Shields and Ramparts: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 4 | America's New Apocalypse
Kindle UnlimitedFree with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited
Excellent story continues! I just love this series. The characters are great... Can't wait for the next book!WMH Cheryl
Can't put it down! Ok, when is the next book coming out? I have devoured each book in this series.Amazon Customer
Wow! Like all of this series, this book is outstanding! Great characters, lots of action, unbelievable situations but makes you think. It just might happen!!Phycilla
FABULOUS SERIES! Millie Copper is a great author. You can’t put these books down.Tammy Trayer
The United States, and the community of Bakerville, face a new threat…a threat that could change America forever. As the neighbors band together, all worry about friends and family members. Have they found safety from this latest danger?
Lindsey and Logan escape extreme danger on the West Coast. They thought they had faced the worst of this disaster, but they’re not prepared for what they find on the road to Bakerville.
Sisters Sylvia and Sabrina leave their Phoenix suburb to join their mom and stepdad in Bakerville. When they run out of gas, they need to finish the last 150 or so miles on foot. Are they up for the challenge?
Jake and Mollie Caldwell have created a refuge for their family and friends—a place where everyone can be safe. But what happens when danger lurks in the perceived security of home?
Shields and Ramparts is the fourth installment of the Havoc in Wyoming Christian Futuristic series. If you like mysterious apocalyptic events, fast-paced adventure, and plausible situations, then you’ll love this page-turning series.
Download today and discover why readers love this twist on the Post-Apocalyptic genre!
The Havoc in Wyoming series has been described as “Cozy” Apocalypse and contains no profanity, gratuitous sex scenes, or overly detailed gruesome death scenes. However, it does contain conservative family values and references to God, prayer, scripture, and Christianity.
Books in the series and suggested reading order:
- Wyoming Refuge: A Havoc in Wyoming Prequel
- Caldwell's Homestead: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 1
- Katie's Journey: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 2
- Mollie's Quest: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 3
- Havoc Begins: A Havoc in Wyoming Story
- Shields and Ramparts: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 4
- Fowler's Snare: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 5
- Havoc Rises: A Havoc in Wyoming Story
- Pestilence in the Darkness: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 6
- Christmas on the Mountain: A Havoc in Wyoming Novella
- Havoc Peaks: A Havoc in Wyoming Story
- My Refuge and Fortress: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 7
Release date: January 22, 2020
Publisher: CU Publishing LLC
Print pages: 385
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Shields and Ramparts: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 4 | America's New Apocalypse
Tuesday, Day 6
San Jose, California
The pain in my neck is instant and excruciating. I’m face down, kissing the sidewalk. He’s on top of me, pulling my hair, pawing at me. The smell is unbearable. Ammonia. Sweat. Booze.
He grunts as he gives a yank on my utility belt. I’m lying with my weapon pinned. Useless.
He reaches under my right side, trying to spin me on to my back. I dig into the concrete, resisting his efforts. I turn my head to the side, flattening my body. A pockmarked face and greasy hair greet me. His scrawny forearm pushes on my cheek.
“Fight me, baby. Fight me,” he slurs. “We’re having a good time now.”
From the size of his arm and the hollowness of his cheek bones, I assume he’s gaunt and sickly from continual drug abuse. And maybe a drunk. This could play in my favor.
I’m in excellent condition and not a small woman by any means. I’m tall, just shy of six feet. My daily workouts and training should give me an advantage over a scrawny, decrepit drunk. At least that’s my hope—that he’s on the booze and not a PCP or meth high where his strength is pharmaceutically enhanced, along with providing a sense of invulnerability.
I dig my feet into the ground and start to crawl away—I need a little distance between us. He lets go of me just long enough to pick up a piece of broken concrete and slam it into my hamstring.
“Argh!” I cry out. Did he break my leg? I keep scooting, dragging my injured limb.
“Now, baby, don’t be like that. I don’t want to hurt you . . . too much. This can be good for both of us.”
There’s finally space between us, several feet.
I flip to my butt and pull my service weapon. “Stop. Now.”
His eyes—glazed and unfocused . . . dead looking—drop slightly, eyeballing my Glock. One side of his lip curls up. He opens his mouth, releasing a guttural roar, then bends his knees and springs toward me.
I squeeze the trigger. The first shot catches him square in the chest. The second shot, immediately following, catches his shoulder. He’s knocked back, landing on the ground.
