Authors: Donald R. Franck
Tags: #Mystery, #Action & Adventure, #Dystopian, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Thriller & Suspense, #Science Fiction, #post-apocalyptic, #Suspense, #Adventure, #Thrillers, #Genre Fiction, #Literature & Fiction
A Private War
Donald R. Franck
I first started A Private War during the age of typewriters and bond paper in the early 1980’s. And while it has been updated a number of times to newer guns and toys, the basic theme has always been that one man can challenge the future and change the course of survival for many others. The first published version did contain errors in language and structure and I have worked hard to correct these errors and to add some new material (almost 20 pages) to bring the story line more up to date.
I hope prior readers will accept this revision as a much truer storyline to what I had tried to product and that new readers will see the gems in the darkness.
Mountain View, Missouri
Gaylon checked the magazines for his compact Colt .5.56mm M-4 and his twin Kimber CQP II .45's, making sure all were loaded and ready to go. He then took his Gerber Mark II survival knife, gave it a look and a few quick passes with a stone then a small coating of oil. After a quick feel of the edge he replaced it in its sheath and snapped it down. Lastly, Gaylon removed the great Katana sword from its long sheath and sighted down its length. Before the war, Gaylon would take it with him on long walks in the woods behind his former house and practiced for hours on different cuts and parries. Since the war, Gaylon carried it with him always strapped on his back where it could be in his hands in an instant. He smiled as he looked down the length of shining metal and thought that the year of hard work in Japan with the Japanese Defense Forces had paid off well when they gave the sword to him.
Suddenly the silence was broken with a roar of motorcycles and the sharp crack of automatic weapons fire. Quickly replacing the great sword back in the sheath on his back, Gaylon pulled back the bolt of the M-4 and thumbed on the safety. Then after a quick look around the area, shouldered his equipment and started running up the hill toward the gunfire. As he neared he could hear the roar of engines, the sounds of fear and pain, and he could smell the smoke of fire as he redoubled his effort. Quickly he came upon the scene in a small valley below him and Gaylon could see scores of motorcyclists firing into a small farmhouse. The second floor was already enveloped in flames with more breaking through one of the windows. Moving the fire selector on his M-4 to full auto, Gaylon sighted through the side mounted fixed sights and began firing short three shot bursts into the moving mass of pirates. One pitched forward and fell screaming with a bullet through the chest. While another grabbed at his face and fell sideways off of his motorcycle. Snapping open the shoulder stock, Gaylon thumbed the selector to semi, and flipping open the lens covers, sighted through the top mounted four powers scope and began firing at the one's that he thought might be the leaders. Shooting the thirty round magazines empty, he popped the empty, and levering the side by side shaped holder, rammed the second clip home, and continued firing.
Realizing they were taking fire from the bluff above them, they returned fire and quickly bits of leaves and branches began to fall around Gaylon's head. Shooting the M-4 empty, rolling on his side he quickly drew the twin Kimber CQP II's and fired with first one hand and then the other. Hearing supportive fire, the people in the farmhouse increased their rate of fire and the pirates started to fall back with their wounded. One Kimber CQP II shot empty so Gaylon changed hands and jammed the empty into its holster then grabbed up his M-4 and ran down the hill to the farmhouse.
"Come on, everyone take what you can and run for the trees. I'll cover you! The pirates could come back here any second," Gaylon shouted, "so bring out as much food, ammo, blankets and guns as you can. The fire is out of control, come on, damn it, move move!"
A young boy about fourteen and an older woman ran out the front door dragging a wounded man between them. The man's chest was covered with blood and bandages. Then another woman ran out after them with backpack and a short barreled Bushmaster XM-15 rifle.
"There's more food inside, I'll cover you while you get it," she said.
Gaylon slung the M-4 across his back and ran inside the burning house. He found a gunnysack the woman had talked about and grabbing up the sack, he reached the front door just as the woman fired a burst from with her Bushmaster at the pirates as they started to return. Dropping the sack, Gaylon whipped the M-4 back around, dropped the empty clip, rammed a full one home, and fired a long burst that sent them packing back the way they came. Again changing clips shoved the empties onto his vest while he motioned the woman to run for the trees and after picking up the sack, ran after her. The family waited in the trees as the two ran up to them.
"My husband is hurt really bad, can you do anything for him?" asked the older woman, "we don't have any other bandages left!"
"I'll do what I can, let me take a look."
Removing the crude bandages, Gaylon saw there was a large gunshot wound to the man's chest, and rolling the man over, found another on his back. Blood was bubbling out with each breath of air the man took. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a Ziploc bag of hard candy. Dumping the candy into a vest pocket, he cut open the bottom of the clear plastic. Gaylon then used his Gerber to open up the plastic until he had two separate flat sheets of plastic the size of his hand. Opening a small first aid kit he pulled out a roll of surgical tape, some 4x4 wipes, and squeezie bottle of alcohol. Working first on the back and then moving to the front, he first washed the site with alcohol, wiped it as dry as possible with the wipes, and then taped the plastic flat against the wound. By laying the plastic sheet over the wound and taping it on three sides as his EMT instructor had showed him long ago he quickly finished. He explained to the family that every time the person breathed, the plastic would be sucked in toward the wound and closes it off. This let the man breath in air, and maybe, stops the lung from collapsing. When they exhaled the blood in the chest is forced out by the lungs through the wound and through the open side of the plastic which acted just like a one-way valve.
"That's all I can do here, we have to get back to my place before I can do anymore for him," Gaylon stated.
