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Trail of Vengeance
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id

    Trail of Vengeance

    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 1

    It was a cold morning today. The date was January the twelfth; it was snowing lightly with a slight breeze as I stood before the tombstone again for what must have been the thousandth time. It never got any easier and I still had not been able to come to terms with the events of a year ago today.

    The snow was covering everything in a light blanket of white; I could feel it sticking it in my hair and clinging to my jacket as I stood there with my hat in hand, trying again, desperately, to come up with an answer that I could give her that would give her, and me, some kind of peace.

    But the answer didn’t come and again I broke down over her tombstone and cried. My tears mixed with the snow and froze into droplets of ice against the cold stone. I would never be able to look into her eyes again, never be able to hold her again. I would never hear her laugh or cry or sing again.

    I would never again hear the words that always made my heart glad; the ones she said to me every night before bed, before leaving the house…

    I would never again hear those words, the last words out of her mouth as I helplessly held her broken and brutalized body in my arms and cried in vain for help that never came.

    “I love you daddy.”

    For what seemed like hours I knelt there and cried, my fingers tracing the black letters that were carved into the gray granite stone. Samantha Sparks, March 15, 1988 – January 12, 2006. She was only seventeen years old and all I had left after her mother died those many years ago.

    She was everything to me. My life. My reason for living and continuing on. Now she was gone, ripped away from me in the space of a moment.

    The cemetery was silent as death in the cold morning air. I was alone in the park, the snow continued to fall, and I finally forced myself to stand up again. I looked at her tombstone and felt the empty ache inside me that would never go away, like a hole that could never be filled.

    A man should never have to bury his own child. “It’s almost over Sam.” I said to the cold stone as I watched a few flakes of snow settle into the recessed letters of her name. “There is only one left and then it’s done.”

    The flowers I had brought with me were carefully arranged at the base of the stone, joining the countless others I had brought before and never removed. I thought for a moment and then stooped down and carefully picked out all the dead flowers, leaving only the ones that still had color. I carefully cleaned off the grass around her gravesite before standing up again.

    Nothing in my life had prepared me for dealing with this kind of ordeal. Every night her face would haunt my dreams, and every night the dreams would turn into nightmares as the scene changed to the last one: the day I held her for the last time.

    I looked around the cemetery again for any sign of other people. I had to be alert constantly now, I was a wanted man. I was wanted by the FBI; although they had an idea it was me, they had no proof and no evidence so they were content to watch my every move. I was wanted by the remaining gang members and the heads of the cartel I had waged my war against; they had put out several contracts on me and they knew who I was.

    I had no mercy and I spared no one.

    Strangely, the killing didn’t bother me. At first I was worried I would get caught before I had finished, but then I realized that with a little foresight and some common sense, it was easy to outwit the cops. After the first one, I was surprised that it hadn’t bothered me a bit. The rest were easy and I was strangely comfortable with what I had done.

    I had no remorse and the hate kept me warm at night.

    The weight of the two silenced HK USP Tactical 45’s in their twin shoulder holsters under my heavy jacket gave me comfort, as did the special purpose shotgun that was slung under my slicker. The shotgun had a breeching barrel and a pistol grip; short, compact, and very deadly. The heavy breeching barrel was equipped with a muzzle made of quarter inch steel and ringed with sharp edged teeth with slots cut around the end to allow the gases to escape. The barrel was made to be jammed into doors and wood, the teeth would sink in to prevent slipping, and then the operator would blow the hinges or doorknob to smithereens.

    The added benefit of the heavy muzzle was that it was virtually indestructible, and it made one hell of an impression when those teeth were shoved up into someone’s jaw. I smiled grimly as I remembered the door guard who had the mistake of trying to stop me. He lost his head, literally.

    The snow continued to fall as I slowly walked away and headed back towards my truck. As I neared my truck, I noticed a black Crown Victoria car parked along the side opposite of me. I smiled grimly as I recognized the car. It was the FBI. They couldn’t be more obvious than if they had a neon sign on their car that advertised who they were. These idiots had been trailing me for six months now and they just now found me in the last couple days.

    I wasn’t worried. If they had anything on me at all, I wouldn’t be a free man right now. This place would have been swarming with agents and I would have been taken down hard, or, most likely, killed in the process. Except for the last guy I had yet to kill, I could care less.

    The goon squad saw me coming and stepped out of their car. The two FBI men, dressed in their suits and ties, wearing heavy, dark blue jackets with bright yellow “FBI” letters across the back, shivered in the bitter cold and rubbed their hands together as they walked over to intercept me.

    Me, I just stopped in the middle of the parking lot and waited for them. This seemed to confuse the two men as they also stopped and looked at me, as if they wanted an explanation or waiting for me to make another move. Or maybe they just didn’t know what to do. I just stared hard at them from under my hat, my right hand on the Springfield 1911 Micro-compact in my jacket pocket. They were still too far away to hear it, so I went ahead and cocked the hammer back. No sense taking any chances with these guys, although they probably just wanted to talk.

    As if reading my mind, one of the men raised his hands slightly, palms out, in a gesture of peace and began walking slowly in my direction. I didn’t move or say anything, I just stood there. Without moving my head, I scanned the area within visible range for any hideout agents or people hiding behind trees or headstones. So far it looked like it was just these two. I knew they knew I was armed, but they couldn’t see any weapons. My slicker did an excellent job of concealing the shotgun and the two HK’s. If the men wanted trouble, I had plenty.

    The agent stopped about ten feet in front of me and looked at me for a minute before he spoke. I could see he was trying to see my eyes, but my hat brim cast a dark shadow over the upper part of my face and my heavy beard covered the lower part. I suspect that to him, I must have looked a tad out of place, like maybe I belonged in another time and place. Sometimes I felt that way too.

    “Mornin” the man said to me, “Name’s Agent Tully and that’s Agent Myers. We’d like to talk to you.”

    I just looked at him for a minute. I guess they were trying to size me up, maybe hoping I’d slip up and say something that they could nab me for. Damn it was getting cold out here. “Talk then.” I stated with finality.

    “You want to get out of this cold, sir? Maybe we could go to the diner at the end of the street and sit down over some coffee.”

    “Here’s fine.” I stated, my tone implying that I wanted to get this over with. The agent looked a bit frustrated by my comment but he quickly recovered. I could tell he didn’t like the cold; it didn’t phase me a bit. The air temperature on this cold January day didn’t come close to how I felt inside. I just stood there waiting.

    “Right. Okay then.” The man was obviously caught off guard and I could see he’d rather be anywhere else. I interrupted him.

    “Look. You guys have something to say, spit it out. If I’m under arrest for something, read me my rights and let’s get it over with. Otherwise, I’m leavin.” I turned slightly and began to walk toward my truck, still about fifty feet away.

    “Mr. Sparks, we know it’s you that’s behind all these vigilante killings.” I stopped in my tracks for a few seconds and looked at the man, he was only about fifteen feet from me. I decided to push my luck.

    I walked over to him until I was almost chest to chest with him and stared him right in the eyes with the coldest stare I could muster. I held my stare in his eye until he began to back up a little and licked his lips, his hand involuntarily going to his gun.

    “Wouldn’t do that if I were you Agent Tully.” I spoke in a soft whisper. My days of yelling or raising my voice were long gone; nowadays, if anyone ignored me when I had something to say, they didn’t for much longer. My voice had an edge to it that had never been there before and it carried a serious threat that couldn’t be mistaken. I had changed a lot in the past year.

    I could see his mind working fast and I could almost hear the clicking noises as his mind raced to analyze the situation. He realized his hand was on his gun and quickly removed it, nervously licking his lips again as he tried to return my stare. There must be something about carrying a badge that makes law enforcement people think that others should be scared of them. He didn’t know how to respond; finally he stuttered:

    “Why are you doing this Sparks? We know what happened to your daughter but what your doing ain’t going to bring her back and it’s going to land you in prison.”

    I knew they didn’t have a thing on me; otherwise he would be fishing like this. He was trying to bait me into saying something that they could use against me. I wasn’t biting.

    “Some things are worse than prison Agent Tully. Are we done here?” I asked him. Without waiting for an answer, I deliberately turned my back on him and walked back to my truck and got in. The big Duramax diesel started right up despite the cold and I turned up the heater just a little and set it on defrost to get the snow off the windows. It would take several minutes to warm up still, but I wasn’t in a hurry.

    I watched as the two agents walked back to their car. They stopped beside it and stared over at me for a few minutes before they got back in their car and drove off. I knew they had hoped to get me to say something. Their plan to take me to a coffee shop and get me warm and loosened up and talking hadn’t worked. I would have to keep an eye out for those two; they would be tailing me every chance they got I was sure.

    No matter, I wasn’t going anywhere important today. I had plans to make and supplies to get. My last target wasn’t going anywhere. I suspected he knew that I was coming for him and he probably had a full detail of body guards around him twenty-four seven. I smiled at the thought, bad guys protecting bad guys. It was rather ironic actually.

    The man hadn’t actually been directly involved in the abduction, rape, and murder of my daughter, but it had been his henchmen and he had given them his blessing. He was the one paying them. He was bringing in the drugs that were being sold on the streets. He was also kidnapping and smuggling girls out of the United States and selling them as slaves, probably for sex, on the black market.

    I couldn’t save them, couldn’t do anything to help them, but I could kill this bastard, and that was something at least. He was ultimately responsible for Samantha’s murder. He was going to die.

    And I didn’t much care how.

    The truck was warmed up enough so I put it in drive and slowly drove out of the parking lot. I looked around carefully to see if the FBI was lurking around waiting to follow me, but I didn’t see any sign of them. As I drove slowly home, I though about the mission I had before me.

    The man called Ramon Dago lived in private, gated, community in the rich peoples section of town, down California way, in a place called Rancho Santa Fe. The community was the Del Mar Country Club. It was a gated, closed off community. There were armed security guards at the gate twenty-four hours a day, every day, to keep the nosy, gawking public at bay. It wouldn’t be too hard to get inside, but it might be hard to out, especially if someone called the cops and they found out what was going on.

    Dago’s house and property was also gated. He had his own private armed guards with dogs roaming his property at all hours. It was reported that he had a virtual army all his own down there and never came out in public for long. Evidently I wasn’t the only one who wanted him dead.

    I almost wished someone would beat me to it. I was tired, weary, and worn out. I wanted it to be over. I wanted to just lay down and let death take me. It would be a welcome respite from my anguish and misery. I had virtually nothing left; I had lost everything in the last year. My job, my friends, my house, and everything I owned except for this truck and what I carried in it were gone.

    My wife, Samantha’s mother, had died from cancer many years ago. Sometimes I was grateful for that; that she wasn’t here to have to live through what happened. I felt a tinge of guilt as I realized that neither Sammie, nor her mother, would have wanted me to do what I’ve done. I shook off the thought and returned to the task at hand.

    Dago and his henchmen would be heavily armed. The dogs would certainly be a nuisance, but I had an idea for dealing with them. If I couldn’t feed them poison, then I would get one of those little doodads that emitted a high pitched noise that humans couldn’t hear, but would drive dogs insane. If I could turn that sucker on inside Dago’s compound, then I was sure the dogs would be useless after a few seconds of exposure to it. After several minutes, the dogs would probably be fighting to get away and go hide somewhere.

    Until I was able to get ‘eyes on’ with Dago’s property and see what I was up against, then I would just have to go off what I had managed to learn from my last few victims. If it was possible to set up for a long range sniper shot at the guy, then that would be my first choice. If not, then plan B was to infiltrate the compound with the doggy gadget, knives, and my silenced HK 45’s. If it came down to hand work, I had no problem at all with slashing my way through a bunch of would be mercenary soldiers.

    My turn was coming up so I put my blinker on and made a right. I was going to head home and sulk in my bottle of rum, but I suddenly had the urge for a hot plate of Chinese food. Why that urge came over me, I have no idea, but all of a sudden I decided that a hot plate of Chinese food just couldn’t be avoided. There were several establishments on this street, including an all-you-can-eat buffet. I went there.

    An hour later and thoroughly stuffed, I waddled out and got back in my truck and headed home. Home, if you could call it that, was an old, beat up RV trailer I had bought for a few grand after I sold my house. After Sammie’s death, I let myself go and then my boss did too. After that, I sold the house to get whatever equity I could out of it and took the money and ran. I bought this little trailer to live in and that’s been home for almost a year now. Actually it worked out pretty good for me, because as I worked my way up the ladder from gang foot soldiers to gang leaders to cartel bosses, I would just pick up and move from town to town. It was probably a contributing reason to why they hadn’t caught me yet; today’s little encounter told me they were getting close though.

    I finally pulled into the RV Park and parked next to my trailer. I slid out of the truck, feeling like a bloated dog, and waddled over to the door. I unlocked it and climbed up inside, locking the door behind me and then sat down on what passed for a couch. I picked up the remote and my bottle of rum and turned the TV on, flipping through the channels until I found something worth watching; it was the remake of Dawn of the Dead.

    It was good enough for me, and it fit my dark mood. I twisted the cap off my fresh bottle of Captain Morgan Tattoo and took a long swig. The burn felt good in my throat and I welcomed the sensation. I took my shotgun out from under my slicker and laid it on the table beside me and then pulled my HK’s from my shoulder rigs and placed them beside the shotgun and took another long pull.

    A bunch of guys were trapped on the roof of a mall or something and were sniping at the hordes of undead below them when I took down my shotgun and wiped each piece carefully and sprayed it with Teflon to keep the rust at bay. I reassembled it, loaded and chambered a round and set it back on the table after clicking the safety on out of habit. Last thing I needed was to snag the trigger on something and blow my foot off.

    I cleaned my HK’s as well. It was a nightly ritual to do so. One gun at a time, always keeping one loaded in case of unexpected visitors. Of course if the unexpected visitors were smart unexpected visitors, they would simply shoot up the trailer. The thin walls of the RV trailer wouldn’t stop so much as a 22.

    I took another long pull at the bottle and was surprised to see that it was already half gone. I finished reloading the last HK and then screwed the silencer back on it, as I had done with the other one. I didn’t much care what the law said about the silencers, I had no intention of getting arrested or even searched. If they hauled me in, I had bigger worries than a couple of silenced weapons.

    The HK felt good in my big hand and I slowly turned it this way and that, looking at it in the light. It was worn and polished by lots of hard use over the last year and it had killed several dozen men already. Once again the thought crossed my mind as I held the gun that I could just end it all right here and now. I pulled the hammer back and placed the muzzle of the silencer against my temple, my finger massaging the trigger. It would be so easy.

    If I fired it, no one would know until the rent was late. And no one in the world would give a damn either, except the owner of the park who had to pay the cleanup crew. I rubbed the muzzle around on my temple and then pushed the gun flat against my head and tripped the decocker as a wave of helpless rage and anguish washed over me again and I slammed the gun down on the table and grabbed my bottle of rum and pulled another long one.

    Why her? I wondered again. I had been helpless to save her as she died in my arms though I would have taken her place in an instant had I been given the choice. I had been helpless; all my knowledge, all of my skills, all my weapons; nothing I owned or possessed or knew that day could save her life.

    The people in the movie were on a boat; evidently it was the end of the movie. I flipped the TV off with the remote and felt the familiar and welcome sensation of the alcohol taking effect. I downed the rest of the bottle and then grabbed one of my HK’s and the wool blanket beside me and lay down on the couch. I pulled the blanket over me and stuck the HK under my pillow and passed out.

    And the nightmares came again.

    Comment Thread
    Last edited by Marine; 11-24-2006 at 03:23 PM. Reason: added link to comment thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id

    Chapter 2

    (don't expect fast chapters!)

    Advisory warning: Adult language, violence, and brutality throughout this story. It will only get worse from here on out so prepare yourself if you choose to read.

    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 2

    January 12, 2006 – The worst day of my life.

    That day started like any other school day in the life a single parent and a teenage daughter. It was a beautiful, clear, Thursday morning; a little warm for that time of the year, and Samantha was rushing to get to school on time. As usual for a typical teenage girl, she had overslept again and now she had to rush through breakfast and getting dressed.

    I was ready for her. I had been playing Mr. Mom for several years now and I was way ahead of her, most of the time. Sometimes she caught me off guard and flatfooted, but mostly I was pretty good at anticipating her every move and having a reaction plan for it. That morning had been no different.

    I had a healthy breakfast of toaster pastries waiting for her when she came into the kitchen and her lunch packed and waiting. She looked absolutely stunning that morning, but then again, I was biased. My greatest fear at that moment in time was fighting off the boys who were sure to come calling sooner or later.

    She was 17 years old and could easily have walked any runaway in Paris, but she never acted like it. She wasn’t the vain type and maybe that was what made her so pretty. She didn’t look down on anyone either, she was a friend to the friendless and she was always helping someone. I think maybe she scared the boys and that was why I hadn’t had to show off my war room yet to any would be suitor. I had rehearsed that scene a million times in my head and I had fully intended to re-enact the scene from Bad Boys II when that poor boy came calling on the cops daughter, and then he and the other cop had just about made that poor kid wet his pants. I had the act down and ready to go at the ring of a doorbell.

    I never got to use it.

    The horn honking from the street signaled that her ride was there to pick her up and whisk her away to school. It was her friend Brianna, who had just gotten a car from her parents as a reward for a perfect 4.0 for the first three years of high school. I would have given Sam any car she wanted, but I just didn’t have the money and she never asked.

    She was a good kid and I trusted her completely. We were close and she talked to me like she would have talked to her mother, or her closest friend. At times I felt completely unprepared for certain events in a young woman’s life and sometimes wished I had a lady friend I could call on to help me. But alas, all I had was myself, so I made the best of it. When she had hit puberty and started all the changes that girls go through on the way to womanhood, I had been scrambling to figure out how to tell her that it was okay and there really wasn’t anything wrong with her; trying to teach her how to use a tampon was something I never wanted to do again.

    She scooped up her lunch, stuffed it in her pack and then reached up to give me a hug. I bent over slightly and hugged her back.

    “Love you daddy. See you tonight.” At 17 she still called me daddy, even in front of her friends. She had me wrapped around her little finger and she knew it.

    “Love you too babe, have fun at school.” I said as she raced out the door, letting it slam behind her. I smiled after her and then turned back to my manly duties of cleaning up the kitchen before heading off to work myself.

    At the time I was a superintendent for a big heavy construction outfit in eastern Washington and we were building some new bridges and widening the main interstate through Spokane. The gangs were getting to be a problem with their graffiti and vandalism and the cops were next to useless when it came to prevention or making an arrest. Every day we would have to scrub off some new graffiti from a fresh concrete pour, overhead sign, or construction equipment. It was getting to the point where we were setting up surveillance cameras and hiring security to walk the site when we weren’t there working. It helped a little, but not much.

    I locked up the house and tossed my briefcase into my 2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax pickup. It was a four door truck with a camper shell, shiny jet black. It was the only vehicle I had and sort of a company perk; the company made the payments and gave me a fuel card, I got to keep the truck. The only conditions they put on the deal was that I had to remain a superintendent or get promoted, and they wanted to put their name and logo on my truck. Because of that, I had to have the latest model truck as well; company image and all that. I wasn’t complaining a bit.

    The drive to work was uneventful, what I saw when I got there was more of the same: more graffiti. Some of my crew were up in the boom lift scrubbing it off and cursing the vandals. I didn’t blame them a bit and cursed them myself as I called the cops to file yet another report. It was getting ridiculous and, although I hadn’t personally seen it, I was sure our report file at the local police department had to be about a foot thick. They all knew me on a first name basis over there as we had to file a report before the insurance would kick in and cover the damage.

    The day was going by without any hang-ups and everything was flowing along smoothly. We had the steel girders up and bolted in place and the forms almost set for the next pour. A dozen men were inside tying the steel grid and our beloved special inspector was watching our every move as we worked. We were scheduled to pour the next segment of the bridge in six days and we had a lot of work to get done before then.

    I was walking back to my truck to get ready to leave for the day when my phone rang. It was Samantha and the time was 3:30. She had been out of school for a half hour and she was probably on her way home or going for coffee with her friend as she usually did. I answered the phone.

    “Hey, Sam. I’m almost…” I stopped in mid sentence as I heard her crying softly into the phone. I could tell she was trying to be quiet about it for some reason. “Sam, what’s wrong?” I asked her, instantly going on guard.

    “Daddy… Daddy help me…” My heart was beating hard as I heard the desperation in her voice.

    “Where are you Sam? What’s wrong?” I asked quickly. Wherever she was, I would be there as fast as my truck could drive.

    “Daddy, some men grabbed me and threw me in a car. I’m in a trunk… I can’t see anything. They didn’t take my phone. Daddy help me… I’m scared.”

    My blood froze solid in my veins and I would have gone right through that damn phone to the other side if it was physically possibly to do so. I told myself to stay calm and think. I had to be in control of myself, not let on how scared I suddenly was for her. Men grabbed her… If they harmed her, I would skin every one of them alive.

    I jumped in my truck, the Bluetooth wireless in my ear, and started it up. I had no idea where to go, but I would start by heading toward her school. “Sam, stay calm and talk to me. Where were you when they grabbed you?”

    “I was standing on the sidewalk near the coffee shop I always go to with Brianna. Daddy, I think they killed her. Daddy please help me, I’m really, really scared right now.” She was whispering into the phone, probably hoping that whoever was sitting in the car wouldn’t hear her. I was getting madder by the second. The bastards would pay with their lives if she so much as had a scratch on her.

    “Alright honey, I’m heading that way. Did you see what the car looked like? What the men looked like?”

    “Yeah, a little. It was a black car, a big one. Like a Cadillac I think. The windows were tinted black. The men were dressed like gangsters; they had on those white tank tops under some heavy jackets and black bandanas on their heads. There were five of them and they all looked like Mexicans.” She kept whispering as she tried to recall every detail she could remember. “They didn’t try to sneak up on me daddy, they just walked up like they were going into the store and then they grabbed me from behind. I heard Brianna scream and then there was a gunshot. They were too strong daddy and I didn’t have time to react. They just grabbed me without warning. I tried to fight but I couldn’t. They held my arms from behind and then tossed me into the trunk and slammed the lid and then they took off. Daddy, I’m sorry.”

    My blood had stopped freezing and was boiling now. I felt like I could rip the truck to pieces with my bare hands. “No Samantha, it’s not your fault. You have nothing to be sorry about. I’m coming for you babe, just stay on the phone and tell me everything you can. I’m heading toward the coffee shop area right now.” And I couldn’t even call the cops without hanging up on her and that certainly wasn’t an option.

    “Daddy,” Her voice was trembling and she was on the verge of crying, “I think we just turned off the road. It sounds like we’re driving on gravel.” I started cursing and screaming in my mind. There were hundreds of logging roads and forest access roads around here. She could be on any of them. I fought the fear that was rising in my chest and struggled to keep my voice calm.

    “You’re doing great Sam. Sam, is there a tire iron in the trunk with you? Anything you can use as a weapon?” I could hear her feeling around and she was breathing heavily into the phone; every one of my nerves was on edge and my ears were straining to pick up every noise.

    “It’s too dark daddy and I can’t feel anything but carpet in here. I think it’s empty except for me… Daddy, we’re slowing down.” I punched my fist straight through the center console, shattering the radio.

    “Samantha, listen to me very carefully. I want you to do exactly what I say okay?”

