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Author Topic: The Hard Way  (Read 49275 times)

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Offline Kate Hammerhill

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #200 on: May 01, 2011, 11:03:11 AM »
Kate nodded and she applied the medical tape around her thigh, not too tight but firm enough to hold the gauze in place, turning to stare directly into his eyes as he asked the rhetorical question

"Your life, and that has to matter to you, or you'd have punched your own ticket long before this." She resisted the urge to yell at him, berate the man for thinking he was only person in the world to lose everything that mattered. Instead she took his hands, holding them softly and speaking with the same gentle firmness she recalled her father using when she was little and needed to understand some unpleasant truth.

"Whatever happened to lead you to this moment is over and done. Nothing will ever change that, and lamenting the past will only cost you what's left of your future. Focus on the present, and keep going despite the losses and prove to everyone who ever loved you that you're not a weakling, not someone the world should pity rather then respect." She let go of his hands and stood up abruptly, smoothing out her denim skirt and sighing; suddenly feeling self conscious once more, . "Keep teetering on the edge of despair and you fall, so far you won't even realize you've hit bottom until the gravedigger's tossing dirt over your coffin."
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 06:10:05 AM by Kate Hammerhill »

Offline MysticMoon

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #201 on: May 01, 2011, 12:13:55 PM »
Stefan looks up, taken aback. Tears spring to his eyes.

It all comes out in a rush.

"The &^%$@ of it is that it isn't over. And I don't even know what it is. 10 years we were together, Gary and I. 10 glorious, magical years. He was my prince, riding in on his beautiful white horse to pluck me from my dismal life. We lived a fairytale together.

"And now he's dead. Murdered. Right before my eyes. By some big, @!#$ing Sopranos extra. I ran and I ran. Found myself in my car. Where could I go? Not home. If they were after Gary, home wouldn't be safe. Not to my parents. Haven't spoken to them in years. So, I thought, what about Lisa? She's always been there for me, always understood me.

"But I'm running and I don't know, are they following me? Should I really go to my sister's? And then that big truck, out of nowhere. So, here I am, lost, confused, and, yes, feeling sorry for myself.

"Because I think Gary did this. I think he was mixed up in something, something bad. He became so secretive, begged me to move to Oregon with him. Then he was gone so much, traveling, something big going on. He wouldn't tell me. Usually he went on and on about all the art deals, the paintings, everything. But this time, he said so little."

Wipes the snot from his lip with the back of his sleeve.

"And you people have been so kind to me, and I'm just so lost, and I don't even know what I'm doing here."
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 09:02:58 PM by MysticMoon »
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #202 on: May 01, 2011, 04:41:09 PM »
"Seems like fate has drawn us together, my best CO's son, Army Ranger was killed by some Soprano goombas too, which is why I am here. I was just going to go do some fly fishing and some nature bonding. Good times with the CO drink some beers and shoot the breeze and wave fishing poles at a river. Havent caught a d**ned thing besides trees, branches, and my hat a few times," Cutter said.


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Offline Kate Hammerhill

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #203 on: May 01, 2011, 05:41:14 PM »
Kate blinked back tears, the recent loss of her girlfriend all to similar to Stefan's plight, the resurgence of memories threatening to overwhelm her. "The Russian mafia burned everything I owned to ash because I saw some guy get whacked in an alley, my dearest love got caught in that blaze, she died in my arms begging me to help her."

She paused and reached in her jacket to grasp the cold grip of her Sig, its familiar texture comforting, grounding, solid. An anchor to her past, the tool of vengeance for Rachel's death, and quite possibly the method to reuniting with her once more after the score had been settled.

She shook her head to clear the flood of unwanted images and looked up at the morning sky, then at the farm house, anywhere but at the two men before her. "I guess we all have a common hatred for the crime syndicates, it's sorta nice not to feel all alone against those bastards."

« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 06:11:05 AM by Kate Hammerhill »

Offline Murometz

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #204 on: May 03, 2011, 04:16:49 PM »
"I already told the feds and coppers what I know. Who the hell are you? Castle-gla-what now?" came the curmudgeon's voice, supported by the canine's low growl.

