When we arrived at the shed, I realized that it was bigger than I expected. I also realized it was more of a bunker. It had 2 stories, one was completely below ground. It had food, water, ammo, and several bed rolls. Near the ammo was a dumbwaiter which I assumed was used to supply the people up top. The second story was supported by metal girders and the base of that floor was metal. I walked up metal stairs to what was the ground floor and I looked around. The walls were adobe brick and they had little gun ports in various places. Including a few in the top where an attic might be.
“Ray, these walls are thick. They have a layer of the bricks you see, ¼ inch steel, and another layer of bricks before the metal siding. We built it for our last stand and hoped never to use it.” She looked at me in silence for a bit before pointing upstairs. “You claim you wanted high ground and there it is. Get situated fast. Take extra ammo up there as well. We will be in for quite a fire fight.”
I did as I was told. Making several trips up the stairs as the pops of the guns outside grew in intensity. I looked down at the others below watching as they readied their stations. Emily got everyone’s attention. “We still have video down here so resist the urge to peek out. If we can keep them from discovering where we are we may turn that to our advantage. So far they have not breached our inner tunnel and we hope that stays secure but we are completely sealed in at this time. We will not open the door until all is clear, understood?”
Everyone, except me acknowledged the order. “Ray, are you going to be a problem?” All eyes turned to me and I heard several safeties click off.
“Then let me hear that you understand that no one leaves this structure until we are clear.”
“I understand ma'am. Now if you don’t mind I am going to recheck my weapon.”
“Emily! They are heading our way!” Ava yelled as she ran up from below.
“Get ready and wait for my order!” Emily hollered as she swapped places with Ava. Ava took the spot directly below me and began rechecking her weapon. She looked up at me and nodded. It was not a nod of solidarity more a nod of understanding. I returned the nod and knew that if things went wrong she was shooting me first.
“Open the portals and take aim. Fire only if you have a clear shot.”
I opened the port and slid the gun in. Luckily it was Washington because no sun could make the barrel shine in someone’s eye; so far so good. I looked through the sights and slowly scanned the hill. I came across one of the guys who had delighted in torturing during that month of training. I breathed in and out very slowly and pulled the trigger. He went down and didn’t move. Bullets strafed my position and I closed the port and moved one to the right. I had 3 ports and I planned to make use of all of them. I opened the port and slid the barrel through and was rewarded with more bullets flying at me. I looked through the sites anyway and tracked down to the first armed idiot I saw and took him down. I continued looking through the sights knowing I had one bullet left before I needed to reload. That was when I saw Wall and I hesitated. I knew he was there but had hoped not to find him in my sights. I stared at him for a while but did not fire. He left my line of vision, firing as he went and I scanned again. That was when I saw him and he seemed to be staring right at me. “Lupo” I muttered. A grin cracked his face and it made me look away. I looked down and saw everyone was busy fighting for their lives and I had let 2 targets pass. One was a friend of sorts and the other one scared me into inaction. I sat there looking for a second longer and turned around willing myself to take out Lupo but he was no longer there.
I went back to work scanning the lawn before me and fired at a person, winging them. His gun arm flew back and his gun, still firing, shot a person behind him. I saw Lupo again and excitedly pulled the trigger to hear it ‘click’. I had dry fired at Lupo and he turned and looked at me with that same smile. Then he started laughing before shooting the guy I had winged.
I pulled the rifle back and shook as I tried to reload. I dropped the bullet twice before I managed to load it in. and had a similarly hard time loading the next 2. I sat there shaking as the battle continued.
“Ray, come down! I am sending someone else up. Go help Jimmy with the ammo reloads until you get control!” Ava barked and I did as I was told. I rushed down the stairs, passing Emily’s control station as I did. She and two others were hard at work mapping the fight and discussing the explosives and the appropriate time to use them.
Jimmy was sweating as he loaded the dumbwaiter, closed the door and pulled the rope to raise it. “Let me help Jimmy. I started being more of a hindrance up there then a help and was told to come down until I got my shakes under control.”
Jimmy turned his bandaged head at me with a scowl and said, “Sure thing.” Then walked past me and sat to watch me struggle to keep up with the orders from above. I lost myself in the work and was soon able to tune out the scowl directed at me by Jimmy. Emily tapped me on the shoulder and motioned for Jimmy to resume his duties. “We have an issue.”
I nodded stupidly, still expecting to be shot.
“We have explosives set around the yard that would help at this point but nobody remembered to arm it. I need you to prove yourself and go back and arm it. It’s back through the hall about halfway. You will find a door and this key opens it.” She pressed the key into my hands. “The panel is at the back of that room and is inside a red panel. Turn the key in that panel and hit the button there. Then come straight back. Knock quickly 7 times to be let back in. Anything else will be met with bullets” She handed me my pistol, opened the giant bank safe door, pushed me through backwards and then slammed the door in my face.
