> TEOTWAWKI Blog: You Took Away Tomorrow - Chapter 19: Battle at the Blockade



You Took Away Tomorrow - Chapter 19: Battle at the Blockade

Chapter index is right here if you are new or behind. Enjoy!

Chapter 19: Battle at the Blockade

The convoy idled their engines, parked along the side of the two-lane backcountry highway. A wall of Southeastern hardwoods surrounded them, the forest stretching for miles in either direction. A few miles ahead lay a small rural town, which they needed to pass through along their way to their final destination, Barry’s survival cabin. Unfortunately, a police roadblock lay on the road up ahead—they’d heard transmissions on their police scanners, and the traffic was backed up far enough that they could not actually see the roadblock itself—Jack guessed it was at least a mile away, if not more.
Before leaving on the journey, they’d cooked up a half-baked plan to try to bluff their way through any law enforcement entanglements, posing as military personnel, given their camo outfits, heavy weaponry and Barry’s big military surplus truck. Now that they’d come upon what seemed to be an actual check point, that plan seemed less reasonable.
Their hunting lease, a thirty or so minute drive the other way, seemed like their best bet. Hole up there for at least the evening, get some much needed rest and then regroup the next day. It was a good piece of land, well off the beaten path, with a big, secure fence blocking the narrow dirt road that led onto the property. It’d be a safe of a place as any to spend the night, but it would be out of their way.
“Convoy Lead, I recommend we at least get eyes-on the trouble spot,” Barry transmitted via walkie. Jack couldn’t argue that—heck, it could be one lone patrol car, which would make matters different. Distracting one car—perhaps some diversion to get them to move out of the area—was entirely reasonable.
“Sounds like a good idea. I’m up for a field trip—need one more volunteer to come with,” he said. He realized there was probably some great reason why, as designated convoy leader, he should stay with the vehicles and not run off into the night. But, to hell with that, he thought. It should be a quick trip, a half mile up the road, to scout things out.
“I’m yer Huckleberry, Convoy Lead—my bright idea anyways,” Barry answered.

