By Michael Morgan
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
This is the continuing story of Emma Pitts after the end of Three Righteous Souls, now available in the Amazon Kindle Store.
— 5 —
The troops scattered along the wall facing LULU’s warehouse, careful not to show themselves in front of the windows. Emma settled next to Meyers behind a pallet of boxes. Her shotgun was useless against an individual target at this range, but holding it provided comfort where little existed. Meyer took off his ruck and rested his old lever-action over the top as he took aim at the only visible sentry across the street.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Emma mumbled.
“Try saying that when you’re Jewish,” Meyer returned.
“It’s show time!” Murphy’s exultant shout announced his return.
A rushing-rattle passed behind them. “One magazine and we go,” Boyd said before moving to the next position.
Emma watched as the sentry turned to look inside the building. The chaotic rush of people pouring out of the door knocked him backward. They grouped in the parking lot. Some coughing, others with tears and snot running down their faces. Wild gestures accompanied the muted shouting coming through to Emma’s ears.
“Light ‘em up!” Silas shouted, and the windows dissolved into shards as bullets reached toward the crowd.
Emma could not hear the gunfire or the screams of the people across the street twisting and falling, but she could hear the steady clack-clatch of Meyers cycling his carbine between shots and the sharp pinging of brass landing on concrete. She could only watch the Danse Macabre occurring across the street.
Meyers slapped Emma on the shoulder, “That’s my six, let’s go!” He shouldered his ruck, and Emma followed him back through the warehouse.
Ones and twos filtered out of the dim light to group around Silas who stood counting by the loading dock’s overhead door, “Twenty! Excellent! No deserters. This way!” He pushed open a man door, leading them down the concrete steps and across the back lot at a run.
“No extraction available,” Mulvaney closed his flip-phone in irritation. “We hump our way back.”
Silas sounded calm, almost sleepy, “Seems a shame to break contact with the enemy after such an overwhelming success.”
“Pardon me Commissioner,” Mulvaney pocketed his phone, and dropped the magazine out of his rifle. “I would like to remind you that we have been clearing buildings for three days, and we are on the short side of the ammo. Unless you know of an inbound supply drop, we are in no condition to re-engage that many LULUs.
“We don’t know how many there are. Do we?” Silas’s voice was dangerous. “They could have suffered significant casualties from the gas even before we fired on them, and we will not know unless we go back.” The voice turned mournful, “How will that look in the reports I have to file when we return?”
Emma peeked around the corner, and signaled her companions to move up. Jake and Murphy jogged up and flattened themselves against the wall.
“Where to?” Murphy whispered.
Emma kept her eyes on the buildings across the street as she spoke, “Building on the corner. If we get close to the top, we should be able to see the warehouse.”
Murphy sighed, “You’ve got the keys, so after you Madam.”
Glass. Oh Lord how I hate glass. Emma pointed her shotgun across the street, took a breath like she was about to plunge into freezing water, and broke away from the comforting solidity of the concrete wall at a dead sprint. The glass façade and doors were rushing at her as she desperately tried to see past the ragged soldier running at her. The reflection blocked any hope of spotting hostiles behind the curtain of glass. At least nobody is shooting at me. Dirt and small bits of debris almost dumped her on her ass as Emma slid to a stop in front of the double glass door. She let the sling catch the shotgun as she strained to reach the crowbar behind her left shoulder. A quick rap on the lower corner, the safety glass spider-webbed, and collapsed with a sound like heavy surf hitting a beach. Bar in her left hand, pistol in her right, she stepped through and attacked the inner door as the sound of running feet grew behind her.
“Fire stairs?” Mulvaney demanded as he cleared the portal. At Emma’s shrug, he waved the next man to the right. “Stairs! Find ‘em!”
Left-right. Left-right. The team flowed into the building. Silas was always last no matter which direction they were going. Always watching for deserters.
“Stairs here!” came the call from the left side of the lobby.
“OK. Everybody listen up,” Mulvaney shouted. “Secure this lobby. Boyd!”
“Yo!” Boyd waved from the reception desk.
“Get topside and assess the damage,” Mulvaney pointed at two trooper, the square of lobby furniture, and the doors. “Block that up.”