Bulletproof by La Roux
“This time baby I’ll be bulletproof…This time…”
The buzzing in his ear brought him awake slowly, he blindly reached around looking for the damn alarm clock ready to hit the snooze button before rearing his head to look around for it when his head made contact with the bottom of the desk sending shockwaves of pain down his neck, now he remembered where he was.
Gabriel stuck the pistol back into the holster, crawled out from under the desk, using it to pull himself upright, feeling the kinks and knots crack and pop before fumbling for the button to answer the damn call from Mike.
“Time yet?” Gabriel was sure he had said, but it came out in a groan that gave Mike several seconds to pause before asking, “Uh Gabriel are you there?”
“Yeah I’m here Mike, just not a morning person,” Gabriel massaged his temples with his free hand as he went out into the hallway to the bathroom, “what’s it look like outside?”
“Good news and bad news,” Mike paused for a second before Gabriel muttered something unintelligible while attempting to unzip his pants and hopefully piss without further injuring himself, “good news is that we have a second recon sortie to add to the first with orders to sweep for the town for any living biological signatures, which by the way is only you and a couple dozen house cats from what we managed to pick up.”
“Did you know that you never start with the goods news first right?” Gabriel flushed the toilet and walked over to the small pile of food and water he was leaving behind and picked out his breakfast, casting a glance at the wall mounted clock to see it was only a quarter past four in the morning, well at least he could his stomach time to digest breakfast, so he stuffed his face while listening to Mike ramble on.
“Yeah, the bad news is that I hope you have the poncho handy,” Gabriel looked over to where he had left it sit on the table next to the everything else he wasn’t taking along and rolled his eyes when Mike mentioned the rest, “we got one Hell of thunderstorm brewing, got the brass riled up so they pushed the operation ahead an hour to hopefully draw as many of them away from the edge, the storm will no doubt scatter these undead to the four winds, transmitters or not.”
“At least the storm will help me as well, cover up noise I night make and the thunder will help cover up the gunshots, reduce visibility as well, might be helpful.” Gabriel threw the bag away in the trash can and stared at the rain poncho for several seconds before sighing and began unbuckling himself from everything so he could put it on.
“More worried about how the storm might end up blinding you, with the predicted rain it would make our satellites all but useless to spot the undead, which was what we were hoping for in the beginning, now we’ll be blind, maybe we’ll pick up your IR signature, but this is our only shot.” It sounded like Mike was stressed as Gabriel disconnected the headpiece to pull the poncho over his head.
“Why not just postpone the whole operation until the weather clears up?”
For several seconds there was no answer, “I guess I’ll have to explain the entire situation, you see there are more pressing issues than the possibility of discovering an antidote to this pandemic, such as making nice-nice with the top brass and politicians,” it sounded like Mike was rolling his eyes at the thought, “they are convinced that there is no such cure or possible vaccine without even trying, my department is in charge of getting you to the rally point, where I hope it isn’t too late to get a few blood samples and conduct some research…”
“Woo there Mike, calm down,” Gabriel shook the feeling of dread, not knowing if it was the detached way Mike spoke or when he glanced out the window with the NVS-14 pressed to his eye and caught the green shadows of numerous undead within arm’s reach of the damn fence, “how about we worry about all that after I get the Hell out of here and to the rally point, where I shall happily fall onto a couple needles to give you the blood you need, until then, let’s not kill the prize goose.”
“Anyway, top brass was however kind enough to have authorization to post a pair of Predator drones solely for your protection,” Mike paused for a few seconds, the distinct sound of computer keys clacking away for a second, “both have ground to air anti-infantry rockets, miniature cluster bombs and one of them has a forty millimeter automatic grenade launcher, but you have to be careful, they only have limited ammunition to use.”
“Jesus Christ, I’m only walking ten miles, what kind of firepower do they think I need against a bunch of walking morgue patients?”
“Well the top brass couldn’t talk the politicians into a couple V-22 Raptors or artillery support due to the fact the undead could possibly track the origin of the sound.” Mike answered in a voice that sounded irritated as Gabriel whistled softly to himself.
“You know, I might not vote for them the next upcoming election come to think of it if I had known they had offered that to begin with.” Gabriel finished donning on the rest of his gear, the poncho underneath everything so it would not get in the way of the magazine pouches, even though if he was wearing it wrong, he would rather get semi-soaked than eaten and at least he would have the poncho in the future.
The undead outside were not interested in the building by any means, Gabriel noted that the dull rumble of thunder had a few of them frantically searching around for the source of the noise, but for the most part they were unaware. Good news was that they were all around the front of the hospital, a couple blocks away and perfect for he wanted as he carefully strapped everything down and adjusted everything to where he could either reach it easily or it didn’t make any nose when he was moving around the room. Bad news was beyond the edge of the street he had no idea what he would be running into as he quietly slipped out the back entrance, HK416 up to his shoulder as he spotted the first undead lingering near the edge of a building, right where he wanted to go.
