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Posted: 4/7/2014 9:57:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone]
Table of Contents
COPYRIGHT    4
DEDICATION    4
BOOK 1    6
CHAPTER 1: THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED FOREVER    7
CHAPTER 2    52
CHAPTER 3    79
CHAPTER 4    86
CHAPTER 5    115
CHAPTER 6    125
CHAPTER 7    134
CHAPTER 8    180
CHAPTER 9    209
CHAPTER 10    215
CHAPTER 11    228
CHAPTER 12    235
CHAPTER 13    260
CHAPTER 14    274
CHAPTER 15    286
BOOK 2    292
CHAPTER 1    293
CHAPTER 2    306
CHAPTER 3    322
CHAPTER 4    331
CHAPTER 5    336
CHAPTER 6    352
CHAPTER 7    366
CHAPTER 8    378
CHAPTER 9    394
CHAPTER 10    406
CHAPTER 11    449
CHAPTER 12    454
CHAPTER 13    473
CHAPTER 14    501
CHAPTER 15    517
CHAPTER 16    534
CHAPTER 17    543
CHAPTER 18    546
CHAPTER 19    561
CHAPTER 20    569
CHAPTER 21    628
CHAPTER 22    653
CHAPTER 23    657
CHAPTER 24    659
The Devil's Hand    659

COPYRIGHT

Copyright  DCBourone, 2018
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

DEDICATION
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."

Marcus Tullius Cicero

"The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history."

George Orwell

"Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism - including, of course, legal despotism?"

Bastiat

"Chaos liberates not only the evil, but the good."

Billy Spears

THE SOLDIER'S SON

BOOK 1

By DCBourone

CHAPTER 1: THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED FOREVER
~Zero Hour:  The Massacre At The Cantina Tejas
~Words Of His Father
~The Apocalypse Has Already Happened
~A Murderer Recalls a Very Peculiar Killing
~And As They Murdered, So They Are Murdered

~~Somewhere In West Texas

Billy Gehr was a boy on a mission.
A boy?
Or a man.
He wasn't sure.
He had just turned fourteen years old.
And today he was going to kill the men who had killed his father.
Kill as many as he could.
Or be killed himself.
So.
Boy?
Or man.
He would find out soon.
In his right hand Billy carried a Norinco .45 caliber pistol.  The Norincos were Chinese copies of a captured 1943 Remington Rand, or so the rumors went, near perfect duplicates of the original John Moses Browning 1911.  Made out of 5100 series carbon steel, his grandfather had said.  Or maybe scrapped Chinese railroad tracks, his father had mused.  Same steel, Billy's grandfather would murmur.  Billy's father and grandfather had spoken with reverence and sorrow that some Chinese factory had made such a superb copy of John Browning's classic fighting pistol.
It was gunsmith talk.
Soft voices in the dark.
On a Texas porch
Under a Texas sky full of stars  
The Norinco's original sights were copies from that first Remington, so small as to be virtually decorative, but Billy and his father and his grandfather had replaced the original rear sight with a hooked wedge you could use to rack the slide, one-handed, on a boot heel or a belt or a pocket seam or the steering wheel of a car.  They had replaced the front sights with copies of the long ramp found on the Smith and Wesson M28 Highway Patrolman.  His grandfather had machined the new sights one by one on an ancient Pratt and Whitney bench top mill the size of a sewing machine, or a Victorian dollhouse.  They had replaced the guts of the Norincos with all stainless internals from Cylinder and Slide.  Some of the guns had been salt-bath nitrided, making them virtually rustproof and indestructible.
His grandfather had called them Forever Guns.
Because you could build them.
And maintain them.
And use them.
Forever.
Billy had loved being the son, and grandson, of gunsmiths.
His family had been gunsmiths, soldiers, and lawmen, for generations.
So Billy had learned about these essential tools.

And how they were made.

And he had also learned a lot about how these killing tools were used.

Billy had learned a considerable amount about killing, in general.

Killing men is both art, and science, his father had said.

So you will study the science.

And the art will come.

Words of his father

So in his right hand, Billy carried the Norinco .45 caliber pistol.
And in his left hand he carried a yellow Big Gulp cup of gasoline.  
Almost thirty ounces of Chevron 93 octane, mixed with three heaping tablespoons of bacon grease.  The mix had slicked up nicely.  He had practiced.  Flinging the mix onto a department store mannequin propped on a folding chair.  With just a gentle twist of the wrist.  Because Billy wanted his mix to sticknot splash.  And practice makes perfect, his father had said.  Now there were twenty Diamond strike-anywhere matches epoxied together in a bundle sticking out at the base of the Big Gulp cup full of gasoline and bacon grease.  And a foot-long strip of sandpaper carpenter glued down the front of his tattered Vietnam era army jacket.

So.

Toss the contents.

Strike the matches down the vest

Throw the cup

So Billy came around the corner of The Cantina Tejas, a dusty barn turned into a dusty dance hall in a dusty part of west Texas, tossed the contents, struck the matches, and turned Hector Mejor Calinas into a human torch from Hector's knees to his tattooed face.  Billy saw a good dose of his incendiary mix of Chevron 93 and bacon grease go straight into Hector's open mouth.

Hector Calinas, torturer.

Hector Calinas, rapist.

Hector Calinas, soldier for the Cartel.

Hector Calinas was a fairly recent resident of Texas, his rubbery face and thick neck covered with blue tracings of Gothic script and winged angels and crosses and clenched fists with daggers.  Only tracings now because while Hector's tattoos had been very useful for impressing psychopaths in Sinaloa and Jalisco, Mexico, those tattoos seemed to be a disadvantage in Hector's new home of Texas.  Too many contemptuous cashiers, difficult traffic stops, sullen cops meticulously photographing his trademark symbology.  So for several months now Hector had been driving to San Antonio and having his facial tattoos lasered away.

I'll take care of those tattoos for you, Billy thought.

Fire will clean up those tattoos just fine.

Burn, Hector.

No hurry.

Go ahead.

Take your time.

Now Hector rose in a giant swirl of flame.

A man on fire will go for help, Billy had thought.

But Hector lunged forward.  Right hand outstretched.  Cartel torturer and murderer, but Hector was nothing if not courageous.  And then Hector inhaled, mouth open wide, sucked in a big curl of orange flame, and dropped to his knees.

And lunged for the door of The Cantina.

Good enough.

Go for help, Hector.

Because I promise you

Help is not coming.

It's just me:

Billy Gehr.

And clearly?

I'm no help at all.

Billy waited a second or two.

Billy could remember all his father's words.  His father's words were the kettle drums of war, propelling him into the future.  I'm in the soldiering business, his father had said.  Which means I'm in the killing business.  And being a soldier, well, that means I'm also in the dying business.  So if I die someday you will carry on, and you will know that wherever I am, I will always know that you are my son, and now I live through you and only through you, and knowing you were my son was the great triumph of my life.

Honor thy father

So far it was going pretty well.

Now Billy Gehr needed to stand.

Watch.

Listen.

For just a moment.

There were things he needed to see.

Things he needed to hear.

Before the real killing began.

That would be pretty soon now.

He raised the Norinco pistol.

Over-penetration is a problem for civilians, his father had said.  Because when you fight, and you will surely fight someday, because our world is collapsing in upon itself, do you understand, son, you will see the fall of your country the way Romans witnessed the Fall of Rome?  Because our Apocalypse has already happened. Our Apocalypse happened, when we lost our common language. Our Apocalypse happened when we lost our common values, embedded within that language.  Our Apocalypse happened when we lost our honor.  Our Apocalypse happened, when we lost our courage. Do you understand me, son?

So when you fight?

You will be not be fighting as a civilian.

You will be fighting as a soldier.

You will be fighting for whatever is left of your country.

You will be fighting for whatever is left of Texas.

You will be fighting for whatever is left of your family.

And you will be fighting for whatever is left?

Of yourself.

So you will want to see your enemies destroyed.

So when you fire your weapon you will want penetration.  You will want holes in, and bigger holes out.  You will want splatter.  And spray. You will want to see your enemies dismembered.  Deconstructed.  Deleted.  Perhaps a leg here, and a torso there, you will find very reassuring.  You will understand the value of concussive decapitation, because a man without a head is probably no longer a threat.  You will want to see your enemies ground to a rubble of ash and bones.  So you know that your enemies will never rise up, and kill you.

