Shot, broken and seeing things, sometimes it better to say at home. While on a job helping a friend, Jack finds himself in the snows of Maine fighting off the cold, Russians and hallucinations to help a young couple who are just trying to have a quiet, ordinary honeymoon. As if anything Bob and Christina do could be considered ordinary.
This is a crossover between the Security Stories and Special Security Service stories that will eventually have them as one story just told from four different perspectives. This one and the next one are essentially the same stories told from two different points of view with the second (published later today) giving a better end to the story (but not an end to the storyline). This also sets the events of The Devil’s Icebox about two to three years after the Wedding Story.
It’s cold. Too cold. The cold is working in and shutting me down. I must have three or four broken ribs and several hits. I can taste blood. That means internal injuries. Laying here watching that path I can’t help but think about my wife Sara and our daughter Trina. She just turned two and is walking. Trina, not Sara, she had been walking for a while now. I had a Colt M4 with six magazines and a Glock 17 with four magazines. In my position, I have a clear site along the trail on the west side. The two I was protecting went east on the only other path. I hope they make it.
I run a specialty management service. I run several apartment buildings as well as a successful chain of themed bars. At one time, I ran a different kind of service. A specialty security service. We were mercenaries with a cause. Rebels with a clue. Our last job saw too many of our friends die. They died so others could be free, but they are dead all the same. Keeping the business running just didn’t seem right so, I closed it down. I got married, and now I am a dad. My right-hand, a tall Senegalese woman called TC quit when she found out she was pregnant. She had said it was irresponsible to risk her life when she was responsible for another. Lying here bleeding out I can’t help but see what she meant.
A longtime friend called me asking if I could help on a job. We don’t need the money and my days of running into danger are in the past. He said he was working with the FBI on a special duty protecting some people in witness protection until their relocation was set up. The rub was that he thought the FBI was compromised and the two were in trouble. I looked at my schedule already knowing I was going to do it. I went to call Sara when I realized I needed to do this in person. I thought that she would be angry but not as angry as if I called her on the way. Oh, by the way, they’re in fucking Maine. Why?
About an hour later I was on a plane to Maine. Sara was cool about it. She said, “if you are going you better go now before TC gets here.” TC was incubating her third child and was on her way over for a playdate with her son and Daughter named Dave and Bobbie. They were named for friends that died but will never be forgotten. She might just shoot me in the foot to keep me from going. I wouldn’t put it past her. In the plane, an FBI agent named Sampson like the guy with the magical hair gave me a Colt M4, a Glock 17 and plenty of magazines for both. I asked, “are we going to war?” He replied, “given their luck, it’s best to plan for anything.”
I read a quick background on the two. Bob was a gun-happy security guard, and she was the daughter of a Russian hit-man. They were both wanted by the Russian mob and maybe a Nazi cult. I remember reading about this Nazi Cult killing some people at a rave and a high school pool. The mob sent some people to interrupt their wedding. This wedding was a secret and was to be protected by the FBI, but someone called off the protection leaving them open for attack.
We landed and met up with a truck going north. About three hours later we stopped and got out. From there I had an hour march into the woods and snow. They were in a cabin in a park with only two paths in and the snow was deep. If you noticed I said I instead of we because Agent Sampson went with the truck. I eventually found the cabin. As I approached, I heard a voice, “drop the bag and hold your hands up.” I started to look around, and the voice said, “I don’t care who you are if you don’t do what I say I will shoot.” I dropped the bag and said, “I am Jack Pressler I am a private security officer sent by an FBI agent named Sampson and I would appreciate it if you didn’t shoot me, Bob.” He came out of the snow where he seemed to be waiting for me.
Inside the cabin, I found a young white girl with a gun. Apparently, they were not told I was coming. The cabin had no power outside, and the solar cell was under three feet of snow. I asked them, “would you rather stay here or find a good hotel with room service?” Christina said, “I want out of here. I have been screaming it into this dead phone for days now.” About the time she said it her husband Bob came in after brushing off the snow. We sat down and planned our exit. My phone was working but had no signal. Bob said, “we need to warn your uncle about the move.” I said, “we can call him from a nice warm jacuzzi.” Then there was a noise outside.
Bob jumped to his feet and ran to the door. Just as he opened it I pulled him away as gunfire ripped into the cabin. I felt multiple hits against my vest. I went down just as Bob closed the door. He said something to Christina then grabbed his rifle and went out a back door. From the floor, I heard gunfire. The rhythmic beat of an AK47 to the single shot 308. After four or five minutes, the gunfire ended. The door opened and it was Bob. I was messed up by the gunfire. I had some busted ribs and could taste blood. One or two rounds made it through the vest. Bob said, “there are more coming.” From the side of the cabin you can see the trail. Fortunately, none of the gunmen brought an RPG or the cabin would be dust by now. I told them that I can’t make it out on my own and I would just slow them down. I had them help me to the door and out. I found a good vantage point for laying down fire. I gave them my phone, then I said, “go take the other path and find help.”