He placed the tip of the chevron in the middle of the forehead, it wasn’t moving, more or less slumped against the building while looking off in some random direction as Gabriel squeezed the trigger softly. He was startled by the recoil, having prepared himself for the loud report, but it was hardly any louder than a muffled cough as the undead dropped to the ground with a neat hole about an inch higher than his point of aim and Gabriel figured the loudest noise was the empty shell casing bouncing off the pavement somewhere near his feet.
No undead wail to alert every single one of them with half a mile he was around as he slipped into the alley, not quiet touching the wall so he didn’t drag something across the masonry that would make enough noise to be heard while walking heel to toe softly, a trick he had learned when he grew up hunting. The alley lead to the front of the building and the street had about thirty undead that he could see, a part of him wanted to turn around to go back to the clinic and hide, but the rationale part of his mind continued to press forward as he dropped to one knee behind a trash can, quietly thumbing the button to release the bipod legs so he could carefully brace the weapon on the lid of the trash can.
The first one was facing away from him as he rested the chevron on the back of its head and applied gentle pressure to the trigger, watching with grim satisfaction as it dropped to the ground in a boneless as he switched targets. From this position he could easily reach out accurately and snipe forty-six undead without once missing, having to pause to reload and patiently waited for the next undead to walk into his line of sight before moving on.
Peeking around the corner to his right allowed him to see another dozen or so stumbling among the static vehicles as he used his left hand to grab onto the edge of the building, bracing the rifle on his forearm for support and started firing. He quickly dropped the empty magazine into his dump pouch conveniently located on his left hip and reloaded, wincing softly at the loud sound the bolt made when it slammed home with a new round in the chamber, even though he was sure it couldn’t be heard more than fifty feet away as he looked to the left, surprised to see not one of the undead within sight.
He sprinted across the street and went down another alley to the back parking lot, where he spotted half a dozen undead that he quickly dealt with and was cutting across the parking lot diagonally when he heard a soft moan from behind him.
Stumbling away from the building were three of them, how he had missed seeing them when he stepped out from his hiding spot had nearly cost him his life, Gabriel simply fired off half a dozen quick shots before dropping them, the last falling to the cool pavement eight feet from the tips of his shoes as he spun in a circle slowly looking for any more lurking threats. None were present as he kept going, hearing a faint droning off in the distance between the muffled peals of thunder far off in the distance, no doubt the drones were on the move already and almost on cue, the ear piece rang softly.
Gabriel hit the answer button and whispered, “Kind of busy Mike, what do you want?”
“Can you hear the drones yet?” Mike asked, Gabriel winced and turned down the volume a few clicks before answering with a simple, “Yes Mike I hear them, now what?”
“You have five minutes before the drones to leave your area, they are heading away from you, but not for long, sooner or later they are going to be coming back, we are holding the recon sorties aside for now, no need to let every one of those things know you are in the neighborhood.” Mike answered as Gabriel jogged over to the gate and stepped through, he wanted to put some distance between him and the nearest buildings.
Rather than follow the back streets all the way to the highway, Gabriel decided the mile or so jog straight through a lightly forested area that seemed to have been cut back years ago to avoid any sort of forest fire from reaching the buildings and nature had been slowly taking it back. Short bushes and young trees dotted the grassy knoll, he would simply follow it down to the edge of the highway, the wild grass was barely waist high on him and it made a lot more sense that fighting every foot of the way to the highway.
Distant peals of thunder were becoming louder and the droning more consistent as he continued through the tall grass, stopping every so often to look and listen for any possible threat before moving on, now he could feel the wind picking up slightly and the air was heavy with moisture.
“Jesus Christ Gabriel!” Mike sounded frantic, “They are all around you, get the Hell out of there now!”
For a second Gabriel froze, realizing the blunder he had made, though he couldn’t see any undead, he had a feeling that he was in the middle of a bunch of them and then the thunder boomed directly over his head.
It sounded like regular thunder, though much louder and close enough to cause Gabriel to jump, for several long seconds nothing happened and then all Hell broke loose.
Undead started to stand up in the tall grass, the closest being less than twenty feet as what looked like a couple hundred undead slowly got up, having lain down in the tall grass for some reason Gabriel did not understand, but he had walked into the midst of them all, how he had not seen them was simple. He had not looked close enough to see the motionless figures laying in the grass, he had simply scanned for any standing undead and thought the area to be safe, how he was wrong.
“We are moving the recon sorties in now, get ready for covering fire, drones five and six less than two minutes away, sit tight and wait for backup Gabriel.” Mike sounded like he was in overdrive as Gabriel’s heart sank to his toes when he heard the moans all around him.
