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Broken Dawn (Aisling and Other Stories)


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As they crashed to the ground together, she used the momentum to partially roll away from him so that he wouldn't land on top of her. She landed on her left side, back to her attacker, and drew her knees up, drawing her left leg up to her chest, and her right to a 45 degree angle from her body. As they fell, both became ensnared in the mesh of the blind, and one of the now-bent aluminum poles smacked her in the head when it fell. Her shawl slipped up off her shoulders and around her neck and head.

The man fumbled about, attempting to regain leverage, and a hand darted through one of the port holes, ripping the fastenings off as he thrust it through. The hand reached up and found her shawl, and he gripped it, tightening it around her neck, attempting to cut off her air. She drew in a choked breath and held it, tightening her neck muscles against the fabric. His hand continued to twist in the fabric of her shawl, tightening the makeshift garrote around her neck. She let him do this unresisting, letting him concentrate on trying to gain leverage and strangle her, keeping his attention away from what her hands were doing.

With her left hand she slid the fabric of her skirt up to her knee, and reached between her legs with the right. Her hand closed around the handle of her skinning knife, and she slid it out, flattening the blade against her forearm, and turned her head towards her attacker, attempting to gauge his position.

As he threw a leg out to straddle her, she struck. With a backhanded motion, she stabbed the blade into his abdomen, just below his navel, the front edge pointing towards his groin, the back towards his xyphoid process. As he froze in sudden pain, she twisted her wrist so that the back of her hand rested against his stomach, the knife moving parallel to his body, the gutting hook still in his abdominal cavity. With a quick jerk, she drew the knife up towards his ribs. Blood splashed her, and as he reared back in sudden agony his intestines slithered out of the now-gaping hole in his abdomen.

He screamed; a high-pitched, gurgling shriek. His hand came up to his abdomen, attempting to hold their contents in.

She wasted no time, throwing herself up and over, reaching for the .45. As she darted for the gun, her eyes darted; gauging the amount and location of the other assailants. Two stood to her right, both carrying what looked like MP-5 sub machine guns. Both stared at their gutted companion, frozen momentarily by the unexpected shock. Her eyes darted up towards the ridgeline of the short peak she called her home. At the crest of the ridge, almost directly up from where she was, a fourth man provided overwatch. Already he was moving to draw down and fire on her.

She grabbed up the pistol, and took hasty aim at the man on the ridge. The distance, careless aim and mesh covering her fouled her aim and the two shots she fired went low, pinging off the rocks a few feet below his position. It had the desired effect, though, as he ducked behind the ridgeline for cover. She snatched up the knife in her left hand and sliced through the mesh fabric. Thus free, she burst out, dropping the knife, and bringing her pistol up to bear on the two men cose to her.

While seeing their friend gutted had frozen them with shock, the gunshots did the opposite. Both brought up their weapons, preparing to fire. She fired of four quick shots, two at each. The man on the right was hit by both rounds, one slamming him high on the left side of his chest, nearly to his shoulder, the other hitting him low on the left side of his pelvis. The impacts threw him backwards and he fired wildly as he fell, his fingers reactively clenching. The other two shots missed the man on the left completely, or nearly, as one grazed his left bicep, leaving a shallow groove, the other pinging off a rock somewhere behind him.

He darted to his right, towards a large boulder that was about two heads shorter than he was. She darted to her left, along a parallel path, towards a group of smaller rocks that came up to her waist. He reached his cover first and immediately rested his MP-5 on top of the boulder, preparing to fire on her before she reached cover. She fired off another round in his direction and he ducked behind the boulder. She quickly turned and fired another round up at the overwatch, who again ducked behind the ridge. Then she altered her course, charging directly at the boulder the man was hiding behind, silent on bare feet. As she neared the bolder she threw her self into a roll. Her move had the desired effect: as she rolled around the side, the attacker, already on the move stood up to aim and fire along the path he had last seen her moving, too late realizing she was right on top of him.