 Jack popped open his door, reaching for his Noveske AR-15 pistol, but then paused. The suppressed Uzi that Mike was carrying was probably a better overall choice for night fighting, should they for some reason run into trouble. But, Jack pushed that thought away. While he knew the manual-of-arms for operating an Uzi, he’d never shot one, and they’d never actually tested this particular Uzi for functionality. Bringing an unproven, unfamiliar weapon did not sound like the wise move to make. He grabbed the Noveske.
“Be safe, dude,” Mike said as he left. Jack nodded, forcing a tired smile.
“No worries—but hey, the keys are in the ignition if you need ‘em.”
Jack stepped out into the night, slipping between the vehicles to gain some measure of privacy should any vehicles pass their position. He donned his hearing protection—a pair of Sordin Supreme Pro Xs--flipped the headset on and plugged his radio into them. The Sordins were top-of-the-line ear pro—aside from their obvious noise reduction abilities, they also selectively amplified less audible sounds, allowing him to hear a little bit more than usual. He did a quick radio check to confirm that the radio was working, scanned his chest rig to ensure the magazines were all in place and secured, and then did a final press-check on the Noveske. As expected, a round was in the chamber.
Satisfied, Jack moved up the convoy towards Barry’s deuce and a half. The old vet was there waiting for him. He had his ‘Nam-era suppressed grease gun in hand and antique katana slung across his back, but had donned a very modern night vision monocular, attached to a swing-arm mount on a ballistic helmet.
“Man, wish I would have bought one of those,” Jack said. Night vision had always been on his list, but they were a large investment that he’d never gotten around to. Training classes, the hunting lease, vehicles, food storage, guns and tools had all taken priority. Of course, there had been the luxuries that seemed reasonable at the time—vacations, electronic gizmos, eating out—that now seemed like complete foolishness. Hindsight was of course always 20/20.
“Ya, they sure beat stumblin’ around like a drunk tryin’ to find his way to the bathroom,” Barry joked, then turned serious.
“No lights. No talking unless we’ve gotta. Keep close to me, I’ll lead.”
Jack nodded, and Barry set off, heading into the cover offered by the thick forest. After making it a few paces in, they turned in the direction of the roadblock. Jack quickly found himself struggling to keep up. The forest wasn’t pitch black—there was some faint ambient light from the moon and spill from the vehicle lights on the highway—but that only gave him good visibility of the trees, not the dark forest floor. Where Barry could see and walk essentially normally, Jack had to tread carefully, focusing on what was directly in front of him, trying to to trip over every fallen branch and tree root. He stumbled and halfway tripped with annoying regularity, doing what he considered to be an embarrassing job of moving smoothly and stealthily through the night. His inner ninja was deeply disappointed.
“Hey, uhh, Convoy Lead,” Tex’s voice boomed in his ears, startling him. The airwaves had been dead. Jack let out a breath, then keyed the push-to-talk microphone.
“Go ahead.”
“Just heard a transmission that sounded like they were telling the officers to stop letting people into town. Sounds like folks are setting up camp across the town and the locals are starting to get worried. We’re already seeing vehicles heading back this way—it looks to me like they are turning cars around.”
Jack and Barry exchanged concerned looks.
They moved on. Jack kept focused on Barry, stepping where he stepped and moving where he moved. Barry paused briefly after every twenty or so paces, scanning and listening. On one of those stops, Jack was able to make out what sounded like angry yelling. The Sordins allowed him to pick it up where Barry was unable to.
If they could hear yelling—though distant and indistinct at this point—it meant they were close to the check point. They picked up the pace, moving as quickly as Jack could manage. A voice came on over a loudspeaker, booming through the relative stillness of the night.
“Please return to your vehicles,” the voice said, “This road is now closed.”
They’d stopped moving to listen, and Jack could hear angry cries break out in response to the announcement.
Satisfied that they had moved close enough, Barry led the way out of the forest, back towards the road. He dropped prone, knees cracking. They belly-crawled the last few yards before stopping on the outer edge of the shoulder.
              The check point was simple – three police cruisers with road flares, a stop sign and traffic cones to set up the actual checkpoint itself. The opposite direction of travel was clear. Jack counted a quick scan of five police officers at the check point—some with long guns, some without. One of the cruisers had been parked across the road—Jack guessed that had been a recent change, as the car would have to move out of the way to let each vehicle pass. An officer stood at the driver’s side door, the car’s PA system microphone in hand.
The officers were arrayed out across the road, presenting a show of force to a crowd that had formed some twenty five or so yards back from the check point. There were maybe thirty or forty people—men, mostly, but some women and even a couple kids—who had emerged from their vehicles and were either yelling in anger or pleading in desperation.
“Please! We’re running on fumes! We just need some gas!” a man begged.
“Are you kidding me? You can’t CLOSE a road!” another bellowed.
“Make us wait two hours in this line and then turn us away! Where the hell are we supposed to go!” a man in a trucker’s hat nearly screamed.
The police officer with the mic something to one of his fellow officers, then raised the mic to his mouth.
              “Ladies and gentlemen. I’m truly sorry, but due to the curfew and the limited resources in the town, we are unable to allow anyone else through,” he said, trying to reason with them.
              The crowd erupted with more anger. Someone threw something—an empty can maybe—at the squad car blocking the road. The officers looked at each other—even from a distance, Jack could see their anxiety growing quickly.
              “Crappy job to get assigned, huh?” Barry muttered next to him. More trash was flying at the officers now, clattering across the hoods of their cars. The situation was escalating quickly. He could no longer make out individual voices in the crowd—they were all blending together in one furious voice. He radioed in an update to the convoy.
              The deputies were trying to calm the crowd, but they were having little success. At the same time, it looked like they were committed to holding the line and not letting anyone through.
              The guy in the trucker’s hat broke off from the crowd, keeping low as he jogged back down the line of parked cars. He was shaking his head, cursing to himself and looking back at the roadblock.
“Are you watching this guy?” Jack said.
“You mean ol’ redneck there? Yup. He’s up to something,” Barry said.
Redneck stopped at a huge Dodge pickup, popping the door open and climbing up into the doorway. He lingered there for a while, leaning out and looking back at the scene unfolding between the crowd and the deputies. He shook his head a final time, and then disappeared into the cab of his pickup.
The Dodge’s engine growled to life, belching black smoke out of the oversized rear exhaust. Redneck eased his truck out of the traffic jam slowly on the accelerator, swerving into the other lane, tires burning.
“Might not be a good plan, bud,” Barry whispered, almost as if he was watching a scene from a movie. The big pickup accelerated forward.
The deputies seemed to realize what was happening all at once. Most of them didn’t move, and instead shouted and waved their arms. One of the deputies, though, decided to play chicken with the speeding truck, running into the far lane and standing in its path. He shouldered a pump-action shotgun, shouting orders frantically. The crowd fell silent.
Jack lost sight of the deputy as the pickup bore down on him. The officer on the PA system started to yell for the man to stop, but the boom of the deputy’s shotgun interrupted him. It echoed out through the night.
Jack couldn’t tell what had happened to the officer, but it quickly became apparent that his shot had hit its target. The truck swerved erratically past the road block, tires screeching as it careened off the road and onto the shoulder. The vehicle slid sideways, the edge of its big mud tires caught, sending the vehicle flipping into a barrel roll. The top-heavy pickup rolled over onto its roof, then up onto the driver’s side, parts and debris flying everywhere.
Everyone watched the crash, quiet and awestruck. Someone in the crowd was the first to speak.
“They just killed him!”
More angry voices joined the first in protest.
“Stay back! Get back to your vehicles and get out of here!” the deputy on the PA system warned.
The officer with the shotgun had made it out of the way of the speeding pickup, but was slow to get back to his feet. One of his partners rushed over to help him, jogging across the pavement.
Another shot rang out—Jack couldn’t see where it had come from—the jogging deputy stumbled, made it another step or two, and then went down in the middle of the road, dark blood pumping through his neck. He screamed for help—a blood curdling, panicked cry.
Barry swore.
“Did you see where that came from?” Jack asked.
Barry grunted in the negative.
Women in the crowd screamed, and many panicked, scattering and running. The shooter fired again, hitting the officer with the mic. Jack caught a glimpse of a muzzle flash from somewhere in the crowd—it was a big guy in a tank top, with rifle raised up to his shoulder. The mob was running all around him; there was no clear, safe shot.
That did not stop the two uninjured deputies from trying. They fired into the chaotic mob. More gunfire erupted in return. People were running everywhere, frantic to escape the gun battle—several were hit by stray bullets. Some went down screaming, others stumbled but kept on moving. Vehicles back down the line to the checkpoint took off, turning around and racing away.
The mob scattered within seconds, seeking the safety of the vehicles. Jack could make out three men and a woman who were actively engaging the deputies. They’d taken cover behind vehicles and were firing a shotgun, handgun, lever gun and an AR pattern rifle at the check point. Others without weapons had stayed behind too, further down the line of traffic. Without firearms, they were instead chucking rocks, cans and whatever they could find.
The deputies were returning fire and trying to regroup. The shotgun wielding officer was on his feet and moving, dragging his wounded buddy back to the patrol cars. He made it behind the lead patrol car, collapsing behind it.
One ballsy minivan went to the shoulder of the road, bouncing past the now oncoming traffic and heading to slip past the check point while the deputies were engaged and distracted. He actually made it—swerving past the wrecked Dodge and then accelerating off into the night.
“Barry, what’s the call on this?” Jack asked. They had a good angle on the shooters—clear line of sight of their backs. Something about this felt different than the other gun battles he’d been in, though. Perhaps part of him could relate to their desperation to fight through the check point and get to safety beyond. Perhaps it was because the deputies had opened fire and negligently shot several bystanders. The mob’s actions weren’t without justification—this wasn’t necessarily Jack’s fight.
“Wait and see fer now, I think” Barry responded.
Jack nodded. He wasn’t sure if he could just stand by and watch the battle unfold, but that felt like the best call to make in terms of extending their life spans.
But was it the right call to make?


