The Scout

Chapter 16

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Wade, I need to talk to..." Taylor paused.

"Scott Duncan" Scott replied.

"Yes, thank you Mr. Duncan. Wade I need to check Mr. Duncan's credentials myself. You may want to show the man's son where they will be bunking and give him a tour of the town while we consult on some business."

Sam shot a frightened look up to Scott. "Don't worry son, I'll take good care of you," Wade reassured the boy.

Scott looked into Wade's eyes and then he looked down at Sam, "It'll be OK, Sam." Scott looked back into Wade's eyes sternly warning him that it better be OK.

"Nothing to worry about, I owe you my life," Wade laughed.

Scott watched as Sam and Wade disappeared in the crowd as Taylor relayed some last minute instructions to a subordinate.

"Take my acquisition to my chambers; I'll be there later tonight." The subordinate bowed and left the two men alone.

"Well, Mr. Duncan I need to see if you are indeed Anarchist material," Taylor finally said as the two men started to exit the warehouse. He led Scott a few blocks past the warehouse to an old abandoned strip mall. In the parking lot, in front of a brick wall -- riveted with bullet holes -- stood some woodened cutouts in the shape of people. There were various lines painted on the concrete at regular intervals from the targets.

Taylor stopped Scott a few yards from the farthest line before the target and motioned towards the shooting range. "You may show me your stuff."

"Will this be on your dime or mine?" Scott asked the recruiter as he hefted his .357.

"Well, I don't expect you to come loaded for bear, especially if you just made your way north through the Wastes. Here take mine," Taylor said holding out a black Colt M1911-A1.

Colt M1911-A1

Scott smiled and took the automatic pistol, he ejected and checked the clip and when satisfied slapped it back into the handle. Scott pulled back the slide chambering a round.

Taylor stepped back and waved a hand towards the wooden targets. "You can fire from any one of those lines..."

Before Taylor could finish speaking Scott fired off the entire seven round magazine in quick succession at the targets from where he originally stopped. The gunfire ripped through the air with a deafening blast. Smoke and the smell of exhausted gunpowder emanated from the spent pistol. The brass shells fell to the ground with a light tinking noise.

Scott looked over at Taylor. The big man smiled smugly back. "You know you may have wanted to get a little closer. You are about 75 yards from the targets. I doubt you could have hit anything from there."

Scott just shrugged his shoulders and returned the pistol to Taylor handle first. Taylor accepted the automatic and then marched up to the targets as Scott started collecting the spent shells. It was common practice to pick up any loose brass shells. Finding bullets and reloading rounds were two different things. After the Big Bang, almost everyone knew how to reload rounds because the likelihood of one finding the right caliber round for one's weapon was remote at best.

After Scott finished he walked up to Taylor who was standing in front of the targets. He was shaking his head and speaking to himself in a low voice.

"Impossible," was all Scott heard as he stood next to Taylor.

"Well, did I pass?" Scott asked.

Taylor shook his head to bring himself back to the present. He looked a Scott in amazement and then pointed towards the targets. "You hit every one of them."

Scott smiled and looked at the seven targets he shot at. Just as he knew, every target had a bullet hole where their hearts would have been if they were living human beings. Scott shoved the casings into Taylor's hand.

"I think it is about time you meet Moose," Taylor said with obvious awe in his voice.

Taylor then led Scott to an old retail building that belonged to the vacant mall. The door swung open with ease and Scott was ushered into the middle of the store. What little light penetrated the interior issued from the glass doors they had just entered. Scott peered around the old store. Old mannequins were scattered about the store casting eerie shadows. Empty clothing racks and boxes littered the interior.

"You stay here, I will get Moose," Taylor said before he marched away into the darkness. Scott heard him open a door and then close it behind him.

Scott stood where he was for a few minutes. The naked mannequins were his only companions. The store was silent and still. Scott did not know how long he was supposed to wait there in the middle of the store alone. He was about to go and try to find Taylor when he thought he heard a noise.

At first Scott thought, maybe it was Taylor returning. However, the big man did not materialize. Then Scott thought he noticed movement. Maybe it was the trick the light, for he was sure he saw one of the mannequins move. Then he felt a presence approaching behind him.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on October 24, 2007 5:00 PM.

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