> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Short Story: Good Shooting



Short Story: Good Shooting

A quick story I wrote up the other evening:

“Boys, we’re in for a good night, tonight!” Two-Tooth chuckled to his gang as he ran a long, scratched and rusted carving knife along a whetstone. Two-Tooth and his men sat around a small campfire they’d built amongst the roots of a huge tree, the firelight flickering dimly as they sharpened and loaded their assortment of crude but deadly weapons.

“Ain’t that right, boss! They’re not going to know where we came from!” one of his lackeys, a bald, burnt faced man said. The other men chuckled in agreement

“Damn straight, Scabby,” Two-Tooth said to the burnt-faced man, sheathing his knife with practiced ease. “And we’re going to see what they’re guarding in that little farm house o’ theirs.”

“Guns, booze and food is my bet!” another of the raiders said.

“And women!” Two-Tooth added, bringing cheers from his dozen ragged and filthy raiders. He was their leader, the smartest and most experienced of them. Two-Tooth had run with countless similar gangs since the Crash, and, by brutal natural selection, risen to lead his own band of heartless robbers. These were men with no families, no friends, no homes, no hope. Nothing to lose. They had no food in their bellies and nothing more than what they could carry on their backs.

“Leave your heavy gear here, boys. Bring some water and your weapons, nothin’ else. This won’t take long!” Two-Tooth said, his two gold teeth glinting in the firelight. He slung his own weapon—an old police scattergun—and led his crew off into the woods. Scabby was the last, pausing to kick dirt onto the campfire and smother its flames.

The anticipation was thick and juicy as they stalked through the woods, the raiders barely able to suppress wide grins as visions of loot danced through their heads. It was a feeling Two-Tooth was familiar with, he’d felt it many a time before. The adrenaline, the fear, the excitement, all mixed into one and screaming through his veins—it made his pathetic, wretched life almost worth living.

They reached the crest of a big hill and stopped, looking down onto the farm in the valley below. Everything was dark and still, not a sign of movement.

“Theys all sleeping!” Scabby chuckled.

“Let’s hope so—keep ‘er quiet!” Two-Tooth said.

The band crept down the hillside, quickly and quietly. Like ghosts, Two-Tooth thought. Like the Grim Reaper himself.

They came to the edge of the woods and stopped, keeping to the shadows. A 4-foot barbed wire fence and a few hundred yards of fields stood between them and the farmhouse. An ancient, broken down van sat in the middle of the field, rusted over and abandoned. A half dozen other worn out and non-functional vehicles dotted the field, silent and unmoving. Everything was the same as his scouts had reported. Everything was ready to go.

Two-Tooth led the way as his band left the cover of the shadows and crept towards the fence. One of the raiders tossed a heavy blanked over the barbed wire, and the raiders quickly slid over fence, making short work of the obstacle.

“Fast, boys, hit ‘em fast!” Two-Tooth said as he and his men broke into a half-run. Their prize was within reach. They flew over the field, closing the distance quickly. They were halfway there, within a few dozen yards of the broken down van. Two-Tooth could almost taste the carnage about to begin.

Suddenly, gunfire screamed through the night. “You assho--” Two-Tooth started to yell at his men, until he saw one of them crumple limply to the ground, screaming in agony.

In another instant, they were bathed in blinding light, guns opening up. Two-Tooth stood in place for a moment, bullets whizzing by, unsure of what was happening. Two miniature suns had materialized in the night, directly ahead of them. From behind the two suns—somewhere—someone was unleashing a hellacious barrage of fire upon his band.

Two-Tooth had enough presence of mind and experience to drop to the ground as bullets whizzed by. His men froze, shocked and unsure of what to do.

“Get down!” he yelled frantically to his men, only to watch them get cut down by the incoming hail of bullets. One, two, three—they dropped dead all around him, blood gushing from their perforated bodies. Those who weren’t dead in the first few seconds broke and ran—only making themselves easier targets.

Two-Tooth groaned as he watched his remaining raiders sliced down with gunfire. He glanced around and made eye contact with Scabby, the burnt-faced raider, the only other left alive.

The gun fire stopped, and all was quiet except for the ringing in Two-Tooth’s ears.

“We gotta run for it!” Two-Tooth whispered. Scabby nodded.

“Run and fire! I’ll go first, you cover, I’ll stop and cover you!”

Two-Tooth stumbled to his feet as Scabby opened fire at the blinding lights. He couldn’t make out anything beyond the lights, and fired wildly, hoping to hit someone by pure luck.

Two-Tooth ran as fast as his legs could carry him, not stopping or even slowing down.

“Stop and cover me!” Scabby cried. Two-Tooth ran faster.

Returned fire erupted from behind the lights, chasing across the ground after him. Two-Tooth didn’t stop—he kept running as fast as his legs could carry him, zig-zagging across the field.

Scabby stood to run after him, screaming and cursing after him. He was cut short as a burst of fire ripped across his chest.

Two-Tooth dove over the barbed-wire fence, catching his thigh as he went and cutting it deep. He yanked it free, not caring about the wound.

Dogs were barking from the farm house. Bright spotlights snapped on all around the perimeter of the field. Bullets zipped over Two-Tooth’s head. He turned and ran for it, disappearing into the dark cover of the forest. He crashed through the forest, ignoring the jabbing pain in his thigh, trying to put as much distance between him and the farm.

He was alive—at least he had that much going for him. Now he just needed to get as far away from the farm as possible—and hope they didn’t come after him.

Underneath the rusted out, seemingly abandoned van, a father and his 14-year old son watched the fallen raiders for any signs of movement. They held their rifles firmly, but neither could deny the uncontrolled trembling of fear mixed with adrenaline that still pumped through their hands. Their radio was crackling with activity, and the sounds of four-wheeler engines and running footsteps signaled that their friends and family were closing on their hiding place. Their concealed foxhole, underneath the wrecked van, smelled of burnt smokeless powder; spent brass casings and empty magazines lay at their feet. A few dozen yards away, a band of murderous scum lay dead by their trigger fingers.

“Son,” the father said,

“damn good shooting.”