I keep my Glock trained on him, watching for movement. He sucks in a breath, then lets out a loud rattle. His chest shakes several times as blood flows freely. His left arm twitches, moving toward the discarded concrete. The movement stops.
“Hey,” a course whisper says. “Hey, Officer, are you okay? Can I get you some help?”
Glock at the ready, I spin my torso.
“Wait, wait,” the lady says. “We can help you.” Hands in the air, she gestures with her head to the man standing next to her. Eyes wide, his hands are also up.
I let the Glock sag to my thigh.
A few days ago, I would’ve had a partner to help, to back me up. But everything changed when the power went out.
San Jose, where I work for the police department, had its share of violence when the power was on. I’ve been with SJPD for about eighteen months. I’m part of The Bureau of Field Operations, or BFO, what many would refer to as a “beat cop.”
This has been a big change from my first position after the academy. I was one of sixty-eight commissioned officers in a small city of a hundred thousand people, south of Seattle. With the SJPD, there’s just under a thousand of us serving the city of over a million. It can get crazy on a normal day . . . what we’ve experienced recently is anything but normal.
I work out of the Southern Division, and for the most part, it’s been business as usual since the planes crashed Thursday night.
Well, mostly business as usual. Until Sunday, when things started to get a little bit hinky. By the time my shift ended, we’d gone from hinky to bad—very bad.
I showed for my regular shift on Monday to discover we’d lost half of our force overnight. Some had quit, some were just missing, and a few had been killed. To say we were distraught would be an understatement.
My regular partner is one of the missing. I wanted to go by his place and check on him, but we were ordered to conserve fuel. I considered going on my own time after work, but knew conserving my personal fuel was also necessary.
As of yesterday, we’re no longer driving, but rather doing walking beats—alone. Fortunately, I’m assigned an area pretty close to the division headquarters. Yesterday was fine.
But today, I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention. Head on a swivel is something I’ve always tried to practice. Why not today? Seems with everything happening, I’d be more alert than ever.
“Can we help you get up?” the lady asks.
“I’m . . . I’m not sure. He hit me with the block.” I reach up to wipe my face. Blood. And likely tears.
I straighten my back to pull myself together. What must these two think of me? Tears at times have the weight of speech . . . Yeah, thanks, Ovid. But not now. I represent SJPD. I pick up my service cap and place it back on my head. Hats are no longer part of our daily uniform, at least they weren’t when we were driving. It was decided we’d wear them now that we are on foot, to give us more of a presence. Didn’t help me much.
“Yeah, we saw him hit you,” the man says. “We were just down the sidewalk. We wanted to help, but . . . ” His voice fades off as he gives a small, embarrassed shrug.
I put my weapon away as they help me stand. The pain is intense, not just in my leg but in my neck and my back too. There’s blood dripping from my arm.
I try my radio but can’t get it to work. It must have been damaged in the struggle.
“What should we do with . . . with him?” the woman asks.
I take a deep breath and momentarily close my eyes. What should we do with him?
“I’m not sure I can move him,” the guy says with a small shudder.
“No, probably not,” I agree.
I take a look around. We’re at the edge of an alleyway—a well-cluttered alleyway with the stink of garbage beginning to take over. Like the SJPD, other city services—fire trucks, ambulances, libraries, schools, and sanitation—are limited or fully shut down. No garbage trucks are running, and the smell of the city is bordering on offensive. The worst part, it’s only been four days since the lights went out and everything shut down.
What’s it going to be like in a week? Two weeks? The stench will be unbearable.
Unzipping a small pocket on my utility belt, I pull out an emergency thermal blanket, the cheap space-age kind. They’re handy to have on hand to help prevent people from going into shock before an ambulance arrives. It’ll also work to cover the dead man.
I killed him.
I’m shaking so badly I can’t manage the sealed package. The Good Samaritan offers to help. He uses his teeth to open the package, then struggles with unfolding the sticky mylar as it crinkles its objection. I watch as the woman helps him.
“Wait. Let me get his identification before you cover him.”
A chunky, blood-splattered silver chain hangs limply from his right hip, the large clasp hooked around a belt loop. Following the chain, I lift his hip slightly and slide a large black wallet out of his back pocket. The wallet has fancy tooling and stitching with a silver skull in the center. The skull, like the rest of the wallet, is bejeweled in blood. I quickly look for his driver’s license.
Stanley James Parker. I compare the photo on the license to the dead guy. The guy I killed.
It’s him, but definitely a picture from better times. He had more weight on him and better skin. His hair is clean and styled in the photo. And he’s smiling. A nice, wholesome, guy next door type of smile. The guy on the concrete looks considerably different. And not just because he’s dead.