    “Okay daddy.” She sounded like she was about to cry. “Daddy we’re stopping.”

    SH-T! “Samantha, when they open that trunk, don’t fight until you’re on your feet. Then I want you to break free and run as hard as you can in whatever direction is away from them, okay?” I had taught Sam everything I knew about wilderness living and survival and she had virtually grown up hunting and camping. I knew she could survive in the woods if she could get away.

    “Okay daddy. I will.”

    “Sam, don’t turn your phone off, hide it in your shirt, in your bra or something, and tell me everything you see.”

    “Okay daddy.” I heard a rustling noise as she stuffed the phone somewhere.

    “I love you daddy. I know your coming to save me.” Her voice was thick with fear, I slammed my fist into the roof of the cab out of helpless rage and then the tears started running down my face. I had never felt more helpless in my life.

    “I love you more Sam. I’m coming for you.” I knew she couldn’t hear me with the phone away from her ear, but I said it anyway. My speedometer said I was going 95 miles per hour and I was weaving through traffic like a maniac. Where was a damn cop when you needed one?

    I pulled out my HK USP Tactical 45 that I always carried. I had a permit to carry in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah and I was always packing heat twenty-four hours a day and today was no exception. I did a quick brass check over the steering wheel as I careened around another car, almost scraping the median divider as I raced by. I had no idea where I was going, but at least I was going somewhere. There was a round in the chamber.

    For the first time in my life I wanted to kill someone.

    Since my job requires me to be on the phone quite a bit during the day, I always wore a hands free remote, in this case it was the relatively new technology called Bluetooth, which was a wireless unit. I thought it was pretty nifty little gadget for someone who hates the phone to begin with. I was glad for it now, as it took both hands to drive and check my gun.

    I almost missed my exit and screamed across three lanes of freeway traffic with my hand planted firmly on the horn as I took the off ramp at 75 miles per hour. I barely slowed down enough to make the turn, horn blaring loudly the entire time, and cut off a dozen cars as I blew through the intersection, barely missing a big rig lowboy hauling a D9 bulldozer. I swerved just in time to avoid ripping my truck apart on the overhanging bulldozer blade. The truck driver blasted his horn at me in anger but I didn’t hear it.

    “Daddy, their getting out of the car. I can hear them talking outside. Their saying something about where to take me… daddy. I’m scared, please come. I really want you here right now.” I really wanted to be there right now.

    “I’m coming baby, I’m coming.” I said quietly through gritted teeth. I had no idea where to go and I was feeling desperately helpless, more so by the minute. My tears were flowing freely now, but I didn’t care. My only child needed me; her life probably depended on me. I wanted to scream. Right then I wished my phones had that fancy GPS locating service that Nextel has, but I didn’t have Nextel.

    I slowed down and moved over to the slow lane of the two lane road as I neared the area of the coffee shop. There were cops everywhere and at least one ambulance I could see. There was nothing there that could help me, but at least I had a starting point.

    “I think they are going to open the trunk. Please hurry daddy.” My heart was tearing in two; there was absolutely nothing I could do. Suddenly I realized I had bent the steering wheel and I let up on my grip and forced myself to relax. I had to wait for a clue.

    “There’s a key in the lock. They’re opening it.” I was desperately praying this was some sick senior prank. I knew in my heart it wasn’t.

    “Fight baby, fight.” I willed it as I whispered into the phone. “Please tell me something, anything.” I knew these hills around here like the back of my hand. I had raised Samantha in them and we had explored almost everything that wasn’t private property, and a lot that was. If she recognized anything, she would say something to let me know.

    “Get out of the car b-tch.” I heard a man’s voice say. The tone was angry and demanding. I bent the steering wheel some more, my other hand was on my HK. My ears were straining to hear anything that might give me a clue. I was moving along in the slow lane now, just barely keeping up with traffic, waiting for any clue that might tell me where to go. The guy hauling the dozer was still quite a ways back.

    I heard the rustling noise of my daughter crawling out of the trunk. Suddenly I heard her whisper, “The old Adams place daddy.”

    My foot smashed the accelerator to the floor till it bottomed out and my speedometer quickly showed I was up to almost a hundred miles per hour again. People who knock diesel engines have a lot to learn. A good turbo diesel with some minor tweaking will beat a Corvette off the line and spank it in a short run. My truck was brand spanking new and that Alison transmission was tight as a drum and I opened it all the way up. The turbo was screaming and the governor began to kick in within a few seconds after I heard her whisper the place.

    I heard some men talking in the background and then someone said “B-tch, get your ass over there and don’t try nothing stupid.” I heard her grunt as she moved. I could only suspect that someone had their hands on her, or she was shoved. I hoped she would run.

    I heard her whisper something barely audible, “Gonna run daddy. Please hurry.”

    “RUN! Dammit! RUN!” I screamed into the phone; that place was heavily wooded and if she could get into the trees she would have a chance. The cars were flying by as I sped past them. I had my hand on the bright headlight switch and I was flashing my lights as fast as I could as I screamed down the road. I had my other hand on the horn and the steering wheel. Evidently it was working; people began moving out of my way miles down the road. I still had several miles to go yet, but I knew the road and I knew the area.

    “Their chasing me daddy! Three of them ha…” Her sentence was cut off by her scream of utter pain, then I heard a gunshot in the background and then a thump and then the line went dead. I almost drove off the road. I would find out later that the cell phone had been smashed when she fell on it.

    The fear and helpless rage I had been feeling up to that point suddenly tempered and something else replaced it. Everything inside me turned cold and my anger turned to hate and bitter resolve. I knew that at this point, I was a very dangerous person; God have mercy on anyone who stood in my way.

    The world closed off and disappeared. I no longer saw the vehicles behind me. I didn’t see the flashing lights of the trooper as he struggled to catch up to me. I didn’t realize that my speedometer was pegged and I was still gaining speed. All I saw was the road ahead of me and in my mind I was running the map through my head and placing the exact turn off to the road and the landmarks before it.

    The cop was still a few miles back but gaining quickly. The road was coming up that led to the old Adams place, a long abandoned ranch that had once raised buffalo. The road took a turn to the right and I slammed on my brakes and took the turn fast, almost rolling my truck; the back end fishtailed out and I turned into the slide. As soon as the nose of the truck was pointed down the road, I floored it again; throwing gravel back towards the highway. I sped down the road as fast as I could, praying and hoping that she was still alive.

    The cops continued down the highway, unaware I had turned off; I never saw him at all. The road took a sharp left and then went down into a small valley and up the other side. It had been almost ten minutes since the phone had gone dead. I gripped my HK in my hand as I sped down the bumpy road and up the other side.

    The next second I was in the open, speeding across the old ranch yard and toward a black car, a Cadillac Coupe. I barely slowed down as I spotted a gangster looking thug who turned to look at me, startled by my sudden appearance. I aimed my truck straight for him and he barely had time to realize what was happening before my grill turned him into hamburger as I smashed him between my truck and the Caddie; caving in the side of the car and literally wrapping it around the front of my truck. My airbag deployed; slamming me in the face, and OnStar automatically called 911.

    I smashed the brakes to the floor as the airbag promptly deflated and slammed the truck into park; merely a force of habit at that point; the truck was dead right there. The door got shoved backward with the impact and I had to slam my body against it to get it open, and then suddenly I was out of the truck and searching for targets. A group of the gangster guys had been standing around in a group over something on the ground and they all turned toward me as one.

    I guess they figured that numbers would be intimidating and they all started running toward me as they saw what I had done. One guy was slow to stand up and he trailed a little behind the others. Two of them had guns in their hands which they were bringing up to point in my direction and I barely recall shooting them. I remember dropping to one knee and seeing the front sight of my HK and then feeling it buck in my hands. I saw two bullet holes appear in the chest of the first guy as his chest blossomed red with blood and then I switched targets and planted two more in the chest of the other armed gangster. The third armed guy was smashed between my truck and the car.

    The other two that were left standing stopped moving and stood perfectly still with their hands in the air. I guess they figured maybe I was a cop or something. They thought wrong.

    I stood up and looked around to make sure no one was going to sneak up behind me and then walked over to the two pieces of sh-t, my gun trained on the forehead of the biggest one. I recall at that time I was cold inside, there was no feeling at all and no fear. My gun was steady as a rock as I held it pointed at the forehead of the biggest gangster.

    “Be cool dude. Be cool.” He said in a shaky voice. F-ck that, I wanted my daughter back.

    “Where’s Samantha?” I asked him with a voice as cold as ice.

    “Who?” He tried to look confused, like he didn’t know what I was talking about.

    “My daughter asshole. The one you just kidnapped. You forget already?” Without waiting for a reply I dropped the muzzle and squeezed the trigger once. His pencil dick disappeared in a burst of red as his pants shredded open from the transfer of kinetic energy. The man screamed in pain as he reflexively grabbed his crotch and collapsed on the ground; there was a lot of blood.

    I pointed the HK in the other one’s face and that was when I noticed that his pants were undone. Immediately I knew why without even asking. The guy looked scared but continued his tough guy act.

    “You rape her?” I asked.

    “Yeah pendejo. I did.” He spat out some Spanish crap at me that I didn’t understand. “So what?” he stated with all the ignorance of an idiot who doesn’t when he’s about to die. There were tattoos on his neck that I assumed were some kind of gang ID.

    “So you’re f-cking dead you pathetic piece of sh-t. Where is she?” I gave him a stare that would have frozen a pot of scalding water. My gun was still pointed right at his face and it was steady as a rock.

    He spat at me and said something in Spanish about my mother and then said “Over there asshole.” He pointed behind him to the tall weeds. Suddenly I was scared as I saw blood on the tall grass in that direction.

    “You better pray she’s still alive. Don’t go anywhere.” I said; my voice as cold as ice. I dropped the HK down and fired a round into his right thigh bone from less than five feet away; the 230 grain, .45 caliber Hydroshock did its job well as his leg fairly exploded with the impact. The wannabe tough guy screamed and crumpled to the ground as he grabbed his leg with both hands. Just to be sure, I put a round in his other leg as well; he screamed again. The other one was a sobbing, sniveling mess. He was curled up in a fetal position in a pool of his own blood with his hands firmly planted over where his groin used to be.

    I could have cared less.

    I kicked the guns out of their reach, ignoring their screams of pain, before I ran quickly over to where the man had pointed and my heart stopped as I viewed the scene.

    “No. God no. no. no. no.” I quickly moved to her side and dropped down beside her as I began to carefully examine her. Her clothes had been ripped away and were hanging in shreds from her body and I could see where the bullet had exited out her front, just above her right breast. The wound was bubbly and frothy and foamed with every breath which told me she was still alive at least. She might have survived that wound alone, but then one of the animals had stabbed her several times in her abdomen; there were at least four stab wounds that I could plainly see. I asked myself why…

    Her body was already showing the bruises of where they had brutally beaten her after she tried to run and they had shot her; then they had obviously raped her where she had fallen; their final act was stabbing the knife deep into her belly.

    “Sam, can you hear me? It’s daddy baby, I’m here.” I didn’t know if she could hear me at all. I had to get her to a hospital.

    There was blood everywhere and I didn’t even notice that I was covered in it as I gently scooped her up in my arms and held her close to my chest. Her eyes fluttered and opened and she looked me straight in the eye. “You came… daddy. I knew… you would.” She said in a weak voice and smiled slightly and her eyes closed again as she began to lose consciousness.

    “SAM! No Sam, stay with me Sam! C’mon baby, I’m gonna get you to the hospital. Hang in there baby. SAM!” I was trying not to yell, not to cry; but I was failing at the latter. I held her tighter and looked at her broken and ravaged body helplessly. Her eyes opened again and she looked at me one final time.

    “It’s… okay… daddy…” She whispered and grimaced as a spasm of pain washed over her. “Daddy… I love you.” Her eyes rolled back in her head and her body tensed violently once more and then went limp.

    She was gone.

    “NO! SAM!” I screamed at her; the tears flowing freely as I held her lifeless body in my arms. I wept hard and long as I held her tightly to me. I don’t know how long I was there, and I have no idea how much time passed. I forgot about everything else around me and I was still holding her tightly to me when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

    Startled out of my trance I looked around expecting to see that one of the gangsters had somehow limped over with a gun to kill me; instead a female cop was standing there, she had a gun in her hand and she had reached out to get my attention with the other one.

    I just stared at her and then looked around the clearing. There must have been half a dozen cop cars there with lights flashing, and three ambulances. A few medics were tending to the men I had shot and the others were being covered with white sheets by the cops. Evidently they had been there for a little while; I never even heard them arrive.

    “I called out to you several times but you didn’t respond Sir. I need you to let the paramedics look at her okay?” I barely comprehended what she had said and nodded dumbly as I relaxed my grip on Sam. The paramedic quickly moved over and began checking her for any sign of life.

    “She’s dead.” My voice was thick and rough. “She died in my arms. There was nothing I could do… There was nothing I could do.” I repeated as my voice trailed off. I still held my daughter in my arms as he examined her quickly. He looked up at me as he continued trying to find a pulse.

    “Sir, are you okay? Do you have any injuries?” The paramedic must have known better than to ask me to let go of my daughter. His voice was strictly professional as he continued to examine my daughter. Finally he stopped and looked at me.

    “No. I’m not okay. They just killed my daughter.” I said as I looked at him, as if he could make it all better and fix it. “They killed my daughter.”

    The paramedic looked like he was at a loss for words. He didn’t say anything at all after that and he finally stood up and put his hand on my shoulder before he walked over to the cop. They stepped away together and I heard him say something about shock and how the dead girl was my daughter.

    I wasn’t in shock, I was dead.

    January 12, 2006 the man called Kyle Sparks died with his daughter.

    Comment Thread

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id

    Chapter 3

    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 3 - Downward Spiral.

    I finally allowed the paramedics to take the body of my daughter from me and the cops took my gun, without my permission. At the time and under the circumstances, I could have cared less about my gun; I had lots of them anyway and losing that one wouldn’t have been a big deal.

    When my daughter died, I stopped caring about anything. All I wanted was vengeance. Terrible, hard vengeance; and I would get it just as soon as I had a target for my rage.

    When the fight score was finally tallied, I had killed four gangsters and one survived. The one whose dick I had shot off had bled out and died right there on the spot. The other one had two shattered femurs and a punctured femoral artery from the big 45 caliber slugs; they had to amputate both his legs. If the medics hadn’t shown up when they did, he would have died also. I wouldn’t have lost any sleep over it.

    The rest was a blur and I barely remember the details. Three of the four men I had killed, including the dickless wonder, were wanted in three states on felony arrest warrants for suspected rape and assault, drug dealing, and possible kidnapping. They were tied to a gang that was know to import high dollar designer drugs and were suspected of kidnapping and smuggling women and girls out of the country to be sold into slavery, probably for sex. The forensic team discovered that two of them had raped Samantha, including the now legless one. They had found the knife and it had one of the dead animal’s fingerprints all over it; the guy I had shot in the groin. The gun from the guy I had smashed with my truck had been the one that shot Sam; it was an AK47.

    I couldn’t do anything for those girls the gang had already taken, but this gang had targeted my daughter and now she was dead. The one survivor had begun singing like a bird and his statement had said that they had intended to kidnap Sam, have some fun with her, and then sell her south of the border before everything had gone wrong. I found out that girls that looked like Sam brought top dollar and even this far north they were being targeted.

    Well, I was going to target the gang. This time they had picked the wrong girl and I wasn’t about to sit back and roll over and wait for the slow wheels of justice to someday do their job. I wanted retribution.

    Besides, as far as the cops and the DA were concerned, it was a wrapped case and they weren’t going to go after the gang because the FBI told them that it would interfere with undercover operations within the gang; basically they said ‘stay away’.

    I had killed all the bad guys and left one alive and he was squealing like a stuck pig. It was obviously self defense and justifiable homicide; my daughter had been brutally beaten and raped and then stabbed to death; all that after they had shot her first. No charges were filed against me but the investigation continued.

    But I wasn’t satisfied with the current score and I wanted blood, and lots of it. I decided I would destroy the gang to the last man, or die trying. I couldn’t save my daughter but maybe I could save someone else’s. If the cops and the feds couldn’t do anything to this gang, then maybe I could. The feds had to follow rules; I didn’t have any rules at all.

    There was nothing holding me back. There is a saying, the first one is expensive; the rest are free. After the court finally ruled that I was free and clear of any charges and they gave me my gun back, I decided I would go hunting.

    A lot had happened in the time that transpired since my daughter was killed. I had begun to drink heavily and I quit shaving, rarely ate, and began losing weight.

    My truck had been completely totaled in the fight when I had smashed into the guy and the car, but the insurance company replaced it with a newer model and stuck me with the same payments. I found out later that I had actually bent the steering wheel out of shape. No one knew that was possible outside of an impact or collision. I had put my fist through the stereo and almost severed a tendon in one of my fingers from a deep cut caused by a sharp piece of the plastic; that had taken weeks to heal. When I had punched the roof of the cab, I had actually dented it upwards, enough that it was included in the insurance statement. I don’t remember any of that at all.

    The OnStar and GPS in my truck had tracked my entire wild ride from work to the site of Sam’s murder and the phone company had showed that I had been on the phone almost the whole time with my daughter. If they could have captured the conversation, it would only have been icing on the cake as far as the DA was concerned.

    I quit showing up to work on time, I always smelled of alcohol, and my performance began dropping drastically. At first they let it go and didn’t say much, hoping I would turn around and snap out of it. Everyone knew what had happened, word travels fast. People gave me a wide berth when I came walking through and I heard them talking behind my back.

    I didn’t care.

    Then one day I had come to work and my boss was waiting for me. I walked with him to the job site trailer and he told me to have a seat. I knew what was coming; I’d been expecting it for some time.

    “Kyle,” he began slowly, “I can’t imagine what you have been dealing with these past few months. I’ve ignored your steady decline in performance for as long as I can, hoping that you would snap out of it and come back to the land of the living. You’ve been one of our best Super’s, and you’ve been with us for a long time.”

    He paused and sighed heavily before continuing, “Unfortunately, I can’t ignore your behavior any longer. It’s becoming a safety issue and it’s starting to affect the crews and the job schedules. I’m gonna have to let you go Kyle, but I want you to understand that whenever it is that you finally get everything worked out, you will have a job waiting for you here.”

    I didn’t expect that last part.

    “I’ve known you for a long time Kyle. You never used to drink at all; in fact, I can’t recall if I have ever seen you drink at any of the company parties or lunches. But now you show up to work smelling like booze. You ain’t shaved in months, and you look like hell man.

    “Listen Kyle, there are places you can go for help. You ain’t the only one who has been through something like this. You can pull through Kyle, you’re a good man and I hate to see this happening to you.”

    I could have slugged him right then and there. It was all I could do to control my emotions at that moment. I stood up and looked him straight in the eye and when I spoke, my voice was low, almost a whisper.

    “How do you know what I have been through? Huh David? Samantha died in my arms. You remember Sam don’t you David? She died in my arms after I tried desperately to save her. She died in my arms David, after she had been shot, beaten, raped, and stabbed. How do you know David? How could anyone else know? She looked at me in the eye just before she died and she smiled when she saw my face David. She said to me, ‘you came. I knew you’d…’” my voice choked and I had to turn away as I began to weep again, “She said, ‘I knew you’d come daddy.’” I broke down again right there in front of my boss and sobbed like a child. I leaned my head against the wall on my arm and tried to get my emotions back under control.

    David put his arm on my shoulder and when I turned to look at him, his eyes were full of tears. He didn’t say anything at all as he stood there with his hand on my shoulder. Finally after a long moment of silence I got myself back under control and wiped my eyes. I turned around to face him again and he picked up an envelope off the desk.

    “I’m sorry Kyle. I don’t know what I could possibly say to you that could make it any better or ease your pain. I wish you all the best Kyle, I really do. I think you need to find a support group though, someone to help you through this. It’s too much to deal with alone man.” He handed me the envelope and I took it.

    “What’s this?”

    “It’s your severance package. That comes from the top brass. I don’t even know what’s in it. I was told to tell you that you have a job waiting here for you once you get back on track and get things sorted out.”

    I looked at him for a few minutes and then looked at the envelope in my hands. It really was a great company to work for and their offer to guarantee me a job was more than I could have hoped for. I looked back at my boss.

    “Thank you.” I said with feeling and meant it. He clasped my hand in a firm handshake and held it tight for a few seconds.

    “You take care of yourself Kyle. Don’t be a stranger. If you need anything at all, all you have to do is call. Even if it’s just to talk, and I mean that.” David was sincere in his offer and I could see it in his eyes.

    I didn’t have anything to say in response so I simply nodded at him and turned to the door. I stepped out into the bright sunshine and cool breeze of that April morning and looked around the job site for the last time. All the crews were working hard, the tower crane was busy moving materials around the site and several crews were up in the boom lifts working on forms and supports. The bridge was coming along nicely and it looked like everything was right on schedule.

    I turned back towards my truck and walked back to it. I would have to take off the company logo now and I would have to come up with a way to make the payments on my own. I realized suddenly that I didn’t have a job anymore but I still had a mortgage payment, and now a truck payment too. I sighed as I climbed up in my truck and slowly drove away from the job site. I doubted I would ever return.

    When I finally arrived back home, I walked in the door and into an empty house. I stood there in the kitchen feeling lost and terribly alone, wishing the ache inside me would go away. I waited to hear Sam’s laugh in the hallway but I knew that it would never be again. I walked slowly down the hallway until I came to her room, pausing in front of the closed door before I slowly turned the knob and opened it.

    Once again I was hoping it would all be a bad dream and she would be sitting there on her bed, smiling up at me as she studied for her latest test. It was not to be. The room was cold and silent. Her dresser with her makeup was along the far wall, posters of various country music stars hung on the wall; all her clothes still hung in the closet, never to be worn again.

    Her bed was just as she left it that morning, unmade and ruffled up. I picked up her pillow and smelled it. It still smelled just like her and I lost it. I sat down hard on the bed and wept until there was nothing left in me. Finally I stood up and walked carefully out of her room, shutting the door softly behind me as I went.

    Jessica, my wife and Sam’s mother, died from cancer when Sam was only seven years old. Up until now, that had been the hardest time of my life. Now I had no one left at all. I didn’t understand why, and I couldn’t come up with an answer.

    I couldn’t stand to be here alone. I had to leave, anywhere but here. I locked up the house and got back in my truck and drove downtown, not sure what I was looking for. I felt dead inside and I had no will to do anything. It was still too early for any bars to be open and I was never the bar type anyway. Right now though, the idea of just being around people was an enticing thought, but I wasn’t crazy about bars. I hated the smell of cigarette smoke and bars were full of it and you came out smelling like a chimney. I needed something else.

    The thought came to me suddenly to sell my house; just sell it as is. Fully furnished and loaded. Whoever bought it could do what they wanted with what was in it. I doubted I could handle the task of going through everything, what with the memories and all.

    As soon as I considered it, I decided it. I went to see my friend at Re-Max and tell him what I thought. He was glad to see me.

    “Hey Kyle, it’s good to see you. How are you holding together? You look like hell.” He said as he shook my hand. That was the second time today someone had told me that; maybe I should do something about it.

    “As well as can be expected I suppose.” He nodded at my comment and then motioned for me to sit down.

    “What can I do to help Kyle, anything?” The look on his face was genuine concern and I could tell he was sincere.

