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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had a warm reception here on the survivalist boards! Being that I didn't get canned as a spammer or fussed at for talking about my book, I've decided to give you all a special treat. Here's a story just for you guys. I'm sitting down and typing it up right here---no copy and paste. Once again, thanks!


I thought I was old then. Now I look back and think how young I really was. The war aged us all and still does, those of us still around. One old guy asked me the other day, "Zip, why do you talk so much about the past??"

What else is there now? I'm close to the end here and now is the time when you inventory your life.

I can't remember much before the war with China, the one that never really ended. Why would anybody want to? You torture yourself thinking of the good things everybody had like safety, food anytime you wanted it, fuel to go anywhere you wanted to go and most folks could expect to live in relative peace. After we knew things weren't getting better, we blocked out all the happy thoughts of the past. Normally you'd get a warm feeling thinking back followed by hours of depression.

No, this was all that ever was and all that ever will be. That was what was repeated in the mind of a strong man.

Moving stuff by river was not uncommon then due to fuel shortages. Looking back, we really had a lot of fuel compared to now. We still held onto it. The only fuel we used on the Ogeechee was mixed with oil and put into our chainsaw. That was used to clear trees that had fallen over the river and blocked out boat.

That was our job, moving stuff down the river to a resistance camp deep in the swamp. We'd pick up the stuff near little bridge in a village called "Herndon." The guy who let us use his boat ramp was sympathetic to the cause. Most folks were since there we're many PLA around at the time.
He'd peak out of the window at us while we loaded up.

I don't know what kind of deal these guys had worked out with the resistance guys. They were US Army, sure. I don't know if they took money for what they did or if they passed on ammo and supplies because their CO wanted the resistance guys to have it. It was the same two each time. They drove a civilian truck but wore US Army digi camo. All the chatter on their radio backed up the head resistance man's claim that they were regular military. I wouldn't normally care what the deal was but you're mind wandered sometimes during long periods you spent waiting on them to show up. Their record for being late was 6 hours so far.

They'd normally show up and give up the signal. Flashlight came on, shown on the bank, then the middle of the river and then back to the bank again. Off and on again and we were paddling from our "fishing" spot to the boat ramp. Once in a while we had a few fish and the soldiers would trade us an MRE or two for some. The tall red haired one loved catfish apparently and got excited when we told him we had some.

The night that sticks in my head the most was the night that they almost broke their 6 hour record for beint tarty. It was almost morning in fact. They showed up, gave the signal and we hurried to the ramp.

"Hey," called the short dark haired soldier in a shouted-whisper. "Hey, boatsmen!"

"Whats up?" George called back from the prow of the boat.

George was my roommate and had been before the war. He and I had moved out to his dad's trailer home which sat on the river. At first we went out there for the generator, thinking this thing would be over quick or at least the lights would come back on. We ran out of fuel for it and sold it to the resistance guys about 2 weeks after it all started. That's how we got the gig we had with our boat.

We had a third guy in the boat. Pauly. He was a quiet country boy that hadn't spent much time outside the area unless you count the two years he spent in prison over "some BS." Pauly was often mistaken as a teenager or even a little kid because of his height. He looked like a monkey in the face, at least to me. Nobody could tell if he was incredibly smart or incredibly stupid. He had a way of keeping you guessing.

"Got any news?" the soldier asked us as we got closer.

I looked at George. "Why would they be asking us for news?"

"When's the last time you came off the river?" he asked me.

"Ever since I gave up seeing my parole officer," Pauled answered. "I'll be honest though, that was months before the war. There's probably a warrent out."

George rolled his eyes and tossed the tall soldier the way. He grabbed it and both men on the bank hauled up until the hull scrapped on the rough concrete.

"Gangs in this area," the shorter one said. "We had a run in with them earlier. Well, not us but the army."

"Seems like the army could take on a gang," I said.

"Well, they are more like an army themselves," the tall soldier said waving his hand downstream. "Probably bigger than our mutual friends."

