Brotherhood of fire, p.1
Brotherhood of Fire, page 1part #2 of Fire From the Sky Series
Creative Texts Publishers products are available at special discounts for bulk purchase for sale promotions, premiums, fund-raising, and educational needs. For details, write Creative Texts Publishers, PO Box 50, Barto, PA 19504, or visit www.creativetexts.com
FIRE FROM THE SKY: BOOK 2: BROTHERHOOD OF FIRE
by N.C. REED
Published by Creative Texts Publishers
PO Box 50
Barto, PA 19504
Copyright 2017 by N.C. REED
All rights reserved
Cover photos used by license.
Design copyright 2017 Creative Texts Publishers, LLC
The Fire From the Sky Logo is a trademark of Creative Texts Publishers, LLC
This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by United States of America copyright law.
The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual names, persons, businesses, and incidents is strictly coincidental. Locations are used only in the general sense and do not represent the real place in actuality.
For the Clerk, the Chef and the Ranger
I hope you can see me now.
And for those who sacrifice to keep us free.
May God bless and keep you.
The characters in this story are all fictional. Any semblance or similarity to actual persons, living or deceased, is purely coincidental. The cities of Peabody, Jordan, and Lewiston, and Calhoun County, Tennessee are all fictional places for the purposes of this story, mere inventions of the author's imagination, as are the people and places within them.
Rook is a trademarked card game of Parker Bros. If you have never played, you owe it to yourself to learn how. It is and has been a southern staple for many years. I dare say only politics and SEC football bring out more aggressiveness than a good game of Rook cards??
In writing a story such as this I am tempted always to use what I call 'real speech' when writing dialogue. In the south, we leave letters out of many words. We often leave the 'g' off of words like 'working', for instance, making it 'workin'. It's just something we do, I guess. As one of my Lit professors at Memphis State once said “we can't hep it”. Occasionally, you will see a word or two spelled such a way to remind you of what I intend the characters to sound like. I don't use it much, however, as many people complain that I cannot spell because of it. I always seek realism in anything I write, though, and how we speak in my little corner of the world is part of that realism. I have 'dialed it down' as we call it after my first two books “Odd Billy Todd” and “Roland” had complaints of my inability to spell.
I have also had people tell me or post in reviews that 'people in that area don't talk like that'. Having lived 'in that area' all my life, I can attest that many of us, myself included, do in fact 'talk that way'. It's a regional dialect much like any other region of the nation would have. I use it in my writing, or did, because without that inflection, much of the humor, or seriousness or whatever emotion is meant to be conveyed is lost without it in my opinion. I want what I write to be real. To sound real, feel real, and be as accurate as possible. When I describe something happening, I hope that anyone who has experienced the same thing would read it and say 'yeah, that's how that would go'.
When I write, I want you to experience everything that the characters might experience. In the case of PAW fiction, I want you to be able to see the suffering that such a scenario might create. I also want you to experience the determination that many people would have in such a state. To see people reach inside themselves to find strength and courage that they themselves never suspected they had. To see that, yes, there are purely evil people in this world and all that keeps them in check are the good people who stand between those evildoers and the people they would prey upon.
The End of The World As We Know It would not be pretty. It would, in fact, be terrible. Such times do not discriminate. Good people die just as easily and just as often as bad. Medications run out. Bones are broken. People are bitten by snakes. Attacked by dogs. All of the things that happen in normal times would still happen in such a world, but would be far more deadly. People of all ages and walks of life would find themselves struggling just to survive in some cases, depending on the situation and their level of preparedness. I want you to see that. I try as best as I can to be descriptive enough that if there's a fire, you smell the smoke (or at least imagine that you do). If there is a battle, you hear it. A storm, you're in it. Whatever the situation may be, you are there with the characters, seeing what they see.
But life would in most cases go on, whether we wanted it to or not. People will love those they love. They will experience fear, hate, and all the other emotions that we experience every day even when things are normal. People would need to laugh once in a while and so would look for entertainment. Children would have to be taught. Clothes washed. Meals cooked. All of this sounds and often is mundane, and yet no story would be complete without those things at least being mentioned. If no one is seen cutting firewood, then where did it come from? If no one is seen hunting, where did this fresh game come from? The list could go on and on, but you see my point. I want the reader to see what it takes to get by. To live day by day in a world that has turned itself upside down for whatever reason.
Most of all, more than anything else, I want you to be entertained. I want you, the reader, to be carried away to another place or time where you feel as though you've been inserted into the story yourself. For however long it takes you to finish the book, I want you to feel as if you belong there. As if you're a part of things.
If I don't manage that, then I have failed.
