“We don’t have 20,000 rounds for this thing.” He mumbled to Sally as he dragged the black bags down the stairs and into the rec room.
He checked the time — 15:00 hrs.
“We can’t hold these guys off too much longer with what we have.”
He went over to the PC and pulled up the 3D terrain map of his property. He then checked the position of the sun on today’s date. He then sat there and had the computer plot the areas around the property that were or soon would be in shadow. He then had the computer overlay the areas which were not visible from the remaining sniper nest to the east.
There was an overlapping line of shadow and invisibility from the east side of the house right up to the FBI’s northern sniper nest.
“Look here!” he said as he called to Sally. “See this dark line? This is gonna be my little path up to the northern sniper nest where I can glomm onto all of those guy’s goodies.”
“What would be really nice is if when I go get their stuff you could carry on a conversation with their base camp — pretend you are the northern team. Look, these guys gotta report in and right now the only reporting is gonna be from the team on the east side — and they’ll be voting to just nuke the entire area!”
“Okay, you’re right, we gotta keep these guys guessing. And besides, we might as well find out if this SoundBlaster trick is gonna work.” Sally said.
Bill studied the computer printout of an irregular dark line from the house to the northern sniper nest. The plan was possible. He changed his clothes for some old desert tan camo. He then put his elbow and knee pads on. He’d purchased these pads during better times when he’d decided to rollerblade. Sure he looked goofy — but there was nothing macho about crawling along the ground cutting your arms and legs to pieces on a thousand shards of granite and untold roots and sharp chaparral. He then took one of the rolls of duct tape and had Sally tape it under his shirt.
He walked over to the sliding glass door and peered under the railroad rails. There was nothing on the patio.
He opened the sliding glass door and a blast of hot dry air swirled into the house. The dry summer heat was perfect for laying by the pool — not for crawling on your belly. He was already tired and he hadn’t even started yet. Bill crawled out onto the patio. Sally quickly closed the glass door and then started taping black plastic sheeting to the glass so that as night fell nobody would be able to see inside.
Bill hugged the wall. He knew that he could be shot dead if the FBI had put even one man on the south side of the house. He trusted that the Mexi-lovers in Washington had decided not to inflame Mexico’s national pride.
The entire patio stank of burned, rotting human flesh. What once smelled like barbecued pork ribs now just stank. The Disco Mexi-stump was still on his side — where Bill had tripped over it so many hours before.
A turkey vulture had flown down from some perch and was gobbling morsels of meat at the far side of the pool. The bird was huge. It suddenly opened its wings and hopped around the pool’s edge — bouncing six feet closer with each hop. It’s beady little red eyes glared at him.
It cocked its head back and forth and then hissed like a snake. A wave of putridity washed past Bill’s nostrils. This bird’s breath smelled really bad.
Bill stood up and waved his arms. Only then did the vulture realize that Bill wasn’t some kind of near-dead morsel but a live threat. It responded to Bill’s sudden movement by shitting a grey, pudding-like squirt all over its own legs. The sound was like that of a farmer spitting tobacco juice. Then the bird turned and leaped into the air — flapping its six foot wings in huge arcs. The smell of raw, digested and fecal death fanned by the bird’s wings was enough to make a person swoon. The bird used every bit of energy it could muster to escape — and its exertion made its legs twitch — which then flicked globules of still-warm grey liquid in Bill’s direction.
The bird headed south — slowly climbing higher and higher in the super-heated summer sky.
Bill looked down at his fatigues to see if any of the vulture’s spurts had hit him:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, speak unto the children of Israel. And these are an abomination among the birds: The ossifrage and the vulture… Leviticus 11.”
Bill crept to the east, toward the edge of the house but paused at the blue blanket. The smell of death beneath the blanket had already become heavy and the cover had already begun to tighten. His daughter’s body was bloating in the heat. Brown stains were seeping through the sky blue cloth. He looked down at the bloated shape and started remembering the last time he saw his daughter playing in the pool and her blond ponytails bouncing.
He was thinking about his daughter as he walked around the corner of the house and then leaped — ven clawed backwards — falling to the ground near Samantha’s blanket.
“Focus!” He’d just exposed himself to every living FBI sniper in the valley. It was only by the grace of God that nobody saw him — he could have been killed in just these first few seconds outside the house.
He was going to have to be more careful. These guys were gonna win. They only had to kill him once. And these people take no prisoners. They see you — they kill you.
Bill lay face down near the blue blanket and started crawling around the eastern corner of the house. He could see the shallow hint of a trail winding slightly to the east and then northward to the sniper nest.
The northern nest was more than 500 yards away. Moving as fast as he could crawl it took him half an hour to reach it. The ground temperature was over 135 degrees. Parts of his body began to blister underneath his camo clothing. Dozens of little buzzing gnats swarmed around his sweaty face and even flew up his nostrils. He tried to breathe through his teeth — it was better to eat gnats than to breathe them.