A voice came from out of nowhere, “it looks like you found yourself some trouble white boy.” It was my old friend and former employee TC. She looked down at the men making their way to me than the blood on my body armor. She said, “you just had to be a hero and now look at you.” I know this wasn’t her just my mind slowly unraveling from the cold, pain and blood loss. She was back home with her kids with another one on the way. But her image in my head still stayed with me. She said, “you have got to get up and go. They are safely away now, so you did your hero act. Now be a real hero and return to your family.”
From around a corner came my grandfather. He died when I was twelve so seeing him here now was a little trippy. He was killed by a neighbor who wanted his land. He said, “you are the man I wanted you to be and feared you would become.” I pointed to TC and said, “grandpa do you remember David, well this is his wife.” He tipped his hat to her, and she went up and kissed him on the lips. My hallucinations are now making out. I looked down the trail and saw Bobby. He died a few years ago. He was walking with the gunmen mocking them. Then he pointed to the bridge.
A thin wooden bridge went over an icy stream. They would have to cross it to come over. Behind me I heard my grandfather say, “red rover, red rover let no one come over.” From here I could pick off anyone on the bridge, but if I got closer I could take out the supports taking out the bridge. Using my elbows, I dragged myself to a better vantage. The sites were mucked up with snow and blood. I knew any shots would give away my position so I had to make it count. One of them started to cross. He had a hand grenade hanging from his belt. Dumbass. I took aim and hit the grenade. It went off tossing the guy off the bridge and snapping the supports. The bridge went into the water. I looked over as TC was twerking with my grandfather. Both were dressed like they were on vacation on a tropical island. Him in cargo shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and her in a multicolored one-piece swimsuit. They danced as the gunfire and rounds filled the air and all around them. Being delusions, the fire also went through them.
The pain was slowly going away. I know this was bad. I decided to open fire and let all my cards out on the table. I got up and found myself in my old office. David was there, we were playing cards. Poker, I think. The cards were all the same. The Joker. He said, “I can see your hand and it isn’t good.” I ducked down and found myself in the desert behind a wall. Across from me was TC. It was back when we first met in Somalia. She said, “think before you act, and your only job is to return home to your girls.” She smiled then said, “whitey.” I rolled over onto my stomach and I was back in the snow. They were crossing on the ice. The extremely shoot-able ice. I took aim and hit the ice using full auto. Their weight and gunfire shattered the ice. I also cut one of them down. Three of the seven went into the water to find it still running underneath the ice and were swept away. The one I cut down was still on the ice and the other three fired back.
They had no way across, and by now Bob and Christina were long gone. That is when one of the Russian’s heads cracked open. An echoing shot rang out. Then another echoed shot, and another Russian fell with a little less gray matter between the ears. The third one made it back up the path the way he came. For about three minutes then a crack of a round, the snap of a skull and he was with his friends in whatever hell was waiting for them. I rolled over and saw some blurry dark images. Then all was black.
I woke up lashed to a homemade travois being dragged in the snow by Bob. They came back after finding a signal and called the FBI. Bob was the one who killed the last three Russians. They did the best they could to dress my wounds and made this monstrosity to move me. We made our way to a cabin in the woods where we found a retired doctor. He did what he could with my injuries and then using a CB called in for more help. Within an hour the FBI and search and rescue were there. The FBI took the two away, and the search and rescue took me to a hospital. We let the doctor keep the Colt M4, Glock 17 and the 308 as payment. We told the FBI we lost them in the snow.
In total, I had three broken ribs, a cracked knee, a fractured femur and shrapnel from my vest embedded in my chest. So, I guess this will make me Ironman? No, what it makes me is homebound and off my feet for a while. What was I thinking? Going in without backup? Letting this FBI agent use me? Not stopping Bob from opening the door? TC and grandpa twerking? That last one still haunts me. I will have plenty of time to think about what I did wrong while I watch my daughter play. Maybe I will someday return to the security business but not today. Sara was cool with the whole thing. She was almost interested in restarting the company even after I came back all broken up. TC was in stitches as I told her about her and my grandfather. It was about that time I got a call from Bob. He had an idea and wanted to talk to me about it.
These are short stories I wrote. Some are connected to the larger books I am working on others are just for the fun of story telling.
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