Once the dust cleared, the thing that crashed on my street was the charred fuselage of a A10 warthog. “Sky Dancer 6 is down, I repeat, Sky Dancer 6 is down!” The officer’s radio blared and I knew we couldn’t remain in the area. “We can’t stay. Here.” My brother pushed me to the officer. “Stay in the middle of them. They’ll protect you.” The officer looked at me with surprise before nodding to my brother. “I’ll keep your sister safe.”
… I didn’t have a comment to that.
My brother did though. “Brother. Takes after my mother,” he added with a strange warmth as he looked at me before patting my head. The look of pity in his eyes was too obvious and I reminded myself what he said earlier… “We’ll make it.” It reminded me that we most certainly were not going to make it, but I allowed my brother to be the cool sibling in front of his soldier buddies – not that I could stop him – as everyone seemed to hulk over me… Was I really that small?
Trying to distract myself to the perilous situation, I looked around and noticed a lot of the soldiers had been injured in some way. There wasn’t a single soldier that wasn’t stained with blood somewhere, in panic, I looked over to my brother and carefully studied his body and noticed a shine coming off his left upper arm. He was trying hard not to move it often, favoring his dominant arm to grab stuff, even at awkward angles. “You’re injured!” I said, trying hard not to sound as shocked as I actually was.
My brother had been a near godly existence in my life. When I was being bullied in elementary school, he’d beat up the bullies. When I had broken my leg on a camping trip, he carried me five miles to the nearest road without a single break. When were fought, I always lost effortlessly. Yet, here I was looking at him – blood soaking his black shirt.
Upon closer inspection when I got up close to examine it, I found the bullet had got clean through his muscles. I wasn’t well versed in trauma aid and first-aid, but I knew I had to stem the bleeding. “It’s nothing.” He chuckled awkwardly. “I’ve had worst.” He looked at his arm as if he finally noticed the injury. Everyone around us was checking their equipment only to stop when they heard my outburst. “It’s not nothing! You’re bleeding man!” I quickly broke away from the group and navigated the torn up townhouse and found the downstairs bathroom and pulled all the first-aid supplies out of the pantry.
Seven large kits and towels were pulled into my arms, which honestly was too much to carry before I made it back to Jacob while losing a few kits and nearly tripping on the hallway rug. By the time I got back, which couldn’t have been more than a few minutes, someone had already bandaged up Jacob. I stood there like an idiot gawking at how unnecessary what I had done was.
“Of course they’d have medical kits…” I thought as I watched a man with a red cross insignia on his arm finish up with my brother and look at me with a raised eyebrow. “See? It’s nothing.” He chuckled. “Now we really need to go.” Everyone around seemed to have finally had an enlightenment moment as I heard a few whispers “He really is just a kid…” and “That’s his baby brother…? I thought we-“. My brother roared at the soldiers. “Holster up, grab the kids from little bro here and take them with us, we’re going to need everything we can find!”
Having someone higher ranked than them bark at them snapped them out of their gossiping and a few soldiers went forward, taking the kits from me while thanking me politely. ” Little bro is a civvy! Keep him in the center and keep moving.”
It took a few more minutes for everyone to get themselves ready, most of them had already finished either stocking up on their ammo or just completely taking the weapons off the dead enemies that had perished on stairs. To add to the perilous situation, there wasn’t enough ammo to go around so people had to shuffle any pistol ammo to those with a magazine or 2 left and have those guys switch to their sidearm while slinging their rifles onto their back. This was to make sure no one was going to be crying out for ammo. While rifles were better to have in a firefight, having an empty rifle wasn’t any better than an empty pistol.
More explosions rocked the home, sounding closer, and we finally shuffled out of the house single-file before spreading out and making the best of the wreckage to cross the street to where the more intact homes were. I was forced to stick to the office’s rear like a tick on a cow’s rear end, keeping one hand placed on the back of his vest while we moved so he knew I was still there. I glanced back at the large McMansion my dad had bought in the suburbs of Washington DC. It was built like one of those old plantation homes you saw in those documentaries, but now it looked like something out of the Division.
The roof was smoking with the front blackened with smoke and peppered with bullets. I noticed more dead enemies littered the streets here and there.
The part of the city I lived in was nothing but politicians’ families and important figures in the government. I did see a few teams escorting those families out of the other similar McMansions… However, a few homes were completely obliterated by bombs The street was void of life with only a few parked cars and abandoned HUMVEEs that didn’t belong to us. “Why aren’t we going in transports?” I asked the officer while tightening the grip on my submachine gun.
“The bombers are targeting any moving vehicles. Even if we try and steal the enemy vehicles, they’re keeping an eye on them for us.” He said while he scanned around as he jogged through my old neighbors’ yards until we came to a flaming wreckage of a large plane that looked like a Boeing 747… A civilian 747. The soldiers hadn’t even blinked as they skirted left through a busted fenceline before detouring through 3 more blocks of wreckage before we found ourselves in a large backyard with a broken wooden fence where it looked like a politician and his family was executed.
I found them laying face down in the inground pool, kids and all. I saw a toddler in – I was going to stop right there before I almost threw up again. The conga line of walking death came to a stop as my brother tore up the hedge wall. The Wreckage of the 747 lasted a few blocks, but now there was just open ground where the 747 was so I assumed they didn’t want to get caught out in the open if they could help it.