When he got to the FBI’s northern nest his palms, knees and belly were burned and blistered. He was having chest pains.
“God, I’m in bad shape. I don’t know why I haven’t already had a heart attack!”
It took him ten minutes just to recover from the exertion. He really wished that he’d kept up his gym membership.
Ants had already found several of the lumps of FBI meat and had swarmed over them. The meat seemed to be covered in wiggling black fur. Bill was so close that he could watch how the ants nipped off a tiny chunk of FBI man and then carried the morsel away — down an inch-wide freeway clogged with other ants that meandered out of sight in the brush..
He stayed flat and crawled around the depression — hugging the dirt. These FBI bastards even had an ice chest! He took one of the still-sealed bottles of water and drank half and splashed the rest on his face and hands. One must not become dehydrated.
The nest was covered in splotches of dried blood — like huge scabs. All he could smell was warm viscera and blood.
He found the cannon they had tried to use on him — a nice big black Barrett .50. There were two aluminum ammo boxes full of .50 caliber. Inside, were fully loaded magazines. These guys didn’t have to even reload a magazine! There were also two wooden boxes that looked like they should contain some kind of Swiss measuring device. He opened one of the boxes and saw Evil. There before him were twenty rounds of Saxitoxin nested in their little padded blue — green compartments. And he had two full boxes of them.
Bill took the Kevlar vest that the one sniper had dropped and loaded the .50 caliber ammunition onto it. He then took the two wooden boxes and sandwiched them between the two aluminum ammo boxes and tied the whole thing up with duct tape. He then lay the top layer of the Kevlar vest over the boxes and taped it all together. Then he picked up the H&K MP5 and all of its ammunition and taped it to the side of his “sled.”
Sometimes little things can affect you in ways far out of proportion to their actual importance. In the middle of the debris Bill found a hand held Dickson TH550 digital psychrometer — in olive drab plastic. The FBI had the ability to calculate atmospheric conditions so accurately that they knew how to adjust bullet impact to the tenth of an inch. The FBI was serious about killing Christian Americans.
He took the Barrett and removed the scope and taped that to his back. He then collected one of the FBI’s back-up radios and their big night vision kit in its black carrying bag and taped all of that stuff to the Barrett. He then taped everything together like a train. The last thing he did was tape the muzzle of the Barrett to his right ankle — to make sure it didn’t get hung up on a root.
He now had more than 90 pounds of equipment acting like an anchor and fighting his every effort to move forward. At least most of the route home was downhill.
He started down the slight depression toward the house. Five minutes of this and his body was in agony from the heat coming out of the ground and burning his flesh. He rolled over, took a water bottle from under his shirt and splashed water on the hot spots. He rested.
He really had to pee. Every time he lurched forward over a rock his bladder threatened to explode. This was as good a place as any. He’d never pee’d laying on his side before but at least the ground sloped just right and the pee would not puddle next to him. He got it out and let go. He felt his bladder start to shrink.
BLAM, BLAM, BLAM!
Shots were ringing out from the house and being answered in a massive response by the eastern sniper nest.
The shots from the house were .30 caliber.
He flopped onto his belly and frantically crawled out of the kill zone.
Now he had pee all over his trousers and he had sharp twigs stuck into his private. All he could do was fumble to get his trunk back in its pocket. “What a way to die! With your dick out!”
All he could do now was drag himself and his long pack train toward the safety of the house.
All the while he could only think of what might happen if the FBI sniper was given permission to fire one of the “numbered” rounds.
He scrambled on toward home.
The sniper team was still firing. He could hear the snap as the bullets flew overhead, followed by the BOOM and then the PLAP as they hit the house.
He could not look up. He had to continue moving. He could measure his progress by how the sounds of the sniper fire changed. Now he heard the snap and the bullet’s impact against the house almost at the same time. The BOOM only followed a split second later.
He reached the eastern wall of the house and crawled on all fours to the patio. Rather than stop and cut the Barrett loose form his ankle he just continued on all fours until he reached the patio’s sliding doors. He rapped on the glass using one of his elbow pads so that all of his body remained out of sight. He did not want to be shot.
After a few seconds of rapping, Sally slid the door open and grabbed him by the shirt and tried to pull him inside. He scampered inside on all fours and all of her “help” only made her fall on top of him and flatten him on the carpet.
“Get off of me! I’m okay!”
He pushed her off of him and unwrapped the Barrett from his ankle and ran up the stairs to the second floor.
He grabbed the window shutter hook and tried to close the shutters on the east facing window.
The last Barrett was slamming .50’s right down his throat. Pieces of wall paper and splinters of furniture were being blasted all over the room.
Bill continued to tug on the shutters.
A .50 caliber round slammed into the shutter itself and the impact knocked Bill off his knees and onto the floor. That .50 slug also helped him close the last shutter that was exposing the house to Saxitoxin.
Several more .50 caliber rounds slammed into the shutters. By now the HRT guys should have noticed something peculiar about these shutters. Big chunks of wood should be spalling off — exposing nice black hardened steel plate two inches thick. They’d need a LAW rocket to get inside now!
