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Winter is coming.
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2,898 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first attempt at a short story. Feed back welcome.

Enjoy.

The Hill

Chapter 1

The engine started to splutter. For 6 hours he'd gunned that chopped sedan across the baking desert. Attempting to go around the larger rocks and barely avoiding a dry gully. Now, within sight of the hill, the battered smoking hulk of a vehicle had given its all.
"Cmon you bitch, dont quit now!"
In response the motor emitted a final gasp and gave up the ghost. The hissing sound of steam issued from from the exposed engine bay as it rolled slowly to a stop.
He sat there a while as the remaining dust kicked up by his frantic flight caught up and enveloped him. He pushed up the filthy motorcycle goggles and coughing pulled down the bandana that had supposed to have been protecting his face from the bugs and dust. Scratching dirt out of his thick beard he closed his eyes and raised his face to catch the faint breeze. There was none. Lowering his head with some disappointment he opened his eyes and focused on the irregular rise in the distance.
"Not far." He breathed
An hour or so on foot probably if he ran. The problem was he still needed some gas in the tank for when he arrived. Not much he could do about that though.
"Just get on with it."
Sliding off the seat he exited the vehicle where the door should of been. The heat of the cooked V8 mingled with hot desert air as he quickly grabbed his worn military pack and hunting rifle. Tossing his motorcycle gloves, he took out a battered plastic coke bottle from a side pocket and drained the last of the stained water within. It'd have to do, there was nothing else til he reached the hill. Nothing else for eighty miles in any direction for that matter. Slinging the pack and tightening the belt and straps as he squinted back in the direction he had come.
Dust rose in a line in the distance. He could just make out the mass of black figures below it. Advancing across the flat landscape at an inhuman pace. Never tiring, never letting up.
"Tough buggers." he spat.
They might not feel pain or thirst, but the desert must be taking its toll. Their numbers did seem thinner though it was hard to tell at this range. Even the Madmen gotta drink sometime.... surely.
He pulled back the bolt action on his rifle and checked the chamber was clear.
"Old habits die hard, even now when the dying is easy." He thought as he slammed the bolt back and inserted a magazine from his jacket pocket. Pausing for a moment to marvel at the task ahead of him he shook his head.
"I aint dead yet." He resolved through clenched teeth.
"Not by a long shot."

Facing the hill, he turned and started to run.
 

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Winter is coming.
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2,898 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The Hill

Chapter 2

It didn't take long before it became clear he wasn't a young man anymore. The heavy leather boots he'd found ideal for scavenging around the detritous of former towns had became leaden instruments of torture. His right knee had started complaining after only a couple of miles and now the pain was impossible to ignore. His pack had been punching him repeatedly in the kidneys since he had set off on foot.
"This is ****ing stupid!" He growled to himself and slowed to a halt. Hands on hips he sucked air into his lungs and walked in unsteady circles sweating buckets.
He'd been fit once. He could've handled this with no problem and would've enjoyed the challenge of pitting himself against the desert. God knows he'd carried packs far heavier than this and further than this and in hotter bloody deserts too. That was a lifetime ago now though and all he felt was pain. Pain in his legs, pain in his lungs and pain in his soul for that lost life. It had been a good life full of the usual struggles, but happy. Images of his family flitted through his mind. Smiling faces, soft skin, innocence. Then the image of a Madman with his leering blood spattered face.
"Dammit!"
Quickly as they had come he banished the thoughts. They only led to one place and he didn't have enough time or enough whisky to deal with them right now.
"Focus mate." He told himself "You got a job to do."
Looking back the way he had come he took the covers off the sight on his rifle and blew the remaining dust out of the sight aperture. Definately closer he could tell that with the naked eye. Through the magnified lens of the sight he could now make out individual figures loping across the open ground, arms hung strangely loose by their sides clutching rudimentary weapons and the head forward, fixed. On him. On the hill.
Sweat stung his eyes and he lowered the rifle to wipe it away. Then out of the corner of his vision he caught movement. CRACK! The report of the .308 was followed by a slight ringing in his ears and he saw a sunburned, half naked figure drop where his crosshair had been only a split second before. A familiar rising anxiety over took him. That was quick, too quick. No he was sure it was a Madman, no sane person would out here, certainly not in his y-fronts. He couldn't recall even chambering a round.
"Check your shots boy." His fathers stern words came out of his mouth as he scanned the landscape to see if any other Madmen had broke ahead of the pack. That guy had only been 75 yards away, give or take, he was wasting time.
He heaved off his pack and dumped it on the ground. Fossiking around inside he pulled out some canyoning sandles and a lightweight canvas satchel. Two deft cuts split the laces on both boots and he kicked them off. He slipped the sandles over his socks and tore off his jacket grabbing only a handfull of loaded magazines and stuffing them into the satchel. Grabbing his rifle he set off again, clearing it on the run.
 