  1. Sheesh...somebody commented from an earlier episode that Barry seemed a bit crazy. Now I have to agree. He's just plain bat-sh^4 crazy!
    While I can see getting some information on the check-point, NOT at the expense of leaving their families, friends and vehicles just sitting on the side of the road. With no briefed contingency plans? And armed with only the Noveske? A great backup gun, or used from a vehicle, but NOT in a forest.
    Aside not from getting all the vehicles turned around, and perhaps to a side road, out of sight if possible, I'm amazed Fiona just didn't slap Jack silly before he got 10 yards down the road! WTF!?!?! They have a safe area to go with about 30 min of driving, a place to get their kids down and their stuff out of sight, but instead two guys head off in the woods to get some rubber-necking time on a road block that they ALREADY KNOW isn't letting traffic through? Terrorists running around the country, nukes going off, lawlessness going amok, and they WANT to get closer to unpredictable mayhem? Nuts.
    Tell Barry to get real: they've seen enough to know that it's not gonna end well. Even a small town's police department is going to have some serious equipment. And knowing that they have officers down, facing a hostile crowd, you think the responding police aren't going to act with some "extreme prejudice??" This ain't "the 'Nam," and they have no dog in this fight. Haul a$$ outta there; I'd even consider going without stealth down the side of the road for more speed since they didn't encounter anybody during the trip in. Tell Tex to get everybody turned around and security set. Set up their rendezvous procedures/challenges, get back to the convoy, and then get to the hunting lease land! For all they know, maybe this town's Police Chief is the brother of the local National Guard Commander, and all hell is about to rain down on that road block!
    Face reality: getting to Barry's right away is unlikely to happen. They may have to just hunker down a bit, figure out exactly what Barry has waiting for everybody, and perhaps consider going over-land and out of sight when the situation is more safe. Barry can head off on his own if he likes. But there is zero percentage to be gained sitting around in the vicinity of a free-for-all firefight!
    This is the classic case of wanting "better" and risking all of "good enough." Originally, I was a big proponent of connecting with Barry. Now, not so much. More cool gear and gadgets are not a good enough excuse to take unnecessary risks.

