Anchors Away

Posted: April 15, 2016 in Book 1 TERROR IN TEXAS
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Brian glanced toward Billy “You ready for this?”

Billy chuckled. “Do we have a choice?” He checked the load in his weapon for the third time.

“Everyone hang on back there!” Brian called out.

Leon tapped on the top of the truck cab. “We’re good. Let’s get on the road. I see some of those bastards coming this way.”

Brian slammed the truck in gear and accelerated. The pickup pulled out onto the street and headed toward the city park they had decided would be the best place to put the Jon boats into Leon Creek. Brian looked up at the darkening skies.

Paula pointed to the ominous clouds rolling toward the city. “It looks like it might rain.”

“Great.” Billy moaned. “Just one more fucked up thing we don’t need.”

“No, maybe it’ll be a good thing.” Brian answered. “We get to the launch site, get the boats in the water and it starts raining, the shallow area of Leon Creek will be flooded and we’ll float right by the base and infected won’t be any wiser.”

The first drops of rain splattered on the windshield as they back down a narrow incline to the edge of the creek. They were south of the River Walk but north of Concepcion Mission. It was a spot alongside the creek that was less steep than most of the creek banks and the water was a little over fifteen feet wide.

“Billy, watch our six. The rest of you, let’s get this done. Ladies, carry supplies to the water’s edge. Men, grab a Jon boat. Get ‘em in the water.” Brian ordered. “We load up all three boats and use the tarps to hide under when we get moving.”

“How do we do this?” Leon asked.

“We have to distribute the weight so Billy and Juan can take Margo. Leon, you take Paula. I’ll take Dale. Leon and I can carry more supplies. We split them up between the two-man boats. Everyone keeps a pack with them, just in case.”

Leon and Juan carried the first boat to the shore. They shoved the end down in the water and suddenly realized the bank was still too steep to extend the boat out and opted for resting the boats parallel with the edge of the water. Margo and Paula were pressed into holding the boats against the bank.

Once all the boats were sitting at water’s edge, Brian started pointing at boats and directing the loading of supplies.

“Put a case of water, in each boat. Everyone hang on to your pack. Extra foods get put in the front and back boats.” Brian looked beyond the truck toward the freeway a few blocks away and added. “Let’s get moving folks.”

Billy suddenly called out. “Company’s coming.”

“Load up.” Brian called out as he picked up the trolling motors. He passed one to Leon and one to Juan. He walked to the front boat and began mounting the trolling motor to the back of the boat. “Get in the boat, Dale.”

Gentle rain turned into a torrential down pour as the group hurried toward the boats. Rain pelted the small group making the grassy bank slick and treacherous to navigate.

Dale pulled up his sagging pants and stepped out across the edge of the water into the boat Brian held against the bank. The huge man stumbled into the boat headfirst with one foot still planted on the bank. The shallow aluminum craft tilt and begin taking on water.

“Get in and sit down and don’t move!” Brian yelled as he jerked Dale to into the shallow seat.

Billy fired twice then slid down the embankment. “Time to go.”

Leon help Paula into the boat then left her to settle on the seat while he helped Billy, Margo, and Juan into the middle boat and gave them a push away from the bank. He rushed back to the boat with Paula clinging to a small scrub.

Billy fired at the approaching infected while Juan mounted the trolling motor and connected the battery. He turned on the engine and guided the boat toward the middle of the stream.

Billy continued to face the shore and fired twice more. He yelled. “Gotta move now!”

Leon returned to the boat where Paula waited and pushed the shallow craft away from the shore and picked up the trolling motor at his feet. He dipped the propeller end in the water and attached the motor to the flat back end of the boat. He connected wires to the battery and pushed the button and nothing happened. The boat continued to drift back toward the shore.

“Hurry! They’re coming!” Paula yelled as she picked up a paddle and began paddling away from the shore in the rising water. The Jon boat began turned in a circle.

Leon glanced at the motor than back at the battery. It took five seconds to switch the connections then pushed the button and the trolling motor vibrated under his hand. He turned the handle and the Jon boat headed into open water.

Billy fired a short burst. A body rolled down the incline where one boat remained. “Hurry up, sir.” Brian pushed Dale into the boat and growled. “Don’t move!”

Brian pushed his Jon boat away from the shore and stepped into the back of the boat. When the flat bottomed boat wobbled under the shifting of Brian’s weight, Dale yelped and tried to stand.

“Sit down or I’m going to shoot you!” Brian yelled as the boat drifted into the current.  He picked up the motor and mounted it to the back of the boat. “Get to paddling unless you want us to drift back on shore!”

Dale picked up a paddle and began paddling like a wild man. He did little to move the boat into the current so it drifted a mere six feet from shore.

Brian looked under the seat for the battery. “Where is the battery?”

Dale put down the paddle and reached under his seat. “This?”

“Toss it back here.” Brian ordered.

After a half-assed pitch and Brian forced to fall forward to catch it, he pushed his way back to the rear of the boat and sat down again. “Paddle!”

Juan maneuvered his boat to the side of Brian’s boat. Juan and Billy grasped the side of the boat and Juan accelerated. The single trolling motor had just enough power to pull the Jon boat further from the shore and away from the growing cluster of infected now standing on the bank reaching toward them.

Brian hooked the battery to the motor and pressed the button. The vibration of the propeller turn verified power. He gave Billy a quick thumbs-up and both men released their grip on the boat. Quietly, the power of the small propeller pushed the flat bottom boat forward and toward the middle of the creek.

“Move out. Single file. Break out the tarps and covered up.” Brian called out above the sound of the storm.

Brian accelerated and moved his boat to the lead. When he got his knee under the handle, he broke out the tarp at his feet. “Dale, get under that tarp and do it now.”

“Ass-hole.” Dale mumbled.

“That’s Ass-hole, Sir, to you.” Answered Brian as he pulled the tarp over his head and tented the plastic around his face leaving just enough of an opening to see where he was directing the Jon boat.

Rain pelted the survivors. As the storm raged over the next hour the rainwaters made its way from storm drains into bayous then into larger waterways including Leon Creek. The levels rose and the rushing water grew swifter and swifter.

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