Or even worse: kill your friends.

Now Billy saw what he needed to see.

Heard what he needed to hear.

And Billy fired.

The rounds from his Norinco pistol penetrated just fine.

They were his first shots in what Billy knew would be a very long war.

And he fully intended to carry on his family traditions.

He was, after all?

A Soldier's Son.

~A MURDERER RECALLS A VERY PECULIAR KILLING~

Gabriel Louis Martinez leaned forward on the long board porch of The Cantina Tejas and studied the flaming apparition that had been his friend and fellow Cartel Soldier, a man named Hector Calinas.  Gabriel Louis Martinez was propped against the boards of The Cantina in a chair made out of metal tubing and plastic.  Gabriel figured he might have about three seconds to live.  This odd creature with the big square pistol and that cup full of gasoline and that hideous mask was going to kill him.

Kill him soon, just like he had killed Hector.

Gabriel's thoughts flickered like heat lightning.

Just flashes of light on images, very fast.

So you did not review your life in the seconds before death

You just had random thoughts.

Images, flashing

Pocket litter

Sifting through fingers.

Gabriel was drunk on mescal.

He was so drunk his body could only move very slowly.

But oddly, in these last seconds, his thoughts could move very fast

In the seconds before his friend Hector burst into a tower of flame, Gabriel's random thoughts had concerned a momentous and very puzzling question: a Texas Deputy Sheriff had been killed just a few days ago.  But nothing had changed after the Texas Deputy Sheriff was killed.  Street lights still turned on.  Cash registers beeped and hummed and chimed, most of the time.  The Cantina Tejas was not raided.  The trailers full of young Mexican girls who entertained at The Cantina Tejas were not raided.  No police showed up at The Cantina Tejas.  No other deputy Sheriffs.  No state troopers.  No Justice Department investigators.  There must have been an investigation, surely, but that investigation had never reached The Cantina Tejas, which should have been the target of any intelligent inquiry into the Deputy's murder.

It was all very strange.

In Gabriel's mind this strangeness was only somewhat associated with another kind of recent strangeness over the last year or so: a slow decline in business, in how often they got paid, the number of days when his ATM card didn't work at Bank of America over sixty miles away in Waco, or Western Union offices were closed, and he could not send any money home.

The lines were shorter at Walmart.

The lines were longer at the health clinics.

There had been three bank holidays, when no money could be moved.

The economy was fine, the news would say.

The economy was fantastic, the news would say.

Employment was up, the news would say.

And then there would be a bank holiday.

And riots.

Lots of riots.

It was very confusing.

Gabriel had recently become accustomed to hearing the words 'severe depression' and 'currency crisis' and 'banking crisis' and even 'worldwide economic collapse' from normally sunny faces on television when he strayed away from his sports and Spanish language Univision broadcasts.

Even though the economy was just so very fantastic.

It made no sense at all.

And even stranger things were happening.

Gabriel knew nothing about American politics.

But two attempts on the American President's life was very strange.

Somebody desperately wanted to kill the American President.

And had almost succeeded.

Twice.

Which meant they would surely try to kill him again.

Assassination was a common tool of politics in many countries.

But not here, not in the United States of America.

Not for decades.

It was all very strange.

The whole world was becoming very strange.

Strange small wars in distant countries were becoming larger wars, in big countries that even Gabriel could name.  When he watched television this last year, the screen was filled with foreign cities on fire, and skies full of smoke.  Gabriel was a creature of instincts, and his instincts told him that a great dark wave was coming.  He had a dim sense that the world was changing, and would never be the same, that the world had become like bright and shiny and glittering bubbles of light, drifting on an ocean of filth. And the very strange economy, up and then down, up and then down, that could help explain why the Deputy's murder was not properly investigated.  Just not enough money.  Good law enforcement was very expensive.

But if the old world was dying, and if the U.S. economy had problems, very severe problems, the Cartels mostly saw opportunity.  The Cartels could provide many essential services: organized violence and intimidation, women, drugs, cash, anything stolen because anything stolen could be sold at a discount.  A dying economy and a dying nation and a dying world by definition becomes a kind of black market.

And the Cartels were the ultimate black market.

The Cartels would swim freely, in this ocean of filth.

Gabriel was the farthest thing from an intellectual.

But Gabriel had an animal's instinct for the future.

And he was sure the future was very dark.

And in a dark future?

He knew the world would be ruled by gangs.

And he was a member of one of the world's most ruthless gangs.

The Sheriff's Deputy had been killed several days ago because in just the last year he had shot, run over, or beaten to death at least seven Cartel soldiers, seven of Gabriel's associates and friends.  And maybe two more men who had disappeared, two stone cold professionals, Los Zetas contract killers from Nuevo Laredo who had never shown up, never called in, but had simply

Disappeared.

Vanished.

The job of the Los Zetas men had been to kill The Deputy.

They had been sent to kill him because The Deputy had been the last functional law enforcement in Cochise County, Texas.  All the other deputies had quit, or been persuaded to leave, or been persuaded to park themselves in the shade and look the other way.

This Deputy had been the last one really working.

He had been working for free, it was said.

The Deputy had once been some kind of soldier, it was said.

Some kind of very special soldier.

Back from all these wars the gringos fought.
The Deputy had been a very unusual man.

Gabriel had seen The Deputy kill before, just once.

Gabriel had been at The Cantina when The Deputy had killed Luis.

The Deputy had killed Luis in a very dramatic and peculiar way.

Luis, mostly called just Luis, but sometimes very quietly and respectfully, Luis The Foot, and even Luis The Foot-Cutter, had been responsible for disciplining the girls at The Cantina Tejas.  Keeping those girls in line.  And on their backs.  When they arrived across the border, soft plump girls with hope in their eyes because they had been promised jobs as waitresses or motel cleaners or nannies, Luis tattooed their left feet with a small star.  Or sometimes, a flower. About the size of a dime.  Just inside their little toe.

That way when the girls ran away and Luis The Foot tracked them down, and he almost always tracked them down, the truth was the girls rarely got as far as San Antonio or the border, Luis did not have to bring back their bodies to show the other girls.  Moving whole bodies was difficult, and messy.  The closest mesquite thicket was good enough for girl bodies cut into pieces and folded into Hefty garbage bags, and west Texas was one big mesquite thicket.  So Luis just chopped off that left foot with the little tattooed star, or flower.  And then he would show that foot to the other girls in the trailers behind The Cantina Tejas.  You could fit a young girl's foot in a jacket pocket, rolled up in a Ziploc bag, Luis The Foot used to say

The Deputy had killed Luis on a Friday night.

At one o'clock in the morning.

Almost a year ago.

On Friday nights The Cantina Tejas was very busy, very loud, very bright.  As many as two hundred patrons might be dancing on the barn floor, boards creaking and dust in the air, another ten or twelve patrons down in the trailers with the girls.

The Deputy had come in by himself.

With a big bright picture on his phone.

A picture of a girl's foot.

With a small flower tattooed by the little toe.

The Deputy had shown his picture of a girl's foot to many people in the bar, and on the dance floor.

The Deputy had been very polite.

Just one week before, two girls had got away

Luis and Gabriel had caught one of the girls.

That girl had been punished.

She had not survived her punishment.

The Deputy's picture must have been of the other girl, the only one who ever truly got away, because the foot in the picture was still attached to an ankle.   The deputy had finally walked to the bar and shown the picture to Luis, who was tapping a keg of beer.  Then the Deputy had walked Luis outside to a truck.  An old Dodge Adventurer, four-wheel drive, lifted, painted the dull grey of primer paint.  The Deputy was using his own vehicle, because the county had so little money.

The Deputy had been slow and casual.

Luis The Foot had been slow and casual.

Gabriel had been sitting in this very same chair of steel tubes and plastic on that night almost one year ago.  Drunk on mescal.  Gabriel had been thinking about Luis and the soft brown girls, and how much fun he and Luis had with those girls when they tracked them down.  Luis always rented a motel room first.  The girls were so terrified that they would do anything.

Anything at all.

It had been a lot of fun for Luis and Gabriel, not so long ago

About forty patrons had gathered on the porch of The Cantina Tejas.

Another ten or so on the gravel lot in front of The Cantina.

They were all waiting for Luis to kill the new Deputy.

They all knew in the deep dark Texas scrubland?

Such a crime would never be solved.

Of course there might be an investigation.

Flashing lights, police cars, road blocks.