While we were idle, most of the soldiers took cover where they could, training their rifles in different directions to cover every point on the clock three times over. A few soldiers couldn’t help themselves and pulled the family out of the water… I looked away when he pulled the children out and looked at the sky instead as more bombers flew overhead. Smokestacks rose from everywhere, attesting to the damage already having been dealt. “What happened to the Anti-air systems?” I asked the officer as he kept his eyes trained on the air above the soldiers pulling out the family. “We had a traitor. They took down the system for a few minutes and it was enough for some jets to knock a hole in the net.”
My brother had called an all-clear signal and climbed over the brick wall that was behind the hedges and dropped down. Six more breaks in the plant wall were made as soldiers steamed over the brick wall and we found ourselves in the loading area of the local Walmart Superstore. We quickly sprinted across the large lot full of trailers and abandoned product, a few dead employees here and there.
A few bay doors in the loading dock were open so Jacob checked them with a few other soldiers before giving another clear signal and mantled through the open doors. We followed suit, me needing the help of two guys because… Um.. the bays were up to my neck and… I wasn’t exactly in the shape these guys where. After that embarrassing situation, we poured through the back of the Walmart like a surging river of camo and PJs clearing out the back. When we secured the back of house, my brother came up to me. “You three, go with Isaac here and grab what you can from the ammo counter if it hasn’t already been looted.”
Following his orders, I parted with my newly made friend, Officer Cow-butt, and made my way out of the back. Glad to be a friend of all that weird inspiration posters of the owner of the company, I went out the back after a few friendlies cleared the door and I took the lead. “It’s over here!” I broke into a jog while passing by the electronics. “Hey dude, you have-“
Because he could finish his sentence, I had already made it to the counter; coming face to face with a startled European soldier. We stood, staring each other in the eye like some bad lover’s reunion at seeing each other, but the touching moment was broken when the rest of my buddies made it to me which broke into a fight the moment the man broke out of his trance.
With no other way but down, I fell on my back, and the weight on the armor plates felt like my brother had just tackled me. It took a moment to gather myself as bullets flew overhead as the soldiers quickly ducked as the Tango opened up on them from behind the counter with his rifle. I managed to get my MP5 in my hands just as the man was reloading. He then noticed I was still there as he pushed his magazine in. I beat him to the punch as I pulled down on the trigger with everything I had, sending the gun barking like a pissed chihuahua when you invade their personal space.
The 9mm rounds smacked the fabricated wooden counter before trailing up across the soldier. Four rounds punched his chest without penetration, as I only had hollow points loaded, and it was only like a pinch to him until 1 round shredded his neck on the right and another blowing his brains out. Lacking discipline with real fight experience with a firearm, my finger locked on the trigger as the MP5 barked up the whole Walmart tree into the skylight and then it clicked empty.
The soldiers finally peeked out to get a shot and saw the brains splattered across the floor and 1 really dead guy. He looked at me while I laid on my back with awkwardly holding my submachine gun up as a piece of skylight broke free and fell on our dead friend behind the counter. “They say double tap, not double with a stabbing on top.” The man joked, trying to ease my frayed nerves. “Y-Y-Yeah!” I tried to smile as he helped me up, but I was shaking all over from the sudden in-your-face- encounter.
My knees nearly buckled when I stood up “Easy kid, my first firefight was the same.” The man who didn’t look three years older than me said with a smile while patting my back “I have a younger brother as well, and man, I can imagine him doing what you’re doing right now. He’s probably still playing video games right now while bombs fall.” He chuckled uneasily about it until he was sure I could stand. “You hit?” Another soldier asked as the rest of the group caught up with us. “N-No, but he is.” I tried to sound cool, but the nerves were still pumping signals into my brain as I gestured towards the dead guy.
He only smiled and nodded before helping secure the surprisingly untouched ammo stocks that our dead guy was about to loot. We secured half of the ammo stocks, only touching the 9mm, .45acp, 556, 762s, and 12gauage since there was more than we could carry and ammo equaled weight. “Don’t forget to reload your gun, little dude.” the soldier from earlier said. I nodded and dropped the mag out of the rifle and felt around for a spare only to release… this rig only hand pistol mags… Like… A lot of pistol mags.
“I.. uhh.. only have pistol magazines..” The soldier looked at me like I was an idiot and honestly, I didn’t blame him. I was already out of ammo on my first fight and I only wasted most of the mag on killing a chain store counter and skylight. “Just-” before he could finish his sentence, gunshots rang out from the front of the store and their radio blared “Contact! Twenty plus tangos on the right side entrance!”. One of the guys who looked to be the squad leader picked up his mic “Copy that, we’ll take the left entrance and try and flank them.”
The nice thing about Walmart superstores was there was almost always three entrances. The right side one was where the fast-food store was while the left, which I’m sure he was referring to the middle one, was by the self-checkout. We quickly slung whatever ammo we could while I abandoned the empty MP5 on the Walmart counter, gun laws be damned. Navigating through the women’s bra section in all its glory, we popped out of the children’s department and came face to face with another squad of lively enemies who had the same idea to flank.
The moment they came into view, someone yelled “Contact!” and the bullets flew. Considering the only cover that was here was made of baby bibs and Onezies along with whatever seasonal display there was in front of us full of candy. I through my self to the ground while regretting how I was carrying a lot of weight on my chest only to have it rock me side to side as I pulled out my XM17 and started popping off shots. I wasn’t sure I was hitting or missing, but I just pointed it at the closest enemy who tried to use the TV display as cover before it was shredded by tens of rounds.