Russ Turner, a rancher in Montana, is determined to maintain a certain amount of normalness for those who have turned to him for protection after a world-impacting event occurs. Follow Russ as he faces the challenges of leading a diverse group of people to work together toward survival while maintaining a semblance of normal life. This group of survivors, called the Golden Eagles, work together to protect their families and maintain some semblance of a normal life. The Eagles work quickly to become self-sufficient and self-reliant by salvaging everything possible from the towns around them.
The Compound Grows
They had been running now for two days, staying just slightly ahead of the trash behind them. Jeff could still hear them, but they were far enough behind he couldn’t see them. Jeff and his wife and kids had stopped at a rest area to get some much-needed rest. That was where his group had formed; that had been just outside of Helena. Jeff wasn’t exactly sure where they were, but he knew they were in serious trouble.
Jeff and his family had been run off the farm they had been living on by the kids of the couple Jeff had rented it from. The kids’ parents were dead, and they wanted the place back so they could live out there. Jeff couldn’t really fault them, but still, it was a hard break for Jeff and his family. They didn’t really have any place they could go to. Still they packed up all they could and headed south. He’d heard that the town’s north and west of them were in even worse shape than where they were; also with winter nearly on them, he’d need some place with a milder climate in order to make it through the winter. Maybe later they would be able to find something better, but for right now, he had to get some place in a hurry so that his family would be able to survive the approaching winter.
His brother and sister had been visiting him and his family out on the farm when the world went crazy. Zebadiah lived near Atlanta, and his sister Lillian lived on the outskirts of DC in Maryland.
They heard on the radio while it was still working that both places had been destroyed by the nuclear weapons that were deployed. Although it was still unclear who had fired those weapons, the fact remained nothing was left of either place. Neither his brother nor sister wanted to even try to go back to their homes.
While they were stopped at a rest area, Jonas and his family pulled in. They asked if they could join their group. From there, the group kept growing and growing. The last ones to join were Bobby, Justin, and their parents.
The group consisted of about thirty people when the thugs hit them. Luckily, some of the men in the group had had military training so guards had been posted, but the area was too open and there were too many attackers. Jeff’s group lost five within a few minutes. The men were able to repel the first attack. When the thugs retreated, Jeff’s group took off heading south. While they were traveling, Jeff spotted a smaller road heading southeast. On an impulse, he left the interstate, figuring the smaller road would be less traveled and perhaps he could lose those that were following him.
They had stopped a short time to patch up the wounded and regroup when they were hit again. They lost two more that time. Again, they were able to repel the thugs due to the men’s training and Jeff ’s leadership. Jeff didn’t figure they’d get lucky a third time. They were running out of ammunition and supplies. Their vehicles, which had not been in the best of shape to begin with, were in very bad shape now. The rough roads and constant travel were having a detrimental impact on both the people and their vehicles. Jeff knew there wasn’t any way they’d be able to repel the attackers again. He was really worried about his family.
Russ asked Carmen if the trash following the first group was using the same channel.
She replied, “No, the thugs are using the trucker’s channel, channel nineteen. The leader of the first group is using channel twenty-eight.”
Russ replied, “Thanks.” Grabbing the mic, he switched the CB to channel twenty-eight. “Break 2-8, this is Russ Turner. I want to speak to the leader of the group being pursued by a group of thugs.”
Russ waited and then repeated his call. After a few seconds, the leader replied, “This is Jeff Smith. Who are you, and what do you want?”
Russ keyed the mic. “We overheard your transmission, and we thought we could help. The road you are on is Highway 691. It runs just south of my ranch. You should see the drive in about twenty mikes—I mean minutes. Turn left into the driveway. Once you make the turn, head straight in. Aim for the firing positions you will see on the south side of the garden. Just before you get to the garden, you will see a concrete slab on the right. Turn back west and cross the stream at the ford. Turn north after you ford the stream and park between the lake and the stream. I say again. Turn west and cross the stream and turn north. Do not come past the firing positions. Do you copy?”
Jeff replied, “Roger. Military?”
Russ responded, “Roger, Army Special Forces.”
“Roger, thank God. Marine here,” Jeff answered.
Russ said with a chuckle, “Roger, I won’t hold it against you if you don’t.”
Jeff laughed for the first time since this ordeal had begun. They just might make it after all. He just prayed this guy knew what the hell he was doing. If not, they all may be dead. At least he had a chance now, however slim it may be.