But then the investigation would disappear.

Because no one who saw anything would speak.

Nobody would ever speak against the Cartels.

So, one more Texas deputy, down in the dark.

Gabriel knew of three dead deputies in just the last year

The Deputy had propped Luis up against his Chevy truck.

The Deputy was going to read Luis his rights.

Then The Deputy stepped back about three feet.

And The Deputy did not read Luis his rights.

Instead he reached into the right-hand pocket of his vest.

Found some gloves and pulled them on.

The Deputy was fairly tall, but mostly he was wide.  Wide shoulders, long arms, sinew and bone.  When he had passed Gabriel and stepped into The Cantina Gabriel had noticed mostly his neck.  The Deputy's neck was very thick, deep, and wide.  Gabriel had always liked small details like that.  He had always thought men with thick muscular necks deserved special attention.

And leaning back in this very same chair almost one year ago, Gabriel had recognized The Deputy's gloves.  Black.  A logo on the wrist strap: Mechanix.  Gabriel knew lots of people who used those gloves.  You could buy them at Home Depot.  But The Deputy's gloves had been changed.  Painted across wrist and knuckles were the bones of a hand, bright and white, like a skeleton.

The Deputy was wearing the hands of Dia De Muertos.

Bones of the Dead, to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

And The Deputy waited.

Still, but poised, maybe swaying just a tiny bit.

Like a soccer goalie, waiting to receive a penalty kick.

Gabriel had known that Luis would kill The Deputy.

Now he was not so sure.

Luis was a blade man, as well as a gunman.

Luis The Foot always carried two knives, filed down from French chef's knives.  Never stainless, always carbon steel.  Luis was very particular about his knives.  He carried one blade tilted right in the small of his back like an Argentine gaucho's facon, the other knife in a shoulder harness under his bright yellow bartender's vest.  At his right hip Luis carried a Colt Presidential .38 Super, a very shiny gun with a gold-plated trigger and hammer.

The Deputy had not handcuffed Luis.

The Deputy had not searched or disarmed Luis.

It was all very strange and interesting.
.    Gabriel had been waiting for Luis to show one of his knife tricks.

Luis The Foot was always playing with his knives.

Once Gabriel had insulted Luis "Chinga tu madre" he had said, which meant "fuck your mother," Gabriel had been trying to be tough and friendly in the manner of men, and Luis had turned with a smile on his face and kept turning, so fast it was like a strobe light and shown Gabriel a gold earring on the tip of his knife.

It was Gabriel's own gold earring, torn out of his right ear.

Gabriel had never again insulted Luis The Foot

So The Deputy had talked, head down low, relaxed.

Then Luis talked, his hands moving, lots of movement, like he was telling a joke.  Then Luis turned to his left.  Looked over his left shoulder with that big 'I'm your friend and you're my friend' smile on his face.

And like a bird twisting in flight

Luis turned the other way.

Just a glance of light on the knife in his hand.

And then

The Deputy was holding Luis' knife.

The Deputy's right hand up, like he was saying, "Halt."

And there was the knife in The Deputy's skeleton glove.

Gabriel was not quite sure how it was done.

And now very quickly they were both on their knees, The Deputy still behind Luis and holding Luis' right wrist in both gloved hands and now The Deputy was somehow up over Luis' back in a blur of quick-kicking dust and motion, The Deputy riding very high on Luis' back, and The Deputy spun twice, two complete turns, as fast as hands clapping, still holding Luis' wrist and arm.  The Deputy spun around Luis' wrist and arm like the girls in The Cantina spun around their poles.

Even over The Cantina music Gabriel was sure he heard a liquid pop.

Like a drumstick twisted out of a chicken.

The Deputy had pretty much torn Luis' arm out of his shoulder.

Maybe there was still some skin holding everything together.

Gabriel saw The Deputy was wearing cowboy boots with low heels.

Ropers, they were called.

But The Deputy's ropers had black rubber soles with those small crosses like Gabriel had seen on rich peoples' hiking boots, when he went up to Plano in Dallas to see how the rich people lived, and thought about robbing them and raping their vain blonde whores with the plastic faces and plastic smiles.

Gabriel had never seen cowboy boots with those black crosses.

As The Deputy spun Luis had screamed like a very young girl.

And now The Deputy and Luis were both back on their knees, Luis still screaming, and now finally The Deputy searched and disarmed Luis, the knife like the Argentinean facon removed and laid in the gravel next to the first knife from under Luis' vest, and then the Presidential .38 Super, all carefully laid on the gravel.  Luis was still screaming and The Deputy put his right hand on Luis' neck and slammed Luis' face and head into the door pillar of his truck, directly behind the cab.

Once.

And then again.

Maybe ten seconds had passed.

By now Gabriel was very intrigued.

Gabriel realized he was being mesmerized.

Like a snake, being charmed by the deliberate movements of a flute.

Gabriel knew he should have moved, somebody should have moved.

But everybody was watching.

Stunned.

And disbelieving.

And most of all: curious.

What would The Deputy do next?

Luis had fallen over, as limp as a wet cloth.

The Deputy carefully laid Luis down on the gravel, face up.

Then he reached into the bed of his truck, and removed a horse blanket.  The horse blanket was folded very thick, about the size of a phone book.

The Deputy carefully laid the blanket on the center of Luis' chest.

Then The Deputy swiveled lightly up into the bed of his truck.

The Deputy was very graceful for such a big man.

The whole thing had reminded Gabriel of a rodeo.

Like when the calf-ropers were tossing the calves.

And then twirling their hands around the calves' ankles with rope.

Gabriel wondered if maybe The Deputy was once a rodeo cowboy.

The Deputy was somewhat bow-legged

And then The Deputy jumped off the edge of his truck.

Lifted his knees high to his chest as he jumped.

And stomped both feet into the folded horse blanket as he landed.

Stomped both feet practically into the ground through Luis' chest.

It was a very unusual way to kill a man, Gabriel had thought.

It suggested disgust.

And contempt.

And a very deep and calculating mind.

The way The Deputy had laid Luis out so carefully.

The horse blanket, already folded to the perfect size.

And The Deputy's timing:

His timing was brilliant.

Just fast enough to startle

Just slow enough to enchant

Like a dream.

Or a flawless seduction.

It had seemed like The Deputy was dancing with a willing partner.

Or it was a kind of ceremony, like the Aztecs on their stone pyramids.

Killing with their obsidian knives.

Holding hearts to the sky.

I am killing with great deliberation here, The Deputy was saying.

Because I can kill you, I can kill all of you, all of you who are like this man, this man Luis The Foot-Cutter?  I can kill you whenever I want.  Wherever I want.  However, I want.  Do you see me?  Because I see you.

Gabriel knew that is what that elaborate killing meant.

Then The Deputy reached down for the folded horse blanket.

And tossed it back into the bed of his truck.

And a spark lit to fire in Gabriel's mind:

Maybe The Deputy did not care about witnesses.

But maybe The Deputy cared about evidence: those boots.

Those boots would have engraved Luis forever with those hiking soles.

Engraved Luis with those little crosses, stamped into his chest.

Then the same hand that tossed the horse blanket came back.

With a very large rifle.

Scarred and silvered with use.

A big fat square magazine.

Gabriel had spent two years in the Mexican Army.

Gabriel had been instructed by the Cartel to join the army.

So he could learn about weapons, and learn how to fight.

They had been issued a German gun, the G3, and the Deputy's gun had a magazine exactly the same size.  So, 7.62 NATO, they had been taught.  Very powerful.  A car killer, a truck killer, a penetrator of buildings and people in a row, big holes that went all the way into the future.

But the magazine was not the only thing that interested Gabriel.

There was a small handle, a stub, really, attached to the forend of the Deputy's rifle.  And above the handle and to the left was a light, a dull bronze color, about the size of a 7-ounce Coca-Cola bottle.  And as soon as he brought the rifle out of the truck bed The Deputy switched the light on and swept the crowd of watchers and witnesses.  Gabriel immediately closed his eyes but it was too late.  He had seen such lights before, you could buy small ones at Walmart, about the size of a roll of quarters, but this was the brightest ever, it was like staring into the sun, and Gabriel was blinded even through his closed eyes.

Through his closed eyes Gabriel could feel this shattering light bouncing around him, high, and low, and for a two-second period of darkness in which Gabriel assumed The Deputy had turned all the way around.  Or aimed up. To blind anyone who might have been watching from darkness.  Or from the three windows on the second floor of The Cantina Tejas.

