Monday, July 2, 2012

Novel Entry - Chapter 3

This will probably wrap up the sample chapters from Part 1 of the series.  Prologue, Chapter 1 & 2 can be found here:
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The complete part 1 (through Chapter 8) can be found here:
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3
Geram took his time with his coffee and stared somewhere beyond Jake, as if searching for the proper way to start.  He finally let out a deep sigh and began, “Tell me what you know about Texas and the border.”
“Texas; all we really get is the official word since most of the internet has been shut down.  There are some wild rumors floating around, but it’s impossible to verify anything.  The news basically says the border is hot right now, but the local state guards are supporting the National Guard and Border Patrol in hopes of containing it; the border ranchers are in big trouble, but everywhere else is basically the same as here:  the big cities are full of protestors and riots, the suburbs are getting dangerous and it’s starting to spill into rural areas.  Martial law and curfews abound.”

Geram rocked back in his chair, balancing on the two back legs as he closed his eyes and began, “It’s much worse bro, I’ve seen it myself.  The border isn’t hot, it’s on fire; we’ve basically lost soil a hundred miles deep in most places along the border.  San Antonio and Corpus Christi are on the front lines of the war, fighting in the streets for their southern suburbs.  Tucson is behind enemy lines and Phoenix is split in half.  People are fleeing north like refugees to places like Houston, Dallas and Albuquerque.  Many who have seen the worst aren’t even stopping there; they’re leaving the border states.  The citizens down there are convinced the feds are willing to cede those states as a sort of pacification.  Besides, they say, we can’t afford or aren’t willing to push back hard enough for these cartels to fear us.”
“War?  Like a real war?”
“Yep, like a real war except it’s on our own soil; but wait, it gets worse.”  Geram’s eyes were wide open now, and he was leaning forward intensely.  “We were told that six Humvees had been stolen by the drug cartels from a National Guard armory and it was our mission to search and destroy.  Their last known whereabouts was in Raymondville; that’s northwest of Brownsville, not far from the border.  We headed south on Highway 77 from Corpus Christi in four M-ATVs on a night run; there were twelve of us. It was eerie; the northbound shoulder of 77 was lined with cars that had broken down or simply run out of fuel.  Some cars never made it to the shoulder, people just left them in the highway; like I said, a real foreboding feeling.  It looked like I-10 after Katrina, except much worse.  The fact that our trucks were completely blacked out and we were viewing these scenes through the green hues of our night vision equipment only added to our unease.

Southbound 77 was wide open, so we made good time to Raymondville.  Jake, I swear this is the truth, the sign at the city limits said ‘Gringos turn back or die’ and had a pike on each side of it.” Geram paused for a moment as if to collect his thoughts, and continued. “There were heads on the pikes, human heads – Americans’ heads.   We slowed down to a more reserved speed and each put a man up top.  I was one of the four; you could say we had the best, or maybe the worst, view.  I had an M2 Browning; the rest of the guys had M240s. 

Mission briefing said to be alert for signs of territory disputes between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, but that was an understatement. It looked like a war zone: burned cars, buildings destroyed and piles of rubble – in America.  

But here’s where it didn’t make sense to us – we were ordered to stay on our secure frequency.  They said several squads had been ambushed after being contacted by English speaking hostiles posing as local farmers or friendly patrols.  Under no circumstance were we to monitor outside communications.  The mere thought was simply ridiculous to our squad leader, to say the least; his thought was we might as well be going in blindfolded.  It wasn’t in his squad’s best interest, so it wasn’t in his playbook and we weren’t about to argue with that. 

Raymondville isn’t that big, so it didn’t take long to find a good observation point and locate our S&D.  We stopped on the overpass on the east side of town and positioned three guns on the southbound lane looking west, straight down Highway 186. The fourth gun was on the northbound lane covering our rear.  The place was like a ghost town, so it was easy to detect movement.  The drive south had put us all on edge and we were ready for a pound of flesh for what was happening here.  From my vantage point I could see churches, fast food restaurants, all sorts of stores and shops – it was your typical small town.  My chest was burning with anger.  After about an hour, we saw them.

It couldn’t have been any more perfect:  we heard the gunfire before they were in our line of sight, then two sets of faint headlights.  Two small Toyota trucks were screaming east on 186, straight towards us; they were approximately three miles out when we first had a good view.  Behind them were four of our six S&Ds in hot pursuit but losing ground.  From that distance, we had a little over two minutes before they would be under our us; the two cartels were focused on each other and even if they did see us, it’s not like either group would stop trading fire with each other to engage us.  Our squad leader ordered us to hold our fire until they were almost under us; we would then send a wall of lead down at a thirty degree angle and let their momentum push them through it.  Any surviving vehicles could be picked off at leisure on the other side by the fourth gun and small arms fire.

We scanned the radio frequencies and heard what sounded like an exchange between the two groups – fast paced heated Spanish peppered with expletives that our even our translator couldn’t make sense of.  As they approached, we set our sights as ordered; waiting, waiting – it seemed like a lifetime.  Finally, we were given the order to fire; in an instant I had taken a deep breath and engaged the butterfly trigger on the back of the rifle.  The world exploded around me in gunfire and explosions, but it took me a second or two to realize that I wasn’t firing – I forgot to remove the spent brass I had wedged behind the trigger as my safety!  By then it was too late, the vehicles were careening under the bridge at varying angles with bellowing smoke, flames and screeching tires.

One of the pickup trucks veered off and slid sideways along the right shoulder of the highway.  The truck continued down into the ditch, then up and out as it performed a magnificent flaming barrel roll aided by a concrete drain pipe’s sloped headwall.  The second truck spun and almost managed to come to a complete stop in the middle of the highway, but instantly was punted to the left shoulder as the two front Humvees slammed into its side simultaneously.  To our surprise the four Humvees accelerated out from underneath us two-wide, straddling the center of the Highway 186.  Our rear guard opened fire on the Humvees, but we never imagined what would happen next.  A booming voice came across their radio ‘Sheee-yit!  We’re on the same team!’  The booming voice was in that undeniable west Texas cowboy drawl.  I immediately felt sick; there was no doubt in my mind we now had American blood on our hands.

1 comment:

  1. Oh this is getting great, thanks.
    Papa Mike
    III

    ReplyDelete