    1. "Sheesh...somebody commented from an earlier episode that Barry seemed a bit crazy. Now I have to agree. He's just plain bat-sh^4 crazy!" - That was me. My I'm guessing that he's more off kilter and will see this as "combat" and head in with guns blazing, much to the detriment of the company.

      Good twist! I'm empathetic to the deputies who were posted at the roadblock (ordered to be there) and are doing their job. They are doing their job and getting shot at. If you were a resident in the town they are protecting, would you want them to let in every fool that drove up?

      If I were a wife in the convoy, I'd key up the mic and in a low voice, tell my husband to come back. If Barry the nut job wants to stay and play soldier, leave. Go to the lease. Go back to the neighborhood. He's wrong. There's just an ace up his sleeve about his cabin that he hasn't told them....

    2. LOL. If I heard my wife growling at me on the PA...well, yup, I'd listen.

    3. Wow...
      I found this story and can't stop reading it.
      But now, I've just realized that the comments are as interesting as the "official" story itself.
      Here's what I am going to do: I will finish reading this novel, then I'll go back and read all the comments.
      This is THE best post-apocalyptic story I've read so far, and I've read quite a few.
      It's a pity that I missed my chance to contribute to the discussion. It owuld have been loads of fun, and very useful too.

  2. This caught me off guard, but I was actually afraid of a different twist. As Jack was stumbling off into the night, I was thinking "What if that old coot, Barry opens up on the roadblock?" What would Jack and the gang, do then? I mean, in reality, they are acquaintances with him at this point and nothing more. How do they know how he'll react in a WROL situation?

    Well, Mr. Wolf, I've worn a hole in the edge of my seat at this point. I look forward to this every Monday the way Breaking Bad fans look forward to it coming on every week!!

    Great stuff, keep 'em coming !!

  3. OMG! I did not see this happening. The two sane options were to go to the hunt site or drive to the by-pass road. After all they saw almost no traffic outside the city. Now that there is a shooting war underway at the checkpoint there would be no way for this group to break through. So, back to the two sane options. I do note that if there were this many people in line to pass the checkpoint, there must be a high risk that Barry's hide is now home to someone else.

  4. Ok, I think checking the road block was a good idea. If you see that they are letting people through, but slowly, and not really doing any vehicle checks, then stay in line. If they are checking vehicles and not letting people through, then go back to the vehicles and go to the lease. Now, things didn't go as planned, but you still have intel. Go back to the vehicles (DO NOT ENGAGE!) and go to the hunting lease. Rest, and make a new plan. Carefully examine your maps for alternate routs. If there aren't any check back in a couple of days to see what happened to the road block. If it is clear move forward in one vehicle and scout or have on vehicle just a little ahead of the others, and warn the others if there is another road block/trouble of some type. If the road block is not clear ask if the police would let you go around/escorted around the town. Tell them you don't want trouble and if they could avoid the town they would. This is a last resort plan though.

