Chapter 06

Walker Chapter 06

Copyright 2011 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

 

Present – Ben – On the road – Mexican Standoff

 

Just as I get ready to work on my leg, the firing increases. I can tell it's cover fire trying to keep me pinned down. I use the periscope from my sniper kit to look over the edge of the berm without exposing myself and see a group of three headed toward the bus. There's no way in hell I'm going to let them get to that deathtrap so I slip my rifle over the edge of the berm and shoot the bastards in the guts. That pisses the rest of them off and they fire like crazy again. How long has this been going on - half an hour? It's hard to tell because right now I am on firefight time and that skews my perception of everything.

 

Since I'm up already, I fire at their positions a few more times, shooting the shit out of their trucks. That's like kicking a hornet's nest and they return a huge volley. Good, now I can check other things.

 

First I check my ammo because I don't want to get too low; I have two and a half mags left. I pull out Stacy's pistol, my pistol and all the mags and I feel better. While I can't really hit anything at over four hundred yards with a pistol (unless it's a lucky as hell shot) I can use them for cover fire towards the bastards and when they try to get to the bus, I will pull up my rifle and shoot them.

 

Then I take a good look at my leg and determine it's FUBARed! The round that hit me must have been a ricochet - lucky for them and unlucky for me. It missed all the major veins and arteries, but the wound is long, flat and the projectile is still inside my leg. It's more than just oozing, it's bleeding profusely and if I can't stop it, I will bleed to death. The bullet needs to come out, but I can't risk the added pain causing me to blackout. So for now, I spread the wound open and dump in a bunch of coagulant from my med kit. It hurts like hell but the bleeding slows. I grab a fistful of four by fours, rip them open, fold them and start stuffing them into the gaping wound.

 

Things have been quiet a bit too quiet, so I use the periscope again and now the bastards are heading up the hill towards me. That explains why they aren't firing at me. Well now's the time to see if I'm really as good with a pistol as I think I am. I slip to the edge of the berm, stick my head up and start firing the pistol. Four out of five at two hundred yards - that's not bad shooting for having a leg that feels like shit. Their firing kicks up again so I figure I have a few minutes and can maybe finish field dressing my leg.

 

I slide back to my med kit, put a big pressure dressing on top of the wound and wrap the hell out of everything as tightly as I can with duct tape. I look at my leg and it looks like my whole upper thigh is made of duct tape. It's going to hurt like hell taking the tape off my leg because all the hair will come off with it.

 

This sure as hell is going to slow me up! In fact, the longer I lay here, the stiffer my leg is getting. I touch off five more pistol shots toward the bastards and they again return fire. I see some lights heading up the road from the south and hope help has finally arrived. However I can't afford to wait for the help because it's dark enough that the bastards will soon be sneaking up the hill toward me in full force.

 

So I stow my gear, slide down and across the hill using as much cover as I can and find one of the bastards I'd killed. I liberate his AK and ammo so now I'm in fat city - and just in fucking time. The lights I saw aren't the cavalry coming to rescue us - it's fucking reinforcements for the bad guys!

 

The lights from the new trucks illuminate the combat zone and I can see what the hell they are doing. A crapload of men unass from the trucks and there is a bunch of yelling, pointing and gesturing to where I had been. Then some of them charge my old position, while others charge the bus!

 

I pull up the AK, take out the fucking leaders and let it rip on full auto towards the bastards headed toward the bus. They fall like flies and the rest hit the dirt. Then I gingerly jump up and run as fast as I can, hoping to draw them after me.

 

I hear a familiar whoose then hear the sound and feel the heat from a huge fucking explosion behind me. I turn and see the bus has been hit by a fucking RPG and is totaled! Son of a bitch! I guess I failed Stacy! Tears cloud my eyes as I slump to the ground defeated and wait for death to come. There's a lull in the firing while everyone watches the bus burn… Wait, what the hell is that? Shit! It's a fucking baby crying off behind the bus in the woods. Perhaps (possibly and hopefully) Stacy got off the bus with some others. I jump up, open fire on the bastards watching the bus burn and hobble away on a path parallel to where I think I heard the baby cry…

 

Present – Stacy – On the road – bus attack

 

The firing outside the bus has gone on for close to an hour and I finally figure out what Ben would do and work up the courage to go for it. I whisper to the front of the bus, "I'm jumping out of the emergency exit and taking off. Does anyone want to join me?"

 

A familiar voice whispers back, "I have Manuel's gun so I'm staying here."

 

I add, "I think if they capture us they will rape and probably kill us."

 

I hear some woman whisper, "We know the brave man defending the bus is your man. We would feel safer with you so we will come."