I step away from Stanley James Parker as the couple covers him with the blanket. The man grabs a couple of small pieces of concrete to hold down each corner. Then they help me limp back to headquarters.
The reception room is overly crowded, with people spilling outside on to the steps. I thank the couple and assure them I’ll be fine from here. Using the building as a crutch, I make my way to a side door. Usually, we use an electronic code to open the door, but with the power out, the keypad isn’t functioning. Someone is supposed to be nearby to let us in, after verifying who’s at the door.
I knock the code—three short, pause, two long. After a good minute, a female voice calls out.
“Lindsey Maverick, alone and injured,” I respond.
I clear my throat and try again, louder this time. The door cracks open, and a civilian aid peeks out.
“Oh no,” she gasps, reaching out for me and helping me inside to a nearby chair.
“Don’t move. I’ll get help.” She runs down the hall.
In less than a minute, she returns with Sergeant Cunningham. He was a medic in the Army and is likely the most qualified in the building to evaluate me.
His initial expression tells me I look about how I feel. He quickly puts on a mask of professionalism and barks, “Maverick, report.”
“I . . . I don’t know, sir. I was attacked from behind. I had to . . . he’s dead, sir.” I’m struggling to keep it together. It wouldn’t do any good for me to burst into tears.
“Next block. A couple helped me. Afterward. They helped me get back. I grabbed the guy’s identification.” I pull his license from my pocket.
Sarge spends several minutes looking me over. “You’re going to hurt even more tomorrow. You’ll have a nice shiner also. The good news, it doesn’t seem you’ve broken anything. You lose consciousness at all?”
It wasn’t said, but I knew going to the hospital would be reserved as a final option. The hospital’s gone to heck in a handbasket and is fully overloaded.
My mom reads a lot of books about the “end of the world,” and she’s always sharing parts of what she reads. Sometimes I halfway listen. She talks about avoiding hospitals, if at all possible, when things go bad.
We’re in our own end-of-the-world situation right now. Not as bad as some of those crazy books, but it’s not looking too good. I wish the phones were working so I could call her. She and her husband, Evan, are probably freaking out over my safety.
I’m acutely aware how close I came to dying. If Stanley James Parker would’ve been armed with anything more than a fortuitous chunk of concrete, I’d be dead.
Would Sarge have sent someone out looking for me if I didn’t show up at the end of my shift? If not, would my husband ever know what happened? Would Mom always wonder?
“Well, Maverick, you’ll live.” He hands me a wet wipe from the medical kit and motions to my face. I gently dab under my nose, bringing back blood.
“Probably want to go into the locker room, do a proper cleanup job. Do you need someone to assist you?”
“No, sir. I’ll be fine.”
“Good enough, then.”
“Thanks, Sarge. What now? Report to IA?”
“Not at this time. Complete an incident report, and we’ll address this later.”
Things have changed so much in such a short time. Only fill out an incident report after killing a man? We have very strict guidelines to follow when there is an officer-involved shooting. Transparency is big with SJPD, and “Incident Investigations” have extremely precise steps, which are followed to the letter.
“Just be sure to give the address of where you left the body.”
“Sure, Sarge.” I nod. The lack of paperwork, and not even an interview with Homicide, has me terribly freaked out.
“Rest up a bit. Make sure you have your wits about you, then call it a day. We don’t have anyone to drive you home, so be sure you’re capable before taking off.”
Even though I work in the Southern Division, I live farther north, in the Foothills Division, not too far from Alum Rock Park. Logan and I have a one-bedroom condo with a garage and pay a small fortune for it. We’d pay even more if we lived closer to my district.
I head to the locker room. The water in the station is no longer working on demand. There are now water stations set up in certain areas that people can go and fill their jugs. Someone has provided a few jugs for washing and buckets for flushing. There’s considerable concern about how much longer the sewer system will work, something about the pumps being electric powered. They’re on generator right now, but we all know it’s only a short-term solution. The garbage smell will be minor if the sewer backs up. At least the water’s still working at home. I’m super glad about that.
I glance in the mirror. Yikes. Lindsey Maverick, you are a mess.
There’s a cut above my eyebrow, both eyes are puffy, and one is no doubt going to turn black. My jaw is bruised. My hair, usually worn in a bun at the nape of my neck, is partially undone. Several blond lanks hang down past my shoulders. The collar of my uniform is torn, hanging loose with the top two buttons missing, and my white tank top’s peeking out. The shirt is half untucked. My pants have a slit at the knee. I bend over to inspect it, revealing a well-scraped knee compacted with bits of gravel. Lovely.
