Chapters 1-4 can be found HERE.
Chapters 5-8 can be found HERE.
Chapter 9-12 can be found HERE.
Chapter 13-16 can be found HERE.
Chapters 17-19 can be found HERE.
Chapter 20 can be found HERE.
Chapter 21 can be found HERE.
By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright 2004 – 2013
I nodded to Joshua, and he motioned to BJ to follow him out. I went back to get my rifle, grabbed a tablecloth from the altar, and came back to the other two prisoners. I tossed the tablecloth to the guy with the wounded foot.
“Wrap that up; we’ll treat it in a moment.” I looked at them; they were both in their early twenties, the same as BJ.
“How many men did you have here?” The one standing looked at the other, then back at me.
“We came here with 108 people.” I did a quick calculation. Nine people unaccounted for. Support personnel would round off the list, but I had no idea where they were. We’d have to sweep the town unless I could convince them to give themselves up. I looked back at the prisoner. He was calm in the face of an unknown fate. I could not tell if it was from the shock of battle or from indoctrination by the Cardinal.
I called for two men to help the wounded man outside. I motioned the other to walk in front of me. Joshua was waiting at the door.
“Should be nine others. Begin the sweeps. Get a couple of the prisoners to go with you and try to talk the rest into giving up. If not, shoot to kill. We have too many prisoners as it is.” I spoke loud enough for the nearby prisoners to hear.
Three of the prisoners wore stripes on their sleeves. I pointed to them, and Joshua separated them from the group. A group of about twenty men began going from house to house with the three prisoners leading the way, and occasionally yelling out warnings. I turned my attention to the wounded.
Ours and theirs wounded were all grouped around the back of one of the Humvees. Jack and CJ were applying first aid to them, trying to stabilize their condition.
I headed to where BJ was kneeling besides a figure laying on her back on some blankets. She had short hair, and big green eyes. Her thin face made them seem larger than they probably were. She was looking at her brother, one hand holding his hand, the other holding her stomach. I could see blood between her fingers. Her shoulder had a pressure bandage on it, and one of her thighs was wrapped with blood-stained gauze held down by some tape. She was taking quick, short breaths, and her brother could do nothing to help her.
Just then both ambulances drove up, stopping a few yards away. I motioned to CJ. She told the person she was helping, one of the Cardinal’s men, to apply pressure on a bandage against what looked like a clean bullet wound on his arm.
“How is she?” I asked, pointing to the girl.
CJ looked their way, “She lost a lot of blood. I’ve stabilized her, but I can’t do anything for her stomach wound. She needs to get back to the compound, and I’m not even sure she will survive the ride. Even if she does, she needs blood, and her brother told me it’s O-negative.” CJ looked back at me. “She can only receive O-negative blood.”
I looked at the girl, her brother crying as he held her hand.
“Get her back there now. Use my reserve. If she needs more, let me know and I’ll come back.” I turned to the men. “Load the wounded up and get them back to the compound. Two guards per vehicles; use all four vehicles. Put her on the first vehicle and radio ahead to Carlin.” I pointed at the girl as I spoke.
“MOVE!” I yelled.
Some of the people put down their guns and began helping the wounded into the vehicles. They were loaded in order of severity, with the girls loaded last in the first vehicle that was ready to leave. She would be the first off the ambulance. When her brother would not leave her side, I nodded, and he hopped in with his sister. The doors were barely closed when it took off.
Even after seven years, the road was still in reasonable shape. They should be able to get to the compound in ten minutes or less. Before the last Humvee left I grabbed a radio from its storage compartment, and put it down next to my rifle.
By then Joshua was heading back. It looked like he had an additional six prisoners. That left three unaccounted for.
He pointed to the house, “One is in there with the radio. He’s not a soldier, so he’s probably scared and hiding.” He stopped and pointed to one of the new captures. “That guy says the other two are scouts, and they were out with the patrols.”
I turned and rushed to the radio. I crank it up and called out. One of the ambulances answered.
“Be on the lookout for two hostiles. All vehicles acknowledge.” As they sounded off I worried about the ambulances. They were faster than the Humvees, but they were not armored. Small arms fire could probably stop them. The only good thing was that we had come from the compound, and had not encountered the scouts. Then again, they may be very good.
Suddenly, all our troops in the open looked like easy targets. I had a brief conversation with Joshua and some of the men. They headed off, and within five minutes I could not see any our guys exposed. They had also paired up in groups of three. We would be here awhile, and I wanted one to be able to rest while the other two kept watch. It stretched our surveillance thin, but it minimized the possibility of them being picked off one at the time.
“Pass the word to the townspeople. When we ring the church bells, I want everyone to come to this church for a meeting. No exceptions. Also, see if this town has a jail, or something we can use to secure the prisoners. I don’t want them getting shot trying to escape.” I spoke loud enough for the prisoners to hear me.
“And I don’t want anyone moving about on their own.” I continued. “Everyone travels in groups of threes or more. No exceptions, and that includes bathroom breaks.” Joshua nodded, and headed off with four other guys.
The End (well, not really, but The End for now)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.