    “Yeah, actually, there is. I want to sell my house. As is. With everything that’s in it, minus a few things I’m gonna keep for myself.”

    He looked stunned for a minute and then leaned forward and asked me in a serious tone, “Kyle, are you sure you want to do that?”

    I looked at him for a minute and then responded. “Yeah Steve, I am. My wife died in that house. Now my daughter is dead. There are too many memories there and the ghosts haunt me at night. I need to go somewhere else; besides, I just lost my job and that mortgage payment…”

    “I see.” Steve scowled as he looked down at his desk. I could tell he was having a hard time with what I told him.

    “I thought you’d be the man for the job Steve, that’s why I came here. If you don’t want to do it, then I can get someone else.” He looked up at me at the last comment and I could tell he didn’t care for it.

    “No, that’s fine Kyle. I’ll sell your house. When do you want to put it on the market?”

    “Right now.” Steve looked surprised at that. I guess he didn’t expect it so soon.

    “Okay Kyle, I can do that. I’ll get the ball rolling and get the assessor out there and start the paperwork and title search. I should have it listed by the end of the week, as is, with everything that’s in the house.”

    “Thanks Steve. I’ll go start moving what I’m gonna keep and the buyers can deal with the rest.” I stood up and shook his hand and walked out. I had a lot of work to do by the end of the week; there were some things in that house I didn’t want to give up; some of it was in the liquor cabinet.

    The week disappeared quickly as I went through the things I wanted to keep. I rented a storage unit and moved all my survival preps, weapons, and personal stuff over to it. I kept every picture I could find of Sam and Jess. The rest of the stuff I left alone. I had no use for the furniture or Sam’s clothing; the new owners could use it, sell it, or toss it for all I cared. The only thing I did was to clean the house from top to bottom and make sure everything was neat and tidy. The hardest part was cleaning up Sam’s room and I took a lot of breaks to go sit down and have it out with myself again and again; usually the bottle would win.

    I knew it wasn’t my fault and there was no way I could have done anything different, but that line of thinking and rationalization just sounded hollow and empty to me. It would be a long time before I quit blaming myself for what happened. In retrospect, I suppose I should have taken my boss’s advice and found a support group; maybe it would have helped, but I’ll never know about that now.

    Steve finally came by at the end of the week with all the papers for me to sign. I noticed he had cut his commission to almost nothing, but I didn’t say anything to him about it. As it turned out my house was worth quite a bit more than what I paid for it almost twenty years ago and if I got my asking price I should walk away with a few hundred thousand under my belt. Normally that would have made me happy, but at the time, I didn’t give a damn if I even broke even. I signed the papers and we shook hands and he was gone.

    The deal was done.

    I went out and bought myself a small used RV trailer that I could pull easily behind my truck, on or off road. I found a decent used one that was only about eighteen feet long with a single slide-out and all the bells and whistles. The owner never used it and he wanted it gone in a bad way. I haggled with him for a while before we settled on a deal and I wrote him a check for a hefty down payment and left him with a signed promissory note saying that as soon as my house sold, I would pay him off in full. He was happy enough with that that he let me drive off with it.

    That worked out fine. I parked the trailer beside my house and moved into it while the house was showing; that way I could leave the house alone and undisturbed for the people coming to look at it.

    My house sold two months after it was listed and I actually got more than I was asking. Two different buyers got into a bidding war with each other and my buddy Steve kept egging them on. By the time all was said and done, I got another fifty grand out of the deal. I wrote a check to Steve, against his protests, for about $30k and told him thanks. I used the rest to pay off my trailer and my truck. I was sitting pretty with almost $300 grand in the bank, no debt at all, and absolutely nothing to do with the money.

    I was still contemplating about how to begin waging war on this gang when I got a call from one of the FBI detectives who had handled my case; the FBI was automatically brought in whenever there was a kidnapping involved. I surprised to hear from him.

    “Mr. Sparks I have some information that might interest you. It turns out that one of the gang members that you killed was the brother of one of the king pins higher up in their chain of command.”

    “Yeah, okay. What does that mean to me?” I wasn’t following too closely and I wasn’t prepared for what he said next.

    “Well, the word on the street from our informants is that there is a contract out on you. They want you dead in a bad way. Mr. Sparks we can provide some protection for you, maybe send a car to watch your place every night.”

    Like that would help.

    “Thanks, but no thanks Detective. I’ll keep my eyes open, but thanks for the heads up anyway.” I was sure he would try to argue with me.

    “Alright Mr. Sparks. It’s your call. If I hear anything else, I’ll call you right away.” I could tell by the tone of his voice that he thought I was making the wrong decision. Oh well.

    “I appreciate that Detective. You take care.” I hung up the phone and sat down and thought about that bit of new information. The more I thought about it, the happier I got; they were going to come to me.

    I doubted that they would know I had sold my house, so they would be casing the joint to make their move. I figured it might be a good idea to warn the new owners of this new development, so I wrote them a letter and included the detectives name and number. I hoped it would get to the address in time, but I wasn’t too concerned about it. I suppose I could have just as easily dropped it off in person; I only lived a few miles away anyhow.

    My truck was sitting parked next to my trailer, all shiny and pretty and looking great. It had a nice little lift on it and some oversize off road tires. It occurred to me suddenly that my truck was way too conspicuous and recognizable. I needed something else if I was going to begin running covert ops against my enemy.

    So I drove down to the local gas station mini mart and got me a copy of the latest issue of the used car magazines they sell on the stands there. I thumbed through it until I found the most bland looking everyday type car I could find. It was an older model beater, a little abused and banged up, but it was just what I wanted.

    The 1995 Cadillac coupe looked just like the picture when I drove up to the owner’s house. There were some dings and dents on the side panels and a little rust showing here and there; it looked like an old beater and it looked good to me.

    “Does it run?” The ad said it did, but I wanted to make sure.

    “Yes sir, it runs great. The engine was just replaced about three months ago and the transmission is only a couple years old. It was my daughter’s car, but she took off to college and she don’t want it anymore. She wants something new and flashy.” The man was a little on the fat side and was wearing a stained wife-beater shirt and had a cigar hanging from his lip. Right away I didn’t like him.

    “Mind if I take it for a test drive?” I had already decided I would buy it; the car would fit my needs perfectly.

    “Not at all if that’s your fancy truck sitting there.” He motioned at my truck and I understood that he considered that collateral against this piece of junk I was getting ready to buy. He handed me the keys and I got in the car.

    It started right up and purred smoothly; so far so good. I backed it out of the driveway and then drove down the street and around the block. Once I was out of sight of the man, I floored the accelerator all the down and smoked the tires. I grinned as I backed off. A little tweaking here and there and this thing would get the job done.

    I parked the car back in his driveway and told him I would give him $3500 of the $5000 he was asking if he would take cash. I already had the paperwork in my truck. At the mention of cash, his greedy little eyes lit up and he accepted the offer without arguing further. I pulled the paperwork out and filled out the information and bill of sale for the DMV, only I didn’t use my real name. He signed everything and I took the bill of sale and gave him the rest. I didn’t intend to register this car at all, the tags were current and I didn’t want the thing in my name.

    I took the keys from him and told him I would get a ride back here later and pick up the car. We shook hands and I got back in my truck and took off. One taxi ride later and I was pulling into the local window tinting place for the first modification.

    I had all the windows tinted with limo black.

    Comment thread

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id
    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 4 - Preparations

    After the windows, I took the car to my mechanic and had him give it a thorough going over. I wanted to make sure that car would run when I needed it the most, and not crap out on me when the lead started flying. I also didn’t want to put a lot of money into something I was sure to be ditching at some point.

    After the mechanic was done with it, the car ran even better. I put some new tires on it that would grip the road and keep me from losing control at high speeds. I knew at some point I would either be chasing someone or getting chased or trying to ditch the cops; it was only a matter of time.

    Once everything was good to go, I loaded up the car with the stuff I thought I would need for a stakeout: food, water, bino’s, liquor, etc. The binoculars I chose were a type that would work at night and in very low light conditions. I checked my guns and threw my shotgun in the passenger seat; there was one last thing I needed to get.

    The local electronics store had a variety of radio frequency scanners so I chose the best one they had for monitoring police and emergency bands, even air traffic, and installed three of them in my car on the dash; there might come a time when I needed to listen to more than one channel at a time. I also bought a radar detector and a CB scanner. I could listen to the cops and the truckers at the same time and hopefully stay ahead of everyone. I had no intention of getting caught.

    The first night I spent across the street from my old house, parked out of sight in the dark shadows as far from the single street light as possible. I got out and walked a few feet from the car and looked at it carefully. It didn’t have anything on it to attract attention and just as I thought, I could not see inside the car at all from the outside, even when I pressed my face to the glass to try to see in. Satisfied that no one would be able to see me watching the house, I got back in and settled down for a long night.

    It stood to reason, at least to me, that the contract guys would start at my house; it was the logical place to go after all. The media clowns had seen fit to make sure my name was printed in every newspaper and mentioned on every news broadcast for the first several weeks after the incident. I was touted as a local hero by some and as a victim by others. I was even called a villain by a few who actually wanted me prosecuted for the killings, actually claiming that my actions had been excessive and “Cruel and Unusual”; but all of them made sure my full name was mentioned.

    It wasn’t the fifteen minutes of fame I wanted and it just made it easier for these crack heads to figure out who I was and where I lived. I spent that first night there watching all night long and I saw absolutely nothing. I did however come to the realization that I needed to curb my drinking and change my lifestyle drastically or I wouldn’t be getting very far at all.

    Finally the night sky began turning a shade of gray and the shadows began to lighten. I was dog tired and bored out of my mind. I certainly didn’t envy cops on a stakeout, but at least they worked in pairs so one could sleep while the other watched. I didn’t have that luxury.

    I started up my car and slowly pulled away from the curb, acting like any other early morning Joe Blow heading off to work. Once I got back to my trailer, I crawled inside, fixed a hot bowl of ramen noodles with sliced sausage and half a bottle of Tabasco, downed a Sprite and passed out on my couch. It was easier than trying to get back to my bed.

    The following three nights there was no activity at all. Each morning I went home and took a six hour nap and then forced myself to drink a quart of water. Then I got in my truck and headed down to a hole in the wall boxing gym I had joined and tortured myself for at least two hours. That first night out had been a time for reflection, contemplation, and realization. I realized that an old granny could whip my butt in my current condition and if I wanted to wage a war, I better be at the top of my game. So I cut back big time on the liquor and began to force myself to eat healthy again and joined that little gym. No one was ever in there so early in the day so I had the place to myself.

    The owner was an old retired boxing coach and he was happy enough for the company to spar with me and teach me a few things here and there. I had never boxed before, but I had scrapped plenty and I could get by, but of course, the more you know, the better off you’ll be. So I started training and training hard. By the third day, I no longer smelled of booze when I began sweating and my mind was clear and focused. I trimmed up my beard and cut my hair and generally tried to make myself presentable to anyone.

    After boxing and working out, I went to my favorite shooting hole and dumped about a hundred rounds through my HK’s, practicing with both hands until I could hit dead center of where the heart should be on a full size human silhouette target. I practiced drawing from a crouch, kneeling, walking, running, and just standing there. I practiced shooting without aiming, just point and shoot. It was hard to intentionally practice reflex training, but I was hoping to train the muscles so that when the time came to actually “reflex” to a threat, they would do what needed doing and I wouldn’t be fumbling around like an idiot and get myself killed.

    I was already a step ahead of the game mentally. I just didn’t care one way or the other if I lived or died. I just didn’t want to die without a pile of bodies stacked up around me. That gave me an edge I was sure the bad guys didn’t have. I was pretty sure most of them didn’t having dying on their list of things to do.

    So began my training, and watching, and training, and watching. On the fourth night, I didn’t go out; the fifth night was the same old nothing. The rest of the week came and went and I continued to post myself up and down the street every night. I tried not to park in the same place every night, but I also didn’t want to make the neighbors nervous or start to look suspicious. I needed it to look like I was just a visitor at some house on this street that wouldn’t leave. I wasn’t too concerned about whether or not anybody would take notice that I never exited the car or not; most people aren’t that observant.

    I began contemplating what I would do when the hit men finally showed up. At first I figured I would just whack them first and leave the bodies on the sidewalk, but as I considered it, that didn’t seem the best route to take. I needed intel on this gang and I needed to know who the big players were, the ones calling the shots, and where to find them. Dead men tell no tales so I needed them alive. That, in itself, presented a problem.

    I had an idea one day and went to a local veterinarian supply and inquired about tranquilizer darts and a pneumatic tranquilizer gun. I explained that I had some rather large and aggressive Brahma bulls on my ranch that needed to be tranquilized before we could give them their checkups and vaccines. We did all our own vet work in house, yada, yada, yada. They bought the story and since I dressed the part anyway, they didn’t ask too many questions and set me up with a semi-automatic pistol and a case of a dozen darts strong enough to put a 2000 pound Brahma bull into dreamland. I was thrilled.

    My next stop was a little more serious and I went to see my buddy at the Class 3 gun store. I was pretty well known there so when I discreetly inquired about getting some silencers for my HK’s, my buddy nodded knowingly at me and didn’t say a word. He knew the story of Sam and what I had been through; he wasn’t exactly the dullest knife in the drawer and I was sure he put two and two together and got the right answer. He wrote something on a piece of paper and slipped it over to me and walked down the counter to another customer without another word. I took the hint and snatched up the paper and walked out of the store.

    Once I was safely out of sight back in my truck, I opened up the paper and read what he wrote:

    $4500 cash, small bills
    Three nights
    McDonalds 1:00 am

    Well, it wasn’t the first time I bought something in a McDonald’s parking lot without the governments blessing. I thought the price tag was a little steep, but that’s what happens when you buy stuff off the record at black market prices. I went to the bank and made the withdrawal and stuffed the cash in the glove compartment in an envelope hidden behind all the registration and other paperwork that was in there.

    While I was waiting for my covert rendezvous with my supplier, I went out and bought more ammo and practiced some more, trained some more, and kept up with my stakeouts. The night of my deal came and I was waiting in the parking lot behind the McDonalds, away from the street light, a full half hour before the expected time of the deal. There was no one else anywhere in sight.

    One o’clock came and went and close to 1:30am I was starting to get pissed. I didn’t know if he had gotten busted or simply forgot. I was about to give up and leave when I saw his car pull slowly into the parking lot and drive around to where I was. He pulled up beside me and rolled his window down.

    “You got the money?” He asked without bothering with a greeting.

    “Got it. You got my hardware?”

    “Why else would I be here at this ungodly hour?” His voice plainly showed his disgust at being conscious at this time of night. He held up a small black duffel bag and shined a light inside. I saw two small diameter tubes resting inside.

    I passed the envelope with the cash in it over to him and he traded me the duffel bag. If a cop was watching us, it couldn’t have been a more obvious deal. But there were no cops anywhere around and we went our separate ways without another word.

    When I got back to my trailer I opened up the bag and took out the two tubes. They were both AAC Evolution 45 Suppressors specifically made for the HK USP Tactical model. Good silencers but only worth about $800 bucks a piece; they fit perfect and were well balanced. I knew my buddy had just made a killing off of me; on the other hand, no one in the world knew I had these but him and me.

    I didn’t waste any time getting over to my shooting hole to try them out and I was pretty impressed. My .45 was almost silent now except for the rack of the slide and the metal clanking about. There was a quiet puff of sound with each shot but it wasn’t anything that would attract attention or cause alarm; it sure didn’t sound like Hollywood though. The action of the pistol reloading itself made more noise than the sound made when the round was fired. Now I had my secret takedown tranq gun and my almost silent forty-fives. I was ready to open for business but I was still waiting on my clients to show up.

    Another three days went by without incident. I was now almost back to my original weight, but leaner and stronger than before. I started doing some research on the gang which called themselves El Diablos and found out that they were affiliated with a gang called the Mexican Mafia which was also allied with the Aryan Nations.

    The FBI didn’t have much on the El Diablo’s, almost nothing in fact, but Google turned up quite a bit. The FBI did have quite a bit on the Mafia and MS13 though. These were huge gangs with sects in almost every state and even other countries. The Mafia rivals were the Nortenos gang but I wasn’t worried about them. Both gangs had started in prison and then branched out to the outside. The Mexican Mafia, according to the FBI was heavy into drug trafficking and contract killing. MS13 was heavy into human trafficking, drug smuggling, and murder and there was some sort of relationship there. MS13 was known for their brutality including beheadings and dismembering.

    I also found out that human trafficking was a very profitable business and with very little prosecution, considered a victimless crime by most enforcement authorities. I had to scratch my head on that one.

    Just great. So now they were after me. Well, I guess you can’t always pick your enemies, sometimes they pick you. It looked like I had one hell of a fight ahead of me and the odds of me surviving didn’t look good. I figured I better get started first and keep them on the defense. It looked like the El Diablo’s were a relatively small and unknown gang still and trying to prove themselves to the big boys.

    I needed to go hunting.

    But first I decided to go back to my stakeout for a few more nights just in case I might get lucky. I found a holster that my tranq gun fit nicely into and secured it on my hip. I dressed all in black and had a black ski mask ready for my head. I wore a solid black full length oilskin slicker that nicely concealed my twin HK’s and my shotgun slung under my arm. I had a blade or two ready for backup and persuasive techniques. The first night passed without incidence. The second night I scored a hit.

    I had been sitting there for several hours watching my old house and trying not to nod off. I was on my fifth mug of coffee and my bladder was getting ready to burst when I saw movement on the far end of the street in my rear view mirror. Normally this street is very quiet after midnight so when I saw the movement I went on full alert and forgot about my bladder.

    A second or two passed and I watched a black car without headlights come slowly down the street. It was lowered and the windows were tinted black; it looked like the typical gangster car you would expect to see. The chrome wheels flashed momentarily in the light from the single streetlight as the car drove past. I looked hard at the car but I couldn’t see the inside any more than they could see me. I didn’t need to; I knew it was them.

    I watched as the car pulled up along the curb and pulled slowly to stop in the shadows away from the streetlight. Two men got out and walked around the car to meet on the sidewalk where they stopped for a few minutes, apparently talking. One of them pointed to my old house and then the other leaned over to the car window and it looked like he said something to another person, probably the driver.

    So there were three of them. Show time.

    I quietly opened my door as I watched the two men begin to sneak toward my old house, keeping to the shadows. I was in total darkness so I knew they couldn’t see me. I carefully closed the door on my car without letting it latch and then walked around the back and stepped up to the sidewalk, drawing my tranq gun in my right hand and shucking my silenced HK in the other just in case. The loads in the tranq gun should drop them almost instantly and I was a little concerned the dosage might just kill them and then I would lose my source of intel.

    Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I was gonna play my hand and let the chips fall where they may.

    Keeping to the deep shadows near the trees along the sidewalk, I walked casually in their direction and across the darkest part of the driveway. I could barely make them out as they neared the front door of the house and prepared to make their entry. I was only a dozen feet away and closing fast. One of the men was just pulling a mask down over his face when I stopped less than ten away from them in the shadows; the trees behind me breaking up my outline and making me all but invisible.

    “Howdy.” I said flatly and then shot one of them in the body with the tranq gun before they could react. He dropped like a sack of potatoes and flopped around like a fish for a second. The air powered tranq gun didn’t make hardly a noise and the other guy was still off guard and trying to recover from the surprise attack when my second dart hit him in the neck. He too collapsed in a heap on the deck, falling forward and then rolling down the stairs and stopping at my feet.

    I stood still and listened for any movement from within the house for several minutes but I didn’t hear anything. I walked up the stairs to the deck and looked around before holstering my guns. I grabbed the one guy by his collar and dragged him off the deck, grabbing the other one as I went, and drug them both into the trees and close to my car where I proceeded to strip them down to their underwear and zip tie their hands and feet together. I tossed their clothing into the trunk after emptying all the pockets and placed all their weapons and belongings on the floor in front of the back seat. I managed to somehow stuff both of them into the small trunk as well, although I had to jump on the lid to get it to latch. If they woke up before I got them out, they would be some mighty uncomfortable boys.

    I still had the driver to deal with so I stepped back up on the sidewalk and casually walked down to where the car was parked. I wasn’t sure how to go about getting the guy to show himself without starting a gun battle and waking the whole neighborhood, so I just stood among the trees beside the car and thought about it for a while when the driver did it for me.

    I heard a click and the door opened and the man stood up out of the car and looked back toward the house, evidently wondering what was taking so long. The other two had had regular pistols without silencers so they had been planning on making some noise and the driver must have been expecting that. He was about 25 feet away from me so I just stood there and waited to see what he would do.

    After a few minutes, the man started fidgeting and getting impatient and I could hear him mumbling curses to himself. It was too dark to really see him enough to pick out any details but I could see his silhouette moving around as he debated with himself about what to do. If he went to the house to investigate, he would have to walk right by me.

    Finally he cursed a little louder and then got back in the car. I was afraid he was going to leave when he stood back up and began walking toward the house carrying a rifle. I wasn’t sure in the dark, but it looked like it could have been an AK47 or an SKS. Those rifles seemed to be the rifles of choice for gangs as they were easy to get and cheap. I stood still in the dark with my tranq gun in my hand and waited as he approached.

    He was a clumsy fool and was having a hard time keeping quiet. His boots were clumping along on the sidewalk and he liked to drag his heels. His pants were sagging so low that he was obviously having a hard time walking properly; you could hear the bastard coming a mile away. I could smell the acrid stench of cigarette smoke as he got closer and I hoped it wouldn’t make me sneeze. I hated the smell of cigarettes and he smelled like he had just smoked an entire carton and then bathed in the smoke.

    He was mumbling curses under his breath as he shuffled right by me, close enough that I could have tripped him. As he passed, I stepped out behind him and reached around his body with my left hand, slipping my finger into the trigger guard and blocking the trigger from being depressed. Before he could react to the unexpected assault, I shoved the tranq gun against his neck and squeezed the trigger. The dart went deep that close and I felt his body seize instantly as the drug did its job. His body sagged in my arms and I swiftly heaved him back up and spun him around and let him fall again over my shoulder, catching the rifle in my left hand as I did so.

    I casually walked back to my car as if I was carrying a bag of horse feed and the same way I would have dropped that bag of horse feed, I flipped him off my shoulder and dropped him on the concrete. I winced as his head bounced off the concrete with a thud and hoped I hadn’t just killed him. I looked around for a second but the street was still quiet and all the houses were still dark and silent. I proceeded to strip him and zip tie his hands and feet like the others and then I shoved him in the back seat since there was no more room in the trunk. I should have got a bigger car.

    I quietly drove my car down the street and parked in front of the gangster’s car where I proceeded to thoroughly strip the entire vehicle. They had lots of weapons in the car, lots of ammo, and lots of paper. I took everything, including the cigarettes and some alcohol I found. After I was sure there was nothing at all left in the car, I carefully wiped everything down with a rag soaked in 409 cleaning solution, locked the doors, and got back in my car and left. Hopefully it would take a few days for anyone to get suspicious and call the cops. It might take them a little longer to figure out where it came from and I could only hope it had been stolen; that would just lead them to a dead end. I wasn’t worried about any link to me except for the car being so close to my old house.

    My house.