"Where did they come from?" George enquired.

"Looks like they are a result of them clearing out the state prison," the tall soldier shook his head. "At least some of them we think. What a stupid move. As if things weren't bad enough already. I can think of a dozen better ideas than letting thousands of criminals loose."

I glanced over at Pauly. His expression didn't change.

We loaded up two M4 carbines, 3 cases of 5.56 and one case of .308. There was a large box of medical supplies and another two medium sized boxes that were unmarked. We expected them to tell us if anything unmarked contained explosives. After they'd loaded all of it up into our 15 foot john boat, they added two tubes containing 60mm mortar shells.

Normally we'd get a case of ammo for rifles or pistols. We'd get a few mortar rounds in the tubes and that was it. Once in a while we'd get some food to transport but that was rare. The resistance guys normally gave us their old mortar shell tubes and we used them for fish traps. This was the biggest shipment yet.

We left and headed down the river, the sun just starting to light up the eastern sky towards the coast. We tried to hurry since we normally didn't travel during the day and normally could conceal all the stuff we normally transported. There were more people on the river those days, most fishing for food. A lot of prying eyes were understandable given the situations we were all in.

We'd got about two miles down river when we saw a huge tree blocking our path in a narrow part of the river. It was a live tree too. It's branches reached out from where it rested in about 5 feet of water. It was odd for a live tree to fall without the help of a storm pushing it from the soft bank into the water. It was odd but it happened.

"Damn, of all days!" George cursed. "There's too much there to saw through. I don't know if we have the fuel to even try."

"Just saw as much as you can and we'll do our best to push it on through," Pauly said.

"No..." George shook his bald head. "Let's carry-around. We can drag across the sand."

"We'll need to unpack some of the supplies first," I suggested as I put my foot down on the sandy bank opposite where the tree had fallen from. It was sand for about 10 feet and then reeds for another 50 feet until you got to the woods. It wasn't the worst place to do a carry-around.

"Something ain't right," Pauly said, his monkey-like face as serious as a hanging judge. "Hang on for minute..."

George and I both would have thought anybody else was just trying to avoid work but Pauly wasn't like that. He was a solid worker than seldom tired. He was also a top notch swamp man.

Pauly kicked his boots off in sand and placed his pump action shotgun over his boots so as not to get any grit in it. He drew his .44 Tarus revolver and started climbing through the branches of the fallen tree, headed for the other side.

"Looks like a monkey now more than I've ever seen," George stated as we watched the nimble young man hurry to the other side, branch to branch.

We started unloading the supplies as Pauly struggled with the last leg of his journey across the river. George and I immediately decided that it was going to be difficult to drag the boat across the sand, even with our meager supplies in it. We unpacked everything and even turned the boat over to drain some water that had collected in the live well. That was when we heard him.

"Damn!" came Pauly's frantic voice, "This tree has been cut! Get the boat in the water!"

Just then a crack came from the trees on Paul's side of the bank. A bullet whizzed over head and we both hit the ground. George cursed and dove for his lever action 30-30 which was laying on top of the boxes. I had my .357 S&W and that was it. We had 12 shots between us, not counting Pauly's shotgun which was laying further down the bank near where he had went in.

More shots rang out. One was automatic and had the sharp snap of 5.56. We were in trouble. I knew Pauly was dead already until I heard his .44 cough twice.

"Get 'em Pauly!" I shouted as I fired a wild shot across the bank into the woods.

Pauly ran and dove off the higher opposite bank and hit the water with a smack. He came up, holding his pistol over his head as he tried to swim the last few yards to the bank and to his shotgun.

Damn damn damn! I was in a panic. I had never been in a gun fight before. George seemed more calm as he held his rifle at the ready over the boat. I dug down through the sand with my left hand. It was a futile move by my grandpa had told me how you'd be surprised how low into a rut you can get when you are being shot at.

