We were ready before dawn; at least we thought we were. How could anybody be ready for the kind of thing we experienced today? Our plan worked beautifully, but it was a plan designed for a different situation than what we found ourselves in.
The assumption was that the pirates would come in from the south. There were fewer zombies from that direction, the roads were clearer, and they had ended their day a few miles south of us yesterday. We would watch the other directions and had some plans for dealing with changes, but this is where we would be setting up the ambush.
They could come up Batavia, which was more likely, but also the river trail. The river trail would leave them far more exposed in a fight. Our primary ambush site would be on Batavia, about a hundred yards south of the car wall and fence. We could easily overwhelm a force of a dozen men from this position or respond to a shift to the river in time to ambush there.
Three teams worked before dawn stirring up the zombies outside our barricades. We played CDs with recordings of engines, glass breaking, and women talking. The zombies responded well and gathered where we wanted them by the hundreds. The Lincoln Bridge, Lincoln Avenue east, Fletcher Avenue, and Taft were all provided hoards before dawn. As light broke, I could see way over a thousand of them up Taft Avenue. The zombies sure like to move in the early hours more than later in the day.
We didn’t hold them in place. Once we knew we had an instant hoard ready on all our approaches, we let them find their nearest hiding places as they saw fit.
Kelsey, Will, and Jared headed out before the zombie play in order to find their perches. Kelsey and Will would cover Batavia two hundred feet south of the ambush point. Their M110 sniper rifles would be in prime range to pick off anyone trying to flank us or beat a hasty retreat. Jared took the big M107 fifty caliber, long range sniper rifle and an M110 to the sand hill at R.J. Noble. He would be able to cover the northern half of our sanctuary and had a clean firing lane down Batavia.
Rex led the ambush team to its site on Batavia. His team consisted of Maria, Eduard, Mark, and Richard. They had two Humvees with them, only one had a machine gun mounted. They took up position on the roof of a two story building and prepped ropes for repelling down the back wall when needed. Eduard and Richard stayed at the Humvee with the machine gun in order to drop some heavy fire on the targets once the firing started.
Lauren and I were the security team. We stayed back from the road to make sure nobody was able to outflank the ambush team during the attack and would come up for support if needed. We had a Humvee with a machine gun, so we could provide some heavy firepower when the time came. Our reserve team would be available from inside the Batavia fence as well. This team was Fabian, Angela, and Vicky in two dump trucks. Patricia and Evelyn were in the third Humvee with a machine gun near the river in case we had an attack come from that route.
Janelle stayed in the castle proper to watch the kids. They were to stay inside Patricia’s living room the entire day. This way they would have the most protection from gunfire that we could provide on such short notice. Janelle would have her hands full watching nine young ones and keeping them occupied with all the noise around them. She took her work very seriously. I could tell by the way she cradled her Predator shotgun and retrieved extra ammunition, just in case.
It was two hours after dawn when Kelsey called in the first siting. She watched vehicles turning north onto Batavia from Katella Avenue. They had an assortment of heavy trucks and one armored personnel carrier that had “Long Beach Police” painted in large white letters across the side. Seven vehicles turned the corner at an easy pace and headed our way.
I checked their station and they were talking about getting up in the morning and making their way to the mall. This wasn’t adding up. They were feeding us the radio chatter!
I gave a warning to our teams and got status updates. The river was clear, but Jared saw zombies stirring up past the Lincoln Avenue Bridge. That was their flanking move. Patricia backed out of site onto the canal road, ready to move towards Lincoln. We had cleared the stacked cars so she would have this mobility.
The two pirate units were setting up perfect timing to hit both walls at the same time. If we hadn’t prepped and deployed before they got here, they would have been able to devastate us with the initial assault. Instead, Rex turned Batavia into Fallujah.
A black backpack flew down from the roof. It was a normal enough pack, just like a high school student would use to carry his books. This full backpack didn’t have books. Instead, it had twenty pounds of C-4. Rex was at home setting the timing fuse and hurling it off the rooftop between the first two vehicles.
