Read A New World: Taken Online

Authors: John O'Brien

A New World: Taken (40 page)

With everyone in place, I step forward into a room filled with dancing beams of light.
I have both of the kids inside a night runner lair.
I’m not comfortable with that idea and not really sure how it came to be.
I do know I should kick my own ass but on the other hand, they do need to learn.
I walk to the left of Red Team kneeling on the floor and up to the counter.
Behind it are two more bodies lying on the floor next to chairs that look like they’ve been kicked to random places.
The whole of the interior speaks of past mayhem.
I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in here in the final hours.
The desk itself is a mess of papers and charts.
Another howl; closer this time.
I brush papers off the desk frantically trying to find a diagram or directory of some sort.
It’s not that important of a piece of info so I’m outta here if they do get close.
I hear the pounding of feet just as I see a tan binder at the far end of the counter.

“They’re coming,” I say feeling my boot step on one of the bodies.




Bri glances at her dad as he starts rifling through whatever is behind the raised portion of the counter.
He looks up and toward the door she and Gonzalez are covering.
He glances back down at the counter and, from the looks of it, starts sweeping things off an unseen shelf.
The next words send the adrenaline in her body into overdrive and bring rivulets of sweat to her brow.

“They’re coming.”

Her mind tells her to rise and flee.
There’s a night runner horde on the way and it will engulf them; sweep over them like an unrelenting tide.
The beating of her heart is so loud it should be shaking the building and she can feel the pulse of it in every fiber of her being.
She glances at Gonzalez and notices the relaxed aspect has disappeared leaving behind a very steely expression.
Her lips are tight and she is focused on the door a few feet in front of them.
She glances to her dad and sees him dart to the other side of the counter.
What does he see or is he running from something?
He stumbles but recovers.

A look to Robert and she sees the same tense expression.
The goggles cover his eyes but she can imagine they match the tightness of his mouth.
She can hear the pounding of feet and screams issuing from behind the door.
Why aren’t the teams running to get out of here?
She thinks and then remembers they are waiting for her dad to get back behind them.
Hurry up, Dad!
A mighty bang startles her out of her thoughts.

The swinging wooden doors burst open as if by a sudden tornado.
“Fire,” Bri hears Gonzalez shout.
The doors banging open, Gonzalez’ shout, and the sight of night runners, pale in the green glow of the goggles, threaten to sweep her away.
So many shocks at once.
She feels frozen and doesn’t know what to do.
This is so different than her vision of wanting to kill every night runner in existence she had such a short time ago.
The kick against her shoulder feels foreign and at first, she doesn’t recognize it for what it is.
Another one and she is just as surprised as when the night runners entered to find herself firing into their midst.
She realizes she has been firing since the shout from Gonzalez.

Her mind settles to some extent but there is still the feeling of being overwhelmed.
She doesn’t feel the kick anymore and has the dawning realization that she is out of ammo.
Her mind settles even more as she ejects the mag and reaches for another.
Burst fire, fire in bursts
, Lynn’s instruction comes to her.
Lynn had instilled that time and time again during their training.
Trigger control.
Bri realizes she’s burned through her entire mag without letting up on the trigger.

Slamming a fresh mag into the lower receiver, she hears the tinkling of expended brass as it scatters across the floor.
The sight of so many night runners to her front, trying to pour into the room, almost brings the panic, held just barely below the surface, back up.
She lays her dot on the horde at the door being met with a hail of steel as the other teams join in.
Well, the one to their right anyway.
A flash goes through her mind that this is because her dad is backing away from the counter and towards the door from the counter on her left, adding his own rounds to the mix.
His position is preventing the team to her left from engaging.
She realizes that her dad is actually angling toward her and Red Team.

Night runners are piling up on the floor at the door.
Her mind calms.
She pulls the trigger in short bursts; this time finding and focusing on individual targets rather than just firing a stream of bullets into their midst.
She sees her dot settle on one face and she squeezes.
The face vanishes behind a burst of something splashing in the air.
She realizes it is blood and registers the fact that she has killed her first night runner.
Sure she fired a whole mag into them but this is the first that registers in her mind; that she actually records as a memory.

Several night runners make it past the doorway and branch off to the sides.
Bri alters the direction of her barrel and feels her finger press against the trigger.
One of them falls to her rounds but others make it by.
She continues firing into those that slide along the wall attempting to get around them.
She has forgotten the fast beating of her heart and nervousness.
The fear is still there but now is associated with action so it stays below the surface.
There are only targets.
She hears the muted barks of Gonzalez’ and Robert’s carbines to her side but those are only informational thoughts.
She’s in a different world.

“Get out now!”
She vaguely hears her dad yell as she fires at another night runner streaking along the wall in front.
It slams against the wall as her rounds find the mark.
She looks up to see her dad standing next to her, his boots straddling the dead one’s open-jawed head.

“Gonzalez, move back now.
Robert, Bri, move!”
Her dad shouts.

