the group to compose herself. She kicked a rock on the ground and then strode over and kicked it again, but harder. She wanted to kick Brad, she wanted to kick Lamar, she wanted to kick those two dead guys, the man in the trees, the rapist in the alley, Dee, that old man in the hotel lobby, the three punks. Most of all, she wanted to kick the idiots who caused this whole mess or who could have done something to avoid it in the first place.
Catelyn glared at Brad and walked over to Patty.
"Hey. Umm, look. Whatever you want to do, you have my vote. You've kept me and my sister alive and that's what matters. You want us to walk home, I'm in. I don't know if that matters, but I wanted you to know, okay?" she said.
Catelyn walked back to the bikes and started gathering up supplies from the dead men's packs and putting it in her and Candace's back packs.
Patty sighed, slumped her shoulders and went back to the group.
"Brad, look, I'm sorry I snapped like that, I..." she said quietly.
"It's cool. Hey, you're right about the bikes. They probably got them chipped or something and they'd be on us the second we started them up." he replied.
"Let's get this stuff packed up and move these guys and their bikes further from the road. We might as well make it hard for their friends to find them." said Patty.
Patty thought about what Brad had suggested about the bikes having a tracking device. She went through the men's things again and found that besides radios, they each had a Spot satellite personal tracking device. They were not activated, but there was no sense in taking chances. She tossed the tracking devices into the trunk of the abandoned car and shut the lid hoping the signal might be blocked.
Then she and the kids dragged the bodies far from the road as possible and rolled the bikes across the other side of the road about one hundred yards away. They laid them down and covered them with loose brush from nearby bushes.
"Do you think they'll come looking for them?" asked Candace.
"Probably, but I hope we have a few hours before someone notices they are missing. Let's check the map and see if we can't take a detour on the next road and avoid some more of those guys." Patty said.
They looked over the map and decided to avoid the upcoming town of Terrell entirely and make a circular route around the city to join smaller highway 205 and move north by northwest into the suburbs of Dallas near Lake Ray Hubbard. At that point, Patty realized she would be playing it by ear as she plotted the next leg of their journey.
Terrell Municipal Airport
"Yeah, they last reported in here, but nothing since."
"What did they say they were checking out?"
"Some kids on bikes. No biggie."
"Give it another hour and send a team out there. Where are we at on the terminals?"
"We have teams on Flint Hills, Magellan and the Exxon facility outside Euless. Oh, and Willett called in and said Red Bird was secure, but they' are still taking pot shots from the locals. He requested air."
"Send in two birds and clean it out."
"Pass along status to Alliance and let me know if those guys show up."
Please support this website by visiting my other websites!
Junk Silver Tips To Survive the End of the World One Year Food Supply 72 Hour Bag