 

I whisper, "Then crawl back here to me and we will all leave together…

 

The other women crawl back with me on the bus and I caution, "Listen, it's dark enough now and if we are really quiet this will work." We slip over to the open emergency exit and start dropping to the ground. I hear Ben continue to fire at the banditos. They return fire and it makes me happy and proud of him! Once again he's saving my life!

 

So far there are nine of us out of the bus and my plan is going really well until the tenth woman says, "Please take my baby for me until I get down." I want to complain, but I can't. So I take her baby, she drops to the ground and we start slipping away from the bus.

 

We just make it to the edge of the woods when all heck breaks loose on the hill where Ben is - he's firing like crazy. I whisper, "We need to run now." We try to run but it's dark and we are tripping and falling and then there's a huge explosion behind us. It frightens me and scares the heck out of the baby so she starts to cry! We all turn and see the bus has exploded and is on fire. Several of the ladies start crying about their husbands on the bus. I wonder what the heck sort of 'husbands' wouldn't come with their wives and try to escape! At least there's enough light now we can run better so I yell, "¡Más rápido!" Then we take off running, but I think my grandmamma ran faster than we're now moving…

 

Present – Ben – On the road – Mexican standoff

 

Any thought of running away from the bastardos and dodging their shots is now gone since I can barely run. So what the fuck! If I can't run at least I can fight; and if I can't win this fight, I will settle for making sure that when I lose, everyone else loses a lot more. It works for nuclear weapons; it's going to work for me.

 

I need something to fire me up and hopefully keep them from hearing the baby so I start singing at the top of my voice:

 

"I fired my AK 'til the barrel melted down.
So I grabbed an alligator and I fought another round.
I filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when I touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind."

 

If I can make myself a big enough target without being killed while keeping the bad guys busy and occupied, whoever escaped the bus can get away. It's time for me to go on the offensive! I look for any strategic advantage and discover I have three: First they aren't trained military, they are armed banditos; second because of that they are stupid and are staying around the bus where the flames let me see them; and finally I have lots of dead bodies so I can recover more AK's and ammo. So I open up a can of American whoop ass on them and start turning them into Mexican salsa sliced and diced by a Russian Kalashnikov.

 

Wow, I don't know where the banditos got their AK's but they aren't piece of shit Chinese knock-offs. They're the real Russian AK's. Many people hate AK's, but the good ones, like these, are some of the best damn battle rifles in the world. Oh they aren't always the most accurate rifles in the world, but they are fucking bomb proof and almost never jam. Besides I threw out my one shot one kill at the start of this conflagration - when you're outnumbered many to one, every wounded man is worth at least two killed men – because they are still trying to help their wounded - which just gives me more targets of opportunity. Yeah I've become a real mercenary bastard and as Jens would say, "Mess with the best, die like the rest!" Now it's interesting that I would suddenly think of Ms. Donaldson right now and accidentally call her Jens - I must be going crazy!

 

The bus is slowly burning down, but the moon is rising and with the headlights from the new trucks gives me just enough light to still see the banditos. Even though I'm firing single shot, I've still had to move twice to resupply and to throw them off on my position.  They aren't trained military, but I've trained them this evening that if just one of them gives me an opportunity, I take it! So they start working on coordinating their moves and multiple numbers of the bastardos move at the same time. That's fine since I still make one or two of them pay the price, every time. But the others are getting closer than I care for…

 

I need to change tactics, so I decide it's time to see if I can't get them really pissed off and remove some of their hiding places! I start firing at the front trucks aiming where the fuel tanks should be. I wish like hell some of the rounds they are using were tracers since it would make this easier, but I still know what to do. I wait until I figure there's a good pool of gas below the trucks and start firing into the pavement below the trucks and it works! No this is not like the movies and the trucks don't instantly explode in a fireball – but they do slowly start catching fire and the banditos begin to move away from the trucks. The 'duck' hunt is on again!

 

I guess some of them have had their fill and to be truthful I'm not sure what the hell they've been hanging around for because the bus is toast and has no further value to them. They break ranks and the majority of the banditos head to the back trucks. Of course it's my duty to molest the hell out of them as they are escaping because after all, they're the ones that picked this fight in the first place. But I'm glad this looks like it's finally going to end because I want to see about chasing down that crying baby and hope to God Stacy is part of the group which escaped!

 

I stop firing to see if I can still hear the baby and turn my head in that direction. I'm shocked when one of the trucks, instead of turning around and escaping, flies past the bus and heads up the road. I shoot shit out of it, but fuck, it's not enough! They're also after the group that left! I grab a couple AK's and all the mags I can quickly find, hop up, head after the truck and curse myself for letting my attention slip!

 

The pain in my leg is overwhelming, then it happens…

 

Present – Stacy – On the road – bus escape

 

We are further away from the bus now, but it's dark and I can hardly see. We are tripping over everything and falling all the time so we've slowed down even more – if that's even possible! The women are whining, complaining and grumbling about everything. It makes me embarrassed to be the same gender as the cows.