A bullet hit the boat's hull and nearly gave me a heart attack. George sent one back, working the lever on his rifle with ease. By then, Pauly was up on the beach. He grabbed his shotgun as he ran past his boots and dove into the reeds.

We all should have just ran. We should have all cut for the woods and left everything. Should. What a word.

I saw one of them about the same time Goerge and Pauly did. He was running low, trying to get to the edge of the bank and cover behind the trees, one would assume. We all three fired at him. Blap, bam, BOOM! He fell like the grim reeper had touched him, which I guess he did.

George might have claimed credit for the killing shot. George might have done a lot of things. The first round hit George's rifle, destroying it.
 

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good start Chris and good to have another writer.
how you fellas come up with your plots is beyond me. I've said before I have trouble with a grocery list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cup of coffee poured and we're ready for part two. Keep in mind this is straight from me to you---no editing or planning. Thats what makes it fun like a campfire story made up as the teller passes the night with his comrades.


PART 2 Ambush on the River.


The second round nailed George dead center and slung him back against the ground. He raised up to a seat position, a look of shock on his face. His mouth opened to say something but no words came out. Another bullet buzzed past, I don't remember hearing it fired. One arm went out from under George and he fell backwards again. Blood soaked the sand around him.

George was out of the game. He was out of the game of life. He'd played it well and even in his last moments, made few mistakes. I guess it was just the start and quick end of the worst run of bad luck George had ever had.

Pauly seemed uneffected by it. I was in shock. Frozen like a picture in a frame. It didn't feel like I still had a gun in my hand. The whole world seemed to just float around me or me in it. I was going to pass out. George was just shot dead in front of me. I'd been friends with him since highschool and known him before that even. We hadn't joined the resistance because we wanted to avoid something like this from ever happening to us.

I left something behind on that riverbank. I left something behind besides a few357 hulls.

Pauly shouted to me, "we stay here, we die!"

He was right. I took off running for the trees just beyond the patch of reeds. I fired my remaining rounds wildly behind me in the direction of the attackers. It was difficult to open the cylinder and dump the spent brass, reloading on the run wasn't an option.

Pauly was good enough to cover me while I ran. I feel like such a coward for him doing so. As soon as I reached the trees, I crammed 6 fresh rounds of deer-stoppers into my .357 and turned to cover Pauly. As soon as he heard me fire the first shot at the little trace of movement across the river, he was up and running.

He could run fast while keeping low. This was a skill you seemed to aquire in childhood if you lived near a swamp or forrest. In Pauly's case, he lived in a swamp his whole life. In speaking to him, it was difficult to figure out if Pauly fully understood what the internet was. George had told me years ago to not talk over Pauly's head much if it could be helped. His lack of exposure to the outside would was one of Pauly's few sore spots. Right now, none of my "big world" knowledge could save us. Pauly could though.

Pauly made it to the trees and covered a few feet away from me. "I'm thinking ten guys. Maybe."

"I think we'd better get out of here," I began.

"Not an option," Pauly shook his head as he shoved in shells into his shotgun. "First they killed George. Second, we got an agreement with the boys down the river. They've already paid for that stuff down there and we can't let anybody take it. You're word is all you really have."

He was right. We couldn't walk away from it. Pauly pointed out that nobody could get near the supplies and the boat without being in shotgun range and without any real cover. So now it was a waiting game, one that could be over quickly if someone wasn't careful.

"Leave or die!" came a hoarse sounding voice from across the river. "Cut your loses or die!"

I started to fire a shot as a reply but Pauly stopped me. "Might be here a while. You'll want to save what you've got."

"How many shots do you have left?" I asked him.

"About 20," he answered. "Should be plenty. You?"

"I've got six loaded and another six before I'm dry."

Hours past. Every now and again, a shot would ring out from across the river and a round would buzz by, sending chills up my spine. I thought of the rifles meant for the militia group laying in plastic wrappings, just to our side of the supply pile. An automatic rifle in our hands would end it out quickly.

