St. Regis, Montana
From what he could tell there were about six more men to deal with from the outpost. Predictably, they came to check on the shot they heard. The men had left about twenty minutes ago, without the body of their friend. They really were evil.
No one had come to check the woods and Julien assumed they probably wouldn’t, but they would definitely be on high alert and he needed to think about what they were going to do from here.
The old woman, Rose was her name, had stopped sobbing but she kept her head down as she sat with her back against a tree. The kid looked wired and was pacing around. Julien couldn’t blame him; he had just killed a man. But he saved Julien’s life, and most likely the Rose’s as well.
“Those men are gone, yes?” Rose asked quietly.
Julien looked at her and nodded. She stood up shakily.
“I’m going to go say goodbye to my husband.” She shambled off towards the back door.
“Rose,” Julien called after her, but she didn’t listen. He let her go. Chances were good that the Lawless would be protecting their base now and she deserved at least a moment.
“Yeah, hey,” Mark said, “what are we going to do now?”
He looked at the kid. He wasn’t quite sure yet.
“Oh shit!” Mark said suddenly and pointed.
Julien turned and noticed several flashlight beams in the woods to the left of the house. They were headed towards them. He readied his gun and took cover behind the nearest tree. His heart began to race when he heard the voice of Rose.
“Don’t worry, young man,” she said as she approached, “I called some friends.”
Frantically, Julien pulled out his cell phone and checked for service. Nothing.
“No,” she said, “you won’t get that here. There’s a landline inside. Works sometimes. Some of the neighbors are coming to help.”
“Help with what?” Julien asked, puzzled.
Several armed men and women came from the woods and began consoling Rose. They looked angry. Until now it seemed they had somewhat tolerated the Lawless, mostly out of fear, but a line had been crossed and they were going to do something about it tonight.
“What are you going to do?” he looked around at the group.
“What we should have done,” said Rose, “we’re going to bring the law.”
She led him to a shed next to the house and opened the door, beckoning him inside. The group that showed up was already moving off towards the outpost.
“You can take whatever you think you’ll need,” she said. Before she walked back to the house she stopped and gave Mark a kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you, you’re a very brave young man.” Mark blushed and waved an awkward goodbye.
Quickly Julien began handing things to the boy. Rope, duct tape, a machete, and a shotgun that elicited an impressed whistle. Julien took a rifle and hoisted a couple of five-gallon gas tanks.
They began making their way back towards the truck when they heard the first shots and surprised screams. He hoped it was the good guys who were winning, though he doubted those young punks really stood a chance against an armed country mob.
After reaching the stashed vehicle Julien and the kid began throwing their loot into the bed of the truck and hopped inside. The occasional shot could still be heard.
He made his way to the highway and turned in the direction of the outpost. Their destination lay beyond it.
As they approached, he came to a stop for a brief survey of the structure. And suddenly the whole thing was in flames. He smiled. Whether they knew it or not, the Lawless were done in this town. He just hoped that it stayed that way.
It looked to be mostly sheet metal and scrap wood. At least he prayed that was the case as he hit the accelerator and plowed through the fiery mess.
Flame and debris exploded before him and for a moment he wondered if he had made a terrible mistake. But the flames cleared and they were still on the road. Headed in the right direction. Headed toward Mayra.
He said a little prayer for Rose and the others. Mark looked back with a look of glee.