 

I dig in my pack, find my flashlight and before I turn it on I say, "Look I'm going to turn on a flashlight and we all need to look and see if we can find some sort of trail. We can't continue running in the dark."

 

One of the ladies asks, "Why don't you just leave your flashlight on?"

 

I respond, "Because the banditos will see the flashlight and start chasing us."

 

I flip on the flashlight, scan the area and one of the ladies says, "Look it's a trail."

 

I leave the light on temporarily as we head towards the trail. We reach the trail just as the moon starts to rise and there's almost enough light to see it if we don't go too fast - which isn't a danger with this group. The women still bitch as gunfire increases behind us to the point where it sounds like a full blown war. The damn baby continues to cry as we head down the trail. I sure hope Ben is okay…

 

I want to curse myself for bringing all these women with me since most of them are out of shape and way over weight or old and in poor health and condition. But it's what Ben would have done. So instead of continuing to whip myself, I began to at least verbally for now whip these women, "Come on we have to move faster!"

 

One fat lady complains, "I can't! I think I'm going to have a heart attack!"

 

I yell, "Stop complaining and move your fat rear! Don't you think dying from a heart attack would be better than getting raped?"

 

The firing in the distance stops so I get worried about Ben while another old lady asks, "Do you think your man chased those bandits away. Perhaps we can now rest."

 

I holler at them, "We don't know anything! He might have been killed and if that's the case the bandits will be coming for us. Now move your butts!"

 

But instead of moving, another one complains, "But how will he find us if he chased them away. Don't you think we should stop and wait for him?"

 

I fight back, "Hell no! I know my man and if he did chase them away he will come and find us. Until that happens, we keep moving."

 

Finally one challenges my plan and really pisses me off, "By the way, who died and made you the boss!"

 

I explode and scold the heck out of all of them, "Listen to me you ungrateful beotches! I got you all off the bus before it exploded, I'm the only one smart enough to have brought some food and water, my man as you like to call him fought like hell so we could get away and I'm younger and more fit than all of you so I can kick your fat asses if I must. Now I'm sick of your complaints and noise. I'm keeping on and you can either move with me or stay here and die of thirst, starvation or rape - it doesn't fucking matter to me!" I take off hiking as they stop loudly complaining, but continue to grumble - and follow me. But we still aren't making very good progress.

 

I have half a mind to run off and leave all of them, but my conscience won't let me. Every time I think of doing it I remember how Ben has sacrificed so much for me – he never ran away on me. I just wished I still had my pistol because I would feel a little safer.

 

I'm concerned about all the noise we are making since we sound like a herd of elephants (and actually most of the women are almost as big)! I whisper loudly, "Do you think you can keep your damn baby quiet?"

 

The mother answers, "She's hungry and needs her diaper changed and I think I lost my diaper bag!"

 

I want to fucking explode - she lost her diaper bag! I hopefully ask, "Do you breastfeed?"

 

She replies, "Si."

 

Well that's good at least that feeding is not going to be an issue. I command, "We're taking a quick five minute break while she feeds her baby."

 

The mother asks, "What about a diaper?"

 

I yell, which doesn't help the baby simmer down, "I was just getting to that. Let me dig in my pack and find a t-shirt and two bottles of water. We will need to equally share the water. If you drink more than you should, then there will be no more water for you!"

 

As I start digging in my pack one of the women barks at me, "¡Pinche perra!"

 

Fucking bitch!

 

I run over and slap the hell out of her pinche pera face and declare, "Let me show you how much of a pinche perra I am: No water for you!" Suddenly I realize I've become just like the "Soup Nazi" on the Seinfeld TV show – except I do it with water!

 

I never thought I'd be so frustrated with a group of people in my life! I go back to my pack, find a t-shirt (making sure it's not my favorites) and two bottles of water. I toss a bottle to the back of our group and order, "Make sure the puta doesn't get any of this." I take my fair share of water first, then walk over and hand the bottle and the t-shirt to the mother who's feeding her baby.

 

She smiles at me and says, "The others may not appreciate you, but I do. Thank you very much!"

 

I hear some voices in addition to those of the women in our group and shush everyone. It's too fucking late, the banditos have found us!!!

 

Present – Banzai – On the road – Mexican standoff

 

I'm pissed at myself for letting that truck get past me! It's a huge tactical mistake and might end up costing the people who escaped their lives! Fuck my leg! I jump up and run; the pain is intense and then it happens - hard Ben comes knocking and I gladly let him in. But this time is different than before: He's here, but I'm also here at the same time! How fucking strange! This has never happened!

 

I can analyze this later, I'm just glad the pain is gone and I can again run like the wind. Hard Ben wants to charge right in, but I counted fifteen men in the back of the truck and know that would be suicide, so I suggest to him, 'Take the high ground and flank the truck.'