For the first time Gabriel was afraid.

This Deputy was no longer interesting.

This Deputy was terrifying.

Gabriel kept his eyes closed.

He didn't want to see anymore.

He wanted The Deputy to go away.

To disappear like the spirits of the dead.

But closing his eyes did not work at all.

Gabriel could hear a few shouts, a few women screaming.

And footsteps on gravel.

And the sound of something being dragged.

The light got brighter and brighter through his closed eyelids.

And he felt something sharp at his throat, his right eye, his left cheek.

The light dimmed but he could still feel it pulsing to his left.

"Hello Gabriel.  Open your eyes," The Deputy had said.

And Gabriel had opened his eyes.

He considered himself a brave man.

But his guts were boiling, he was clenching himself.

And still he knew he was leaking a thin stream of shit.

When he opened his eyes he saw the tip of The Deputy's rifle.

It had been sharpened somehow.

Tiny sharp triangles.

Like a fish scaling knife.

The Deputy's rifle tapped him over his left eye.

Gabriel's left eye was immediately filled with blood.

Tap, tap, tap, more blood in his eye.

Gabriel could just barely see Luis The Foot below him.

Luis had one eye looking this way, one eye looking that way.

Luis The Foot exhaled a last clotted breath, full of snot and blood.

A jet of blood out of Luis' nose had coated his chest bright crimson.

"Look at me, Gabriel.  Look at me now."

Gabriel had looked.

Seen calm grey eyes.

A wide, weathered face.

A broad, ragged mustache.

A short-brimmed grey Stetson.

The eyes very clear behind glasses with yellow lenses.

Then the Deputy laid his rifle on Luis' bloody chest.

Shifted his gun belt with the big square pistol.

Slid an old tape-wrapped framing hammer from the gun belt.

And a six-inch nail from inside his vest.

And nailed Gabriel's left foot to the porch.

The nail going in just inside Gabriel's little toe.

Exactly where Luis had tattooed The Cantina girls' left feet.

Then the Deputy held up his right hand, showed the palm of his glove.

Gabriel was going numb with terror, but he saw a pattern of fabric.

Glued or stitched somehow into the palm and fingers of the glove.

"Kevlar.  Go home, Gabriel.  Keep the nail," The Deputy said.

And then The Deputy spun away behind the light on his rifle.

The Deputy's truck engine roared to life.

And as he left, his truck would stop, and idle.

Stop, and idle.

Stop, and idle.

Because The Deputy was doing one last thing.

When the patrons of The Cantina Tejas finally made it to their cars and trucks and drove down the access road to the farm road and to their homes, they stared straight ahead.  They did not want to look or talk or think about anything.  They had already seen enough.

And because every fifty feet down the service road.

They had to pass a lit candle.

In the shape of a skull.

Candles of Dia de Muertos.

Lighting a day, and a night, of the dead.

Business at The Cantina was not so good for a while...

~
Leaning back on his porch chair Gabriel could tell his time was over.

He had remembered what he could about The Deputy.

It had only taken a second, or two

The pocket litter had sifted through his fingers.

And now his hands, and his mind, were empty.

Gabriel's last seconds were almost up.

And he knew it.

He knew he should try and move, very soon.

But he was numb with alcohol, and fear, and sorrow.

And he knew it would not make any difference, if he moved.

He could hear Hector thumping and burning to his right.

Gabriel could smell chicharron, the smell of fried pork rinds.

Gabriel had burned people before, and knew this smell.

He could also see the face and hands of Dia de Muertos.

This figure before him, who had just lit Hector on fire, this figure which now swayed gently behind a heavy square pistol, swayed and twitched just like a praying mantis, this figure was wearing the skeleton gloves of Dia de Muertos.  And a mask painted with a perfect skull, the face of Dia de Muertos.

The face of the Day of the Dead.

So this would be Gabriel's day of the dead.

Gabriel studied the skeleton gloves.

And the big square pistol.

Of course, he had seen them before.

When speaking of The Deputy amongst themselves, Gabriel and his friends had just called him "The Deputy."  But everyone had known The Deputy must have been some kind of soldier.  A very good soldier.  In private, many people thought of the Deputy just as, "The Soldier."

And this was exactly the same figure now.

Standing before him.

Maybe a bit shorter, and thinner.

But otherwise almost exactly the same.

The delicate precision of the painted skull mask.

It reminded Hector of the perfectly folded blanket.

That perfect leap into the air.

The Deputy with his knees up high on his chest.

Before he dropped down and stomped Luis The Foot to death.

The skeleton gloves, the poise, even the same heavy square pistol

Gabriel was deeply superstitious and felt he was having a premonition.

Gabriel was quite sure he could only be looking at one person.

That person could only be The Soldier's Son.
Link Posted: 4/7/2014 10:22:32 PM EDT
[#1]
Oh.  Now this is interesting.  Good start!
Link Posted: 4/8/2014 12:06:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#2]


This section edited and reposted above.  More tonight/tomorrow morning.  Please comment, pro or con.  I can handle criticism.  An essential aspect of writing/story telling is the cognitive dissonance of ownership, possession, the act of creation: I made this, the writer thinks, therefore it is good.  Well...maybe not.  And certainly, not perfect.  I have already received some extremely helpful comments from one reader.  Hoping for more.  Thanks, DCB
 
Link Posted: 4/8/2014 9:00:24 PM EDT
[#3]
Great start!
Link Posted: 4/9/2014 3:48:15 AM EDT
[#4]
I'm really liking this one so far!
Link Posted: 4/9/2014 6:58:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#5]
Search phrase "A Post-Apocalyptic Story of Shattering Violence and Exquisite Revenge, or, The Soldier's Son Book 1-2" by DCBourone
is published/available as of January 17, 2020 on your e-book retailer.

The following sample text is the most recent/current iteration as published--

DEDICATION

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nationhe infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."

Marcus Tullius Cicero

"The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history."
George Orwell

"Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism - including, of course, legal despotism?"
Bastiat

"Chaos liberates not only the evil, but the good."
Billy Spears

A POST APOCALYPTIC STORY OF SHATTERING VIOLENCE. AND EXQUISITE REVENGE.
THE SOLDIER'S SON

BOOK 1

By DCBourone

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~­

:::ZERO DAY, THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED FOREVER:::

CHAPTER 1
~Zero Hour: The Massacre At The Cantina Tejas
~Words Of His Father
~The Apocalypse Has Already Happened
~A Murderer Recalls a Very Peculiar Killing
~And As They Murdered, So They Are Murdered

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~­~~~~

Somewhere In West Texas

Billy Gehr was a boy on a mission.
A boy?
Or a man.
He wasn't sure.
He had just turned fourteen years old.
And today he was going to kill the men who had killed his father.
Kill as many as he could.
Or be killed himself.
So.
Boy?
Or man.
He would find out soon.
In his right hand Billy carried a Norinco .45 caliber pistol.  The Norincos were Chinese copies of a captured 1943 Remington Rand, or so the rumors went, near perfect duplicates of the original John Moses Browning 1911.  Made out of 5100 series carbon steel, his grandfather had said.  Or maybe scrapped Chinese railroad tracks, his father had mused.  Same steel, Billy's grandfather would murmur.  Billy's father and grandfather had spoken with reverence and sorrow that some Chinese factory had made such a superb copy of John Browning's classic fighting pistol.
It was gunsmith talk.
Soft voices in the dark.
On a Texas porch
Under a Texas sky full of stars  
The Norinco's original sights were copies from that first Remington, so small as to be virtually decorative, but Billy and his father and his grandfather had replaced the original rear sight with a hooked wedge you could use to rack the slide, one-handed, on a boot heel or a belt or a pocket seam or the steering wheel of a car.  They had replaced the front sights with copies of the long ramp found on the Smith and Wesson M28 Highway Patrolman.  His grandfather had machined the new sights one by one on an ancient Pratt and Whitney bench top mill the size of a sewing machine, or a Victorian dollhouse.  They had replaced the guts of the Norincos with all stainless internals from Cylinder and Slide.  Some of the guns had been salt-bath nitrided, making them virtually rustproof and indestructible.
His grandfather had called them Forever Guns.
Because you could build them.
And maintain them.
And use them.
Forever.
Billy had loved being the son, and grandson, of gunsmiths.
His family had been gunsmiths, soldiers, and lawmen, for generations.
So Billy had learned about these essential tools.