She rolled, bruising her shoulder in the process, and came up, landing on her left knee, and throwing her right leg out straight to her side to stop her momentum. She fired twice, point blank, into his chest. The impact threw him back against the slope, and as he rebounded, Aisling grabbed and pulled him over her, throwing them both closer to the boulder he'd been hiding behind. Shots thudded into his back from the overwatch above as they fell, his body and the boulder concealing her. She snatched the MP-5 from him, pulling the strap off his shoulder, as he convulsed in his death-throes. She rolled around the side of the boulder again and fired at the man above. The bullets pinked off the rocks to the right of his position and he ducked again. While he hid, she relocated her position, stabilizing herself against another boulder, and drawing aim on his position. She kept both eyes open, so as to not tunnel her view and waited.

A minute later his head popped back up, a few feet left of his original position. She rapidly adjusted and fired. This time her shots hit much closer, one round close enough to move his hair, another clipping the rock right in from of him. Chips flew into his face and cut his cheek.

He ran.

Ash cast aside the MP-5 and moved for the lounger, keeping her eyes on the ridge above. When she reached the lounger, she flipped it on its side, reaching down and ripping the AK-47 from the duct tape that held it there. As she moved, she ripped pieces of tape off the rifle where they had stuck, and slung it over her shoulder. She picked her way over rocks and bleached-out deadfall, moving to a spot that would be the quickest and easiest climb to the ridge, where the slope was more gentle and there were larger rocks to use for climbing among the loose scree.

When she crested the rise, she unslung the rifle and peered down the gentler slope beyond. Nearly to the bottom, running full tilt, was her quarry. She unfolded the stock and pulled the riffle up, sighting down the iron. She squeezed off two rounds. Neither hit but one pinged off a rock near the fleeing man. He stumbled, fell, rolled a bit down the slope, then sprang back to his feet and began running again. Aisling moved down the slope after him, holding her rifle at the ready. As she descended, she caught a sharp rock on the bottom of her foot and nearly went down at the sudden pain. She regained her balance and kept going, her adrenaline-high helping to ignore the pain.

He reached the bottom and sprinted into a ravine. This area was veined with small valleys and ravines where the various taller peaks met. They formed an intricate system that could be used to reach the other side of the range, but was only passable on foot, or possibly with dirtbikes. She suspected, somewhere, her assailants had parked the latter, and he was headed for it, hoping to escape.

Ash reached the bottom and headed into the ravine after him, the AK drawn back up to her shoulder, pointing ahead. She slowed down and where her eyes looked, the AK looked.

In a flash he darted from behind a pile of deadfall and made for a side trail. She fired as he moved, mostly in surprise, but nothing hit. It took her a full minute to reach the side trail herself. She crept to the edge of the rock wall, and darted her head out quickly and took in as much as she could, before ducking back behind cover. She'd seen nothing but rocks.

With a quick motion, Aisling spun towards the opening and brought her rifle up and strafed her way across the entrance, attempting to see everywhere at once. When she reached the other side, she ducked down behind a large rock, and brought the rifle around the side of it, aiming down the ravine.

Nothing moved.

For a long time she waited, knowing it would be foolish to enter the ravine. The man could be laying in ambush anywhere and would easily see her before she saw him; there was too much rock and debris for him to hide behind. Finally, she heard the distant roar of a dirtbike being kick-started. The sounds echoed faintly through the ravine.

She'd lost him. Her home was compromised.

The open sun beat down on her skin, and she could feel it starting to burn. She adjusted the shawl to cover more of her back and shoulders and finally made her way back to the back slope of her ridge. Her adrenaline rush gone, she felt the throbbing pain on the arch of her foot where she'd stepped on the sharp rock. She lifted the foot with her left hand to inspect the injury. It was caked with dust, but there was no blood. That was a good sign. It hurt like hell and would likely bruise, but at least she wouldn't have to worry about an open wound and infection.

Favoring her injured right foot, she began walking up the gentle slope, picking her way around rocks and watching her footing among the smaller stones and scree. As she looked down, she inspected what she could see of herself. Her cabana skirt was sticky and red with drying blood, splatters of it had caked to her calves and ankles as well, and some had splattered on to her stomach.

"Fuck." She said, as she made her way up the slope. "This was my favorite skirt."
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Updated 06-26-10 at 04:14 PM by Benjamin Burch

Life , Virtual Life