    That thought brought me up short and I quickly parked my car off the road about a mile away and among the trees. Those boys would be sleeping for several hours still if the potent drug hadn’t killed them outright. After all, when a vet euthanizes an animal, it is simply a massive overdose of tranquilizers; quite a peaceful way to die actually. I hoped that wasn’t the case now.

    I stripped down as much as I felt comfortable with, mainly removing just my slicker and my shotgun and the tranq gun, relieved my overextended bladder, and then quickly jogged the mile back to the car. I had the gangster’s keys with me and I jumped in the car and drove it back to where my car was. I thought for a moment and remembered where there was a steep bank beside the road about three miles away. I didn’t relish the walk back, but it put the car pretty far away from my old house.

    I drove as fast as I dared without attracting the affections of some late night patrol deputy until I got to where the drop off was. I removed all the keys but the car key from the key ring and then aimed the car at the drop off and bailed out of the driver’s seat just as it neared the drop off. I rolled a couple of times and came to my feet standing just in time to watch the car take a dive over the edge.

    I walked over to the bank and looked down. The car was crashing through the brush and trees and several hundred feet down the bank it crashed headlong into a giant cedar where it came to an abrupt stop. I waited for the Hollywood explosion and was slightly disappointed when it didn’t come. I waited a few more minutes to see if it would and then turned my back and began a slow easy jog back to my car.

    It took me a little over a half hour to jog back at the pace I had set for myself. The trip back was uneventful and I didn’t see any other cars the entire trip. I looked at my watch and the whole operation had taken just under an hour and a half; I didn’t think was a bad time at all.

    The men were just as I had left them so I drove back to where my trailer was and parked the car beside my truck. The RV Park I had chosen gave me some privacy as it was heavily wooded and slightly off the beaten path. Currently it wasn’t very crowded and the spaces on each side of me were unoccupied. No one else in the park seemed to be awake just yet, so I popped the tonneau cover on my truck bed and threw the bodies in the back like I would a bale of hay. I checked their pulses and they were all still alive. I closed the cover and locked it and then I put all their belongings, weapons, and clothing in the back seat of my cab and went inside to make some breakfast.

    It was 4:30 in the morning and the sky was barely starting to lighten up. I made my breakfast of scrambled eggs and sliced polish sausage with some diced olives from a can all wrapped up in a tortilla shell and topped off with a giant mug of coffee and sat down to contemplate the rest of my day.

    I was pretty happy with the results of my expedition. Now I had a lot of work to do today and I would be extracting every bit of info I could get out those boys before they expired. I had the perfect place in mind as it was way out in the sticks and far away from any prying eyes or sensitive ears. The war was on and I was playing for keeps. I finished up my breakfast and locked everything up and got in my truck and drove off.

    It was going to be a long day.

    Comment Thread

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id
    Advisory: Violence, language, yada yada yada.... you've been warned.

    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 5 – The Beginning

    The RV Park was out of sight and I was heading straight for a place I knew of that was way back in the hills and far from prying eyes or sensitive ears. Not that I would be allowing them to make a lot of noise, that wouldn’t be very smart, but I didn’t want some casual hiker to come strolling by and investigate. Killing innocent people wasn’t something I intended on doing.

    The three gangster hit men lying naked in the back of my truck had a rough ride as I intentionally made every turn a little more exaggerated and felt the satisfying bump in the cab as their bodies slid from side to side and slammed against the bed and wheel wells. I’m sure they didn’t feel a thing as they were still quite unconscious.

    I saw the road that would take me to my destination coming up and slowed down and put on my blinker; I was being careful to follow the rules of the road as I didn’t need to attract the attention of any cops. This early in the morning I was still pretty alone on this road and I had only seen one other car on my way out. Six miles further down the road I came to another turn off and this road would take me to the old abandoned mine that I had found one year while hunting.

    The road was incredibly rough as years of weather and rain and erosion had done their job well. Hardly anyone ever came out here because of that reason. The roads were not maintained and required a four wheel drive vehicle to get in; more than that, it required a driver with enough experience to navigate the obstacles and washouts without getting stuck.

    The mine was twelve miles down the road and behind a few hills; the road followed the natural cuts in the mountain side and passed through several small ravines and canyons before coming out at the entrance to the mine. What was once a well traveled road and thriving mine was now a washed out trail that became a river bed most of the late spring and early summer. When I drove into the first ravine, the water was just a trickle and I passed through with no problem.

    A slow hour of crawling along the road and trying not to break anything on my truck I arrived at the mine. Some of the old buildings still stood, although barely. The paint had long been bleached off and the raw wood was weathered and warped. The sun glinted off the old tin roofs and there was water running through the old water wheel where the power station used to be. The entrance to the mine itself loomed dark and foreboding against the backdrop of the mountain behind it. That was where I would go.

    I had explored only a little ways into the mine; I wasn’t a mine type of guy and the idea of getting trapped underground was enough to keep me out in the open air. Only about thirty feet inside the mine was a small room the old miners had hollowed out and I assumed it was where they stored equipment and mining stuff. There was nothing there now; it had long since been looted and stripped of anything that could be considered valuable.

    The last time I had checked this place out was about two years ago and at that time the timbers that held the roof of the cave up had still been solid, I hoped that was the case still. There were some old rails coming out of the mine that the ore carts moved on and they provided a road to the entrance that I was able to back the truck along until I was only a few feet from the opening.

    I grabbed my spotlight and oil lamp from the back seat and headed into the cave to check it out before unloading my cargo. As I entered the opening I flipped on my light and shone it around inside the shaft. The walls were jagged and rough, the shaft cut square into the mountain, and the floor began to fall slightly the deeper in I traveled. The old timbers were dry and when I poked at one with my knife, it still felt solid and stable. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling and in the corners of the uprights and cross members; small puffs of dust rose under each step as I slowly made my way farther down the shaft.

    The room was the same as I remembered it and didn’t appear to have had any visitors since I was here last. The room was walled with old plank pine boards and the ceiling was still mostly intact with a few planks missing here and there, exposing the rough rock above. There was a hanger on the wall for an oil lamp, so I lit mine and hung it up and then turned up the wick for maximum light and flipped off my flashlight. It was the perfect location.

    On my way out I decided to go ahead and take a look further down the mine shaft just to be sure I didn’t have any visitors hanging out back there to surprise me. I walked as far as I dared to go and I was beginning to get a little nervous when my light reflected something shiny back at me. Curious I went further and discovered that the reflection was water. The mine had filled with water and the shaft appeared to disappear under the water as far back as my flashlight beam would reach. I didn’t have to touch it; I could feel the cold air coming off the water from where I stood.

    Once I was back at my truck I hiked up the side of the mountain a ways and looked around, making sure that no one was out four wheeling around the place. It was way too early for hunting season so I wasn’t concerned about them and it was pretty unlikely a hiker would be this far out. I saw nothing so I returned to my truck and opened up the tonneau cover.

    The three gangsters were still out like a light, so I picked one and threw him over my shoulder and humped him into the mine and dropped him unceremoniously on the floor of the room. Two trips later I had all three of the wannabe hit men lying in a pile on the floor. It was time to get to work.

    I went back to my truck and dug out a new roll of black nylon rope that I used for lashing loads or light towing. It was a cheap and strong three quarter inch rope that Home Cheapo sold in 100’ rolls. Back inside the room, I selected a timber that was the missing the ceiling planks and tossed the rope over it, cut it to length, and the repeated the process until I had three sections hanging from the timber.

    I grabbed one and carefully pulled my own weight up on it to make sure the timber would hold. It didn’t even creak and none of the gang bangers weighed as much as I did. I jumped on the rope a few times to put more strain on the timber and was quite satisfied when it didn’t budge or even make a noise. I quickly fashioned three nooses and then located a spot in the far wall with some old iron rings imbedded in the timber I could tie off to. I lined up the three men under each rope and put a noose around each of their necks.

    There was an old pile of fire wood near one of the buildings that had been there for years. I checked my friends for any sign of consciousness and then hiked out and began bringing wood back into the room by the armful. A dozen trips later the three men still hadn’t shown any signs of waking up. I now had plenty of wood so I made a small fire to create more light and then turned my lamp way down to conserve the fuel. The small room warmed up quickly and the fire created a lot more light than my little lamp had.

    For a moment I was concerned about the carbon dioxide from the fire, but I noticed the smoke was being pulled out of the room and down the shaft by a rather strong draft. I kept the fire small to prevent the possibility of the fire catching the old timbers on fire and burning the place down around me. That wouldn’t have been good.

    I made a seat by stacking up some firewood and sat down to wait for the creatures before me to wake up. It had been over six hours now since I had shot them and I hoped they would wake up soon. I would have to look over those darts and see if there was a way to decrease the dosage. To be honest, I was surprised it hadn’t killed them with an overdose, but it was taking forever for them to wake up.

    Getting bored, I checked their bonds again to make sure they were secure and then tightened the nooses slightly to make sure they couldn’t slip out of them if one woke up and walked outside for some fresh air. There was a bucket in the back of my truck and I suddenly had an idea. I grabbed the bucket and hiked back down the mine and scooped up a full bucket of the ice cold water and went back to the room. Walking up to the men, I sloshed a bunch out on the first guy and then quickly doused the other two in quick succession. I had hoped it would wake them up.

    It didn’t.

    So I sat down again to wait. I didn’t feel anything toward these men; certainly not sympathy, and definitely not mercy. I had more feelings for a rabid dog than I had for these creatures that lay naked on the ground before me. Disgusted at the sight before me, I walked back outside and went to the backseat of my truck and began going through all their belongings.

    I took their drivers licenses and set them aside. Between the three of them there was almost $15,000 dollars in cash in several little rolls. That would cover every expense I had made in the last month and then some. I could get used to this.

    Take out the trash and get paid for it. It wasn’t a bad deal at all.

    The papers were mostly trash; stuff like car registration and other paperwork that meant nothing to me, some of it looked like homework from a college class. I could scarcely believe that one of these cretins was going to college; it had to belong to someone else.

    Their clothing was the typical baggy trash that was so popular these days. It was all name brand stuff of course, like Tommy Hilfiger and 8Ball. I gathered it all up and tied the bundle in one of their shirts. Their weapons were the expected 9mm auto’s, two of them were Beretta 92F’s. I had two AK47’s and an SKS. I didn’t recall which one the last man had been carrying and it didn’t matter. There was a pile of assorted magazines and quite a bit of loose ammo which I gathered up and put into a bag.

    The rifles, pistols, and clothing I took back into the mine with me. I had no idea how hot these weapons were and I had no intention of getting caught with them. They were all trash as far as I was concerned, but I could also use them to make a cache for backup, just in case and as a last resort. I walked back into the room, dropped the bundle of stuff in a pile and then stoked the fire back to life. The wood was old and very dry and burned quickly.

    “Who are you pendajo?” I heard a voice behind me, coming from the line of tied up gangsters. I turned around and looked at him from beneath my hat brim. I knew he couldn’t see my eyes or even most of my face in the dark shadows. He was squinting and he looked like he might have a massive headache; after all, I had slammed his head into the concrete.

    “I’m the grim reaper and I’m your worst nightmare.” I stated flatly with no emotion and just loud enough for him to hear me. “I’m the one you came to kill and now it’s you that will die. How you die depends on you.”

    His face showed no other expression as he tried to size me up, other than his grimace of pain. His dark Mexican skin reflected in the fire light and his gang tattoos covered most of his upper body.

    “Where am I?” He asked as he looked around the room, trying to figure out his location. That he was underground was obvious, some of the planks that had once been the ceiling were missing, showing the jagged rock of the mountain above the timbers where their ropes were hanging from. He noticed the ropes.

    “You going to hang me?” I thought I could detect a hint of fear in his voice. I guess he was starting to really wake up and the gravity of his situation was starting to sink in.

    “You’re in my dungeon.” I replied, not bothering to look at him again as I stoked the fire. “And you’re in your tomb.” I was trying to play on his psyche and get him loosened up and scared. The others should be waking soon; they had all had the same dose.

    As if on cue, I heard a groan from one of the others. I took out my electronic ear protectors and put them on, adjusting the volume until everything sounded normal. They were a low profile, tactical model; made for soldiers to wear under their helmets. In the darkness of the fire lit room and with my wide brim cowboy hat and my now long hair, you couldn’t even see that I had them on. I sat down on my seat and waited for the others to come fully awake, staring hard at the first man until he started to squirm.

    He didn’t say anything, probably thinking that it would go better for him if he kept his mouth shut. This one was the driver and I also assumed he was the leader because of that. I heard the third one moan a few minutes later as he began waking up and the second one was lying on his back staring up at the ceiling, apparently deep in thought.

    I waited until the third one had time to wake up, then I pulled out one of my silenced HK’s and laid it on my lap, exaggerating the movement to make sure the three gangsters saw it. They did and they all were staring at me.

    “Now that I have your full attention,” I began slowly with no emotion in my voice, “I hope you all enjoyed your nap. I will be asking you questions and I want the right answers. If I think you’re lying to me, it will go hard for you. Am I clear?”

    No one answered me so I said again, “When I ask you a question, I want an answer. Am I clear?”

    Evidently they didn’t take me serious because they all just continued to stare at me without saying a word. If that was the way they wanted to play, then I would be happy to oblige them. Without another word I pointed the HK at the feet of the last one to wake up and squeezed the trigger. The sound the of the gun was quickly overwhelmed by the scream of the man as his foot exploded under the impact of the 230 grain Federal Hydro-Shock. My ear protectors were working perfectly.

    I patiently waited a few minutes for his screaming to die down and then asked again in the same voice, “Am I clear?”

    Immediately they all chimed in that I was crystal clear and they would answer my questions.

    “Very well. Now that we have that established, I want to know which of you is the leader.” They all stared at me for a minute, the shot one trying hard to play tough and ignore the pain. I thought for a minute that no one would answer me.

    “I’m not going to repeat myself.” I stated and raised the pistol at the second one. Immediately his eyes got wide as he stared down the barrel and he tried to squirm backward.

    “H…h…h…he is!” The man stuttered with fear as he nodded his head toward the first guy, the one I suspected of being the leader in the first place.

    The first man looked over at the traitor and let loose a stream of Spanish that I could only assume was cursing; I picked out a word or two here and there, something about the man’s mothers I think. The traitor spat at the first man and nailed him right in the face, infuriating the leader even more. He began flopping around on the ground like a fish trying to roll over into a better position to confront the turncoat.

    I was getting impatient so I cleared my throat. The two men ignored me as they continued to verbally assault each other so I stood up and walked over to the ropes and grabbed the one for the leader and promptly hauled his skinny ass up into the air. He immediately quit talking as the noose went tight and began flailing around when his feet left the ground. I could see his eyes watering and bulging and his mouth was working; trying to breathe or say something I guess. I stood there and waited until his flailing started to slow down, indicating that he was close to expiring and then released the rope. He hit the ground with a thud and rolled over, mouth gaping as he tried desperately to inhale. I waited until I heard him begin breathing again and turned my attention to the others.

    They both were staring at me like I was a psycho; which I probably was.

    “Any more fighting and I’ll let you swing there until you rot off the rope. What was the contract price for my hit?”

    “Twenty G’s man. It’s in the car if you want it. Just don’t hang me okay?” It was obvious that the traitor was the talker of the group, he was ready to sing.

    “Who’s paying the money?”

    “It’s Benny. He’s one of the top brass man; way up the ladder. Only man higher in the chain is Dago. He put the hit on you cause you killed his bro man.” He spit out the words as fast as he could. The leader was still trying to get his breath back and had curled up into a fetal position.

    “Who’s this Dago guy?”

    “Ramon Dago. He’s the head dude for the gang. He lives in SoCal in some big house, at least that’s what I heard. He deals with some of the cartels in Mexico and Columbia and brings up the good stuff. He runs everything but I ain’t never seen him.” He sang quickly.

    This guy was way too easy.

    “What about the girls?”

    The turncoat licked his lips nervously, “Girls?”

    I raised my pistol and pointed it at his face, not more than a foot away. “Act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.” I said as I pulled the hammer back, the muzzle unwavering in his face.

    “Yeah. Yeah. Girls. Why didn’t you just say so man? We got all the girls you could ever want…. You, uh, looking for a girl? Is that what this is all about?” He looked at me nervously and I just stared back at him without blinking.

    “Answer the question punk.” I moved the muzzle down to his family jewels.

    He licked his lips. “Okay. Be cool man. I don’t know much about the girl thing. Juan there,” he nodded at the driver, “He knows more than me. All I know is we get orders to go look for hot babes and bring em back to an old warehouse. We go looking for girls off by themselves or not paying attention, sometimes we nab em out of the bars. You know, slip em something in their drink and then they just follow us out. That’s all I know man, I swear. I don’t know what happens after we drop em at the warehouse.”

    “Take a guess.” I said flatly. The leader was starting to breath somewhat normally again, but he sounded like he had a kazoo stuck in his throat.

    “I don’t know man. I’m just a runner dude. All I do is follow orders. Guessing at shit can get you killed man, so I just mind my own business, you know?”

    “I don’t give a shit about your orders, I told you to guess. I know you have an idea so don’t play stupid with me.” I pressed the muzzle up close to his testicals for emphasis.

    He started sweating and he glanced down quickly and then looked back at me, trying to keep his composure. “I don’t know man! I’m telling you the truth homie!” His voice was a little higher this time and he was talking fast. “I think maybe they take em south of the border and sell em. Or maybe they just have a big sex fest with em. I don’t know man! Shit! I’m telling you straight man!” The idiot was blubbering and almost crying. He was a spineless bastard if I had ever seen one.

    “You ever get to party with the girls too, Homie?” I asked putting the emphasis on “homie”. I pressed the muzzle just a little harder into his manhood. He flinched backward with the pressure.

    “Yeah dude. Sometimes.” He was on the verge of crying now and I could see the fear in his eyes. It had no effect on me whatsoever except to make me angrier.

    “So you rape those girls? Drug em?”

    “I guess man. Yeah. Sure. We drug em first. They’re easy if we shoot em up first. They don’t fight.” He was crying now. I was disgusted.

    “Did this Benny guy tell what his brother was doing when I killed him?”

    The coward was visibly crying now, tears running down his face as he tried to ignore the barrel of the big gun that was threatening his most precious possession. “No. he just said that you whacked his baby bro and he wanted you dead. I don’t know nothin else.”

    “Then I’ll tell you what his brother was doing when I killed him. He kidnapped my daughter and took her into the woods with four other of his gangster buddies, but he forgot to take away her cell phone. She called me and when they pulled her out of the trunk, she recognized the place and told me where she was. I got there as fast as I could, but it wasn’t fast enough. Your gang raped and killed my daughter. I found out later from the one that survived that they planned to sell her south of the border too.” I recounted the event with no hint of emotion in my voice, the memories hardening my resolve as I stared at the pathetic, spineless coward before me.

    “Oh shit.” The man said softly as he realized what that probably meant for him and began speaking rapidly, “Dude, it wasn’t me man! I didn’t have nothing to do with your daughter! Plea….”

    I squeezed the trigger on his manhood and the gun was loud in the close room; the earmuffs on my head quickly blocked the noise. The man’s crotch exploded in a shower of blood and gore and he screamed like only an animal could. I casually stood up and walked over to the pile of clothes and picked up one the shirts, decocking the pistol as I carefully wiped it clean of blood.

    “But you still raped other girls.” I spoke evenly and quietly, I don’t think he heard me.

    The man was writhing and screaming in agony but the zip ties held him tight. The one whose foot I had shot was still moaning and rolling from side to side, oblivious to what was going on around him. The leader was still breathing through his throat kazoo but was beginning to sound somewhat human again.

    The fire was dying down again so I picked up a log and stoked it back up. There was an old iron rod in the corner of the room; I grabbed it and put one end in the fire. By the time it was glowing red, the traitor had bled quite a bit, the pool of blood staining the floor and soaking into the dirt. I walked over to him and without any warning shoved the glowing red hot iron into his crotch and left it there until it cooled. The man let out a bloodcurdling scream once and then passed out from the pain.

    I pulled out the rod and looked at the damaged area. It had stopped bleeding for the moment, but the burns would be pretty nasty and painful. I walked back out to my truck for some fresh air and a roll of duct tape and when I returned, I stuffed one of their dirty socks into his mouth and wrapped his mouth and head with the tape to keep him silent. I grabbed my bucket of water and threw it on his face, the ice cold liquid hit his face and chest and he woke with a muffled scream, immediately trying to curl up into the fetal position.

    “Don’t worry, you’ll be free soon.” I grabbed his rope and began hauling him up by the neck to a standing position. When he was on his feet, but just barely able to support himself, I tied the rope off and sat back down and stared at the three men.

    The man was teetering on his feet and swaying back and forth, trying to support himself while the pain had the opposite affect and tried to make him collapse. It must have taken enormous will power to continue standing. His legs almost gave out once but when the noose tightened around his neck, he quickly stood back up straight. His whole body was shaking violently from the trauma and sensory overload.

    I ignored him and turned my attention to the one I had shot in the foot. He was writhing around in pain and hadn’t really noticed what was happening to his comrade. I grabbed the rod and quickly shoved the red hot end against the wound where it was bleeding pretty heavily. It popped and crackled as the flesh and wound was cauterized under the extreme heat. The man screamed like a dying animal but didn’t pass out. I stepped on his leg to stop him from moving around and checked the wound; it had stopped bleeding.

    Grabbing his rope, I hauled him up to a standing position as well until he could barely support his weight on his one good foot. I then did the same to the leader and when they were all standing, I walked back to my seat and sat down and leaned back against the wall.

    “So where is this warehouse?” I asked flatly and without emotion.

    Comment thread
    Last edited by Marine; 12-04-2006 at 07:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id

    Chapter 6

    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 6

    The three just hung there and didn’t respond to my question. The one who was so fast to spill the beans was now shaking horribly as he tried to force his legs to hold him up through the pain. I could tell it was a losing battle and that pretty soon he would give up or pass out; then that would be the end of him.

    He sagged a moment and the rope went tight around his neck as it held his weight. It only took a second and he quickly pushed himself back up. The area between his legs was bleeding profusely again despite the severe cauterization of the wound. I could only imagine how bad it hurt. The gag muffled his screams to a muffled moan that I could barely hear.

    The other one I had shot in the foot was doing okay by standing on one leg and holding the injured foot off the ground. The leader was looking pretty defiant and scared at the same time. He still didn’t have any serious injuries, but he had gotten the point.

    Finally the third one mumbled something under his breath that I didn’t catch.

    “What was that?” I asked in an almost friendly tone.

    “It’s in the upper east side. In the old industrial complex.” He mumbled without looking at me directly.

    The upper east side was the northeast section of the city and it was pretty run down and old. I could see how a gang could have a headquarters there and go unnoticed. Lots of old abandoned buildings around that area and lots of homeless, beggars, addicts, and dealers in that area. Even the cops stayed away from that area unless they really had a need to go there. The beat cops just went around it most of the time; or drove through with their eyes on the road and ignored everything else.

    “What’s the address?”

    “I don’t know the address. It’s just an old brick building with some old Coke Cola ads painted on the sides. It’s three stories tall, missing some windows in the upper floors and looks abandoned.”

    “What else?”

    “It’s back off the main roads a ways. Kinda tucked back behind all the other big buildings. Can’t really see it from the street unless you are driving right to it. I think it used to be a bottling plant or some shit.”

    “What’s the nearest cross street?”

    “Don’t know man. I never pay attention to streets dude. I’m never the one driving.”

