Justice Begins Book 1: The First Executioner
These men thought they were coming to wipe out a community and instead get wiped out themselves. Who is this mystery sharpshooter?
The others opened fire, trying to locate the opposing gunman, but they couldn’t see anything. The Mongolian grabbed Mick’s body and dragged him back to the truck before taking up position on the passenger’s side within the vehicle itself. The driver frowned as though concerned that things might’ve taken a turn for the worse.
Halfway across town, hidden behind a fence with his old M1 Garand protruding between the slats, Tyler Katakura fired again.
His second shot took Kozlowski in the sternum, blowing half of his heart out the back along with a good-sized chunk of his spine. The man spun in place, gurgling and twitching, and collapsed into the dirt.
The man with the carbine waved his weapon toward the crude wooden fence in the middle of the settlement. “There!” he shouted. He was a tall man from somewhere in the Congo region who spoke little English but had good fighting instincts. “He is there!”
As the men opened fire on the fence, Ty had already sprung up, run behind a nearby hut, and advanced toward them from a different angle. He took another shot.
One of the men with an MP40 squawked as a .30-06 round ripped through his hip, sending him sprawling to the ground in agony. The Mongolian ducked out of the truck to pull him back, ignoring his screams of pain but putting pressure on the wound before lifting him into the back of the vehicle.
Anticipating counterfire, Ty bellowed, “Everyone, stay down! On the ground!” The last thing he wanted was for any of the people under his protection to get shot because he happened to be too close to them.
Then he bolted out into the street, firing once, hastily, at the clearance team before diving behind the engine block of an old pickup that someone had been trying to repair. He missed his shot, but the bullet struck the ground near the Congolese man’s legs, sending him jumping backward and drawing the group’s fire away from the houses.
One of the attackers grunted, “He’s got a Garand. Holds eight. He’s shot four so far. Keep track of—”
Ty popped up and fired again, taking the man who’d spoken in the throat before he could finish his warning. He died almost instantly, crumpling amidst his coworkers in a pool of blood.
The Congolese man waved his carbine again. “Cover! The truck!”
There were now only three gunmen remaining in the fight. The Congolese and a Russian guy covered their partial retreat with a barrage of gunfire toward Ty’s new location. It kept him pinned down for the moment. The Mongolian leaned out of the truck’s passenger side and responded with well-aimed shots toward the likeliest positions to which Tyler might flee.
Ty looked around, his nostrils flaring as he pressed himself against the engine block. He hadn’t had time to grab an extra clip for his rifle. After his ammo ran out, he would have only his sidearm. Still, he’d already taken out half of their force. His black hair, damp with sweat, cushioned his head against the dirty steel.
Then he saw the older woman.
She had been trapped behind a barely functional fence of wood and sheet metal when the shooting started, too slow and scared to get away to better cover. Her position was partially in the clearance team’s line of fire. Although she had sensibly ducked, it didn’t look like her joints were in good enough shape for her to get back up if she needed to.
The fence was disintegrating. The attackers were spending all of their ammo reserves as quickly as possible, having diverted their attention from terrorizing the townsfolk into simply trying to kill their unexpected enemy through overwhelming force. Sooner or later, their shots would strike the tiny, cowering woman.
Ty drew a deep breath. Then, with a snarl of defiance, he jumped up and sprinted across the mud-and-gravel expanse that had become a warzone, ignoring the zing of bullets past his head and heels.
He jumped and rolled, coming to a stop right behind the fence. Before the men could redirect their fire at him, he swiveled toward them and took a quick shot.
The Congolese man took the bullet through the gut and went down with a ragged cry, still clutching the carbine. The other man with the submachine gun was out of ammo. His hands shook as he ejected his magazine and fumbled for another.
Ty had a moment, then, before the barrage started anew. He turned to the woman and gave her a quick, curt bow.
“Excuse me, oba-san,” he greeted her. “Please, allow me.”
The woman stared blankly at the younger Japanese man. He slung his rifle back over his shoulder, knelt, and scooped her up in his arms. Then, trying to use his body as protection, he dashed back out into the street, bobbing and weaving as he made his way toward the engine block. It was the only reliable source of cover nearby.
The second MP40 wielder finished reloading his gun and squeezed off a short burst, but it struck to Ty’s left. Carrying the woman slowed him slightly, but not by much. The Mongolian took another potshot. This time, the bullet grazed Ty’s cheek and whizzed past his ear.
He gritted his teeth. He’d been out in the open too long, but his foes’ nerves were fraying. In a way, he had the advantage.