So, I strive for realism in all things written. Not to bore, not to 'pad', not to see words on the screen or page, but to do my best to convey to you, the reader, what it is that I'm trying to show you. If you can't see it the way I imagined it, then you can't experience the story the way it's meant to be experienced. And when you're finished, I want you to feel like you spent that time well.
So, I hope you enjoy, and thank you, all of you, from the bottom of my heart for your support, your encouragement and your patronage.
Mitchell Nolan was on watch. Most everyone else had bedded down once the excitement of the fire had waned. A long day of work and worry tended to leave people tired so it hadn't taken long. Now Mitchell was roaming the farm on occasion, using night vision gear to get around and avoid light.
He looked at the skeleton of the tower being constructed behind the Sanders' home, the parent's home he amended to himself, and wished it were finished. Rising above the nearest trees by a good ten feet, it would allow whoever sat there to see a good ways. Armed with a good scope it would be easy to keep a keen watch on things and to see anyone approaching the farm. With someone in the cupola at the other collection of buildings, that would pretty much cover everyth-
His thoughts crashed to a halt as he realized someone was approaching the farm. The glow of headlights was easing up the road from the direction of the Interstate and Jordan. Checking his rifle, Nolan moved to a position where he could observe the road and still have some cover.
A hundred questions ran through his mind even as he checked his surroundings to make sure
“Thug,” he heard in his ear. “How copy?” Tandi Maseo's voice was calm, quiet and clear.
“I got 'em,” he replied softly. “Can you make out what it is?” he asked. Sitting in the cupola at the other farm, Tandi had a better view than Nolan might.
“Negative,” Maseo replied. “I do only see one vehicle.”
“Only one using lights,” Nolan reminded him.
“True that,” Maseo agreed. “Play?”
“We wait and see if they stop,” Nolan replied. “If they do I'll approach. If they pass I'll try and get a description. Bossman might recognize the car if we do. Speaking of which you may want to rouse Big Bear and let him know the score. He may want to call Bossman over this regardless.”
Nolan watched as the lights grew closer, wishing it was light. The glow of the fire in Peabody, at least they thought it was Peabody, was still clearly visible even now, hours after they had first seen it. To see the first vehicle on this road in a week the same night, or at least the early morning after, couldn't be a coincidence he didn't care what anyone thought.
Not that he knew yet what anyone thought.
“Big Bear on the way,” Maseo's voice informed him.
“Roger that.” Nolan had tensed as the vehicle in question came into view, or at least its lights did, and it slowed. Slowing was bad. There was no light anywhere in the compound to alert a passing traveler that anything was even here, let alone still working. There was little moon, merely a sliver in fact, so no natural light to expose them. Still the car had slowed.
That means they know where they are, and they're probably coming here, he decided grimly. He raised his rifle to port arms and waited.
“Passing us by,” Maseo reported. “Headed your way.”
“Got 'em,” Nolan said tersely, preparing for trouble.
“On your left, back about fifty feet, near the cut,” Barnes' voice was next. “Ready on your go,” he added.
“Roger that,” Nolan nodded even though no one could see him, his entire attention focused on the unknown car that had just slowed even more. The lights seemed to weave a bit suddenly and slow even more, almost to a crawl now. The vehicle came almost to a stop, as if the driver was thinking or lost. Then, so slow that at first Nolan wasn't sure it was really moving, the vehicle turned into the Sanders' driveway. As it made the turn, Nolan could make the outline of a car but nothing else. A late model car, likely a sedan judging from the-
The yard was suddenly illuminated with the blue flashing lights of a police cruiser as the vehicle stopped in the drive.
“Jesus!” Nolan caught himself saying. “A cop?”
“Remember there are at least two of the locals that are friends of the family,” Barnes advised him. “I'll cover,” he added, meaning for Nolan to approach the car.
“Roger that,” Nolan acknowledged, moving slowly toward the car. His night vision gear was useless with so much bright light and he was near blinded by the strobes of the cruiser. Instinctively he moved to a position that let him approach the car from behind the driver's door as well as the rear passenger door, leaving him in a blind spot save for the fact that the strobes would illuminate him quite clearly. He was still twenty feet from the car when the driver's door opened. Before he could speak, Nolan watched as a figure fell from the car, collapsing into the drive with a gasp of pain.
Nolan moved cautiously to the vehicle and found a man in deputy's livery on the ground, his legs still partly inside the car. In the light from the cruiser he could see the uniform was stained with blood.
“Man down,” he reported calmly. “We have a LEO down with unknown wounds. Evident blood loss and has collapsed in the drive. Doc, get a relief and get down here ASAP. Better wake Kaitlin on your way out, too.”
“Roger. On the way,” Maseo replied.
“I'll get the Bossman's sister-in-law,” Barnes said over the radio. “Then wake him.”
“Roger that,” Nolan said. “Better hurry,” he added grimly as he knelt beside the crumpled form and checked his pulse. “This guy's in bad shape.”
