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Authors: Glen Tate

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BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
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She remembered the pain of the root canal and recalled the dental instruments and how frightening they looked when she saw them at the onset of the procedure. Then she started to wonder if the teabaggers had dental instruments. They would use them to torture her. They probably had things far worse than dental instruments. They would use them, too, because they were haters.

There was only one thing to do. It was in that box.

She opened the box and there it was: a gun. She stared at it. She’d never held a gun before. They were so dangerous. Guns were what rednecks and criminals used. People like her, good people, never touched them.

She closed her eyes. She couldn’t look at the gun. It was too terrifying. Not what she would do with the gun – that part she was fine with – but guns were so evil. It was like looking at a poisonous snake; ugly and evil and painful if you touched it.

She remembered how, just a few moments ago, she had mentally rehearsed picking up the pistol box and then finally doing it for real. She could psych herself into touching the gun. Probably.

She imagined touching the gun with her index finger. She wanted to touch it and see if anything happened. She wondered if it would just go off if she touched it.

She stared at it more and pointed her index finger at it, slowly bringing it down to the handle part of the gun. She got about an inch away from it and jabbed her finger down onto the handle.

Nothing. It didn’t go off. It was just a piece of hard plastic. She thought she’d try touching the metal part now. She psyched herself up again and slowly brought her pointed index finger down and touched the top of the gun.

Nothing. Now that she knew that it wouldn’t go off just by touching it, she slowly touched other parts of the gun, except the trigger. She was very careful not to touch

She then decided to take it in her hand, doing so very slowly and carefully. It felt strange in her hand, like nothing she’d ever felt before. “Makes sense,” she said to herself, because she had never had a gun in her hand. O
f course
it felt like nothing she’d ever held before.

She slowly lifted the gun. It wasn’t as heavy as she’d thought it would be. In the movies, guns always seemed heavy.

Now that she was holding it, she started pointing it at various parts of the empty football field, still very afraid it would go off.

“And, what?” she asked herself, “Hurt someone?” Like the things under the dirt? She wanted to laugh at her thought, but it seemed too dark.

She was moving the gun around, but still wasn’t comfortable with it. She wanted to put it back in the box. She felt dirty holding it.

She put it back in the box and then wondered if it was loaded. She remembered from a movie that you could see the bullets in the little wheel thing on this kind of gun, the cowboy kind, not the fully automatic assault pistols with the high-capacity clips, like the Glock. This was the kind of gun the police used when she was growing up. A revolver, she seemed to remember them being called.

She slowly and carefully looked at the holes in the wheel thing and didn’t see any bullets in them. She remembered from the movies that pushing a button somewhere made the wheel thing flop out so bullets could be put in it. There was only one button on the gun. She was afraid pushing the button would make it go off. She pointed it at the ground with the gun in her right hand and slowly pushed the button with her left hand.

Nothing. The gun didn’t go off, but the wheel thing didn’t flop out either. Finally, she pushed harder on the button and the wheel thing started to flop out.

She looked in the wheel thing and saw there were no bullets in it. She set the gun down, with the wheel thing open, and looked at the bullets in the pistol box. There was a box of bullets. She opened the box and carefully pulled a bullet out. She was careful because those things could just go off. They were miniature bombs, after all.

She tried putting the bullet in the wheel thing but the big end of the bullet wouldn’t fit, so she turned it around and put the small end in the hole; the big end kept the bullet from falling through. That must be how to load it, she thought. She put in five more bullets. She only needed one, but realized that when the wheel turned, it might not have a bullet. She didn’t want to put this up to her head, decide to do it, and then just hear a click.

Now the gun was loaded. She stared at it in the box, starting to psych herself up again. She began to imagine what it would look like if she put the gun in her hand and put it up to her head.

She couldn’t. She couldn’t touch that thing. It was a loaded gun and was very dangerous. Touching it a little had been one thing, but this was different. This was final.

She started to think about the dental instruments and stared at the gun.

She decided to touch it again, recalling the root canal and how it was better to just do it than keep worrying about it.

She put the gun in her hand and put it up to her head.


She swung around toward the sound of the explosion and dropped the gun.

“Boom!” There was a second explosion followed by the sound of a truck ramming something. It was coming from the direction of the back entrance to the campus.

It took a moment for her mind to switch from being a second away from killing herself to realizing that soldiers were coming to Clover Park.

It was Linda! Linda had sent soldiers to come and rescue her! All this would be over – right before she killed herself! She was the luckiest person on the planet. She was elated and on top of the world.

But why were they blowing up the gate and ramming it? If they were the legitimate authorities, wouldn’t they have a key or something? Suddenly, Nancy’s thrill of being rescued was turning to the terror of being captured. The dental instruments flashed through her mind.

She started to run, but soon fell down because her legs were so wobbly. She was terrified and still drunk. She got up, ran some more, and fell again. In the minute or two it took to run, fall, get up and slowly hobble her way back to the main building, the soldiers at the gate had made it onto the campus. She saw several regular pickup trucks, not military vehicles, racing on the beautifully landscaped campus grounds and tearing up the lawn and flowerbeds.

The legitimate authorities wouldn’t have pickup trucks, she realized. She fell again when the thought of being captured by the teabaggers swept over her. As she was getting up, a man raced up to her with a gun and pointed at her.

“You’re under arrest!” he yelled.


Chapter 292

Brewery Tour

(January 1)



It was weird. As they rolled down Highway 101 on the outskirts of Olympia, Grant realized that there was no one shooting at them. They approached each overpass carefully –very carefully. It took them all afternoon to go the few miles from Delphi Road to the Olympia city limits. They knew that the Limas would be concentrated in the city and would have more sophisticated defenses closer to town.