I felt the explosion before I heard it. A crater was blasted into the center of Batavia. The lead truck, one of those heavy lift tow trucks, flipped forward, and then landed on its side. The Armored car lifted clear off the pavement and came down hard on its other side, crushing its own wheels and axles in the process.
A dozen smaller explosions followed in the coming seconds as Rex, Maria and Mark lobbed grenades down on the other trucks in the convoy. The rear vehicle, a county maintenance truck, had its engine hit and catch fire. Two more in the middle were disabled and the remaining two tried to pull out of line and turn around. They had tires shredded in the explosions and were running on some of their rims.
As the explosions were ripping through their convoy, Richard pulled their Humvee around the north corner of the building and Eduard peppered the enemy with machine gun fire. Men and women were scrambling to get out of their vehicles and escape the deadly fire raining down on them.
Chaos engulfed the enemy group as they tried to seek safety. Dozens of them lay dead or dying in the street. The others scrambled behind the damaged vehicles or fled to the buildings on both sides of the street. Rex had his rooftop team flee the roof as fast as they could so as not to be trapped. They repelled down the ropes and got in their Humvee under covering fire from Eduard.
The two Humvees pulled north on Batavia to the canal, ripping into wreckage of the pirate force as they went.Confusion reigned as fiery explosions burst out of buildings and cars around the ambush site. Lauren, in my passenger seat, was clicking through a series of remotes that were talking with home-made detonators on fire bombs set throughout the perimeter of the combat area. Napalm and gelled gasoline bombs were set inside of tire piles. Their ignition quickly created a thick acrid smoke that clung to our little war zone. They were perfect for concealing the advancement of our most brutal weapon.
On the Lincoln Bridge, the pirate unit hoping to flank us drove to the container wall with three trucks, a commercial armored car, a garbage truck, and a five ton cargo truck. They must have heard the start of the battle, but kept with whatever plan they had. The armored car pulled to the side while the garbage truck rolled forward to shove the cargo containers out of the way. They were so well coordinated in how they operated that Jared thought they must done this a few times before.
This time was probably a little different for them. Jared clicked his remote when the garbage truck started to move the containers. Boom! The truck was engulfed in a pillar of flame, lifted off of the road, and became a burning hulk in the middle of the bridge.
With that as a signal, Patricia unloaded with her machine gun, rounds ripping through the cargo truck. Evelyn slowly moved forward on the river trail until they had partial cover behind the high wall next to the garden. Her gun had no effect on the armored car other than knocking off circles of paint and leaving impact dots on the ballistic glass. This was not good.
The armored car didn’t want to go through the blazing mess of the garbage truck so it turned around on the bridge. At the south rail of the bridge, it stopped. Then, from the back of the armored car, two men with rocket launchers emerged. They didn’t look like the rockets from a Rambo movie. They were a little bit larger.
Will started to take aim with his long range sniper rifle and squeezed off a round, missed. They aimed and fired a rocket at Patricia’s Humvee. It found its target and the Humvee was hit low in the rear. It flipped clean into the air, bounced and landed facing the opposite direction. Patricia didn’t have a chance. She was partially exposed on the gun and suffered a broken back and massive head trauma.
Jared then came into his own with the sniper rifle. Two of the four men were dropped with fatal chest wounds before they could get into the safety of their armored car.
The whole incident took too long for these pirates though. By the time they had finished getting back in their vehicle, a sizable hoard had formed on the opposite side of the bridge. Wreckage and the weight of their own vehicle kept them from generating enough speed to break through the many hundreds of zombies that were slowly advancing on them. I could imagine their panic.
Jared was on top of the situation though. He called Fabian. He had Fabian use his dump truck to push the containers back into place so that neither the armored car nor the zombies could get inside the barricade. Within ten minutes the armored car lost the ability to move more than a few inches because of the great press around them as over a thousand starving zombies sought their first bite in months.