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Winter is coming.
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2,898 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, that bits a little unclear, plus the chapter doesn't have the 'feel' i'm going for. I'll play with it a bit.

Cheers
 

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Winter is coming.
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2,898 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Chapter 3

He weaved between the rusting corpses of cars, trucks, generators, fridges and other assorted crap he'd salvaged over the last few years and deposited in the junkyard at the base of the hill. He'd made it to home turf.
With an ungainly hop he leaped up on to the bonnet of an old Mercedes and scrambled on to the roof. Looking back into the desert he saw his pursuers closing in. They were spread out now, the closest was only a mile away or so, but the main group was further back closer to 2 miles he hoped. His chest heaved from the exertion of the run and he turned towards the hill. Sparse scrub covered the loose stoney slopes for around 100 yards. The scrub gave way to taller trees where it leveled out and a rocky out cropping rose above that. Not much of a hill, but it had water and that made it an oasis in this God forsaken place. Who had built it or why was none of his concern, but the small concrete pipe running down one side, out across the flatlands and disappeared underground, filled a large rainwater tank full of clean, fresh drinking water. Before anything he needed water, his head was throbbing and his tongue felt like an old piece of leather in his parched mouth. He jumped of the car and headed off to the east side of the hill where he found the steps and bolted up them. The thought of water spurred him on as the steps zig zagged up the side of the hill. Reaching the top he entered another world.
The trees provided dappled shade and up here he could feel a gentle breeze. Jogging past the hut he went straight to the large concrete water tank and twisted open a red valve at its base. Cool water burst out and he grabbed a nearby plastic bucket filling it and tipping it over himself. He gorged himself on water as quick as he could, refilled the bucket and dashed into the hut. Dumping the bucket near the door he put his rifle and the satchel on the stout rough hewn work bench in the middle of the single room hut. From a shelf near his writing desk he grabbed a short double barrel shotgun and a canvas belt of shotgun shells. Throwing them on the table, he reach for a large revolver in a gunbelt, changed his mind and grabbed a different one off the wall and strapped it on tight. He pulled out the colt automatic and checked the magazine before placing it back in the holster. The long double edged knife on the other side didn't need to check he saved the edge for a single purpose. He strapped the shotgun cartridge belt above the gun belt and headed towards the door grabbing a couple more magazines for the rifle on the way out.
He stepped out on to the verandah and leaned the shotgun against the galvanised steel cladding of the hut as he eyed his little piece of paradise. He had been starting to get some real results out of the vegetable patch. Small birds twittered amongst the branches above. Worth fighting for. Worth giving hell for.
He set off around the water tank and up the slippery slope of the rocky outcropping. Reaching the top looked out across the desert at the advancing mob of lunatics. They spoiled the somewhat spectacular view in his opinion. The desert had done its work though and their numbers had dwindled from a couple of hundred to around 70 or 80 he didnt have time to count, some were already were within 1000 yards. Going prone on the hot rock he layed out the magazines to his right, got comfortable and cycled the bolt on his rifle. He scanned the desert with his scope until he picked out the closest runner, blue overalls, 500 yards. They had picked up the pace and they must sense their quarry was close, he could see the Madmans arms pumping and the forced grin across his sunburnt face.
He placed the cross hairs on the mans chest, exhaled slowly, held his breath and squeezed the trigger. The rifle jumped against his shoulder and he saw the hit and the Madman go down and get up in the same motion. Right shoulder. Adjusting the dial on his scope one click, he squeezed the trigger again. Splash of red appeared on the Madmans sternum and he crumpled in a messy heap rolling over once in the dust.
Satisfied, he waited for the next one to come within range of an accurate shot, he had to make sure each one counted.
"Ok you Mad bastards" he muttered "Lets see what you've got."
 

