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Soul Collector, Episode 19, Lead Storm


DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.


One shot, two down

Her friends would have been shocked to know Susan was even thinking about her chances of taking out two men, sniper style. Susan had never shared with them what she planned to do after college and law school. She didn’t think they’d understand her goal of joining the FBI and earning a place on the Hostage Rescue Teams. If we survive this, I wonder if I can put it on my resume, Susan joked to herself.

Ahead of her, Mort moved into a prone position and, remarkably, began adjusting his grip on what looked like a scoped M-14. Watching him, Susan asked herself, Where the hell did that come from? Don’t tell me he had it hidden under his jacket.

With careful precision, Susan watched as Mort lined up his shot on the two men on the porch. From his angle, if Mort places his shot just right, he can get them both with one round.

Susan didn’t know Mort wasn’t exactly using conventional ammunition; both guards would be dead before they felt the shot. When the two guards were down, Susan noticed Mort waited to see if there’d be any response from the house to their elimination. When Mort saw none, he shook his head. Whoever Mort’s after put too much faith in too little security, Susan thought.

Mort signaled Susan and Tessa to move up beside him. In a low voice, he told them his plan. “Susan and I will move around to the left. That’s where the garage is. Once we’ve secured the garage and appropriated a vehicle, Susan will bring it back here and pick up the rest of you. When you hear her coming, you and the other girls come running. I’ll cover you. You got it?”

Susan nodded. Tessa hesitated a moment, looked at the gun in her hand, and nodded, too.

“Okay,” Mort said. “Let’s do this.”

Not the Porsche, Mort

While Tessa remained behind to cover the other girls, Mort and Susan dashed along the tree line toward the garage. Susan didn’t bother to wonder how Mort knew where the garage was.

The garage entrance was unguarded. There was a coded keypad next to the pedestrian door. Mort stopped them at the edge of the tree line and whispered to Susan, “Cameras.”

Susan looked where Mort pointed and spotted the two cameras set up to cover the area outside the garage. She saw Mort take up a firing position from the corner of her eye and looked twice when she realized Mort now held a paintball gun in his hands. With two quick, quiet, blasts of air, followed by two barely discernable splats, Mort blinded the surveillance cameras.

Mort rose quickly and signaled Susan to follow him across the driveway to the door with the keypad. The now familiar feeling of lightning about to strike returned as Mort approached the door. He never gave the keypad a second look before he thrust his hand toward the door, sending it flying from its hinges into the dark recesses of the garage.

About the time he was knocking away the garage door, Mort heard shouts from the back of the house. He turned to Susan and said, “When the cameras went dark they came outside and found the dead guards. Now Esteban knows he’s under attack. We need to hurry.” Susan nodded curtly, mumbled “Esteban” under her breath and followed Mort into the garage. “So that’s who you’re after. Do you think they’ll go after Tessa and the others?”

“They won’t,” Mort said. “They know where we are now. They’ll be coming for us.”

A rack of keys hung on back wall of the garage. Luxury cars and four-by-fours were parked in four rows of four lined up behind the four garage doors. In the line closest to the door Mort and Susan had come in through were a Porsche Cayenne and a Range Rover. Mort ignored the cars behind those.

Grabbing the appropriate keys off the rack, Mort threw the Range Rover keys to Susan. “You follow me out the door.”

Susan snatched the Range Rover keys out of the air and jumped into the venerable four-by-four. Mort climbed into the Porsche and fired it up. After a quick look in the rear-view mirror to be sure Susan was ready, Mort put the luxury SUV into gear and floored the gas pedal. The last thing the first thug in through the pedestrian door saw before he died was the muzzle of Mort’s shotgun pointing at him out the driver’s side window of the Porsche just before the luxury SUV smashed through the garage door.


Just drive! They're already dead.

Mort steered neither left nor right. A second shot erupted from his shotgun as he cleared the garage door and another one of Esteban’s men fell dead. Forcing the transmission into Neutral, Mort jumped from the Porsche and rolled, letting the hundred-thousand-dollar custom SUV crash into the tree line with a horrendous sound of metal bending and wood breaking.

Rolling into a kneeling position, Mort pulled the trigger on his shotgun four more times and four more of Esteban’s men wouldn’t be wasting any more oxygen.

“Fourteen,” Mort whispered to himself.

Susan pulled the Range Rover up behind him and hollered, “Jump in! There’s more coming!”

Mort backed up to the Range Rover as bullets started coming his way. Susan threw herself down on the seat.

“Get up!” Mort yelled. “You’ve got to drive this thing. It’s bullet proof. Just sit up and drive.”

Prodded by the urgency in Mort’s voice, Susan sat up and put the Range Rover in gear. Mort clambered into the back seat. To Susan’s confusion, what appeared to be a machine gun appeared in Mort’s hands spitting a line of fire - Susan assumed they were all tracer rounds - toward the thugs coming their way. Despite the men’s efforts to duck and dodge the incoming rounds, not a single one of them was still drawing breath when Mort lifted his finger from the trigger.

“What the hell?” Susan said. “Were you hiding that under your coat, too?”

Mort cast her a puzzled look.

“The machine gun, Mort!” Susan yelled. “Shotguns, a sniper rifle, a PAINTBALL gun, now a machine gun! What else is hidden in that coat of yours!?!”

“Whatever I need,” Mort said calmly. “You should drive. More of them will be coming.”

Susan took her foot off the brake and stomped on the gas, swinging the wheel left and right as she tried to avoid running over the corpses of Esteban’s recently departed henchmen.

“Just run them over,” Mort called from the backseat as he tried to keep himself upright. “They’re already dead.”

Susan straightened the wheel and headed straight for the head of the trail where Tessa and the other girls were hiding.

It only took a moment to reach the end of the trail. Susan brought the Range Rover to an abrupt halt and yelled for the girls to get in, even as more bullets began to strike the vehicle. Marie climbed into the backseat, dragging Ella behind her as Abby pushed the nearly petrified girl along. Tessa jumped into the front seat next to Susan and ducked behind the dashboard. “Good thing Esteban had this thing up-armored,” Mort said just before he dove out the door into the hail of bullets.

“What are you doing?” Susan yelled. “Are you crazy?”

Mort's story continues in Episode 20

© 2021 DW Davis

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