His hands, clothes, face, hair, lungs were covered in debris as he shoved the final block of concrete out of the subway entrance, blinded by the sudden shine of daybreak. He had no time to stand still; it sounded like flies were buzzing near his ear. Dozens of them. He tucked his head in as he ran for a charred vehicle.
Bodies littered the street. Cars parked this way and that. Sirens blaring all around. A downed NYPD officer, bullet proof vest untouched. His head looked like a mashed up jelly donut. The officer looked about his height and weight. Snatching the vest off, he grabbed the radio and tried to decipher the lingo. The entire island of Manhattan was in turmoil; that’s the gist of the chatter.
Around him, mini explosions went off. He grabbed the officer’s service piece and any spare ammunition on his belt he could carry. Halfway through autumn meant wearing a jacket, he thanked whatever deity existed in past lives for the extra pockets.
Just inches from his legs the concrete began dusting up as a rain of bullets trailed up, narrowly missing him. *Go prone* his internal voice yelled. He hid under the charred vehicle as what he figured to be a small platoon of soldiers running in the direction he came out from. The opposition, it had to be. He thought taking breaths in bursts trying not to panic.
Boots gone, he rolled from under the car and crouched his way up Seventh Avenue, gathering his bearings to head for his original destination at least as a means of a waypoint. Not that it mattered at this point. He dared to sneak a peak upwards. Glass shattered miles away but sounded as if it were next to him. Pieces of buildings fell causing car windshields to shatter, sound their alarms, explode. *Not safe on the road. Going indoors would spell death, too.* Another series of deep breaths.
On the upcoming cross street an idle figure stood watch. As a now former security guard he knew he was on post probably scanning for possible POW’s. Scared our of his mind, he slowly crunched glass underfoot as he edged to a nearby car. *Gotta take him out*, he yelled at himself. *Have to do what I can to take back the city.*
He steadied his breath, took aim, fired. The kickback felt worse than a PlayStation controller vibrating during cut scene explosions. Nevertheless, his shot landed. The head mushroomed out, brains leaking, as the lifeless body hit the floor. At the sound of it falling, he emptied his stomach onto the sidewalk.
A fire hydrant shooting air was across the street. He quickly crossed, washed himself, readied his nerves, made his way uptown. Two more soldiers, talking without a care in the world. Again he readied the gun, fired. Before he or the alive soldier knew it, he was falling to the ground in a pool of his own brain matter.
He looked around for the shot. A gentleman emerged from behind an SUV. “Don’t shoot, I’m not one of them!” From his accent he knew he was a New Yorker. Both men stepped from the shadows, joined hands.
“Fucking crazy, brother.”
“We’ve got to get the hell off the street.”
Both nodded, headed into a restaurant nearby that resembled a crater. Explosions in the distance, what sounded like a missile hitting a building as fighter jets flew overhead. Sporadic automatic gunfire. The men grabbed two Poland Spring bottles and downed them. “What do I call you?” The shooter asked. “Soundview.” The shooter nodded and extended his hand again. “Flatbush.” Hands were shaken.
“I’m not trained. Hell I was lucky to land that shot. And another I took before.” Soundview said. “Same. I was gonna head home to play the new Call of Duty. Guess I am.” Soundview and Flatbush checked their weapons. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen but we’ve got to find some kind of military outpost. There must be one.” Soundview said. “Something like that sounds like it’d be assembled in Central Park. We’re about three block away.”
Side by side they left the restaurant, crouching behind vehicles while trying to mask the sound of their footsteps, making their way west. Seven enemies killed on the way, new weapons acquired. Inside the park, hills were now craters, and before reaching the longshot destination, “Flushing” joined the party. Same as Soundview and Flatbush, no prior service other than in the three-dimensional world.
As the three men reached a small outpost of US Army men, it was under fire. Flushing, using a sniper rifle found in the office building he had been hiding in, took down two. Soundview and Flatbush took care of two, and the trained men took care of the rest.
“Who the fuck-“
“Don’t shoot we’re fucking civies.” Flushing shouted.
“Civies?! Goddamn it.”
“Front and center, men.” A man who sounded in charge barked. The three men came from their hiding spots and stood at attention to what they now knew to be a Sergeant.
“Good job, gentleman. We appreciate the help.” He then shook each of their hands. “Sir.” Flatbush said. “Yes, Private?” “We’re not trained but we want to fight. We can’t just sit back and let our city be taken from us.”
The Sergeant looked at the three men who nodded. “What are your names?” They introduced themselves. He stared at each of the men who were built like the kinds of guys you’d expect to sit on their asses playing video games all day. But the three men, despite the absolute terror in their eyes, held their heads high. The Sergeant knew breaking protocol wasn’t a good idea but these unlikely men just saved his platoon’s lives, experience or not. The Sergeant gave a wane smile. “Unfortunately I just lost some men to that attack, so grab some gear and stay close. Sanchez,” the Sergeant turned. “Sir!” A soldier saluted. “Radio HQ, tell them to expect three civies under these call signs and tell them no doubt more will probably pop up.” “Yes sir!”
“Here,” the Sergeant handed the three men water bottles. Fifteen minutes, we’re Oscar Mike. Sorry, we-” “We move out, sir. We know some of the lingo. Much like some of the civies you’ll be encountering along the way.” Soundview said.
No time to call home, Soundview thought. The fifteen minutes passed. They were Oscar Mike.