Getting the feedback from the alpha readers now, getting ready to send book 2 off to the editors…
Here’s another chapter to ‘prove’ I’m actually working on it…
Pre-edit, so pardon my lousy punctuation skills…
The old man eased north on Hwy 18, looking forward to a quiet evening with Jesse and Aaron before they left in the morning. Suddenly his reverie was interrupted by a broadcast on common, “Any units, any units, officer needs assistance; I-ten east, mile marker two-two-six. Shots fired, shots fired. White Ford van, Texas plates, at least two Hispanic males shot responding officer and are running east.”
Realizing he was passing under I-10, he turned on to ten west and lit up code three. As he picked up the mic to report in, he heard a choppy voice over the radio, “This is Ranger Boone, I’m trailing the subject vehicle in my helo. They’ve slowed back down to the speed limit. Recommend setting up a roadblock somewhere west of Fort Stockton with available units. These guys need to be stopped before they get into a metro area.”
The old man keyed up, “County car four, ten west at two-five-six, code three.”
The sheriff came on, “County car one, ten west at two-four-eight.”
A couple of troopers and various other sheriff’s department vehicles chimed in with locations and the sheriff finally said, “All units, we’ll set a road block at two-four-five. Ranger, can you tell how much clear space they have in front of them?”
Clay answered moments later, “Looks like about two miles clear in front of them and they’re maintaining speed of about seventy-five. If you’re going for a block, I’d shut down westbound as soon as possible.”
The sheriff keyed the radio, “Car two one five, as soon as you get to two-four-six, get a block going. Car four, meet me in the median two-four-five. Troopers, respond to two-four-five also please. Cars two oh four and two oh six, get off on the access roads at two-four-six, block and standby.”
Five minutes later, the old man pulled off in the median at mile marker two-four-five, meeting the sheriff and trooper sergeant. As he clicked on the external speaker, he heard Clay report the suspect vehicle was at mile marker two-three-six. The sheriff looked quickly around, “Okay, here’s the plan. As soon as the cars in front of the suspects go by, we pull out and completely block the road. Let’s see if they will try to shoot their way through us, or turn around and run the other way. Sarge, you’ve got guys coming in behind them, right?”
The sergeant replied, “Yeah, I’ve got two cars coming hard. Maybe slow them down and have them ready if the suspects decide to jump the median and head west?”
“Sounds like a plan. Reeves County has four cars coming also, and two at the original scene with the wounded trooper; they’re sneaking through traffic behind the suspects, backing cars off,” the sheriff said. Two more cars slid in one was Deputy Hart, the other a trooper car with two officers. Looking at the old man the sheriff said, “John, I need you to be the shooter, we’ll leave your car where it is, and you can go over my hood if you need to.”
The old man replied, “Roger, be right back,” and headed to the trunk of his car. Removing the MRAD from its hard case, he loaded two magazines with ammo, pulled out the laser range finder, and walked calmly back to the front of his car stuffing earplugs into his ears. Holding the rifle against his hip, he just stood waiting as Clay came over the radio, “I can see y’all, maybe thirty seconds until the two ahead of the suspects are past y’all. You better get ready.”
All the officers jumped back into their respective cars except the old man and one trooper who came over carrying an M-16. He remarked, “Just like the old days, I got a damn poodle shooter and nothing to do unless it gets up close and personal. What caliber is that monster?”
The old man chuckled, “Three-three-eight Lapua. I don’t plan on it getting up close and personal if I can help it!”
Two cars zipped by and the sheriff and others pulled onto the interstate, blocking it shoulder to shoulder. The old man quickly set up across the hood of the sheriff’s car, and took a sight picture just as Clay reported, “Looks like the suspects have stopped, I see one out with some kind of long rifle in his hand, looking at y’all. I’m guessing they’re about a half mile from you, maybe a little less.”
The trooper with the M-16 pointed to the laser range finder and asked, “Need a range?”
The old man glanced over, “Sure, appreciate that. And make damn sure you’re not to the side of this sucker if I have to shoot. And I hope you’ve got ears!”
The trooper dug into his pocket and shoved a pair of foam ear plugs in quickly, then laid out to get a good range, “Twelve-seventy-six it looks like.”
The old man dialed 1276 into the BORS on top of the MRADs scope and settled in again. Mumbling quietly under his breath as he did so. Clay came over the radio again, “Looks like they’re gonna run somewhere. Can anybody disable them?”
The sheriff ran over, “John, can you take out the engine?”
The old man shifted aim slightly, “Just tell me when.”
The sheriff and trooper sergeant held a hurried conversation, then the sheriff came back saying formally, “You are authorized to disable their vehicle. You may fire when ready.”
The old man immediately said, “Target.”
He rode the scope as everyone around him cussed, and saw pieces of the grill and apparently the radiator fly off as the one suspect outside the vehicle jumped. He was able to see what looked like liquid dripping from under the hood, and said, “Good hit, at least radiator and unless I miss my guess, dead center of the engine block behind it.”
Clay suddenly yelled into the radio, “Shots fired, shots fired, they’re shooting at y’all!”
Everyone except the old man ducked, he just shifted aim slightly, “I’ve got the shooter lined up. Your call Sheriff.”
Clay came on the radio again, “More shooters unloading from the rear, now three with weapons sighted. Ah shit, one finally noticed me. I’m gonna move off a ways.”