I set the plug in the sink and put in a little water, washing my hands first. The water quickly turns a muddy red—blood and dirt. Draining the sink, I reset the plug and add fresh water, then gently wash my face. Next, I take care of my knee. Everything stings as the water touches it. Once I’m somewhat clean, I fix my hair. The bun, while not as tidy as I’d like, looks better. I retuck my uniform, knowing there isn’t anything I can do about the cuts and tears until I’m home with a sewing kit.
After I deem myself presentable, I head to the squad room to take care of the paperwork. While I’m finishing my incident report, Sarge spreads the word we are done.
Fully and completely done.
Tuesday, Day 6
San Jose, California
SJPD is finished until the crisis passes. Besides my incident, two officers are missing and assumed dead. Dozens have been injured. Things have gone crazy, and without vehicles, we’re pretty much sitting ducks. We’re told to go home, stay safe, and protect our families and neighborhoods as best as we can.
While we all see the wisdom in stepping down, I don’t think many of us like it. I figure, the ones who would really be okay with it are likely in the group that stopped showing up for work.
“Maverick, can I see you for a moment?” Sergeant Cunningham bellows.
My married name, Maverick, brought me a bit of grief when I was in the academy and early on the job. At first, I tried to encourage people to call me Lindsey, but that’s just not done. I know many thought I’d fit my name, and maybe once I’m seasoned it’ll be okay to be a Maverick, but as a rookie . . . nope. I’ve endeavored to prove myself as someone who’s by the book and dependable.
“Yes, Sergeant?” I respond, while limping toward him.
He lowers his voice. “You feeling well enough to get on that bike of yours?”
“Yes, I can make it home.”
“Stop by the arms room. Winchester will have a package for you.”
“A package?” I ask dumbly.
“Yes. When things stop being a crap sandwich, bring back what you can. In the meantime, stay safe. I seem to remember you have family in the Midwest? You might want to head there. Less people might mean less violence. ’Course, getting there . . . ” He shakes his head and says nothing more.
“Wyoming. My mom and stepdad live in Wyoming.”
“Yeah, I remember meeting them when they visited you. Your stepdad’s a retired deputy, right? And your mom was Army or something?”
“Navy, she was active duty, then retired from reserves. And, yes, Evan’s a retired deputy sheriff.”
“Lois, right? Your mom’s name is Lois?”
He shrugs. “Well, I’d be heading to Wyoming if it was me. Go down and get your package. Best to clean out your locker too. Do you have a backpack here?”
“Yes, my usual one for commuting.”
“That tiny little thing? I think we have some saddlebags that were given to us for something. Ask Winchester. He’ll know where they are. And see if he has a bigger backpack you can use to get your gear home.” I’m always amused our armory guy is named Winchester.
There are several people ahead of me, waiting for their own package. When it’s my turn, he take me back and, as with everyone else, we speak privately. I wonder, do we all end up with the same things, or does he customize our packages based on individual needs?
“Hey, Maverick. You on your bike today?”
“Absolutely. Sarge said you might have some saddlebags I can use?”
“Yep. Sure do. Have a few specialty items you might like also. Wait here.”
He’s back in a few minutes with two rifles—neither are department issued.
My eyes go wide as he begins to tear one of them down, separating the barrel from the action.
“It’s only a .22, and I don’t have much ammo for it. But it’ll fit in a backpack, maybe help you not be such a target on your trip home. And this one,” he says, motioning to the second, larger rifle, “it’s a beauty. The forend separates, giving you a bipod. There are two extra magazines stored in the stock. It’s a 5.56, so the size you’re used to.”
“Wow. Nice. Uh, but these aren’t . . . ”
“Maverick, don’t ask, don’t tell. Okay? Let’s find you a backpack too.”
By the time Winchester’s finished with me, I have a decent amount of ammo for the 5.56, a small amount for the .22, a few tear gas grenades, several flashbangs, and a non-department issued 9-millimeter. Another don’t ask, don’t tell situation. After I’m outfitted, he has an officer help me carry the goods to my bike.
Getting the saddlebags in place around my little tail bag, which I keep on the passenger seat for hauling things, takes some doing, but it works. I’m loaded a little more than I’m comfortable with, but not terribly so.
The trip home is mostly uneventful. I do have one guy try to stop me, and think I may hear a shot, but no real issues.
