There is something that looks sort of like a tank sitting at the main entrance to the compound. It has a .50 caliber machine gun and what appears to be a small cannon on it. I couldn't tell you what size the thing is, only that the barrel is much larger than the one on the machine gun.
Let me rewind a little bit.
Things were getting overwhelming. It's wasn't that we were in pitched combat without end, but that the looters were keeping us fairly penned in by finally getting strategic and sniping at us from concealed locations. We were fine if we stayed indoors or hidden, but no one could move openly without seriously risking a bullet. The point at which everything seemed destined to spiral into a world of shit was when Little David got shot.
He we being stealthy, doing a good job of trying to stay out of the line of sight. But one of them must have caught a glimpse of him, and kept an eye out for a good shot. He was almost to my position when the round tore through his thigh. I wanted to run to him, to pull him in, but Steve kept a better head than I.
Steve, you may remember, is the husband of Courtney, one of our wayward ladies. Steve is, like myself, a huge and proud nerd. He's also surprisingly quick, stealthy, and able in the areas required for good practice of martial arts. Before the cataclysm, Steve was taking some very interesting classes toward that end.
Anyway, he stopped me from going after David, pointing out that he should be the one to go, not being as good a shot as the rest of the folks stationed in the house with us. He had the idea that we could provide covering fire, quite a lot of it if we needed to, while he zigged, zagged, and tumbled randomly out to David. No one seemed to think the idea was silly. Random movement. Seemed logical.
Steve got to him while we covered, got them both to a safe spot, but not inside. Steve pulled him to the other side of the road, behind a house. Our covering fire was returned, and soon we were pretty much overwhelmed. My guess is that as the day wore on, the looters got impatient, and called in the rest of their numbers, to kill us all at once.
Which was really helpful, as it turns out. After a few minutes of watching the drywall and bricks disintegrate around us, we were getting scared. After fifteen minutes, we were terrified. When we heard deafening gunfire, shaking the air around us like thunder, I peed a little.
But in between bursts of this new and painful chatter, we could hear a new sound: Screaming. From the other side of the highway. I risked a very quick glance that direction, and what I saw took my breath away.
When I found it again, I was laughing.
The thing looked like a hummer, but heavily armored, with those big-ass guns I talked about earlier perched on it. Darlene drove, Courtney was visible in the back, working the cannon, and Elizabeth was crouched behind the bulletproof shield, waylaying the looters with the huge machine gun.
Bodies fell all over, the looters being very tightly packed. Many of them escaped, fleeing in abject terror. I wanted to chase them down, make sure that the threat was ended. After less than a minute, we were free of them. Not one looter remained to fire at us, though enough had gotten away to keep fear pulsing in the back of my head.
I wanted to chase them, but I had other things to occupy my time. David was bleeding badly, not to mention the other injured. There were details to be seen to, missed meals to be caught up on, and all the pesky details that come when you finally have the time to deal with them.
Now, apparently, we have access to much of what was left at the guard base. The girls (women, I know, I'm such a typical man. Deal with it.) had apparently gone on quite an adventure, including but certainly not limited to aiming a big herd of zombies penned up at the base toward us. And since the looters were between the base and us...
When they hopped out of the truck, Steve hugged Courtney, spinning her in a circle. Two of my best friends, saviors, and safe. Darlene ran to David, scared out of her mind, but he smiled at her with a gleam in his eye that was wonderful to behold.
Elizabeth ran straight to me, grabbed my hair with both of her hands, and kissed me. Simply, deeply, and in ways that make me feel incredibly awkward.
Jess was standing maybe three feet away from me. She was smiling.
We are safe.