They did. Kind of. There were log obstacle booby traps on each of the overpasses after the Delphi exit, but no one there to pull the rope. Not a single person.

In fact, it was getting dark and they hadn’t seen one enemy fighter all day. They’d seen scared civilians running away. Women and children. It was raining, so the women and children looked miserable and pathetic scurrying away.

Dark, Grant thought. It was getting dark. They needed to have a plan for the darkness. He looked at the next exit, knowing the area well because it was the exit he used to take when he came home from the cabin. It had the perfect hiding place.

“You guys ever taken the Olympia brewery tour?” Grant asked the Team and Donnie, seemingly out of the blue. The tour was famous because they let the visitors sample all kinds of beer. The Olympia brewery was a huge beer-making plant right off the exit. It had been shut down a few years earlier because new environmental regulations made it economically impossible to brew anymore. Before that, the brewery had operated for over a hundred years making the formerly famous Olympia Beer. Hundreds of jobs were lost when it closed. The brewery was now boarded up, just like most other businesses.

The guys, who were concentrating on spotting people trying to kill them, wondered why Grant was distracting them. They didn’t answer. Each of them expected someone else to respond, but no one did.

“The reason I ask,” Grant finally said, “is that the brewery would be a great place to bed down tonight. Lots of windows, up high with a commanding view. All those gates protecting the place. It’s a nice defensible place. And it’s abandoned, so no one would think anyone was there.”

Still more silence. It was getting dark and harder to see threats.

“Scotty,” Grant said, “call in to Ted and see if he thinks the brewery would be a good place to be tonight.” Scotty obliged.

Ted, who had lived in the Olympia area for several years, was familiar with the brewery and, given its proximity to their current location as well as the capitol campus, he thought it would be a good place to be, at least for the night.

“Okay,” Grant said, referring to the Team and Donnie, “we will clear out one of the buildings for ourselves and set up shop.”

Grant had Scotty radio to Ted that the main convoy should park on the side of the highway as the Team exited and checked out the brewery.

The Team went off the exit very slowly. They were nervous. They were now at the Olympia city limits. If the reports were right, and they seemed to be so far, then the Limas would be concentrated in the city. They could easily set up ambushes at places like the exits coming into the city.

Then again, as Grant thought about how slowly they needed to proceed, he realized it was steadily getting darker. They didn’t have much time. They couldn’t have the convoy sitting on the side of Highway 101 all night. The Team needed to find a suitable place for the 17th Irregulars to park and set up a defense. Maybe even sleep a little. Eating would be nice, too.

So far, the exit to the brewery was clear, to the extent they could see in the partial darkness. There was a bridge over I-5—this exit was where Highway 101 fed into I-5—that would be very strategic. Grant would have blown it up if he were defending this city. Surely the Limas thought of that same thing.

But there was the bridge, amazingly intact. Grant figured it had to be rigged to blow up when a vehicle went across it.

“Want us to check the bridge?” Pow asked him, knowing the answer.

“Yep,” Grant said, “this is an all-hands-on-deck thing. We need all the people possible. It’s dark, so Donnie’s scope won’t be too useful. Donnie, you grabbed Anderson’s AR, right?”

Donnie nodded. He was using a dead man’s rifle. It was not exactly a good luck sign.

“Shouldn’t Bobby stay behind in the truck?” Scotty asked. “We might need to take off and we can’t be waiting for him to show up with the keys.”

He had made a good point. “You lucked out, Bobby,” Grant said.

“I’ll go in with you guys,” Bobby said. He’d been missing out on all the fun so far by being the driver. “What about Donnie staying and driving, if necessary?”

His suggestion made a lot of sense. Donnie could drive and his sniper rifle was nearly useless in the dark. Bobby was also much better trained than Donnie for things like this.

“Donnie will drive,” Grant said, trying to be as lieutenant-like as possible. It was his nature, especially around the Team, just to say, “Right on, bro.” But Grant needed to practice being a military officer. He knew he would be giving orders in the city, so he needed to start acting like it now.

Bobby parked the truck in a reasonably safe place, far from the street light on the side of the exit. They got out and got ready to go. Ryan and Wes got out of the back. Donnie, in the driver’s seat, had one of the intra-unit radios and Scotty had the other.

“Let’s go take a brewery tour,” Grant said.

It was hard to ignore all the gunfire in the distance and the occasional explosions. There were no fireballs or tracers like on TV during Desert Storm. This wasn’t that kind of war. What was happening was more like evicting a bunch of criminals from a city. The Team moved in pairs toward the bridge, providing cover for each other as they did. One man constantly covered the rear in case anything came at them from that direction. They leapfrogged to the bridge.

They all had flashlights mounted on their rifles. They were costly items, but no one considered them to be a “luxury.” They had Surefire Scout lights, which were extremely durable and bright. The Team knew that almost all fighting happened in low-light and dark conditions. They had to be able to see their targets, so a weapon-mounted light was a necessity. Everyone except Ryan, who joined the Team late, had lights mounted on their pistols for the very same reason. They used the lights on their rifles to scan the area for wires and to look for targets. Those Surefires were amazingly bright, over one hundred lumens, which was several times the brightness of even huge D-cell flashlights.

Of course, there was one huge downside to using their weapons’ lights or any other flashlights. People could see them. They could see right where they were, shoot at the lights, and probably hit the person holding the rifle or pistol with the light. Oh well. There was no other way to do this, unless they wanted to sit there until morning, making them sitting ducks for hours. This would prevent them from advancing. Not acceptable. Surprisingly, walking up to a possibly booby-trapped bridge potentially with snipers all around was a better plan.

BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
7.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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