“Too late Mike, engaging now.” Gabriel shot the first one and switched to the next, praying he could keep a large enough gap between him and the undead as he spun in a quick circle, trying to eliminate those closest to him as possible, but that hope was dashed when a loud roaring call went up and every single undead turned in his direction.
Fuck me, was Gabriel’s first thought as he opened fired, thinning out the first bunch that was charging him before the magazine went dry, he quickly reloaded, retaining the empty magazine and slamming another home into the magazine well in one smooth motion, smacking the bolt release and pulling the trigger once the fresh round was rammed home in the chamber.
Empty brass began piling at his feet as he attempted to keep his head on a swivel, some of his rounds began to become erratic before forcing himself to take several deep breaths to calm down and then started shooting again. Skulls exploded at the close range, bits of brains, blood and shards of bone were painting the tall grass in a grisly manner as the bodies began forming a solid ring around him, steadily growing as he kept firing, but there was simply too many.
The first explosion registered in his mind as thunder before dirt came raining down on him, for several seconds he was confused, brushing the dirt away from his face before the Predator UAV drone went screaming over his head, a sprout of flame underneath the nose as Gabriel watched a rooster tail of dirt explode in a solid line, tearing through a group of undead like an invisible wood chipper. Limbs, guts, gore and dirt exploded into the air as the large caliber rounds tore through the undead, Gabriel watched in what could only be described as fascinated horror as bodies were pulverized into pulp and they were still moving, most of them crawling, a few were getting back up with missing arms, jaws, faces, bowels or even intact rib cages. Another drone joined the first, the accurate machine gun fire crisscrossing the grassy hillside, seeking each tightly packed group of undead, Gabriel snapped out of it when something seized his right leg.
Missing both legs at the pelvis, the left arm and even the bottom jaw was what used to be an undead, now it was something even more horrifying as it dragged itself closer, intent on taking chunks out of his leg as Gabriel wretched his leg away and pumped two rounds into the small head before taking off at a run, ignoring the undead around him.
Both drones were doing a terrific job of dealing with the undead, but Gabriel was more interested on getting out of the area rather than fighting them and his sprint to the tree line was brought to a screeching halt as the shadows detached themselves from the trees. Even more undead was pouring from the forest than the edge of town itself as Gabriel changed direction, spotting an abandoned vehicle sitting near a young tree and he ran for it like it was the Ark to save him from the flood of undead.
It was an old dump truck, rusted out, no engine block, tires or even a windshield for that matter as he tore up the ladder attached to the back of the back of the cab and clambered up on top of the cab where he a perfect view three hundred sixty degrees around his position. There had to be at least a few thousand undead heading towards him, some were moving a brisk jog and most were moving in that typical walk that meant they had all the time in the world and were by no means afraid of the two pesky drones firing machine guns, dropping small bombs, rockets and swooping down on them, a couple times clearing the ground by a few feet.
Gabriel began firing on those closest, picking them off at a distance, thinking about nothing except shooting them in the head, reloading and shooting until he had to reload again before the first wave of helicopters showed up.
These were attack helicopters, the kind that had the pilot sitting behind the gunner as the machine guns, rockets and bombs began falling, Gabriel jumped off the top of the cab into the back of the dump truck without a regard for his personal safety as metal, no doubt shrapnel, was pinging off the thick metal plating and Gabriel curled up in a ball, hands over his ears as the explosions rocked the ground.
Something made him look up in time to see the first undead came falling into the dump truck, no doubt it had made it up the ladder and Gabriel shot it at point blank range before scrambling back to the edge and pulling himself up so his face came up level with the high sides of the dump truck.
A horribly mangled face with a gaping maw stared him back in the face as it lunged forward, Gabriel snapped his head back as the mouth closed on the metal edge of the dump truck, right between his hands as Gabriel did the only thing he could think of. He head-butted the undead so that it toppled off the back of the truck, Gabriel finished pulling himself up and jumped the three feet of open space so that he landed on the back of the cab and pulled up his rifle and started firing.
He didn’t even care when the magazine ran out of ammo, he flipped the rifle around so he held the rifle like a club and hit the first the first undead that came up the rusted ladder rungs, knocking it off before dropping the HK416 into the back of the dump truck and unslinging the M16A4 from his shoulder and started pulling the trigger at point blank range into the writhing, seething mass of undead surrounding the truck, he even laughed, shouting at them as he kept firing, ignoring the explosions, the drones, helicopters, the gunfire, the wailing and moaning of the undead and Gabriel was pretty sure he just snapped as he tossed aside the rifle, unsheathed the machete sitting directly over his right shoulder, spun it once and jumped feet first off the truck into the horde of the undead.
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