"George was a good fellow," Pauly commented. "You sure he was dead?"

I almost laughed. "Sure? He was most certainly dead. Blasted through the chest."

Pauly raised his head a little to get a better look down at the bank. "Seen people live through a lot. You'd be shocked what a human being can go through. That and a deer."

If George had lingered on for a little while after being shot, he showed no signs of it. No, his life was gone from him before he even went still. Maybe Pauly was just making conversation but it bugged me.

"We got one of them," Pauly added. "Probably the dumbest one of the bunch. Others might have been glad to see him go. You reckon they're prisoners that have been turned loose?"

"That or just standard methheads," I told him.

Methheads or ice-heads were a huge problem to common folk after the war. For some reason it seemed like every one of them thought you either had meth or what they needed to make meth. Certainly you had something they could trade for meth. METH. The only thing worse than a methhead out looking for meth was one who had happened to find some. True, it was all about survival now but manufactoring meth was a quick way to get rich and/or dead.

You first had the process that could kill you. Meth labs blew up a lot. A lot of times the resistance helped them along via a pipe bomb or two. If you wanted to make enemies with them quick, start making of trafficing drugs. Rumor had it that some of them had a hand in it out west but none we knew of on the east coast had anything but hatred for the institution of drug abuse. The second thing was the kind of people you had to deal with and deal with all hours of the day and night. Most would purchase drugs from you on Monday and rob you on Wednesday after they'd been up for two days straight. My little crew of 3 never even discussed the possibility of having anything to do with it all.

Meth seemed like the motivation behind the ambush. I'll tell you why. Our attackers sat on the other side of the river all day. We could hear their chatter but not make out exactly what they were saying. Words came fast and frantic as the day dragged into evening. Once in a while one of them would scream out a threat or insult. One even claimed that "our friend was still movin'! Better come get him before he bleeds out!"

We knew better than that, even though the words bit into me hard.

"We might be in trouble when it gets dark," I said to Pauly. Pauly had grown up hunting deer and could sit all day in one spot without a problem. He'd taken a lot of days off from school to practice.

"Come dark, me and you are going to circle around and kill 'em," Pauly nodded. "They won't expect us to do that and might be thinking of the same thing. They die, we live, we keep our end of the deal plus payback."

I considered the fact that we'd already killed one of the robbers. It made me feel good that Pauly didn't think one of their lives was an even trade for George's.

We didn't wait for it to get completely dark. Pauly said we needed it to just be dim enough to make it hard to make out what was going on from where the bandits were hiding. Pauly instructed me to crawl through the far side of the high grass, right along the water's edge. He'd make his way to a spot upriver and cross. I was to get into position and wait until I heard "the signal."

I found out quickly that most of what the high grass was growing in was mud. Luckily my withdrawel earlier had been across harder ground. This mud was the sticky, smelly kind that everything collected and rotted in towards the end of the wet season. I got to the water's edge and slipped in. I had my extra rounds in one hand and my revolver in the other, over my head slightly as I slowly moved through the water.

Just then I saw a shape...then a face. One of the robbers was doing the exact same thing I was doing! Both of us stopped and looked at one another for a split second.

"Hey!" he shouted at me.

Up to our heads in the water, it was difficult to shoot. That didn't stop him. He turned his pistol sideways and opened up. Water splashed around me and I dove under the dark river, still clutching my .357 and the precious rounds. In the blackness, I could only think about the fact that when I came up for air, I'd get my head taken off. Your lungs don't care about fears of that nature.

Up I went, to see the robber climbing out of the water on the bank. A few seconds later and I would have been a dead man. I pointed my pistol and fire. The fire round missed, causing the man to turn. The second round hit him in the midsection, doubling him over. The third round just snapped on the hammer. Nothing. The good thing about a revolver was that if you landed on a round that wouldn't fire, you just went on to the next one by pulling the trigger again.