Bri becomes aware of the sheer number of night runners in the hall beyond the doors being held open by the bodies of the dead and injured.
Many have also made it to the sides of the room but are taken down by the teams to the side and behind her.
The dread of seeing so many night runners and the danger of her situation intrudes upon the other world she was in.
She responds to the urgency of her dad’s voice and rises with the rest of Red Team.
Together, they back towards the door still adding rounds into the fray.
Bri stops firing when she sees her dad directly in front of her.
It’s then that she notices the floor in front of her lit by the light coming in the door.
Bri feels a tap on her shoulder.

She turns and sees Gonzalez motion her out of the door.
Drescoll and Lynn are at the door guiding everyone out.
Besides her dad, Red Team are the last ones still inside.
Bri turns and runs out of the door followed by Robert and the rest of Red Team.
Her dad is the last one out.
Roars, howls, and shrieks pour out of the door with them.
They’ve made it.

Bri’s awareness returns and she realizes she’s panting.
She feels like she’s run for an hour and can’t catch her breath.
Bending over, with her hands on her knees, she feels an arm around her.
She doesn’t feel nauseous but vomits anyway.
The eruption is sudden and unexpected.

“Happens to all of us the first time,” she hears Gonzalez say.
“It’s the adrenaline.”

She feels another arm fold around her.
“Are you okay?”
She hears her dad ask.

“Yeah, Dad, I’m okay,” she answers wiping saliva from her chin.

“You should’ve seen this little warrior in action, sir.
She took down the entire front line of night runners on her own as soon as they broke in,” Gonzalez says to her dad.
“I’m not sure I’d even finished yelling ‘fire’ when I heard her gun start chattering.”

Her eyes light up with this little bit of unknown news.
She had no idea.
Her heart swells hearing Gonzalez call her a little warrior.
She hears Robert tell her nice job and her heart swells a little more.
If she could only remember; it all happened so quickly.
Henderson and Denton add their kudos.
“That was a lot like Robert during his first action,” she hears McCafferty say.
“You two

She looks up into the face of her dad standing before her.
He is giving her a look over to see if she is in fact alright.
He has always been protective of her and Robert in a loving way.
Not too overly protective as he also lets them get into trouble at times.
Nothing dangerous although some of the stories Robert shared of his and her dad’s time after a weekend together made her doubt some of that ‘not too dangerous’ aspects though.
There were times when he was a little overly protective but those were infrequent.
She feels this is one of those times and loves him for it.

“Jack,” she hears Lynn call.
A momentary flash of fear crosses her dad’s face.
Her dad looks behind him as if looking for a place to hide.
Shrieks can still be heard emitting from inside the ER.

“We can’t call you a noob anymore,” Robert says as her dad walks away towards Lynn.




Needless to say, the ass-chewing by Lynn wasn’t pleasant but all-in-all, it wasn’t bad.
I’ve had worse.
My kids and everyone are okay and that’s what matters.
The tan binder I found contains diagrams of the facility but I don’t know what good they’ll be.
It doesn’t look like we’ll be able to use the place.
We won’t be able to clear this place short of using an entire battalion and that’s still even odds.
I think of the hordes that poured in the door and both of my kids in the room.
The memory still leaves me shaky.
Yeah, Lynn’s ass-chewing wasn’t without validity.
I told her they needed to learn and accumulate some experience but both she and I know that was just me making excuses.
Part of what I said is true about wanting to give Bri some experience but not against a horde like that right off.
Thankfully, the door was close and we could exit quickly.

I look over the parking lot and the expanse of the buildings.
I’m standing with the others in our group and about to have everyone saddle up.

“Dad,” Robert says.

“Yeah, what’s up?”
I ask thinking he wants to talk about the action or even my bringing Bri inside.
Maybe to give some assurance that I did the right thing in letting her go or coming to Bri’s defense in some manner.
None of my thoughts about what he wants pan out.

“If those walls,” he starts pointing the concrete wall surrounding the hospital, “can keep night runners out, won’t they keep them in too?”

The sheer brilliance of his unspoken idea, or I should say the sheer lack of my own, explodes in my mind like a firecracker.
I think.
The others stare at him as if saying the same thing and having their own epiphanies.
Such a simple yet brilliant concept and one that completely slid by everyone present.

“You, my son, are absolutely right and brilliant,” I say.
We’ll just keep the night runners locked up in here and visit in a few weeks after they’ve starved to death.
Well, I hope it’s a few weeks and they don’t have some super hibernation skill that allows them to live indefinitely without food.

Other books

Macaque Attack by Gareth L. Powell
Danger at Dahlkari by Jennifer Wilde
Tinseltown Riff by Shelly Frome
Ash & Flame: Season One by Geiger, Wilson
Only Emma by Sally Warner, Jamie Harper
Doctor Who: The Sensorites by Nigel Robinson
Her Wicked Sin by Sarah Ballance Copyright 2016 - 2024