"Well come in. I suppose you won't go away anyway, until you bother me for a bit."

pause

"Good news on the tv today! They finally killed that Obam--Osama @!#$er! Hoo-boy!" the old man cackled.

pause

"What the hell kinda color is that for a shirt?"

Apparently the old man has a good view through the window...


Frank enters. Sees just what he expects to see. Old man in flannel and horn-rimmed glasses, sititng in an ancient sofa-chair, staring at the tube. Big, all white pit-bull looking thing lying by his side. The old man keeps staring at the tube. Dog turns toward Frank. Dumb, pink eyes studying his every move. Hackles up. Both dog and man.

----------------

Kate, Cutter, and Stefan still outside. Wind really picking up now.

----------------

"I know why you're really here. You needin' a place to wait out the twisters. Well, if you and your friends can pay me, you can use my storm-shelter."






« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 09:23:27 PM by Murometz »
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Offline Kate Hammerhill

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #205 on: May 03, 2011, 04:56:58 PM »
Kate looked to the horizon as the wind kicked up small swirls of dust around the car, the air faintly carrying the bitter sweet tang of ozone. "What the hell is taking him so d**n long? The sooner we're out of this state the better, hopefully before the coming storm breaks."
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 06:12:55 AM by Kate Hammerhill »

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #206 on: May 04, 2011, 10:45:01 AM »
"I think it is time for us to take shelter," Cutter said.


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Offline MysticMoon

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #207 on: May 04, 2011, 01:44:55 PM »
Stefan looks around, just now noticing the wind.

"Storm? Shelter? You don't mean like a tornado, do you?"
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 11:21:37 PM by MysticMoon »
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Offline Kate Hammerhill

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #208 on: May 04, 2011, 03:30:53 PM »
Kate nodded in agreement, realizing the danger such a storm presented, even more so if they were left without transportation in the middle of this county after the recent shoot out. "Depending on the direction the storm's coming from we may be able to avoid it by driving at a right angle, unless you fancy sticking around and hoping we can still leave whenever we want before that gang of Rednecks finds us."

She'd had enough of shootouts for one day, and being trapped in some storm shelter sounded like fish in a barrel in the event the Husker gang paid them a visit, and for all she knew the farmer inside rang them up the moment they got out of the car.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 06:13:15 AM by Kate Hammerhill »

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #209 on: May 05, 2011, 09:11:32 AM »
"Too bad we don't have a video camera," Cutter said, "Don't rednecks get videos of tornadoes all the time? Just blows their trailer over and makes their meth labs blow up."

Cutter wasn't thrilled about the idea of hiding in a shelter, but he didn't quite share Kate's paranoia about the old man.


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Offline MysticMoon

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #210 on: May 05, 2011, 11:16:55 AM »
Stefan chuckles a little at Cutter's quip. Amazed at how much lighter he felt after verbalizing the horrors of the past few days.

"Do any of you have experience with weather like this? How quickly do tornados move? How predictably do they move? I'm all for leaving the area but I'm no expert on this."

Hesitation.

"Of course, I should ask first if you don't mind me tagging along. I'm not so sure I should be tempting the fates by heading to Lisa's place. It would kill me if I led danger to her doorstep. Maybe staying on the road is a better idea. And, if there is any way I can assist in your investigation, I would love to do it. I can't wield a firearm, not safely anyway, but there must be something I can do. Perhaps you might get a better reception if someone as innocuous as I knocked on doors rather than standing outside looking like you're ready to capture insurgents or something."
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The old man, grey-haired, braid hanging down.
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His craggy face is turned up, bathed in moonlight;
He looks for his goddess to smile upon him.

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #211 on: May 05, 2011, 12:50:07 PM »
Cutter laughs, "We didn't capture many insurgents, in my tours," the memories threatened to come back, building and tearing at each other like the clouds in the sky. The friends he made, in Desert Storm, and in the Second Gulf war... The friends he lost, the gunfire, the blocks of his memory that he can't remember are black tears ripped in the clouds...