The sheriff and trooper sergeant were in another consultation, and finally the sheriff came over, “John can you just take the one shooting out?”
“Yeah, he’s hiding behind the passenger’s door, and it’s clear behind him, I’ll be shooting out into the waste area and Riley road is probably another mile beyond that. Have Clay check me clear on Riley and the service road if you would.”
Bullets continued to occasionally ping down around the vehicles or skip off the road with little to no accuracy, so the old man waited patiently, finally the sheriff said, “You’re clear, shoot when ready.”
He rode the scope as everyone cussed again, and saw pieces of the window glass erupt from the door as the shooter crumpled to the ground, his rifle flying off to the left side of the truck saying, “Good hit, one down, no movement.”
Clay came over the radio saying, “Looks like that got their attention, people are throwing guns down and holding their hands up, and the driver is climbing out of the van, looks like he’s wounded.”
The sheriff sent Deputy Hart and the one of the troopers down to handle the situation, as the other trooper turned to the old man, “That was some pretty damn good shooting for bit over a half mile! What is that on top of the scope, and what were you mumbling, I couldn’t hear you with the foamies in.”
The old man stayed on the scope till the two cars arrived, then lifted the rifle, popped the magazine out and cleared it, then sat it on the top of the sheriff’s car pointed off to the South, “It’s called a BORS, it’s a mini-calculator you pre-program with the ballistics of the round, and when you plug in the distance, it automatically computes the correct drop and other environmental stuff. Probably what I was mumbling was drop calculations, I still do that in case things go south.”
“How far did that bullet drop?” The trooper asked, “I don’t think the M-16 could have even gotten on that far unless it was bouncing down the concrete.”
The old man looked up, noting the reddish tint to the clouds as the sun continued setting in the west, “About five hundred eighteen inches, give or take a couple. Bit of wind, kinda quartering right to left, so I was holding on the driver’s side mirror for the first shot, and the center of the windshield for the second shot…”
Deputy Hart came over the radio, “Scene is secure, three in custody, two with injuries; request ambulance at this time. Oh yeah, and a big load of drugs in the back of the van.”
Clay landed his helicopter behind the van and climbed out as the old man and the sheriff rolled up. Clay walked up to the back of the van and whistled, “Yeah, that’s a shit ton of dope, probably cocaine, and I’m betting it’s uncut too!” He came over to the body where the sheriff and the old man were standing.
The trooper sergeant walked over, “Center mass on both the engine and the shooter. Helluva nice job there Captain. You probably saved some lives today.”
The old man nodded, “Yeah, maybe, but I hate like hell that I had to shoot that guy. It’s another one that will haunt me,” pointing to the western sky he continued, “But it’s a good day for us not to die. How do you want to handle the reporting?”
“Well, it was initially our scene at two-two-nine, so we’re just going to call this a continuation, unless you have a problem with it?”
“Nope, just tell me what you need, and I’ll get it done. I would like to get out of here as soon as I can, my granddaughter and her new hubby are at the ranch and leaving tomorrow for California, so I would like to spend a bit of time with them. You want the rifle for ballistics checks?” The old man asked.
“Nah, if we could have a sample round…”
The old man handed the sergeant one out of his shirt pocket and asked, “When do you need the full report?”
“I’ll take a quick and dirty tonight, and a full report in the next couple of days,” the sergeant replied.
The old man went back to his car, pulled his clipboard and a blank report form out and sat in the driver’s seat filling it out in detail, as the other two troopers pulled random packages of drugs and tested them, coming up with bright blue on every package. The trooper who had not been spotting said, “That old man is just plain cold, or crazy; I just don’t know which one. Sumbitch never even flinched when that thug started firing, and he took him out like it was nothing more than target practice on a range. And making those shots at that range? How the fuck do you do that? It’s like he’s not human.”
The second trooper turned to him, “You weren’t ever in the military were you?”
The second trooper said, “That old man has probably been in more shit than I ever saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he’s just like most snipers I worked with in the Army. They don’t think or act like us. They’re on a different plane of existence. Most of ‘em are old country boy hunters and fishermen, and they grew up outside. Nothing really gets them upset; hell, most of ‘em have fantastic vision too, you see that old man isn’t wearing glasses, either to drive or fill out paperwork? I’m betting he’s still got twenty-twenty or better. And those shots? Right around thirteen hundred yards; you’re not going to do that without being steady as hell, which means controlling heart rate, breathing, and a hundred other little things. Like reading the wind, he said he was holding on the center of the windshield to take that shooter down. That’s damn near six feet from where the bullet hit. But it was a one shot kill to the chest.”
“But he didn’t react to killing that guy, even after it was over, he never reacted,” the first trooper said.
“Nope, not that we’ll ever see. But I’m betting he’ll deal with it later and in his own private way. I’m just thankful he’s on our side. Let’s wrap this up, looks like about a hundred keys of pure coke based on our testing,” the second trooper said. When they walked around from the back of the van, they noted the old man was already gone.
A half hour later, the old man pulled into the ranch yard, listening to the yelps of the puppies coming from the front door. Shaking his head, he wondered what ever prompted him to get another damn dog, especially right now.
I’m hoping for a fall debut for book two, the title is going to be The Grey Man- Payback.
Again, thanks for the comments and feedback from book 1, and thank you for the reviews too!