***Note from the management: This is fiction. Comments are encouraged, especially ones speculating about future events. The value of a story is not that it is a perfect road-map for the future but that it teaches us to drive with our high-beams on.***
A plan was starting to come together in my head.
I once shot two bucks from the same stand on the same morning. I was able to pull it off because I saw where the first buck died. I did not leave the stand and muck-up the run with my scent. Later that morning I was able to shoot a second buck, and then a doe. We ate well that winter.
The men on Harry’s roof clearly thought the shooter had been on the berm. Not only could I take a second shot from my current hide, but I could probably shoot with impunity.
Doc Lisenby* had drilled basic strategy into us. “If your enemy has a handgun and you have a shotgun, open the distance to thirty or forty yards and kill him. Don't f___ around. Kill him."
"If he has a shotgun and you have a rifle, open to 120 yards and kill him. If he has a short rifle and you have a long one, open the distance to three hundred yards.”
Then I asked “What if I have the handgun and the other guy has a shotgun”
Lisenby spit on the ground for emphasis and said “You either better have your will written or learn how to be invisible because you probably aren’t going to survive.”
It was Doc's belief that very few people had the skill to be effective with a handgun beyond ten yards. There may be a few, but they are rare. Add the fact that pistol shooting is hard in the best of times, then factor in adrenaline and the need to duck bullets coming your way and he probably had a point.
I was shooting a long gun that fired a bullet that was pretty good at bucking the wind.
The men on the roof were shooting 5.56 NATO or Commie 7.62mm and didn’t know where I was. Or if they did, they would only be guessing at the exact Kentucky windage. On the other hand, I was dialed in.
One thing you learn playing poker is to not give information away for free. I decided to play the stealth game just a little bit longer.
The men on the roof were staying well away from the parapet that faced Verlinden and the berm around the demolished factory. They weren’t quite so careful about staying away from parapet on the south side of the roof.
I guessed it was because of the A/C units on the roof breaking the north wind. Based on their silhouettes in the scope, they were wearing tight, stylish clothing that offered very little in the way of warmth.
The were pacing around trying to generate body-heat.
I let them settle into a pattern, then I took up my shooting position again. I set the crosshairs near the south edge of the roof and waited for Mr Blue-face to wander through them.
A little bit of pressure on the barrel ahead of the scope to depress the horizontal cross-hair so there was just the tiniest amount of light between the top of the target’s head and the bottom of the cross-hair.
Then I waited until the vertical cross-hair lined up with the outside of his shoulder.
It happened slowly enough that I was able to synch up my heartbeat and breathing.
Half a second latter, Mr Blue-face and the tablet rolled off the south side of the two story roof. I bet that hurt.
Then the radio-handlers opened up fire on the buildings to the south of them.
The time for stealth was over.
I started methodically racking the bolt and firing.
They figured out where I was after I toppled the second one of them. I only heard a couple of bullets ping the side of the box car I was in.
Reload the magazine. Shoot it dry.
Reload the magazine. Shoot it dry.
They tried to use the parapet for cover. Good luck with that.
Load. Shoot. Load. Shoot.
And then I was dry on ammo.
Time to skedaddle.
I slipped out of the box-car and locked the door like a good citizen and then slipped over the tracks and made my way west.
I took a very long, very indirect route to Marie’s house. It was the better part of three miles.
I saw no one.
There were a boatload of cars in front of her house.
I let myself in through her side door. Mom’s little dog greeted me.
Ann was sleeping on the sofa I had planned to sleeping on. Her husband Mark was sleeping on the living room carpet.
I was glad they decided to bug out. Really, I was.
I unrolled my cheap pad by one of the furnace vents and put the fanny pack under my head for a pillow. I had slept under worse circumstances.
The furnace wasn’t working, of course. No power.
I sent Lizzy a text “All OK here”
It was fifteen minutes after midnight.
I pulled the stocking cap over my eyes and was asleep within seconds.
*Doc Lisenby was a real person. He shot long range competitively. He did not use coarse language (that part was fiction). Doc Lisenby lived in South Carolina. He died in 2008.