“Sorry to wake you Boss, but we got a situation.”
Clay scrubbed his face, nodding at Barnes.
“What is it?” he asked, hearing Lainie stirring behind him. “Are those blue lights?” he asked before the big man could answer, seeing the strobes for the first time.
“Cop car,” Barnes nodded even as the lights went out. “Pulled into the yard less than five ago. Driver is dressed as a deputy and fell out of the door onto the drive, bleeding from multiple wounds looked like in the dark. Doc is on his way over, probably there by now. Kaitlin is awake and I woke your sister-in-law before coming to get you.”
“Who is it?” Clay had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He only knew one deputy who would think of this place in a moment of need or crisis.
“No idea,” Barnes admitted. “Didn't go look and wouldn't know anyone from the locals anyway.”
“Gimme two minutes,” Clay ordered and went to dress, leaving the door open for Barnes to enter. Lainie was waiting for him.
“What is it?” she asked softly, already dressing.
“Don't know yet other than a wounded deputy has arrived,” he told her. “You want to come with me?” he asked her.
“Please?” her voice wasn't pleading but was earnest nonetheless.
“Sure,” he told her at once, receiving a beaming smile from her in reward.
Patricia had thrown on her clothes in a rush and hurried out to where the police car's lights were still flashing.
“Turn those off,” she told her husband Robert, who nodded and moved to the other side of the car, locating the switch for the lights and shutting them off. He then activated the 'alley' lights on the light bar, illuminating the scene for her.
“We have got to-” she cut herself off as an ATV approached. Soon her brother-in-law was leaning over them.
“Greg Holloway,” Clay breathed, seeing exactly what he'd feared he would. He looked at Patricia who was nodding. “Tell how he is yet?” he asked.
“He's lost a lot of blood,” she told him. “And that was something we didn't think of,” she added, looking up at Clay in distress. “We don't have any blood stores, Clay. And I don't have any way to type it, either.”
“We've got plasma,” Tandi told her. “And if we can find out his blood type we can transfuse from donors.”
As if he heard, Holloway stirred just then, groaning as he did so.
“Easy man,” Clay knelt beside him even as Tandi and Patricia worked to stabilize him. “Take it easy, brother. You're in good hands.”
“Clay,” Holloway's voice was a raspy whisper. “Figured you guys were okay,” he smiled, or tried to. “Had a r-rough night myself,” he admitted.
“So, I see,” Clay smiled back though he didn't feel it. “Can you tell us what your blood type is, Greg?”
“O pos-, -tive,” he stammered out. “Town. . .burn. . .ing. . .” he managed to get out before losing consciousness once more.
“Yeah, we know,” Clay patted his friend's shoulder lightly. “Patty?” he looked at his sister-in-law.
“We can move him now,” she nodded, standing. “Quick as we can without jostling him too much.”
Willing hands lifted the stretcher and slid it into the bed of the ATV. Tandi climbed in with Holloway while Patricia bundled their gear into the rear seats with her.
“We'll be along shortly,” Clay promised. “We'll deal with this,” he indicated the car.
“Seat's a mess, Clay,” his brother reported. “He's been bleeding a while. I found t
“Shot out,” Clay muttered. “I'll drive the car up behind the barn for now,” he sighed as he popped the trunk of the cruiser. Rummaging through the boot he found a poncho that he spread over the bloody seat.
“Maybe we can clean it up later,” he said aloud. “Wait here and I'll be right back,” he told Lainie.
“Okay,” the redhead nodded, watching as Clay pulled away in the cruiser.
“He and Greg were best friends in school,” Robert told her quietly. “Along with Jake Sidell. I used to call them the Three Stooges,” he snorted, wanting to smile at the memory but unable to bring himself to do it under the circumstances. “Always into trouble somewhere or somehow.”
“And he became a police officer?” Lainie asked with a raised eyebrow.
“And Clay a soldier, while Jake became a respected business man and father,” Robert nodded. “Funny how life works, ain't it?”
Having gone from school drop-out and runaway to waitress, then stripper, then business manager and finally college graduate and business owner, Lainie could understand the sentiment.
“Stranger things have happened,” she settled for saying with a shrug.
“So, they have,” Robert sighed. “I'm going to get Patricia a change of clothes. She just threw on what she could grab and ran out here. I'm sure she's missing something about now.” With that he headed for his house, leaving Lainie alone in the dark to wait for Clay's return. Fortunately, he was there in less than a minute, a small light in his hands.
“Want to walk over to the clinic?” he asked, referring to the small medical room the twins had planned for their buildings.
“Sure,” Lainie nodded, taking his hand. “Not like I'll be going back to sleep after all this.”
by N. C. Reed have rating 5 out of 5 / Based on50 votes