Bill ran down stairs and got Sally’s roll of duct tape. He then ran back up stairs and taped each window — twice. The shutters were solid steel but when a few micrograms of dust can kill you its best to not take chances.
He then went back downstairs and yelled:
“What were you doing? Were you trying to get me killed? What was all of that blasting away at the feds about? And where did you get that damned rifle?”
Sally just looked at him for ten seconds and then responded with:
“I was listening to the land line and I heard the eastern team say that they could see reflections on the ground and a dust cloud from something slowly moving toward the house. They asked the OPS center if they had sent in a special team. The center told them that they had not and that they were going to check with the BATF to see of they had sent anybody down there. The center promised to get back to the snipers real quick. So I opened up the kitchen plastic and pulled the H&K 91 from the wall and went up stairs and got their attention so that they would have something more tangible to deal with — instead of you.”
“Oh!” Bill said — still pumped with more than an hour’s maximum adrenaline load.
Bill then took a can of coke from the small refrigerator in the rec room and drank some. “Those bastards have Saxitoxin. Once they get the word to use it we could all be dead.”
“Sally, do us all a favor, tape all of the bottom floor windows with a double layer of duct tape and wake me up if anything happens — I gotta get some rest — this might go on all night.” Bill lay face down on the floor and tried to relax his burned body.
Sally walked over, lifted his shirt and ripped the telescopic sight off his back. He felt every hair leave home.
“Thank you so very, very much.”
As the tingling sensation died away he drifted off to sleep thinking about lines from a book he had read more than twenty years before — Guidelines for Resistance to Tyranny for You and Your Family by DePugh. Times had changed and the primitive help manuals available in 1973 were simply useless today. He prayed he knew enough to keep what was left of his family alive.
Outside, the afternoon sun burned down on the living and the dead. A slight breeze carried the stench of death up over the hills and into valleys far to the east. Turkey vultures roosting six miles away turned their beaks into the scented wind. The smell of dead men is sweet compared to the smell of bloated cattle. The fact that these human carcasses had spurted their bits and pieces over a hundred yards of semi-arid terrain increased the sweet scent — and the allure.
High above the valley turkey vultures now circled — slowly — catching every slight uplifting breeze. The birds were like black wraiths — never moving their wings — just circling and circling.
FBI corpses crackled and snapped as they bloated — popping the Velcro straps on their web gear.
The sun arced far to the west. The sweet smell of rotting humans was ultimately too much and one-by-one the turkey vultures spiraled down and began clawing at the black-suited carrion. Turkey vulture feet are very weak and the birds made little progress on the FBI assault harnesses. Most of the birds finally just stuck their heads into the black suited bodies’ blood-coated cavities and then nipped and tugged at FBI viscera.
One of the birds ripped a vest open with its beak and hopped back as a bloated intestine squeezed out of a narrow slit. The bird was so startled by all the intestinal wiggling that it regurgitated just-swallowed flesh from its craw and days-old half-digested carrion out of its stomach — aiming the stinking white sauce toward the FBI lump. Vultures use this reflexive regurgitation as a defense mechanism because it works. The stench was now so horrific it could cause a gag reflex in humans at two hundred feet.
The vultures filled themselves on the federal agents internal organs to the point of lethargy. All the birds could do was squat in the heat with their wings open and their eyes half closed — waiting till the air would be cool enough and dense enough to carry them. Even with six foot wingspans they were now too heavy to fly.
Shadows crept up the eastern hills. The wind direction changed and a cool breeze came up the canyons from Mexico. One by one the vultures flapped their wings and took to the air — returning to their nests in rocky crags miles away.
It was dark outside when Bill awoke.
The room was dark, the house was quiet. He looked up from the floor and saw Sally listening to the FBI and quietly typing in responses.
He smelled Hoppe’s #9 bore cleaner and looked over in the corner and saw Bobby cleaning the Barrett. There were about one hundred fifty balls of crumpled paper towels on the floor and two fresh rolls of towels waiting to be sacrificed to the cause.
The aluminum ammo cans had been opened and the contents checked and counted.
The FBI’s radio was on the coffee table. Bill noticed that it was an AN PRC-112 with a part number of 01-P21261J001. The damn thing had a cardboard battery! “Non Rechargeable Lithium Sulfur Dioxide — Power Conversion Inc. Elmwood Park, New Jersey. Can’t these guys afford plastic?”
Sally had rigged a charger to run the FBI’s radio so that the battery could be saved for later use.
The FBI’s night vision system had been cleaned and was laying in its open carrying case. Now that was a nice system — a Litton AN/PVS-10 — the finest in the world. The PVS-10 could be used at any light level but the FBI only used it during hours of darkness.
The two wooden boxes were over by Sally and both had been taped shut.
“What time is it?” Bill asked.
“About 9:00” Sally whispered.
“We gotta come up with a plan!”