Smoke filled the streets farther south on Batavia. I had Lauren get in the driver’s seat of the Humvee and I manned the machine gun. She sped through the parking lots east of the ambush zone and I laid down fire on small groups of pirates, keeping them dispersed and under cover. I only hit a few on our trip through the lots, but it cost them critical time in getting under cover.
Waves of zombies were descending on the area by the hundreds. The pirates became less concerned about Lauren and me; they cared more about the hoard that was around them, only partially visible because of the actively burning fires and thick smoke. Screams were coming from across the area now.
Lauren punched the accelerator and turned north, racing past some pirates running north to the safety of our walls. I ducked down into the Humvee to avoid the small arms fire. It was a good thing too, because a spray of automatic fire popped across the lip of the machine gun port.
She took a hard left down the canal frontage road, following Rex’s team. Their vehicles were not in sight. I told her to go near the end of the access road and stop before coming out at the river. Upon stopping, I got on the gun and waited for them to cross the canal line. They did.
At a full run, eight of the pirates leaped at the wall to climb over. I unleashed the machine gun and got three of them in their mad dash. The others leaped over the wall or laid on top where I couldn’t get at them. The gunfire didn’t stop when I stopped. Two pirates were blasted back off of the wall into the forming hoard of zombies below.
From the top of the wall, they were hit by Rex’s and Fabian’s teams. They didn’t go down without a fight. These guys had automatic weapons and poured out a lot of fire before they died at the wall. One of them found their mark. Rex was at the lead of his team when one of the pirates lay prone and began to fire at them behind the embankment they used for cover. Rex took a hit through the neck and bled to death in seconds.
Richard was quick thinking and yelled at everyone to run for the castle. They did, just beating the runners to the gate. Lauren and I weren’t so fast at it.
We drove up the river trail and saw the destroyed Humvee sitting near the wall. With Lauren covering me, I checked Patricia first. She was dead. Evelyn was alive though. She had been knocked unconscious, but otherwise seemed in good shape. I pulled her out of the destroyed vehicle and put her in our back seat. Lauren buttoned up the hatch and then took care of her.
The radio reports were coming in fast. Will reported the group on the Lincoln Bridge were hopelessly trapped and had runners circling and beating on their truck. The hoard didn’t get through the container wall, but the runners could get over it if they changed their mind on the menu.
Will reported that the two partially functioning trucks tried to head south. He and Kelsey tapped the drivers and the passengers fled on foot. That was a big mistake for them because Will hit his remote controller and set off the sound alarms placed around Taft Avenue, just south of their location. The pirates were quickly caught between the hoard to the north and another from the south. Screams broke through the air as they scattered looking for shelter. Runners were loose in the streets now, so fleeing from them wasn’t so easy.
Kelsey kept watch to the south as the battle wound down. At a distance, she saw the front of a vehicle pull back from the intersection at Katella. Will, wrapped up in his remotes, started up the airplane. Taking off from the roof, he buzzed the south hoard and hit the smoke alarm. It blared south towards Katella with a horrendous buzz. Three runners bolted south after the noise.
Gunfire erupted at Katella as the plane circled the intersection, calling to the zombies. Dozens of shots later, the airplane crashed to the ground in silence. The damage was done. The runners had their direction and a hoard was coming north from the area of the police department. Anybody at that intersection would have to flee quickly to not be caught up in it.
We had a real problem now. Our car and our two snipers were outside the barricades amid hoards of zombies, including dozens of runners. Pirates may still be holding out in some of the buildings, armed and with real bad attitudes after their defeat. Will is also at the top of the sand pile, unprotected from any runners that may come through.
I told will to burrow down and stay out of site. He already had a blanket over him, covered in sand. He wasn’t likely to be spotted by zombies as long as he stayed still. Will and Kelsey were on separate rooftops, but they closed the roof hatches to avoid any nosy runners. They’ll keep out of sight until we can get through to pick them up. All of us outside the wall have enough food and water for a day, but after that it’ll get bad.
I talked with Fabian and Richard into the night making plans for tomorrow. I didn’t sleep much, the runners and shamblers outside the Humvee kept us all awake.