 

And just as I suggested, we run diagonally up the hill and start flanking the road. This is too fucking strange! We reach the ridgeline, run down the ridge and I can see the truck in front of us. Hard Ben wants to open fire but the distance is too great for solid shots so I suggest, 'Not right now, surprise them later.' And he listens to me. It's like I have a Hard Ben robot and I'm at the controls…

 

The truck stops to let half of them bail out and then the truck takes off again while we keep chasing it. It stops again and the rest bail out. I see a dilapidated building and suggest, 'Use the building for cover and observe.' We run into the building and watch the bastards through a hole in the wall…

 

Present – Stacy – On the road – bus escape

 

I think for a minute about taking off running but as I turn towards the back of the group I realize there are men behind us too! We are trapped. The women start crying and pleading in Spanish, but the banditos come up and start slapping them around. One comes up to me, starts leering at me and I yell, "Don't fuck with me, I have gonorrhea!"

 

He answers in confusion, "¿Qué?"

 

I push my hand down the front of my pants, pull it out and between the ketchup, sweat and pee (yeah I decided to make things really bad) it's nasty as hell. I hold it up to his face and lie (hoping to get my Spanish right), "Usted quiere conseguir la jodienda enferma, mi novio bastardo me dio la gonorrea!"

 

"You want to get fucking sick, my bastard boyfriend gave me gonorrhea!"

 

He takes one look at my hand, looks like he is going to get sick and all the other banditos started to laugh. I fall to the ground and hold my lower stomach like when I have cramps and moan. The bastardo still kicks me - which is much better than being raped.

 

They start pinching, teasing and slapping the hell out of the other women. The one that called me the bad name, gets all indignant, starts fighting with them and even pulls a knife. Now I know she's a stupid puta! Bringing a knife to a gun fight! They circle her and she slashes at them like a wild woman, but it doesn't do any good. One of them runs up from behind and grabs her as the others rush in, taking the knife and ripping off her clothes. I lie on the ground and watch as they haul her kicking and screaming into the bushes…

 

Present – Ben – On the road – Mexican standoff

 

I shudder and almost fall as Hard Ben leaves and the pain returns worse than ever. I look down and see blood seeping through the duct tape and know my wound is not happy. But it can fucking wait!

 

I can plainly see what's going on and my worst suspicions are confirmed. The bastards trapped a group of ten women, one of whom is Stacy (thank God). I watch hoping they will just rough them up which happens at first. Stacy remembers what I told her to do, then falls on the ground but the bastard still kicks her. But then one of the stupid bitches pulls a knife and threatens the bastards. I watch them disarm, disrobe and haul her into the bushes. Now it’s time for me to go to work!

 

I wish to hell I had a suppressed weapon because the more shots I fire the more likely I am to give away my position. So I study the building I'm in and decide if I fire inside the building, it will do a pretty damn good job of concealing my position. This was a proven tactic in the SandBox. But I've got to work fast as hell to set this all up. I determine which of the smallest holes in this piece of shit building gives me the best line of sight on the target and move an old table and line it up with the that hole and the targets. Then I unload some of my sniper kit. First I take a tape and measure the hole size giving an approximating diameter. Then I pull out my ballistic computer, enter all the parameters I have for my M-4, use my laser rangefinder to get the accurate distance, enter it into the computer and it spits out a firing solution.

 

I scribble the solution on a new page in my notebook. Then I measure the distance from the muzzle of the M-4 to the wall, flip to the formulas in my notebook and transfer the loophole shot1 formula to the page I'm working on and plug in all the data. I bring up the calculator on the ballistic computer, solve the formula and stare at it. I look at everything and know it looks good enough, so I calculate the hold I need on the ACOG scope and climb up on the table.

 

1 Loophole shot – Shooting through a hole in the wall using the specific, classified formula.

 

I drop the tripod out of the M-4 front rail grip and adjust the height, start to meditate, slowing my heart rate and pushing the pain out of mind. I focus totally on the task at hand because once I start firing, I cannot stop until they are all dead and I can't afford any misses! I'm ready and squeeze the trigger!!!

 

Present – Stacy – On the road – bus escape

 

I had hopes they would all go after the woman at the same time and the rest of us could escape, but they left four banditos guarding us - two on each end of the group. The poor woman is screaming bloody murder while they laugh and rape her. Now I'm not so sure the trick Ben gave me will save me from these sick bastards. As each one finishes, he comes out and replaces one of the guards. Then they leer at me and kick me as they pass. I am crying, but not for me or the other women: I am crying because they must have killed Ben.