    I glared at the leader, “So, where is this place?”

    He just stared at me, still trying to be defiant. I knew that hurting his buddies wouldn’t bother him; so much for loyalty among gang bangers. When the chips were down, no one gave a shit about anything but themselves. I looked back over at the other guy.

    “You have anything else to tell me?” I asked him as I raised my HK and pointed it right at his head.

    His eyes got real big and he quickly said, “Whatever you want to know man! Just ask me and I’ll tell you everything I know!”

    “That’s more like it. What else is nearby?”

    “There’s a Micky D’s a few blocks away. It’s right on a corner opposite the street. Some kind of laundry mat place there and a liquor store. Some other stores there. The other buildings on the street are all abandoned, well, except for the bums that sleep there.”

    “Tell me about this Benny guy.”

    “He’s the one put the hit on you man. Twenty G’s man, it was good money. Lots of hitters came up for the contract; you ain’t gonna last long ese. You ghosted his little bro and he wants payback.”

    “His little bro ghosted my daughter asshole. Tell me about Benny.”

    “Benny is a fat man. He always wears some fancy suit that looks really expensive and carries a briefcase. I think it’s aluminum or some shit, bright silver and looks expensive. He shows up every Wednesday and Friday night at midnight to drop off shipments and pick up anything we got for him. Sometimes he stays a couple days, but he likes the fancy hotels and likes to stay there. He smokes a cigar all the time and wears lots of gold shit; rings and necklaces and shit like that.” The man stopped talking and just looked at me.

    “What are these shipments and what is he picking up. What makes him stick around sometimes?” I thought I knew the answer, but I wanted him to say it.

    “Drugs. He brings in the fresh shit from Columbia, you know, the coke and shit. Heroin, Ex, all that shit. We distribute it to the dealers and they sell it off. He picks up all the cash and sometimes we have other stuff for him.”

    “What “other stuff” and why does he stick around after doing business?” I asked again coldly.

    The gangster licked his lips and shifted his eyes, probably thinking of what I had done to the other one. “Uh, you know man… We uh, have to get stuff for him sometimes. We get orders and we have to go fill em, you know.”

    “No. I don’t know. Explain it to me.” I raised my HK again to emphasize the point.

    “Chill man! Sometimes we are told to go find girls. Benny and Ramon sell em south of the border and they get sold overseas or down in S.A. The fresher and younger they are, the more money they bring; that kind of thing. Sometimes Benny likes to try em out first, you know. That’s why he sticks around.”

    I felt a little sick thinking of those poor girls and their families. I knew the trafficking was a lucrative business, but it often started with the victim looking to get smuggled and it was usually the victim trying to get to America, not trying to get out. Blatant kidnapping was a step up from the so called “victimless” trafficking and these guys were obviously pretty bold.

    “Where do you get the girls?”

    “Off the street mostly. Lots of em are runaways and users. Sometimes we get a high class type who ain’t paying attention and we just snatch em. We do it quick so no one sees us.”

    “How’s that?”

    “Sometimes they’re just walking down the street after dark, or they’re lookin in windows and ain’t paying attention, or they are in the mall. Those mall bimbo’s are easy. We can get them most of the time just by offering them something they want real bad, like some fancy rags or whatever. Sometimes we have to threaten them and they just come with us cause they’re scared. It’s easy man. Girls are stupid like that.”

    I was pretty amazed at what the idiot was telling me. I was also getting pretty damn mad. What right did they have to do this kind of stuff to another person?

    “So what happens after you get them?”

    “We knock em out in the van with a shot of joy juice and then put a bag over their head. They don’t usually fight us after the juice hits their system, hell, sometimes they want to party with us. Mostly though, they just pass out. We tie em up and put em in the warehouse till Benny gets there. There is a room there with a bed and shit for them. It’s on the second floor.”

    It began to look like I was gonna have to do some house cleaning.

    “What about this Ramon guy?”

    “Don’t know much about him dude. He’s the head honcho, runs everything from down south. Got himself a big fancy place down in SoCal somewhere. He handles all the business with Mexico and S.A. and the girls. That’s all I know ese. He gives the orders and pays all the money. Somebody ****s up, he has em whacked. That’s all I know. Benny’s his right hand man, does all his dirty work.”

    I was watching the second guy as the third guy was talking and I could tell he was about to pass out. As soon as the third guy quit talking, the second one passed out and fell limp on the rope. He was a goner; he would suffocate pretty quickly under his own weight. I watched as his skin began turning red, then blue, then turned pale and mottled. He was dead.

    I ignored him and turned my attention to the leader. “You got anything you want to tell me?”

    He just glared me, still keeping up the tough guy routine. “Go **** yourself.” He almost spat the words at me.

    “That wasn’t a nice thing to say.” I told him and raised my gun and fired one round into his lower gut. He exhaled hard with the impact and immediately his entire front was covered with blood as the small hole began draining blood like a water hose. I walked around and looked at his back but there was no exit wound. That meant the hydroshock had stopped inside. It would have made quite a mess in there.

    The man was alternately wheezing and sagging on the rope as he tried to remain standing and not hang himself. I grabbed my duct tape and wrapped a quick wrap around his mouth to keep it shut and forced him to breathe through his nose. Then I stood in front of him and stared into his eyes with all the burning fury that was in me.

    I stood there for what seemed a long time as I watched the life drain from his eyes. I didn’t need him; the others had told me everything I needed to know. I didn’t care how much they suffered before they died, it was nothing compared to what they had done to others: the families of the girls and the girls themselves; no doubt many of them living a waking nightmare every minute of their lives because of these animals.

    His expression changed from anger and defiance to fear as he felt himself dying and getting weaker by the second. It would not be a normal gut shot where it would take hours for him to die, the hydro had no doubt liquefied most of his internals, so he was dying pretty quick, although the pain was still there.

    “Die ****er.” I said almost in a whisper with my face almost touching his. His eyes were almost pleading with me now, but I had no more feeling for him than I would a slug I had just stepped on. He was swaying on the rope now and his eyes were getting dim, his eyelids starting to droop as he visibly tried to hold himself up and off the noose. It was a losing battle and after a few more minutes his knees finally gave out and he jerked down on the rope. He gave one last feeble effort to stand and then collapsed on the rope again. His body jerked a few times as he fought death and then he was still. The blood continued to pump out of the hole for a minute or so and then it slowly came to a stop as his heart failed.

    Two down and one to go.

    I turned back to the one still left and walked up to him and stood in front of him for a few minutes before speaking. He looked at me nervously, his eyes constantly shifting to the other two who were hanging lifeless and limp on their ropes. My stare was cold as ice, but I had no expression on my face at all. The fire was behind me, making me a black silhouette in front of him; I doubted he could see my face at all.

    “You’ve told me quite a bit. Tell me some more.”

    He licked his lips as his darted back to the other two, no doubt sure that the same fate awaited him. He looked back at me and I could see the sweat glistening off his skin in the firelight. He was obviously scared.

    “Look,” I said, “You ain’t getting out of here alive. I promise you that. But if you cooperate, I’ll kill you quick. If you don’t, you’ll wish you had. Is that clear enough for you?”

    He looked at me like he was about to cry and indeed I saw a tear roll down his cheek. He hung his head a little, as much as the rope would allow him too, and sighed in resignation.

    “What else do you want to know?” he said almost silently.

    “What about security?”

    “There’s a guard at the door with an uzi. There are two guards on the room where we put the girls and there are usually three or four guards on the drugs. Everyone is armed with pistols like nine mils and Glocks, most of em have either a shotgun or a SKS or AK. There’s always at least five guys at the warehouse and they work in shifts. The cops never come around there, but the bums are always trying to find a place to sleep there. We kick em out and make em go down the street.”

    “What about Benny?”

    “Benny has a limo that he has someone drive him around in. He’s got four bodyguards with machine guns around him all the time. He likes to beat the girls, but not so bad they don’t heal up before they get sold. He’s only killed one and that was because she fought back. He beat her to a pulp right there on the bed and made us clean up what was left. It was pretty bad man and I wouldn’t shed a tear if someone killed him.”

    “Thought you worked for him.” I stated flatly. I was somewhat surprised at his last comment.

    “Look man, I done a lot of bad shit in my life and I know I deserve what’s comin. It was only a matter of time before either the cops got me, another gang got me, or someone like you came along looking for revenge. It’s too late to say I’m sorry. I never abused any of the girls man, that’s the honest truth. I never had a problem with the drugs and all that, but I never liked grabbing girls. That’s just wrong but what choice did I have? They’d kill me if I said anything or tried to run or leave the gang.

    “Look, for whatever it’s worth, I’m sorry about what happened to your daughter. I understand what you’re doing and I hope you make it. I’ve told you everything I know. I know you’re going to kill me now, can I make just one request?” I could see the tears running down his cheeks freely. I was slightly floored by this animals confession, what else could I do?


    “Make Benny die slow. That man is evil. And for me, just make it quick, that’s all I ask.”

    He looked me in the eye with his last statement and I could tell he was serious. I was the one now unsure how to proceed. It would have been a whole easier to just kill the bastard if he had maintained the tough guy attitude or even if he was crying like a baby for his life. I was totally unprepared for a genuine confession and an apology; even less prepared for him to accept his death and simply ask for it to be quick.

    I was suddenly in a quandary and my emotions were in a sudden turmoil. I stared at him for a few minutes, keeping my face expressionless and then turned my back on him and walked out. I needed some fresh air and a moment to think.

    I walked out of the mine and back to my truck. It was now late afternoon and the sun was on the far side of the mountain, casting a deep shadow over my truck and the woods below. I breathed deep of the fresh air and leaned against my truck as I stared up at the deepening blue of the early evening sky.

    Now what? I almost felt like I couldn’t kill the bastard now. He had caught me completely off guard and unprepared. His confession was genuine, his apology was genuine. He hadn’t begged for his life, he had accepted it. I was perplexed.

    I stayed there for several minutes as I tried to clear my head and then I resolved myself. I walked back into the mine and down the room, pausing at the doorway. His back was too me and I could see him just standing there on his one good foot as he swayed back and forth, waiting for me to come back and seal his fate.

    I walked into the room and stood in front of him and looked him in the eye.

    “Your apology is accepted. I accept your confession. I am not a Priest and have never been a holy man, but I believe God heard your confession too. If you want a moment to pray to whomever you pray too, I will give that to you, so you can die in peace.”

    He looked at me, “I already have. I’m ready.”

    “Very well.” I stated and then walked around behind him; I couldn’t look him in the eyes this time. I raised the HK and put the muzzle against the base of his skull where the occipital ridge was, paused a moment, then said “May God have mercy on your soul.”

    I pulled the trigger and the bullet shattered through the occipital ridge and the brain stem and killed him instantly. He body went instantly limp on the rope and hung there. I lowered the gun slowly and hung my head. I could feel my eyes burning with tears for a moment and I closed them tight before wiping them dry.

    After a moment, I hardened myself again and stepped back. I dropped the magazine from the HK and reloaded it and then wiped the gun down with the rags from the gangsters clothing. I cut them all loose and drug the bodies outside. Going back inside, I built up the fire and then slowly placed their clothing on it, along with all their personal effects until every last piece was thoroughly burned. I double checked to make sure there was no missed evidence anywhere and then carefully put out the fire after letting it burn for another hour or so to make sure everything was completely consumed.

    There was still the issue of disposing of the bodies and it was something I had not really put a lot of thought into. I looked around in the growing darkness and then grabbed my shovel out of my truck and walked down toward the old power building where the firewood was all stacked up.

    On the back side of the building near the water wheel there was a small water spring and the ground was soft, not quite muddy, but thoroughly saturated. I started digging there and soon had a good size hole dug with plenty of worms showing up in the rich, dark soil; I hoped they would expedite the decomposition process. After another hour of constant digging, I had a very deep hole dug that was plenty big enough for the three bodies.

    I climbed out of the hole and drug the three bodies over to the hole and dumped them in, then jumped down in the hole with them and stretched them all out straight until they were all lying flat and tight against the bottom of the hole. I climbed out, threw a bunch of worms and grubs down on the bodies, and began filling the hole back up with soil, jumping in every so often to stamp it down and compact the soil. An hour later I was done and I went down into the forest and gathered several large armfuls of leaves and scattered them all over the dig site, camouflaging the area from any casual observer. As best I could, I tried to make the leaves appear to be wind blown. With all the other debris piled up around the place, it worked pretty well.

    By the time I was done, I was dog tired and hungry as hell. I climbed back into my truck and began the long drive back to my RV and a hot shower and a hotter meal.

    Tomorrow I would start hunting this warehouse.

    Comment Thread

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id

    Chapter 7

    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 7

    My head was pounding as though a 90 pound jackhammer was inside trying to break out. I rolled over with a groan and struggled to open my eyes against the dazzling light of day.

    I groggily eyeballed the almost empty bottle of Captain Morgan Tattoo that I had polished off the night before and let out a groan as I struggled to sit up and then collapsed back down on my little couch as the pressure in my head threatened to explode my skull.

    The silenced HK under my pillow was making a pronounced hard lump that was digging into the back of my skull, so I reached under and pulled it out, dropping it on the table next to the other one where I had cleaned them the night before. I clumsily grabbed at the bottle of rum and then drained the last couple swallows. I knew from past experience that a little alcohol would help kill a hangover in a hurry.

    Slowly the haze in my head began to clear and after a few minutes I was able to struggle into a sitting position. I asked myself once more why I did this to myself. What was pure oblivion the night before, was always utter hell in the morning. You’d think I would learn by now; and the problems were still there anyway.

    With a struggle I stood up and stripped off my clothes and stumbled through my trailer to the shower. As I turned on the hot water and stood there under the soft spray, the nightmares of the night came flooding back to haunt me again….

    After I had buried the three men, I had returned home and spent the next three days planning and studying maps of the city. I narrowed down a section of the city where I was sure the warehouse would be found. I went on the internet and searched the address of every McDonalds in the area and wrote them down and marked them on the map.

    It took me two more days to locate the warehouse building that the gangsters were using as their base of operations. It was indeed in the rundown section of town, in the day light it was dirty and littered with trash; in the night it was full of homeless and street walkers, hookers and drug addicts. I wasn’t surprised that the cops chose to stay away.

    That would definitely work to my advantage in the near future.

    I always drove around during the daylight hours. Two reasons for this: 1) I wasn’t going to draw as much attention to myself driving around the city in the daylight as I would if I drove around at night. 2) I could see the details of the buildings and get a feel for the lay of the land. It was around noon when I spotted the building that I was sure was the one. It was an old, more like ancient, brick building. There was still an old Coke Cola ad painted on one wall, telling of times long gone.

    I acted like any other Joe Citizen who had simply made a wrong turn and clumsily took my time turning around to leave. The building had three doors that I could see, one on each side. There was a loading dock on the south side with a rollup door that was closed and I could see a padlock on the latch. There were some boarded up windows in the upper floors and a few others that were open, but missing the panes. It was a three story building and the second floor looked relatively intact, at least from the outside looking in.

    The obvious entrance to the building and what must have been the main lobby at one time was on the east side, facing the street. There was an extended roof that came out over the entrance and across the sidewalk with columns on each of the two corners, supporting the roof. The building looked fairly sound and somewhat kept, and I guessed it was most likely owned by Mr. Dago himself.

    There was no one in sight, save a few homeless bums pushing their stolen grocery carts loaded with all their worldly possessions. The street was as dirty as most of the rest of the city; trash was scattered by the wind and piled up against the curbs and in the gutters, the buildings all faded and worn down by weather and time. It was a lonely out of the way place and a perfect location for a bunch of bad guys to make their home.

    I returned to my trailer and called the detective on the phone again. I wanted to know if there were any updates on that contract that was out on me. The dispatcher answered the phone and I asked for Detective Spencer.

    “Detective Spencer.” He answered.

    “Good evening Detective; Mr. Sparks here. I was just calling to see if you had any more info on that contract that you said the gang put out on me.”

    “Good to hear from you Mr. Sparks. I’m glad you called and I’m glad you’re still okay. How are you holding up?”

    “As well as can be expected I suppose.” I wasn’t in the mood for small talk and I just wanted some info, I tried not to sound impatient on the phone.

    “Well Mr. Sparks, to be honest, the grapevine has been quiet for the past week. To my knowledge the contract is still out on you, but we are doing our best to track down the ones who put it out. We have an idea who it might be, but the gang members are being less than cooperative with us. We’ve been shaking them down but we haven’t come up with anything solid yet. The FBI ain’t being very cooperative and we suspect they have a mole inside the gang they don’t want to put in jeopardy.

    “Just keep your head down Mr. Sparks and try not to look like a target. My advice would be to just stay home or go live with some family somewhere until this all blows over. My offer still stands about sending a unit to keep an eye on you.”

    This guy obviously didn’t know I had moved. He obviously had no idea about the events of a few nights before either, or he did and wasn’t letting on. I wasn’t worried about it and I knew I had covered my tracks well. All the same, it was time to move to another location; I had been sitting in one spot way too long and they would find me sooner or later. I preferred to be the one doing the hunting, not the one being hunted.

    “Thanks Detective. You have my cell number. If anything comes up I would appreciate a call.”

    “Absolutely Mr. Sparks. Watch your back.” The line went dead.

    That was pretty unproductive. The contract was still out on me, that much I was confident of. If they were pissed off at me for taking out a few of their guys the first time around, they would really be pissed if they knew I had just taken out their hit men as well. Oh well, time to get moving.

    There was another RV campground a few miles away, so I called them and reserved a spot for two months. After some consideration I decided to leave my reservation at this campground in place. If they were on to me, then all they would find is an empty spot and I would be miles away at a different location. I really needed to get some alternative identification; it would make it all that much harder for them to find me.

    I hooked up my trailer to my truck and towed it to the new site and went about making all the hookups. I had satellite TV and Internet, so that worked no matter where I parked my rig; all I needed was gas, water, and power. Oh, and the sewer.

    On the return trip to the old site, I stopped at the rental yard and picked up a car dolly. That was still a situation I needed a solution to. Obviously I couldn’t drive both vehicles at once, but I also planned on being able to ditch the car if I needed to. Once the car was on the tow dolly, I hauled it back to the new site and returned the dolly to the rental yard. Tonight I would make another recon run on the warehouse.

    While I was out, I stopped by a thrift store and picked up a bunch of oversize old clothing. I had an idea for my recon mission tonight and what I would use for camouflage. I stopped at a liquor store and picked up a few bottles of cheap whiskey and wine; it would just be part of the cover.

    It was late evening when I finally got home and the sun was almost set below the horizon; the sunset was brilliant and the sky was a deep red with yellow highlights. I stopped and looked at it for a while, taking some comfort in the scene and feeling some peace in my mind for the moment. I wondered briefly if I would ever be able to share a sunset with another person again. I shook the feeling off and returned to my trailer.

    I dressed quickly in some black BDU pants and a skin tight Under Armor long sleeve shirt, and black suede 511combat boots. I put on my double shoulder rig and adjusted it, moving it round until it fit where I wanted it for tonight’s mission. On my operators belt I had a Surefire 6P Defender with the high output 120 lumen bulb and two sets of spare batteries, a set of black handcuffs, four pairs of zip tie cuffs, eight spare magazines, a lock picking set, a Leatherman XT, a Strider MT-10 combat knife, and a dump bag. It was a full load, but still concealable.

    Taking the old clothes from the thrift store, I laid them out and dumped a liberal amount of the whiskey and wine all over them until they smelled royally like a drunk bums clothing. I put on the pants and used some 550 paracord as a belt to hold them up. I purposely got them large enough to fit over all my gear. The old shirt fit well over my upper torso and I left it open so that I could get to my guns in a hurry. I took the jacket next and roughed up the sleeves until they were frayed and then ripped a few holes in the jacket at odd places to keep up with the disguise. An old booney hat with a large brim finished off the look.

    It was show time. I looked around outside to make sure no one was nearby to start wondering about me and quickly locked up my trailer and jumped into the car and took off. Once I was out of sight of the RV park, I took a side road and traveled out of town until I was back in the woods and on a dirt road. It had rained recently and there were several big puddles of water and mud on the road so I selected a large one and stopped the car.

    I stripped off my operator’s belt and left the HK’s on the seat and then went and rolled around in the muddy hole until I was thoroughly dirty. I didn’t get wet enough to soak all the way through my clothes, but they certainly weren’t clean and pretty anymore. I dumped some more of the wine on my clothes and my hat and splashed some on my face and skin to make sure I was thoroughly bummed out. I felt pretty confident in my disguise.

    I strapped my gear back on and put the pistols back in their home and climbed back in my car and headed back into the city. If I got pulled over now, I’m sure I would have some serious explaining to do, so I followed the speed limit and didn’t do anything to attract attention on the way out.

    It took me an hour of using back roads and side streets to reach the location I chose to park. It was about three blocks away from the warehouse and out of sight. I removed my Mossberg Entry model shotgun from the back of the car, adjusted the tactical sling and slung it up under the jacket, locked up the car and faded into the shadows, holding my half empty bottle of wine in one hand and trying my best to act like just another drunk bum on the streets.

    As I made my way closer to the warehouse, I kept a sharp eye out for any sign of the cops or any other trouble. The other bums on the street didn’t give me a second glance. I staggered over to an old light pole and leaned against it for support as I eyed my surroundings and took in the terrain. Everything was much different at night and although I knew where I was, I still needed to get my bearings; the warehouse was the next street over and back a ways from the road. I made a show of pushing myself off the pole and staggered in that direction.

    I made my way clumsily around a few homeless bums who had set up camp in the middle of the sidewalk, eliciting some curses from a few, and only hard looks from the others. I apologized in my best slurred voice and continued on my way. I reeked of foul odors and alcohol and I could smell myself clearly.

    I rounded the corner toward the warehouse and took in the scene. There had been no one in sight earlier in the day, but now it was a hub of activity. There were street bums and addicts hovering around the entrance like zombies waiting on their fix. I saw what I thought were dealers enter and leave the building every few minutes for about an hour and then the traffic pretty much stopped.

    The street bums just stayed where they were and some passed out on the sidewalk and in the parking lot. The addicts mostly disappeared after they got their new fix. I looked at my watch and it was almost midnight. That Benny guy should be arriving in about an hour if the hit men had told the truth. I began to clumsily make my way toward the warehouse, keeping to the shadows and out of the light as much as possible. The old trees and shrubs still clinging to life in the middle of urban hell provided plenty of concealment for me until I was close to the building. Then I would have to put my disguise to the test and cross the open parking lot.

    The parking lot was dimly lit by the single working street light and the entrance was cast in deep shadow. The east and south walls were also deep in shadow and allowed a person to sneak up close without being seen or detected. I elected to take advantage of that and crossed the street out of the light and worked my around until I could come in from behind the building and use the shadows to my advantage. Now I was close, and still undetected.

    I crept along the old brick wall smelling the foul odors of urine, trash, and whatever else the homeless had left behind in their frequent visits to this place. I could hear the faint sound of voices from within, but I couldn’t make out any words. I reached the front corner near the entrance and peered around carefully.

    The entrance was dark under the overhang but I could make out a man standing guard at the door. From the looks of him, he was a pretty big guy and he was holding something in his hand that I couldn’t make out. It looked like a bat.

