The fire truck was still running, its flashers and strobes helping to illuminate the mad scene outside. Robinson had parked the truck about 15 feet behind Sgt. Popp’s squad car, which was itself parked almost directly in front of the apartment building main entrance, and was also still running. The three would have to move only about 45 feet from their position on the main landing to the relative safety of the big truck, but would be slowed by the wounded officer they were carrying. The street was growing even more crowded now, a wild combination of slowly walking homicidal crazies and the people madly scampering away from them. Cass had already determined that they couldn’t risk taking other people with them - - there wouldn’t be enough room in their rig for additional passengers once they had secured Popp in the back, and (Bowden’s stellar performance in the hallway notwithstanding) his crew was neither trained nor equipped to survive in the running street battles which had developed with such astonishing speed.
The plan was simple. Bowden would lead. Cass had been very clear that any of the slow walkers who got in their way were to be shot, no questions asked. The three men would make their way to the truck, put Sgt. Popp in the back, then Tasker and Cass would jump up front in the driver and officers seats, respectively. All three men were comfortable driving the engine, but Tasker was officially the second driver, assigned as the wheel man when Robinson was on vacation. After Robinson and Cass, he was the most familiar with the truck and territory. Bowden would stay in the back with Popp, and they would head back to the station by the same route they took to get to the apartment.
Cass and Tasker were crouched by Sgt. Popp, tightening their grip on his makeshift stretcher and mentally gearing up for the short sprint to the fire truck. Bowden slid the nearly empty magazine out of the pistol and dropped it into one of the cargo pockets on his bunker pants, then slapped in one of the spares Cass had taken off the dead officer upstairs.
“How many bullets we got left?” Tasker asked.
“18 in the gun right now, 17 more in the last mag, and I think 4 or 5 shots left in the partial… if we need more than that we’re probably fucked anyway, huh?” It was more of a statement than a question.
“Bowden, if you have to shoot one of these wackos, try and hit them in the head, okay? Whatever they’re fucked up on they’re not feeling anything. Headshots seem to do the trick. Can you do that?”
“Roger that, Lieutenant Cass.”
The streets were still frantic with people, but the area between them and the truck was clear. Bowden glanced both directions down the street. “Got a couple of the slow ones about 75 feet away to the north, Lieutenant, other than that it’s pretty clear from what I can see.”
“No time like the present then, gents. Let’s roll.”
The three moved out of the shelter of the entryway and quickly down the stairs to the sidewalk. They covered the ground between the apartment and the fire truck in seconds, Bowden yanking open the back door of the engine while Cass and Tasker began to slide the injured police officer into the large open back of the cab. Bowden had turned to help his fellow firefighters when he noticed movement in the street. “Fellas, I think we’re about to have some company…”
Their activity had drawn the attention of a number of the slow moving figures passing nearby, and they had turned and begun slouching towards the truck. Bowden kept his pistol trained on them. They were too far away for a good shot, but they were closing. There were two women and one man in the group. One of the women was dressed in nothing but a pair of pajama pants, the other was in an oversized sports jersey. The man was dressed only in boxers, and all three were in some combination of bedroom slippers and bare feet. The scene might have been comical, but Bowden could clearly see that each person had suffered horrendous, possibly fatal injuries at some recent point. The entire right side of the man’s upper torso looked like it had been blown away by a shotgun or some other weapon, and the women both had enormous lacerations on their arms and legs, like they had crawled on hands and knees through shattered glass or metal. All of them continued their slow forward progress, oblivious to their gruesome wounds. If Bowden hadn’t been otherwise distracted, he might have noticed that none of their wounds were bleeding.
“Guys, you about got Popp loaded?”
Tasker was inside the cab, wrestling the big officer into place. Cass could only provide limited help, balancing the officer’s legs against the crook of his uninjured arm while Tasker struggled. “Just another few seconds, Bowden!”
“Don’t have a few seconds, Sir. Shit.” Bowden raised the pistol and fired when the first of the figures was 25 feet away.
The first shot struck the topless woman in the neck, spinning her off balance. She quickly regained her footing and continued forward. Bowden fired twice more, missing with the first shot and tearing away a portion of her lower jaw with the second. She continued forward. He carefully lined up the sights and fired once more, the bullet entering just below her right eye, shattering the cheekbone and exiting at the base of her skull. She staggered once, then collapsed, falling directly in the path of the other female, who tumbled over her and dropped down into the street on her hands and knees. The man was now within 10 feet of the truck, and Bowden could see his features were twisted into an animal grimace, his eyes filmed over like he had been dead for many hours. Bowden shot him once, the round smashing into his nose and burying itself in his brain. He dropped silently to the pavement. Bowden stepped over the fallen man to where the second woman was struggling to get back to her feet and shot her point blank in the back of her skull, flattening her to the asphalt.
The exchange had taken only moments, but Bowden felt numbed by the effort. He quickly glanced around, making certain that none of the other slow walking figures was nearby. By now Tasker had finished securing Popp, and had crawled from the back of the truck, standing next to Cass by driver’s side door. Both men looked queasy as they silently surveyed Bowden’s handiwork.
“You alright, Bowden?”
“Not really, sir. Can we get the fuck out of here?”
“Best idea I’ve heard all day, brother. Hop in back.”
In a few moments the men had all climbed into their respective places on the truck, and Tasker backed away from the curb. If any of the men felt or heard the truck tires crushing the three prostrate figures who Bowden had shot, they didn’t say a word.
Last edited by DannusMaximus
on Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."
- The Hound of the Baskervilles