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Offline Kate Hammerhill

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #212 on: May 05, 2011, 02:04:58 PM »
Kate shrugged at Stefan's question about tornadoes, aside from some weather channel specials and a bit of high school science she never bothered to learn much about them. "The storm doesn't worry me, it's the men with guns hunting for us that worries me."

She smiled at his comment about capturing insurgents, nodding in agreement that someone less intimating may get better results.  "It's fine with me if you come along, just don't fight over the game boy and buckle up." She started again at the farm house, it was quiet in there, too quiet. "Cutter, maybe we should go check on frank, things seem awfully sublime given his usual way of approaching problems."
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 06:14:23 AM by Kate Hammerhill »

Offline Siren no Orakio

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #213 on: May 05, 2011, 04:50:23 PM »
"We'll take our chances, and I heard that story, Uncle. Heard the story. Just humor me, though, cause I had a powerful hankering to find out just who made those night goggles you've you got. See, Legs strolled over to me and tried to arrest my poor car, which ain't hurt no one in... hell, a month or three, based on what you said. So I figure they got to be a hell of a lot better than what I had when they dropped my ass out a plane over Grenada, and I think I want  a pair. And if you could tell me anything else you heard besides that engine, that'd be nice too." Frank smiled a little bit as he said this, hardly moving. No need to startle the dog, or make it think he was actually hostile. Quiet, non-threatening tones.

Offline Murometz

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #214 on: May 05, 2011, 05:01:24 PM »
"Take your chances? Jesus, you're not from around here, are you? You ever been caught in a twister, mister?"

Old man cocks his head suddenly, like a bird who just saw a worm

"Big black, Boss...dragged a young man across my field, ok? I saw it with my own eyes. Then a big guy gets out of the car, and shoots him in the head, ok? Thats what i saw. That's right. Big guy, looked like you."

"What else i heard? I didn't hear anything. Just saw them kill the lad, is all. I mean him, not them..."

Pause

"GEN III Gallium Arsenide, mister. I served you know!" Old man rolls up his right sleeve, and shows Frank some tats.

As the farmer says this, he narrows his eyes, and looks at Frank in a new way.

Frank's bull-s**t meter is at 9.5/10.

Farmer stares at Frank. Realizes something. Says nothing. Frank stares at farmer. Realizes farmer is lying.

Tension builds. Pit Bull senses tension.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 06:26:19 PM by Murometz »
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Offline Siren no Orakio

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #215 on: May 05, 2011, 08:04:56 PM »
A half barking laugh, as Frank shakes his head, one eye staying on the Bull. "Fear, an empty wallet, or free will, old man? How did they get you?" Frank's voice is low, the gravel concealed as much as possible. "You know... I don't even care. You tell me now, best you can, where the execution was, and who gave you that description, and I'll turn around and walk out of here. Won't even tell Legs."

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #216 on: May 05, 2011, 08:25:20 PM »
Old man opens his mouth, then shuts it. Eyes Frank again. So hard to lie to Frank.

"I--don't give a corn-fungus s**t about Legs! I---"

Tries to figure out what to say and not say.

Frank waits.

Door creaks open. Kate peeks in. Looks annoyed. Wind so strong outside at this point that it howls when she opens the door.

Farmer tries again.

"Look--ok--"

"You a hard nut, eh?" Farmer seems resigned now, recognizing the look on Frank's face. Its unmistakable.

Tension subsides.

"Ok", he starts a third time, "Why don't your friends come in outta the wind, and i'll make some tea. Or pop some beers maybe or whatnot. Then we gotta go downstairs anyway. Storm's a comin, and that 'Cuda, impressive as it is, ain't outrunning it."

"Come, Rhino." Farmer gets up out of chair and waddles into the kitchen. You can't lie to Frank. 130 lb of milk-white, pink-eyed dog, gets up and follows after the old man.

"Make yourselves at home" he manages to croak. "You were in the service?" He asks Frank.

Feels like 7:30am. Give or take a minute Frank figures.