    Tonight was supposed to be recon only and gathering intel, I wasn’t intending to make a hit tonight and if my info was correct, this Benny guy came by here twice a week to collect and deliver. I wondered what he would be collecting tonight and if there were any kidnapped girls inside. That might change my plans as I doubted I would be able to stand by and watch while another girl had her life ruined.

    My watch said it was just after midnight, another 45 minutes or so until Benny was supposed to show. There were a group of bums huddled in the parking lot near the entrance and off to the side. To get to them I would have to cross right in front of the entrance and near the door guard. I weighed the risks and then took a deep breath and went for it. My heart was pounding in my ears and my adrenalin was pumping hard. My ears seemed to be suddenly hyper sensitive as I stepped out into the danger zone.

    Doing my best drunk guy act, I stumbled out in front of the building and began staggering in the direction of the crowd of bums. When I was standing in front of the entrance, I made a show of taking a long pull off the bottle of wine, letting my mouth fill up and then letting some dribble down my chin and beard before spitting it back into the bottle. I stood there swaying on my feet and looking around until I looked directly at the guard.

    I raised my bottle at him in mock toast and then staggered toward him a little to get a better look. I was right, the guy had a bat and he must have weighed in around 350 pounds and he was covered in tattoos from what skin I could see. He had several teardrop tattoos under his left eye. He certainly looked like a tough guy and someone who could take care of business.

    He took a step toward me and raised the bat in his hand in a gesture to get lost. He never said a word, but his meaning was clear as glass. I stopped moving toward him and raised my bottle again and began staggering back in the general direction of the bum huddle. When I was almost there, I feigned a trip and fell down beside the curb, where I pulled myself over and sat up, facing the building. I decided I had convinced everybody that I was exactly what I looked like and this was a great spot to keep an eye on things.

    I began swaying back and forth in my sitting position and mumbling nonsense to myself just loud enough for the people around me to hear. No one paid me any mind; evidently I was a common sight in these parts.

    A slow 20 minutes passed when suddenly a black car pulled into the parking lot and stopped at the entrance. The driver and a passenger got out of the front and one guy got out of the back seat. They all walked around to the back door of the driver’s side and the guy from the back seat opened the door. The man from the passenger seat reached in and grabbed something and pulled it out.

    My skin went cold all of a sudden as I realized it was a girl. She was bound hand and foot and had a gag over her mouth. She wasn’t struggling at all and I guessed she had been drugged as the hit man had told me they do. The three men grabbed her and drug her toward the entrance where the guard opened the door and the three men disappeared inside with the girl. The guard resumed his post at the front door.

    Now I was pissed all over again. Things had suddenly taken a turn I didn’t expect and I needed to consider my next move. I had no idea how many men were inside and what they might be armed with. I did know there was at least one girl in there who’s life was about to become hell on earth. Not if I had any say in the matter, I thought grimly to myself.

    I sat there trying to figure out my next move. Several minutes passed and then the driver came back out and got in his car and drove by me and into the street. I saw that he parked his car off to the side and then he returned to the building, not even giving me a glance as he walked by.

    Several more minutes passed and then a limo pulled slowly into the parking lot and parked in front of the entrance. The guard walked out and opened the back door and stood aside as a rather large and fat man climbed out of the back seat. That had to be Benny.

    The man didn’t give the guard a second glance, nor did he look around the parking lot. He simply walked into the building and disappeared inside. The guard reached into the limo and pulled out two very large duffel bags that looked to be pretty heavy and fully stuffed.


    The guard slammed the door on the limo and then picked up the two duffels and walked back inside, slamming the door behind him. These guys seemed to be pretty confident in their position as they didn’t appear to be all that concerned with their surroundings. No one so far had patrolled the perimeter and I didn’t see any other guards besides the one at the door.

    I wasn’t sure what to do next. If what the hit men had told me was true, then that girl was in for a rough night with that fat bastard Benny as he “sampled the goods”. I was getting more upset by the minute, but my emotions were going colder and my mind was focusing in on the problem at hand. If I left now and didn’t act on what I knew and didn’t try to save the girl, I would not be able to live with myself later. That much I knew and so it left me one choice.

    I had to act, and I had to act now.

    Just then the guard returned to his post in front of the door, I watched as he locked the door and then pocketed the keys before taking up his bat and resumed standing in front of the door. “No time like the present,” I mumbled under my breath and staggered to my feet.

    I stumbled my way toward the door and the guard with the bottle of wine in my right hand. He was staring hard at me as I made my way closer to him, putting on the best drunk act of my life, acting as if my life depended on it. I was swaying hard and barely able to stand, teetering sideways and then stumbling forward. Just for good measure, I fell down on my hands and knees and then staggered back into a standing position and then suddenly lost my balance again and stumbled forward right into the guard.

    He cursed violently and then shoved me off of him, raising his bat to take a swing at my head. He swung it hard and I suddenly ducked under it and moved forward, spinning around as I stood up and swinging the wine bottle hard into his temple.

    The movement caught him completely off guard as he was expecting a barely functioning drunk bum, not a cold sober fighter. I made contact with the side of his temple and the heavy bottle shattered on impact. The big man dropped like a sack of potatoes, blood pouring from the side of his head from a massive laceration. As soon as he fell I stood back and waited to see if he would get up, not sure if he was completely out of the fight or not.

    The big Mexican rolled over with a groan and put his hand to his head, then pulled it away and looked at all the blood that now covered his hand. With a curse he rolled over again and got to his feet with surprising agility for a man of his size and spun around to face me, hunching over in a low crouch as if he was preparing to lunge in and tackle me.

    This wasn’t good. I now had a pissed off gang member that probably outweighed me by at least twice and was now in a really bad mood. I quickly looked for any sign of a weapon on him but didn’t see one. Just then, as if reading my thoughts, he reached around to the small of his back and pulled out a long dagger and began waving it around in front of him in a circular figure eight motion and smiled at me through his blood covered face.

    Crap. Now I was in for it.

    Without warning he suddenly lunged in and his right arm darted out with blinding speed and I just barely turned my body fast enough to avoid the strike. I felt the blade grab my jacket and tug lightly on it and then it was free. The knife had sliced through my jacket like it wasn’t even there. I reacted instantly with the slight spin and immediately planted a hard elbow strike against his injured temple with my left arm, my right hand still held the busted wine bottle and I quickly brought my right arm up and stabbed hard into his abdomen and raked the broken glass sideways, laying him open like a filet of fish.

    He grunted with the strike and I pushed off him hard to get some space between us. So far I had been lucky and landed two hard strikes on him. For all his size, power, and speed he was a little clumsy and slow on the defense. Good for me, bad for him.

    My shove knocked him off balance a little and he stumbled sideways. I used the opportunity to grab the first weapon that came to hand, my shotgun. I whipped it up just as he recovered and turned to charge in. As he whirled around and lunged in, he realized too late that my shotgun was coming up right under his chin. His momentum was too much to stop and I shoved the heavy breeching barrel hard up under his jaw and in the same instant squeezed the trigger.

    That moment in time was frozen. I saw the realization in his eyes and the sudden fear of death in the instant before his head disappeared in a pink mist right in front of me. The report was surprisingly soft and quiet as his head absorbed most of the gases and pressure coming out of the muzzle. It was an effective, if gruesome, silencer.

    I stood there in shock for a moment trying to get my bearings and quickly looked around for any other threats. The homeless bums had beat a fast retreat down the street and were quickly fading from sight. I had no idea what was happening inside, or if they had heard the gunshot or not. I prayed they hadn’t, but I had to assume they had.

    The headless corpse below me was bleeding heavily down the sidewalk and into the street. I wiped my sleeve across my face and realized my face was covered with blood and flesh and brains. I almost got sick right there, but I forced the feeling back down and quickly wiped my face off with my old jacket as best as I could and then moved toward the door, expecting at any moment to see the minions within come pouring out.

    I quickly took up a position beside the door with my shotgun at the ready and waited. Several minutes passed incredibly slowly and no one appeared. My heart rate had subsided a little and I was breathing somewhat normally again. I quickly looked around, but the street was deserted.

    Suddenly with a shock I realized that I had not chambered a new round. Stupid me. I quickly worked the pump and ejected the spent shell, catching it in midair and dropping it into my dump pouch. I pulled another round from my sidesaddle holder and pushed it into the magazine; my shotgun was fully loaded again.

    The body was twitching slightly and moving and it was getting on my nerves. I grabbed an ankle with both hands and with considerable effort managed to drag his heavy corpse around to the side of the building and into the shadows. Not that it mattered, he left a blood trail a blind man could follow. I quickly searched his pockets and found the door keys, a wad of cash, another knife, and a few other items of no importance. I took his wallet with his ID and all the jewelry he had on him. I dropped it all in my dump pouch and then took up a position by the door again.

    I carefully tried each key until I found the one that fit and slowly turned the lock. It opened with a click that sounded like a cannon shot to me in the silence of the night and I jumped sideways out of instinct, expecting gunshots any minute. Nothing happened.

    I was sweating profusely now. I had no idea what to expect on the other side of the door or what might await me in the building. Maybe they were all there waiting to fire me up as soon as I stepped foot through the door. My ears were straining for any noise from within but I heard nothing.

    Standing well off to the side of the door, I considered my situation and my options. I dropped the shotgun back down to my side and elected to use my HK’s for the silence. I waited a few more minutes, just in case they were waiting on the other side. Maybe they would get nervous and decide to come looking. I could take them one at a time in the doorway; the walls were block so I wasn’t worried about them shooting through them.

    The minutes ticked by slowly and still I waited. I expected at any minute to hear police sirens, but I suspected that the homeless bums would never say a thing to anyone. They would probably be in fear of their own lives and so keep silent. I wasn’t the most street savvy guy, but I did know (or suspect) a few things.

    After five slow minutes had passed, I reached over and carefully turned the knob on the door and let it swing open, expecting an eruption of gunfire at any moment. Nothing happened and it was eerily silent within. It was also dark, something I didn’t like at all. I strained to hear any noise at all.

    I knew that as soon as I stepped into that doorway I would be silhouetted against the parking lot and the dim light outside the building; it would make me a perfect target. I drew my other HK and held both up, one in each hand, and took a deep breath; what I would give for a few grenades at this point. There was only one way into the building and this was it.

    I bowed my head, took a deep breath, summoned my courage and swiftly stepped through the door.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id
    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 8 – Into the lions den

    As I stepped through the door, I quickly sidestepped to the left and flattened myself against the wall and dropped to a crouch. Everything in front of me was black with darkness and I couldn’t make out any details of what was before me.

    I fully expected a barrage of gunfire in my direction. Nothing happened. The silence was eerie and my ears were twitching for any noise, real or imagined. Sweat was pouring down my back and neck and into my eyes. It wasn’t even that warm outside. My senses were on hyper drive with the adrenalin coursing through my body.

    I blinked through the sweat and then risked a movement and wiped my face with my shirt sleeve. A few slow minutes passed and my eyes began to adjust to the darkness a little better. It appeared I was in a hallway of some sort, but I could not see how far it descended into the darkness.

    I decided to risk it and holstered my left HK and pulled my Surefire off my belt. I hoped no one was down there with a gun and held the light out to my left a full arms length away from me and higher than my crouch and quickly flashed the hallway.

    The blinding light scorched through the darkness and for an instant everything was exposed to the artificial sun of my little flashlight. It was a long hallway, maybe 50 feet long, with doors along both sides, all closed. Graffiti covered the walls, along with the gang’s trademark symbol. Trash littered the hallway along the sides.

    I kept my light in my left hand and reminded myself that a red lens would be a great investment. My eyes were still spotting from the brilliant assault, and I could only imagine how bad it must be on the receiving end of that light. Oh well, nothing I could do about it now, so I carefully stood up and began slowly making my way down the hallway to the first door.

    I reached door number one and carefully pressed my ear against the door and listened for any sound from within. I couldn’t hear anything so I carefully tried the knob. It was locked. I let go and swiftly stepped across the hall to the opposite door and repeated the procedure. It was also locked and no sound came from within.

    I repeated the process all the way down the hallway until I came to the last door at the end of the hallway. It was dead center in the middle of the hall, not along the sides like the other ones. There was a small hint of light from below the door and I could hear a faint thumping in the background that had to be music. No wonder no one had heard me when I used the shotgun on the guard outside. As inept as these idiots were, it was amazing they were still in existence. Evidently they felt very secure in their little hideaway, which, so far, was working in my favor more than I could have hoped for.

    I carefully tried the knob and it didn’t budge. Damn. It was locked. I pulled the set of keys from my pocket, careful to make no sound, and ever so carefully began trying each one. On the third attempt, the lock opened with a small click and I held my breath for a moment, expecting to be discovered at any minute. When nothing happened, I withdrew the keys and put them back into my pocket and carefully turned the knob until the door opened a crack.

    The light flooded into the hallway and I could see into a well lit room. The thumping I heard was now clearly the bass from some kind of music I didn’t recognize. Maybe some rap album, or some kind of Mexican gangster music, if they had kind of thing. It was loud enough that it masked any noise of mine.

    I carefully opened the door a little wider and peered inside as much as I could without exposing myself more than necessary. The room appeared to have been a receptionist office at one point; an old desk and counter split the room, now in disrepair and heavily abused. There was an old couch along one wall with a man passed out on the cushions, a needle still dangling from his arm. The old fluorescent lights in the ceiling cast a pale light over everything I could see. So far, the guy on the couch was the only one in the room. I pushed the door open further.

    There was another doorway opposite mine that must lead to somewhere in the main warehouse, another door with an old restroom sign on it, and then a door that was labeled “Stairs”. An elevator was few feet away. I had to decide which way to go and what to do with the passed out druggie on the couch.

    I stepped into the room with my gun up at the ready and quickly swept the entire area, covering the desk and looking into every corner to check for hidden bogeymen. I cleared the restroom and almost threw up; obviously it had not been cleaned in many years. I checked the door knob for a lock and locked it and shut the door; checking it to make sure it wouldn’t open; one less area for an ambush.

    The unnamed door that I guessed led to the warehouse was locked, but I quickly found the key that fit and unlocked it. I still hadn’t located the source of the music, but it sounded like it came from the other side of this door.

    Carefully I pushed the door open a little and peered around the door jam. The music was louder in here and I could see a large open space that must surely have been the original warehouse floor of this building. There was a faint glow of lights coming from the back corner, but the door was blocking my view and I couldn’t see in that direction. No one was in view from where I stood.

    I stepped back into the room and quickly walked over to the passed out druggie and visually examined him. He had tattoo’s of the gang symbol on his arms and chest and was otherwise tattooed much the same as the dead guard outside. There was a pistol stuck in his waistband I had a hard believing this guy was supposed to be guard number two. I made a quick decision right then and covered him with my pistol as I kicked him hard in the leg. He didn’t respond and he could have been dead from an OD for all I knew. I quickly looked around the room again to check for any surprise visitors and then put my Surefire away and pulled my Strider.

    The blade was honed to an edge that made a razor seem dull. It had been one of my evening hobbies since Sam was taken from me; it was something I could focus on and the burning rage kept me warm at night. Without a second thought, I quickly sliced down the inside of the man’s thighs and neatly severed each of the femoral arteries as clean as if I had used a surgeons scalpel. Immediately the blood began coursing out in spurts and I grabbed a cushion off the back of the couch and laid it over the geysers. The couch would hopefully sponge up most of the blood by time he bled out. It would only take a few seconds.

    I wiped my blade on his pants to clean it off and then replaced it in the sheath and grabbed my other HK again; it was lit enough I didn’t need my Surefire any longer. I stepped back over to the warehouse door and silently stepped through it and into the open.

    At the far side of the room where the light was coming from were rows of tables with steel trays on them, piled high with what looked like white pills. I had no idea what drug they might be. A few people were milling about among the tables with face masks on and there were a couple others sitting at some desks, apparently counting money and doing some kind of paperwork. I couldn’t imagine what kind of paperwork drug runners would be doing. There was one guy with a gun, it looked like an AK47, sitting in a chair off to the side half asleep. He hadn’t seen me come in and he was staring at something in the far corner out of my range of vision.

    The rest of the place was littered with old shelves and machinery, empty racks and large carts for hauling whatever was made here in times past. I crouched below the nearest cart and kept my eye on the scene. There were ten people total here, the one armed guy who was supposed to be a guard or a supervisor or something, the three people counting money at the desks, and the other six doing whatever they were doing with the drugs; it looked like they were counting and bagging and weighing them.

    Off to my right near a large rollup door, I saw a pallet of packages all wrapped in silver foil and the entire bundle wrapped with plastic wrap. As I was looking at it, one of the guys in face masks went over to a forklift and picked up the bundle and set it inside a wooden crate marked with some Chinese lettering and something else I couldn’t make out. Looked like a good cover for their smuggling operation.

    The man packed around the crate with straw and then put the missing side on and nailed it in place. When he was done, he picked up an empty pallet and placed it over near the tables where the others began stacking it up with more packages exactly like the previous one. I had hit a major hub by the looks of things; it was amazing it wasn’t better guarded and protected than it was.

    I didn’t see any sign of the girl, so she wasn’t in the line of fire here. These guys were peons and I doubted any of them could give me any useful information. The guy with the gun was the obvious immediate threat. I stood up a little, but remained hunched over and began creeping around the shelves to where I could get a clearer shot at the guy. The music was still blaring and I was thankful for that as it helped to hide any noise I might make.

    Once I was around the shelves, I could clearly see the guy, I stood up quickly and brought both of my HK’s to bear on the guy. He must have seen my movement from the corner of his eye because he looked my way. As soon as he saw me, his eyes got wide with surprise and he started to sit up and grab at his AK, but two quick shots from my HK’s planted him back in seat without a sound; the music covering up the sounds of my silenced pistols. He stared back at me with lifeless eyes as the front of his shirt began turning red right over his heart.

    Glancing around quickly, I located the other nine people. The three at the desk hadn’t noticed a thing and were still absorbed in whatever they were doing. Three quick shots, one to each, right through the spine between the shoulder blades, eliminated that threat. Now I had the last six drug guys to deal with.

    One of them looked up and saw the money counters slouched over their desk and let out a shout. The other five whirled around and looked at him, then looked where he was pointing. They still hadn’t seen me, but one of them suddenly broke and ran for the door where I had come in. I couldn’t let him get away and warn the others so I whirled around and fired four shots in his direction. I fired too quickly and missed, but one caught him in the hip and spun him around. He let out a scream and fell down, clutching at his hip with his hands. This time I aimed the last shot and put one between his eyes; the screaming stopped.

    I spun back around to see the other five had begun pulling guns out of somewhere. I should have expected that; it was about to get messy. I dove for cover between two shelving units as one guy let loose with his AK on full auto. The music was drowned out by the chatter of the gun and bullets began pelting my area, making swiss cheese of the flimsy metal shelving units; debris flying everywhere. The guy was in a panic though and was just spraying and praying, not aiming at all and most of the bullets didn’t come anywhere near me.

    I low crawled around the back of the shelving units and across one aisle, making my way back toward where the crate of drugs was packed. I glanced over saw that the five were now pointing their guns at where I had been a minute earlier and nervously looking around the warehouse. Any minute now I expected reinforcements to arrive and that would not be good for me at all.

    I rolled over and sat up and with quick succession emptied both pistols at the small group as fast as I could pull the trigger. Three of them went down with shots to the head and body, the last two dove for cover and I missed them. I quickly dropped out both magazines and reloaded, gathering up the empty ones and dropping them in my dump bag.

    It was suddenly silent in the room, except for the music still playing in the background, and my ears were ringing from the gunfire. Note to self: remember the tactical ear muffs next time I do this. I worked my jaw to try to make my ears pop and began moving again to try to head off the remaining two dealers.

    I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye and rolled left just as a shower of bullets began raining down on my area. The crate of drugs was a few feet away and I rolled hard and then gathered my feet under me and lunged for the crate. I felt something tug hard at my jacket and then I was behind the crate. I heard the wood splintering under the gunfire as the bullets sprayed the crate on the opposite side of me.

    “Quit firing you idiot!” yelled one of the dealers, “You’re f*cking up the X dude!”

    “But that b*stard is back there!” yelled the other one.

    “I don’t give a sh*t!. We’ll get him, but if we f*ck up the drugs, ol Benny will skin us alive.”

    “True that.” said the other, “but it won’t matter much if that dude kills us first.”

    “Go for help. I’ll keep him pinned down.”

    Crap. I knew I was deep sh*t now. I pulled out my shotgun, loaded with three inch double ought buck magnum rounds and then leaned around the corner. I saw the two men standing there not three feet apart and about 20 feet away, both looking at me with AK’s pointed in my direction, but not at me. They were still arguing with each other when they both saw me roll into the open with the shotgun pointed right at them.

    They chickened out when they saw that big barrel and instead of firing at me like they should have done, they decided to duck for cover. I fired three rounds as fast as I could pump the action, one of the men jumped right into the path of a round of buck and took all twelve pellets square in the chest, sending him flying sideways in midair and shredding his midsection. The other ducked behind some cover, but I saw his leg and put another round through his knee, effectively severing the lower leg from his body.

    He screamed bloody murder and I rolled back behind my cover and quickly reloaded. I had a full magazine and two spare rounds left; I curse myself for a fool for not bringing more ammo. This was supposed to be a simple recon mission, not an all out assault.

    I quickly checked myself for injuries as I listened to the man scream his head off. The tug on my jacket I had felt was a near miss; I saw two bullet holes near the tail. I breathed a sigh of relief and quickly checked all my other gear; everything was still intact and accounted for. I switched my shotgun to my left hand and pulled my HK with my right. Rolling over to my knees, I peered over the crate and toward the door, it was still closed and no one had yet joined the fight.

    The man was still screaming bloody murder about his leg when I stood up and carefully walked in his direction, keeping an eye on the door and the rest of the room as I went. I circled around behind him where I was out of sight of him rolling around on the floor and holding his leg, oblivious to everything around him except his leg. I raised my HK and put a Hydroshock through the top off his head. He stopped screaming instantly and slumped back on the floor.

    It was now silent again, except for the blaring music in the background, still thumping away with some gangster rap and I could barely make out the words but the rapper was saying something about getting killed in the hood. Kinda ironic was my thought.

    I made my around the warehouse, clearing each section and looking for any hideout bad guys, but I didn’t find any. The door was still shut and no one had come in to find out what was going on yet; I was glad for that and also had to wonder how inept these guys really were. I seriously doubted if I had been taking on a big time professional gang like MS13 or something, I would have made it this far, this easily. In fact, I’d probably be dead right now.

    I stopped at the door and turned the knob, pulling it open as I stood to the side. When nothing happened, I peered around the jam and saw the room was empty. The now dead dealer still lay as I had left him, but now the linoleum floor was red with a slowly spreading pool of blood. There was an old blanket lying on the floor behind the desk and I gathered it up and threw it on the pool of blood. I wasn’t very fond of the idea of walking across a slippery pool of blood to get back out.

    The fact that no one had responded to all the gunfire was making me nervous and anxious. Surely someone had to have heard all that racket and responded; but so far, nothing. I licked my dry lips and stepped over the door marked stairs; no way in hell would I take the elevator.

    I opened the door and stepped into the narrow hallway. The stairs went up to my left and another door in front me was marked “Exit”. Good, another way out. I pointed my gun up the stairwell and began making the climb up. I reached the second landing and could no longer hear the music. It occurred to me that maybe the warehouse had had loud machinery in it and was built in such a way to insulate the rest of the building from the noise. All the walls appeared to be concrete and block and brick which would be pretty effective at containing the noise. I had to wonder if that was the case.