 

Then I jump because there are bunches of loud cracks! The guard bandito's heads start to explode and they fall. The ones raping the poor woman jump up but they start to fall too! Then I really bawl because I realize my Ben is still alive and he's saving us. There is mass confusion when several of the women grab the guns from the dead guards and start firing at everything and almost hit me! I suddenly wish I could dig a hole to China because these women don't know what the hell they are doing!

 

And just as fast as it started, it's over and all the banditos are dead. But that doesn't stop these women. They are angry for being scared by these bastardos, and keep mutilating their dead bodies! I become frightened when they come up to me, but then one of them says, "Your man saved us. Where is he so we can thank him?"

 

I look around but I don't see Ben so I reply, "I don't know where he is!" I begin to holler, "Ben! Where are you?" The women start to help, but Ben doesn't respond. Where the heck is he?"

 

Present – Ben – On the road – Mexican standoff

 

I get great pleasure watching the last bastard's head explode in a cloud of red mist and know my job is done – shit no! It's well done! Stacy and the other women are safe! Now it's time to fix my damn leg so I start to stand up, feel dizzy and blackness takes me…

 

Present – Stacy – On the road – bus escape

 

I am so worried when Ben doesn't respond or come out where I can see him I begin to scan the tops of the hills. I see this beat up looking old building, look closer at it and say, "I bet Ben is up there and he must be hurt." As I grab my pack and take off running, one of the old ladies says, "I used to be a pretty good nurse in my younger days. Do you think you might need some help?"

 

I'm racing up the hill and yell behind me, "Please, if Ben dies I don't know what I will do."

 

I sure as heck didn't know I could run so fast! I make it to the building, run around back, go inside and finally see Ben. I run to his side and gently shake him. He's unconscious so I look down and see his whole leg is wrapped in some sort of gray-red tape. I touch the tape and realize the red part is Ben's blood. I dig through both our packs and pull out all of our medical kits just as the older lady makes it into the building. I state, "He's unconscious, and it looks like his leg has been shot."

 

She runs over and orders, "Please move to the other side so I can look at his leg."

 

I scoot around to the other side after pushing a table out of the way, kneel, hold his hand and ask, "Will he be okay?"

 

She smiles at me and says, "Just settle down young lady. I was a nurse during the Korean War and I've seen much worse. Do you have any medical supplies?"

 

I point to the two bags and say, "Those are all the supplies we have."

 

She smiles and says, "My names Dorothy." Then she checks his pulse and his breathing, looks at his leg and says, "Well this is quite the field dressing, it looks like he did it himself and was in a big hurry. We have to take off all this duct tape and see what's underneath. It's a good thing he's unconscious because this is going to hurt like hell."

 

I quickly say, "Thank you so much, I really wouldn't have known what to do, by the way, my name is Stacy."

 

She starts by cutting the duct tape (now I know what it is) with a pair of scissors then peels it off Ben's leg; I notice it pulls all the hair off his leg when she removes it. She takes one look at Ben's wound and the dressing and says, "He's lost a lot of blood so we need to get some fluids in him." She finds a Catheter and IV bag, looks at it and asks, "I can't read this language can you tell me what it says?"

 

I look at it and reply, "It's in Russian and it says it's D-five-w."

 

She smiles at me, starts the Cather, takes all the air out of the line and starts the IV. She directs, "Set this on the table for now." I set it on the table and watch her examine the wound. She pulls out a number of pieces of gauze then it really starts to bleed. She grabs a big bandage, opens it, puts it on top of the wound and orders, "Press on this with all your strength - I think there a bullet still inside the wound and I think it nicked an artery or vein."

 

I press with all my might and start to cry. Dorothy slaps my face and yells, "If you get all emotional now, your man is going to die. You're going to need to be my nurse and be strong like you were when you saved us."

 

I fight back my tears and watch Dorothy work through tear clouded eyes. She's looking through the med kits and says, "I think all these drugs are in Russian or something. Let me hold the pressure dressing, come over here and find me some morphine."

 

I go to dump out the bag and Dorothy scolds me, "No don't dump all the supplies out, he's done a hell-of-a-job arranging things so look through there and find the area with the pain medication and look for morphine."

 

I question as I search the bags, "Aren't we wasting time? Isn't he going to die?"

 

She smiles and consoles me, "No, he's going to be fine. We're putting some fluids in him and with the pressure on the wound he's not losing much blood now. I want to give him the morphine so when I operate on his leg he doesn't wake up and fight me. We're going to use it as anesthesia."

 

Dorothy's right as all the drugs and most of the other supplies are labeled in Russian. I realize that was probably the only way Ben could get some of these drugs because between the two bags we have a small pharmacy. I finally find the morphine and hand it to Dorothy. She takes it, we switch places and I press the heck out of the dressing as Dorothy says, "Lands child don't break his leg." I giggle while she opens the morphine and injects it right into his good leg and says, "We will wait a few minutes for this to work then we need to get that bullet out and fix that bleeder."