And how they were made.

And he had also learned a lot about how these killing tools were used.

Billy had learned a considerable amount about killing, in general.

Killing men is both art, and science, his father had said.

So you will study the science.

And the art will come.

Words of his father

So in his right hand, Billy carried the Norinco .45 caliber pistol.
And in his left hand he carried a yellow Big Gulp cup of gasoline.  
Almost thirty ounces of Chevron 93 octane, mixed with three heaping tablespoons of bacon grease.  The mix had slicked up nicely.  He had practiced.  Flinging the mix onto a department store mannequin propped on a folding chair.  With just a gentle twist of the wrist.  Because Billy wanted his mix to sticknot splash.  And practice makes perfect, his father had said.  Now there were twenty Diamond strike-anywhere matches epoxied together in a bundle sticking out at the base of the Big Gulp cup full of gasoline and bacon grease.  And a foot-long strip of sandpaper carpenter glued down the front of his tattered Vietnam era army jacket.

So.

Toss the contents.

Strike the matches down the vest

Throw the cup

So Billy came around the corner of The Cantina Tejas, a dusty barn turned into a dusty dance hall in a dusty part of west Texas, tossed the contents, struck the matches, and turned Hector Mejor Calinas into a human torch from Hector's knees to his tattooed face.  Billy saw a good dose of his incendiary mix of Chevron 93 and bacon grease go straight into Hector's open mouth.

Hector Calinas, torturer.

Hector Calinas, rapist.

Hector Calinas, soldier for the Cartel.

Hector Calinas was a fairly recent resident of Texas, his rubbery face and thick neck covered with blue tracings of Gothic script and winged angels and crosses and clenched fists with daggers.  Only tracings now because while Hector's tattoos had been very useful for impressing psychopaths in Sinaloa and Jalisco, Mexico, those tattoos seemed to be a disadvantage in Hector's new home of Texas.  Too many contemptuous cashiers, difficult traffic stops, sullen cops meticulously photographing his trademark symbology.  So for several months now Hector had been driving to San Antonio and having his facial tattoos lasered away.

I'll take care of those tattoos for you, Billy thought.

Fire will clean up those tattoos just fine.

Burn, Hector.

No hurry.

Go ahead.

Take your time.

Now Hector rose in a giant swirl of flame.

A man on fire will go for help, Billy had thought.

But Hector lunged forward.  Right hand outstretched.  Cartel torturer and murderer, but Hector was nothing if not courageous.  And then Hector inhaled, mouth open wide, sucked in a big curl of orange flame, and dropped to his knees.

And lunged for the door of The Cantina.

Good enough.

Go for help, Hector.

Because I promise you

Help is not coming.

It's just me:

Billy Gehr.

And clearly?

I'm no help at all.

Billy waited a second or two.

Billy could remember all his father's words.  His father's words were the kettle drums of war, propelling him into the future.  I'm in the soldiering business, his father had said.  Which means I'm in the killing business.  And being a soldier, well, that means I'm also in the dying business.  So if I die someday you will carry on, and you will know that wherever I am, I will always know that you are my son, and now I live through you and only through you, and knowing you were my son was the great triumph of my life.

Honor thy father

So far it was going pretty well.

Now Billy Gehr needed to stand.

Watch.

Listen.

For just a moment.

There were things he needed to see.

Things he needed to hear.

Before the real killing began.

That would be pretty soon now.

He raised the Norinco pistol.

Over-penetration is a problem for civilians, his father had said.  Because when you fight, and you will surely fight someday, because our world is collapsing in upon itself, do you understand, son, you will see the fall of your country the way Romans witnessed the Fall of Rome?  Because our Apocalypse has already happened. Our Apocalypse happened, when we lost our common language. Our Apocalypse happened when we lost our common values, embedded within that language.  Our Apocalypse happened when we lost our honor.  Our Apocalypse happened, when we lost our courage. Do you understand me, son?

So when you fight?

You will be not be fighting as a civilian.

You will be fighting as a soldier.

You will be fighting for whatever is left of your country.

You will be fighting for whatever is left of Texas.

You will be fighting for whatever is left of your family.

And you will be fighting for whatever is left?

Of yourself.

So you will want to see your enemies destroyed.

So when you fire your weapon you will want penetration.  You will want holes in, and bigger holes out.  You will want splatter.  And spray. You will want to see your enemies dismembered.  Deconstructed.  Deleted.  Perhaps a leg here, and a torso there, you will find very reassuring.  You will understand the value of concussive decapitation, because a man without a head is probably no longer a threat.  You will want to see your enemies ground to a rubble of ash and bones.  So you know that your enemies will never rise up, and kill you.

Or even worse: kill your friends.

Now Billy saw what he needed to see.

Heard what he needed to hear.

And Billy fired.

The rounds from his Norinco pistol penetrated just fine.

They were his first shots in what Billy knew would be a very long war.

And he fully intended to carry on his family traditions.

He was, after all?

A Soldier's Son.

~A MURDERER RECALLS A VERY PECULIAR KILLING~

Gabriel Louis Martinez leaned forward on the long board porch of The Cantina Tejas and studied the flaming apparition that had been his friend and fellow Cartel Soldier, a man named Hector Calinas.  Gabriel Louis Martinez was propped against the boards of The Cantina in a chair made out of metal tubing and plastic.  Gabriel figured he might have about three seconds to live.  This odd creature with the big square pistol and that cup full of gasoline and that hideous mask was going to kill him.

Kill him soon, just like he had killed Hector.

Gabriel's thoughts flickered like heat lightning.

Just flashes of light on images, very fast.

So you did not review your life in the seconds before death

You just had random thoughts.

Images, flashing

Pocket litter

Sifting through fingers.

Gabriel was drunk on mescal.

He was so drunk his body could only move very slowly.

But oddly, in these last seconds, his thoughts could move very fast

In the seconds before his friend Hector burst into a tower of flame, Gabriel's random thoughts had concerned a momentous and very puzzling question: a Texas Deputy Sheriff had been killed just a few days ago.  But nothing had changed after the Texas Deputy Sheriff was killed.  Street lights still turned on.  Cash registers beeped and hummed and chimed, most of the time.  The Cantina Tejas was not raided.  The trailers full of young Mexican girls who entertained at The Cantina Tejas were not raided.  No police showed up at The Cantina Tejas.  No other deputy Sheriffs.  No state troopers.  No Justice Department investigators.  There must have been an investigation, surely, but that investigation had never reached The Cantina Tejas, which should have been the target of any intelligent inquiry into the Deputy's murder.

It was all very strange.

In Gabriel's mind this strangeness was only somewhat associated with another kind of recent strangeness over the last year or so: a slow decline in business, in how often they got paid, the number of days when his ATM card didn't work at Bank of America over sixty miles away in Waco, or Western Union offices were closed, and he could not send any money home.

The lines were shorter at Walmart.

The lines were longer at the health clinics.

There had been three bank holidays, when no money could be moved.

The economy was fine, the news would say.

The economy was fantastic, the news would say.

Employment was up, the news would say.

And then there would be a bank holiday.

And riots.

Lots of riots.

It was very confusing.

Gabriel had recently become accustomed to hearing the words 'severe depression' and 'currency crisis' and 'banking crisis' and even 'worldwide economic collapse' from normally sunny faces on television when he strayed away from his sports and Spanish language Univision broadcasts.

Even though the economy was just so very fantastic.

It made no sense at all.

And even stranger things were happening.

Gabriel knew nothing about American politics.

But two attempts on the American President's life was very strange.

Somebody desperately wanted to kill the American President.

And had almost succeeded.

Twice.

Which meant they would surely try to kill him again.

Assassination was a common tool of politics in many countries.

But not here, not in the United States of America.

Not for decades.

It was all very strange.

The whole world was becoming very strange.

Strange small wars in distant countries were becoming larger wars, in big countries that even Gabriel could name.  When he watched television this last year, the screen was filled with foreign cities on fire, and skies full of smoke.  Gabriel was a creature of instincts, and his instincts told him that a great dark wave was coming.  He had a dim sense that the world was changing, and would never be the same, that the world had become like bright and shiny and glittering bubbles of light, drifting on an ocean of filth. And the very strange economy, up and then down, up and then down, that could help explain why the Deputy's murder was not properly investigated.  Just not enough money.  Good law enforcement was very expensive.