I heard the locks being applied and I slowly turned to look down a mostly dark hall. The emergency lighting was still on and it flickered a lot. Most of the hall was barely luminated. I started walking down the hall but I felt uneasy and I kept looking into every nook and cranny. I made it to the door in question and opened the door. It was dark inside and my unease increased but I was determined to do my task. I entered the room and the door slammed shut behind me and a flashlight beam blinded me. “Ray…. so good of you to visit.” His voice was like giant scales scraping across concrete. I stopped breathing.
“Breathe Ray.” I did. “I wondered when I would see you again.” My gun was tucked in my belt in the small of my back. I was not able to go for it. He switched his light beam to a lantern and I could see his smile. A whimper escaped my lips. “She sent you here to arm the explosives? How careless of her to forget to arm them. Do you like her Ray? Is that why you betrayed me? Was it a crush? She is quite stunning really, I can see the attraction. Ray you are not a smart man. If you had just walked away you would be halfway back to Portland and ready to start your little business. Instead you stayed and didn’t take the shot when you had it.” He noted my surprise. “Yes I knew it was you. Then you had it again but no shot was fired. What did you forget to load the weapon? I finished off that man you maimed. You are a better shot then that Ray. I should know I trained you myself.”
“Enough!” I felt furious and incredibly unbelievably scared. “What is the point of this!? Why are you attacking? What do they mean to you? Did she spurn your advances you pathetic piece of….”
He was on his feet and had his hands around my throat. “Careful Ray, you don’t want to finish that statement.” One of my hands grasped his and the other slowly moved to my gun. He tossed me by my neck into the wall with the red panel. I crumpled to the ground and finally grasped the gun.
“You are the pathetic love sick pup, Ray. She took over part of my territory and it is past time to take it back. This would have been harder without your help; so I feel like I owe you something but I am not sure that extends to your insolence. You can use that on these women but not on Lupo.” He glared at me but the look had less power. I was past fear at this point. I was full into survival mode. He had pushed me far enough to make me dangerous. Blood started obscuring my vision I must have been cut when I hit the wall. I shifted the gun out of my belt and kept my thumb hovering above the safety.
“You are not turning on the explosives Ray. Instead you will lead me back to that door and get me inside.” He said calmly as he reached down yanking me up by my shirt. I pulled the weapon and fired.
He dropped me and my ears rang. I had left my ear protection by Jimmy and that shot had been ear splitting. I turned and saw Lupo was bleeding from the gut. He leaned against a wall and smiled at me, “This changes nothing Ray.”I read the words more then I heard them. He knocked the gun out of my hand and pushed me towards the door. I looked back and he was in fact bleeding but he only looked slightly irritated by it. He continued to push me back to the door that held everyone behind it.
“Knock Ray, get her to open it.”
“She wanted 5 quick knocks” I lied.
“Get to it then.”He pushed my gun into my back. So I knocked 5 times.
A speaker by the door came on “Hold on Ray, I am still having trouble with the lock controls because of the backup power.” Lupo nudged me and I pushed the button to talk “No problem. I would like to get in soon though this hall is creepy.” I released the button.
“Ray, it should open in 7 seconds.” She said back and I instinctively dropped to the floor as the door swung open and a barrage of bullets was our greeting. Lupo was hit by a lot of them and a few grazed me but I stayed down as Lupo fell. When the firing stopped I stood up and ran back down the hallway and into the room to activate the explosives. Then I hustled back to where Emily waited for me with an open door. She ushered me in, I leapt over Lupo's body, and then she slammed the door and reengaged the locks before giving the order to arm and fire the explosives. I watched the screens as explosions took dozens down, including Wall. We waited impatiently for the smoke to clear and saw the few remaining retreat. “Let’s take back our home!” Emily yelled and her people rushed outside as she kept watch. I stayed there feeling exhausted and I went to lean back against the door and fell into it instead. I felt a little woozy and realized I was bleeding pretty good. One of those bullets meant for Lupo must have hit me instead. “Oh damn! Jimmy, Ray is down! I know he isn’t your favorite person right now but I want you to help him!”
My eyes felt heavy and I found myself fighting to keep them open. “Ray!” Jimmy kept yelling at me. Why did he keep yelling? “Ray! Stay with me!” He slapped me when my eyes closed. “Ow, Jimmy, knock it off. I am tired. Why are you so orange Jimmy?” He slapped me again. “You are lucky Emily cares if you die or I would let you close your eyes. Hey! Em! I got the bullet out and the bleeding is slowing. I am going to need to sew him up. Nothing super important was hit. Once I patch him up I am putting him to sleep for a while.” He pulled out the needle and I squirmed in response. “Knock it off Ray.” After a few minutes he put a needle in my arm and finally let me close my eyes.