I am so happy she's here because I sure as heck wouldn't know how to do all this. But it seems like it's taking forever. I notice Dorothy watching him and her watch then after about ten minutes she says, "Notice how his breathing has slowed and become regular? That's from the morphine and it's time for me to operate. Now young lady you're going to be busier than a no legged man in an ass kicking contest because you need to not only do everything I say to assist the surgery, you also need to keep an very close eye on his breathing rate and tell me if it falls under four in a minute. Do you think you can do all this?"

 

I take a deep breath and confidentially reply, "Ben has saved my life many times and I will help you!"

 

Dorothy lays out all the instruments, we both put on gloves, then Dorothy takes a bottle of vodka and dumps it over the instruments, she takes a swig for herself, looks at me, smiles and explains, "It's for my nerves." Then she hands the bottle to me. I take a little swig and make a terrible face as she says, "Now dump this all over my hands, move the bandage away and then dump the rest over his wound and your hands." I follow her directions and watch as the wound begins bleeding really badly again. Dorothy says, "The bleeder isn't that bad so we will go after the bullet first. Give me those long tweezers, they are called hemostats."

 

I hand her the hemostats but she flips them around and orders, "Next time put the handle end in my hand." She inserts the hemostats into Ben's wound, moves them around some causing more bleeding smiles and says, "I've got the bastard." She pulls out the bullet holds it up and says, "What's his respiration rate and check this to make sure it's complete."

 

I look at her and say, "I forgot to count his respirations." She scolds the heck out of me but I ignore her, check the bullet and say, "I think it's all here."

 

She demands, "Let me see it!" I hold it out for her as I roll it around in my hand. She smiles and says, "Yes I do think we have everything. It's important we don't leave any pieces behind, otherwise he will get an infection."

 

She looks me in the eyes and states, "Now comes the hard part: You have to do exactly what I tell you to do as quickly as possible or your man will die! Here's what we're going to do. First we are going to flush out his wound with some more IV solution, then I'm going to try to see the bleeder. If I can see it, then you will need to keep the area flushed out while I sew it up. Are you ready?"

 

I gulp and nod my head. Dorothy starts getting a bunch of supplies ready then she takes another IV bag and uses the tube to flush out Ben's wound until it's running mostly clear. She hands me the tube, and starts looking really close at the wound and scares me with her shout, "I found it and hallelujah it's close to the surface! Now, keep the IV solution running slowly."

 

I do as am I told and watch as she picks up a very tiny needle and thread and uses tiny hemostats to put very small stitches in what looks to be a vein. A she finishes most of the bleeding stops. She asks me, "How is his breathing. I look and realize Ben isn't breathing and shout, "Dorothy, he's stopped breathing."

 

She rips open his shirt and yells, "Dammit! You were supposed to be watching his breathing. Please tell me child you know CPR!"

 

I respond, "Hell yes I do, I'll do rescue breaths and you do compressions."

 

Dorothy whacks the hell out of Ben's chest, starts the compressions and counts. I position Ben's head to open the airway, wait until Dorothy reaches thirty and stops then I put my mouth over Ben's and give him two full breaths making sure to watch his chest rise. Then Dorothy says, "Good job!" and starts the compressions again…

 

Dream – Ben

 

It's that same fucking dream with the faces and I'm sick and fucking tired of it! But this time a great many of the faces get covered with red X's and leave, so I lose count for those that are gone. Of course the ones that are left scream at me, all wanting their retribution!

 

One taunts me, "Get your lazy ass busy because I'm next."

 

I recognize that face! He was a bastard and a half and deserved to die twice. I'm pissed off and yell at him, "You fucking bastard! I killed you once and now that I know where you're at, I'm going to die and chase you back to hell and kill you again."

 

For once that works and it scares all the faces away except one that's facing away from me. I yell at him, "Hey idiot didn't you hear, I'm coming to hell to kill all of you."

 

It turns around and I can't believe it, "It's…it's…it's my fucking dad."

 

He gives me an evil grin and cusses me, "Hey little shithead, I've been waiting for you!"

 

It scares the hell out of me, or does it scare me out of hell? Then I hear someone crying…

 

Present – Stacy – On the road – bus escape

 

I start crying as Dorothy is doing compressions but she scolds me, "Suck it up child and check his pulse." I check his pulse, smile at her and say, "He's got a good pulse." Dorothy stops the compressions and says, "Now to finish cleaning out this wound and then I need to figure out if I want to leave it open or close it."

 

I feel much better after bringing Ben back from the dead and ask, "Shouldn't you always close it?"

 

She smiles, "Well that depends. If I can't get it clean enough, we need to leave it open but packed so it doesn't get infected."