Reaching the engine block, he squatted and deposited the woman safely behind it as she gawked in astonishment. He bowed to her again and returned to the fight.
The blond Russian guy was having trouble hitting anything with his submachine gun, so Ty focused instead on the Mongolian, who was lining up a careful shot. As Ty aimed back at him, the Mongolian heaved himself into the vehicle and was about to duck when the Garand fired again.
The windshield spiderwebbed, and blood sprayed across it and the seat. The driver, sitting dumbly behind the wheel, cried out in alarm.
Ty had one round left. The shack nearest him was next to a crate and had a low roof, so he hopped onto the container and jumped atop the building, hoping it would hold his weight. He was lean and wiry, but they hadn’t built the shanties to last.
It held. There was only one man still able to fight. Seeing Ty get the drop on him, the Russian turned and ran. At first, he ran in a straight line, and Ty was about to shoot him through the spine and chest, but then he abruptly weaved to the left while half-ducking.
Cursing in his mind, Ty watched as the bullet took the man in the shoulder, causing him to scream and rendering his right arm useless, but probably not killing him. He hopped and hobbled toward the back of the truck, stumbling into the rear compartment and out of sight.
Tyler jumped down from the roof and ran straight toward the vehicle. Adrenaline and the confidence of experience had burned away his lingering fear.
The driver had taken a few shots with his revolver earlier but then dropped it at some point during the fray. At the same time the Russian got hit, the driver had leapt out to search for his weapon. Frazzled by the violence, chaos, and the suddenness with which the fight had turned against them, he couldn’t remember when he’d lost hold of it.
Now, only one thing mattered to him. Seeing Ty bolt toward him, he grabbed the truck’s frame near the driver’s side front door and swung himself up to the seat, where Mick’s dead body lay slumped. The Mongolian had deposited it there. He kicked it aside, and the man who’d briefly been their leader fell out and rolled on the ground.
The driver hopped in and stuffed the keys into the ignition. His free hand reached down for the gear shift and encountered the smooth surface of a leather jacket atop still bones and clammy flesh. He looked down. The Mongolian had collapsed across the console to die after the Japanese guy had shot him through the windshield.
“Shit,” the driver gasped, shoving the dead man, then hoisting him up by the jacket. “Shit, shit, shit…”
Ty Katakura was charging across the now-empty expanse that separated the settlement from the choke point where the truck stalled. The driver couldn’t remember seeing him reload. He must’ve been out of ammo. He was running toward the vehicle to get within arm’s reach so he could finish the job.
The driver finally managed to throw the Mongolian aside so the dead man slumped awkwardly over the passenger’s side of the front bench seat. Then his hand found the gear stick and clutched it, shifting into reverse.
Before he could back away, the Japanese guy tossed aside his empty rifle and took a running leap straight into the truck, crashing against the driver from the side and holding himself in place against the frame with one hand.
Ty’s right hand, meanwhile, had fallen to his side and whipped back upward, now holding a Colt M1911 pistol. As the driver turned to face him, jaw hanging nearly to his chest, Ty shoved the gun’s barrel into the man’s mouth.
“Now, my friend,” Ty said in a low, almost disturbingly soft voice while staring into the driver’s eyes, “you’re going to drive back to the people who hired you and show them what has happened. You will take all these bodies directly to them, whichever rich bastards they might be, and explain exactly how they got the way they are.
“You’ll explain that they do not have the right to drive these people from their homes. These are the same folks who have built this fucking island. They have no right to treat them like disposable garbage, just because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The driver tried to nod to the best of his ability. He barely moved his head for fear of jostling the pistol, whose slide and barrel were cold against his teeth. A bulbous droplet of sweat ran down his temple and cheek.
Ty added, “Tell them, the next time they try something like this, I won’t send a driver back.” He slowly retracted the Colt from the man’s mouth but kept it aimed at his face. “Next time, I’ll drive the truck back myself and deliver the message for the last time.”
The driver swallowed. “Understood,” he replied in a hoarse whisper. He looked away from Ty’s dark, burning eyes. Then, as the settlement’s guardian stepped off the truck and backed away, pistol still held ready, the man within the vehicle reversed, performed a three-point turn, and drove back the way he’d come.
He drove fast. Probably, Ty guessed, a lot faster than he’d come in.
I don’t know about you but I have been waiting on pins and needles to find out what happened to this heavily armed brigade of men. It seems they got what they deserved. The rest of this story unfolds on November 1st when it is released on all devices. Head over and pre-order Justice Begins Book 1: The First Executioner.