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Winter is coming.
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2,898 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks. See AKMs 'The Flare' for some quality Aussie fiction.

I had a Ruger Gunsite Scout in mind for the rifle, but i've left it open for interpretation. It can be an Enfield if you like!
 

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Winter is coming.
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2,898 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The Hill

Chapter 4

Sunlight glinted off the smoking brass cartidge as it struck the rock with a metallic sound, bounced once and rolled to a stop. It joined the growing scattered pile of brass to his right and was quickly followed by another.
"****."
He was rushing his shots now and had just missed the female Madman (Madwoman?) he'd been aiming for. He pressed his bearded cheek harder into the stock and leaned into the shot. The rifle jolted and the ring of the scope struck him in the eye brow leaving a shallow cut. But she dropped.
He growled as he wrenched back the bolt, more out of frustration than pain. Ejecting the empty magazine, he grabbed another and rammed it home. Third magazine with two to go. Twenty shots with 15 drops. Not good enough if he wanted to live through this. Closing the bolt he took aim on another of the grinning idiots. The brass flew as he worked the bolt. Hit, hit, hit, hit, miss...
"Dont jerk the trigger!"
Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit...
"Reload!"
They were approaching the junkyard now and he knew once they reached that his opportunity for clean shots would be dramatically reduced. They'd be weaving in between the rusting vehicles instead of running in a straight line, plus it gave them cover. He'd have to change locations soon just one more magazine.
Miss...
"****!" He shouted to no-one in particular.
Hit, hit, hit, hit....
They started to enter the junkyard and he switched his aim to those further back. Hit, hit, miss, hit... Changing to a kneeling position he fired his last shot and let the empty magazine fall from the rifle as he picked up the last one and ran towards the edge of the outcropping. Reloading the rifle he jumped and slid down the hill. The rocky ground teared through his trousers and into his thigh, but he barely noticed it. He slid to a stop in a cloud of dust and falling stones and ran straight past the water tank towards the direction of the approaching Madmen. Coming to a stop against a tree he leaned against it and after wiping a drop of blood from his cut eye, peered down the steep slope towards the junkyard. He could see them snaking their way through and leaping over the vehicles, bits of pipe, axes, knives in their hands bent on his destruction. Unrelenting ****ing bastardry.
Taking aim on the closest Madman, a shirtless guy with an unruly mass of dreadlocks, he fired and saw him collapse into a rack of salvaged windows. The next shot took a Madman off the roof of an old Mustang. Smoke poured out of his rifle as he poured round after round down the hill desperately trying to slow their advance. The first of them cleared the junkyard and hit the slope crawling on blistered and burnt hands from the desert crossing. He ended the Madmans pain with a bullet to the head. Two more started up the hill and as he squeezed the trigger he heard the soft click of the firing pin hit nothing. Without pausing he dropped the rifle and ran towards the verandah to grab the shotgun when an idea occured to him... it was worth a shot. He detoured to the water tank and turned on red valve unleashing a gush of crystal clean water.
"If i'd just ran 80 miles across a blazing hot desert, i reckon i might fancy a drink." He thought to himself. It might just buy him a few more valuable seconds. He picked up the shotgun on the way back to the edge of the slope, broke it open and inserted two shotgun shells from his belt simultaneously. As he closed the shotgun the first Madman cleared the top of the slope and let forth an ungodly scream. He received a face full of buckshot in reply and disappeared down over the edge. The second one didnt even make it over . Running back to where he'd dropped his rifle he broke open the shotgun as he reached for another pair of shells. Flicking the smoking shells over his shoulder he reloaded and took a bead on the closest of the approaching grinning lunatics. The remains of the main groups had hit the slope now and were scrambling up using the bushes, their weapons, anything to get purchase. He fired down into their midst taking out two at a time. Boom, boom, break, reload, boom, boom, break, reload. They were coming too fast. The next Madman was almost upon him and he fired both barrels into his chest sending tumbling him down the hill into his comrades.