 

I watch as she cleans out the wound and all sort of pieces of icky things come out of it. As she cleans the wound she says, "You have a hell of a man here, look at his H.O.G. tooth."

 

I blink my eyes and ask, "I don't understand, what's a hog tooth?"

 

She grins at me and points to a necklace on Ben's neck. It's a bullet with a hole in it and threaded on a rope. Then she tells me, "Your man is a Marine Scout Sniper and that is his H.O.G. tooth which stands for ‘Hunters Of Gunmen’." She looks at it and adds, "Yes missy this explains everything, now I know why his shots were so well placed."

 

I look at Ben with new respect and ask, "So he's really special?"

 

She laughs, "Hell missy, he's a rarity among men." She grins at me and says, "By the way I recognize both of you."

 

I get nervous and lie, "I don't know what you're talking about."

 

She simply states, "You sure don't lie very well. He's Ben Blaine and you're Stacy Summers. What the hell you two were doing on that bus, I will never know. But I'm sure glad you were both there and saved us. Don't worry, I figure I owe both of you and I'm not going to tell anyone."

 

I sigh with relief and change the subject, "Do you think it's safe now for me to go and clean up some."

 

Dorothy laughs, "Yeah I heard the lie you told the banditos, that was quick thinking young lady."

 

I answer, "It was Ben's quick thinking which saved me once again."

 

I go outside and take care of the huge mess Ben and I made in my underwear. I look at them and decide they are actually better off being thrown away, so I chuck them, clean up with a bunch of wet wipes put on a fresh pair and head back in.

 

I look at Ben and ask, "Does Ben need blood?"

 

Dorothy says, "It would probably help, but we sure as hell don't have any out here."

 

I offer, "You could give him some of mine."

 

She looks at his dog tags and says, "He's O-positive do you know what yours is?"

 

I smile and say, "I'm also O-positive."

 

She double checks and makes certain, "You're sure about that, because if you're wrong it will kill Ben."

 

I affirm, "Yes Dorothy I am sure what my blood type is. So how do we do this?"

 

She has me lie on the table, puts one needle in my arm, lets the blood flow until all the air is out of the tube and then replaces Ben's IV with the transfusion tube. Dorothy instructs me, "Make your hand into a fist and keep pumping it." She observes her watch and after twenty minutes announces, "Okay that's all we'd dare take from you."

 

She unhooks the transfusion tube from Ben, reconnects the IV then she takes the needle out of my arm and puts a bandage on it. I ask, "When the heck is Ben going to wake up?"

 

Present – Ben – On the road

 

I hear Stacy ask, "When the heck is Ben going to wake up?"

 

I reply, "When I damn well feel like it." And the next thing I know Stacy is hugging and kissing the hell out of me. I feel like shit! I can tell someone has given me narcotics and they are just starting to wear off. I open my eyes see Stacy attacking me and another lady smiling at me. I croak, "The ladies and the banditos?"

 

The lady replies, "We all escaped and you shot all the banditos."

 

I wiggle, push Stacy off me and say, "My leg?"

 

Stacy smiles at me, "Dorothy took out the bullet and sewed up a bleeder." She hands me the bullet, I turn it over in my hand, look at it then put it in my pocket. I look at Dorothy and question, "Are you a doctor?"

 

She replies, "No I was a nurse in Korea."

 

I nod my head and say, "Help me sit up, I want to see my leg."

 

They help me sit up. I feel a little dizzy from the narcotics at first then my head stops spinning. I look at my leg and say, "You left it open? I can't travel this way."

 

Dorothy pulls out her nurse persona and scolds me, "Well you're not traveling anywhere today so just sit back and relax. If you're in pain I can give you another injection."

 

I get pissed and say, "Hell no, I don't want any more narcotics, but I would take four ibuprofen and a big drink of water."

 

Dorothy orders, "Not on an empty stomach you won't."

 

Stacy volunteers, "I'll make some of those MRE meals for all of us."

 

I respond, "That would be great, I don't remember the last time I ate." Then I look at Dorothy and ask, "Please bring me my m-four and all the other weapons. I want to check them just in case."

 

She smiles at me and answers, "Yeah, once I saw your H.O.G. tooth I figured you'd be asking for your rifles soon." She brings me my M-4, the two AK's and all the ammo. I look at all my weapons and wish I had more AK ammo.

 

Dorothy offers, "I see you're wantin' more magazines for those AK's. If you let me borrow one of those AK's just in case, I know where I can get you a bunch more magazines."

 

I nod my head and add, "Let me get in position to cover you just in case."

 

Stacy and Dorothy help move me into position where I can provide cover fire for her as Dorothy takes one AK and heads down the hill to liberate more magazines…

 

Present – Stacy – On the road – bus escape

 

I dig through the MRE's, pull out three of them and start using the heater on them like Ben showed me earlier. I wish we had chairs for the table but we don't so I do my best to clean us a place on the floor, by a wall so Ben can lean up against it. I start to daydream: Grandmamma would have loved this adventure, and I feel like I've been in a war.

