“I really hope you both don’t think I wanted to do that though.” Liz says with a guilty expression.
“I know you didn’t. Please don’t feel horrible. If it wasn’t for you, Thomas and I would not be here. And who knows what they would have done to you if they found you Liz. You did some quick thinking and that is what we needed in the moment.” John reassures.
“Agreed. Sorry I am not the one with the words, but you were quite the impressive, most sneaky lady I have ever seen.” Thomas says.
“Thanks again guys. I really don’t know what we are going to do though if this place keeps getting attacked every night. I do not have enough ammo for a big fight every night.”
“We don’t. That’s why we must set traps Liz. Secure the perimeter. Intimidate. Send a message to people who want to steal from us, attack us, and not be with us: that we are a force to be reckoned with.” John declares.
They dig pits around the perimeter. Instead of creating stakes in them, they leave water and a morsel of food. The truth is, they need fighters. People who have guts but maybe lack direction. This will help create a strong community they both agree.
John comes up with a string system around the perimeter attached to bells inside the barn. He has them all labeled with numbers corresponding to a map he created of the area. He will know where an attack is coming from before the enemy even knows he exists. John has studied every inch of the landscape today. He studies everywhere to hide, run, engage or disengage. And Liz is quite impressed.
“I think you know this land better than me in one day John.”
“I know. That is the goal, haha. I can’t have you telling me where to run, while I am being shot at my dear! We all have to act independently at times.”
“Indeed we do.”
The bell rings. The one all the way on the left. John double checks the map and points.
“He’s coming from over here. If the bell rings several times, there must be more than one.”
It doesn’t ring again.
“Liz, you stay here. Thomas come with me.”
“There is only one though, John. I can handle it. Stop treating me like a baby. Thomas I am in charge, you stay here.” She says sternly.
“Okay, Liz. Come with me.” John says, trying not to argue at a crucial moment.
She grabs her submachine gun.
John chuckles and they head in the direction of the potential enemy.
“It’s a woman, John!” Liz exclaims as they see her on the edge of the clearing. Her clothes look disheveled. She looks like she has been through something horrific.
“Stand back Liz! This could be a trap! Please stay back. Listen to me I do not have a good idea about this!”
She almost runs to her, but instead something inside of her told her to stay by John. He moves slowly towards the woman by himself. Instructs Liz to stay at least fifteen feet behind him. She follows his orders, secretly terrified inside, her heart racing more than it has ever before.
“Put your hands up slowly maim! I am just making sure this isn’t some kind of trap. If you are innocent you have nothing to worry about, my lady. And by some miracle you have found us.”
He sees three men emerge from the edge of the clearing as he moved closer to the woman.
“Please don’t kill me.” She says while in tears. “They hurt me already. Please don’t hurt me. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
“Liz, get ready.” He mutters.
Her words are breaking John’s heart. He knows this could end in tragedy depending on his next move, but moves have to be made. He moves swiftly towards the woman, only a few feet away and pushes her aside to the ground. He falls to the ground himself, then starts shooting, each bullet hits each man in between the eyes. They fall like cartoon puppets, like something out of a movie he imagines because the past memories he has of war would easily make him lose his mind.
“I didn’t want to have to do that. But once again; I had to do something I didn’t want to do in life. Liz come over here and help this woman. I have a faceful of dirt right now and am tired.”
Liz is in shock. She feels she has just watched one of the best gunmen in the world protect two women from harm’s way. She grabs the woman’s arm calmly, looks her in the eyes and says:
“My dear, you cannot stay out here. We must be quiet for now. It’s going to be okay now. You found a sanctuary in the middle of chaos. It’s going to be okay.”
The women quiets her sobbing.
“Thank you. Thank you both. I don’t know what I would have done if you both hadn’t been there. They tried to use me as bait. I’ve seen so much already. I’ve seen so much already. You have no idea.”
“Shhh. It’s okay. We’ll get to the barn soon and can talk there. Just stay calm.” Liz reassures.
John doesn’t say much. He is still in shock he just killed three men and hasn’t had to do so much killing since the war. He honestly feels sort of unprepared emotionally, but knows if he were to express this to anyone, they would think of him as a weak character. So of course, he doesn’t. His heart is heavy for the unknown woman that just graced their presence as a piece of bait. He thinks: How cruel do you have to be to use someone else as bait? This is the kind of behavior which has ruined our society and caused such great conflict in the first place. He sees this as a symbolic situation; sort of beyond the situation. It makes him sad, deep down. He wants everyone to join forces together who stand for a good cause, but he also knows ultimately some people will give into fear.