    The door to the second floor was on the third landing. It was also closed and locked. I proceeded to the third floor where I found the door was busted off its hinges and hanging open at an angle. The third floor was dark and there was no light except what came in from the street lamps outside through the busted out windows. It was a large open floor with no other rooms or offices. A quick sweep with my Surefire confirmed that it was empty so I descended back to the second floor.

    There was key for that door on the key ring, so I opened it up and with my guns at the ready, just pushed the door open and opted for the element of surprise and just walked in. I stood in the center of a room with old couches along each wall and three doors, one on each wall, that exited to somewhere else in the building. There were four men in the room, armed with AK’s and pistols, sitting around a small poker table with cards laid out.

    They hadn’t expected my surprise interruption, but they recovered quickly and scrambled to jump out of their chairs and bring their weapons up. I wasted no time, as soon as I entered the room and saw the men, I opened fire. I caught one guy above the left eye before he could move from his seat. The next one in line I put two rounds center mass and immediately moved to the last two who were rapidly bringing their rifles into use. As one of them raised his rifle, I put three alternating rounds into his chest, and a final round between his eyes before swinging around to cover the last guy. I saw his gun barrel blossom with flame at the same instant I put three rounds into his face. The bullet snapped past my ear and slammed into the concrete wall behind me, sending concrete shrapnel flying around the room.

    He dropped the rifle instantly and fell forward on his face, dead before he knew what happened. I quickly covered the other three and searched them for any sign of life; the whole event had taken less than a few seconds. The first guy was very dead, having ventilated his brain housing group with a single 45 slug. The second man was still alive, but barely. The two rounds to center mass had hit him in the lungs and knocked him down and out of the fight. I finished him off with a round to the head and checked the last two. They were both dead.

    My luck was too good. So far I had taken out sixteen gangsters and I barely had a scratch. I heard a scream from behind the door to my right and without hesitating, I holstered my HK’s and swung up my shotgun, slamming the breeching barrel into the door beside the door knob and pulled the trigger. The lock and the side of the door disintegrated and blew inward with the impact of the round and I kicked the door open with my foot and stormed through.

    There was a man to my left bringing up a pistol, pointed right at me, I whirled around and let him a full load right in the chest. That took the fight right out of the last guy in the room, and when I swung my shotgun back around to cover him, he took one look at me, then at his bodyguard, and promptly passed out and fell to the floor, his pants down around his ankles. The girl was laying on the bed, still tied up, but very conscious. Her clothes were torn and she had some bruises beginning to show, but otherwise looked unharmed; it looked like I had arrived at just the right time

    “I’m here to help you. Did they hurt you?” Dumb question, but I asked it anyway, in as soft a tone as I could muster under the circumstances; after all I had just killed seventeen thugs.

    She just stared at me with a frightened look on her face and I could see the fear in her eyes. She didn’t answer me but instead tried to curl up back on the bed in a fetal position. I guessed it was more out of instinct to try to protect herself than anything else.

    I didn’t have time to waste on small talk so I ignored her and quickly went over to the passed out gangster who had to be Benny himself and rolled him over and put my cuffs on him, then zip tied his feet. He was big boy, so I knew I wasn’t going to throw him over my shoulder and carry him out. Instead, I grabbed him by the tie around his feet and drug him out into the other room and away from the girl.

    Going back inside the room, I grabbed the other guy and drug what was left of him out of the room and piled him on the other bodies. A quick search of the remaining rooms didn’t reveal anything of value and no more gangsters. I quickly searched the bodies and took all the cash, jewelry, and anything else of value and dumped it into my dump bag. I saw a half empty bottle of beer on the poker table, had an idea and grabbed it and poured it out on Benny’s face.

    He woke up with a grunt and a curse and I promptly kicked him in the ribs and then pointed the shotgun at his nose and said “You better cooperate with me and do exactly as I say, or I’ll leave you here with all your friends.” The implication was plain as day.

    He turned his head slightly and glanced at the pile of bloody bodies in the center of the room, their dead eyes staring back at him, then looked back up at me. He nervously licked his lips and then stuttered “Shh… shh… sure man. Wha...wha…wha…whatever you say amigo.”

    “I ain’t your amigo compadre. Now stand up and don’t say another friggin word.” I backed off a little to give him room to move and slid the Strider knife out and sliced off the zip tie around his ankles with almost no effort. I put the blade away as he staggered to his feet.

    I pointed toward the stair case and he shuffled in that direction. I kept my shotgun pressed against the small of his back the entire way down and into the reception room. He paled again when he saw the dead dealer on the couch and the now soaked blanket on the floor. I pointed toward the warehouse door and he walked through without a word.

    Once inside, his bottom lip began quivering slightly as he looked around at all the carnage. I pushed him toward one of the empty chairs and forcefully sat him down. He had a shocked look on his face as surveyed the room and all the dead bodies.

    I pulled out another zip tie and tied the cuffs to the back of the chair to keep him from running off; he was much too fat to stand up on his own with a chair attached to his backside. After that was done, I went around to where the men were still slumped over their desks and grabbed each one by the collar and roughly pulled them backwards and let them fall to the floor. I spotted a couple of large duffel bags, similar to the ones the guard had grabbed from the car earlier, and quickly began to fill them with all the money on the desks. Once that was done, I searched the bodies for any valuables as I did upstairs and added the contents to the bags, then I emptied my dump pouch into the bags as well. I reloaded my spent magazines and refilled the ones still in my pistols, then reloaded my shotgun with my two remaining rounds.

    Time was up, I had moved as fast as I could after I took Benny captive, but I didn’t need to stick around any longer than necessary. I cut Benny free from his chair and forced him to stand. I grabbed one of the duffels and slung it over my shoulder, then picked up the other in my free hand. Covering Benny with my HK, I pointed toward the door and we began to walk out.

    No words were spoken, the fewer the better. He understood to keep his mouth shut and he followed orders well. He was tough guy only when he had his thugs around to back him up, now his true colors were showing and he was as cowardly as they came.

    When we reached the exit, I stopped him and forced him against the wall with my HK at his throat while I peeked outside to make sure all was clear. The parking lot was still empty, the homeless had not returned, and no cops had shown up.

    “You better keep your mouth shut and do as you’re told if you want to live to see another sunrise Mr. Benny. You comprende?” I stared at him hard in the eyes as I asked the question.

    He just nodded nervously and licked his lips again. Stupid fat man, he was as yellow was they came. Getting information from this guy would be easy. I spun him around and grabbed him roughly by the back of the collar with my pistol hand and shoved him outside, guiding him as we went. It took only a few minutes to reach my car.

    I stopped in the shadows to make sure all was safe and clear and then walked over to my car and popped the trunk. I dropped the two duffel bags inside and then grabbed some duct tape and taped up Benny’s mouth, then bound his legs together again and opened the back door; he hopped his way over and then turned and sat down on the seat. I put my hand on his head and roughly shoved him backward on the seat and then kicked his shins. He lifted his legs and I slammed the door on him. I got in my car, started the engine, and slowly drove away.

    When I was about ten miles away, I stopped behind a grocery store and found an open dumpster where I proceeded to strip off my disguise. I gave myself a quick wipe down with baby wipes and a rag, then stuffed everything inside a trash bag and tossed it in the dumpster. I drove around front, found a pay phone and put in an anonymous call to the cops about hearing a lot of gunfire from a certain building downtown and a suspected kidnapping of a girl and a possible hostage situation. Before the dispatcher could ask anymore questions I hung up and drove away.

    I really needed a shower and a long nap.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id
    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 9

    By the time I pulled off the road to the mine, the sun was peaking in the east and casting its glow in red streaks over the horizon. The air was crisp, clear, and clean up here in the mountains; the distinct smell of pines was strong on the early morning breeze, a distinct difference from the smoggy confined air of the city; I was glad to be out of it.

    My passenger in the back seat hadn’t said a word the entire trip. Of course, the duct tape I had put over his mouth before leaving the city probably had something to do with that. I glanced over my shoulder at him lying across my back seat. He simply glared back at me with otherwise emotionless black eyes, a tinge of fear or uncertainty showing faintly; maybe he had developed some sort of trumped up courage as he lay there over the past two hours of driving.

    I had never driven this road in a car, only a 4x4 truck, and I was not entirely sure I could drive all the way to the mine. The road was very rough, cut by erosion and washouts, lack of maintenance, and the harsh environment up here had taken its toll. It was a tough drive for a good four by four and I would be putting all my experience to the test by attempting this in a car.

    There was nothing else to do, my truck was too far away and it would be broad daylight before I could get it. It was too much to risk and someone might see my captive and then my gig would be up. If I had to, I could hike it in; the fat pig in the back seat looked like he could use the exercise anyway. Out here I wasn’t worried about being seen. In the last ten years of hunting and hiking this area, I had seen exactly ten people. Maybe I had just been lucky.

    I crawled along in first gear, my headlights illuminating the trail ahead, as I tried to avoid the worst of the pot holes and washouts and work my way down the road. It was slow going, but I covered the first five miles in just over an hour; it was good time.

    The trail was getting steadily worse though as we progressed and I knew that it was only a matter of time before we could go no further in this car. A huge cut in the road appeared in front of me as I rounded a turn in the hillside and I brought the car to a stop and studied it for a moment before getting out. Reaching over to the passenger seat, I grabbed my shotgun and then opened my door and got out.

    I took a moment to watch my back trail to be sure I wasn’t being followed. It was heavily wooded out here and I was positive no one had seen me, but I couldn’t afford to assume anything. Under the trees, it was still dark; the sky above growing brighter through the treetops as the sun continued its advance into the sky. Satisfied that no one was following me, I turned and walked to the deep rut in the road, hoping that there was a way to get around it.

    The cut appeared to be recent, most likely from the last rain storm that had rolled through a few days ago. It was close to four feet wide as near as I could tell and several feet deep. Along the uphill side was an accumulation of silt and runoff that had piled up before it found the weak spot in the road and washed it out. There was just enough room there to get the car by if I was careful. If I slid into the ditch, then I would have a long walk home. No way would I be able to get it out, especially since all of my off road recovery gear was in my truck.

    It was either try or walk; and it might be walk anyway. I decided to try.

    There was a fallen tree on the slope above that I spotted as I returned to my car and I was suddenly inspired to go drag that tree down the slope and roll it into the ditch. I slung my shotgun over my shoulder and began climbing up the slope to the fallen tree. It looked like it had been hit by lightning and the trunk was shattered near the base. When the tree had fallen, the trunk had hit a large rock and shattered again, leaving a section of tree trunk about ten feet long and three feet or so in diameter separated from the rest of the tree. I looked around for a branch I could use as a lever and then began to pry the log loose and roll it down to the road.

    It took considerable effort, but after a few attempts, I got it to break free and it began rolling down the slope, gaining speed as it went until it hit another tree and whipped around sideways, knocking down a sapling as it did so, and then crashed over the side of the bank and landed with a thud on the road below. All I could do was watch and be thankful I hadn’t been in the path of that thing.

    I hiked back down to the bank and then climbed down to the road. The log had landed on the side of the road, end first like a giant spear, then it had fallen sideways to land almost across the road, but still about twenty feet from the ditch. I stuck my branch under the log and began trying to roll it forward, but quickly gave up; it was much too heavy for me to do alone. I sat down on the log to take a break; the last almost 40 hours with no sleep was quickly catching up to me and I felt drained. The adrenalin crash hadn’t helped much either and I had almost passed out at the wheel several times on the drive up here. It was now a conscious effort to stay awake.

    The thought came to me to use my car. Why not? I would be getting rid of it soon anyway. I stood up wearily and swayed on my feet for a moment before turning and jabbing my stick under the end of the log again. This time, I simply swiveled one end of the log until it was lined up with the ditch in the road and then I walked back to my car and got in. I felt completely done in, but I had about five more miles to go before I could rest.

    I put the car in gear and crept up to the log until the bumper made contact and then began to push it forward. I could feel the resistance as the car strained to push the log through the dirt. Suddenly there was a loud crunch and the car lurched forward and the front end came up off the ground. I cursed under my breath and put the car in reverse and backed up slowly until I had rolled back off the log. My bumper was probably totaled, but I didn’t really care.

    The second attempt pushed the log into the hole. I backed up and put the car in park and stepped out to inspect my handiwork. It was almost a perfect fit and the log filled the ditch enough for me to drive over it without getting stuck if I was careful about it. My bumper was indeed banged up, but not totaled. It looked like someone had taken a hammer to it and it was scratched and bent from the abuse, but still relatively intact.

    Returning to the car, I crept as far to the uphill side of the road as I could until my wheels were up on the side of the bank and I was positive I would clear the ditch, and then I just gunned it. The car surged forward across the ditch and I kept my foot in the gas until I was sure we had cleared the obstacle. I veered back onto the trail and quickly dodged a small sinkhole and then I was back on my way.

    The rest of the road wasn’t much worse than that and I managed to get to the mine without getting stuck. The car was small enough to fit down the mine entrance, with enough room to still open the doors, so I drove inside until I was sure the car was out of sight of any adventurous hiker. I opened the back door and grabbed Benny by the ankles and roughly pulled him out of the car until he landed on the ground with a thud, his head hitting the door as he came out.

    He yelled something unintelligible through his duct tape, but I ignored him and proceeded to drag his fat butt through the rocks and dirt until I had him inside the room where I had done the previous interrogations. By now I was thoroughly exhausted and I just wanted to pass out, but I had to secure Fat Bastard here first. I lit the lamp in the room for light then I pulled my pistol and pointed it at him, “Stand up Benny”.

    It was almost comical to watch him try to stand up with his hands behind his back and his enormous gut hindering his movements, but finally he made it to his knees and then he was able to get one leg under him and stand up. I could tell he had been living the high easy life way too long; no matter, he wouldn’t be living much at all much longer.

    Once he was standing, I moved him over to the timbers where my ropes still hung. His eyes got wide when he saw the nooses and he started to balk at moving in that direction, but my pistol barrel against his skull changed his mind. He moved over to the noose and I put it around his neck and took up the slack until he was standing on the balls of his feet. Once he was secured, I holstered my pistol and then drew my knife, holding it up in front of him for him to see. His eyes got wide again and he cringed away from me, but the noose was tight on his neck and he had no choice but to stand there obediently.

    I just smiled at him in the soft lamp light and stepped in close, “I just need to be sure you ain’t hiding anything on that fat body of yours Mr. Benny.” I said softly as I looked him straight in the eye. He stared back at me, making some strange noise I didn’t recognize through the tape over his mouth. I brought the knife up to his throat and then quickly sliced down along his front, blade facing out, neatly cutting his clothes off just as if I had used a pair of scissors. I repeated the process for his arms and pants until he was standing there in his dirty boxers. It was quite a disgusting site and I no longer wondered why a man like him would resort to rape to get a woman to **** him. I shook my head at the sight and spat off to the side.

    “You’re quite a specimen Benny. I imagine a man of your size could feed half of Africa.” I paused as I studied his face, seeing fear and hatred mingled with a shadow of defiance, “I’ll be back in a few hours to help you lose some of that weight.” My last statement made him scream something through the tape, but it was too garbled for me to understand. “I need some info from you Benny, we have a lot to talk about. If you cooperate, I might let you live.”

    I stepped back over to the rope and loosened it. “Get on your knees Benny” I commanded him and he obeyed clumsily. Once he was on his knees, I tightened the rope again until he was sitting all the way up on his kneecaps, then let off just enough slack so that he couldn’t sit down or roll over off his knees. Hopefully he wouldn’t hang himself, but I doubted he would do more than try it. It is a very hard way to die, and quite painful, and he didn’t impress me as being tough enough to follow through with it. He did impress me though as the type who would sing like a bird to save his own ass.

    I gave him one last look and then gathered his clothes and left the room, turning off the lamp as I walked out, leaving him in the pitch blackness to be alone with his thoughts and contemplate his future. When I returned to the car, I opened all the doors and crawled into the back seat and promptly fell asleep.

    In my dreams I replayed that day over again, watching helplessly as Sam died in my arms. Then the dreams switched to the three hit men and I replayed again what I had done to them, but in my dreams I was just an observer, not a participant. I heard their screams in my mind as I tried to sleep. The dreams changed again to the warehouse where I watched myself clear room after room; killing one man after another. Suddenly the door guard with half his head blown away jumped up in front of me with a scream and reached for me…

    I sat bolt upright in the backseat, clawing for my guns as I heard a primal scream echoing through the mine shaft, not realizing it was my own. After a moment my head cleared and I realized I was alone. I wiped the sweat from my head and reholstered my guns, still shaking slightly from the adrenal rush in the damp coolness of the mine shaft. I rubbed my temples and leaned forward with my head in my hands, trying to banish the demons and clear my mind. My watch told me I had slept for four hours but I felt as though it had been only minutes. Sliding out of the backseat, I stood up and leaned against the car for support for a moment while I gathered my strength and my wits, breathing deep and forcing myself to calm down. My mouth tasted like bad beer and my throat was parched so I looked around for my bottle of water. I finally found it under the seat and took a long refreshing drink.

    After a few minutes I stood up and checked my guns and weapons, my Surefire flashlight on my belt was still there and working, my knife in its place, everything was good to go. I picked up my shotgun and checked it, loading two more shells into it to top off the magazine and then I walked off toward the room where Benny was waiting for me.

    “Hello Benny” I stated as I walked inside the room and lit the lamp again. I looked around at him and saw that he was in considerable pain. “You know Benny, the Vietcong and the Chinese are well known for their torture methods. One of which is to keep a man on his knees for along period of time. Too long though, and he will be crippled for life.” I paused as I studied his condition, “Judging by the looks of you, I doubt you could stand now if I put a gun to your head. That’s fine by me, you can just stay on your knees.”

    I walked over to the fire pit and gathered up some of the tinder and wood from nearby and quickly lit a fire. It grew quickly as the dead wood caught and I added more until the fire was big enough to light the whole room well enough to see everything clearly. The damp chill slowly left as the heat from the fire quickly filled the room. I walked over to Benny and stood in front of him for a moment before reaching up and ripping the duct tape off his mouth with a quick jerk.

    “You’ll never get away with this! You’re a dead man!” He wheezed at me in a vain attempt to sound threatening but the pain in his voice overrode his attempt at sounding tough and belligerent.

    “Shut up Benny. What’s your last name?” I walked slowly around behind him as I asked the question.

    “Why the hell do you want to know? I ain’t telling you shit.” So he did have some defiance left in him after all. I sighed heavily and then slapped him hard in the center of his back, leaving a deep red welt that immediately swelled up.

    He howled in pain with the slap and I said “Benny, I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions and I want answers. From here on out, I will only ask you once. It would be in your best interest to answer me.”

    “**** you. Get me off my knees.” He growled through wheezing gasps of breath. I pulled back and slapped him hard again in the same spot. This time he screamed.

    “Sanchez. My last name is Sanchez!” He wheezed out the words between gasps.

    “Very well Benny Sanchez. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I’d shake your hand, but you’re a little tied up at the moment.” I walked around to his front again and stood facing him. “Who’s Ramon Dago?”

    Benny’s face paled a little more and the sweat began flowing down his fat forehead, “He’s my cousin. How do you know him? Who the hell are you?” He had managed to find some anger and was trying to make it show in his voice.

    “Does the name Kyle Sparks ring a bell?”

    He looked at me closely and licked his lips, then smiled at me as he said “You’re the one Ramon put a contract on. You’re as good as dead. Every hit man in the country is gonna come after you!” There was a gleam in his eye that I found disturbing.

    “Ah. You mean like the last three you sent after me?” That statement caught him off guard and he licked his lips a little as he thought of the implications of what I just said. “If those three were any example of what you’re sending after me, I ain’t worried.”

    “What… how… did you know about them?” He stammered, obviously surprised that I knew about them.

    “Benny, I know lots of things. But don’t worry about them; they’re feeding the worms right now. I want to know about this Ramon guy and I want to know about your little operation of smuggling girls and drugs.”

    His fat eyes bulged a little, “How do you know about that? I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

    I smiled at him and dramatically drew my knife from its sheath, turning it the air so the firelight could reflect off the blade just a little. I pressed the tip against his left nipple and gave a little flick, just enough to make a neat slice right through the center of his nipple.

    “GAWDAMMIT!” He yelled in pain, “That ****ing hurt you asshole!” I pressed the tip against the other nipple and applied a small amount of pressure. “Okay! Okay! You made your point! What do you want to know?”

    “That’s better Benny. I don’t like to hurt people, really. I don’t. Now, who is Ramon and what is his position in the gang?” I asked without any emotion in my voice.

    “He’s the Boss, the godfather, whatever. He runs everything, the whole operation. No one does a thing without his okay. He’s my third cousin on my father’s side. He lives in San Diego, down in a place called Rancho Santa Fe, he’s got a mansion down there.”

    “What about the drugs and the girls?”

    “Don’t know nothin about no girls. Ramon deals with the Columbians for drugs and distributes it through the gang and we deal it at the street level. All the cash goes back to Ramon and then he pays everyone.”

    “The girls Benny. Tell me about that part of the operation.” For emphasis I placed my blade firmly against his groin and the family jewels.

    “Easy! Easy! Girls, right. Yeah. Okay man, just move the blade okay?” I relented a little and stepped back, this guy was easy and would squeal just like I suspected. “Ramon sells the girls to the slave traders south of the border. I don’t know what happens after that! Honest! I swear it!” He was almost shrill with fear.

    “What about you Benny? You always rape them before sending them south?”

    “How the fu…” I stepped in close and pressed the blade hard against his groin again, this time sliding it upwards a little and the blade cut into the skin through his boxers; he felt it bite and screamed in pain, “Okay! Yeah, I do em all first. There, now you know. What do you care anyway?” He was almost sobbing now with pain and fear; the last cut had taken what little courage he had.

    “You mean you don’t know about me? You mean you don’t know why Ramon put a contract on me?” I found this hard to believe.

    “You killed his cousin. That’s all I know.” He was visibly trembling now, blood running freely down his leg from the cut.

    “I killed his cousin because he and his buddies kidnapped, raped, and killed my daughter. I killed the hit men because they came for me. I killed everyone in your warehouse because they are part of this gang. I’m gonna kill every single one of you mother****ers, one at a time, until your little gang is gone from this earth and you can’t ruin another life; until there is none left to kill someone else’s daughter.” I let all the hatred and venom that was in me come out in my words, “and I’m going to kill you Benny Sanchez and no one will ever find your body.”

    Benny recoiled at my words and I saw the fear in his eyes as he fully realized his situation. Suddenly he was crying, pleading, begging for his life, “No! Don’t kill me! I’ll tell you anything you want to know! Just don’t kill me!” He blubbered as he knelt there shaking.

    “I’ll think about it. Tell me how to find Ramon and tell me about his security.”

    “Okay. Okay. Ramon lives in a place called Del Mar Country Club. It’s a gated community with armed guards at the gate that keep out anyone who doesn’t have permission to enter. He has a big mansion in there that is also gated and walled off. He has about thirty armed guards there all the time, they carry machine guns and shit, and they have dogs. There are cameras everywhere and the property is patrolled twenty-four hours a day. Ramon is only there about twice a month. He has another place in Mexico that he lives at the rest of the time.”