    1. Agree 100% with Chewylouie on all accounts.


  5. I liked it! I could see the truck and the guy making a run for it.. Could be that I have a lifted Dodge :)
    Loved this part the most "He stumbled and halfway tripped with annoying regularity, doing what he considered to be an embarrassing job of moving smoothly and stealthily through the night. His inner ninja was deeply disappointed."
    Made me laugh. I have been working my way up on a deer while hunting, doing my best ninja I could only to step wrong and spook the deer.
    Cant wait to see what goes down with this group.
    Nice work!

    1. Yea, if anything will teach you stealth (and humility) it is trying to sneak up on a deer. My inner ninja gets disappointed a lot.

  6. I say Jack and Barry are doing the right thing here. Don't engage, wait and see. If the crowd wins, there will be no roadblock to run. If the cops win, they can head to the hunting lease. Either way Barry is free to do as he pleases, stay at the lease or head to his cabin.
    I do agree that they should have gotten the convoy into a more secure position rather that just along the roadside. I would have backed the vehicles into any accessable area within those hardwood forests on either side. I might even now be radioing Tex to get that done before the turned around cars start making it impossible.
    Jack and Barry are in a good position to watch this play out and then decide what way to go.

  7. I initially thought a quick peek at the roadblock may be a good idea. However, as soon as Tex called in his update, that should have ended. Turn the group around, head for the lease. Even if that means leaving Barry.
    Back up from the town well not be arriving in a friendly frame of mind. Finding a heavily armed group near their roadblock will not play out well.
    First priority is protecting the women and children, that is not being done by sticking around and potentially engaging in another firefight.

  8. I'm in the mindset that they might want to rest at the hunting lease and get to Barry's still. Yes, the intel helped but...time is of the essence. If LEO's are firing at will at civilians w/ no regard whatsoever; that's telling me that the things are getting ugly and it's going to be dog-eat-dog. Quick rest period and hit the road and get hunkered down ASAP out at Barry's. I foresee things getting worse w/ civilian law enforcement agencies @ all levels. Better to be hunkered down and prepared for the worst...

  9. If this is a small town as described, there may not be much backup on the way. If backup does come, it may be at the expense of the other road block on the other route through town that was previously mentioned. I believe I would go to the other road to see if this is the case. The ongoing chaos at the current position may allow easier passage through the other road.

  10. If law enforcement is going to fire on civilians without discrimination, things have gotten to the point where a decision must be made to either stay at the hunting lease or go to Barry's. The group must go to one of these locations now & not move again. The situation will only be worse in a few days & travel will be impossible when the military gets involved with martial law. If the decision is Barry's, then they must be willing to use deadly force to get there. I'll bet Barry has something that can be used from a distance to avoid casualties in the group. I'm not advocating harming the police but they did just shoot into a crowd of innocents which in my book just changed everything.

    1. Without discrimination? Did you read the story where the man charged the deputy with the intent of KILLING him? That is a discriminating fact (of the story, mind you). Again, if you were a resident in the city, you'd want that deputy. Do you honestly think that a man willing to run over an armed deputy wouldn't kill someone for food or water?

    2. Sounds like the guy wasnt looking to kill the LEO but more like he just wanted to be on his way and was willing to try and make that happen. Sounds like the LEO put himself in the path and then shot the guy. Bad play on the cops part...
      "One of the deputies, though, decided to play chicken with the speeding truck, running into the far lane and standing in its path."

    3. "A voice came on over a loudspeaker, booming through the relative stillness of the night.
      “Please return to your vehicles,” the voice said, “This road is now closed.”
      …….The police officer with the mic something to one of his fellow officers, then raised the mic to his mouth.
      “Ladies and gentlemen. I’m truly sorry, but due to the curfew and the limited resources in the town, we are unable to allow anyone else through,” he said, trying to reason with them."

      By all means, encourage civil disobedience. They were told twice to leave. And seeing an officer, shotgun raised, not slowing ("as the pickup bore down on him") = intent. I fly the BS flag at your argument of "the guy wasn't looking to kill the LEO." I realize this is a work of fiction that we are arguing, but I have a distinct feeling that you have a chip on your shoulder about LEO in general.