But if the old world was dying, and if the U.S. economy had problems, very severe problems, the Cartels mostly saw opportunity.  The Cartels could provide many essential services: organized violence and intimidation, women, drugs, cash, anything stolen because anything stolen could be sold at a discount.  A dying economy and a dying nation and a dying world by definition becomes a kind of black market.

And the Cartels were the ultimate black market.

The Cartels would swim freely, in this ocean of filth.

Gabriel was the farthest thing from an intellectual.

But Gabriel had an animal's instinct for the future.

And he was sure the future was very dark.

And in a dark future?

He knew the world would be ruled by gangs.

And he was a member of one of the world's most ruthless gangs.

The Sheriff's Deputy had been killed several days ago because in just the last year he had shot, run over, or beaten to death at least seven Cartel soldiers, seven of Gabriel's associates and friends.  And maybe two more men who had disappeared, two stone cold professionals, Los Zetas contract killers from Nuevo Laredo who had never shown up, never called in, but had simply

Disappeared.

Vanished.

The job of the Los Zetas men had been to kill The Deputy.

They had been sent to kill him because The Deputy had been the last functional law enforcement in Cochise County, Texas.  All the other deputies had quit, or been persuaded to leave, or been persuaded to park themselves in the shade and look the other way.

This Deputy had been the last one really working.

He had been working for free, it was said.

The Deputy had once been some kind of soldier, it was said.

Some kind of very special soldier.

Back from all these wars the gringos fought.
The Deputy had been a very unusual man.

Gabriel had seen The Deputy kill before, just once.

Gabriel had been at The Cantina when The Deputy had killed Luis.

The Deputy had killed Luis in a very dramatic and peculiar way.

Luis, mostly called just Luis, but sometimes very quietly and respectfully, Luis The Foot, and even Luis The Foot-Cutter, had been responsible for disciplining the girls at The Cantina Tejas.  Keeping those girls in line.  And on their backs.  When they arrived across the border, soft plump girls with hope in their eyes because they had been promised jobs as waitresses or motel cleaners or nannies, Luis tattooed their left feet with a small star.  Or sometimes, a flower. About the size of a dime.  Just inside their little toe.

That way when the girls ran away and Luis The Foot tracked them down, and he almost always tracked them down, the truth was the girls rarely got as far as San Antonio or the border, Luis did not have to bring back their bodies to show the other girls.  Moving whole bodies was difficult, and messy.  The closest mesquite thicket was good enough for girl bodies cut into pieces and folded into Hefty garbage bags, and west Texas was one big mesquite thicket.  So Luis just chopped off that left foot with the little tattooed star, or flower.  And then he would show that foot to the other girls in the trailers behind The Cantina Tejas.  You could fit a young girl's foot in a jacket pocket, rolled up in a Ziploc bag, Luis The Foot used to say

The Deputy had killed Luis on a Friday night.

At one o'clock in the morning.

Almost a year ago.

On Friday nights The Cantina Tejas was very busy, very loud, very bright.  As many as two hundred patrons might be dancing on the barn floor, boards creaking and dust in the air, another ten or twelve patrons down in the trailers with the girls.

The Deputy had come in by himself.

With a big bright picture on his phone.

A picture of a girl's foot.

With a small flower tattooed by the little toe.

The Deputy had shown his picture of a girl's foot to many people in the bar, and on the dance floor.

The Deputy had been very polite.

Just one week before, two girls had got away

Luis and Gabriel had caught one of the girls.

That girl had been punished.

She had not survived her punishment.

The Deputy's picture must have been of the other girl, the only one who ever truly got away, because the foot in the picture was still attached to an ankle.   The deputy had finally walked to the bar and shown the picture to Luis, who was tapping a keg of beer.  Then the Deputy had walked Luis outside to a truck.  An old Dodge Adventurer, four-wheel drive, lifted, painted the dull grey of primer paint.  The Deputy was using his own vehicle, because the county had so little money.

The Deputy had been slow and casual.

Luis The Foot had been slow and casual.

Gabriel had been sitting in this very same chair of steel tubes and plastic on that night almost one year ago.  Drunk on mescal.  Gabriel had been thinking about Luis and the soft brown girls, and how much fun he and Luis had with those girls when they tracked them down.  Luis always rented a motel room first.  The girls were so terrified that they would do anything.

Anything at all.

It had been a lot of fun for Luis and Gabriel, not so long ago

About forty patrons had gathered on the porch of The Cantina Tejas.

Another ten or so on the gravel lot in front of The Cantina.

They were all waiting for Luis to kill the new Deputy.

They all knew in the deep dark Texas scrubland?

Such a crime would never be solved.

Of course there might be an investigation.

Flashing lights, police cars, road blocks.

But then the investigation would disappear.

Because no one who saw anything would speak.

Nobody would ever speak against the Cartels.

So, one more Texas deputy, down in the dark.

Gabriel knew of three dead deputies in just the last year

The Deputy had propped Luis up against his Chevy truck.

The Deputy was going to read Luis his rights.

Then The Deputy stepped back about three feet.

And The Deputy did not read Luis his rights.

Instead he reached into the right-hand pocket of his vest.

Found some gloves and pulled them on.

The Deputy was fairly tall, but mostly he was wide.  Wide shoulders, long arms, sinew and bone.  When he had passed Gabriel and stepped into The Cantina Gabriel had noticed mostly his neck.  The Deputy's neck was very thick, deep, and wide.  Gabriel had always liked small details like that.  He had always thought men with thick muscular necks deserved special attention.

And leaning back in this very same chair almost one year ago, Gabriel had recognized The Deputy's gloves.  Black.  A logo on the wrist strap: Mechanix.  Gabriel knew lots of people who used those gloves.  You could buy them at Home Depot.  But The Deputy's gloves had been changed.  Painted across wrist and knuckles were the bones of a hand, bright and white, like a skeleton.

The Deputy was wearing the hands of Dia De Muertos.

Bones of the Dead, to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

And The Deputy waited.

Still, but poised, maybe swaying just a tiny bit.

Like a soccer goalie, waiting to receive a penalty kick.

Gabriel had known that Luis would kill The Deputy.

Now he was not so sure.

Luis was a blade man, as well as a gunman.

Luis The Foot always carried two knives, filed down from French chef's knives.  Never stainless, always carbon steel.  Luis was very particular about his knives.  He carried one blade tilted right in the small of his back like an Argentine gaucho's facon, the other knife in a shoulder harness under his bright yellow bartender's vest.  At his right hip Luis carried a Colt Presidential .38 Super, a very shiny gun with a gold-plated trigger and hammer.

The Deputy had not handcuffed Luis.

The Deputy had not searched or disarmed Luis.

It was all very strange and interesting.
.    Gabriel had been waiting for Luis to show one of his knife tricks.

Luis The Foot was always playing with his knives.

Once Gabriel had insulted Luis "Chinga tu madre" he had said, which meant "fuck your mother," Gabriel had been trying to be tough and friendly in the manner of men, and Luis had turned with a smile on his face and kept turning, so fast it was like a strobe light and shown Gabriel a gold earring on the tip of his knife.

It was Gabriel's own gold earring, torn out of his right ear.

Gabriel had never again insulted Luis The Foot

So The Deputy had talked, head down low, relaxed.

Then Luis talked, his hands moving, lots of movement, like he was telling a joke.  Then Luis turned to his left.  Looked over his left shoulder with that big 'I'm your friend and you're my friend' smile on his face.

And like a bird twisting in flight

Luis turned the other way.

Just a glance of light on the knife in his hand.

And then

The Deputy was holding Luis' knife.

The Deputy's right hand up, like he was saying, "Halt."

And there was the knife in The Deputy's skeleton glove.

Gabriel was not quite sure how it was done.

And now very quickly they were both on their knees, The Deputy still behind Luis and holding Luis' right wrist in both gloved hands and now The Deputy was somehow up over Luis' back in a blur of quick-kicking dust and motion, The Deputy riding very high on Luis' back, and The Deputy spun twice, two complete turns, as fast as hands clapping, still holding Luis' wrist and arm.  The Deputy spun around Luis' wrist and arm like the girls in The Cantina spun around their poles.

Even over The Cantina music Gabriel was sure he heard a liquid pop.

Like a drumstick twisted out of a chicken.

