By: Jared Ford
“That’s not all either” he said “one hundred, two hundred maybe?”
He looked at me wildly as he pulled his hatchet out of our guest’s forehead. Now, I say guest, but I’m more or less borrowing that term, because he wasn’t invited. He just appeared, like a surprise guest. Yes, one second I’m pouring a couple neat scotches for my brother and me in front of my bay window, the next, I’m staring at this fat piece of shit walking up my driveway, aiming an assault rifle at me. Me!
“I just bought this god damned villa two weeks ago! And now I have to blow the whole damn thing up? Two fucking weeks Mikey!” I screamed. I have reason to be so upset. This will be my 3rd vacation home I’ve lost to armed warfare. “This is some fucked up luck, why does it always have to MY vacation home eh? Why have we never had one fucking gun battle at your fucking house Mikey?”
“Because you’re obnoxiously noticeable! Christ, you might as well drag some fucking beer cans off your bumper when you roll into town! ‘Roll out the carpet, here comes Teddy!!’
“I take offense to that” I do. “Besides, it’s like mom used to say, he just has such a massive personality! C’mon let’s get inside, quick!” I said.
We darted through the front door, sliding to the ground with our backs to the wall.
“Who the hell is after us this time” my brother said. I looked at him, genuinely trying to decipher what prompted this attack, to no avail.
“I’m not sure, but I think we’re going to find out soon enough” I said.
I peeked out the window to assess the situation. 6 men, dressed in combat black, were visible in my driveway. Two of them were crouched behind my Chevy Silverado, the other 4 made their way towards my front door in crouched position.
“We got 4 coming through the door in 15 seconds Mike. You take left, I go right”. Mike nodded and crawled to the doorframe, placing his back against the wall and sliding up to a standing position. I stood just behind the small half wall that extended about 4 feet from the right side of the door, hunched low and listening intently.
They were just outside the door now, I could hear their footsteps, the faintest jiggle of the door handle… I reached up quickly, twisting the door lock to the unlocked position and ducked back down. The handle twisted, opened an inch. I could feel my heart beating so hard and fast I thought for sure they could hear it. This wasn’t the first time by any means, but I always get the same feeling when I’m about to be killing.
I grasped the handle of the hatchet tightly. The first two men entered through the door, I could just make out Mikey behind it through the frosted glass. With a glottal scream, I stood to my full height, swinging my hatchet, up, around, and down into the first man’s left clavicle. His eyes were the size of saucers, caught in surprise, as blood gushed from his shoulder like the Bellagio water fountain. I yanked the axe from his bone. He screamed a blood curdling scream.
His partner turned towards us, rifle raising to meet my gaze. Time froze for a moment, a geyser of blood still showering down upon us, as I looked my killer in the eye. I saw his trigger finger twitch, and just then, Mikey slammed the door shut as hard as he could into the men, sending them tumbling to the ground, knocking the aforementioned rifle loose. Diving over the wall in a sort of terrible somersault, I grabbed the rifle, propped up on one knee, and shot one round in the mercs head.
Looking up, 5 feet ahead of me were 2 more black clad men. They fired and the door splintered dramatically as I rolled to the left. Bullets continued to pummel the door and surrounding wall as Mikey and I crawled low and fast away.
Centered under my living room bay window, I stood quickly, immediately catching all 4 remaining mercenaries in a split second of shock. That was all I needed and I sprayed holy retribution, pumping all 4 men full of lead until the clip was empty, and like the shattered glass around me, they quickly fell to the ground.
“So which is it, 100 men, or 200 Mikey?” I said
“Fuck man, I don’t know, I just saw a massive fucking convoy heading up the mountain while I was starting the fire pit out back. I ran around the side of the house to tell you, and that’s when I saw that first guy walking up the driveway, rifle in hand, and you in his sites. I launched my hatchet as hard as I could, like we were taught in Boy Scouts, and caught him right between the eyes.” Mikey was grinning smugly, obviously impressed with himself.
If there were truly that many mercenaries coming up the mountain, then we were terribly outnumbered and unprepared. This was supposed to be a fucking vacation! The only weapon I brought was my .45 Glock and I know Mikey didn’t bring shit. We had to get out of there, and quick. Only problem, was that the villa was on a massive mountain top, visible 360 degrees, with wide open, rolling hills. It would be difficult for one sharpshooter to hit a moving target, but 100 mediocre shooters with automatic rifles, surely one of them could find their mark. No, I had to get more creative than that…
“Mike, are the Dune Buggies gassed up?” I asked. A wild smile came across his face.
“Sure are, first thing I did when we got here!”
“Good”, I said, “We’re gonna need them, but first, we have to get to the basement”
“I told you we have to blow this damn place up didn’t I?” I wasn’t much happy about destroying my 3rd vacation home, but God, explosions are like Viagra for me and I already knew exactly what I was going to do.
Mikey and I ran to the basement, grabbing my Glock along the way, and jumped the stairs to the bottom.
“There’s a couple cans of kerosene in the back corner Mike, grab one, set it next to the propane water heater” I knew we only had so much time, and I had to act fast. I found a sledge hammer, grabbed it, and after finding the temperature and pressure relief valve on the propane heater, I smashed it, once, twice, three times. That did the trick, it was wickedly damaged and could no longer relieve the pressure it was designed for. We had about 10 minutes before it would blow. I grabbed a rope and fastened the kerosene can to the bottom of the heater.