Are they shooting at me or someone else? Who knows.
I’m later getting home than I should be, and Logan, my husband of five years, is near frantic when I arrive.
“Lindsey! I was just thinking I should go look for you.”
“I’m here. I’m okay,” I answer, taking off my helmet.
He looks at my face, showing evidence of the earlier attack, and quickly pulls me into his arms. “What happened?”
In the safety of Logan’s arms, I breakdown sobbing. Several minutes pass before I can gulp out the story of the attack and how I had to kill the guy, Stanley James Parker. I know his name will stick with me forever. The dead look in his eyes and his smell . . . that smell . . .
Through my tears, I let him know the department is done, shut down until this—whatever it is—is over. Logan says little but makes appropriate soothing responses while stroking my hair. When I’m done, I carefully step away.
I take a large breath. “Now what? Sarge said we should head for Mom and Evan’s place. What do you think?”
Logan starts to talk, then stops. I suspect he’s thinking of his folks in upstate New York and wishing we could go there. The idea of trying to make it to Wyoming right now is hard enough. I can’t even imagine getting to New York.
He gives me a sad look. “Probably not a bad idea. Seems less people might be smart. I know it’s one of the reasons your folks live there.”
“How will we get there? I don’t think we have enough gas to make it that far, do you?”
Logan contorts his mouth slightly to chew on the inside of his lip. He does this when he’s thinking. I find it to be adorable and irritating at the same time. The contortion of his mouth gives his slightly round face an entirely different look. It’s cute but isn’t the Logan I love.
Of course, the stress from the last few days has also given him a different look. He looks tired. And like he needs a shave, not just his face but also his usual silky, hairless head.
He took to a clean shave a year or two back when his hairline began to recede. He was faced with buying Rogaine in bulk or embracing the baldness. I’ll be the first to say, I wasn’t in favor of him shaving his head. But now, what I affectionately refer to as his “chrome dome” is amazingly sexy and fits him perfectly.
“You know, your mom insisted on us filling up the bikes after the bridges were hit.”
Logan and I both switched to motorcycles last year to help save on fuel costs. We had a small car until last month—we sold it since we drove it so rarely. Besides, Logan’s filled up our garage with bikes.
In addition to our commuter bikes, my Honda and Logan’s Kawasaki, the garage also houses Logan’s old kick-start bikes. Somehow, he developed a fascination with these crazy bikes. He currently owns a 1984 Harley Davidson FXST Softail in candy red and a mostly white ’92 Suzuki DR 650. He refers to them as “old-school bikes.”
“I filled up the Harley and the Zuki and haven’t driven them since,” Logan says. “I took my Kawa to the grocery store, what, three times?”
I nod. “And I’ve been driving my bike back and forth to work after topping it off on Saturday afternoon.”
“Your mom also told me to buy and fill a few gas cans. We already had one to fill up our fuel bottle holders. I bought another two-gallon can. ’Course, I think that may have been a dumb move since we don’t have a good way to haul gas cans.”
“Winchester set me up with saddlebags for my trip home. They’re somewhat like ours, each with a fuel bottle in a holder. That will help some. And we can figure out something else—maybe zip tie a can on each of the pillion pads?”
“Did he give you fuel for them?”
“Nope, just the empty bottles in the little holders. He asked me if I wanted to take them, so I did.”
“Maybe . . . I know you aren’t going to like this, Linds, but I think we should take the kick-starts.”
He gives me a sweet smile. “It would really be best. There’s less to go wrong with them. Plus, when I redid them, I swapped out the stock fuel tanks for larger ones. The Harley has a five gallon, and the Zuki has a 4.2.”
“But the commuters do better on fuel,” I whine.
“Yes, they do, but I can work on the Harley and Zuki. You know that. I can’t do much on the newer bikes with the systems they have. The Harley still isn’t terrible.”
I know he’s right about this. We took the kick-starters on a road trip to Sacramento, about 120 miles, last summer. We easily made it there without needing to stop and refuel. But it was far from a comfortable ride. Plus, starting the bikes using the kick-starter . . . blech. Logan has tried to show me some of the tricks for getting it to “top dead center” before trying to start it. I always forget, so he has to walk me through it.
“You just don’t want to leave your babies behind,” I say, attempting to tease, but I know I sound pretty snotty.
He has the decency to look contrite as he quietly says, “There is that too.”
“When?” I ask.
He looks me over. “Let’s see how you are tomorrow, then we can start making a plan.”
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...