    “How do you transport the drugs and the girls?”

    “Usually in a truck. We put them in the front of the box and then the cargo toward the rear, you know, so no one sees them if we get inspected. The drugs come through in cars and pickups. We don’t risk the weigh stations cause there are too many random inspections.”

    “What’s the code to get in to the Country Club?”

    “No code. The gate is manned by security guards and they open it for residents or visitors. Visitors have to be on a list to get in.”

    “What’s the address?”

    It’s, uh, it’s, it’s…. 24568 Emerald Lane.”

    I wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth or making it up so I walked out of the room and got a piece of paper and a pen from the car, wrote down the address and then walked back in to the room. “When is he there?”

    “He comes and goes. He don’t have a schedule man. It’s any ones guess when he will be there. He keeps the place staffed with guards all the time.”

    “Great Benny. You’ve been a big help.” I drew my pistol and walked up to him and put the muzzle right between his eyes. Immediately he started blubbering again and crying.

    “Don’t kill me! Please! I told you everything! I did what you wanted! Please don’t kill me!” he cried hysterically.

    “Benny, you’re a spineless coward. What’s Ramon’s address?” I asked again.

    “I told you! I already told you!”

    “Tell me again.” I said coldly. I could see the sweat begin to pour off him as if he had been caught like a lying fool.

    “I told you man! 24568 Emerald Lane! Please don’t kill me!” he sobbed.

    “Benny, it’s because of you and your gang that my daughter is dead. You will die. But I’ll give you ten minutes to pray to whatever god you pray to and get things right in your head. When I come back, you’re a dead man.” I lowered the pistol and promptly turned on my heel and walked out.

    Outside, I walked up the hill above the shaft a little ways and looked around. It was a truly beautiful day and I almost forgot for a moment the ugly cruelty that existed in the world, the fat man in the mine below, and the quest I was on. For a moment, it was just the stillness and serenity of the wilderness. I breathed deep of the refreshing air and closed my eyes, trying to forget my pain and clear my mind.

    After a while I walked back down and back into the mine. I entered the room and saw Benny still kneeling there, his face wet with tears from crying, the fear on his face plainly visible. He looked at me and spoke in a soft terrified voice.

    “I don’t want to die. Please. I don’t want to die.”

    “Neither did the girls you killed. I’m sure they didn’t want to be raped and killed either.” I said coldly. “Goodbye Benny.”

    “I NEVER KILLED AN…!” he yelled. I raised the pistol up before he could say another word and squeezed the trigger. The round entered his forehead between his eyes and the back of his head exploded against the wall behind him. Immediately his fat body slumped onto the rope and dangled there, swinging slowly around as the rope took his weight and his body went slack.

    I sighed. This was getting old and I wanted to be done with it. The edge had been taken off my rage and now I was just simply tired. I knew I would never get my Sam back, but the thought of this happening to other girls drove me on. I couldn’t save my own daughter, but maybe I could save someone else’s.

    Benny’s massive body sagged heavily on the rope and I wasn’t looking forward to disposing of the body as I walked over and drew my knife and cut the rope. His body hit the floor with a thump and I sighed again heavily as I reached down and grabbed his ankles and began dragging him back toward the entrance of the mine.

    It took me four hours, but I finally got him buried along side the others. He would make quite a feast for the grubs and worms. I piled up a bunch of stones and busted concrete over the loose soil and then scattered more leaves to camouflage my work. Satisfied that all was well, I went back to the car and sat down in the back seat.

    I was so incredibly tired.

    I just needed to do one more thing before I could rest…..

    Four hours later I woke up stretched out in the back seat of the car, my mouth once again tasting like bad beer, or metal, take your pick. I drank some more water and then walked outside to relieve myself. It was dark now; the sky was clear and scattered with stars. The full moon cast a pale glow over the landscape and a soft breeze from the north carried the early chill of late fall. It would be getting cold soon.

    I finished my business and walked back to the car. I couldn’t remember what I had to do so I just crawled back into the seat and went back to sleep. My final mission was here. I had the info I needed to begin planning and the funds to carry it out. I would need help though, and I knew just the guy who would be up to the task, no questions asked.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    North of Spirit Lake, Id
    Trail of Vengeance

    Chapter 10

    I made it back to town without incident and decided to stop in at a Taco Bell for a bite to eat; I was having some serious hunger pains at this point and Taco Bell was convenient. I don’t normally eat at TB because the food lacks in quality and it’s expensive to boot. I would rather go to a sit down eating establishment over a fast food joint, but I didn’t sleep well in the back seat of that car last night and I was seriously in the mood for a hot shower and my own bed.

    I pulled in to the parking lot a little after ten in the morning and decided to walk in and order instead of using the drive through. I noticed a few other cars in the parking lot and one of them was a low rider car with all the stereotypical gangster slash Mexican slash street hood décor: the extra wide chrome rims with the way too thin tires, the body almost touching the asphalt, chrome and pin striping all over, and of course the black tinted windows.

    That should have clued me in right there, but I was in too much of a hurry and my mind was preoccupied with other things. I checked my guns out of habit, removed the silencers, and reholstered them. I was still dressed all in black like some commando assassin, complete with the black Oakley sunglasses, but there was nothing I could do about it since I didn’t have any other clothes to change into. I should have just gone through the drive through, but I always have lacked discretion; at least that’s what Sam always told me. Maybe I could pull off the “government agent” look with my outfit and close cut haircut, although my beard might give me away. I had seen ATF agents with more facial hair than me though, so I didn’t worry about it.

    Open carry was legal although it tended to attract attention so I just got out of my car and walked inside. There was no one at the counter or in line so I walked up to the little just-out-of-high-school girl that was standing behind the counter and gave her my order. When I walked in, I saw that there were four of the gangster types sitting near the back of the dining room, near the exit where they could watch the parking lot; no doubt they had seen me pull in and get out. They all were staring at me when I walked in.

    “Mornin.” I stated “I’ll have two Seven Layer burritos and that new Crunch Wrap; that looks good. And give me an extra large drink too. To go. Thanks.”

    “Okay Sir. Will that be all?” She had a really pretty voice. I couldn’t help but notice. I also noticed she was trying not to look nervous as she looked me over. After all, she was still young and no doubt inexperienced in the ways of the world and here was this rough looking dude dressed all in black, with black sunglasses on, and double shoulder holsters with a Bat belt to complete the look: ammo pouches, a dump bag, handcuffs, flashlight, the whole kit and caboodle to complete the look. Except for the badge, I suppose I looked like a real government operator.

    “Yeah, that’s all.”

    “For here or to go?” I could have sworn I just told her it was to go. Why do these people never listen?

    “To go. Thanks…. Wait, on second thought, I’ll eat here.” Why not? I wasn’t in a hurry to be anywhere, except my shower anyway.

    “Okay sir. That will be seven dollars and sixty-nine cents.” She held out her hand while I reached in my pocket and pulled out some money, counted it out, and handed her eight bucks. I told you it was an expensive place to eat.

    She handed me my cup, ticket, and change and I walked over to the soda bar and filled it up with lemonade and Sprite, put the cap on with a straw and walked over to a table where I could watch the hoodlums while I ate. I sat down and waited for my number to be called while I watched them indirectly. They were still staring at me and whispering things to each other.

    Pure trouble I told myself. I was hoping they would have more discretion than me and just leave.

    They didn’t.

    One at a time they all got up and walked out of the restaurant into the parking lot. I watched them as they walked to their car and then one of them walked over to mine and began walking around it and looking at it, pointing at the car and obviously talking to the others. They all walked over and began looking at my car and then they all looked back inside at me. I pretended not to notice them.

    “Sir?” I heard the girl calling me. I realized she had called me a couple times already. I looked around at her.

    “Sir, your food is ready.” She was holding up a tray for me so I got up and walked over to her and took the tray; she had quite a figure I noticed, even if she was barely out of high school. I shook my head and walked back to my seat. I was still a guy after all and tended to notice such things, regardless of age. Didn’t mean I was a pervert, I was just an admirer of the female form.

    Turning my attention back to the gangsters in the parking lot, I began working on the first Seven Layer burrito as I watched them. They had returned to their car and were now standing around the open trunk talking and occasionally pointing toward me. Suddenly the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I realized that a fight was about to go down.

    There was no one else in the place except me and the girl at the counter who was completely oblivious to what was about to go down. The other employees were in the back doing food prep or whatever their tasks were. A bus boy suddenly appeared and began walking around wiping down tables and checking for trash on the floor. I took another bite as I realized that all hell was about to break loose. Time seemed to just slow down as I watched the events unfold.

    One of the gangsters reached into the trunk and pulled out an AK47 and several things happened all at once. “GET DOWN!” I yelled at the two people present to get on the floor and immediately did so myself, diving down to the side as I yanked out my pistols and looked up just in time to see the glass windows shatter and hear the stutter of the AK on full auto fire.

    The girl screamed. The bus boy peed his pants, collapsed on the floor, and curled up into a fetal position with his arms over his head and began crying. I started low crawling over the shattered glass toward the front wall for some cover. Fortunately this place was mostly masonry construction so the walls were stopping the bullets, but the windows obviously weren’t. I looked over to see that the girl was scared stiff and was just standing there with her face in her hands crying hysterically as bullets pelted the walls around her, ripping up the food menu and punching holes in all the stainless restaurant equipment behind her. She must have a guardian angel standing in front of her, I thought as I simply reacted and stood up, sprinted across the room in a low crouch, and dove over the counter, taking her with me to the ground.

    “Stay down and don’t move!” I told her as I rolled over and quickly poked my head up to see what was happening. The gunfire had stopped for the moment. They were all standing in a row, shoulder to shoulder like a bad movie and now they all had AK’s in their hands were walking together toward the restaurant; the guy who had been firing was reloading a fresh magazine.

    Where were the damn cops when you needed one?

    I brought both pistols up into play and rapidly emptied both magazines in their direction. I watched happily as I saw two of them fall with blood suddenly appearing on their chest. They collapsed where they stood and the other two quickly ducked off to the sides and ran back to their car.

    Cowards, I thought as I expected them to get in and race away. I wasn’t so lucky. I watched in slow motion horror as one of them reached back into the trunk and pulled out an RPG and hefted it over his shoulder, pointing it my general direction.

    Oh crap.

    I shoved my pistols back into my holsters more out of reflex than any conscious thought, grabbed the girl under the arm and with all the adrenalin now pumping in my system, hefted her up like she didn’t weigh a thing and dragged her into the back of the restaurant as fast as I could.

    “EVERYONE GET OUT! NOW! MOVE. MOVE. MOVE!” I yelled at them as I sprinted for the back door on the opposite side of the building from the parking lot. Time seemed to click by one agonizing second at a time as I pushed the other employees forcefully out the door, then literally flung the girl out before I dove out the door after them. The bus boy was just sh*t out of luck.

    No sooner had I hit the pavement than I was hit by a shockwave of air and a deafening explosion that sent me reeling and knocked the people still standing to the ground; my ears seemed to go deaf and start ringing loudly all at once. Shell shock, that’s what they called it. I had never experienced it myself and decided I didn’t like it.

    I slowly pulled myself up to my knees and looked back at the building, most of the dining room area was completely gone, gutted out by the explosion and the rest of the restaurant was now burning. I could faintly hear a loud hiss coming from within and realized that the gas main had been busted open. It was going from bad to worse in a hurry. I should have just gone home, I had plenty of food in my frig.

    “MOVE IT!” I yelled at the employees who were still on the ground cowering in shock. “IT’S GONNA BLOW!” I grabbed the girl and jumped up and leapt for the small drainage ditch a few feet away, grabbing another employee by the collar as I went and drug him with me, literally tossing him in the ditch ahead of me. The others struggled to their feet and followed us into the ditch, collapsing on their bellies the second they arrived, following my example.

    It didn’t take long, probably mere seconds. The flames soon met with the gas main and the whole building exploded like a Hollywood movie set. The overpressure shattered all the windows in all the surrounding buildings and people previously unseen began pouring out the buildings in a panic, screaming and crying and some simply staring in morbid fascination at the sudden destruction and war zone around them. Debris began raining down all around us and out of instinct I crawled on top of the girl and covered her with my body to shield her from the falling debris. I still don’t know why I protected the girl so much, maybe she reminded me of Sam.

    The debris stopped falling and I looked up just in time to see the gangster car peel out of the parking lot with tires squealing and rubber burning. Oh hell no! I thought and jumped up and sprinted around the destroyed building for my own car. I unlocked the door quickly and jumped in, fired the engine and mashed the accelerator to the floor. My rear end swung around as the tires burned the asphalt then they caught and my car leapt forward. I raced out of the parking lot in hot pursuit, narrowly missing a few curbs as I went and then I was on the highway and accelerating rapidly. I saw the car ahead me about a quarter mile and I was gaining rapidly.

    Up ahead of me, coming from the other direction, were lots of flashing lights; the Calvary was on its way, but way too late. They didn’t seem to notice me as I sped down the highway in the other direction and the radio traffic on the scanners was all about the building explosion and gunfire; not once was there any mention of me or the gangster’s car.

    I was now in my own little world as I focused on the car ahead of me. Fortunately traffic was light and I was able to weave in out of the other cars on the road without trouble, gaining on the gangsters rapidly. I knew there were only two of them now and one had to drive, but they were still dangerous. So far they didn’t seem to notice me pursuing them.

    I wondered briefly why they decided to attack me. Had they recognized me somehow? I had been careful to cover my tracks so far and was fairly certain I hadn’t been seen. Of course, someone could have seen my car and put two and two together. Had there been a lookout at the warehouse I hadn’t known about? It didn’t matter; they had just tried to kill me so I was simply returning the favor.

    The car suddenly weaved to the right and then hit the brakes and made a hard right turn down a side street, almost skidding out of control and going into a spin but he corrected in time and straightened out, quickly accelerating down the side street. I had more warning so I slowed enough to make the turn and then accelerated after him, gaining even faster now that he had slowed up a little.

    Evidently he noticed me at this point because he suddenly accelerated even faster and soon we were closing on 100 miles per hour as I chased him down the road. A sign appeared warning of a dead end and then there was an intersection. He stomped on the brakes to make the turn but it wasn’t enough. He went into the turn too fast and slid sideways into the curb. The car flipped up in the air and rolled over and over about five times before it came to a dead stop against a giant cedar on a vacant lot. Smoke billowed out of the engine compartment and a puddle of fluid began to leak onto the ground under the car.

    I hit the brakes and slowed rapidly, keeping my car pointed straight ahead as I slowed. When I finally came to a stop, I threw the car in reverse and quickly backed up to the scene of the accident and jumped out. The sick sweet smell of radiator fluid and the strong odor of gasoline was strong in my nose as I walked up to the car slowly, reloading my pistols as I went with fresh magazines; I hadn’t had the time to do so before and during all the excitement I had completely forgotten.

    I saw the two men crumpled on the ground in the front part of the car turned turtle against the tree. There was blood everywhere and their bodies looked like they were twisted up in ways that a human body shouldn’t twist. I was sure they were already dead.

    Gasoline was everywhere on the ground and the smoke from the engine was getting thicker and coming out faster. I knew it was going to go up in flames but I didn’t want to risk the two inside still being alive. I walked back to my car and grabbed a silencer, threaded it on the barrel of one of my pistols and walked back to the car. Two well placed shots to each of their heads assured me that dead men tell no tales. I took out my Zippo lighter, lit it, and set it down next to the growing puddle of gasoline and calmly walked back to my car like nothing abnormal had just occurred. I saw several people coming out of their houses to look at the wreck and see what was happening; some of them were on their cell phones. I calmly got back into my car like nothing had happened and slowly began to drive off. I hadn’t made it a block when the gangster’s car suddenly exploded in a ball of flame, sending several of the people running back into their homes. Others raced to the scene in a vain attempt to provide some help.

    The scanners lit up with new activity as the 911 call was reported and the cops began reporting to each other of this new event, only this time, there was a brief description of my car and a man dressed all in black with guns.

    Great. Time to ditch the car.

    I accelerated down a side street and began weaving around through the residential neighborhood in an attempt to stay away from the areas where the cops were likely to be coming from. I finally made it back out to the highway, looked carefully for any sign of police presence and then quickly hit the road, heading in the direction of home. I was in trouble and knew it.

    The scanners were alive with radio traffic as fire and paramedics were racing to both scenes, cops were talking back and forth with various reports of scene conditions and any new information. Fortunately it didn’t seem like they had much to go on and I was hoping I could ditch the car before I was seen and then disappear for a while until things calmed down. Finally I got near the RV park where I was staying and parked off the road in an out of the way spot where I wasn’t likely to be spotted. There was no one around and very little traffic on the road. Except for the police, it would be a while before the public was notified for help, if they were at all, about any known details about me. I had to move fast to avoid getting caught.

    After making sure that no one was around and all was quiet, I quickly got out and removed the license plates from the car, wiped everything down thoroughly to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and then locked the car and stood there for a moment contemplating. I had been careful to always wear gloves when I went on my little excursions and I was pretty sure that I hadn’t left any finger prints anywhere, but there was always that possibility. And of course there was my hair. I had no way of knowing if any of my hair had fallen out in the car but I couldn’t risk it. I would burn the car tonight somewhere.

    Looking around again to be sure all was clear, I quickly walked nonchalantly into the park and casually over to my trailer, opened it, and went inside. I hadn’t seen anyone out so I hoped I hadn’t been seen. I hoped that by acting casually that I wouldn’t draw any attention. I had purposely kept my arm swing to a minimum to block the view of my guns as much as possible.

    So much for my shower and a nap, now I had pressing matters to attend to. Well, the nap was out of the question anyway. I was going to shave my beard since the police were looking for a man dressed all in black with a beard. I stripped all my gear off quickly, removed my clothing, and turned on the hot water in the sink. Getting out my electric hair clippers, I quickly hacked off my beard as close as the clippers would cut it, catching the hair in the trash can. Once that was done, I shaved my face smooth and jumped in my shower. Man, that shower never felt so good.

    I quickly got dressed in a pair of loose jeans and a loose Hawaiian style shirt. It was still warm enough, barely, to get away with wearing that. I pulled out one of my IWB holsters and stuck in my waist band with a few spare magazines, checked to be sure everything was secure and concealed, put on my ball cap and an oversized zip-up sweater and stepped out of my trailer. I locked everything up and got in my truck and drove to the rental yard where I rented a car trailer and bought a tarp big enough to cover the car.

    When I returned, I worked as quickly as possible without trying to draw attention. I quickly stripped the car of my scanners, radios, and all the loot I had grabbed from the warehouse, my shotgun and everything else in the car and trunk, drove the car up on the trailer and secured it, then threw the tarp over it and tied it down. I kept my eyes peeled the entire time and only saw one person out walking and they didn’t give me a second glance. I was beginning to think I was going to pull it off and get away.

    I had just climbed into my truck and shut the door when I saw a cop turn onto the road and begin slowly driving down the street. I sat still and watched him as he approached my truck and the car on the trailer; it was tarped over and the plates removed, so I knew he couldn’t see anything. My truck was turned off and the windows were tinted fairly dark so I was certain he couldn’t see inside, especially since I was parked in the shade, making the inside even darker. I ducked down a little in the seat to minimize my profile and make the truck look parked and empty just in case.

    The cop slowed as he reached my trailer and I could see him looking hard at the covered car, but he didn’t stop and after what seemed like an eternity, he pulled away and continued down the street. I grabbed one of my scanners and turned it on, listening for any news regarding me. It was the same so far, no reports and no sightings. They had found the gangster’s car and put out the flames and the coroner was now on the scene along with all the usual gaggle of detectives and everyone else who got involved in homicides and gang activity. So far, the general consensus was that this was all gang related, rival gang members having a battle. That was good for me; I didn’t hear anything from the cop who just drove by.

    I let out a deep sigh, suddenly aware I had been barely breathing for last several minutes. I waited a half hour before I started up my truck and slowly drove down the street. I would haul the car out to an old abandoned rock quarry I knew about and burn it. It would be a while before it was detected there and I would be leaving the area very soon anyway.

    Stopping at the local truck stop on the way out of town, I bought several plastic fuel cans and filled them with gas before resuming my trip to the quarry. The scanners began slowing down as the authorities starting running out of any new reports to give. The crime scenes were being cleaned up and investigated and now it just becoming routine. A few suspects had been pulled over in cars resembling the descriptions, but the drivers were quickly ruled out of suspicion and released. The employees from Taco Bell were too dazed and confused to remember much of anything except that a man dressed in black had saved all of them from certain death. There were three fatalities: two gangsters and the bus boy. I felt sorry for the bus boy, but he had been beyond my help.

    The gangsters were reported as being affiliated with the El Diablo’s; the same gang I was hunting down and killing one by one. How the gangsters had recognized me, or guessed about me, I had no idea. I could only guess that I had been spotted somehow when I took down the warehouse. I would have to be more careful from now on.

    I finally arrived at the quarry and unloaded the car off the trailer in an area as far back out of sight as I could get it. I went through it again to make sure I hadn’t overlooked anything and then I took the cans of gasoline and placed three of them in the back seat and two each in the front seats, removed the caps from all of them and stabbed a hole near the top with my pocket knife. I took one can and thoroughly soaked the entire interior, trunk, and engine compartment. I topped off the gas tank with the last can and then pulled a length of fuse out of my tool box that I kept around for grins and giggles and stuck one end into one of the gas cans and ran it out as far as it would go. I estimated it would take about twenty minutes to reach the car and make it go boom.

    I looked around once more to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, then jumped in my truck and drove out of the quarry. I parked at the entrance to the quarry and got out, cut a big leafy branch off of a tree nearby and walked back to the car, brushing out my tire tracks as I went. Once I got there, I lit the fuse and walked back out, brushing over my foot prints as I retreated. My truck was parked on the asphalt road leading up to the entrance so I wasn’t worried about tire prints there. All the same, I would be getting new tires at the first opportunity. Just when I reached the road, I heard a loud WHOOMP behind me and turned around to see thick black smoke billowing up into the sky. Well, the IED had worked as planned but the smoke would be drawing all kinds of attention I didn’t need. I quickly jumped in my truck and raced down the road to the highway. Once there I settled back into the speed limit and joined all the other traffic on the road becoming just another driver on just another day.

    Once I returned the car trailer back to the rental yard, I returned to my trailer, hooked it up, and pulled out. I left a note with the office about a family emergency and not to worry about a refund on the pre-paid spot I had occupied and then I left. I drove all night until I was several hundred miles away and finally found an open RV park where I prepaid again for three months of space. In three months, it would be one year since Sam had been killed. I would visit her grave one last time and then I would go deal with Ramon Dago. I had lots of planning to do and I needed to contact my friend. I would let things settle down before I returned and hoped that the recent events had been attributed to a simple gang war and not to me.

    I got my trailer set up, got everything turned on, made myself a hot meal which I took the time to enjoy thoroughly and then crashed on my bed. There would be plenty of time to go through the loot tomorrow. I was exhausted.

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Excellent story thank you posting.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    eastern West Tennessee
    The last posting on these stories was ten years ago and the poster is marked "Inactive", I doubt if they will be finished here.
    The difference between being smart and being wise:
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes.
    Being wise is learning from the mistakes of others.
    My life has given others many opportunities to be wise.


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