 

Ben interrupts my thoughts, "Anastasia, you did a hell of a job getting that many people off the bus. You did exactly as I would have done."

 

He's back using the Erast persona. I blush and look over at him. He's watching Dorothy and explain, "Ben, Dorothy knows who we are and has already said she's not going to tell. Now thank you for the compliment but how did you know it was me?"

 

He chuckles, "Because it's what I would have done. I'm proud because you put your snooty past behind you and did the right thing. How are you feeling about seeing all those people die?"

 

I think about arguing about 'my snooty past' but realize Ben might be right. And I realize he's more interested in my feelings and is once again taking good care of me. I reply, "Well, I feel really bad I couldn't get more people to follow me off the bus, so their deaths bother me. But I figure the bastard banditos deserved much worse than you gave them."

 

I watch and he nods his head, "Yeah, the bus was almost full they probably killed more than forty innocent people today."

 

I want to ask how many Ben killed, but I can't figure a way to do it so instead I ask, "How could I have gotten more of them to follow me? Some of the women even lost their husbands on that bus."

 

I hear sadness when he responds, "Most people wrongly think that cars and buses provide protection from bullets, but really they are nothing but rolling death traps. That's the reason I left the bus in the first place: I wanted to draw the bastards after me. It worked until they blew it up with the RPG. I was worried you were still on the bus until I heard the baby cry."

 

I walk over, sit beside him, put my hand on his back and say, "I was really pissed about the baby. By the way what was that crazy song about an alligator you were singing?"

 

He chuckles, "That was The Battle of New Orleans and I sang it for two reasons, one to mask the sound of the crying baby, which didn't work and two so I would be a bigger target. It looks like Dorothy's on her way back and just in time. There are some vehicles coming down the road."

 

I question, "What sort of vehicles are they, and where are all the other women?"

 

Ben replies, "The truck is gone so I can only assume the other women took it and left. And I can't really tell yet what sort of vehicles they are. Would you please bring me the binoculars?"

 

I think about the ungrateful beotches taking the truck and get upset all over again. I get the binoculars and head back to Ben. As Dorothy comes back into the building, I am shocked at how much ammo and how many rifles she has. She comments, "I thought I heard some vehicles coming."

 

Ben looks at them with the binoculars and says, "It's about fucking time the cavalry showed up." Then he yelled, "Shit, now that we don't need!"

 

I ask, "What don't we need!"

 

Ben grumbles, "A fucking news truck is with them. How in the hell did they get inserted with our troops here."

 

Dorothy offers, "Hey listen, your leg is going to be fine if you take it easy today and don't travel. Let me grab one of these AK's, an MRE and a bottle of water. I will head back down the hill and tell them you two took off in another truck. Otherwise, those troops will probably come up here and check out the building."

 

Ben says, "Thanks, we owe you."

 

Dorothy laughs and says, "Hell no, we all owe you and your young girlfriend for saving our asses." Then she grabs the things she wants and takes off.

 

Ben makes sure she's gone and orders, "Let's eat these meals. Then we'll dress my wound and get the hell out of here."

 

I complain, "But Dorothy said you shouldn't move today."

 

He looks at me and explains, "Those troops are going to check this building no matter what Dorothy tells them because it's SOP and we will be taken prisoner. Plus Dorothy is a nurse and a bit melodramatic about wounds. If we bandage my leg really tight and take it slow I should be fine."

 

I give Ben his ibuprofen, we quickly eat our meals, throw our trash in our packs (I wanted to leave it but Ben reminded me about finger prints). I help him put a big pad on his leg and then wrap it tight with duct tape. Ben smiles and says, "Give me duct tape and a screw driver and I can fix anything."

 

We watch the troops and news crew. Ben looks at them with the binoculars and says, "Shit no! We have to leave right now!" As I help him up, we grab two of the AK's (I get to carry one), all the ammo and we leave the building together. Even with the wounded leg Ben moves faster than the pack of elephants I had with me.

 

Ben's in the lead and I scold him, "Remember what Dorothy said about taking it easy."

 

He waves his hand and insultingly dismisses me, "Okay pimple!"

 

I grumpily question, "Pimple?"

 

He laughs, "Yeah right now you're just like an annoying pimple on my ass!"

 

I slip up, pinch his ass, he jumps as I say, "I'll show you annoying pimple on your ass."

 

We both laugh and he says, "Okay I will slow up a little if you stop being a pimple. But from now on we need to be quiet."

 

I still can barely keep from giggling because I'd sure like to see if he had any pimples on his cute ass. After all, I still owe him big time for saving my life – yet one more time…

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