Liberty For All – Part 1

Posted: April 6, 2018 in 34 Liberty For All - Part 1, Book 1 TERROR IN TEXAS

Brian turned to Henry. “You’d better be telling the truth. If this goes bad because of you, you will die.” He picked up the binoculars and studied the camp below. A ten-foot-high hurricane fence anchored in concrete surrounded the sprawling encampment. Two armed guards watched from inside the padlocked gate. He moved the glasses to examine the inside of the compound. A guard sat in the shade of a covered porch monitoring the women working around the camp. Two older women worked at the side of an open fire, one in a stained white apron stirred in a large iron pot while the other shifted two Dutch ovens closer to the heat. While they cooked, the women watched two more guards with guns stroll through camp barking orders at three gray-haired women sitting at the side of a second fire with a massive kettle of steaming water. Each straddled a bucket and scrubbed clothing across ribbed metal boards. Brian scanned to an ample open space at the back of the enclosure where half a dozen matrons tended a sprawling garden. The women weeded at the flourishing patch of garden. One of the women leaned back on her heels, and one of the guards carrying AR-15s yelled at her. Brian lowered the binoculars and turned to Henry. “I only see old women, where are rest of the camp? You told me there were young women and kids.”

“They’re locked up in the red building at the end, the one with the window panels at the top of the walls. We gotta get ‘em outta there. It’s bound to be hotter than hell in that shed. My youngest girl has asthma. She’ll die in there.” Henry started to get to his feet, but Brian caught him by the arm.

“We take the time to do this right. Tell me about the guards.” Brian asked. “I want to know about the men in camp?”

Henry answered. “The men I know that would help us are locked up in the so-called jail in the root cellar under the big house. The idiots moved all the food stored into a two days ago so they could use it as a holding cell until Grant or Wilson returned. I don’t see Dixon, the man left in charge. He’s probably in the office in the same building. At the front gate, Carl is the one in the red t-shirt. He’s okay, he just goes along. Jim, the man with him, is an asshole. He’ll be trouble. He’ll do what Dixon told him no matter what.”

“That means we have Jim to worry about if we try to take the front gate. Where is the second entrance?”

“Around on the north side,” Henry answered.

Brian grabbed Henry’s arm, “Let’s move and see who’s on guard duty back there.”

The three men slipped down the face of the hill and moved closer to the fence hiding amid the brush and cedar. They saw a lone guard limp from the back gate toward one of the buildings. He reappeared a few minutes later but seemed more interested in activities inside the compound than any danger outside.

“What about him?” Brian asked.

“Perkins can’t do much to help, but he won’t get in the way. He’s got bad knees and is barely make it across the camp,” Henry answered venomously.

Brian watched the enclosure while they made their way to the back gate of the compound where a single man sat on a bench in the shade. He was well past middle age judging by his lined face and thickened middle. While Brian and Billy studied the access into the compound, Henry used the overhanging brush to sneak away and close to the fence.

He called out softly. “Bernie! Bernie!” Bernie looked up and finally saw Henry in the brush clinging to the fencing. Henry pointed at the gate. “Open up, Let me in.”

Bernie shuffled to the fence all the while fishing keys from his pocket. He flung open the gate just as Brian and Billy joined Henry.

“Woe! Who are these fellas, Henry?” Bernie startled.

“Friends,” Henry answered. “Close the gate now.”

“Shit, man. I didn’t figure you’d be coming back when Wilson took you with him.” Bernie spread his arms and pulled Henry into a bear hug. “Who you got there? Looks like soldiers. Has the military finally come to straighten this shit out?”

“Bernie, shut up a minute. Where’s my wife and kids? Are they still in the shed?”

“Yes. Since she tried talking Dixon into letting the kids out. He never got over being confronted in front of everyone.”

“Is there anyone guarding them?” Brian asked.

“Hell no. Too damned hot. Bailey has been sitting outside in the shade with Tiny and another guy.” Bernie answered. “Some of the men tried to talk sense into Dixon when he locked up your wife, and the bastard rounded up the rest of the men and locked them up, too.”

“Why aren’t you locked up?”

“I was in the outhouse when it happened. I heard the shouting, took a peak and saw what was going down, so I just stayed there. Figured I’d keep my nose out of it and maybe be able to let ‘em out after dark tonight.” Bernie scrunched up his face. “Dixon is dumber than shit, but he’s got Gus and me standing guard without guns,” Bernie answered. He raised his arms to expose his weaponless belt.

“Who’s left packin’ guns then?” Brian asked. Bernie answered then Brian interrupted. “Okay, we need to take out six to eight men with guns, and the armory is in the main house. Can you two give us a layout of where the guards are stationed?”

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