Russ said, “Jeff, when you get your people parked, there is a fighting position that will be just north of you, just below the corral. Have some of your people man it and the one just across the stream. My folks will be scattered to repel our unwelcome visitors, over.”
Jeff replied, “Roger, I copy. I owe you, Russ, even if you are army.”
Russ laughed. “Jeff, do you have any wounded that need treatment?”
“Negative. We’ve only minor wounds now, but we do have some children we’d like to get safe, over.”
“Roger, my wife, Carmen, will meet your people at the barn near where you will park. Get them to the barn as quick as possible, and we’ll get them to safety.”
Jeff replied, “Roger. I really appreciate the assist.”
“No problem. See you in about ten mikes.”
Russ didn’t have to tell his people what to do. They’d been rehearsing their drills for so long now they functioned automatically.
Colleen took over the radios for Carmen. Carmen ran to the barn in order to be ready when Jeff and his group brought the children.
Jeff could see the dust of the thugs following them. They were about ten miles behind his group. It was going to be close. He really hoped this Russ guy was ready. If not, they were all dead.
Jeff saw the driveway and turned into it. Behind him, the rest of his group followed. He saw the garden and the fighting position and then crossed the ford. As soon as they stopped, he had his wife run with the children to the barn. They could see someone waiting; he assumed it must be Carmen. She waved them toward her and the barn. He told Jonas’s wife to take her kids along with Justin and Bobby and meet Sally and their kids by the barn. He sent the other women with them. No sense having them in the line of fire if they didn’t need to be. He sent Larry, Chad, and Harry to the nearest fighting position while his brother Lucas and himself took up the other.
Inside the two positions were three AT4s, a radio, and an M60 machine gun. Jeff was relieved.
“This guy has his stuff wired tight.”
They might actually survive after all. He looked back to see where his kids were. They had disappeared.
“Where are they?”
As if he’d read his mind, Russ came over the radio. “Your women and children are safe. They’re in the mountain behind you. When this is over, we’ll talk, okay?”
“Roger, and thanks again.” Turning his attention back to the front, he could hear the thugs coming. It was okay now. He was ready to fight; his family was safe. God, he thought, there must be over a hundred of them. As the thought crossed his mind, one of the geniuses on a motorcycle tried to come through the barbed wire and was left hanging on it.
The barbed wire on the ranch was strung very tight. Buffalo have a way of walking through a fence without even noticing it; if it isn’t really strong, they could not walk through this wire.
Another vehicle cut off the road, heading for the fence, and was blown up after it hit an antitank mine, ending the trash’s misguided career rather abruptly.
Russ called for the leader on the CB and told them to break off their attack or they would all die. This was the one and only warning they would get.
The leader of the thugs told Russ what he could do with his warning sideways.
Russ smiled nastily and pointed at his men on lookout point. Two 105 shells whistled through the air landing on the group of thugs. Three vehicles at the entrance to the ranch were unceremoniously destroyed. The thugs jumped out of their assorted trashy vehicles or off their bikes and took cover. The leader was cowering behind a slight rise, yelling at his people to “get them”.
Javier fired an AT4, taking out another vehicle. Russ and Sam began firing the M2 machine guns as the trash began to move toward the mountain. The thug leader watched as his people were cut down like so much wheat. He’d started with 156 tough punks. There were only twenty or thirty left. He could hear some of his people screaming in pain.
“How in the hell did this happen? They’re just a bunch of hoes and pricks. They can’t beat me. We’re the toughest gang around.”
He watched as five more of his people were blown away by a claymore.
“Damn.” His second-in-command said, “We have to get out of here.”
The leader screamed, “Not until the bastard who done this is dead.” He led his men forward to extract his revenge. He wasn’t going to let a bunch of nobodies stop him from getting what he wanted. Jeff was watching and waiting until those that were left moved up a little more. When he opened up with the M60 machine gun, the last of the thugs were well within range. He let go with the machine gun, cutting down the last of the thugs that had killed so many of his group and endangered his family.
Russ came out of his position; Jeff and a couple of other men followed. The rest of Russ’s men stood pat in case there were more somewhere else and they were sure their new friends were really friendly.
About the Author:
GL Skye, a retired warrant officer, write stories that blend fiction and reality together to produce a book that seems like it could be front-page news. His military experience has led him around the world, interacting with people from other nations and cultures. His expertise in geography has served him well in his military service. Now that experience helps him in his writing. His two books, “Return to Life” and “Texas Border Trouble” depict his unique blend of writing. More information can be found on his website at glskye.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.