    4. The LEOs shot into the crowd, not just at the guy in the truck. They should have taken cover & returned fire only after allowing the innocents to escape. The only civil disobedience I see is preventing US citizens the right to travel freely. I for one would get out some of Barry's toys & clear a path to his place before it's too late. This is going to be a prolonged situation & the group is not prepared enough to make it at the hunting lease for very long.

    5. A few John Wayne types here no doubt! Innocents were placed in danger by those in the crowd who decided to fire from the crowd using them as human shields not by the LEOs. These shooters are no better than terrorist scum who hide behind women and children to conduct their cowardly acts. Unfortunately innocents get caught in the crossfire, any combat vet will tell you that no matter how hard they try sometimes its just going to happen. Anon "preventing US citizens the right to travel freely" WTF, so I guess whenever you drive up on an accident and the police have the road blocked you just drive right on through because it is your right. I think not! Looking good Alex so keep typing away.

  11. I don't know that they can wait to go to Barry's now. A rest and regroup period would have been great, but it might be best to go while there's confusion and chaos...blend in, floor it and don't stop if at all possible.

    Reinforcements are definitely going to be on the way to this area. Possibly in the form of the new APC style vehicles, painted either black or OD with a big red, white and blue federal seal on them...

    Forget the hunting lease if you can go the alternate route to Barry's NOW...

    1. I was the one that made the comment about a brief rest period; but thinking about it now...maybe you and some of the others are right. Might be time just to grind it out and get to Barry's. Someone made a comment about taking over Barry's digs out in the boonies, that'd be another concern of mine if I was in the group. Get there, settle the women and kids in and get cracking. I know this is fiction, but plausible. I hope that the rest of the crew were able to bring as much as they could (food, ammo, firearms, med supplies, etc...) to take to Barry's. Once they are there, have a feeling they will be there for awhile and probably have to deal with "unwanted visitors" from time to time.

  12. 4 quick shots, civilians down and you've just made buddies with the local law.....
    Not saying that's what I'd do but it is an appealing option....

    1. I thought about that too, but I immediately thought at this point, if Barry gets shot, you're screwed because you don't know where his bug out cabin is...by all means protect Barry at all costs. Not to sound cold, but especially right now...

  13. Who was left in charge of the dog to make sure it did not bark it fool head off while its owner was playing recon rick? That dog is a huge asset until it does something to make it a huge liability. Just saying.

    1. Good observation. I'm hoping Barry has trained it to stay/guard on a reliable basis.

  14. The "Real Shit" is on folks - haven't you been paying attention to the story ? Respect the badge?? Fuck those cops - they should go home and take care of their own. Think they care about you?
    My way - get the fuck out of it.

    1. Wow, what a dweeb...no need to get carried away, bro...

  15. It seems that most readers are assuming the road to the lease is going to be any easier to than what they have now. If the order is to close roads why would the others be open? They don't have much time, they are running on caffeine pills, marshal law is coming and their only hope of avoiding internment is getting outta Dodge. I think they need to decide if they want to survive or not. I think I would try to give the cops a chance to withdraw and then open the road by any means necessary.

  16. Not to get too far ahead of things, but; it sounds like options are running low now. A little bit of rest then back on the road. I'm not a "keyboard commando", but if things are breaking down between the citizens and law enforcement, well it's time to get everyone to Barry's. SHTF in the worst way. I have a feeling as this story progresses, that the group will have to actively engage a multitude of enemies. Overzealous feds, bands of gangs and probably the enemies the US is engaged with. I see things getting WAY worse before they get better and the original group thinning out some. Whether it is due to severe personality conflicts, or dying due to engagement, the group will be cut in half by the time this is all over; good or bad.

  17. As another poster mentioned above, I believe there was an alternative route around the town mentioned earlier. It was assumed that this would have a roadblock as well. However, I think the odds are good that the other roadblock will have the officers pulled in order to provide back-up to those manning the roadblock on the main road who are engaged in a firefight with an officer down. By the time our protagonists get there, there is a high likelihood it will be undermanned or unmanned entirely.

    As for picking apart the scouting strategy, these folks aren't Delta Force. They probably aren't always going to take the most tactically sound path, especially when they are exhausted and hurried.