“Teddy, you’re a fucking genius” my brother said.
“Get to the basement door! We have to be perfect Mike, perfect. The second this tank goes, it’s going to rocket up through the floor boards, along the way, the flames will ignite the kerosene can for a second explosion. We have to get to the shed immediately, fire up the Dune Buggies, and bolt down the South side of the mountain. At the very bottom, the ravine splits 3 ways, left, straight, and right.
Take the left and follow it until it turns into a low running stream. There’s a large, abandoned mine on the left hand side. We’ll hide in there. Got that?” It seemed like a lot to get perfect, but I know I could handle it, and my brother can be just as great as I am, when he has to be. We could survive this.
“Got it. And if not… I fucking love this crazy life of ours bub. Godspeed!” Mikey and I stood just outside the basement door, underneath the back deck. The shed with our getaway vehicles was only 50 feet away, but we would be dead in 10 feet with the clear shot our uninvited guests would have. The distraction was necessary and just as I started to doubt my ingenuity…
The sound of exploding pressure and splintering wood was deafening. We ran. I managed a glance backwards just in time to see my water heater go soaring through the roof of my villa. At that exact moment, the kerosene can ignited, creating a second explosion that blew away the roof and instantly engulfed it in flames. I was going to miss this place…
We made it to the shed unnoticed. Mikey threw open the doors, and jumped headfirst into his dune buggy. I grabbed an armful of supplies from the shelf, haphazardly tossing them in the passenger seat of my dune buggy. Flashlights, a lantern, matches, bug spray, a machete, and a thermal tarp. That’ll have to do. We started the ignitions, and the two engines roared as we blasted out the shed, taking one of the doors down with us. The commotion was too loud not to be noticed, but at this point, we didn’t care. Speed was of the essence.
Mikey took the lead, and I followed, inches behind as we dodged sage bushes, shrubs, and random boulders. The mountain turned frighteningly steep, and I felt my vision shift ever downward rather than straight ahead. It felt as if my buggy might flip forward at any moment but we couldn’t worry about that right now.
PEW, PEW, PEW, TING!
Fuck, they’ve found us. Bullets started raining down the mountain at us, the occasional ting of a hit on the metal frame only brought on more anxiety as I switched to evasive maneuvers, steering wild zig-zag patterns down the slope. Mikey was getting further ahead as he was only focused on going straight.
All of a sudden, Mikey’s buggy launched violently into the air, flipping end over end, before landing with a shrill scratching sound, sliding down the slope upside down, on its top. The back right tire had been shot and was completely obliterated.
My heart stopped beating, my foot slammed on the acceleration. I raced to my brother, fearing the worst. I neared the crash site, ripped the E-brake, and sent my buggy into a controlled drift, sliding around his upside down buggy to the downhill side, sheltered from oncoming bullets. Mikey was hanging, his long hair touching the ground, from his seatbelt. Blood dripped from his face. I praised
God that he had had the presence of mind to wear his safety belt as I rushed over to him.
He was breathing. He was alive! He was deeply unconscious. Unfastening his belt, he plopped to the ground like a ruck sack. I grabbed his wrists and dragged him to my buggy, lifting him into the passenger seat, securing him. I jumped over him, into the driver’s seat, and floored it.
As I entered the ravine, bullets rained down uselessly, creating small clouds of dust in the gully walls. I had made it out of range, thank God, and my brother was still alive. For now.
At the fork, I went left, slowly, as the terrain was becoming ever harder to navigate. This little canyon shrank to about 20 feet across before it emptied out into a small, fast moving stream. Another 1000 yards and I could see the abandoned mine entrance up ahead. Flipping on the headlights, I headed into the darkness. The mine was long, and I must’ve driven 2 miles inside the mountain before I felt we were safe.
I grabbed the lantern, and its glow lit the entire cavern. I laid down the thermal tarp and dragged Mikey onto it. He was bleeding badly from a gash in his forehead. Very badly. There was no way this massive gash would heal together on its own, and with a grim realization of what I had to do, I pulled out my wallet. I always kept a small mending kit tucked in there, for exactly this purpose, but I had never had to use it before.
Knowing how bad this would hurt, I took advantage of Mikey’s unconsciousness and got to work sewing his face back together. When I was done, I ripped a long strip off my shirt and tied it tightly around the wound. Ripping off another strip, I walked around the cave, collecting moisture where I could and used the wet cloth to clean his face. I started to wonder if my brother might be in a coma, when one eye opened.
“What the-“Mikey stammered.
“Easy buddy, easy. You’ve certainly got some degree of a concussion and a nasty gash on your head” I was genuinely relieved to see him regain consciousness. His hand went to his forehead, fingers running across the fabric, feeling the stiches below.
“Where the fuck are we? Some dark ass hospital? How am I stitched up?” he asked.
I held up the mending kit in the light so he could see it.
“Nooo” he said with incredulous doubt.
“Yup! You’re welcome” His grin was so infectious, I couldn’t help but grin back. “Sit back, and get comfortable buddy, we’re gonna be here for a while."