It wasn't necessary. The man dropped to the sand, screaming in pain and rolling around. He kicked hard and cursed like I'd never heard anyone curse in my life. I watched in horror at what I had done. It wasn't like shooting and seeing someone fall. No this figure was an up-close human being that I sent off to a world of pain.

BOOM! Shak! BOOM! Pauly was now in play too. I hurried to the other side of the river and pulled myself up by some tree roots. Once on the other side, it was chaos.

Muzzle flashes were everywhere it seemed. How many people were in this fight? It was terrifying to imagine. I was covering low behind a tree when someone dashed past me. It was way too tall to be Pauly so I fired a shot after them. The person let out a cry but I think it was more out of surprise than injury. I didn't hear the leathery "smack" that you hear when I bullet hits hide, but rather the clatter of a round bouncing through trees.

BOOM! Pauly must have scored a hit because right after his last shot, someone shouted, "Oh God, I'm hit!" Pauly was nothing to mess with in the woods.

I tried to find a target but saw nothing. Pauly ran up to me and I recognized him from a ways away.

"They ran off," Pauly huffed as he struggled to catch his breath. "But they might get their balls up and come back."

"How many were there?" I asked hurriedly.

"Eight I think. I put two down. Wounded a third," Pauly answered. "He ran off though. You?"

"I got one for sure," I pointed behind me. "He's not dead. Just right down there on the beach."

"We've got to get the stuff and get out of here," Pauly pointed down at the boat. "Leave George. We'll come back for him later. He ain't getting any deader."

I nodded and headed back for the water. Luckily the robber I'd shot had dropped his pistol. I kept an eye on it even though it's owner was flopping around like a dying fish.

Once there, I picked up the pistol, a Taurus 9mm and showed it my belt. Without saying a word, I ran over and helped Pauly turn the boat over and start loading the supplies.

"I'll k..kkilll you one day...." the robber shouted at us. He began to push himself through the sand towards the high grass, gritting his teeth and holding his bloody gut.

"And I was going to kill you today," Pauly shouted back. "But now I think I'll just let you die on your own. Learn to keep your big mouth shut!"

To this day, I wish I had walked over and put a round through the back of the man's head. He slid along the beach like some failed experiment, leaving a blood trail that you could see even in the half moon's light.

We got back in the water on the other side of the tree. We hardly heard the threats and curses over our paddles spashing through the water as we tried to put a lot of river behind us.

"Trash," Pauly said as we slowed down a few miles down the river. "He's in for a long night. Serves him right."

I thought about how cruel we'd been and then told myself I wasn't going to let it cross my mind for a very long time.

Little did I know what drug addicts come in a lot of different flavors. This particular one, the one I'd shot, was a special breed. He'd always carried a little emergency stash of ice in a plastic bag hidden on his person. His buddies didn't know about it and he kept it that way. As soon as he was sure we were gone, he'd got it out and snorted the stuff right out of the bag. Once good and jacked up, his gut burned less and he was able to stand up. Now his bleeding was worse but he knew how to temporarily fix that. A tampon was a good field expedient for wounds like his. He knew he could BS some well-meaning individual to think he was an injured militia man. He just had to find such an individual. Wasn't there some houses a few miles back? Get medical attention, get better, get revenge.

How do I know all this about the robber? That's another story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I hope you guys enjoyed the story! I might take a break from writing the Cruel New World series and write a book of short stories that goes along the same lines.

This is my thanks to you guys for not calling me spammer right off the bat and thus not letting me talk about my books! Once again, you can only find the "Ambush on the River" short story on Survivalist Boards. I won't post this story anywhere else. Feel free to share it with your friends but tell them to come here to read it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everybody! This is a sample of the kind of writing I do (except with editors who spell check things for me). Most of it is the WW3 version of places I've been and things I've done. I enjoyed writing this campfire tale for you guys so much that I might even work Pauly into a book. I kind of liked him before it was all over with.
 
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