The Deputy had pretty much torn Luis' arm out of his shoulder.

Maybe there was still some skin holding everything together.

Gabriel saw The Deputy was wearing cowboy boots with low heels.

Ropers, they were called.

But The Deputy's ropers had black rubber soles with those small crosses like Gabriel had seen on rich peoples' hiking boots, when he went up to Plano in Dallas to see how the rich people lived, and thought about robbing them and raping their vain blonde whores with the plastic faces and plastic smiles.

Gabriel had never seen cowboy boots with those black crosses.

As The Deputy spun Luis had screamed like a very young girl.

And now The Deputy and Luis were both back on their knees, Luis still screaming, and now finally The Deputy searched and disarmed Luis, the knife like the Argentinean facon removed and laid in the gravel next to the first knife from under Luis' vest, and then the Presidential .38 Super, all carefully laid on the gravel.  Luis was still screaming and The Deputy put his right hand on Luis' neck and slammed Luis' face and head into the door pillar of his truck, directly behind the cab.

Once.

And then again.

Maybe ten seconds had passed.

By now Gabriel was very intrigued.

Gabriel realized he was being mesmerized.

Like a snake, being charmed by the deliberate movements of a flute.

Gabriel knew he should have moved, somebody should have moved.

But everybody was watching.

Stunned.

And disbelieving.

And most of all: curious.

What would The Deputy do next?

Luis had fallen over, as limp as a wet cloth.

The Deputy carefully laid Luis down on the gravel, face up.

Then he reached into the bed of his truck, and removed a horse blanket.  The horse blanket was folded very thick, about the size of a phone book.

The Deputy carefully laid the blanket on the center of Luis' chest.

Then The Deputy swiveled lightly up into the bed of his truck.

The Deputy was very graceful for such a big man.

The whole thing had reminded Gabriel of a rodeo.

Like when the calf-ropers were tossing the calves.

And then twirling their hands around the calves' ankles with rope.

Gabriel wondered if maybe The Deputy was once a rodeo cowboy.

The Deputy was somewhat bow-legged

And then The Deputy jumped off the edge of his truck.

Lifted his knees high to his chest as he jumped.

And stomped both feet into the folded horse blanket as he landed.

Stomped both feet practically into the ground through Luis' chest.

It was a very unusual way to kill a man, Gabriel had thought.

It suggested disgust.

And contempt.

And a very deep and calculating mind.

The way The Deputy had laid Luis out so carefully.

The horse blanket, already folded to the perfect size.

And The Deputy's timing:

His timing was brilliant.

Just fast enough to startle

Just slow enough to enchant

Like a dream.

Or a flawless seduction.

It had seemed like The Deputy was dancing with a willing partner.

Or it was a kind of ceremony, like the Aztecs on their stone pyramids.

Killing with their obsidian knives.

Holding hearts to the sky.

I am killing with great deliberation here, The Deputy was saying.

Because I can kill you, I can kill all of you, all of you who are like this man, this man Luis The Foot-Cutter?  I can kill you whenever I want.  Wherever I want.  However, I want.  Do you see me?  Because I see you.

Gabriel knew that is what that elaborate killing meant.

Then The Deputy reached down for the folded horse blanket.

And tossed it back into the bed of his truck.

And a spark lit to fire in Gabriel's mind:

Maybe The Deputy did not care about witnesses.

But maybe The Deputy cared about evidence: those boots.

Those boots would have engraved Luis forever with those hiking soles.

Engraved Luis with those little crosses, stamped into his chest.

Then the same hand that tossed the horse blanket came back.

With a very large rifle.

Scarred and silvered with use.

A big fat square magazine.

Gabriel had spent two years in the Mexican Army.

Gabriel had been instructed by the Cartel to join the army.

So he could learn about weapons, and learn how to fight.

They had been issued a German gun, the G3, and the Deputy's gun had a magazine exactly the same size.  So, 7.62 NATO, they had been taught.  Very powerful.  A car killer, a truck killer, a penetrator of buildings and people in a row, big holes that went all the way into the future.

But the magazine was not the only thing that interested Gabriel.

There was a small handle, a stub, really, attached to the forend of the Deputy's rifle.  And above the handle and to the left was a light, a dull bronze color, about the size of a 7-ounce Coca-Cola bottle.  And as soon as he brought the rifle out of the truck bed The Deputy switched the light on and swept the crowd of watchers and witnesses.  Gabriel immediately closed his eyes but it was too late.  He had seen such lights before, you could buy small ones at Walmart, about the size of a roll of quarters, but this was the brightest ever, it was like staring into the sun, and Gabriel was blinded even through his closed eyes.

Through his closed eyes Gabriel could feel this shattering light bouncing around him, high, and low, and for a two-second period of darkness in which Gabriel assumed The Deputy had turned all the way around.  Or aimed up. To blind anyone who might have been watching from darkness.  Or from the three windows on the second floor of The Cantina Tejas.

For the first time Gabriel was afraid.

This Deputy was no longer interesting.

This Deputy was terrifying.

Gabriel kept his eyes closed.

He didn't want to see anymore.

He wanted The Deputy to go away.

To disappear like the spirits of the dead.

But closing his eyes did not work at all.

Gabriel could hear a few shouts, a few women screaming.

And footsteps on gravel.

And the sound of something being dragged.

The light got brighter and brighter through his closed eyelids.

And he felt something sharp at his throat, his right eye, his left cheek.

The light dimmed but he could still feel it pulsing to his left.

"Hello Gabriel.  Open your eyes," The Deputy had said.

And Gabriel had opened his eyes.

He considered himself a brave man.

But his guts were boiling, he was clenching himself.

And still he knew he was leaking a thin stream of shit.

When he opened his eyes he saw the tip of The Deputy's rifle.

It had been sharpened somehow.

Tiny sharp triangles.

Like a fish scaling knife.

The Deputy's rifle tapped him over his left eye.

Gabriel's left eye was immediately filled with blood.

Tap, tap, tap, more blood in his eye.

Gabriel could just barely see Luis The Foot below him.

Luis had one eye looking this way, one eye looking that way.

Luis The Foot exhaled a last clotted breath, full of snot and blood.

A jet of blood out of Luis' nose had coated his chest bright crimson.

"Look at me, Gabriel.  Look at me now."

Gabriel had looked.

Seen calm grey eyes.

A wide, weathered face.

A broad, ragged mustache.

A short-brimmed grey Stetson.

The eyes very clear behind glasses with yellow lenses.

Then the Deputy laid his rifle on Luis' bloody chest.

Shifted his gun belt with the big square pistol.

Slid an old tape-wrapped framing hammer from the gun belt.

And a six-inch nail from inside his vest.

And nailed Gabriel's left foot to the porch.

The nail going in just inside Gabriel's little toe.

Exactly where Luis had tattooed The Cantina girls' left feet.

Then the Deputy held up his right hand, showed the palm of his glove.

Gabriel was going numb with terror, but he saw a pattern of fabric.

Glued or stitched somehow into the palm and fingers of the glove.

"Kevlar.  Go home, Gabriel.  Keep the nail," The Deputy said.

And then The Deputy spun away behind the light on his rifle.

The Deputy's truck engine roared to life.

And as he left, his truck would stop, and idle.

Stop, and idle.

Stop, and idle.

Because The Deputy was doing one last thing.

When the patrons of The Cantina Tejas finally made it to their cars and trucks and drove down the access road to the farm road and to their homes, they stared straight ahead.  They did not want to look or talk or think about anything.  They had already seen enough.

And because every fifty feet down the service road.

They had to pass a lit candle.

In the shape of a skull.

Candles of Dia de Muertos.

Lighting a day, and a night, of the dead.

Business at The Cantina was not so good for a while...
Link Posted: 4/9/2014 1:49:18 PM EDT
[#6]
Also very good.

Link Posted: 4/9/2014 6:44:00 PM EDT
[#7]
Fucking SPOT ON.
Link Posted: 4/9/2014 10:19:09 PM EDT
[#8]
Comments,,,you want comments???? How about ravings ???? Thats damn good prose you got going there. Please, more ?
Link Posted: 4/10/2014 1:42:47 AM EDT
[#9]
MOAR
Link Posted: 4/10/2014 5:44:26 AM EDT
[#10]
I am hooked now,
Link Posted: 4/10/2014 5:49:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#11]
--text removed .re e-publisher TOS.
Link Posted: 4/13/2014 10:50:09 PM EDT
[#12]
Good stuff.
Link Posted: 4/14/2014 3:55:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#13]
--text removed 01/02/19 .re e-pub TOS.
Link Posted: 4/14/2014 4:03:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#14]
Edited.



