Gabrielle made it, but just barely. I have no idea what the other group of people (Tate, Will, and others) are facing, but they aren't here, which is a good thing.
We drove out to the main road at the bottom of the neighborhood to wait for Gabby and her family. They were on the phone with us from the time they got into the county (on the far side from us) until they got to us. The distraction of talking them through getting here might have had something to do with them not seeing the people following them.
The only thing that saved us was Jessica's insistence that we go in a group, and heavily armed.
We took one of the trucks, Patrick driving, and me, Jess and Little David (David A) in the back. When Gab and her clan showed up, going very, very slow due to the abandoned cars everywhere and keeping an eye out for us, we thought everything was kosher. We were wrong.
They got up to us, pulled onto the main road of the subdivision, and we all started chatting. Over the hill on the main road, a huge SUV came into sight. We watched them for few moments, hoping it was Tate and his group, and most of us just stood in shock when windows rolled down and weapons popped out of them.
My wife, the quiet, shy one, started firing before the rest of us realized anything was wrong. Jess slowed them down, as only 30.06 rounds can do, while those of us on the ground got into the back of the truck. I motioned Gabrielle to go up the road ahead of us, and Pat threw the truck into gear so we could follow her to our house.
Little David had the sense to call mom while Jess and I tried to keep the SUV behind us at bay. It turned out to be unnecessary, since she and David's family could hear the gunshots from her house. I put a bunch of rounds into their engine before we were halfway up the really big hill on my mom's road, and their vehicle died.
This was good and bad. Good, because it slowed them down, but bad, because once they knew they had no wheels, they got out and spread. It is much easier to aim when you don't have to lean out of a window to do it.
Luckily there weren't that many of them, only seven. At the time, I didn't think about what I was doing, no thoughts were in my head to cloud my judgement of my actions. Only a hot mixture of rage and fear, and the certain knowledge that those I loved would die if we failed.
We stopped at the top of the hill, about two hundred yards from mom's house, and had ourselves a gunfight. Jess dropped two of them very quickly, shooting one of them through the glass of his car door as he was getting out. Didn't even get a chance to fire back. I got one myself as he ran toward me, the idiot. Pat had gotten out of the truck as soon as we stopped, leveled his shotgun and started firing with a speed that seemed impossible in such a big guy.
Pat got two of them.
We managed to avoid getting hit only because we had the advantage of terrain, and the sun was at our backs, making it hard for them to look at us to aim. The last two of them almost had me, but since I was still in the bed of the truck, I dropped flat when I saw them rushing toward us, pulling Jess with me. Pat dropped back to hunker by the front of the truck, forcing the last two attackers to come around if they wanted to get him. I thought we were done for, honestly, because Jess and I were sitting ducks, flat on our backs. They could have easily walked up next to the truck and fired down on us, but for one small factor.
When we stopped, I forgot all about him. He dove into the truck as Pat was getting out, and in the chaos, everyone forgot him. But he kept his wits sharp and was watching it all very closely, and when the two men tried to get close, he threw the truck in reverse, making them duck the sides. One of them smashed his face on the asphalt when his weapon got tangled up as he tried to roll, and Patrick took him in one shot.
The last one was a bit more spry and had actually started firing when a big, silver SUV came over the hill at forty or fifty miles an hour and crushed him.
I never knew my mom had it in her. She abhors violence, hates it with a passion. But from her house, she told me later, she saw what was happening, and wasn't about to let her son die.
Now that it's all over, many hours later, I am starting to really feel what happened. I killed someone. I ended all of his potential, all that he could have been, in a single instant. And even though I know it was necessary and completely justified, I still feel terrible about it. It's like a toothache that won't go away, always in the back of my mind, along with the fear and worry that our new world forces on us. I did a thing today that a few weeks ago I never dreamed of, and I wonder what other decisions we will be faced with in the months and years ahead.
I am trying not to think about it. My heart hurts enough right now, with guilt at being a killer, and relief that my people are alive and unharmed, and more guilt for part of me feeling good that I ended a threat to them.
It was looking to be such a beautiful day. Just goes to show that Jess is usually right about these things.