-----------------------------------------

4 hours 21 minutes to go...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 09:21:08 PM by Murometz »
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #217 on: May 06, 2011, 12:41:42 AM »
"Invite is an invite," Cutter says. "And I'm sure the Cuda could outrun a twister, except that I've learned down in 'bama that a twister goes where it d**n well pleases, and doesnt have to follow roads, fence lines or any of that." It's obvious that Frank has the situation under control, and everyone seems to be calm. Or at least as calm as you can be with a looming morning twister, and a house full of strangers with guns and one guy with strange taste in clothes. But, this wasn't Alabama. Maybe out here it was okay for a fellow to wear a purple shirt and not take a baseball bat to the back of the head.

Cutter looked out the windows, he could hear Frank and Farmer McGoggles talking in the kitchen. Talking was good, that meant that encouragement didn't need to be added. Something in the back of his mind told him that he knew how to make a man talk. The therapist would probably ask where that experience came from. He had spent some time as a POW, and it very well could have been what the Iraqis had done to him. But it could also be what his platoon had done to some of them. It was murky, something that was hard to remember, like a dream a week later. Or a nightmare.

"Hey old man, you care if I smoke?" he asked, still looking out the window. His thoughts wandered back to Froelich, Legs... now that was something better to think about than torturing people.


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Offline Siren no Orakio

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #218 on: May 06, 2011, 07:16:17 AM »
"Served till they got done with me." Frank snorted then, as he shook his head. "Shame they don't really let you keep the tools, though." Yeah, the old man was bulls**tting him, they both knew it, and knew that they both knew it. Still awful hard to see color, even in Gen III.

 Frank gestured to Kate and Cutter then, indicating the others to follow. It wasn't a good idea, but that twister... well, s**t. His tread was soft and soundless, a giant shadow. Wind was picking up. He didn't care about the wind itself, knew it could pick him up and slam him around, but he didn't care. He'd done a thousand feet without a chute before. He'd been thrown out of a plane at over Mach 1. That had hurt. But there were other risks. Time to get under.

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #219 on: May 06, 2011, 08:04:04 AM »
Stefan follows the others in, catches his foot on the threshold, falls forward.

Christ! What a way to prove I'm up to this. Certain his face is beet red.

Picks himself up, dusts off his sleeves. A useless gesture with the drying muck on his shoes and slacks, dirt and plant debris on his shirt.

"Is there a bed in the shelter? It's been awhile since I've slept."

Turns to Frank and extends his hand. "Hello. My name is Stefan. Frank, is it?"
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The old man, grey-haired, braid hanging down.
He is clothed in faded brown robes.
His craggy face is turned up, bathed in moonlight;
He looks for his goddess to smile upon him.

Offline Kate Hammerhill

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Re: The Hard Way
« Reply #220 on: May 06, 2011, 09:54:38 AM »
Kate followed at the rear, looking about cautiously, weighing options. While the storm cellar was the last place she wanted to be, abandoning everyone else to ride back out on her own had even less appeal, especially with Ozil still out there on the prowl.

She shuddered at that last thought and pulled her jacket tighter around herself, giving a tired smile at Stefans' inquiry about a bed. "Stefan, if a twister comes anywhere near here sleep will be the last thing on your mind, they sound like a inbred vacuum cleaner mating with a turbo fan, not really something you can rest through." At the very least the storm would keep the local troublemakers busy, and with any luck put them off their trail for good.

Something pulled at the back of her mind, as she walked through the house realizing suddenly how empty and huge it seemed, how vacant, despite all the rows of corn outside. "Hey farmer goggles, this farm's way to big for one old man to manage, where's the rest of your work hands?" While speaking she causally let her right hand fall back onto the grip of her Sig, keeping an eye on the windows for any sign of movement outside, an ear cocked for any sounds of movement not caused by their passage or the wind.

"They all going to be in the shelter with us? Going to be a might crowded in that case." She could be wrong, but if this was some sort of trap by the Husker boys, she might as well force the old mans hand and get it sprung it early, before they were underground and penned up with few options left.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 06:19:08 AM by Kate Hammerhill »