Copy/Over.

Link Posted: 4/14/2014 4:07:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#15]

Edited.



Copy/Over.

Link Posted: 4/14/2014 4:12:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#16]



Edit.



Copy/Over.





 
Link Posted: 4/14/2014 5:43:14 PM EDT
[#17]
Good prose , that,  the "kid" is rockin and rollin, no doubt.  (More ,   I implore you".
Link Posted: 4/15/2014 1:22:59 AM EDT
[#18]
Thank you.
Link Posted: 4/15/2014 2:41:28 AM EDT
[#19]
You may wish to add a little something that some of your readers will get and others won't.

I've written something down because trying to explain is difficult for me to put in writing.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++­+++++++++++++++++++++++

The smell of the desert dirt as the light wind carries it through the lightly chilled night.  

The sound your boot makes when your turning on the balls of your feet with most of your weight placed on the rear leg.

The feel of the ground through your boot how you've trained on dry cracked asphalt the type that has medium sized pea
rocks that is rough and dry' the type that chews up your boots,  you know the type I'm talking about" the stuff you only see in
old towns that have lived past their prime and are now in that slow death spiral.

It's only natural at times to let the auto reflex's take control, while a small part of your mind is thinking of the smell of cordite
and the brush of fabric on the inside of your wrist were your gloves meet your buttoned sleeve.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++­+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your style of writing is very well done.  Thank you for sharing!
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 3:54:57 AM EDT
[#20]
Great story, well written and maintaining my interest, thank you.
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 11:20:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#21]
--text removed 01/02/19 .re E-pub TOS.
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 1:21:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#22]
Creeper23, Ranger1bob, vanilla_gorilla, Alexf, RevolverRO, BLG, 45ProCarry, rnpollard, AHSGA,  11C_ABN, jackorchuck--

Much thanks.
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 1:24:55 PM EDT
[#23]
Not sure about the speed of the book, but I consider what I have seen quite the page turner.

Need... more.....

The concern I have either way is that the story will die off like most or turn into a Kindle single.  That would leave the reader hanging forever or having to 'pay to play'.
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 6:25:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#24]
--text removed .re E-pub TOS 01/02/2019
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 8:54:51 AM EDT
[#25]
I know that I ain't gonna like the J.D. b---h. Reminds me of someone. Good character views. This will sell. Hate to repeat myself this way, More, please ?
Link Posted: 4/18/2014 11:12:54 AM EDT
[#26]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DCBourone:
.99 cents

View Quote


You have my money when it's published.
Link Posted: 4/18/2014 6:17:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#27]
--text removed 01/01/19 .re E-pub TOS..
Link Posted: 4/18/2014 10:03:12 PM EDT
[#28]
Awesome so far.  Can't wait to see it tie-in to the other story.
Link Posted: 4/19/2014 5:26:55 PM EDT
[#29]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By last_crusader:
Not sure about the speed of the book, but I consider what I have seen quite the page turner.

Need... more.....

The concern I have either way is that the story will die off like most or turn into a Kindle single.  That would leave the reader hanging forever or having to 'pay to play'.
View Quote


Pay to play at .99 cents. Come on bro. It's hardly a princely sum.
Link Posted: 4/19/2014 7:55:15 PM EDT
[#30]

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RevolverRO:


Awesome so far.  Can't wait to see it tie-in to the other story.
View Quote
What other story?  

 



I am willing to pay ...
Link Posted: 4/19/2014 8:44:52 PM EDT
[#31]
who do I pay?
Link Posted: 4/19/2014 10:26:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#32]
DCBourone/Not a Team Member Yet but Soon/updating my update:

Creeper23, Ranger1bob, vanilla_gorilla, Alexf, RevolverRO, BLG, 45ProCarry, rnpollard, AHSGA,  11C_ABN, jackorchuck--

--and everyone else who has commented or just checks in on this story:

ADDITIONAL NOTES: MileUrb--Tim and his ignorance--hang on, I promise you I will flesh him out, where

Tim is clever, and where he is not.  Tim's general knowledge is the rule I'm afraid.

Pretty horrible stats on what most people know, and don't know.

johnsote--mg-42.  FFing good eye, dude.
Link Posted: 4/20/2014 1:41:06 PM EDT
[#33]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Alex_F:


You have my money when it's published.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Alex_F:
Originally Posted By DCBourone:
.99 cents



You have my money when it's published.

Link Posted: 4/21/2014 7:31:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#34]
--text removed 01/02/2019 .re E-pub TOS.
Link Posted: 4/21/2014 8:07:40 AM EDT
[#35]
I am absolutely loving the story and your writing style.
Link Posted: 4/21/2014 8:41:01 AM EDT
[#36]
I can't wait for more!
Link Posted: 4/21/2014 9:33:13 AM EDT
[#37]
You have my attention.  Tagged and great writing.  Just fantastic.
Link Posted: 4/21/2014 10:44:57 AM EDT
[#38]
I'm really enjoying this story.  Thanks!!!
Link Posted: 4/22/2014 5:27:42 PM EDT
[#39]
Every man who has ever served this country, with honor and received a DD214 with gratitude for having been able to do so, a "true patriot" if you will. Has had the dream of fathering a young man such as this. Who knows "right from wrong", seemingly instinctively knows evil when he sees,hears or reads it. And yet doubting that such exists even upon receiving tutoring or instruction from father, grandparent, or mentor in such as the way of the world could be, would be, can be if good men do not object and react.
 i applaud you sir. You have my interest indeed. Please continue.
Link Posted: 4/22/2014 8:19:33 PM EDT
[#40]
Good story, well written and started with a bang, Thank you.
Link Posted: 4/23/2014 2:31:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#41]
jackorchuck, BLG, mounger, grywlf52, locobob, 2T2_Crash--grywlf52 and 2T2, much thanks.

MilesUrb about hockey helmet, yes, it is not actually a hockey helmet.  It is only a hockey helmet to Lou Parson.  Good eye, dude.

Allow me a few beats to establish who the "Gears" actually are.  The Gear family designs this stuff.  And lots of other stuff.

The Gear family cuts angles on refurbed Minuteman nuclear missile nose cones.  The Gear family machines titanium on Zimmerman

5-axis milling machines.  The Gear family is like the fucking weather: do not fuck with Mother Nature.  All will be explained.

The Soldier's Son was somebody's project.  He was grown like a crystal in a vacuum tube.

Some of this is a substantial re-write of what I have already posted.  But maybe worth the repeat:

--TEXT REMOVED 01/02/2019 .RE E-PUB TOS.
Link Posted: 4/23/2014 4:37:16 PM EDT
[#42]
Excellent.
Link Posted: 4/23/2014 10:07:57 PM EDT
[#43]
Good stuff!!  Thanks!!!
Link Posted: 4/24/2014 11:11:14 AM EDT
[#44]
I've really enjoyed the story.  Thank you.
Link Posted: 4/24/2014 6:13:16 PM EDT
[#45]
That boys just gotta know, see, and feel it. God for him.  I'm into it now lets go.
Link Posted: 4/25/2014 7:41:36 AM EDT
[#46]
More Please!  (Notice I said Please!)  I would definately buy this if there were a Nook version.  (hint, hint )



Thanks for your hard work so far!
Link Posted: 4/25/2014 10:04:10 AM EDT
[#47]
This is damn fine work. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if you do indeed make a living from your writing. I'm impressed.

Lord knows, despite the frightfully dark picture it paints of our world, I'm enjoying the hell out of it!

Please, keep it up!

And thank you.  
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:08:25 AM EDT
[#48]
I love your writing style, it pulls the reader right into the story!
Link Posted: 4/27/2014 2:42:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: DCBourone] [#49]
RevolverRO, MilesU, Mounger, AHSGA, BLG, GreenGiant, Former 11Bravo, 2T2Crash, much thanks.

--TEXT REMOVED 01/02/19 .RE EPUB TOS.
Link Posted: 4/27/2014 4:10:20 AM EDT
[#50]
Goddamnit I want MORE!!


Brother I haven't been hooked into a story like this since Lights out! If this were a published book I had in hand I probably wouldn't be able to put it down. You've got a gift.
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