Standing Gaylon reached beside his pack, pulled the small hatchet free, and walking a short distance, felled two small trees. After removing the branches, Gaylon used some rope from his pack to tie branches across the long poles and then zigzagged the rest back and forth to make a quick stretcher. Moving the man to the stretcher, Gaylon picked up the front end and the older woman and boy picked up the back end.
"You'll have to watch for us, ok?" Gaylon asked to young woman with the XM-15, "Granite House isn't too far."
It took them almost an hour to reach Granite House, Gaylon's hidden place in the Minnesota woods. The family looked around in wonder at as he directed them to place the man on a large table. Running into another room, he grabbed a large red nylon bag and brought it back.
"I'll have to put a tube into your husband's chest to drain the blood; can one of you help me?" Gaylon asked," by the way, my name is Gaylon Masters."
The young woman stated, "I'm Kate Johnson, this is my mother, Mary, and my brother, Jimmy, and that's my dad, Ken. I'll help what you need me to do?"
"Cut the rest of his shirt off and then use this betadine solution to clean off his chest. There are some 4x4 wipes and rubber gloves in the bag."
Looking at Mary Johnson, "I took a paramedic course a few years ago, but I haven't used it in a long time so I may be a little rusty. But I'll do all I can until we can get him to better help."
Taking a large needle and tube out of the bag, Gaylon explained, "This is an intercath needle, I have to place it through his chest wall to drain the blood and air out of his chest. What I need you to do Kate, is to hand me the things I need out of the bag. Jimmy, go get some big books from the bookshelf and place them under your dad's feet. Mary, you'll find some blankets in that cabinet over there."
He wiped the blood away from around the entrance wound and taking up the large needle and tube he planned to use, he cut the end off and removed the inner stylette. Then bending down, he pushed the large needle between the man's ribs and into his chest. This expelled a rush of blood and air and Gaylon nodded as he placed the open end into a bottle and taped everything into place. Then taking some more tape, taped off the open side to secure the plastic cover that covered the bullet hole. Finally he quickly placed an IV tube into the man's arm and started a drip of saline solution.
"That's all I can do for right now. The intercath tube works like a flutter valve and will help drain his chest. As he breathes in, the pressure will force out the blood and air that has collaged his lung and it hopefully will re-inflate. The saline will help bring his pressure up, but I only have a few bottles. So, we'll have to get some help up this way soon." Gaylon said as he pulled off his rubber gloves, "Let me show you where you can sleep while I try to call the paramilitary base for a ride to the hospital."
About fifty thousand years ago, water started to cut away the soft limestone of SE Minnesota and a number of massive cave systems were formed. He explained that he had found the cave as child and when he could, he bought the surrounding land and started to build a house. He turned on some lights and walked down to stand at the foot of a deep pool of clear water.
"I've been working on this place for a long time. The power for the lights comes from a hydroelectric plant farther back in the cave system. The air is filtered and comes through a concealed inlet up the hill. I sealed off the more dangerous tunnels and expanded others into rooms and workspaces. This main room was already terraced down to the water, so all I had to do was to level it out a little and add some rugs and furniture. It's a little cool at 58 degrees but I have electric heaters to warm whatever room I'm in."
"It wonderful!" Mary explained.
"I can't say the idea was all mine, I read about a place just like it in one of Author Jerry Ahern's books, The Survivalist. The cave and water was here so I thought, why not try and see if could be done!"
"Why do you call it, Granite House?" Kate asked.
"It from the movie about Jules Verne's Mysterious Island. Solid as a rock!"
"All it needs is a woman's touch." Kate said. ‘Is your wife at home?
"My wife was in California the night of the Firecracker War, she never saw the place before it was finished." he said as he walked over to the bar and poured himself a drink. "It was going to be a surprise."
"Gaylon, I'm so sorry, I didn't know." Kate whispered.
"It's ok, you get used to anything after a while. Come on, I'll show you where you can bed down."
After twenty years in Air Force Intelligence, traveling back and forth across the world, Gaylon did not have to guess that peace wasn't in the cards. And when an Iranian jet launched a homemade nuke at the Seventh Fleet in the Straits of Hormous, it started a fire that, when it ended, had destroyed half the world. Gaylon's wife never felt the heat of the fireball that caused her body to melt, a near miss targeted for Beale AFB in Marysville, California. He had been on leave at the time and had been working on Granite House when the bombs fell and so was able to survive the fallout that followed until he could return to the outside world again. That was around the time when the first Pirate raids took place on the quiet farms and houses that had survived. These animals killed for food, gas, weapons, women, and anything else they wanted. Some just for the fun of it. Many of Gaylon's friends and neighbors would be killed in the months that followed until the survivors banded together into "paramilitary" camps and towns. Gaylon called the local group on his side band ham radio and asked for help for Kate's father. A few hours later he woke the survivors.
"It's time to move your father to the pickup point. I sorry I can't let them come here, but the pirates are after my blood and I can't let them find this place." Gaylon stated as he picked up his M-4 and slung it around his neck. "The Paramilitary is sending an armored car to pick you all up and move you into town."
"Is it safe for him to travel?" Kate asked.
"Well, his color is better and his blood pressure is stable from the IVs I gave him." he explained, "We only have to carry him about a mile. Up to the North road." His watch said twenty after two as he picked up my rifle and backpack
"Ok, let's go."
"I'll take the front end so you can guard us this time out," Kate replied.
Gaylon pushed a wall mounted switch and a massive steel door opened and they were able to walk into the entrance area of the cave. Fake brush covered the front of a large overhang that gave enough room to park a car or truck. Looking back they could see the now closing massive steel and concrete inner door that was the entrance into Granite House itself. Pressing a well hidden switch, Gaylon closed the outer entrance door and replaced the fake branches to the point the entrance seemed to disappear into the side of a hill.