Deathlands 117: Desolation Angels

Free Deathlands 117: Desolation Angels by James Axler

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Authors: James Axler
Tags: Science-Fiction
Krysty’s breastbone in places. The street on the other side was partially blocked a bit farther down by another tall building that had fallen east.
    “Not like,” Jak called. He was unseen in the back of the store, keeping an eye on the rear entrance. “No way through.”
    “Looked as if there’s mostly more open fields off past it, anyway,” Ryan said. “Be hard to get out unseen.”
    “There sure seems to be a lot of open space around here, for a big city and all,” said Ricky, who was crouched by the southwest wall. Nothing remained of the interior furnishings but the counter. The kitchen stoves and sinks and whatnot had long since been pillaged for scrap.
    “It’s Detroit,” Mildred said, cutting off the end of the last bandage with a pocketknife. “The Motor City. There, old man. You look as if I just treated you for toothache, but at least you won’t bleed out.”
    She glanced over at Ricky to see him giving her a blank look. “They used to make cars here,” she told him. “So they had lots of cars. I reckon a lot of that space they’ve got growing crops and weeds used to be parking lots. Also, every third building seems to be a parking garage.”
    “How you feel, Doc?” J.B. asked.
    The old man shook his head. “I’ll be right as rain,” he said. Krysty noticed that his words were slurred. “Just let me sit here until the dizziness passes.”
    “Concussion,” Mildred said. “That’s another reason not to make a break for it. This old coot isn’t fit to run any foot races. Least of all with bullets.”
    “Why haven’t they attacked us yet, lover?” Krysty asked.
    “Waiting,” Ryan said. “Working their way into a position they like. Mebbe waiting on reinforcements. Then they’ll rush us.”
    Krysty glanced over the wall. Her heart skipped a beat.
    “Here they come!” she yelled.
    * * *
    A S IF K RYSTY’S warning cry had been a signal, a furious storm of blasterfire erupted from outside.
    Ryan drew his SIG, cursing himself for paying so much attention to the multiple-story building across the street. Sure, if the Angels got blasters in there, it would be triple bad, but he’d seen no sign of them even trying. And anyway, if Trader had caught him back in the day obsessing over potential danger with an obvious, actual one hanging over all their heads like an ax ready to fall, he probably would have left him high and dry in some pest-hole ville.
    But regrets and reproach wouldn’t put a fired bullet back in the blaster.
    J.B. leaned forward to fire his Uzi left-handed out the front door. He ducked back hastily as bullets started skipping in through the opening and across the floor right next to him.
    It was obvious what the Angels were trying to do. A bunch of them were cranking shots into the former fast-food restaurant as fast as they could to keep the defenders’ heads down while other Angels charged the place. They had enough blasters out there to make it work. As long as they were careful not to hit their own attacking people.
    Ryan wouldn’t have wanted to be one of those coldhearts trying to storm the restaurant, caught right between blasters like that.
    “Right!” he yelled as bullets zinged and screamed crazily around the roofless interior. The same stout brick walls that kept bullets out also kept bullets fired in . “Let the bastards come, then blast them when they try to get in.”
    J.B. sat on his heels with his back to the wall by the door. His right hand now held his shotgun muzzle upward by the pistol grip. His left clamped his fedora on his head as if against a high wind. He caught Ryan’s eye and gave his head a quick shake.
    Ryan knew what he was thinking. It was a terrible plan. And it was.
    Just better than any other option they had right then.
    The bullet storm slacked. “Stay low, and get ready!” Ryan gritted out. That lull almost certainly meant the charging Angels had almost reached their goal. But if one of the companions popped up to shoot now, he

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