Down to his last two shells he turned towards the hut and ran towards it trying to remember how many boxes of shotgun shells he had left. Before entering the hut he turned and fired hurriedly into the mob as it came over the crest of the slope. He kicked open the door and ran inside, he raced around the work bench and heaved with everything he had. The solid hardwood bench legs slid across the floor of the hut with a screech and he slammed it into the door, shaking the flimsy hut, but barring the entry. Opening a box of shotgun shells he reloaded and started to fill his belt again, but it was too late. A Madman dived head long through the glass window into the hut. He stood up and a smile spread across his blistered and now bloody face raising a hammer he charged forward, but didnt make two steps before the shot hit his centre of mass and took the fight right out of him. They were crawling through the window now, two at a time while others were bashing the door to pieces. He took aim at one that seem to be wearing the remains of a cop uniform , but just before he could pull the trigger he was struck by a thrown brick from the door way. It struck him on the left arm and the shot went wild. The 'cop' came for him and swung a metal bar straight down. Stepping forward to meet the charge he used his now empty shotgun to block the bar and with a roar smashed the buttstock into its jaw with a sickening crunch. The cop went down and with no time to reload he dropped the shotgun and pulled out the automatic at hip. He fired point blank into the mass of writhing, screaming bodies at fast as he could empty the clip, but they kept coming. The Madmen at the door had shifted the table and he saw he was going to get overrun at any second. A filthy bearded Madman dressed in rags slipped past his bullets and came forward with a kitchen knife raised high.
Without thinking he charged forward and crashed into the bum with his shoulder, lifting him up and carrying on he slammed into the wall of the hut and went straight through. He was out in the sunlight again rolling across the ground, he felt the icy pain of the knife cutting his back and screamed out in pain and rage. Pinning the Madmans arms he pushed himself up and smashed his forehead into its face. The body went limp under him and he scrambled free. In the tussle he'd lost his gun and he looked around for a weapon as the remaining Madmen started coming out through the new door to the hut. He saw an axe stuck in a stump near the woodpile and wrenched it free swinging it at the first thing he saw. Blood splashed in an arc from the head of the Madman against the side of the hut as he pushed forward screaming and swinging at anything that came close enough. A thrown whisky bottle smashed into the side of his head and he flung his arms up to protect himself. Unseen bodies and fists hit him and pushed him back, he dropped the axe and was simply trying to cover up from the blows raining down when his feet slipped out from under him. He fell down the slope tumbling and fighting as he went, he pulled out his knife and rammed it repeatedly into his unseen foe crashing and rolling down the hill with the rocks and dust.

He hit the bottom and scrambled to his feet screaming pure rage and hatred at the Madmen, at the world, at everything that lived and breathed. The scream carried on, but seemed to fade in his hearing as a coldness crept over his mind.

The last of the Madmen circled around him watching warily, leering and knowing. Making no move to attack. He eyed them back and felt a warmth radiating from their minds. A collective understanding, an inner peace. Why was he fighting these people? They were his Brothers.

He turned and faced the desert, a cool breeze blew as the sun started to set in the west, but he couldn't feel it. Blood seeped from his closed eye where the bottle had struck, but he didn't notice it. Standing there looking across the desolate land he thought of all the ignorant souls out there that needed to feel the new understanding. Those that didn't understand would be punished. He laughed and an evil grin spread across his bloody face.

Then, arms hung loosely by his sides, he started to run....
 

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Winter is coming.
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2,898 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My missus is psych trained, i think she's gonna have a field day with this when she reads it!

I found writing it.... cathartic.
 
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